- Terrific. All I ever wanted was a place where my people could belong! And now I don't belong... anywhere.
- -- Cal Durham
- -- Cal Durham
During his struggles with Aquaman, Black Manta at times recruits his henchmen by using the pretense that as an African-American, his ultimate objective is for his people to be dominant in the oceans below, after having been oppressed for so long in the lands above. Believing these claims, Cal Durham joins Manta's crew and work his way up to Manta's lieutenant.
Over time, Durham discovers that Manta is more obsessed with the destruction of Aquaman than fulfilling his idealistic pledge. When he tries to remind Manta of that goal, his doubts are forcefully rebuked and Manta orders him to accompany him in confronting Aquaman, whom had recently been captured. When Durham rebels at Manta's attempt to have Aquaman killed, he is rendered unconscious and and ejected into the sea through a torpedo tube.
While Manta proceeds to have Aquaman strapped to a missile, Durham's gill implants finally begin to work, allowing him to survive. He is then able to free Aquaman from Manta's deathtrap.
Later, a week after his release from prison for his actions as Manta's henchman, Durham is staying with relatives in New Venice and asks his young cousin to bring Aquaman to their home. He tells Aqiaman that he has discovered that Manta is active in the area. The two set off to discover Manta's plans but are captured and brought before Manta. He reveals that he has rebuilt his underwater army and intends to invade Atlantis.
Escaping their prison, the pair eventually confront Manta and his army with the aid of Vulko and Mera. Manta's army surrenders when Aquaman offers them the chance to become Atlantian citizens and Mera captures Manta in a hard water shell. Durham is finaly able to explain to Aquaman that Manta was still in prison when he was released and they discover that their captive is an android which explodes.
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