The Manhunters are a race of robot warriors that feature in DC Comics.
Around 3.5 billion years ago, the Guardians formed a plan to bring order to the universe and with the power inherent in their bodies they created a corps of androids that they called the Manhunters. (Millennium v1 #1)
The mechanical androids were both based on and named after the Manhunter police officers from the Green Martian civilization. (Martian Manhunter v2 #21) A number of the Oan robotic policemen accompanied their master when Larfleeze and his thief guild stole a precious box whereupon they feld to Okaara. During the resultant skirmish over the Orange Lantern Central Power Battery, several Guardians were killed and a treaty was formed with Larfleeze which saw him handing over the box as well as agreeing to remain within the Vega system.
Around 1,346.72 years, a Manhunter managed to pierce the veil around the dark planet Apokolips and attempted to apply Oan law. The unit encountered resistance from the native Apokolipitans where it was destroyed by the lowlies. (Green Lantern 80-Page Giant v1 #3)
After one a half billion years, the androids turned against their creators for reasons unknown to the Oans who attributed to either contact to alien environments or perhaps a design flaw. Regardless, they were stripped of their power and later went to using living beings instead but the machines refused to accept defeat. Instead, they sought revenge where they went into hiding and began experimenting on themselves to recreate their former power through alternate sources. (Millennium v1 #1)
Among the worlds that they settled on and hid their existence was a planet called Orinda. (Justice League of America v1 #141)
One of their schemes involved the framing of Green Lantern Hal Jordan for the destruction of the planet Orinda. In reality, the planet's destruction was simply an illusion designed to discredit the Green Lantern. At this time, the Manhunter Mark Shaw was dispatched to capture Jordan for trial and he battled the Justice League. (Justice League of America v1 #140) Their true nature was revealed when their world of Orinda was unmasked as still existing and their mechanical nature revealed to Mark Shaw who broke away from the cult after seeing their deception. (Justice League of America v1 #141)
A New Grandmaster
Though presumed destroyed as a result of the earlier conflict, the Manhunters were eventually found by the Cyborg Superman who became their new Grandmaster. Located on the secret world of Biot, they slowly began to make attempts at rebuilding and gaining their vengeance.
On Earth, the military conducted a secret experiment on the crashed remains of Abin Sur's ship with the aim of using its advanced propulsion system but their attempts led to failure. However, an opportunity arose when a damaged deactivated Manhunter was discovered in the swamps of Lousiana Bayou. Studying the machine, they managed to reverse engineer its propulsion system and created the X-2020 jet fighter with the alien technology. [Green Lantern IV #3] The crash of the fighter led to the discovery of the alien influence and the presence of the reborn Green Lantern Hal Jordan led to the reactivation of the damaged Manhunter. The return of the malfunctioning android led to the Manhunters sending another unit which attacked Hal Jordan whereupon proclaimed that it along with its brethren were taking over Space Sector 2814. [Green Lantern IV #1, 2]
During the fight, the damaged android managed to escape and as the active Manhunter was being impeded by Jordan it led to the unit using its internal power battery to drain his power battery of its charge. It was then that Hal Jordan learnt of the alien involvement in the X-2020 and fought to stop the damaged Manhunter from its destruct mechanism from being activated but failed. Devoid of his power rings energy, he damaged the active android and used its battery to restore his energy whereupon he destroyed the unit. Once repowered, he took the malfunctioning Manhunter into space to dissipate its explosion where the dying android expressed fear as well as feelings of sentience as it approached its destruction. On the planet Biot, the Manhunters later reported to the Grandmaster of the return of the Green Lantern Corps. (Green Lantern IV #3)
War of Light
The Red Lantern Corps were later attacked by the Third Army though survived the attack and Atrocitus managed to divine the creatures origins through his blood magic. Learning the power of the creatures, he determined that inorganic beings were immune to their assimilation and thus decided to travel to his devastated homeworld in order to reactivate a unit of Manhunters that he had defeated long ago. (Red Lantern v1 #15) On Ryut, Atrocitus awakened the sleeping army of Manhunters that he had kept contained on that planet but the androids attempted to eliminate him. However, in his rage, he managed to target and destroy the commanding Alpha Manhunter thus leaving the remaining units directionless. This allowed him to make the machines and using he magic he took control of them where he dispatched a contingent to attack Oa whilst the remaining accompanied him to Maltus on a special mission. (Red Lantern v1 #16)
