Monday, January 08, 2007

Graphic Novel A Day: Manhunter Vols. 1-2

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Jesus Saiz, Javier Pina, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brad Walker, Diego Olmos, Fernando Blanco & Bob Petreccia
Company: DC Comics
Price: $12.99 & $17.99 ($12.23 at Amazon)

Last night I read the first 14 issues of the new Manhunter series. Or reread, I should say, since I've actually kept up on the book in single issue format. I have my issues with the book, as in some ways it represents the dark and gritty over-reality of DC, and the tie-in to Identity Crisis didn't help. And at first, I found Kate Spencer too abrasive, not just real and flawed like Andreyko intended but actually unpleasant and borderline unlikable. But I've come around to really enjoy the book as a densely-packed story that incorporates some of the lesser-known aspects of the DC Universe and a modern crime drama tone. It's got more than a little in common with the late, lamented Chase, including having Cameron Chase as one of the supporting cast as of the second part of trade number two, and the artwork is terrific. The book is weirdly paced. On one hand, they have a hard time finding good chop points for the trade because the plotting is sort of old school, with plenty of ongoing subplots and foreshadowing of upcoming stories. On the other, it's really kind of hard to keep up with everything in single issue format, so it reads better in trades. Ideally, this is the kind of book I'd like to see published manga style, in $10 trades every few months, but I know just exactly how realistic that is. Still, I hope that the second trade does well and that we get the rest of the series, whether it concludes with #30 or goes on after a successful "last" arc, in trade paperback form as well.

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