- "It's easy, once you know the trick. There's a switch in here, keeps you from hurting another person. You can turn it on... and off."
- —Manchester Black[src]
Manchester "Ches" Black was a British resident of National City, the fiancé of the late Fiona Byrne and a former football hooligan turned ruthless vigilante out of the grief of losing the woman he loved. He would later be sent to jail after attempting to kill Ben Lockwood/Agent Liberty, only to be freed by Hat and went on to form The Elite along with Pamela Ferrer/Menagerie and a Morae, nicknamed Mo. He was later killed by a vengeful J'onn J'onzz after the latter believed that he was the one who shot James Olsen, absorbing Manchester into the Staff of H'ronmeer in the form of pure energy.
Manchester was born in England, and spent his early life as part of a gang of football hooligans, causing a ruckus and looking for any excuse to break windows. The gang worked for his father, who taught Manchester how to fight. He would meet Hat and the two became close friends. Eventually, he met Fiona Byrne, who showed him there was an alternative to fighting: the non-violent philosophy of "Ahimsa", and the two started a relationship and fell in love.
When the gang learned that Fiona and Hat were aliens, Manchester defended them at great peril. Believing Fiona would no longer be safe in England with the old gang now after her, Manchester sent Fiona to live in the United States.
Searching for Fiona
Manchester and Fiona got engaged to married in spring of 2019 but Fiona went missing soon after the rise of Agent Liberty. Distraught at suddenly losing all contact with her, Manchester traveled to the US himself to investigate his fiancé's disappearance. He tracked J'onn J'onzz who was also searching for Fiona. Breaking into J'onn's apartment, Manchester confronted the Martian, but the two managed to calm themselves down and evade fighting each other. As J'onn explained the details of his investigation and Manchester told the Martian his and Fiona's story, the two decided to visit a local bar and seek further answers. Manchester started small talk with the police officer that Fiona investigated, claiming that he also had troubles with the aliens taking his job. Getting the man drunk, Manchester managed to get information and relay it to J'onn, and the two men figured that their culprit was Mercy Graves.
Manchester accompanied J'onn when the two rushed to help Alex and other D.E.O. agents fight off Kopy, with Manchester using his expert skills coupled with the "Ahimsa" philosophy to completely evade all strikes and "guide" his enemies into exerting themselves and tumbling down. The mind-controlled Kopy that he defeated said "Ahimsa" to him, prompting Black to exclaim that it was a hint of Fiona's mind inside Kopy, suggesting some sort of mind control.
Later, using Martian Manhunter's powers, Manchester Black was able to speak to a mental projection of his beloved, who told him about her being forced to mind control Kopy and Hellgrammite with the use of Angon alien parasite, and also gave him hints regarding her location, which J'onn relayed to Alex Danvers, figuring it out to be at a local fair. Helping the D.E.O., they tracked down Mercy's anti-alien terrorist group and found Fiona imprisoned. Despite her surviving a knife to the neck from Agent Liberty, Fiona's wounds were too much for her to handle any longer, and after having the last conversation with Manchester, she passed away, leaving him crying in shock and despair.
Quest for revenge
After Fiona's death, Manchester got himself a Union Jack-style t-shirt and went to an illegal gun shop with a resolute conviction arming himself with a variety of terrestrial and extraterrestrial weaponry.
At some point after this, he held a member of the Children of Liberty captive and tortured him for information on what the alien hate group was planning next. A short time later, when twilight fell, Children of Liberty members began targeting alien homes (identifiable by a mark visible to them thanks to a special lens in their masks). Manchester laid in wait at one of these houses (potentially Fiona's home) and when the Children of Liberty came, he greeted them at the door with a gun ready. They attempted to flee, but he fired on them killing one of them. It's implied that he killed more of their agents later that same night.
Manchester would team with Supergirl against the Children of Liberty. Supergirl however grew disgusted by Manchester's violent interrogation methods and suggested he take time away to heal from Fiona's death. Black and Supergirl travel to Stryker's Island Penitentiary where they believe Agent Liberty is hiding but Black betrays Supergirl who is captured by the hate group and take Black to Agent Liberty as a reward. After Black deduces that the man he met with is not Lockwood he sets Supergirl free by destroying the power-damping machines. He is confronted by J'onn and claims that his compassion died with Fiona, forcing J'onn to read his mind and keep in the pain with an alien device.
