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Manhunter #32

Posted: Monday, July 7, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Marc Andreyko
Michael Gaydos
DC Comics
“Forgotten” (part 2)

Plot: Kate finds herself embroiled in intense political undercurrents when Manhunter investigates the deaths of immigrant workers. But is it the local Mexican mob she has to worry about, or her own American employers?

Comments: Andreyko hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to writing his main character. Kate is one tough lady who, as she says to an inexperienced Blue Beetle when they confront a wizened dead body in the desert, doesn’t “really play well with legends.” She doesn’t really play all that well with anyone. But she fights okay, and she argues even better, throwing her entire skill set at all of her goals, be they legal or otherwise.

This series is a little old-fashioned, in that it revels in digging up old bits of DC Universe continuity (and fashioning something new out of them) rather than just rebuilding the wheel with every new plot. So not only do we have the D.E.O. and the new Blue Beetle here. We have Sandra Knight (retired Phantom Lady), the Joker on some sort of terror campaign against Kate’s associates, and the revival of another very old Batman villain as the final cliffhanger reveal.

The series is also kind of radical, with its willingness to confront current and recent political issues like Romanian human rights violations and illegal immigration. Kate is right in the center of a lot of big bad trouble in this issue, and the more she knows, the less willing she is to back away. She’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to justice.

Gaydos has found perhaps the perfect home for his dark, moody style: he seems completely in synch with Andreyko. And if his strengths lend themselves more to the squalid scene between peripheral father, daughter and grandchild characters who meet a dire fate, he does a pretty stellar Blue Beetle and Joker too.

The issue begins with Kate and the Beetle both having trouble with their super-suits, which seem to think they’re natural born enemies. That’s the sort of quasi-humorous, mundane oddity (what kind of heroes aren’t fully in charge of their own arsenals?) that keeps this series grounded. This is another solid new tale of an intriguing revival for the long-suffering but smart title character.



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