5713 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Manhunter (Mark Shaw) on a white background, with a lion head symbol

Manhunter

(Mark Shaw)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Mark Shaw was one of the more intriguing new concepts seen in potential-new-books-showcase comic book First Issue Special, in 1975. Other characters during that run included Atlas (by Jack Kirby, like Manhunter), Lady Cop, Codename: Assassin, Metamorpho, the Warlord, the Creeper…

It didn’t catch, but Steve Englehart reused the character and concept when he consolidated DC’s various “Manhunters” into a single, Green Lantern-related mythos. This created the groundwork for the return of Manhunter (Mark Shaw) in his own series a decade later, in 1988.

It was a John Ostrander & Kim Yale series, in a similar vein to their other book Suicide Squad. This thriller had a dedicated fan following, and certainly felt more modern and grittier than most of DC’s releases back then.

This character profiles are really old notes. We really liked the series, but doing profiles was much less demanding back then. Furthermore, it was done before further evolutions to the Manhunter mythos. Including the “Wild Huntsman” spirit thing.


Background

  • Real Name: Mark David Shaw, born Mark David Fletcher
  • Other Aliases: Privateer, Star-Tsar, Dumas, Manhunter Prime
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Hugh Fletcher (real father-deceased), Rose Shaw (mother), Eliot Shaw (adopted father), Jamie (adopted brother), Eleanor (adopted sister), Desmond Bradford (uncle)
  • Group Affiliation: Former member and then associate of the Suicide Squad, former member of the Manhunters, former member of the Justice League of America.
  • Base Of Operations: NYC
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 210lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Mark Shaw was trained by the Manhunters to be a master of combat, the Manhunter Prime. He is also an expert in tracking, espionage, and counter-intelligence. Furthermore, he was trained to in Oan technology and science. However, perhaps his most powerful weapon is his keen, devious mind.

Shaw is good, very good – good enough that Amanda Waller went to great lengths to ensure his participation to several Suicide Squad missions.


History

Mark Shaw was actually born Mark Fletcher, son of Hugh Fletcher, a two-bit crook called Outlaw. When his father was killed in a failed robbery attempt, his mother Rose took her son and fled. Eventually she met and married Eliot Shaw, a lawyer, who adopted Mark as his own son.

Mark grew up and became a defense lawyer, like the rest of his family. A brilliant lawyer, he soon became disenfranchised with the legal system, where he saw corruption and the suffering of innocents.

The cult

At a loss of what to do, his uncle (a Manhunter agent) introduced him to the Manhunter cult. His passion for justice and frustration with the legal system blinded him to the evils of the Manhunters and he became Manhunter Prime. He was sent to join the Justice League and work at them from within.

When the Cult was later exposed, he pretended to abandon the Manhunter cult. He adopted the identity of the Privateer. He continued to work with the League, until he was exposed as having been working against the JLA as the villain called Star-Tsar. In prison, he worked with a psychologist named Simon LaGrieve who was able to help Shaw break the Cult’s influence.

The Squad

He jumped at the chance to work with the Suicide Squad in order to gain his freedom and more importantly, his self-respect. After the mission, he refused Waller’s offer to lead the Squad and struck out on his own to redeem himself and the Manhunter name.

Shaw then worked on and off with the Squad and as the meta-human bounty hunter called Manhunter. But he later retired both the name and the costume in the wake of a horrific retaliation by the shapeshifter Dumas.

After an unchronicled adventure or two as, more or less, a plainclothes superhero, Shaw was recruited by Sarge Steel to act as a double-agent among various terrorist networks. For this, Shaw took on the identity of his fallen foe Dumas, and took control of the shapeshifter’s operations.

Meanwhile, Steel groomed another man to take Shaw’s place as Manhunter. He then sent him on a suicide mission against Eclipso where, predictably, he died. When Shaw learned of this, he was horrified, and cut all ties with the government.

For months, it was assumed by most that it was Shaw who had died at the hands of Eclipso.

No man escapes

Shortly thereafter, Mark saved a man from a heart attack. This man was, coincidentally, Star City musician and current bearer of the Manhunter name, Chase Lawler.

Lawler’s near-death experience weakened his bond with his “Wild Huntsman” spirit, and the Huntsman accidentally bonded with Shaw before the latter left. This turned Lawler into the new Manhunter.


Description

When working Manhunter wears a his high-tech mask and padded armor colored red and blue, complete with hood and tassels. He is never without his power baton and several tricks up his sleeve. He also occasionally uses Japanese weaponry exclusively, due to honor.

When not working he wears expensive clothing suiting the situation, from suits to casual wear. He is also known to smoke a pipe on occasion. A tall attractive man, Shaw does not smile very often, unless the situation requires it.


Personality

Mark Shaw, due to his past, is constantly trying to convince himself, and others, that he is cold-hearted mercenary. Unfortunately, his actions speak otherwise. His passion for justice still exists and is as strong as ever, even though he tries to hide it.

However, on the occasions where his friends or family have been threatened, he has shown the ability to tap into his darker side and fight with a cold vengeance.

Shaw has a quick, dry wit that turned increasingly caustic as time went by.


Quotes

“I’m a businessman, not a superhero.”

“It has been said that criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot… I might add, that they’re not too terribly bright, either !”

“Smug ? I suppose I was, just a bit. After all, I’d beaten Dumas without having to throw a punch and that suited me just fine. I’m not nuts about violent confrontations with no money in them. All in all, though, I shouldn’t have dawdled on my way out.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Manhunter IV

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Responsibility of power
Int: 09 Wil: 08 Min: 06 Occupation: Bounty Hunter
Inf: 07 Aur: 07 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 08
Init: 028 HP: 60

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 08, Artist (actor): 07, Charisma: 08, Detective*: 09, Gadgetry*: 09, Martial Artist: 07, Military Science: 07, Scientist*: 09, Thief*: 08, Vehicles (land)*: 08, Weaponry (melee, exotic): 09

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Genius, Headquarters (confined), Lightning Reflexes, Rich Family, Scholar (Manhunter cult, Yakuza)

Connections:
Amanda Waller (Low – formerly a High connection to the Suicide Squad), Southern Cross Salvage (High), N’lasa (High), Oracle (Low), Daiichi Dokyu Yakuza clan (Low)

Drawbacks:
Guilt, Mistrust, Public Identity, Unluck

Equipment:

  • MASK [BODY 04, Thermal Vision: 08, Directional Hearing: 04, Radio communications (scrambled): 10, Recall (audial): 14, Extended Hearing: 04, Stretching: 00, Telescopic vision: 04, Ultravision: 08. Limitations : Stretching only to pedonculate the eye lenses]
  • Power Baton [BODY 07, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial artist), Energy Blast: 09, Jumping: 05, Magnetic Control: 08, R#5. Misc: The Energy Blast cannot enter killing combat. Reliability indicates charge]
  • Mask Bombs [BODY 01, Bomb: 08]
  • x4 Omni-gadgets 7 AP TYPE AC x2
  • MINI-MASK [BODY 03, Thermal Vision: 06, Ultra-vision: 06, Telescopic vision: 02]
  • COSTUME [BODY 04, Flash: 08, Skin Armor: 01, Note : the Flash power is emitted from the back of the gloves]
  • 8 APs Lab

By Philip John Mason

Helper(s): John Colagioia, Hartley C. Holmberg, Andrew Lee, Max Grind, Roy Cowan, Sébastien Andrivet, William Peterson

Source of Character: DCU

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