After the disappearance of the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro positioned his fear lanterns as the new peacekeeping force of the universe. To achieve that end, he had the Sinestro Corp's Science Division rebuilt and reactivated a legion of Manhunters to serve a supporting role for his forces. (Sinestro v1 #14) They were later deployed to Earth in the battle against the anti-emotion cult known as the Paling and targeted their leader the Pale Bishop. During the battle, they launched Sinestro Corps Power Rings towards Earth in order to recruit new members amongst the planet's superhero and supervillain populace in order to fight the Paling. (Sinestro v1 #18)
In appearance, it was said that these androids were designed to resemble their creators the Guardians but possessed attributes that they lacked such as a larger form. During their design, the Oans sought to develop the perfect creature to serve as a warrior corps. (Justice League of America v1 #141) In many ways, the machines were designed to mimic the Oans to the point that an equivalent of the symbionts that resided in the Guardians were within the Manhunters. These took the form of programs that were tasked to keep the androids circuits alive forever. (Secret Origin v2 #23)
Individual Manhunters also contained a self destruct mechanism which could be activated by the individual android or forcibly enacted. Once activated, a countdown began which was vocally announced by the android and detonated with such explosive force that it rivalled that of a miniature nuclear explosion. (Green Lantern v4 #3) As machines, they were immortal and able to live for thousands of years. (Millennium v1 #2)
There were a number of variant forms created from Manhunter technology which included:
- Alpha Manhunter : a type of an android that had a command and control role among the Manhunters. (Red Lanterns v1 #16)
- Supermanhunter : part of Project Kappa developed on Orinda that was a large android constructed with an armor made of Kryptonite with it being designed to battle Superman. (Justice League of America v1 #140)
- Highmasters : these are giant Manhunters who are powered by Green Lanterns and possess the power of devastating entire planets.
- Willhunters : a nanotech machine that infect a host body and transform it into a cybernetic Manhunter.
The Manhunters had a number of directives that included:
- "No Man Escapes the Manhunters."
- "The Manhunters are a Myth." (Millennium v1 #1)
They operated under stealth and remained in the shadows where they bided their time. (Millennium v1 #2) During this time, their code dictated that they should leave no witnesses that uncovered their existence. Such was their secrecy that they claimed that none had uncovered their existence in ten centuries. (Justice League of America v1 #140)
In addition, through various means they were able to create sleeper agents that were deeply rooted to their identities. (Millennium v1 #1)
One method of transport used by them were Transpheres that could be created through an adjustment of their baton's controls. This created a spherical container that was used by the Manhunter for transport allowing them to move captured targets. For escape, it had the ability to vanish into another dimension. (Justice League of America v1 #140) Another item was the Illusiotron that was a machine designed to create realistic illusions and could be used to make an entire planet invisible. (Justice League of America v1 #140)
- Mr. Smith :
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- Laurel Kent :
- The Manhunters were created by Jack Kirby where they made their first appearance in 1st Issue Special v1 #5 (August 1975).
- In Smallville: Lantern v1 (2014), an alternate version of the Manhunters were shown in the Smallville Season 11 tie-in comics set after the events of the television show. These were bipedal robots with featureless faces that had four optics and had been created by the Guardians of the Universe long ago as their enforcers until they rebelled. They were defeated and abandoned by their creators who replaced them with the Green Lantern Corps. However, the cosmic entity Parallax placed newly forged yellow Power Rings into them turning them into his servants which he activated when Superman received a green Power Ring.
- In Green Lantern: Earth One (2018), an alternate reality setting was shown that was placed on Earth-1. The Manhunters were machines that were believed to had been created by the Oans long ago until they rebelled and destroyed both their creators as well as their Green Lantern Corps. In the aftermath, they controlled the galaxy and imposed a reign of tyranny across many civilisations. Over time, the existence of the Green Lanterns became a myth with the rings being passed down descendants but none knowing how to operate them and no one had managed to destroy a Manhunter across these years.
