Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"The End" Week: Manhunter #24!

Although Manhunter #24 opens with a cover tribute to Amazing Spider-Man #50, it's nowhere near as downbeat as that. Mark Shaw, the titular Manhunter, has just defeated his nemesis, the face-changing assassin Dumas. Even though he had stolen, under duress, the Japanese emperor Hirohito's sword; his contacts in the Yakuza got Shaw off, fulfilling their debt to his father.

Although he's been offered a job with a salvage company (which, apparently, isn't too shabby) and the magic space baton and legacy of the Manhunters of Oa (don't ask, even Geoff Johns wouldn't touch that one) Shaw is planning on running away to protect his family and friends. Somewhat surprisingly, they don't let him.
Captain Cold should be allowed to make more appearances drunk as a monkey.
In a callback to the first issue, Shaw again runs into a drunk Captain Cold, shooting up the town with his cold gun while lamenting another Cubs losing season. (This issue being from 1990.) Shaw takes him down easily, but Cold gets off with a book deal and a stern talking to. Finally, Shaw visits his potential girlfriend, Sylvia, who had salvaged his damaged Manhunter mask from his bombed apartment. Shaw considers it for a moment, then contacts space lion Shan, to give him his baton for safekeeping; so he can try a normal life with Sylvia.
Seriously, that breaks my mighty heart.
As sometimes happens in these last issue write-ups, this one doesn't make a helluva lot of sense without the previous issues for context. Especially since this issue was coming off a six-issue storyline called "Saints and Sinners." And as is pretty typical for a DC comic, once cancelled, I don't think Shaw's supporting cast was ever seen again. Mark Shaw would return, though. Maybe. He was supposedly killed in Eclipso, but that was a replacement, a ringer. He would return in Steven Grant's post-Zero Hour Manhunter, and then again in the Kate Spencer Manhunter. (Look, DC is not letting that name go without a fight.)
You thought I was joking about the space lion business.
Shaw's history is pretty jacked up at this point, even without getting into the Manhunters from Green Lantern. (I think some of the space lion stuff from this issue may have been written off as Shaw being brainwashed.) But, last I heard, he passed on taking the Azrael job; which I still think was a bit of a shame, since I love that mask.

Scans from Manhunter #24, "The Long Goodbye" Written by Kim Yale, art by Grant Miehm, inks by John Statema.

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