By Brian Burchette
Written by: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Michael Gaydos
The action picks up exactly where it left off last issue with Kate investigating the death of over 400 women â€œdown Juarez wayâ€. She runs into Blue Beetle out in the desert and both heroesâ€™ costumes take over their owners bodies as they try to eliminate each other. Blue Beetleâ€™s armor informs him that it recognizes Kateâ€™s costume as that of a Darkstar, and itâ€™s pretty obvious the suit hates them more than a Green Lantern. After taking back control of their cloths, Beetle gives Kate a lead in the Mexican underworld by giving her the name LaDama.
A short interlude shows Kateâ€™s son Ramsey bringing home a puppy that his grandfather has bought for him, a dog with a bit of a secret. A second short interlude reveals a young woman who is taking her son to a pool, only to have the carâ€™s airbag burst and a picture of The Joker on it. The infamous green gas is releasedâ€¦
Kateâ€™s investigation takes her to LaDama who clams up quicker than you can say â€œclams upâ€. She does, however, point Kate in a different direction â€“ The DEO. However, when she contacts her employer, Mr. Bones demands that she stop her investigation into Ciudad Juarez. After a heated exchange, she hangs up on him and Bones places a call to Amanda Waller.
The police investigate the bodies of the grinning dead woman and her child, questioning the father on how she might be connected to Joker. After viewing the body he announces that it isnâ€™t the Joker who did it, itâ€™s Dylan Battles!
Kate, meanwhile, is contacted by a mysterious figure who informs her that what she is getting herself into is bigger than she could even imagine. While she contemplates this, the young woman that she has originally been look for is shown strapped to a table, and hovering over her is The Crime Doctor!
Sometimes an extended hiatus can kill the momentum of the creative team involved, but in the case of Manhunter, it has done the opposite! This has got to be one of DCâ€™s best books that are being put out right now. An extremely well defined character that continues to grow in a logical progression, Kate Spencer is in the top three of strong female characters.
This issue shows that the entire creative team is at the top of their game; their love and passion for all characters involved, shows in every panel. The new twist with Manhunterâ€™s costume, when the new Blue Beetle shows up, is just as intriguing as the main plot that drives this issue. Still not enough for writer, Andreyko, he also gives us a second sub-plot that asks the question: Is there a connection between the maniacal Joker and Dylan Battles? Thereâ€™s so much great storytelling, along with beautiful art, in this book that itâ€™s more than worth the money.
This is classic comic telling at its best, and this reviewer is hoping that Andreyko and clan are back for a very long run.
My score: 9/10
Posted originally: 2008-07-07 13:14:59