Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter (Vol3) 10 And 11

Welcome to another segment of Leviathan Wednesday where I look at the history of comic character Mark Shaw.

I started this out as a simple diversion to bide my time until the Checkmate sequel to Event Leviathan hit the stands. But as I have read more and more of Shaw's history, I have been amazed at how convoluted his history is and how complex his character is.

We are now into the Kate Spencer Manhunter series and starting in Manhunter #10, Shaw becomes part of the narrative. As we saw last week, someone is out there killing Manhunters. It is only a matter of time before the assassin turns their eyes onto Kate. And this is wonderfully depicted in the cover of Manhunter #10 with the chalk outline of dead bodies on the ground, the Manhunter masks demarcating who has been or may be killed.

Marc Andreyko clearly embraced the Manhunter name and it's history. As we saw last week, he went back to the original Manhunter and the extreme 90s version of the character. So no surprise we see that there are a few more potential victims out there.

Javier Pina is on art and has a very organic and smooth style which keeps the narrative moving in a polished way.

But we are here to learn about Mark Shaw and we see that since his last adventure, he seems to have hit on tough time.

We see a rather unkempt Shaw walking to his mailbox and finding a cryptic note. Someone is happy to have found him.

But Andreyko and Pina do a good job subtly showing us that Shaw isn't exactly living the high life. Battered hallways strewn with litter, two days growth on his face, unkempt hair. He is not James Bond.

And then this cliffhanger.

The dead body of Chase Lawler is propped up in his room.  HIs Manhunter outfit is on display on his bed.

And 'You're next' written in blood.

Okay that is a good cliffhanger. We know that Dumas was a Shaw villain and he has been the one killing the Manhunters. 

So is Shaw next? Or Kate?

I have been waiting to see Shaw back in his 'classic' 80s makeover Manhunter gear. And the cover for Manhunter #11 teases that we'll see it.

The same creative team dumps us right back into the action.

Chase Lawler's body is found in a drainage pipe.

The only logical conclusion is Shaw moved it there.

I guess he couldn't exactly call the cops given that would give away his own secret identity. And, I suppose that Shaw has burned his bridges a bit in the super-hero community.

But last we knew, he was working with Sarge Steel as an undercover agent. Is that relationship still happening?

Instead Shaw is winging his way across the country to try and save Kate.

This is once again a heavy page to break down.

At the end of his own series Shaw gave up the Manhunter identity. But I don't think he was so negative about it, thinking it only brought isolation, pain, and death. But these also sound a bit rambling. 

I do like that he is going to save Kate. And he tried to warn Kirk DePaul, the 'other' Manhunter working with the Power Company. DePaul is one of the Paul Kirk clones.

I don't know this Manhunter at all. But I like how he leans very heavily into the Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter look.

And we see Dumas is there in San Francisco, ready to meet up with DePaul.

But there are clues here as well. 

Dumas isn't exactly staying somewhere posh either. This place looks even more foul than Shaw's.

Hmmm ...

Luckily, the spate of Manhunter slayings has caught the eye of the DEO and Cameron Chase.

Two Manhunters are down. That leaves Kate, DePaul, and Shaw left. 

Is there something other than the name driving this spree?

I've always been a fan of Cameron Chase so I was thrilled to see her in the book and working this case.

DePaul is out on a date when an attack comes from above.

He springs to the roof of the building nearby to discover Dumas there waiting. 

Despite the sneak attack, Dumas wants this to be an honorable fight and gives DePaul a weapon.

That jibes with the second Dumas who was very much enmeshed in the samurai code of Japan.

In the battle, when things get close, Dumas drives a hypodermic into DePaul's arm.

It looks initially like it has no effect and thankfully Andreyko does a quick exposition telling me that DePaul has a healing factor.

In fact, it looks like this fight is over with DePaul having pinned Dumas to the wall with the knife and bashed his face in.

But it turns out the syringe didn't have a drug. It was filled with air.

Dumas injected a large amount of air into DePaul's circulation resulting in a stroke. 

Effected by this attack, Dumas is able to free himself. 

And then he brutally decapitates DePaul. No coming back from that, healing factor or no.

But once again, the page is pretty fascinating. Dumas' face is forever in shadow. This is a mystery now. And one that I think shouldn't be too hard to solve given all we have learned in this Manhunter deep dive.

Now you might ask how it was possible for Dumas to jab a needle just into the vein or artery and not into tissue all while fighting and moving. But I would advise you not to think about it too much.

Instead focus on the ending.

Three Manhunters are dead.

Only Kate and Shaw remain.

And Dumas seems unstoppable. 

While the Manhunter Hunt is a great plot, instead I'd like to focus on Mark Shaw's life. I doubt that he would be living in squalor if he was still a highly prized, highly recognized operative for Sarge Steel. Some something has changed. Something we need to learn about.

We also know that Shaw was Dumas for a while. He killed the first and the second Dumas. So who is this 'new' Dumas ... if indeed they are a new person behind the mask.

Either way, Shaw has hit on hard times. He seems to have been discarded by the secret society who used him. He had to dump a body to keep his secret unknown. He is being hunted. All this has to be part of the drive that makes him become Leviathan.

But put on your safety belts. Because things are going to get even crazier.

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