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Manhunter (Paul Kirk) (DC Comics) (Red and white costume)

Manhunter

(Paul Kirk profile #2 - post-resurrection)


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

Context

This profile follows the , though the two are practically different characters.

Kirk unexpectedly returned in 1973 in a A. Goodwin/W. Simonson story, which I’d consider a prime example of the Bronze Age of Comics  making its entrance. The acclaimed tale had the vibe of a high-budget international action-adventure thriller movie, with distinctive plotting and art, and was quite influential.


Background

  • Real Name: Paul Kirk
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Former agent of the Council
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 190 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Manhunter II is a very experienced adventurer, detective and hand-to-hand fighter. He’s been further trained by the Manhunters cult, and the Council then trained him to become a world-class special agent.

Kirk received instruction from the legendary ninjutsu sensei Asano Nitobe, who became a close friend of his. The weapons skills taught by Nitobe are borderline superhuman. The Manhunter never misses, can kill fully-grown tigers with one thrust of his katar, and has once deflected a grenade launcher shot with a shuriken (!).

Manhunter (Paul Kirk)'s gear built by Kolu M'Beya

His physical durability is also borderline superhuman. He heals from the worst wounds superhumanly quickly. The damage can be seen healing as Kirk’s tissues fix themselves, and he once survived machinegun fire.


History

After the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions, as the USSR was feverishly working on its own atomic bomb technologies, it became obvious that humanity now had the means to destroy Earth and itself. As the Cold War started, there was little reason to believe it wouldn’t do so eventually. Among the reactions to this new set of rules was the creation of the Council.

The Council was a vast conspiracy headed by ten geniuses from all over the world. These were determined to prevent humanity from destroying itself in a nuclear Armageddon. The Council picked up speed very quickly, and by the mid-1970s was a pervasive concern. It had well-placed moles in numerous organisations, and pulled strings among the rich and powerful.

The Council knew from the very start that it would need an enforcement arm. After extensive research they planned to approach Paul Kirk, also known as the costumed adventurer Manhunter. However Kirk got himself killed by a bull elephant just before contact could be established.

The Council could not be bothered with such details. They fetched Kirk’s body. They resurrected and healed him over many years, using technologies developed by one of the ten geniuses, Professor Oka.

Ninja expert

While Kirk was healing in suspended animation, the Council’s enforcement branch was built using two further assets. One was Oka’s cloning technology. It allowed for producing an army of fully-grown clones of the still-comatose Kirk, sharing his inborn physical assets.

The second was the legendary ninjutsu master Asano Nitobe. Nitobe-san owned personal allegiance to the Council ever since Oka got him out of Nagasaki just before the bomb. The Kirk clones were trained by Nitobe and became skilled enforcers and assassins.

Manhunter (Paul Kirk) draws his bundi dagger

More than 25 years after his fatal accident, Kirk was revived – and he was now a superhuman. He was introduced to the Council and its goals, then briefed on world history since his death. Kirk started training with Nitobe to become the primary field agent of the Council’s enforcement branch. Over the years, Kirk and Nitobe became close friends.

In 1973, Manhunter was sent to kill an Interpol higher-up. But he couldn’t bring himself to cold-blooded murder for the sake of the conspiracy. At this point it was visible the Council’s aims had degenerated into a self-serving power lust. The ethical Kirk could no longer force himself to serve them.

However, the Council already had their doubts about his loyalty. The Interpol target was actually a Council double agent.

Maverick warrior

Kirk explained to his target that he wouldn’t kill him but rather help him fake his death. At this point, a cadre of Kirk clones sent by the Council to kill the original stormed the place. Manhunter was now on the run from a deadly, all-encompassing conspiracy. He’d also discovered that he had been robbed of his individuality and commoditised.

Manhunter (Paul Kirk) and Batman

The formidably skilled and intelligent Manhunter started taking the Council apart. He killed many of the cloned assassins, ambushing them as they attempted to eliminate high-profile targets designated by the Council.

