This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
King Shark on the cover of Aquaman vol. 8, #32 (March 2018). Art by Stjepan Šejić.
|First appearance||Superboy vol. 4, #0 (Oct. 1994)|
|Created by||Karl Kesel|
Shay Lamden (The Flash)
|Place of origin||New Earth|
Secret Society of Super Villains|
|Notable aliases||Trixie |
King Shark (Nanaue) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Karl Kesel and made a brief cameo in Superboy vol. 4, #0 (Oct. 1994) before making his first full appearance in Superboy vol. 4, #9 (Nov. 1994).
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. Originally there were some doubts surrounding his origins, as other characters, such as special agent Sam Makoa, dismissed his origins as superstition and referred to Nanaue as a "savage mutation" and it was also implied that he was one of the "Wild Men", evolved animals based on those in Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, but the now-ended Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis series put an end to the controversy by firmly establishing him as the Shark God's son.
King Shark was responsible for a number of missing persons several years before Superboy arrived in Hawaii. Sam Makoa was responsible for bringing him in and bore the scars to prove it. 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 with his heat vision. 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, but he was defeated and driven out to sea.
King Shark later turned up in the Wild Lands and fought Superboy and his allies. After a fierce battle, he was assumed killed, but no body was ever recovered.
He joined Manchester Black's Legion of Villains in the "Ending Battle". He later turned up in Metropolis and attacked Jimmy Olsen. Superman quickly took him down, knocking most of his teeth out (though they grew back). In all of his previous appearances he rarely spoke, but during this issue he was very verbose (although that may be 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 the 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 of the Order of the Thorny Crown. King Shark had previously killed a number of members of this group, obeying his father's will. 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 completing 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.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, King Shark now resembles a humanoid hammerhead shark. He was tortured and forced into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. When it came to the Suicide Squad having to comply with Amanda Waller's demands, King Shark ended up eating his teammate Yo-Yo (it is later revealed that Yo-Yo survived).
In the DC Rebirth relaunched universe, he appears as one of the many villains attempting to kill Batman to stop Two-Face from leaking secret information. He attacks Batman on a train alongside Amygdala and Killer Croc. He also appears in Aquaman's eponymous series as an antagonist.
DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger "DC Universe" banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues into DC Universe.
Along with being featured in the eight volume of Aquaman, King Shark appears as one of the many villains attempting to kill Batman to stop Two-Face from leaking secret information. He attacks Batman on a train alongside Amygdala and Killer Croc.
King Shark also appears in Teen Titans where he kidnaps a reporter and plans to overthrow the surface dwellers, but is foiled by Jackson Hyde and Damian Wayne. It is later revealed that he was working under Black Manta.
Powers and abilities
King Shark's augmented flesh provides protection against the pressures of the deep and physical attacks. His shark-like physiology includes teeth and claws, which are used as weapons, and gills that allow him to breathe underwater. He can swim at great speeds and is resistant to cold. King Shark has enhanced strength and endurance, and he can also regenerate lost bodily tissue.
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 The Flash, voiced by David Hayter. This version resembles the original design and was originally Shay Lamden, a marine biologist on Earth-2 who was transformed by S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator (while his Earth-1 counterpart just developed massive tumors in S.T.A.R. Labs' accelerator explosion and died shortly afterwards). In the episode "The Fury of Firestorm", he fell under Zoom's control and gets sent to Earth-1 to kill the Barry Allen. The Flash and Patty Spivot are saved by Harry Wells, shocking Barry. Patty coins the 'King Shark' name in the episode "The Darkness and the Light". The character returns in the episode "King Shark". It's revealed that he has been imprisoned at A.R.G.U.S. by Amanda Waller for experimentation in order to exploit his metahuman genes, however, these plans never came to pass due to Waller's death and he remained in custody. He escapes by faking his death in the cage and goes after the Flash to take to Zoom once more, ultimately tracking Barry to Joe West's house. Despite Flash telling there's no way he can return to Earth-2, he's determined to kill the speedster regardless. King Shark escapes after A.R.G.U.S. agents arrive, and Barry's team devises a trap for him at the docks. The trap fails, but Flash manages to defeat King Shark by using the speedster's electric aura to electrify the water and incapacitate him. King Shark is re-incarcerated by A.R.G.U.S., but Lyla Michaels vows to find a cure for him rather than exploit his capabilities. In the episode "Cause and Effect", King Shark is seen at A.R.G.U.S. acting as a watchdog for alien technology. In the subsequent episode "Infantino Street", Barry and Captain Cold break into A.R.G.U.S to steal the technology and briefly battle King Shark, putting him to 'sleep' for a time by cooling the temperature of the room he is in. Although King Shark loses an arm in the battle when Captain Cold is briefly trapped in the cell with King Shark and they are forced to close the door on his arm, King Shark quickly regenerates. In "Crisis on Earth X, Part 1", Barry battles King Shark when Iris West notifies of missing wedding guests.
