A group of robotic peacekeepers
s published by DC Comics
first appeared in Justice League of America #140
The history of the Manhunters started in the distant past on the planet Oa. The
race that lived there channeled the natural green energy they emitted into a
Central Power Battery. They did this after one of their race, Krona used an
advanced piece of technology to view the beginning of the universe. This action
caused creation to fragment, creating an infinite number of dimensions and loosing
untold evil into the universe. The members of this race believed that they were
ultimately responsible for Krona's actions and set about to try and keep peace in the
Using the Central Power Battery and their advanced scientific knowledge,
this race created a group of android warriors to keep the peace in the universe.
These robots were called the Manhunters, were programmed for self-repair, and
were armed with guns that channeled the power of the Central Power Battery.
They became known throughout the universe by the battle cry "No evil escapes
Over the centuries, the Manhunters began to change. They grew more independent,
relying less on their creators on Oa for their directions. Eventually, this new
independence grew into rebellion, with the Manhunters believing that the Oans wer
not fit to be served and needed to be overthrown. The Manhunters began to plot the
overthrow of Oa and the seizing of the Central Power Battery.
The Manhunters openly opposed their creators and the war between the two sides
lasted many centuries, with untold civilizations and planets being ravaged and destroyed
in the process. Eventually, the Manhunters were able to bring the battle to Oa
itself and they beseiged the planet. They successfully took the Central Power Battery, but
when the first Manhunter tried to charge his weapon from it, it overloaded and
destroyed all of the weapons of the Manhunters.
The Oans believed that the threat of the Manhunters was over and exiled them to
distant planets. They cut off all contact with their creations. These decisions
caused a split in the Oan society. One group broke away from the rest and left
Oa, eventually becoming known as the Controllers. The rest of the Oans stayed
on their planet and became known as the Guardians of the Universe. This group
decided that their error was not using living beings in their cosmic police force
and, so created the Green Lantern Corps.
The Manhunters did not pass from the scene however. They spent many years hidden
on different planets planning the destruction of the Oans and their new tool,
the Green Lantern Corps. They even changed their battle cry to "No man escapes
The Manhunters eventually gained power by an alternate means and found other ways
of travelling the galaxy. They settled on Earth and the leader of the Manhunters
there became known as the Grandmaster. He altered his appearance to look more
human and even adopted a cheesy fake moustache to help in his disguise.
Also come to Earth about the same time was an alien known as N'Lasa. N'Lasa
was partly responsible for the rebellion of the Manhunters and sought to undo his
mistake by opposing them where he could. He established a group of warriors in
ancient Japan whom he trained to fight the Manhunters where they could.
The Manhunters hid on earth for many years, until the mid twentieth century when
super-heroes began to crop up. The Manhunters began to oppose the first Green
Lantern of that age Alan Scott though Scott had no connection to the Oans.
The Manhunters also created their own hero. They recruited a police officer named
Dan Richards who sought to clear his friend of a murder charge. They gave him
a costume and dubbed him Manhunter. They also provided him with a dog companion
named Thor, the Thunder Dog. Uknown to Richards, the dog was actually a robot
and was used to spy upon him by the Manhunters. Richards became a member of the
All-Star Squadron for a time. He eventually retired from his costumed identity after
taking a bullet and losing some of his ability.
Later, the Manhunters created a second costumed hero named after them. They
arranged for the death of a police inspector named Donovan who was a friend
of a young American named Paul Kirk. Again the Manhunters approached Kirk
and supplied him with a costumed identity. He tracked down Donovan's killers and
then continued to adventure as the Manhunter. He eventually hung up his costume
and became a big game hunter. He was killed by a charging bull elephant, but his
body was frozen by a group known as the council. They eventually revived Kirk and gave
him an advanced ability to heal and brainwashed him into doing their will. They
sent Kirk to kill an Interpol agent, which brought him into conflict with Gotham
City's defender, the Batman. Kirk broke his conditioning and with Batman's
help, tracked down the Council. During the ensuing battle, Kirk was hit with a
massive dose of radiation that soon killed him.
Meanwhile, the Manhunters continued to plot against the Green Lantern Corps. They
enlisted a young district attorney named Mark Shaw, training him and arming him
as the third Manhunter. The Manhunters then set about to discredit the Corps
and the Guardians by making it appear as if the Green Lantern Hal Jordan had
destroyed an inhabited planet. Because Jordan believed that he was guilty, he went
willingly with Shaw when he came to collect him. Jordan's teammates in the
Justice League of America did not believe him guilty and eventually uncovered
the Manhunters' plot.
Shaw broke ties with the Manhunters and took the identity of the Privateer, but
had been conditioned so that he betrayed the Justice League in the guise of the
Star-Tsar. He was eventually caught by the Red Tornado and sent to jail.
The Manhunters continued to plot against the Guardians and their agents and allies.
They began to place agents in the lives of known Earth heroes to use as leverage
should there ever be a conflict. They even went as far as taking over all of the
people in Smallville, KS to gain leverage against one of Earth's greatest heroes,
Eventually, a Guardian and a Zamoran, a male and female from the same race, came
to earth to help the human race achieve the next step in their evolution. The
Manhunters greatly opposed this plan and brought in many of their agents to fight
against the heroes that were supporting them.
The heroes of Earth aided the efforts to create this next step, battling the
Manhunters at every step. They destroyed the Manhunters secret base on the planet
Orinda and eventually destroyed the Manhunters themselves.
At the end of this, Mark Shaw returned to the masked identity as the Manhunter.
He became a freelance bounty hunter using his skill to track down super-powered
criminals. He was eventually killed when he went with a team into the nation of
Parador to oppose the villain Eclipso.