Manhunter #31

Story by
Art by
Michael Gaydos
Colors by
Jose Villarrubia
Letters by
Sal Cipriano
Cover by
DC Comics

This cat keeps finding new lives. The third reprise for Marc Andreyko's take on Manhunter has been long-anticipated and appears to have not suffered too much for the recess. Bringing you up to speed â€" Kate Spencer is a lawyer by day, vigilante by night. She's really good at both jobs, but her personal life has certainly taken a hit from her career focus.

This issue does a decent job of packing the first two pages with 22-panels of the series to date. Problem is, it's two pages packed with 22 panels. From there, the action hits the ground running, resplendent with real-world implications of the super powered set existing in Los Angeles. The Atomic Skull has crashed the red carpet premiere of a movie and it's up to Manhunter to stop him. She does so capably, but teeters on the edge of comic book believability as she essentially takes out the Skull with four shots to the face. Pretty impressive, and it obviously speaks volumes of her power, determination and ability.

After that, we get treated to the legacy of the DC Universe in a moderate manner, as Andreyko outlines Kate's connections to other heroes both through friendship and bloodline. In doing so, Andreyko illustrates a connectivity to the DCU, but doesn't hold us hostage with it. Batman doesn't show up because there's a movie coming out, but the characters that do show up do so with a purpose.

Gaydos turns in a solid issue, making characters believably real and patently recognizable. His dark line work plays well to the darker tones of the book without losing the human aspects of the story. As someone who read the first storyline of this series, the artwork does, indeed, keep in line with what was established then by Jesus Saiz.

It's the storyline that drives this book, unwavering from social issues and topics of discussion. This issue sets the table for a storyline that takes the reader into Ciudad Juarez and the disappearances of hundreds of women thereabouts.

Andreyko threw the title into the pool of comic shop conversation with the first issue years ago, and with this issue, it's quite obvious there's at least a veiled attempt to raise some awareness of a real world issue, much in the same manner Mike Grell did with "The Longbow Hunters".

This series establishes connections between the farthest corners of the DCU and offers a bridge between those worlds and our own. It's not hard to imagine this series making the leap from printed page to silver (or small) screen, as Andreyko teases the reader on page three.

The main character is part two-fisted adventurer and part possessed gumshoe, as likely to run into Obsidian or some other character from the JSA, as she is opposing council on a gripping case.

This issue does provide a nice point to jump in, and offers a great read for those looking for a new character that doesn't have five titles of his or her own. The "first" issue is filled with plenty of fanboy moments, including an unexpected (but not overly surprising) cameo on the last page. I'm looking forward to making some time to sit down with "Manhunter" #32 and will be back with my thoughts on that one soon.

[CBR Reviewer Timothy Callahan also chimed in with his opinions on this issue, earlier this month.]

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