Posts tagged ‘Manhunters’

Action 596 – Superman and Spectre and the ghosts of Smallville


Action 596 (Jan. 88) is a Millenium crossover (Week 4), by Byrne and Williams, but also a chapter in the Superman story arc running within the larger crossover.  Superman had discovered that the people he grew up with in Smallville were all implanted and controlled by the Manhunters.  The previous issue of Adventures of Superman ended with him defeating the Manhunter robot in charge, which left all the residents dead.


The Spectre is drawn to the scene.  Something is not right about it, but he cannot see what is wrong.


He transports Superman to the astral plane, where they “see” the imagined Smallville of the people, newly dead but in denial.  According to Spectre, not a rare thing, but never so large, or lasting so long.


In fact, the whole astral plane is a fake, all conjured by the supposedly dead Manhunter in some way that has never made sense to me, so I don’t think about it too much.  It’s more fun to look at the page of him, under the Spectre’s control, ripping himself open.


There is also a great page of the Spectre scaring kids planning to pull a prank on Lana’s house.

Detective 582 – Batman assaults the Manhunter temple


Detective 582 (Jan. 88) is not merely a Millenium crossover, it was also part of a four issue telling of the heroes’ invasion of the Manhunter temple in the Louisiana bayou.  The same week this issue came out, The Spectre, Suicide Squad and Captain Atom also had stories of the attack.  Only this issue really crosses over with the others, which remain largely separate tales.

Mary Jo Duffy managed to pull off a good issue, despite all the needed tie-ins, with Norm Breyfogle back on the pencils, and Pablo Marcos on the inks.


The first part of the story picks up from the previous issue of Batman, in which Commissioner Gordon had been replaced by a Manhunter robot.  Batman tracks the actual Gordon, and explains to him the impersonation, which allows the entire plot of Millenium to be explained.  It turns out Gordon was intentionally lured away, and was being set up to be killed, though Batman prevents that.


Batman runs into Jim Corrigan and Kim Liang, in a passage mirrored in the Spectre.  Corrigan accompanies Batman to the temple, and though we do not see the Spectre, the heroes see the results of his work, all the decommissioned Manhunter robots.


Batman and Corrigan find the place where the Manhunters are keeping the human prisoners, and as Corrigan frees them, Batman penetrates to the heart of the temple.  He comes across Karin Grace, learning of her plans to blow up the temple, but more importantly, learning of the existence of the Suicide Squad.


And though Captain Atom does not appear, the lack of radiation, and snowfall, at the end of the story reference events in his book.

It’s all a bit frantic, but really, far better than it might have been.

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