The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

No man escapes the Manhunters

Posted in Profiles by mrread7 on January 13, 2008

Happy weekend everyone. How’s yours been? Mine has been… uneventful. Though a bit depressing. Since Ericia left a week ago I’ve kind of fallen back to my old life style. Which of course is wake up, go to work, come home, do whatever, then go to bed. This weekend has been pretty much, sleep in. Watch movies, head out to get something I really need for my duplex but then don’t find it. Get a nice lunch while I’m out and then hit up and get a coffee or something an hour or two later. The only good news is, I traded in a few games with a coupon and Super Smash Brothers Brawl is only going to cost me $15 now. I’ll take my victories as they come. So, let’s get to the point. The Manhunters, the Jack Kirby created villains that have been plaguing the Green Lantern Corps for decades or in the comic sense, centuries. The Manhunters have been a large foil for the DC Universe for years. Not only engulfing Green Lantern but other heroes as well. They’ve even staged a take over of both Oa and Earth and their presence has even inspired heroes to take the name. So, sit back, open up a pop, pour yourself a beverage or some kind and play some music because here it comes.

The Manhunters

The Manhunters were the first attempt of the Guardians of the Universe to create an interstellar police force that would combat evil all over the galaxy. Their name and much of their code of behavior was modeled by the Guardians of the Universe on the Manhunters of Ma’aleca’andra (Mars). For thousands of years, they served the Guardians well. However, the Manhunters became obsessed with the act of ‘hunting’ criminals. Their code, “No man escapes the Manhunters” (corrupted from the original; see below), became more important to them than seeing justice done. Eventually, the robots conspired to rebel against their masters, but the Guardians defeated and destroyed most of them. Those that survived hid away on many planets, slowly rebuilding their forces and spreading their beliefs to others. Since then, the overriding goal of the Manhunters has been to take revenge on the Guardians, as well as on their replacements, the Green Lantern Corps.
The Manhunters infiltrated and liberated many planets disguised as living beings and created a “Cult of the Manhunters” that trained others to be their minions. On Mars, the people of that world started a group of Martian Manhunters based on the lessons of preserving justice taught unto them by the Manhunters and even erected a temple based on the appearance of their inspiration. On Earth, most of the Manhunters’ agents were unaware that their masters were robots, or that their real purposes were not noble. Some of these agents became super heroes also known as Manhunters. They wore red-and-blue costumes patterned after the Manhunters themselves. The most famous of these was a big game hunter called Paul Kirk. He was active in the 1940s, and starred in his own comic book. The character was brought back in a modern version in the 70s, in which he was supposedly killed years before but was in truth placed in suspended animation by a secret conspiracy. He was cloned, and when he finally reawaken, he dedicated himself to battle those who had used him, eventually dying in the process. However, some of his clones survived.
The Manhunters were discovered by the Justice League who seemingly defeated the Manhunter’s leader, the Grandmaster. One of their human pawns, Mark Shaw, adopted a new identity as the costumed hero, the Privateer. However, he was later discovered to be a criminal posing as a hero.
Years later, it was revealed that the Manhunters not only still existed, but had infiltrated the lives of most super heroes with their agents. They even managed to infiltrate the Olympian Gods, one of their number posing as the goat god Pan, as shown during the Challenge of the Gods story line. They revealed themselves when a Guardian and a member of the Zamarons tried to evolve some humans into becoming the next Guardians of the Universe, during what became known as the Millennium crisis. In this occasion, there was a massive counter strike operation by the heroes against the Manhunters, and it seemed that the Grandmaster had finally been destroyed, along with their hidden home planet. Former Privateer Mark Shaw readopted his identity as Manhunter in the wake of the battle, seeking to redeem both the name and himself.