- King Shark appears in the web series DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.
- 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. In the film, King Shark is recruited by Amanda Waller to be a member of the Suicide Squad and given them the mission of killing the Riddler. King Shark appears to be a very large human with mutated features, a metal mask that augments his biting ability and a red Mohawk for a dorsal fin. He seems to have formed a relationship with Killer Frost. He is also shown to have a strong fear of heights. During the mission, King Shark is killed by the bomb that Waller put on his neck when Riddler was trying to disable the bombs of the Suicide Squad. Riddler attributed King Shark's tough skin as to why the bomb wasn't stopped.
- Suicide Squad director David Ayer revealed in a Q&A on Twitter that King Shark was originally going to appear in the film, but would only have been possible as a fully CGI character. His replacement Killer Croc was portrayed practically with makeup and prosthetics.
- King Shark appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Travis Willingham. He resembles the version seen in The New 52 and is part of "The Squad" downloadable content.
- In the Batman: Arkham Knight prequel comic, King Shark didn't appear, but his son "Kid Shark" makes an appearance. Kid Shark attacked Batman on the street. Commissioner Gordon happened to be in the area and joined in the fight, providing enough of a distraction for Batman to brain the kid in the back of the head with a fire hydrant. The Gotham City Police Department picked him up shortly afterwards.
- 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).
- He appears in The Flash: Season Zero tie-in comic, where Shay Lamden is diagnosed with being in the fourth stage of his illness and has little chance for survival, but Dr. Shults offered to use shark cells to regenerate his dying body cells, which Lamden agreed to. During the procedure, the particle accelerator exploded, mutating him into a humanoid shark. A year later, he went after the scientists involved in the procedure. When going after one of them, Cisco Ramon intervened, leading to the Flash to show up, but King Shark severely injured Flash, forcing him and Cisco to retreat. While visiting his family's old apartment, he was cornered by the Suicide Squad and attacked by Deadshot, Cupid, and Captain Boomerang. The Flash intervened and tried to save King Shark, but he was eventually captured by the Squad, where they took him back to A.R.G.U.S. to be tortured by Amanda Waller into joining the Suicide Squad. He later joined the Squad in taking down a terrorist named Hart, but when King Shark is about to eat him, Flash arrived and saved Hart, unaware he was a terrorist. Once the Squad told him about their mission, Deadshot sedated Flash as they went after Hart. After defeating Hart and defusing his bombs, Flash offered to take King Shark back to the pipeline until they find a cure, but King Shark chooses to stay with the Squad, due to Waller injecting him with a poison only she has the cure to, and felt he belonged with the Squad and promised to try harder to not eat people. After the events of the second season, this version of the character was later established as non-canon.
- King Shark appears in Year Five of the Injustice: Gods Among Us tie-in comics. As a member of the Regime, King Shark alongside Girder attempt to arrest Iris West and her co-conspirators in Central City for their being involved in an Insurgent group that opposes Superman's Regime. The Flash appears and tries to dissuade them, though King Shark becomes impatient and gets into a fight with the speedster. Before he can arrest Iris, the Flash impales him with a broom, killing King Shark by accident.
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4)
- 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)
- All-Star Batman #2
- Johnston, Rich (October 6, 2017). "The End Of DC Rebirth Announced At New York Comic-Con". bleedingcool. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- Bonthuys, Darryn (December 1, 2017). "The Rebirth era is over, as a new direction begins in DC Universe". criticalhit. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- All-Star Batman #2
- Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #2 (July 2011)
- David Ayer [@DavidAyerMovies] (29 July 2016). ".@diablosantanas #askthesquad" (Tweet) – via Twitter. /video/1