Unleashed: "Blue By You"
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Javier Pina(p), Robin Riggs(i), Jason Wright(c)
The best part of Manhunter occurs when Kate Spencer pokes out a villain's eyes. This isn't a kill, but it's a nasty, dirty trick that neatly preserves Kate's edge. No way is she mellowing. Kate "hunts the world's most dangerous game." She is the Manhunter.
Other notable moments include Kate throwing an instinctive punch at Batman, who casually deflects the blow, Wonder Woman, in a style that suits her, decking a bad guy through the Bug's cockpit and Sasha Bordeaux continuing to evolve under the superb writing of Marc Andreyko. These beautiful nuggets unfortunately lie within a story lacking punch.
The story isn't badly told. It simply hasn't a good premise. Last issue ended with Ted Kord appearing to miraculously return from the dead. This issue an amnesiac "Ted" attempts to convince Wonder Woman and Batman that he needs their help and that he's the bona fide Beetle. Naturally he's not.
The main problem with the story isn't the reappearance of "Ted." The problems arise from outside the context of the story. If readers weren't so informed, this could have been a good story, but the reader doesn't have the luxury of doubt. The reader knows that this is not Blue Beetle.
Manhunter is about to be axed, and if you believe The Dan Didio Factor, the book never gained enough of an audience to merit continued publication. Why then would Blue Beetle's resurrection occur in a book nobody is apparently reading? There also existed no hype to promote Blue Beetle's resurrection. DC would not resist the urge to engage the massive hype engine that sold people down the river with Superboy Punching Time, or as I call it now SBPT--pronounce it like a raspberry. No, if Blue Beetle arose from the dead, he would do so in a Geoff Johns book, probably Green Lantern. A new Blue Beetle exists. Didio doesn't like multiplicity. He also didn't like the Ted Kord version of the Blue Beetle. So, no there's not a chance in hell that this doppelganger is the Ted Kord Blue Beetle.
So what is he? I'm sure lots of optimistic fools will shout at the top of their lungs that this is a Blue Beetle from a parallel universe, but they will be wrong. Even if I were to believe that the multiverse was coming back--oh, and Huntress will return, and while we're at it Babs Gordon gets out of her wheelchair and does the can-can on Nightwing's thick skull--DC wouldn't waste such a hint in the walking wounded. Perhaps it's a SBPT moment. Marc Andreyko knows better. He knows his loyal readership is a discerning bunch and won't brook such nonsense. Time travel? No. That's no better than SBPT. Blue Beetle can only be one thing, a soon to be dead Cadmus clone instilled with the memories of the original used to perfect the frame against Wonder Woman. In knowing that, the story just lacks potency.
The art in Manhunter, which began with Jesus Saiz, has always been spectacular. Javier Pina, Robin Riggs and Jason Wright just keep exceeding their previous best. They illustrate the characteristic body language of the cast. They choreograph quiet drama and...oh, what's the use. Manhunter was blessed with artists who were intent to draw real people with real proportions even when those people happen to be super-heroes. It didn't help. Manhunter is still being exterminated. If you want a female super-hero to succeed, here's what you do. Give her massive cachongas, bend her back at an outrageous angle, and make her cow-stupid. Dress her like you would Paris Hilton or Britaney Spears. Rape and/or cripple the girl to give her character. Give her no sex life, unless it's as another notch in Hal Jordan's ring, Nightwing's or Roy Harper's utility belts. If she has sex, make sure she doesn't enjoy it--except when its with Nightwing, Hal Jordan and/or Roy Harper since the enjoyment will increase their appearances of masculinity.
Manhunter is too good for comics. She should be on the Cartoon Network and in novels. Oh, well. At least we got a Kevin Nowlan cover illustrating Kate and Batman before some author who doesn't care one whit about the character has some super-powered snot punch off her head and/or raped by some loser with a fin on his head.
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