The Hunter (Superman)
The Hunter's origins were traced to the Phantom Zone that served as a prison for criminals from the planet Krypton. Amongst them included General Zod and two female Kryptonians who were punished with banishment but managed to survive the fate of Krypton after it exploded. Whilst there, they were trapped helplessly and watched through the dimensional barrier to see Earth where they saw Superman, the son of Jor-El who were responsible for their exile. Not only did Zod and his comrades want to get their freedom but also revenge on their enemy's son. One of the female Kryptonians revealed her plan when she showed her comrades a chemical pool she had created. This pit of green liquid contained carbohydrates, xenopeptides and carbites that were all the building blocks of a genetic scientists dream. Whilst the renegade Kryptonians could not escape the Phantom Zone barrier, they decided to craft an organic unliving construct to accomplish this feat. Through concentration, they began to envision what they believed to be the perfect hunter that merged all the qualities that they saw in the task. Thus, this mental concentration saw the creation of the Hunter who declared that he existed for one purpose which was the extermination of the son of Jor-El. Upon asking the location of his prey, General Zod revealed that Superman lived in Metropolis on Earth and urged the Hunter to begin his mission. With ease, the Hunter managed to pierce the barrier between the Phantom Zone and Earth where he arrived on humanity's homeworld. In Metropolis, his arrival came within the city where drivers crashed their cars in order to avoid hitting him as he stood at a junction on the road. The Hunter examined a ruptured fire hydrant and look at the water that emerged when a police officer attempted to arrest him. Using his natural abilities, the Hunter's body took on the consistency of water and sent a burst of water to deal with the police officer. After which, as a stream of moving water, he moved into the sewers where he sought Superman who the Hunter saw as the "hated" son of Jor-El.
Despite its search, the creature was unable to locate Superman so instead it decided to draw out the Man of Steel from hiding. It had learnt that the best way to do so was by attacking the Daily Planet as the Hunter came to learn that Kal-El had friends in this structure. After taking the form of steel, the Hunter entered into the building from the roof where it encountered both Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. By this point, the creature was aware of the fact that Lois Lane was Superman's friend and quickly grabbed her with the intention of kidnapping the human. However, whilst he was in the midst of taking her away, Kal-El emerged and struck the Hunter from behind and sent the alien warrior to the ground. A moment later, the creature recovered and was elated at the presence of its quary where it stated that the son of Jor-El had arrived on schedule. The mention of Kal-El's father made Superman ask the Hunter how he knew his biological parent to which the creature responded that it had been sent by his fellow Kryptonians to destroy him. After throwing Superman to the side, the Hunter quickly grabbed hold of Lois Lane where it threatened her life if Kal-El approached them. The creature took its hostage to the roof where it saw a diamond ring on her finger where the Hunter took its composition. At this point, Superman had arrived demanding that Lois Lane be released where the Hunter vaguely complied by throwing the human from the roof of the Daily Planet. This forced Kal-El to fly down to rescue her before she hit the ground but by this point the Hunter used its strength to rip the globe on the roof of the Daily Planet to send it hurtling downwards. After saving Lois and dropping her on the ground, Superman moved to stop the falling globe but whilst doing so the Hunter jumped straight through it where it shattered parts of it in order to grab onto Kal-El where the two tumbled straight through the ground where they entered into the Metropolis subway.
In the fight that followed, the creature threw Superman into a moving train where he was knocked out of the fight. The victorious Hunter sealed the metal on the stopped train on top of Kal-El where it claimed that its foe had been bested in battle. Rather than kill its prey, the creature simply departed the train where after stepping on water it changed its composition into liquid which departed the scene by entering into a sewer drain. It later moved through the pipes into a lake where it manifested a liquid form that took solid composition after stepping onto mud where it had taken a form of that substance. Once there, the Hunter was visited by phantom apparitions of its creators in the Phantom Zone who revealed the presence of Kryptonite that was the only substance able to destroy Superman. This revelation excited the Hunter who demanded it though only touched phantom illusions of it. However, the Phantom Zone criminals revealed that they knew where some of the substance was present on Earth which was within the residence of Lex Luthor. The Hunter thus departed to the Luthor residence where it woke the sleeping Lex and lifted him in the air where it demanded he wake up. It revealed that it required Superman and crushed Luthor's desk when Lex inquired on what his payment would be by giving the creature the substance. The implied threat led to the Hunter gaining access to the substance which would allow it to transmutate its body into Kryptonite that would destroy Superman by exposure. As part of its plan, the Hunter created an ambush for its prey where it abducted Martha Kent and took her form where it awaited in the apartment of Clark Kent. When Superman arrived, he began to feel weak as the Hunter in its disguise took out the rock of Kryptonite and transformed into the substance leading to a massive dose of the substance affecting the Man of Steel. Weakened, the Hunter threw him through the doorway onto the balcony where it seemed that Superman had succumbed to Kryptonite poisoning and had died.
