Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black Manta - Long Live the King - Grant McLaughlin

Okay, I'm putting a lot in here, but the basic premise is that Black Manta defeated Aquaman and his forces years ago and then became the ruler of Atlantis. Surprising no one, he hasn't been a great king, and things have been pretty tense throughout his rule. However, there have been various random acts of violence of late, and things have reached a tipping point. The people are rioting and Black Manta is scrambling to figure out what to do.

The panel layout isn't super important, but the last panel should take up at least a third of the page, if not more.

1 - Outside shot of the palace. It has seen brighter days. The buildings are worn and dilapidated.  People are rioting all around. There are guards trying to hold them back.

UNDERLING (from inside palace): We're trying, King Manta!

2 - Inside the throne room.  Unlike the outside of the palace (and Atlantis as a whole), no expense has been spared here.  The room is filled with opulence and the like, showing where Black Manta's priorities are. Black Manta is helmetless, but he maintains his signature colours and appearance. He wears a crown that is jet black, with two blood red gemstones inset like eyes. He also happens to be holding Aquaman's trident.  Black Manta is yelling at the underling.  He is furious.  Spittle flies from his mouth.  The underling cowers pathetically.

BLACK MANTA (1): I don't want excuses, I want results!  When I put out an order to stop the rioting, the rioting better damn well be stopped!

BLACK MANTA (2): If people won't listen, then send out the death sqauds and make them listen!

3 - Similar shot to the last panel, but Black Manta's body language has completely changed.  He is rather shocked and it is clear that he is also a little scared by what he's hearing.  The underling continues to cower.

UNSEEN FIGURE (off-panel): Spoken like a true tyrant.

BLACK MANTA: That voice...

4 - Close up of Black Manata.  He is now looking towards the (still) unseen figure.  His shock is now replaced by pure terror.  A cold sweat is already beading on his brow.

BLACK MANTA: B-but that's impossible!  You're dead!  I killed you!

UNSEEN FIGURE (off-panel): You clearly didn't do a very good job of it.

5 – Jackson Hyde stands in the centre of the throne room. Like Black Manta, he is much older than the Jackson Hyde we are familiar with. He is now a grown man, sporting many scars and wounds. Of particular note is a large group of scars that covers most of his neck and part of his lower face. He wears an expression of calm fury. Hard water constructs form at his sides. He is ready for a throw down, and it's not going to be pretty.

JACKSON: You'll soon wish you had.


  1. Always great to have stories about Atlantis, not in vain my nickname is Arion, the Lord of Atlantis (I got that from an old DC title).

    I like your blog, and I'm thinking you might like mine too...

  2. Hot damn this is cool. This would so work as an Elseworlds mini and I would be all over it.

    The premise of the villain 'winning' is always a great and fun angle to come at things from. Black Manta as a tyrant king is a brilliant sell. Also brilliant is the jet black crown being a mirror for mantas standard headgear, simple but so effective. The last panel would also be killer, a grizzled and hardened veteran of Jackson coming back for one last fight.

  3. Nice work that builds to that all important last panel/page turn.

    I like Manta's proposed look here too. The page had that 'otherworldly' vibe to it that I really liked about Busiek's run on Aquaman.

  4. Apart from the fact that had to google who the hell Jackson Hyde was, I dug this. Although the "B-but..." sounded a little too cartoon for what was essentially quite a dramatic script.


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.