Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter (Vol 3) 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10

Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday, a running series where I look at the history of Mark Shaw while looking forward in time to his becoming Leviathan.

I have gone through much of his history and I have been fascinated how themes of truth, deception, honor, loyalty, identity, and masks have played through. When you see those themes, the idea of Shaw becoming a charismatic leader whose identity is his mask and his cult, who is against secrets becoming Leviathan makes perfect sense.

We are rounding the last corner with Marc Andreyko's Manhunter series, the third volume bearing that name. And bear with me, this post doesn't have Mark Shaw in it per se. We are early on in this Kate Spencer series. She is just getting a handle on her super-heroing under the name Manhunter. She is trying to get a better handle on the tech she has purloined for her purposes.

But it is clear that Andreyko did his homework about that Manhunter name. You will see in this post that the Manhunter legacy is an important part of this series. In many ways, Spencer is the polar opposite of Shaw. He was a Public Defender. She is a prosecutor. No wonder he held a grudge in Event Leviathan. 

The art by Jesus Saiz and Javier Pina is wonderful. There is a fine-lined elegance to the proceedings. And the coloring is moody and evocative, giving this superhero book a sort of Noir feeling at times.

Let's dive in.

Let's start with Manhunter #5

One of the weapons that Kate has been using is a Manhunter staff. 

Here she is sparring with Dylan, her tech guy, who has set up a sort of Danger Room with her.

One of the first things he has her face is ... Mark Shaw?

Actually it is Dylan in a copy of Shaw's Manhunter costume. So we know that the name Manhunter still means something in this DCU. There is a history associated with that name.

But Shaw and Spencer aren't the only Manhunters that appear in this book. 

In Manhunter #7, a subplot of prior Manhunters being hunted begins.

First we see Dan Richards, the original Manhunter, living a quiet retired life with his dog Thor.

We know he is the original Manhunter because Andreyko and Saiz do a good job of putting that old photo of him in his Manhunter garb front and center.

The power goes out ...

And then a cloaked figure comes into the house, apparently killing Thor and Dan.

The killer is in shadows but the silhouette seems to imply that the figure is in a cloak of some sort.

Moving into Manhunter #8, Javier Pina takes over on art. And the Hunt for the Manhunters continues.

We see that Dan Richards has been killed.

Furthermore, he has been strung up in his own house, the Manhunter pic with a big red X through it showing that one Manhunter has been eliminated.

And then the next Manhunter on the list is sized up in Manhunter #9.

Chase Lawler, the third Manhunter, had given up his Manhunter title and become a struggling rock star. 

Sounds like Lawler's life isn't going to well. He is broke and alone and drinking during the day.

A stranger sidles up and offers to buy Lawler a drink. When Lawler goes to the bathroom, the drink is laced with something.

(For those interested, Lawler did have a pension paid for by the city he used to patrol as Manhunter. They paid him to quit figuring it was cheaper than all the repairs and court costs. Of course, the city didn't know he no longer had his powers.)

Perhaps Lawler shouldn't have confirmed that he had been 'a super-hero', Manhunter to this man whose face is hidden in the shadows.

But then the drug kicks in and this unknown person 'helps' Chase get out of there. 

It is interesting that Lawler doesn't have anything good to say about Kate. 

Lawler's fate is wrapped up in Manhunter #10.

Lawler wakes up, bound, beaten, and in his old costume.

Whoever that was who dragged him out of the bar decided to do a number on him. 

The Manhunter assassin comes out of the shadows.

How interesting the killer's responses to Lawler's questions.

First off, the killer wants world peace.

Second, in a comedic response, the killer adds he wants sex with super-models.

Hmmm ... 

That almost sounds like Leviathan, doesn't it. Both the content and the quippiness.

Stepping out of the shadows, we now see that the killer is Dumas!

And Dumas wastes no time in killing Lawler, slitting his throat.

But which Dumas?

Now there is more to come in this issue but I am going to end this post here.

Now we know that in this volume of Manhunter, we are going to get a lot of Manhunter lore. Andreyko has done his homework. And Javier and Pina capture the characters and their looks well. Throw in Dumas and we are neck deep in Manhunter history.

And that can only mean more Mark Shaw. Buckle up!

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