I was saddened recently by reading that Manhunter is going to be cancelled. Looking over just how many comics in my collection never hit, oh, issue 30 is incredibly depressing. I know how to pick them, I guess. Still, Manhunter appears to be going out swinging, and I’ll be here to chronicle the last few issues.
Manhunter OYL: #22
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Layouts: Javier Pina
Finishes: Fernando Blanco
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Manhunter has multiple running storylines, and this issue is no different. Kate Spencer, Manhunter, starts out the issue at her day job, talking to her workmate, who is also the JSA hero Obsidian’s boyfriend. When a bouquet of flowers show up, Kate complains how Todd might have sent him yet another gift, but is shocked when they are addressed to her.
When she reads the note, she thinks she has been changed into a golden age Wonder Woman in a Roman Coliseum. In fact she is drawn that way, and that page alone is possibly worth the price of admission. Doctor Psycho shows up in the dream as Emporer Psychoius Ceaser, and threatens to “spank” Kate into submission. When she snaps back from her induced “daydream” to reality, she repeats the words “spank me” which make her workmate more than a little curious.
Cut to Kate’s young son on the playground, observing a schoolyard bully beating up on the bespectacled. Her son stands up to him, and is surprised by the result he gets ( a one punch knockdown).
Cut to Cameron Chase (DEO agent and friend of Kate) and Dylan (Kate’s personal technician/support team) and a humorous shower bit. Cameron then tries to leave before someone else sees her, as the relationship isn’t public yet, but she runs into a dazed and confused Mark Shaw (a previous Manhunter of questionable mental stability) who is having some sort of flashback before Dylan literally slaps him out of it. After Mark snaps out of it, he notices the other two are a couple.
A single page with Dr. Midnight of the JSA, at JSA HQ, shows that he has found not one but two genetic matches for Katherine Spencer’s DNA ( at her request).
Kate asks Dylan, a little later in the day, to check out the card that came with her flowers for anything odd. Kate also comments on the Dylan/Cameron relationship, much to Dylans dismay. While analyzing the card, the two are attacked by KILG%RE, a “Flash villain. Living computer program, I think”. Kate eventually stops it by effectively pulling its plug.
Interspersed with the previous bit, to end the issue, is Cameron investigating an odd murder, which is another of the strange attacks documented in the previous issue. A slasher with an odd energy residue in the wound. Cameron is attacked by the killer as soon as the uniformed cops leave, quickly disarmed by having her pistol sliced in two by the villain’s glowing straight razor. The villain is revealed, on a full page, as “Sweeney Todd”.
As always, to be continued.
The Good: As always the art is effective, and adapts well to the changes in mood and setting. In the previous issue, the court scenes were made to look dramatic and stirring, in this issue the attack by the KILG%RE is as creepy and weird as it sounds.
Marc Andreyko does a good job of balancing multiple plot lines, and moving each bit along enough in each issue to keep most, if not all of the characters involved. The promise of a reveal of Kate Spencer’s lineage alone is a good enough tease to get me to the next issue. The scenes between Cameron and Dylan are humorous yet realistic, and many readers of both genders will identify with these characters.
In fact, its nice to see this comic be able to handle the human life of its characters so well. We get to see Kate blast away and fight, and that scene is enjoyable, but this issue runs the gamut. Cameron and Dylans attempt to hide their romance that doesn’t work. Kate’s sons wanting to be a hero like his Mom, even if reluctantly. Cameron having to work with a hated villain to try to get an “in” with him, and just what kind of sacrifice she is already making for that, and even Mark Shaw’s past coming back to haunt him .
The Bad: I realize this is a recurring theme in my reviews, so I’ll try to keep this short. The pacing here is deliberate. We are getting a story arc here, and this is an issue in the middle of a 3-5 parter to be sure. I realized this is serialized fiction, but it is very rare in the comic (or many others for that matter) that we resolve any one story in an issue. Even the attack by the KILG%RE monster isn’t a resolution, it is much more of a question than an answer.
Still, I’m with her (Manhunter) until the end. Which, I believe, is issue 26. *sigh*