Goin’ on a Manhunt(er)

April 2, 2005

This is what I get for not trying Bloodhound, isn’t it?

Apparently, Manhunter, one of my favorite titles, is right on the bubble of cancellation (found via Fanboy Rampage). Writer Marc Andreyko has asked fans to talk up the book:

“so, if you wanna help, get your pals to try MH! my buy back offer still stands! we don’t need sales to increase 5,000 copies in a month (not that we wouldn’t love that), but DC needs to see some upward motion on the sales charts — 50 here, a hundred there. every copy helps!”

I’m more than happy to do so, again, some more. I also talk it up in the shop all the time, and sales are climbing in the all-important north central West Virginia market. The shop owner has become a big booster, too, and he keeps upping orders.

Frankly, this seems like the perfect point in time to sing the book’s praises. With a fair amount of dissatisfaction being voiced over Countdown, I would point out that Manhunter occupies a fairly self-contained corner of the DC universe. Yes, familiar characters drop by, and it is following up on threads from Identity Crisis, but it’s made sensible, thematically relevant use of those threads that make them specific to the protagonist, her worldview, and her methods.

And while the book explores some fairly dark notions of costumed vigilantism, it manages to do so without being a relentless, navel-gazing bummer. Part of that might be due to the fact that Andreyko and talented artist Jesus Saiz have created their protagonist from scratch. I think it’s a lot easier to take this kind of grim approach when it’s built into a character’s roots rather than welded on later. Andreyko is taking his time revealing what drives Kate Spencer, both as an attorney and as a super-hero who doesn’t blush at all to use lethal force. At the same time, the creative team manages to balance things with the humor inherent in an inexperienced vigilante finding her footing.

Okay, the law-talking stuff is probably the weakest element of the title. But it’s only part of the fabric of the title, which is a lot stronger than most of its peers. I’m a sucker for comics that are driven by character, and Manhunter falls squarely into that category. If you haven’t tried it, think about it next time you’re picking up books. It’s easy to catch up with what’s going on at pretty much any point in the run so far, and there’s a trade paperback on the way in the fall.