In other media
- In Justice League, the Manhunters made an appearance in the episode "In Blackest Night" where they were voiced by actor James Remar. It was mentioned by the Guardians of the Universe that the Manhunters were created by them and predated the Green Lantern Corps as an interstellar law enforcement organization. The Oans believed that robots made excellent peacekeepers but later learnt that they were flawed as they were unable to distinguish between good and evil. As a result, they were banished from the Guardians service who re-tasked them for more simpler tasks such as guarding with them believing that the machines did not object to this new goal. However, unknown to them, the Manhunters held a burning hatred for their creators that extended to the Green Lantern Corps. This was because they believed that they had been denied their birthright namely the green light that powered the Central Power Battery on Oa. Thus, they secretly plotted their revenge and by the modern day had orchestrated a secret plot to discredit the Green Lantern Corps to force the Guardians away from Oa allowing them to take the Central Power Battery. This saw them framing Green Lantern John Stewart for the destruction of a world where three Manhunters arrived on Earth to arrest him. They faced opposition from the Justice League but when John Stewart arrived he willingly surrendered himself to them. The Manhunters took him into custody and escorted him to his trial that was part of their elaborate plan. With the Guardians attending the trial, the androids assaulted Oa in large numbers where they overwhelmed its defenders during the siege. However, the Justice League managed to clear John Stewart's name and uncover the Manhunters plans where they moved in to protect the world. During the battle, the Justice League and Green Lantern Corps managed to destroy many of the robotic warriors. However, one Manhunter managed to make his way to the Central Power Battery and absorbed its power where he became a titanic being of energy with this act stealing the green light from both the Guardians as well as the Green Lanterns. Despite this, John Stewart managed to absorb the power siphoned by the Manhunter back into his power ring by reciting the Green Lantern oath thus destroying the android whereupon he projected the energy back into the Central Power Battery. This act not only re-powered the Oans and Green Lantern Corps but ended the threat of the Manhunters.
- In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, the Manhunters were referenced in the initial story arc when its revealed that the Red Lantern Corps was created by Atrocitus after his homeworld was devastated by the androids. They made their first appearance in the episode "The New Guy" where they were reactivated by the Anti-Monitor to serve as his army. During a battle with the Anti-Monitor, Aya managed to defeat the titanic machine and usurp his body when she had cut herself from feeling emotions after being rejected by Razer. This caused her to take command of the Manhunters that she wanted to use to purge the universe of organic life at the beginning of time. At some point, she had uploaded a copy of her programming into these Manhunters.
- In DC Universe Online, the Manhunters appeared as antagonists for the hero side where they were voiced by David Jennison. They served as allies to the Sinestro Corps in their battle against the Green Lantern Corps. A number of Manhunters were rebuilt into remote fear generators that were used to power the Sinestro Corps power rings.
- In Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters where they were voiced by Fred Tatasciore. Similar to their comic origins, they were robotic former enforcers of the Guardians of the Universe before going rogue and being abandoned. At some point, they settled on their own homeworld known as Biot. The machines thus embarked on a campaign of getting revenge against their creators and their successors in the Green Lantern Corps. They were shown allying themselves with Amon Sur who secretly allowed them to strike against Oa where they intended to claim the hidden yellow fear energy located within the Vaults. A number of various classes of the androids were shown that included the Manhunter Ultra, energy absorbing Manhunter Tank, Manhunter Disruptor, energy draining Manhunter Siphoner, the serpentine mind controlling Willhunters and the gigantic Highmasters.
- In DC Legends, the Manhunters appeared as antagonists in the iOS video game where it was said that they had been constructed by the Guardians of the Universe eons ago. After they rebelled, the Manhunters were discontinued from service but returned as foes when they fell under the control of Nekron. Among the types of enemy types included Manhunter Skirmishers, Manhunter Interceptors, Manhunter Overseers, Willhunter Invaders, Willhunter Sharpshooters, Willhunter Dreadnaughts, Willhunter Destroyers, Hopehunter Invaders, and Hopehunter Dreadnaughts. One kind of boss level character was a large Manhunter named Manhunter Zero.
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- Green Lantern v4: #3
- Red Lanterns v1: