|First appearance||Cameo appearance: Superboy #0 (October 1994)|
Full appearance: Superboy #9 (November 1994)
|Created by||Karl Kesel|
|Place of origin||Hawaii, New Earth|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad|
Secret Society of Super Villains
King Shark is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character, also known as Nanaue, was created by writer Karl Kesel and artist Tom Grummett. King Shark's first key appearance was in Superboy #0 (October 1994) as a cameo before making his first full appearance in Superboy #9 (November 1994). The character serves as an adversary to Aquaman and Superboy.
The character has been adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including television series, feature films, and video games. King Shark made his live-action debut in the television series The Flash, voiced by David Hayter while Dan Payne portrayed his human form. In the DC Extended Universe, King Shark was voiced by actor Sylvester Stallone and motion captured by Steve Agee in the film The Suicide Squad (2021).
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. 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.
Nanaue 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.
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 Super Villains 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 him being the 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 Curry 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.
King Shark is among Superboy's villains brought by Krypto to a hill near the Smallville high school. However, he is either unconscious or stunned at the time.
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.
In September 2011, DC Comics rebooted its fictional continuity in an initiative called The New 52. In this new timeline, King Shark now resembles a humanoid hammerhead shark. He was tortured and forced into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. When he came 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). During the 2013 "Forever Evil" storyline, King Shark is among the villains that the Crime Syndicate recruited to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.
In the continuity resulting from the 2016 DC Rebirth initiative, King Shark began serving N.E.M.O under Black Manta. He began terrorizing San Francisco before being subdued by the Teen Titans. He also appears as one of the many villains attempting to kill Batman to halt Two-Face's data breach, attacking Batman on a train alongside Amygdala and Killer Croc. After leaving the organization, King Shark attempted to live a more peaceful life, only to be captured by the Markovian military under allegations of cannibalizing a Markovian general. Wonder Woman soon arrived, doubting that he committed the crime, and used the Laso of Truth on him to prove his innocence. She them left him in the hands of Aquaman, hoping to start anew in Atlantis.
Following Aquaman's usurpation of the throne, King Shark returns as a crime lord of the Ninth Tride with plans to expand his empire to more regions of Atlantis. He has his minions capture Mera to use as a bargaining chip and has a run-in with the still alive Aquaman. He convinces King Shark to work with him at stopping King Rath's murderous ambitions on the condition that the Ninth Tride would receive better treatment by the new monarch. As a show of good faith, King Shark gives Mera back to Arthur. With their combined forces, they were able to free Atlantis from the Crown of Thorns.
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. His incredible strength and mystical nature means that his bite can even pierce the skin of Kryptonians.
In the alternate timeline of the 2011 "Flashpoint" storyline 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.
In the Batman: Arkham Knight prequel comic, King Shark's son "Kid Shark" attacks 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 hit Kid Shark in the back of the head with a fire hydrant. The Gotham City Police Department picked him up shortly afterwards.
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).
King Shark appears in The Flash: Season Zero tie-in comic, in which a dying Shay Lamden accepts an offer by Dr. Shults to undergo an experimental procedure employing shark cells to regenerate his dying body's cells. During the procedure, a particle accelerator explodes, mutating him into a humanoid shark, after which Lamden develops a vendetta against those involved in the procedure. This brings him into conflict with the Flash and the Suicide Squad.