Having learned Lockwood's address, Black pays Lydia Lockwood a visit under the guise of Lockwood's friend from college. He confronts Ben Lockwood when he returns and reveals his identity as Agent Liberty appalling Lydia. He forces Lockwood to wear his outfit wanting him to die doing what he loves and bludgeons the hateful leader. He attempts to kill Lydia to make Lockwood feel his pain but is stopped by a psychic attack by J'onzz. He pursues a fleeing Lockwood but is stopped by Supergirl before he can kill him. He traps her in Nth metal and asks her to join his cause in killing all those who would harm aliens. She refuses to say that heroes have to be better. Nia Nal knocks out Black with an industrial crane before he can kill the Lockwoods and he along with Ben Lockwood are sent to prison.
In prison, Black dyed his hair purple and hatched his escape plan with help from his old friend Hat; he would also break Pamela Ferrer out and be joined by a Morae named Mo. The four together would locate and kill humans that harm aliens. Upon stealing the Crown Jewels the group broadcast a message to Supergirl and the world, formally introducing themselves as the Elite. After returning Fiona's things to her family in Manchester, Black met with Kara in a pub to strike a deal; she could still deal with animals in distress, bank robbers and costumed villains but she's to leave the racists and fascists specifically the Children of Liberty to The Elite. Kara refuses to allow Black to continue killing but is disgusted to hear from Hat that president Baker setup a satellite array to destroy alien ships within Earth's vicinity.
Black led the Elite in battle against the Superfriends after hijacking the satellite and re-targeting it to destroy the White House and kill Baker. Although he was able to fight toe-to-toe with Alex Danvers it was the D.E.O. Director's intervention that allowed Supergirl to divert the satellite blast. However, the Elite managed to escape with Brainy's Legion ring granting Black the power of flight.
Elite team falling apart
Manchester and his team were getting ready to attack and kill Ben Lockwood during his press conference while he trying to win supporters to repeal the alien amnesty act. Before they could commence the attack, one of their members Pamela was captured, but Manchester wanted to continue their plan leaving Pamela behind. When his first attempt to kill Lockwood failed do to the interference of Supergirl, he wanted to try again, but his friend Hat told him they had to leave as they were no match for her so he, hat, and Mo fled. Realizing Supergirl was a problem for them he went to the Fortress of Solitude with Hat and Mo in hopes of finding a way to rid themselves of her. When Hat found something that could help them with there goals of getting rid of prejudiced humans and to keep aliens safe, Black disapproved, confusing Hat. He tried to remind why they created the Elite to change the world and not just to settle an old grudge, but Manchester was resolute on his goals justifying his actions that killing Lockwood was the revolution.
He thought that Hat would be more supportive to him since he defended him and Fiona back in England when his old gang were after them; however, it was clear that they had reached a parting of ways. Taking Mo with him, Hat insulted Manchester one more time hoping he finds what he's looking for and chokes on it teleporting himself away. While still looking for something to get rid of Supergirl, J'onn appeared and battled him and his friends along with Mo, but it was a losing battle. Rather than get captured by J'onn and his friends, he opened one of Superman's relics and jumped in it committing suicide leaving Mo behind. While most of the Superfriends presumed that Black killed himself, he was actually saved by his old friend Hat and was planning to continue their plan to inspire aliens to fight back against humans. Hat did this as a way to repay Black for helping him in England and was also relieved that Black returned to his senses. He then appeared during the second conference that Lockwood was giving to repeal the alien amnesty act jumping to the stage and encouraged aliens to fight against the humans to take back the power that was taken from them. While Hat and his holograms kept the Superfriends distracted, he met J'onn face to face and encouraged J'onn to attack and kill him. He kept edging J'onn to attack him harder and when J'onn was ready for the kill Manchester revealed the truth that what J'onn was attacking wasn't him but an innocent man that looked like Manchester do to holographic technology. While J'onn was ashamed by what he did, Manchester fled telling him he would see him later and turned off the holograms leaving Hat behind. Soon his whole elite team was arrested and rather than try and rescue them, he decided to continue his path of anger and vengeance showing that he hadn't come to his senses.
