I read the first few pages of this comic book at the store and had to buy it when I couldn’t put it down. Manhunter: Street Justice vol.1 written by Marc Andreyko and illustrated by Jesus Saiz and Jimmy Palmiotti features a strong female character in the role of a crime-fighting vigilante.
Kate Spencer is a star prosecutor residing in Los Angeles. She loses a case when a meta-human, who are described as humans with a genetic flaw, goes free. “Copperhead” is one of many meta-humans who are at large. Kate doesn’t take defeat well, no, when the jury return a verdict of “not guilty” for his killing spree. It’s not his fault that he is a monster. When “Copperhead” strikes again, Kate opts not to use the judicial system this time and instead, dons a red suit with an electrified staff as her weapon and goes after justice, vigilante style.
On the home front, Kate is a divorcee and a single mother who shares joint custody with her ex. Kate is not the best mother in the world. She seems to prioritize her job over everything else. An unfortunate accident with her son doesn’t even make her slow down none either. In fact, it seems to strengthen her resolve in her chosen path and that is to add her skill set to the other superheroes who fight for the good of justice. Thus, she labels herself “Manhunter.” As expected, she finds her own techno geek to aide her in intel, training and keeping her wardrobe in good repair with some added functionality.
My reaction to this story is that this is a decent introduction to a new character that I’d never heard of before now. I like Kate only marginally so. Sarcasm just drips out of her mouth and no, she is not seen in the best light as a mother with a career. Alongside her penchant for smoking and her inner rage at being a failure, she decides to invoke her own brand of justice and that doesn’t make her all that heroic. But then maybe that is the point? Her character isn’t all that likable. She is full of attitude with plenty to spare.
The dialogue zips along, the artwork didn’t provoke any oohhs or ahhhhs – decent but then I am new to this genre so what do I know. Other DC characters put in brief appearances like The Joker, Batman, the Justice League. The villain – yes, there is one of course, is a bit odd. He goes by the name, Shadow Thief and seems to speak to himself in third person. A good match maybe for the Manhunter?
Overall, a B-/C+ because while I can respect a heroine created to kick ass, I really don’t like her. But then the creator gave all of these negative attributes and by story’s end, I hadn’t warmed up to her at all. Does she have any redeeming qualities? Other than to rid the world of meta-humans? You would be hard pressed to find them and I am not sticking around to find them either. The first installment didn’t really impress me much but then I am just one reader. While “Manhunter” is very readable and is a quick read at that, it is simply not for me. C+.
Manhunter: Street Justice collects the first five issues in the series and currently there are 38 issues in collected volumes available right now.