Manhunter #9 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Disorder in the Court

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Pencilled by: Javier Pina
Inked by: Jimmy Palmiotti, Fernando Blanco
Colored by: Steve Buccellato
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joan Hilty
Publisher: DC Comics

Before the review, just a note. Fernando Blanco inks pretty close to, if not exactly, half of this issue. If you compare his pages to Palmiotti, you’ll notice little to no difference at all. Going toe to toe with Palmiotti and matching the quality is praise indeed. Sadly, for whatever reason, Blanco’s name didn’t make the cover. However, he deserves credit so I thought I’d take a moment out to give him a little shout out.

Now onto the review proper…

In this issue, we have: a daring courtroom storming by a group of villains, a protagonist coming face to face with one of her biggest fears, the continuation of a subplot that sees former bearers of the name “Manhunter” being eliminated by an unknown assailant, and the possible return of a long forgotten relative. And you aren’t reading this book why?

For those that whine that nothing ever happens in single issues anymore, that arcs are needlessly padded, that storytelling has given way to endless splash panels, here is the tonic. To those who groove on character development and dialogue, but not necessarily fight sequences, guess what? This book is for you too. I may not belong to either extreme camp, but I know this. This book has enough action and enough exploration of characters to appeal to both sides of this great debate. This issue is no exception to that rule.

The action centerpiece of this issue focuses on Monocle, Merlyn, and Phobia breaching to courthouse to kill/free (whichever is quicker and/or easier) Shadow Thief. It is great sequence with Merlyn and Monocle’s Jeep jump being a highlight both art and script wise. It really feels like an action film and that is a hard feeling to translate from the page. Plus, I just love the buddy cop-esque antagonistic relationship the duo share. So much so that Monocle’s fate was a disappointment to me despite not caring about the character up until this point. However, both it and an earlier mistake that Monocle makes (showing that he may be bad, but he’s not evil) confirm the rough, nothing is sacred world of Manhunter, an element that attracted me to the book in the first place.