Manhunter (Kate Spencer)
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Artwork for the cover of Manhunter (vol. 3) #4 (2005).
Art by Jae Lee
|First appearance||Manhunter (vol. 3) #1 (October 2004)|
|Created by||Marc Andreyko|
|Alter ego||Katherine Spencer|
Birds of Prey
|Abilities||Wears a suit that is keyed into her unique bioelectrical signature, granting her increased strength, agility, and endurance. Carries a powerful staff once used by a previous Manhunter, Mark Shaw.|
Manhunter is a fictional character, a superheroine in publications from DC Comics. Kate Spencer is the eighth DC Comics character depicted using the name Manhunter, and the first female to do so. The character first appears in Manhunter (vol. 3) #1 (October 2004) and was promoted by DC Comics as relevant to the popular Identity Crisis limited series.
|Please help improve this article by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (October 2008)|
Despite critical success, the first series has repeatedly had trouble gaining larger readership. DC Comics announced in May 2006 that the series would be canceled and that issue #25 would be the last. Dan DiDio, DC's executive editor, soon followed with another announcement, that fan outcry convinced him to extend the series for five additional issues in order to improve sales. The new five-issue story arc dealt with a ramification of the Infinite Crisis, again tying the series into a popular event. Didio also said that the storyline leads into another big event in the DC Universe. The series came back with issue #31 in 2007, but was cancelled with issue #38 in 2008. She will have a 10 page co-feature in Batman:Streets of Gotham beginning in June.
Fictional character biography
Kate Spencer is a federal prosecutor who grows increasingly tired of seeing guilty criminals evade punishment. Copperhead, a criminal on trial for multiple murders 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. Calling herself Manhunter, Kate blackmails a former weapons manufacturer for numerous villains named Dylan Battles — who is in the Witness Protection Program — into building, maintaining, and upgrading 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. Kate's father Walter Pratt spent time in prison for murdering her mother, and she comes to believe that her grandfather is superhero 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.
Kate was hired to be Wonder Woman's defense lawyer for the murder of Maxwell 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 shapeshifting cannibal Everyman from Lex Luthor's Infinity, Inc.
Cancellation and Future
Since the cancellation of her ongoing series, it has been announced by Dan DiDio that Kate Spencer will be moving to Gotham to serve as their D.A. and will be appearing in Streets of Gotham alongside Huntress and Misfit, her fellow Birds of Prey, and Batgirl.
Powers and abilities
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 Controllers apparently programmed an instinctive hatred of Reach scarabs into the suits including the one currently worn by Kate Spencer. Her suit reacts adversly to the scarab currently bonded to Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes.
- The Gauntlets - A small-time 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.
Coincidentaly many characters have remarked that Kate displays slightly elevated strength and resiliance to injury. If these are actual meta-human powers or if Kate is simply tougher then average humans remains to be seen.
- Birds of Prey #100 - 103, 105- (November 2006 - present)
- Identity Crisis #6
- Infinite Crisis #7
- Manhunter (vol. 3) #1 - 38 (October 2004 — March 2009) collected as:
- Manhunter Vol. 1: Street Justice (collects #1–5, December 2005, ISBN 1401207286)
- Manhunter Vol. 2: Trial By Fire (collects #6–14, January 2007, ISBN 1401211984)
- Manhunter Vol. 3: Origins (collects #15–23, August 2007, ISBN 1401213405)
- Manhunter Vol. 4: Unleashed (collects #24–30, January 2008, ISBN 1401216323)
- Manhunter Vol. 5: Forgotten (collects #31-38, May 2009, ISBN 1401221580)
- Villains United Infinite Crisis Special #1
- World War III Part 3: Hell Is for Heroes (April 2007)
- ^ http://www.newsarama.com/WWPhilly06/DC/Manhunter_Save.html
- ^ Manhunter Comics - Villain Profiles - Walter Pratt
- ^ Newsarama.com : Dan DiDio: 20 Answers, 1 Question - February 13th Edition
- ^ Justice League: Cry For Justice #4
- ^ Manhunter (vol. 3) #32 (Sept. 2008)
|This section includes a list of references or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (October 2008)|