King Shark

King Shark

King Shark
Art by Phil Winslade & Butch Guice
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Superboy (vol. 4) #0 (October 1994)
Created by Karl Kesel
In-story information
Alter ego Nanaue
Team affiliations Secret Society of Super Villains
Suicide Squad
Secret Six
  • Superhuman strength and endurance
  • Shark-like physiology including powerful teeth, claws, gills, and underwater adaptations
  • Regeneration of bodily tissue

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.

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.[1] 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,[2] 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".[3] 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.

King Shark also made an appearance during the Joker's Last Laugh riot with Orca.

King Shark is recruited into Alexander Luthor's Secret Society of Supervillains and is one of the many sent to attack Sub Diego. During the battle he kills Neptune Perkins.

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.[4] 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.

Following the Final Crisis, King Shark's jaw is broken after being cleaved wide open and later his left arm is ripped off his body during battle, but later grew back.[5]

King Shark is among the Superboy's villains brought by Krypto to a hill near the Smallville high school. However, he is either unconscious or stunned at the time.[6]

Most recently, he has joined the Secret Six[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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).[10]

During the Forever Evil storyline, King Shark is among the villains that the Crime Syndicate recruited to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.[11]

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.

Other versions


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, King Shark works as a strongman freak show in the Haley's Circus.[12] Haley's Circus is attacked by Amazons, and King Shark is killed while trying to save Doctor Fate.[13]

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 as seen in The Flash.


Video games



  1. Superboy (vol. 4) #0 (October 1994)
  2. Superboy (vol. 4) #31 (September 1996)
  3. The Adventures of Superman #608 (November 2002)
  4. Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May 2006)
  5. Secret Six TPB 1: Unhinged
  6. Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #3 (December 2009)
  7. Secret Six (vol. 3) #21 (July 2010)
  8. Secret Six (vol. 3) #36 (October 2011)
  9. Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #1 (November 2011)
  10. Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #5 (March 2012)
  11. Forever Evil #1 (November 2013)
  12. Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 (June 2011)
  13. Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #2 (July 2011)
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