Art by Phil Winslade & Butch Guice
|First appearance||Superboy (vol. 4) #0 (October 1994)|
|Created by||Karl Kesel|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains
King Shark is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character makes his full first appearance in Superboy vol. 4 #9 (November 1994), with a brief cameo weeks before in Superboy vol. 4 #0 (October 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, however, put an end to the controversy by firmly establishing him as the Shark God's son.[volume & issue needed]
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 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 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 (it is later revealed that Yo-Yo survived).
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.
The Flash: Season Zero
King Shark appears in The Flash digital comic. This version of King Shark is a man named "Shay Lamden" who was diagnosed with an unknown illness. Shay's doctor told him that he had a very little chance of survival, already being in the fourth stage of his illness. The doctor, however, suggested a clinical trial—using shark cells to help regenerate the dying body cells. As they began inserting the shark cells, the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded, sending out theoretical particles, causing Shay to be mutated with the shark cells, giving him the head of a shark. He grew hungry, tearing apart Dr. Shults and eating him.
A year later, Lamden intercepted some men in an alleyway and ate them. The following day, he went to find Gavin DeMarco at the Brighton Medical Facility. The doctor didn't recognize him, leading to Shay eating him. Lamden proceeded on to the city's aquarium, looking for another member of Dr. Shults' team to seek revenge upon. He broke in to an enclosure and began eating a penguin. Cisco Ramon snuck in, but was given away by his phone. Before "King Shark", as nicknamed by Cisco, could eat him, the Flash intercepted, but was bitten on the arm. The Flash tried to punch him in the nose to get him to let go, but that didn't work. Instead, he vibrated his arm quickly, which worked. The Flash was able to push King Shark in to the water, while Cisco opened up a circuit board and electrocuted the water. Quite literally shocking him, he broke out of the enclosure and escaped.
Lamden went to outside his old apartment and began to eat garbage. He found a letter addressed to his wife, Christina Lamden. He threw it back in to the trash, but before he could escape he was trapped in by the Suicide Squad. Captain Boomerang threw a boomerang, but King Shark simply bit through it. Deadshot shot him, knocking him over, followed by Cupid shooting a trick arrow, which expanded in to a net, trapping him. The Squad brought him back to A.R.G.U.S.' headquarters, where he was tortured by Amanda Waller and forced to become a member of the Squad, soon having his first mission overseas.
Batman: Arkham Knight
In 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.
In other media
- King Shark briefly appears in The Flash' episode "The Fury of Firestorm", voiced by David Hayter. This version resembles the original design for King Shark. Upon being brought to Earth-1, King Shark is ostensibly sent by Zoom from Earth-2 to kill the Flash. After grabbing the Flash, Patty Spivot attempts to help him and shoots King Shark, but fails as King Shark approaches her. However, a hooded man saves Patty from King Shark by shooting him in the back with an experimental gun stolen from Mercury Labs. Flash then chases the man who is revealed to be the Harrison Wells of Earth-2, shocking Barry as he mistook this man for the speedster who impersonated his Earth-1 counterpart. He was named "King Shark" by Patty in the episode "The Darkness and the Light".
- 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, he is recruited by Amanda Waller to be a member of the Suicide Squad and given them the mission of kill Riddler. He seems to have formed a relationship with Killer Frost. During the mission, King Shark is killed by the bomb that Waller put on his neck when Riddler was trying disabling the bombs of the Suicide Squad.
- 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.
- 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)