Manhunter: The Special Edition

Date: 1973-74 (original material), 1999 (collection)
Writer(s): Archie Goodwin
Artists(s): Walter Simonson
Collects: Detective 437-443 (backup stories)
Storyline: Chapter 1: The Himalayan Incident
A woman showed up in Nepal asking questions about Manhunter. An old man told her of a strangely clad, masked man who'd appeared there looking for someone who'd sought refuge there. He said he wanted no trouble, but assassins were told to attack. He easily fended them off and continued his search.
He entered a monastery hidden deep in the mountains and found his prey (after defeating several of its greatest warriors), then simply disappeared.
The interpol agent thanked the old man and walked away, as Manhunter rose and removed his disguise.

Chapter 2: The Manhunter File
Interpol agent Christine St. Claire returned to her office in Zurich. She'd lost Manhunter's trail in Nepal, but picked it up again in Calcutta. She explained to her supervisor (who wanted to discontinue the case) that Paul Kirk had recently surfaced after being thought dead for 30 years. Her file showed him that in recent times, Manhunter had appeared as both hero and assassin, but the bodies of his victims always disappeared. His fingerprints confirmed him as being Paul Kirk. He also appeared to be able to heal wounds quickly.

Chapter 3: The Resurrection of Paul Kirk
St. Claire found her man(hunter) in Marrakech. He was injured and on the ground near a few of his victims. He gave her a gun and asked her to keep watch while he healed. In the meantime, he told her his story:
He was a big game hunter in the '30s and later became a vigilante. He joined the war effort (WWII) at the government's request. By the time it was over, he'd lost his drive. He attempted to go back to game hunting, but was killed by an elephant.
He woke up 25 years later after having been experimented on by Dr. Myros, a man he'd saved from the Nazis in 1945. The men he'd been battling were from the same "council" which had resurrected him. They were all clones of Paul Kirk.
His first assignment had been to kill an Interpol agent so they could replace him with one of their own. St. Claire's boss arrived and attacked them.

Chapter 4: Rebellion
Manhunter killed St. Claire's boss, Damon Nostrand. Kirk told St. Claire how he'd rebelled against the "council" and how he was now hunting them. They found Nostrand's hotel key and checked out his room. Inside, they found wanted posters already printed up for both of them.

Chapter 5: Cathedral Perilous
Manhunter and St. Claire ended up in Istanbul. Inside and ancient church, they encountered a council meeting, where some of the lesser members expressed discontent with their higher-ups. Manhunter made his presence known and took a council member at gunpoint. Manhunter was temporarily overmatched, but with a little luck, got free. Both he and St. Claire escaped. The council knew they'd escaped with a recording, but St. Claire's father, a member, believed he could get it back from her.

Chapter 6: To Duel the Master
Japan: Manhunter got a step closer to finding the council's secret headquarters, but came face to face with his mentor. St. Claire was able to keep her father from getting the recording. He was killed shortly thereafter.
Manhunter and Asano Nitobe fought. As the master prepared to deliver the killing blow to his pupil, St. Claire's voice rang out from a helicopter above - she played the recording, proving Nitobe had been double-crossed. Nitobe joined Manhunter's side against the council.

Chapter 7: Gotterdammerung
Batman and Gordon checked out a murder scene. The victim was a 9th degree blackbelt, but that couldn't save him from a shotgun blast. Later that night, the Prime Minister of Congola was assassinated at a party at Wayne Manor. The assassin got away, but Batman was able to grab his weapon. Batman traced the gun back to the man who was Manhunter's weaponsmith.
Batman watched as Manhunter killed an assassin sent to kill Kolu Mbeya. Batman offered to help, but Manhunter turned him down - this was a job for killers, and Batman's code was against it.
Batman beat them to their next destination and stopped two assassins gunning at them. Kolu was killed. Batman joined them as they battled into the council's headquarters. Inside, Batman faced off against the man who was believed killed in Gotham City: Dan Kingdom. Kingdom had joined the council and placed a clone of himself in order to fake his own death.
Manhunter got to the leader and the group was helped out by Kolu, who'd faked going down so he could be used as a surprise later. While the others got into a plane, Manhunter set off the self destruct. He was inside when the place exploded.
The council was destroyed, but Manhunter died with it.

Manhunter: The Final Chapter
St. Claire and Nitobe chased the final Kirk clone into Gotham City, where Batman watched. Dressed as Manhunter, the clone was killed.


notes

  • Apologies for the poor scan - the book has a foil embossed cover.
  • The "Final Chapter" can only be found in this collected edition. It is "silent," as Goodwin passed away before it was completed - he and Simonson had a rough draft of the story.
  • Return to continuity section 2.