Art by Phil Winslade & Butch Guice
|First appearance||Superboy #0 (October 1994)|
|Created by||Karl Kesel|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, and endurance
Powerful teeth and claws
Fictional character biography
Born in Hawaii, Nanaue is a humanoid shark. His father is "The King of all Sharks"—also known as the Shark God. Other characters, such as special agent Sam Makoa, have dismissed this as superstition and referred to Nanaue as a "savage mutation" with no mystical nature. Given the reality of magic within the DC Universe, either origin is equally possible. It has also been implied he was one of the "Wild Men", evolved animals based on those in Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. The now-ended Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis series, however, seems to have put an end to the controversy by firmly establishing him as the Shark God's son.[volume & issue needed]
King Shark was responsible for several missing persons several years before Superboy arrived in Hawaii. Sam Makoa was responsible for bringing him in and bore the scars forever after. King Shark is freed by the Silicon Dragons who plan on hiring him. Nanaue is not interested and kills his liberators before heading to his mother's house. His mother allows him to bite her arm off to feed. Superboy managed to take him down by firing a point blank blast of heat vision from his "X-Ray specs." When Superboy and Makoa were assigned to the Suicide Squad to destroy the Silicon Dragons, King Shark was forced to help. An explosive belt was strapped to his waist, set to detonate if anything happened to Makoa. Other members of the Squad included Knockout and Squad veterans Deadshot and Captain Boomerang.
Nanuae was a crazed fighting machine, shredding legions of the Dragons (and killing Sidearm too, when he betrays the team). Despite the belt detonating, King Shark survived the blast and the destruction of the lair.
After a research team sent to investigate the lair's remains went missing, King Shark was initially suspected, but it turned out to be Black Manta. King Shark fought Superboy duking it out with the Kid, but he was defeated again and driven out to sea.
King Shark later turned up in the Wild Lands (where the implication that he was really a Wild Man was made) and fought Superboy and his allies. After a fierce battle, he was defeated, but no body was recovered.
He joins Manchester Black's Legion of Villains in the "Ending Battle". In this case, he turned up in Metropolis and attacked Jimmy Olsen. Superman quickly took him down, knocking most of his teeth out (although apparently they grew back later). Whereas in all of his previous appearances he had only two lines of dialogue, in this issue he was quite chatty (although that may have simply been because of Black's influence). He also was smaller and a long way from the water.
Nanaue reappears one year after the Infinite Crisis, bearing a scar from a previous encounter with Aquaman. He is less violent and more talkative than in previous appearances. His origin has been definitely given as son of the Shark God, due to the new Aquaman book being more magic-based than previous incarnations. He is a major character in the series, acting as an unwilling caretaker for Arthur Joseph Curry. Saved from a gang of marauders by the young man, he brought him to the mysterious Dweller in the Depths (the mutated, for unknown reasons, Aquaman) who gave him the role of assisting the new Aquaman in filling his role. Albeit feigning disrespect, and often disappearing for a while, King Shark accepted, sharing his knowledge of the way of sea with his young savior. It is later revealed in a flashback sequence that he was asked to do so by his father :
"The currents of destiny bend and twist around that young man. For good or ill, he will shape the coming oceanscape. You will protect him. You will be my agent in his camp. Close enough to guard against others who seek to control him. And close enough, when I decide the time is ripe... ... to strike, and kill him without warning."
The following arc tells the first meeting between the original Aquaman and King Shark, which occurred several years ago. It took place in Reef's End, a little border town in the Coral Sea, distant from Atlantis. Orin — who was still the King of Atlantis at this time — fought King Shark because he murdered a priest belonging to the Order of the Thorny Crown. In the last six months, King Shark had killed a lot of other members of this group, obeying his father's will. Indeed, the Order was associated with an old prophecy:
"When thorned crown lies shattered, she comes. Born of coral, of life-in-death, of long prayer. Shake the sea floor with her power, shall she, shake the destiny of all beneath the waves..."
The Shark God believed that if the Order was destroyed, that would trigger the prophecy, birthing some great power in the process. However, King Shark was defeated by Aquaman before reaching his father's goal. He then was imprisoned by priests of the Thorny Crown for three years, before escaping; Nanaue mentions that he was tortured during his captivity.
Most recently, he has joined the Secret Six as a brawler. His tenure with the Six proves to be short-lived, as the team is soon captured by a large group of superheroes during a failed mission in Gotham City. King Shark manages to briefly overpower his old foe Superboy during the battle, but is ultimately pummeled into unconsciousness by Supergirl.
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), King Shark is featured where he now resembles a humanoid Hammerhead shark. He was tortured and forced into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. When it comes to the Suicide Squad having to comply with Amanda Waller's demands, King Shark ended up eating his teammate Yo-Yo.
Powers and abilities
King Shark's augmented flesh provides protection against the pressures of the deep and physical attacks. He has shark-like teeth and can use them as a weapon. He has gills and can breathe in water as well as on land. He can swim at great speeds in water and is resistant to cold, which is an adaptation to undersea life. He has had his strength and endurance enhanced. He can also regenerate. He is able to lift at 55 tons.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, King Shark works as a strongman freak show in the Haley's Circus. Haley's Circus is attacked by Amazons, and King Shark is killed while trying to save Doctor Fate.
In other media
- King Shark appears in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. He is among the supervillains that attack Batman and Superman.
- King Shark appears in Batman: Assault on Arkham, voiced by John DiMaggio. He appears as a member of the Suicide Squad. King Shark first appearing in a motel with strung up corpses bathing in a tub of blood and displays human-eating tendencies. He is somehow captured in a raid and forced into the Suicide Squad. In their first meeting, he attempts to eat Killer Frost, but they form a friendship during their assignment. King Shark also hates heights as seen in one scene. He is later killed by Amanda Waller after a failed attempt by Riddler to deactivate a bomb that was surgically implanted in the back of his neck as a failsafe in the event that they abandon the mission (due to Riddler having not considered his thicker skin).
- King Shark appears in issue #14 of the Young Justice tie-in comic book. King Shark is known in this franchise as King Nanaue Sha'ark. He is shown as a student at the same Atlantean sorcery academy that Aqualad once attended. King Sha'ark is also the ruler of the Atlantean city-state Nanauve. Sha'ark has the habit of referring to those he considers weaker than himself as "chum". In issue #15, Lori Lemaris and Topo had to convince Sha'ark not to eat the former Atlantean Purist Ronal (who was pardoned by Aquaman).
- Superboy (vol. 4) #0 (October 1994)
- Superboy (vol. 4) #31 (September 1996)
- The Adventures of Superman #608 (November 2002)
- Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May 2006)
- Secret Six TPB 1: Unhinged
- Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #3 (December 2009)
- Secret Six (vol. 3) #21 (July 2010)
- Secret Six (vol. 3) #36 (October 2011)
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #1 (November 2011)
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #5 (March 2012)
- Forever Evil #1 (November 2013)
- Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #2 (July 2011)