Manchester somehow stole the Staff of H'ronmeer from the DEO he then contacted J'onn through their mental link telling him to meet him in his father's grave. It is there that he used the staff to set fire around M'yrnn J'onzz desecrating it also using the staff to slow down time to hold Supergirl at bay. It was then he had a conversation with J'onn telling him that there mental link worked both ways and he was going to punish J'onn for betraying his Martian roots in accordance with the sacred scriptures of Mars. He then fled getting ready to enact the punishment, but before he did he tormented J'onn mentally while he was trying to use the mental link to find him, by showing the dead forms of Alex and Kara, who told him that he will lose everything if he continued his path of peace. One of those visions strangled him, but it was J'onn strangling himself until he was snapped out of it by Kara. He soon made his move by trying to destroy the dam that power National City cutting of electricity to the city and planned to destroy it completely to flood all of National City. While Supergirl went to repair the Dam, J'onn fed up with all that Manchester has done, realizing he would never stop with his vengeance, and not return to the man he was before Fiona's death, J'onn took the Staff of H'ronmeer and aimed it at Manchester turning him into energy and absorbing him into the staff, killing him. Manchester merely stood still and smiled, telling J'onn that he was beautiful.
Despite all the pain Black caused to J'onn J'onzz and his crimes against National City, J'onn felt great regret and remorse for what he did to Black, he then realized he wasn't the man of peace he thought he was and now wondered who he was. He then went through a spiritual journey where he met a mental vision of his father, M'yrnn J'onzz who came to take the sacred symbols of Mars as J'onn was unworthy of them.
While pleading with his father that he was worthy and trying to ask him who he was, M'yrnn would avoid the question eventually J'onn gave in but he realized that if he lost the sacred symbols and the religion of Mars would be no more than he would at last know who he was he then proclaimed he was the Martian Manhunter.
This proves J'onn had to promote peace the way he saw fit not same as his father. Black's plan to return J'onn to the warriors path succeeded while battling Ben Lockwood, he notices the similarities between him and Black who's path of vengeance cost him everything.
Although Black did not live to see it, he got exactly what he wanted; justice for his fiancée, Fiona Byrne's death, as her killer Ben was incarcerated for his crimes of domestic terrorism against the alien citizens of National City; this time for good.
- "You have no idea what lines I've already crossed. See that there? That's your heart, beating. Mine is dead. And every time I close my eyes, I wait to hear Fi's voice. There's nothing, just silence. I'm empty, man."
- —Manchester Black to J'onn J'onzz[src]
According to Black, he was a violent youth and an easy learner of fighting skills as such; his father has taught him that he's got a "switch" that makes him either hurt people or stay dormant. After meeting Fiona Byrne, he accepted her anti-violence philosophy of "Ahimsa" and felt himself going away from the path of crime. Keeping a sarcastic demeanor and staying resolute about his goals, he was both stern and diplomatic while dealing with J'onn J'onzz and was able to pretend to assume differing opinions to subvert his manipulation targets.
After Fiona's death, Black believed himself to be empty and devoid of feelings returning to his violent ways with a twisted sense of justice; viciously interrogating, tutoring and killing those who harmed aliens and even threatened to kill Lydia Lockwood so that Ben Lockwood would feel his pain. Black was vengeful and angry, and his relationship with J'onzz deteriorated, frequently insulting and goading the Martian especially in regard to his attempted path to peace. He was obsessed with J'onn and would attack him mentally in order for him to return to him to his Martian Manhunter roots. The reason why he may have been obsessed with J'onn was because his path of peace reminded him of Fiona who died while going through her own path of peace and he was trying to show J'onn that the path of peace wasn't for him.
However, Black had admiration for his teammates in the Elite and they felt the same in kind. He also respected Supergirl's power and admitted he couldn't defeat her but deemed her to be too soft on criminals, although his need for vengeance against Ben Lockwood for what he did to Fiona triumphed everything else as he began caring less about his elite teammates; when Pamela was imprisoned instead of try and rescue her he abandoned her in order to try and kill Ben during his press conference; and when Hat tried to remind him why they created the elite to try and change the world he justified his actions telling him killing Ben was the revolution. Even when all of his elite teammates were captured he still didn't try to rescue them, proving that he was only loyal to himself.
After Black's last change of vengeance against Ben failed, his elite team imprisoned and Fiona's death he had no regard for his own life as during his final confrontation with J'onn he edged him into killing him and succeeded. Instead of ask for mercy he did nothing and watched as J'onn was killing him, he died with a smile on his face as he managed to return J'onn back to his roots. He had no regret or remorse for any of his vile acts on prejudiced humans.
Black also enjoyed quirky and colourful attire and weaponry such as purple hair and his leather jacket which he described as "dashing".
Powers and abilities
- Telepathic channel: When attacked by J'onn J'onzz's telepathic powers, Black somehow managed to turned their telepathic contact into a two-way channel, allowing him to affect J'onn with visions and telepathic attacks of his own.
- Powers via Legion ring: The Legion ring used to belong to Brainiac 5, but after a fight with Hat, he lost it and resulted in Black receiving it.
