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Manhunter #9

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2005
By: Ray Tate



Trial by Fire Part 4: Disorder in the Court

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Javier Pina(p), Jimmy Palmiotti, Fernando Blanco,(i) Steve Buccellato(c)
Publisher: DC

"Oooo, Oooo, Oooo."
"Another one bites the dust"
"And another one down, and another one down, and another one bites the dust..."
"Ooo, she's gonna get you too. Another one bites the dust."


As you may have guessed from the slightly modified version of Queen's hit, Kate Spencer alias Manhunter kills another villain! Whoo-hoo! This doesn't balance the books, but it is for DC fans pissed off by the murder of heroes and their consorts in The Big Stupid Event a tonic.

Manhunter would have worked without Identity Crisis. Kate Spencer would have been a spectacular pre-Crisis hero on a parallel earth where no other heroes existed and villains had run amok. You'll not see me griping about how L.A. seems to be without any heroic protection. Manhunter is that protection.

I no longer expect to see Superman and Batman saving the day in comic books. They haven't saved the day now in comic books that allegedly count for a long time. Wonder Woman is still good for the occasional save, but nowadays, you're better off depending on Ambush Bug than the former World's Finest team. I guess old memories die hard. Marc Andreyko however fills the void in the comic book world with a more effective, a smarter and tougher hero to deal with even the more organized villains. That hero is Manhunter.

Now many of the people whose taste and intelligence forbids them to fall for DC's latest Big Stupid Event may actively try to avoid Manhunter. This is a mistake. In fact, Manhunter is probably one of the few books that will still remain on my list during The Big Stupid Event.

Manhunter is a joy to read and any mention of Big Stupid Event stuff can actually be chalked as purely coincidental. It doesn't matter why the villains are getting together. Villains always got together. The Injustice Gang was founded on the principle. The exact circumstances of Firestorm's murder by Shadow Thief do not really matter. You can read Manhunter without previous knowledge of any precursors to The Big Stupid Event. It's that smoothly written.

Phobia, Merlyn the Archer and Monocle have been grouped together by the Calculator to free the Shadow Thief, on trial for the murder of Firestorm. You might remember him as one of the Super-Friends during the time of Super Powers era. A somewhat impossible plan is executed, and they seem on the verge of succeeding until Manhunter enters the picture. Then just like the old days, every intricacy of the villains' plans goes to hell. Manhunter beats the snot out of them and then gives you a giddy feeling when she casually dispatches one of the team.

Two inkers on the book usually signal big trouble, but both Blanco and Palmiotti blend with Javier Pina's pencils to produce an appealing, anatomically correct awesome display of Manhunter's Buccellato Red battle prowess. Man, do I love Manhunter. This book is so good it should have its own theme music.



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