Everyone’s a Critic

Manhunter #31

Posted by jadecanary on June 7, 2008

Part 1
by Marc Andreyko (w)
and Michael Gaydos (a)

Is there any place on the planet that doesn’t have their own superhero?

MANHUNTER IS BACK! Many many moons after the solo adventures of Kate Spencer ended, her book has returned from the dead, and right where it left off. I am unfamiliar with the circumstances for the cancellation of MANHUNTER, but I’m happy to be reading this book again.

The book picks up with a two-page “previously” section, leading into Kate chasing down the Atomic Skull in Hollywood. She beats the snot out of him and we move on.

The main story of this arc is about the disappearance of Marta, a Mexican woman who works the third shift at an American company. After being harassed by American protesters, she misses her bus back to Mexico. She starts walking back across the border. She is then attacked by our mysterious enemy and ends her first scene with a scream.

Meanwhile, Kate meets her grandfather, Iron Munroe. Munroe was a hero during World War II, serving in the All Star Squadron. The last time I remember seeing him, he may have been the father of the teen hero Damage (That was worked out in the short run of Damage’s book, his father is the Golden Age Atom, but he has mixed DNA of over 25 different Golden and Silver Age heroes). Munroe apparently impregnated fellow Sqadron member Phantom Lady, then bolted for more government work. Kate has other issues when it comes to male role models.

Later, Kate speaks with one of her employees, Jerry,¬†about his sister, Marta, disappearing. He tells her about the “Monsters of Juarez”. The area is supposedly a haven of death and disappearing. No one knows who is doing it. Kate gives Jerry some time off to go home, then she calls Mr. Bones. Bones is a former villain/former hero turned bureaucrat at the Department of Meta-Human Affairs, and Manhunter’s boss in the field. He also has a “death-touch”. She tells him she’s going to Juarez, Mexico. He says that she can’t, “There are things at work you’d best steer clear of.” So she goes.

To help her out, she enlists the help of token gay friend and JSA member Obsidian, who brings a helicopter with him. Of course, flying over the Mexican border in a chopper draws the attention of Mexican military. Kate jumps out and tells Obsidian to get out of there. Not long after landing she discovers a body in the sand. And guess who discovers her?

That’s right, El Paso’s own Blue Beetle.

Who’da thunk that DC would re-introduce a book, and bring in 2007 Rookie-of-the-Year Jamie Reyes, The Blue Beetle, for a visit. Jamie seems to be the go-to hero to get books on their feet. Over all, a “welcome back” for Kate. Well done dropping old readers into the story right where we left off, while introducing the main character to new readers. I’m not too impressed with the art Michael Gaydos. But I thought it was important that he didn’t make Kate Spencer “sexy”. She isn’t, and I love it. She’s not Supergirl, she a hard-nose lawyer/single mom who recently quit smoking. But I’m waiting for what Andreyko gave us way back in the last issue, the new Azrael.



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