Following its victory, the Hunter proceeded to continue its debt to its creators by attacking S.T.A.R. Labs in order to gain possession of the Phantom Zone Projector. When activated, Zod emerged on Earth but before his two compatriots could escape their prison - Superman survived where it was revealed he had faked his death by mimicking the effects of Kryptonite poisoning. He quickly took the Projector thus trapping the two Phantom Zone criminals. Both Zod and the Hunter pursued Superman to retrieve the Projector but to also eliminate Kal-El. An enraged Hunter intended to complete its mission of eliminating Superman and intended to make sure that it was not fooled twice. In the midst of the pursuit, the Hunter landed on some power lines where it took on the composition of electricity. Using this power, the Hunter intended to fry the Man of Steel with enough electrical energy. Whilst projecting all its power, Superman managed to twist a satellite dish into the path of the attack and sent it back at the Hunter who disintegrated into its component liquid origins. Shortly afterwards, Superman used the retrieved Phantom Zone Projector to send Zod back into his prison.
Personality and attributes
In terms of appearance, the Hunter was a large humanoid with green skin and a head that held two large circular red eyes. His hands had three digits on their surface whilst his feet had only two.
The nature of the organisms creation meant it was a dedicated vessel of revenge against Kal-El as intended by its creators. This was to the point that the Hunter claimed that it sought Superman who was referred to as the "hated" son of Jor-El. In fact, the creature stated to its creators that it existed for one purpose alone which was the extermination of the son of Jor-El. The Hunter had a cruel streak as when it attacked Superman with an electrical onslaught it demanded that he beg for his life. It was seemingly completely focused on its prey as the Hunter ignored policemen and stated that humans held no interest to it. Instead, it adopted the approach of a hunter looking for its prey and determined that if it could not find its quary then it would draw Superman out to it by attacking his friends. Despite this being the case, the Hunter did seem to be a creatures of its word and promised its masters that it would free them in exchange for finding the means to destroy Kal-El.
Powers and abilities
In terms of powers, the creature held seemingly greater than human strength as it was easily able to lift a human such as Lex Luthor and crush a desk with its bare hands. It also demonstrated the ability to fly and had some form of enhanced speed as when it was within one of its forms it managed to move at such speed in order to capture Lois Lane. Elements of its abilities seem to be based on shapeshifting as the Hunter was able to take on the appearance of Clark Kent's adoptive human mother to such an extent that it was able to fool Kal-El.
The Hunter was seemingly a being that held the unique talent of altering its own molecular structure and tranforming its body into any other element. Such a process required only physical contact and allowed the creature to take on the characteristics of the object it had touched. Thus, by putting its hand into water, the Hunter was able to turn itself into a liquid state and control its composition allowing it to send blasts of water to push back its foes. Alternatively, it was able to become a stream of water in order to navigate its environment and even merge with larger bodies of water to escape. It was able to return to a physical form by simply moulding its body into a humanoid form and touching another substance to gain that ones consistency. An example of this was seen when the Hunter journeyed through water and went onto land where it took the form of mud. Higher levels of this ability were used to impart greater endurance to the Hunters physical form such as taking the consistency of steel and even a diamond that was one of the hardest materials on Earth. These traits allowed the creature to engage in a physical confrontation with a Kryptonian such as Superman whilst under a yellow sun and even rip large structures to throw at its foe and even smash through such obstacles. More unique forms included the ability to turn its body into Kryptonite after discovering some of the substance and using its radiation in an attempt to kill Kal-El. Another power the creature gained was by touching electric lines which allowed the Hunter to become a being of electrical energy and it was able to discharge this power into deadly attacks.
Some unknown reason that was perhaps linked to the creature's unique origins meant that the Hunter had the capacity to travel from the Phantom Zone without being trapped by the barrier. Furthermore, it seemed to be capable of communicating with its creators telepathically and used this connection to gain important intelligence for its mission.
- The Hunter was voiced in his animated form by actor Peter Cullen.
- Superman: "The Hunter" (1988)