In Suicide Squad: King Shark #4, DC’s aquatic villain seriously underestimates an opponent in the Wild Games…and pays a steep price.
In Suicide Squad: King Shark #4 (by Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, John Kalisz, and Wes Abbott) Nanaue just lost a fight in the Wild Games tournament to Prince Nematode, an enemy he severely underestimated. From the outset, it seemed like a classic case of David versus Goliath, but in this case, King Shark was Goliath and he was handed a brutal loss by Prince Nematode. While that didn’t knock him out of the tournament, it was still a serious blow to King Shark’s prospects, and illustrated how his style of fighting might not be enough to defeat the other warriors in the tournament.
King Shark initially laughed when he saw his diminutive opponent, but each of the exemplars in the tournament was chosen for a reason and Prince Nematode was no exception. To compensate for his small stature, Nematode could reproduce at an incredible rate, and then connect with his offspring to become even bigger than his opponent.
This ability proved to be enough to turn the tables entirely. Both King Shark and Prince Nematode now had similar strength, so Nanaue decided to start tearing away at what comprised his opponent, taking more and more bites until all that was left of Prince Nematode’s hulking form was a puddle. King Shark thought he was victorious, unaware that Prince Nematode was capable of producing another body.
Believing the fight to be over, King Shark boasted of his victory and turned his back on Prince Nematode, while his opponent reconstituted his form. The parts of him that were devoured by Nanaue were vomited out of the shark’s mouth and rejoined Nematode as well, making him even larger than before. The bigger form then proceeded to relentlessly pummel King Shark until he was defeated.
It was a humiliating defeat, but not one that knocked King Shark out of the tournament. It did mean he was one loss away from elimination and, in all likelihood, being killed. But it illustrated a point Man-King made about Nanaue during the battle. Shark knows only ferocity, not finesse or intelligence. Instead of fighting smarter, he fights harder. That’s all he’s ever really known how to do and those limitations, as well as severely underestimating his opponent, are what ultimately led to his defeat.
This tournament is all about deciding who the next apex predator will be for the next ten thousand years, but King Shark doesn’t seem to realize that his opponents have evolved over the years. While some of them rely on brute strength, many do not. As someone who has worked for the Suicide Squad and Amanda Waller solely as muscle, Shark isn’t accustomed to having to rely on anything but brute strength.
The other exemplars had to adapt differently to survive over the millennia, a fact King Shark learned firsthand with Prince Nematode. And that lesson has nearly cost King Shark his place in the tournament and may have proven that he is not ready to stand among such great warriors.
But King Shark is not out of the tournament just yet. He managed to win his next match, retaining his place within the tournament. Yet he did so by fighting even harder, not smarter.
Regardless, this means that King Shark and Prince Nematode might be on a collision course for a rematch, assuming that Prince Nematode survives long enough. As the lineups were revealed, Prince Nematode was scheduled to fight King Roach, an exemplar who is favored to emerge victorious from the tournament.