Manta is a member of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. She first appeared in " X-Men" vol. 1 #137 (September, 1980). By opening a cape she releases a flash of blue-white light which dazzles and blinds everyone to fall within its influence. It has been described as brighter than the stars but it is unknown if this is true or just hyperbole. The light is connected to her life force and attempts to disrupt it causes her harm. The full extent of her abilities is unknown. Manta can fly but whether this is a natural power or use of an anti-gravity device is unknown. The Imperial Guard contains members of both categories. She has infra-red vision.
Manta was created by Chis Claremont and John Byrne and first appeared in The (Uncanny) X-Men #137 (1980).
Major Story Arcs
Versus the X-Men
In her first appearance Manta took part in a battle with the X-Men over the fate of Phoenix/ Jean Grey. She managed to evade Phoenix's blasts and used her infra-red vision to locate Nightcrawler hiding in the shadows. She blasted him unconscious with her intense light. In "Rom Annual" #4 (December, 1985), she was among members of the Guard attacking Spaceknights in the mistaken belief they included renegade knight Pulsar/Liberator. She was able to blind Rom but he used his neutralizer to disrupt her light. She cried out "No! My light! My life!" before becoming incapacitated.
She was not killed. She reappeared in "X-Men Spotlight on Starjammers" #2 (1990). She was one of the members enganging the Starjammers in combat. When Binary/Carol Danvers blasted a hole through the Shi'ar ship escorting the Guard, Manta returned to it. She used her light to help with repair efforts but Deathbird ordered the Guard to teleport away, leaving ship and crew to its fate.
Operation: Galactic Storm
In " Quasar" #32 (March, 1992), she was among the members of the Guard sent on a grave robbing mission. They were to break into the grave of Captain Marvel/Mar-Vell on one of Saturn's moons and steal the Nega-Bands from his corpse. However the Guard found itself facing a small group of adventurers already present on the moon. She was able to blind Quasar/Wendell Elvis Vaughn. But Starfox/Eros overstimulated the pleasure centers of her brain, leaving her unable to fight. In "Quasar" #33 (April, 1992), she was among the Guard members retreating on a space ship. She took little to no part in a temporary conflict with Quasar.
In "Starblast" #2 (February,. 1994), Manta was among members of the Guard enganging Binary, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel/Monica Rambeau, Darkstar, Ikaris, Lockjaw, Perun, Quasar and Vanguard in conflict, mistaking them for an attack force. The battle ceased when the group convinced the Shi'ar that they were actually pursuing the Black Fleet, unconnected to the Shi'ar. In "New X-Men" vol. 1 #124 (May, 2002), she was among the members of the Guard facing the X-Men by orders of Lilandra. She barely evaded the claws of the Beast but was then engaged in physical combat by Jean Grey. Jean knocked her out with a series of blows. In #125-126 (June - July, 2002), Manta was among the Guard members attacking Cassandra Nova. She was easily incapacitated by Cassandra's telepathic attacks.
A New Emperor
In "X-Men:Emperor Vulcan" #2 (December, 2007), Manta was among the members of the Guard following Vulcan and Deathbird in teleporting to the Starjammer's ship for negotiations. In #4 (February, 2008), she was among a small strike force sent to brake the truce with the Starjammers. They engaged in conflict with Ch'od, Korvus, Marvel Girl/Rachel Grey, Polaris and Raza. In #5, Manta used her light to blind Marvel Girl. However she was wrapped by Polaris in metal coverings and defeated. However Deathbird then led the rest of the Guards as reinforcements and took out the remaining Starjammers. Only Korvus and Marvel Girl were able to escape. Manta later joined the rest of the Guard in victory celebrations.
Marvel: The End
In "Marvel Universe:The End" #5-6 (August-September, 2003), Manta was one of many adventurers trying to prevent Thanos from destroying the Universe. She was killed and recreated along with everyone else. In "JLA/Avengers" #1 (September, 2003), Manta was among the members of the Guard facing dimension-traveler Lobo (a DC character). In "Uncanny X-Men" #480 (January, 2007), Manta was among the members of the guard to survive their pyrrhic victory over Vulcan. In #486 (July, 2007), Manta was among the members of the Guard attempting to protect Deathbird. She was ordered to retreat alongside Deathbird and Vulcan.
At some point in her past Manta and Gladiator, both members of the prestigious Shi'ar Super-Guardians, fell deeply in love with one another and eventually married. However when a corrupt Zenn Lavian military scientist named Norrin Radd a.k.a. The Silver Surfer, former Herald to The Healer of Worlds called Galactus, began obliterating entire races along with their homeworlds and eventually beat his former Master to within an inch of death in hopes of ripping the rest of The Power Cosmic from his corpse. The Shi'ar Super-Guardians were sent in to confront The Silver Surfer. When The Exiles arrived on Earth-552 shortly after the Earth's destruction they found Manta, Gladiator, Pulsar, Starbolt and Smasher facing off against an eranged Surfer while simultenously trying to protect the severely injured Galactus.
After Pulsar, Starbolt and Smasher were murdered by The Silver Surfer, Gladiator realized that they alone could not handle their foe and demanded that his wife race back to The Shi'ar Imperial Throneworld and summon reinforcements. Manta was of course adamant about staying but Gladiator was able to convince her to go, reluctantly leaving her husband to die. After the bodies of Gladiator and the others were recovered from the ruins of Earth, Manta held a memorial service for her husband and all of her dead teammates. Later still when The Silver Surfer launched an attack on The Shi'ar Throneworld he was faced by a hastily formed second incarnation of The Super-Guardians (who had included Manta and The Exiles among their ranks) and proceeded to kill the defiant Super-Guardians.
But when the Sabretooth of Earth-295 talked Galactus into giving him whatever portion of The Power Cosmic he had left the battle quickly turned in The Super-Guardians favor. Having been severely injured by Sabretooth's attack as well as injuries sustained from his own board being plowed into his back The Surfer was left helpless as Manta drove the board further into his body and sliced him in half just as The Silver Surfer had done to her husband. When The Exiles left Sabretooth returned The Power Cosmic to Galactus and the dimension-hopping heroes went their own way. Galactus eventually made a full recovery and appointed Manta as his new Herald.