When the Manhunters were replaced by the Green Lantern Corps, they retreated to Biot, their homeworld in Sector 3601, an uncharted area of space incapable of sustaining organic life. Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, came to Biot and became the Manhunters’ new Grandmaster. He used his mastery over machinery and Kryptonian technology to upgrade the Manhunters with organic enhancements. They seem to have rebuilt the first Central Power Battery originally destroyed by Hal Jordan (under the influence of Parallax). Henshaw decided not to interfere in the reformation of the Green Lantern Corps after an encounter between a Manhunter and Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart. The Manhunters have recently resurfaced as part of the Sinestro Corps. They carry miniature yellow Power Batteries inside them which are used by the Sinestro Corps members to charge their yellow power rings. Henshaw’s head is taken by the Sinestro Corps after their invasion of Oa and taken back to Qward. Henshaw is later seen as a herald of the newly returned Anti-Monitor. He reconstructs his cyborg body and replaces the S-symbol on his chest with the symbol of the Sinestro Corps. He now wields ten Qwardian power rings.[10] It is revealed that Henshaw has joined the Sinestro Corps so that the Anti-Monitor can later kill him and allow him to rest in peace.
Henshaw was the focus of the Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman one-shot that was released on October 3 2007. In this book, Henshaw and his Manhunters head to Earth to assist the Sinestro Corps in their attack. En route, Henshaw stops leading the Manhunters, which continue to their preprogrammed destinations. As he watches them go, he remembers everything that has happened to him; from their dreadful shuttle accident to his wife’s suicide when she sees him in his robot form. He finishes this journey of his mind by going to his wife’s grave. He digs her corpse out and rips it into two, shouting that all he wants is not to be with her, but for these memories to fade.
Meanwhile, Manhunters begin an assault on the JLA satellite. Hawkgirl, Black Lightning and Red Arrow retaliate; however, all three are neutralized when Henshaw assists in the attack and he successfully tampers with the mechanics of the satellite core. As the satellite is thrown out of orbit, Superman appears, seemingly from nowhere, and engages Henshaw in battle. Their fight continues on Earth, while Sinestro transports his crew and his ship from the Anti-Matter Universe. At first Superman seems to have the upper hand, however after two punches, Henshaw strikes with great power and rage, punching him through the Statue of Liberty. By the end, Henshaw has Superman in a choke hold, thinking that the victory is near.
He is later seen briefly in Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Superman-Prime, having been beaten back by the combined strength of Superman, Supergirl and Power Girl.
When the Green Lantern Corps decides to detonate New Warworld and the Central Power Battery of the Sinestro Corps to destroy the Anti-Monitor, Henshaw is trapped behind a shield and exposed to the massive explosion. Before he is finally killed, however, he is able to thank the Green Lantern Corps for their mercy in ending his life.
A small fraction of Henshaw’s corpse was found after the explosion. The Manhunters confirmed that he had perished, but were confused without his leadership. Seeking the leadership “programming” of their grandmaster, the Manhunters funnel a massive amount of energy into the Cyborg Superman, and he experiences yet another resurrection, crying when as he realizes he is alive yet again.

Original Manhunters

The original Manhunters were actually modeled after the Guardians of the Universe. They were order following automatons who were able to travel inter galactically to planets within a few hours of leaving their original destinations. The Manhunters also had power staffs that fired concussive energy blasts and were excellent hand to hand combat. They were also armed with small hand blasters and could self repair unless their main CPU was damaged.

Current Manhunters

Manhunter technology has been used in the creation of the OMAC drones. The Kryptonian technology was incorporated into the Manhunters by Hank Henshaw on Biot, which enabled them to use the Central Power Battery on Oa as a power source for the Manhunters. The Current Manhunters are actually a blend of biology and machinery making them human like. In fact Manhunters can now take likenesses of the populaces of the planets they land on. They no longer carry their battle staffs and have a variety of energy blasts and they can now fly at faster speeds. Reaching orbit in less than 2 minutes.

Will Hunters

The Will Hunters are nano robots that invade a victims nervous system. The Will Hunters pretty much suppress a victims conscience and reprogram them. It leaves the person in a comatose state and unable to act without orders from the Manhunters or Cyborg-Superman.

High Masters

The High Masters are based of kryptonian technology modeled after Superman’s battle suit. The High Masters are powered by living Green Lanterns as a power source. The Harnessed energy allows the High Masters to pretty much destroy a planet or several cities without burning out. The High Masters are pretty much just large machines or destruction containing little intelligence outside the usual: “No man escapes the Manhunters.”