- Flight: The ring has been shown to enable Black the ability to fly through unspecific means. It seems to be activated through a telepathic suggestion, as no thoughts or movements were taken to activate it. It appears that it allows Black to fly in a more hover-like stance instead of the typical vertical form of flying found in Martian Manhunter or Supergirl.
- Telepathy immunity: The ring has been seen to give the wearer the ability to resist telepathy/mind reading.
- Oxygen independence: Black's ring grants him the power to breathe unaided in harsh environments such as the vacuum of space.
- Powers via Staff of H'ronmeer: Black recovered this artifact of Martian priesthood, allowing him to use the divine magic of H'ronmeer.
- Energy projection: The Staff of H'ronmeer allowed Black to attack his enemies with energy blasts.
- Limited reality-warping: The Staff of H'ronmeer allowed Black to affect reality in a medium-sized area around him.
- Teleportation: The Staff of H'ronmeer allowed Black to teleport.
- Expert of deception: Black was able to pretend to be a disenfranchised drunk, whose job got stolen by aliens to get the anti-alien bigot cop to trust him. He also deceived J'onn J'onzz and Supergirl for helping them to fight Children of Liberty and instead he just thought about revenge, even to harm them.
- Lock-picking: Black was able to break into the apartment of J'onn J'onzz without him finding out initially.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Black was a highly trained hand-to-hand combatant, since a young age by his father. He later incorporated Fiona's "Ahimsa" philosophy into his personal fighting style, managing to evade and tumble down his enemies without even directly attacking them. He was able to easily dispatch multiple prison guards at one, numerous Children of Liberty and even went head-on against Alex Danvers. According to Black, fighting for himself was naturally easy - it's all just about finding a "switch" that stops him from hurting people.
- Skilled swordsman: Black proved to be proficient with a sword, using one to defend himself from prison guards with nightsticks.
- Skilled axe-wielder: Black proved to be capable with an axe.
- Expert stick-fighter: Black was accomplished in using the staff of H'ronmeer as a weapon in his final duel against J'onn J'onzz.
- Expert marksman: Black was proven to be able to handle both Earthly and extraterrestrial guns with expert efficiency.
- Skilled torturer: Black tortured a member of the Children of Liberty to the point that he gave up the identity of one of its members.
- Skilled leader: Black was able to inspire the members of the Elite to rise up and join him in his crusade against anti-alien racism and fascism. He efficiently led the group when they stole the crown jewels and gain popularity for their cause.
- Indomitable will: Black was able to use his high alcohol tolerance to get the other bar patron in the cups and divulge his secrets. He attributed his drinking proficiency to not being American. He is also able to resist J'onn's telepathic attack, and cut himself to overwhelm the latter with his pain.
- Armored suit: Manchester was equipped with a retractable suit of body armor. The armor suit appears at the user's command when he taps his chest.
- Engagement rings: Manchester carries his own and his late fiancé's rings as a memento and an "emotional totem".
- Guns: Manchester took a number of guns he's chosen to buy at an illegal gun shop.
- Staff: Manchester had a staff that can blast small amounts of laser fire.
- Brass knuckles: Manchester had a set of brass knuckles emblazoned with the Union Jack. He left it in his apartment where it is subsequently found by Kara.
- Legion ring: After receiving a Legion ring from Hat (who'd stolen it from Querl Dox), Manchester was able to use it in the fight against Supergirl.
- Staff of H'ronmeer: The staff of H'ronmeer priesthood, which was recovered by Manchester. It allowed him to channel the divine magic of H'ronmeer.
- Manchester can be seen as an initial foil to Ben Lockwood/Agent Liberty;
- Both their ideologies involve violence against those whom they feel wronged them. However, Manchester set off as a loner at first before forming the Elite.
- Manchester grew estranged from his family and friends due to his vendetta while Ben initially remained close to his family and friends upon beginning his vendetta.
- Both of their journeys began after the death of someone they loved; Manchester lost his fiancée, Fiona Byrne, while Ben lost his father.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Manchester Black is a leader of the Elite, a superhero team with questionable morals and methods. In his various appearances, he acted as a foil to Superman and an enemy of his, or sometimes as an ally of the Justice League.
- In the comics, Manchester is a white man.
- Manchester was originally going to be the main antagonist of the fourth season of . Its unknown why it was decided to replace him and the Elite with Lex Luthor and Red Daughter.
- "Supergirl Season 4 Villain Revealed" - Den of Geek