“Trial by Fire Part 3: Bad Influence”
Written by Mac Andreyko
Guest Artist Javier Pina
Inked by Jimmy Palmiotti
Coloring by Steve Bucellato
Lettering by Jared K Fletcher
Asst Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Edited by Joan Hilty
Published by DC Comics
A new series is like a new relationship. Each issue is like a date. Of course you have that awkward first date/issue, and you determine if you want to see the other person/book again. By the eight date/issue, you should know how it’s going. That’s how I feel about Manhunter.
Manhunter and I have a good relationship. It’s going very well so far. When I started picking up the series, I didn’t know if I could handle the relationship. Did I really want to be with this book? And the answer is yes. I’m very happy with way the way things are progressing. Manhunter makes me happy, and I don’t anticipate a break up anytime soon.
With the eighth date/issue here, I really feel like I’m getting to know the parties involved. I’m becoming quite attached to Kate Spencer. She is thru and thru a hero, but at the same time, I can almost hear her say “What am I doing in this outfit, fighting crime.” She’s good at what she does, but she’s also a little surprised by that fact. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience watching this new hero at work.
The penciler this issue, Javier Pina is someone new to me, but it wasn’t until about halfway through the issue that I realized that it wasn’t the normal art team. So when the book needs a guest artist again, I hope they choose Pina.
As I mentioned the last time I had to review this series, I was amazed the way Andreyko was able to juggle several stories without making them feel rushed. But throughout, it’s not the plot that really drives the book for me. Like Bloodhound, Manhunter is much more of a character driven book. It’s great getting to know Kate, and her pseudo-sidekick Dylan. Andreyko fully develops these characters, so regardless of the plot for each issue; we care about what is happening.
As for what is happening, well, there is a lot of fighting, including a very well staged fight with Cheshire to start out the issue, but the main focus for this arc is the trial of Shadow Thief. Through the few pages of it, I get a better idea of who Firestorm was than I ever had.
With Kate being a lawyer and a superhero, I’m sure there will be more trials involving metahumans. I hope that Andreyko uses them to delve into heroes’ personal lives again; it’s a truly unique view.
So overall, I’ve been very pleased with this series. And this issue in particular, has been a highlight. Even though it’s “part 3” of an arc, it can been enjoyed on its own merits. So go ahead….enjoy it.