Now that we have talked about the Manhunters themselves. It’s time to move on to those of Earth who have used the Manhunter name to fight injustice. There have been six people who have used the name Manhunter. The two most well known are Paul Kirk and Kate Spencer. The later being one of the most popular Manhunters in years. So let’s started with the first one, Dan Richards. When Donald Richards (oddly called “Dan”) graduated at the bottom of his Poloce Academy class, his girl, Kit Kelly, was understandably disappointed, especially as her brother Jim took top honors. But when Jim refused to kill someone for a crooked politician, and was then framed for murder, Dan first took his Manhunter identity to track down the real killer, using secret files he had gathered on known criminals to help him clear his friend’s name. A phrase used by the real murderer provided the clue that cracked the case.
Thereafter, Dan became Manhunter whenever ordinary legal procedures proved inadequate to solve a mystery. As he once said, “Manhunter might get something on them where police methods fail!”
Manhunter was unique in that he had a canine partner – Thor (the “Thunderdog”), a dog that seems to have been part hound and part mastiff. Thor was always within hearing wherever Dan walked his beat, and the dog would come when his master blew a supersonic whistle, inaudible to human ears. Often Richards made use of Thor’s keen tracking abilities as well as his training as an attack dog.
Manhunter worked a little with the All-Star Squadron, then was chosen by Uncle Sam to go with him and the other Freedom Fighters to Earth-X to battle the greater Nazi menace there. What happened to him we will never know, for the resolution of the crisis on infinite earths wiped out Earth-X and all its history.
Thus, in the world which emerged, Manhunter remained where he was and fought crime at least until 1950, when the last of his cases was published.
Dan was found dead in a cabin with Thor when Mark Shaw (as Dumas) was killing past Manhunters with orders from the government.

Paul Kirk

During the 1920s and 1930s a new type of hero was appearing in the newsreels, the African big game hunter. Among the most notable of these were Frank Buck, Clyde Beatty and Paul Kirk. As a young man, Kirk made a reputation as a big-game hunter and tracker. Boasting superior tracking skills, Kirk lead game safaris and captured animals for zoos around the world in the late 1930’s. He tired of the life, seeking greater challenges. His abilities came to the notice of a group of alien hunters known as The Manhunters, who track down criminals. Shortly after the United States entry into World War II, Kirk was tricked into joining the society of Manhunters by tracking down the murderer of his friend Police Inspector Donovan ( himself a Manhunter Agent ). Taking the name Manhunter and the costume as his own, Kirk had little contact with other Manhunter agents, including Dan Richards, who also calling himself Manhunter.
As World War II progressed, Kirk began working for OSS, an American Intelligence group, usually not in costume. Kirk undertook many brutal missions behind enemy lines, and by the time of the war’s end, tired of the senseless brutality and took to Africa to try and heal the wounds his hunting had created on his soul.
In 1946, weary of living, Kirk was accidentally trampled by an elephant. Near death, his body was taken by a group called The Council, a eugenics group bent on world domination. Over the decades, while in suspended animation, Kirk’s body was repaired and altered, giving him greater reflexes and the ability to heal wounds instantaneously. His genetic template was used in the ground forces of The Council, its soldiers were Kirk’s clones.
Learning of The Council’s plans for world conquest, Kirk shattered The Council and destroyed much of its resources, at the cost of his life. During his battles with the Council, he believed he destroyed all of his clones. There were two known survivors, however; one of the clones became a hero of sorts, infiltrating the Darkseid lead Secret Society of Super-Villains and smashing its plans for a time, at the cost of his own life. The other went back to Africa and became a mercenary, years later being shamed by Nightwing into funneling his talents towards helping others, though for a price as a member of The Power Company.

Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw was a public defender, unhappy about how easily criminals manipulated the system and got off without punishment. Shaw’s uncle Desmond introduced him to an ancient sect of crime fighters called the Manhunters. Shaw contacted the Grand Master, the sect’s leader, through a magical lion medallion. Shortly, he assumed the Manhunter name and costume from a previous Manhunter.
The Manhunter sect was comprised of androids, created billions of years before by the Guardians of Oa to police the galaxy. For millennia, they served the Guardians well. However, the Manhunters became obsessed with the act of ‘hunting’ criminals. Their code, “No Man Escapes The Manhunters”, became more important to them than seeing justice done. Eventually, the androids rebelled against the Guardians, but were swiftly defeated by their creators. Those that survived went into hiding.
The latter-day Manhunters attempted to disgrace the Guardians with Mark Shaw at their side. They were opposed by the JLA, especially by League member Green Lantern (Hal Jordan). Shaw realized that he had been duped by the Manhunters and turned on them, killing the Grand Master, who was revealed to be a robot. Mark Shaw quickly returned as a new hero called the Privateer, but it was soon revealed that he was also working as a villain called the Star-Tsar, in league with the Key. The Red Tornado discovered this deception and Shaw went to prison.
While in the midst of serving his sentence, Shaw was offered the chance to accompany the Suicide Squad on a mission as the Privateer, and was released when the mission was completed. In the wake of the Millennium crisis, he donned a new costume to distance himself from the Manhunter cult, and had his own adventures. Shaw now hunted costumed criminals for the bounty. He kept insisting that he was just operating for the money, but he kept finding himself doing the right thing.
During this time, he and his family were threatened by two shape-shifters named Dumas. Shaw killed the first Dumas and his battle with the second led him to give up the Manhunter identity at the end of his series. It was later revealed that Mark Shaw was actually himself Dumas and much of his history was actually the result of mental programming by the US Government. Shaw joined the Shadow Fighters in order to battle the super villan Eclipso. It was assumed that Mark Shaw was killed opposing Eclipso alongside his other team members in the Shadow Fighters. This was soon revealed not to be the case.
He was actually undercover at the time he was facing Eclipso, masquerading as his old enemy Dumas at the behest of Sarge Steel. Recently, in the Manhunter comic featuring Kate Spencer in the title role, Mark Shaw has been approached to take up the mantle of Azrael. It remains to be seen if he follows up on the offer.

Chase Lawler

Spinning out of DC’s 1994 event miniseries Zero Hour was a new Manhunter title (by Steven Grant and Vince Giarrano), unrelated to any of the previous Manhunters. Chase Lawler was a musician who summoned the Wild Huntsman to save himself and his girlfriend from harm. He did not understand the commitment he was making to the Wild Huntsman and found himself compelled to hunt the lonely. He tried to resist the urge by hunting villains, with limited success.
Lawler suffered a heart attack and Mark Shaw attempted to resuscitate him. This transferred the bond with the Wild Huntsman and the compulsion to hunt to Shaw. It was revealed that Lawler had undergone the same type of experimentation as Mark Shaw and that the Wild Huntsman was actually an illusion created as a side effect of the mental programming. Lawler was drugged and then murdered by Shaw, who had fallen back into his Dumas persona.

Kirk DePaul

DePaul was one of many clones of Paul Kirk, a World War II hero known as Manhunter, created by the criminal organization The Council. The clones were meant to serve as the organization’s army, but rather than serving his creators, DePaul escaped to seek out a life of his own. DePaul made a living as a mercenary, operating predominantly in Africa, including during an encounter with the hero Nightwing, until he was recruited by Josiah Power to sign up with The Power Company as a partner. Since he sunk all of his fortune into The Power Company, DePaul was more concerned with earning a return on his investment than with upholding justice or maintaining his image. So no matter the job or the client, if it paid, he was willing to take it, which often put him at odds with his fellow partners in the firm. When approached by Paul Kirk’s former associates Christina St. Clair and Asano Nitobe, rather than answer their questions, DePaul supplied them with a bullet and told them to use it if they didn’t like him. DePaul would unwillingly work with another former ally of Paul Kirk’s when he and Batman foiled the kidnapping of the granddaughter of a former African ruler. DePaul’s brash demeanor was the death of him, however, when he failed to take the Manhunter serial killer seriously and was decapitated by Dumas, the psychotic personality of former Manhunter, Mark Shaw.

