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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 (Nanaue) is a fictional character, a supervillain published by DC Comics. Created by Karl Kesel, the character made a brief cameo in Superboy vol. 4 #0 (October 1994) before making his first full appearance in Superboy vol. 4 #9 (November 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.[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.
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.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
King Shark appears in Year Five alongside Girder where the two 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.
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. Originally a marine biologist on Earth-2 named Shay Lamden, he was transformed by the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator and fell under the control of Hunter Zolomon/Zoom, who sent him to Earth-1 to kill the Flash (His Earth-1 counterpart just developed massive tumors in the accelerator explosion and died shortly afterwards). 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 down the man, who is revealed to be the Harrison Wells of Earth-2, shocking Barry (the Wells of Earth-1 had been impersonated by Barry's arch-enemy Eobard Thawne). He was named "King Shark" by Patty in the episode "The Darkness and the Light". He returns in the episode "King Shark," where it's revealed that he was imprisoned at A.R.G.U.S. by then-head Amanda Waller for experimentation in order to exploit his metahuman genes. Due to her death in the Arrow episode "A.W.O.L.", these plans never came to pass and he remained in custody. He escapes by faking his death in the cage and goes after the Flash to take him to Zoom once more. After killing some ARGUS agents, he tracks down the Flash to Joe West's house. Despite Flash telling him there's no way he can return to Earth-2, he's determined to kill the speedster regardless. He escapes after the ARGUS agents show up, and Barry's team devises a trap for him at the docks. The trap fails, but Flash manages to defeat King Shark by using his electric aura to electrify the water and shoot a "thunderbolt" to incapacitate him. King Shark is reincarcerated by ARGUS, but the new head of ARGUS, Lyla Diggle, who became Waller's successor, vows to find a cure for him rather than exploit his capabilities.
- 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 killing Riddler. He 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, with Riddler attributing King Shark's tough skin as to why he wasn't able to stop it.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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)