Comic Review: Manhunter Volume 1

I originally started reading DC Comics’ 2004 Manhunter relaunch with a new character carrying the name because a friend was working on the title.  I stayed because it was awesome.

I mean, I already did a Misplaced Hero column on Kate Spencer.  I might as well see if the book that Jenny should totally read held up as well as I remembered.

Kate Spencer is a federal prosecutor working out of Los Angeles.  The city doesn’t get a lot of supervillains, but as the book opens, she’s trying one in court in the form of snake-man Copperhead.  And even though there is overwhelming evidence to show Copperhead has not only killed but also eaten numerous people, he still manages to get out of serious jail time due to having a smart lawyer.  As such, Kate does the only reasonable thing she can think of by raiding the evidence locker for metahuman tech, putting on a costume, and hunting the guy down herself under her new superhero name:  Manhunter.

So, good news:  this series held up very well.  Writer Marc Andreyko has a unique voice for Kate and her world (I especially liked what looked like Kate’s gay associate hitting on Hawkman for one panel), and artist Jesus Saiz gave the book a dark and moody look that fit the character nicely.  I remember at the time I read these issues the first time thinking Kate herself wasn’t very well developed.  She’s angry at just about everybody, and she didn’t really seem to give any reasons why.  Now, knowing what comes later, I do know Kate’s reasons became clear later and are actually good, but why does she go out in the first place?  Simple:  she had enough of revolving door incarceration for people she knew were killers and decided to stop them the only way she knew how.  She doesn’t come out and say it directly.  It’s implied.  But Kate does get better as she goes in many ways, and I am seeing the groundwork laid here in ways I missed the first time around.  All in all, this is a damn good series and someone should give it to Jenny.  9.5 out of 10 creative uses for a friend’s cadaver.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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