Manhunter is a fictional character, a superheroine in publications from DC Comics. Kate Spencer is the eighth DC Comics character depicted using the name Manhunter, and the first female to do so. The character first appears in Manhunter (vol. 3) #1 (October 2004) and was promoted by DC Comics as relevant to the popular Identity Crisis limited series.
Despite critical success, the first series has repeatedly had trouble gaining larger readership. DC Comics announced in May 2006 that the series would be canceled and that issue #25 would be the last. Dan DiDio, DC's executive editor, soon followed with another announcement, that fan outcry convinced him to extend the series for five additional issues in order to improve sales. The new five-issue story arc dealt with a ramification of the Infinite Crisis, again tying the series into a popular event. DiDio also said that the storyline leads into another big event in the DC Universe. The series came back with issue #31 in 2007, but was cancelled with issue #38 in 2008.
She had a 10 page co-feature in Batman: Streets of Gotham which began in June 2009, and ended in issue #13, and was replaced with a Two-Face co-feature. A planned collection of the back-up series was cancelled by DC.
In addition to her solo features, writer Gail Simone made Manhunter into one of lead characters in her Birds of Prey series as part of a controversial revamp in issue #100, where Kate was brought in to serve as a replacement for Black Canary. Manhunter remained with the team until the book's cancellation with issue #127 in 2009, and was not part of the subsequent 2010 relaunch. Writer Marc Guggenheim has announced that in 2011, Manhunter will begin appearing in his Justice Society of America series.
Kate Spencer is a federal prosecutor who grows increasingly tired of seeing guilty criminals evade punishment. Copperhead, a criminal on trial for multiple murders and cannibalism, avoids a death sentence and escapes from custody after killing two guards. Angry, Kate steals equipment from an evidence room and kills Copperhead. Calling herself Manhunter, Kate blackmails a former weapons manufacturer for numerous villains named Dylan Battles — who is in the Witness Protection Program — into building, maintaining, and upgrading her armor, weapons, and gadgets.
In addition to legal proceedings and fighting crime, Kate's life includes awkward relationships with her six-year-old son Ramsey and novelist ex-husband. Kate's secret life as Manhunter cuts into her career and family life, but her co-counsel Damon Matthews covers for her. Kate's father Walter Pratt spent time in prison for murdering her mother, and she comes to believe that her grandfather is superhero Al Pratt, the original Atom, a member of the Justice Society of America.
Through her friendship with Department of Extranormal Operations Agent Cameron Chase, Kate works for the DEO under the direction of Mr. Bones. During the Infinite Crisis, Oracle calls Kate, along with a number of low-powered heroes to join the Battle of Metropolis, and she was invited to join the Birds of Prey after founding member Black Canary left to join the Justice League.