Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bearing Witness (Manhunter #28, Cover Date April, 2007)

(Not the cover of an Aquaman story)

"C'est magnifique, mats ce n'est pas la Manhunter" -- General Bosquet


Major Heroes: Kate Spencer, Wonder Woman, Cameron Chase
Minor Heroes: Blue Beetle, Batman, Dylan Battles, Mark Shaw, Sasha Bourdeaux, the Madmen

Major Villains: The Madmen, Dr. Trapp


The sudden appearance of Ted Kord hurts Wonder Woman's defense that she had to kill Max Lord because he was a known killer. As our heroes fly away in the Bug, Ted says that he has no memory of the last 18 months. The Bug is attacked by the "Madmen", and after they parachute to safety, Ted says that he believes Max Lord is his friend, and that his first memory is awaking in the Alps, where he had been captured by Checkmate. The Lasso of Truth confirms that Blue Beetle truly believes he is Ted. A blood sample taken by Batman will, we assume, prove the same.

Meanwhile, in Gotham, Cameron rescues her sister from capture in a wax museum, but is promptly assaulted by Dr. Trapp, posing as a wax figure. Dylan tries to run in to the rescue, but the gates clank down, preventing his entrance.

In the other meanwhile, Mark Shaw gets some flashback/extrapolation on the history of the Knights of St. Dumas and Azrael, and is informed that he is to be their new hero.

We end with Kate receiving a copy of the unadulterated Wonder Woman/ Max Lord tape from Sasha Bourdeaux.


So, the real problem with Manhunter #28 is that it is not, as far as I can tell, about Manhunter. Or Kate. Now, it's been three issues into the story arc, and the only time Kate has been in "uniform" has been when she was sparring with Wonder Woman in #26. Now, some might complain about that, but I was fine with it, because Kate Spencer, Attorney at Law, was a crucial part of the story for #26 and #27.

But read through Issue #28 again and tell me exactly what it is that Kate and/ or Manhunter DOES for 22 pages. She watches Ted Kord talk to Wonder Woman, and fails to respond to reporters. She watches Ted and Diana rescue her from inexplicable bad guys in the Beetle-mobile. She watches Wonder Woman and Batman do the science v. magic testing of Ted. She watches Sasha give her evidence. She isn't present when Cameron fights Dr. Trapp, or when Mark Shaw becomes the new Azrael, or whatever.

It's like in those old 1960s covers where Aquaman or whoever talks to the audience while the rest of the Justice League has the actual adventure. We like Aquaman, of course, but we're not quite sure why he's there. Same here. It's a great story. Highly recommended. Five stars. I just have no idea why its happening in a book entitled "Manhunter".

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