In the mid-1970s, Manhunter even procured a tape that would expose many of the world’s rich and powerful as Council agents.

In the end, Paul Kirk managed to strike at the Council’s headquarters itself, killing two of its ten heads. After killing the Council’s master Manhunter detonated a bomb that razed the entire H.Q., destroying the Council forever at the cost of his own life. Paul Kirk thus restored his stolen destiny and individuality.

Legacy of a master

An unknown number of Kirk clones are known to have survived the demise of the Council. Specifically:

  • One was briefly seen as the Grandmaster of the Manhunter Cult on Earth, as he initiated Mark Shaw (who would himself bear the Manhunter name). This man likely still existed post-Crisis.
  • Another clone manipulated a powerful assembly of super-villains called, simply enough, the Secret Society of Super-Villains. He convinced his associates that he was a villain. Thus, the Kirk clone arranged for them to thwart the towering menace of Darkseid and foil one of the alien’s attempts at meddling with Earth.
    The Kirk clone then sacrificed himself in a suicide bombing as Darkseid was retreating via Boom Tube. Whether this man existed post-Crisis is unrevealed. If he did the SSSV incident likely occurred in a noticeably different way.

Manhunter (Paul Kirk) parries a chain with his katar

  • A number of cloned assassins survived the demise of the Council. These were hunted down by the two closest allies of Paul Kirk — Christine St. Clair and Nitobe Asano — possibly with the help of another Kirk ally, Kolu M’Beya. They were assisted at least once by another Manhunter confederate, Batman.
    Over the years, they reportedly slew every clone but one to wipe out the offence to their friend’s memory.
  • The last known clone, calling himself Kirk DePaul (and somehow endowed with the same regenerative powers as the original), became a shady international fixer. He had deserted the Council during one of the attempts to have Kirk murdered by his clones. DePaul would later join the Power Company under the handle Manhunter. This occurred post-Crisis.

Description

See illustration.


Personality

Manhunter is a highly driven, stone-cold super-agent. He acts professionally and almost ruthlessly, rarely showing emotion except for his constant anger at the Council. He cannot rest as long as the Council exists, for the Council has deprived him of what made him a man and turned him into a mere Xeroxed instrument.

Manhunter (Paul Kirk) crouching with weapons drawn, on a white background

Kirk does not have the suave class of a James Bond. Manhunter is all about field skills, exotic weapons, martial arts techniques and clever manoeuvres and strategies. He’s more of a super-hitman/ninja than anything else.

Badass

He’s cool because he’s highly driven and extremely professional, not because of one liners and gadgets. Manhunter was also a forerunner of the popularity of ninja lore, regenerating super-killers, clone armies and other schticks that would become big soon after he appeared.

There is no special link between the characterisation of Kirk pre- and post-resurrection. He’s essentially a different character, having been through death, years of ninjutsu training, a new career as an international shadow enforcer, and so on.

Being such a monolithic, loner character he exists in stories that are chiefly plot-driven. Much of the characterisation comes from the other characters involved in the tale.


Quotes

(To the Batman) “You’re not coming along. You’re not a killer… and this is a killing mission !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Manhunter

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 09 Wil: 08 Min: 08 Occupation: Adventurer
Inf: 08 Aur: 06 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 025 HP: 070

Powers:
Invulnerability: 08, Regeneration*: 06

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 08, Animal handling: 06, Artist (Actor): 06, Detective (all but Law): 07, Martial artist*: 08, Military science (Camouflage): 08, Military science (Tracking): 11, Thief*: 08, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 07, Weaponry: 11

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Language (Japanese, several other unspecified languages), Lightning reflexes, Scholar (Outdoorsman), Sharp Eye

Connections:
Kolu M’Beya (Low), Christine St. Clair (High), Asano Nitobe (High)

Drawbacks:
Arch-enemy (the Council)

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [BODY 07, Skin armour: 01, Drawback: Real Armour, Bonus: Skin armour also works against energy attacks]
  • M’Beya-customized 1916 Mauser [BODY 05, EV 04, Range: 05, Ammo: 10]
    with:

