Manhunter #34

Previously in "Manhunter", Kate Spencer -- Manhunter -- found her way to Ciudad Juarez while trying to track down the cause of the disappearance of dozens of women in the Mexico-Texas border region. Her investigation leads her into a factory tied to Vesetech, a pharmaceutical corporation that has its fingers in more than just the prescription medicine pie.

Manhunter's nosiness has, to this point, independently drawn the interest of Blue Beetle and some proprietary Vesetech-created metas. In issue #33, the Suicide Squad appeared and the jig appeared to be up for Manhunter.

This issue picks up from that point, with Manhunter hideously outnumbered by Multiplex alone, never mind his Suicide Squad teammates. The Squad takes her on, but Spencer feels the ability to unleash against Multiplex's dupes as we learn a little more about her past that strengthens her incredibly unique bond to the DC Universe. That said, Andreyko performs the part of Multiplex quite nicely, leaving me wondering how a Firestorm title might read under his guidance.

The art is solid, as it has been throughout this storyline. Gaydos' work is strong and his storytelling solid. It is a testament to his ability that this issue comes off as a solid read with the incredible range of action that occurs in the twenty-two pages here. Of course, he gets a one-page quasi-history of the DCU through the words of Sandra Knight and Iron Munro from the pencils of Brad Walker. Walker, in his own right, keeps the feel of the issue's art alive and maintains the artistic flow established by Gaydos.

Among the supporting cast surrounding Kate Spencer are the following activities, currently contained in a series of subplots, seemingly unrelated to the main story of Manhunter vs. Vesetech:

  • Ramsey, Kate's son, is seemingly on the verge of developing super powers of his own while visiting his maternal grandparents, Sandra "Phantom Lady" Knight and Iron Munro.

  • Dylan Battles, Manhunter's weapons specialist, faces down some demons from his past, the result of which left me wondering if I'd eaten some red herring while reading the previous issues of this storyline.

  • Todd "Obsidian" Rice and his boyfriend, Damon Matthews (who is also the legal assistant to Kate Spencer), share a romantic interlude.

As has been the case since "Manhunter" returned from its most recent hiatus, this issue is packed with action and intrigue, as well as cameos and guest shots from more than half a dozen of the DCU's most wide-ranging characters. This title, as mentioned in previous reviews, plays to the strength of legacy within the DCU while providing fresh insight into that same shared universe.

This issue may be a rough entry point for a new reader, but for anyone familiar with the character or her world, this issue will probably feel like a visit with an old friend. Undoubtedly, "Manhunter" is one of the more engaging and time-filling reads that any company is putting on the stands today.

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