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Manhunter #6

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Trial by Fire": Part One

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Jesus Saiz(p), Jimmy Palmiotti(i), Steve Buccellato(c)
Publisher: DC

You know had Marc Andreyko written Identity Crisis I think we would all have been happier, and the DC Universe would have been a much more coherent place. I didn't read Identity Crisis. Once being bitten by Our Worlds at War where somebody thought it was perfectly logical to block a death ray with Paradise Island even when there were countless of fetching lifeless asteroids from which to choose out in space has made me even more suspicious of big event comic books, and the days of automatically putting them on the pull list are over.

I gleaned everything about Identity Crisis from glances in the comic book store and the poor saps who actually bought it and worse read it. This issue of Manhunter deals directly with events in Identity Crisis. However if you're like me and have chosen not to waste your time and money for a half-assed effort that was really just an excuse for more misogynist nonsense, you still need not fear Manhunter.

Squint and you can almost see the better Identity Crisis written by Andreyko where everybody is in character and hell, Batman even cracks a smile and a funny. The smooth interaction of the Justice League makes it seem that they have worked together for years rather than the scant time that they actually met--anyone's guess--is icing on this red, sinewy cake.

Andreyko's focus pits Manhunter against--yes!--a loser villain who does not gain comic book capital through rape or murder. He remains a loser villain as the Powers That Be Intended. Kate's method of dealing with this hard luck hitman gives the reader an idea of how she grows as a hero, and the thoughts about the most superficial things revealed in the narrative show off her humorous side. Her naked concern for her son dispel any ideas that superficial things are the only facets that comprise her core.

The artistic choreography by Jesus Saiz and Jimmy Palmiotti of the smart, quick battle gives the book an undeniable aesthetic based upon the rules of form and composition. It's not just a joy to read how Kate puts the kibosh on El Hombre Perdedor. It's a pleasure to see the way her muscles move when she puts the deadly moves on our hapless felon.

Manhunter is the book to buy. How many times do I have to say this? Drop that bad Batman title. It doesn't matter which it is. It's bad. Enjoy the true meaning of super-heroics instead. Manhunter



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