    • Three normal strips of ammunition
    • One strip of cinematic explosive ammo [BODY 02, EV 06, Ammo: 10]
    • A rarely-used screw-on silencer [BODY 02, Thief (Stealth): 04, Limitation: Thief only to muffle the shots]
    • A removable shoulder stock [BODY 05, Range: 07, Range substitutes for the Mauser’s Range].
  • Katar [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 09 w/Martial artist), Misc.: +1CS bonus to RV against Disarming attempts, Note : normally called a “Bundi dagger” back then]
  • Throwing blades (x9) [BODY 10, EV 03 (04 w/STR)] — this is a mix of throwing knives and heavy shuriken. There’s no visible difference in performance between the two, and the shuriken are always thrown singly.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Manhunter — Averaged PL 11.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
03 04 05 06 08 03 05 03

Powers

Regeneration ● 3 points
Regeneration 2, Diehard

Devices

Costume ● 1 point (Subtle, Removable)
Protection 1

Katar (“Bundi dagger”) ● 3 points (Noticeable, Removable)
Strength-based Piercing Damage 3, Improved Critical 2
The handle makes it Removable rather than Easily Removable – it resists disarms

M’Beya Special Mauser Array ● 7 points (Noticeable, Easily Removable)

  • Normal bullets — Ranged Ballistic Damage 4
  • Special explosive bullets — Ranged Explosive Damage 5, Diminished Range 1, Quirk 1 (Ten shots, difficult to replace)
  • Shooting with silencer — Ranged Ballistic Damage 4, Diminished Range 1, Feature 1 (Silenced)
  • Shooting with shoulder stock — Adds Extended Range 1 and Quirk 1 (installing the stock takes four rounds)

Combat Advantages

Accurate Attack, Chokehold, Close Attack 5, Defensive roll 4, Improved aim, Improved Critical 2 (w/Katar), Improved initiative, Improved trip, Power Attack, Quick draw, Takedown, Throwing mastery 2, Ranged attack 13, Uncanny Dodge (audial)

Other Advantages

Connected, Diehard, Equipment 2, Hide in plain sight, Instant up, Languages 3 (Japanese and several others), Tracking, Well-Informed

Skills

Acrobatics 5 (+10), Athletics 9 (+12), Close combat (Knives and swords) 5 (+18), Close combat (Ninja weapons) 5 (+18), Deception 5 (+8), Expertise (Manhunting) 11 (+14), Expertise (Ninjutsu) 7 (+10), Expertise (Streetwise) 6 (+9), Expertise (Survival and outdoorsmanship) 8 (+11), Insight 6 (+11), Intimidation 3 (+6), Investigation 7 (+10), Perception 6 (+12), Persuasion 4 (+7), Stealth 6 (+11), Technology 8 (+11) (Limited 2 to Demolitions and Security), Treatment 4 (+7) (Limited 2 to Stabilise and Revive), Vehicles 4 (+10)

Equipment

Throwing knives ● 2 points

Offense

Initiative +9
Unarmed +13, Close, Damage 3
Mauser +18, Ranged, Damage 4 (usually)
Throwing knives +18, Ranged, Damage 3 Piercing
Bundi dagger +18, Close, Damage 6 Piercing, Critical 18-20

Defense

Dodge 12 Fortitude 9
Parry 12 Toughness 9**/8/4*
Will 11

* Without Defensive Roll
** With Costume

Complications

  • Motivation Seeking justice !
  • Enemy The Council

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 12, Dodge/Toughness PL 11, Parry/Toughness PL 11, Fort & Will PL 10
  • Point total 205 Abilities 74, Defences 23, Skills 51, Powers 3, Devices 11, Advantages 43. Equiv. PL 14.


By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: DC Universe (Manhunter backup feature in the 1970s by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson).

Helpers: Azrael, Darci, Capita_Senyera.

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