Kate Spencer

Kate Spencer is a federal prosecutor who grows increasingly tired of seeing guilty criminals evade punishment. Copperhead, a criminal on trial for multiple deaths and cannibalism, avoids a death sentence and escapes from custody after killing two guards. Angry, Kate steals equipment from an evidence room and kills Copperhead. She leaves a mark on the wall near the body, calling herself Manhunter. Kate blackmails Dylan Battles, a former henchman for numerous villains now in the Witness Protection Program, and he builds, maintains and upgrades her armor, weapons and gadgets.
In addition to legal proceedings and fighting crime, Kate’s life includes awkward relationships with her six-year-old son Ramsey and novelist ex-husband. Kate’s secret life as Manhunter cuts into her career and family life, but her co-counsel Damon Matthews covers for her. Damon dates Todd Rice, the super hero Obsidian. Kate’s father Walter Pratt spent time in prison for murdering her mother and she comes to believe that her grandfather is super hero Al Pratt, the original Atom, a member of the Justice Society of America.
Through her friendship with Department of Extranormal Operations Agent Cameron Chase, Kate works for the DEO under the direction of Mr. Bones. During the Infinite Crisis, Oracle calls Kate, along with a number of low-powered heroes to join the Battle of Metropolis, and she has also been invited to possibly join the Birds of Prey.
The June 2006 issue of Manhunter revealed that Kate’s true grandfather was not the original Atom, but actually Iron Munro and that her grandmother was Sandra Knight (Phantom Lady). When Munro was apparently unwilling to deal with his girlfriend’s pregnancy, she was taken by Pratt to a home for unwed mothers and Pratt was mistakenly listed as the father on Walter Pratt’s birth certificate. This makes her a third cousin to Jack Knight, as Phantom Lady pointed out in the issue.
Recently Kate was hired to be Wonder Woman’s defense lawyer, for the murder of Max Lord. The case has taken an unexpected turn however, upon the recent arrival of a supposedly alive Blue Beetle, who claims he has no memory of the last 18 months. Wonder Woman has called in Batman to run an investigation on Ted, to see if it is really him. Meanwhile Kate received aid from Checkmate, which proved that Diana’s actions were justifiable. The “Blue Beetle” turned out to be the shape shifting cannibal Everyman from Lex Luthor’s Infinity Inc.

When Kate pursues Copperhead, she sneaks into an evidence room to steal some items she can use against him. Manhunter #15 tells the origin of each of the three items she takes:

The Suit – The suit comes from a member of the Darkstars who died in battle and fell to Earth to rot. A drifter found it and used it to defend himself against a group of attackers. Successfully defeating them, he robbed them and left the suit in a dumpster.

The Gauntlets – A smalltime crook found the gauntlets, originally worn by Azrael during his stint as Batman, in Gotham City. The crook used them in an unsuccessful burglary, but when the police arrived, the crook fell to his death, leaving the gauntlets still dug into the side of the building.

The Staff – An attack on Eclipso ended with several heroes dead; among them was a man programmed to believe that he was Mark Shaw. The staff was recovered with the body and hidden in storage.

Well, there you go everyone. Everything you wanted to know about the Manhunters but were afraid to ask. I like to give a big thank you to Wiki and the incredible people at for all their info to help me with this entry. See you guys around with my next entry one my favorite squirrel Green Lantern, B’dge.


One Response to 'No man escapes the Manhunters'

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  1. Makell Bird said,

    It should be noted that the first Earth/Human Manhunter (Dan Richards) never had his own title like the others. He only appeared in short stories in Police Comics #8-101 (Quality Comics). It’s very strange how the would connect The robot Manhunters created by The Guardians to the human/earth manhunters. Anyway, we wouldn’t see the original human manhunter (Dan Richards) again until he appeared in All-Star Squadron #31 in 1981 (talk about a gap)

    Also, the 2nd Manhunter Paul Kirk actually wore the exact same costume as the robot manhunters when he first appeared in Adventure Comics… not that weird Asian getup he is pictured with above.

    In reality, there’s no REAL way of telling how many robot or Human manhunters there really are. Like, who the hell is the manhunter in DC Special Issue #1 (#5) who gives up the mantle of manhunter (due to being too elderly to fight anymore) to the 3rd manhunter Mark Shaw???

    Thanks for the super detailed report!

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