Manticore (City of Heroes)

Manticore (City of Heroes)


caption=Manticore, as seen in a render released by NCSoft
real_name=Justin Sinclair
publisher=Image Comics
debut="City of Heroes" #1
creators=Sean Michael Fish
alliances=Freedom Phalanx, Wyvern
powers= Mastery of bow and arrow. Has access to a teleportation system. (Archery, Trick Arrow, Teleportation)|

Manticore (Justin Sinclair) is the name of two Image Comics superheroes, father and son. The latter is one of the lead heroes in the City of Heroes backstory and the accompanying MMORPG. Created by Sean Michael Fish, he first appeared in "City of Heroes" Issue #1, Vol. 2. Manticore could possibly be inspired from the DC Comics hero, Green Arrow, who he shares similar traits with, as well as a similar backstory and cavalier attitude to DC's Batman.

Publication History

Manticore originated with the MMORPG City of Heroes. He did not make his first comic appearance until the first issue of the second volume of the City of Heroes comic book, in which he narrated the first story arc. Manticore has easily gotten the most panel time of the comic's run, both from his prominent role in the first story arc and from the third story arc which centered primarily around his shared history with his mentor and surrogate father Back Alley Brawler. The newest story arc, beginning in issue 10, has featured Manticore prominently once more. In issue three of the comic, Manticore, who up until this point possessed no super powers, appeared to gain one when, while aiming and launching an arrow at Scirocco, the arrow seemed to either become intangible or else teleported to avoid killing Statesman when he attempted to deal with the villain scant seconds after Manticore had shot the arrow.

Manticore made his first appearance in the City of Heroes novel series with "The Freedom Phalanx." The Manticore in the book is Justin Sinclair rather than his father, as this story introduces the signature heroes who currently exist on the City of Heroes game and brings them together as the second Freedom Phalanx. In the novel, Manticore's method of operation seems to be a mix of Green Arrow and Batman, in that he is a detective of sorts, as he has no super powers of his own in the book.


Appalled at the crime in Paragon City, billionaire Justin Sinclair took up crime fighting under the guise of the Manticore, a title previously held by his father. Both his father and mother were murdered by a supervillain known as Protean when Sinclair was a boy, right in front of him. He grew up as a child angry with the world, and often got in trouble at school. After a time, Michael White, a friend of Sinclair's father, was brought in to shape him up. Eventually, he would rise to be a superhero. It is unknown how long or what he did in his beginnings, but he did join the Freedom Phalanx and is still currently a member. He holds a mild resentment of Statesman, who he believes to be arrogant and too serious. It's also to his dismay that the rest of the Freedom Phalanx rely so heavily on his leadership, to the point they nearly fall apart mentally after his sudden disappearance. In comparison, Statesman believes Manticore to be rash and in some respects, weak, due to him declaring Manticore to let him do the "heavy lifting" during a battle in the first comic. However, they eventually resolve their differences and have a better comradeship by the later issues.

It is implied that other heroes held him in lower regard for not having super powers, though whether this is reality or merely Manticore's perception is not shown. During the first story arc of the second volume of the comic book, Lord Recluse placed a spell on Paragon City that removed or drastically weakened the powers of all entities within the city, hero or villain. Having no super powers in the first place, Manticore was largely unaffected and therefore did not know their pain. However, it is because of this that he is able to take temporary leadership and lead them on a search for the missing Statesman, despite their protests to follow Statesman's last orders. Eventually, the Freedom Phalanx begin to respect him and start to seemingly rely on him to take on the leadership role under Statesman's absence (possibly due to their mild mental instability). Eventually, they do find their old leader who quickly retakes charge of the group, much to Manticore's chagrin.

In the issue, "City of Heroes #20", Manticore is offered a leadership position in the superhero group known as the Vanguard. However, he turns the offer down. The then takes part in the Freedom Phalanx's attack on a Rikti portal, presumably dying in combat after trying to save Ms. Liberty. Luckily, he and the rest of his team are revived and rescued by the timely arrival of the Vanguard and the superhero, the Dark Watcher. At the end of the arc, he fires an arrow near Sister Psyche, which is carrying an engagement ring. She happily accepts his proposal.

On February 14th, 2008 in an in game event on the Training Room Server, Manticore and Sister Psyche tied the knot, though immediately after the ceremony they were attacked by Lord Recluse and his minions but successfully fended off the attack.

Manticore, the Murderer?

Manticore is depicted as a utilitarian hero who is willing to commit extreme actions if he deems them truly necessary, which includes lethal force, a practice frowned upon in the Freedom Phalanx and within the hero community at large. Frustrated with the limitations placed upon heroes, he secretly leads and finances a society known as Wyvern who are committed to justice at all costs. Wyvern has not appeared in the comics but is a prominent enemy group in City of Villains. This is further indicated within the game by Manticore's Task Force. Unlike the other task forces, in which the players are openly fighting against universally despised foes, Manticore sends the players to hunt the Countess Crey in secrecy, knowing that Crey Industries is more than capable of suppressing open assault.

Within the comics, Manticore's utilitarian beliefs appear during the first story arc when the Freedom Phalanx is attempting to bargain with the god Prometheus. They need to acquire the Flame of Prometheus, which can restore the lost powers of Paragon City's formerly superpowered citizens and is their only hope of fighting off an impending Arachnos invasion. The vengeful god is unwilling to listen to them due to his hatred of Zeus, who Statesman is an Incarnate of, and has chained the powerless hero to a rock. Instead of pleading or appealing verbally to Prometheus, Manticore simply fires an arrow at the defenseless Statesman, killing him instantly and convincing the god to part with the flame.

Manticore is not a cold individual despite his more ruthless practices. Within the same story arc, Manticore quickly retrieves Statesman's body, on the hope that fellow superhero Numina can revive him. When Numina is unable to return Statesman's soul to his body, Manticore immediately detonates an explosive arrow, killing himself... But locating Statesman in the afterlife. When Numina brings back Manticore, Statesman is dragged along too. In Issue #5, he reveals that he feels personally responsible for fighting poverty despite his own privileged existence, and tries to use his vast wealth to aid others. In Issue #6, he is shown opening a counseling and recreation center in an impoverished section of King's Row.

Powers and abilities

Manticore is one of the few heroes in Paragon City who operates without super powers. Though he is capable of teleportation, this effect is not a native power, but instead achieved by Manticore hacking into the city's Emergency Teleportation Network. His weapon of choice is the bow and arrow, and he is considered a master archer. He reveals in "City of Heroes" #5 that each specialised arrow he creates costs thousands of dollars, and each one he misses pain him greatly, as that money could have been used to help ease poverty. He uses a variety of trick arrows to suit his purposes, and within the comics has been depicting using exploding arrows and EMP arrows (Issue 9.)

During the events of Issue #3, Manticore is shown gaining super powers from the effects of the Flame of Prometheus due to his close proximity to the flame when it was in use. In this context, he is shown teleporting one of his arrows through Statesman's body when the latter hero moves in front of it. This power is only shown once more in Issue #16, where Manticore shoots an arrow to where Sister Psyche is located, when she shows him the room in his mind. This suggests Manticore can hit any target as long as he can somehow see, and focus, on it, no matter where the target is. It is assumed that this effect extends to Manticore's teleportation abilities by making them magical instead of gadget based. Whether either of these powers are canonical is in question, as the developers have stated that the comics are not entirely canon.

Within the game, Manticore has been depicted with two different power sets. While the player does not fight Manticore within City of Heroes*, they do fight his Praetorian counterpart, Chimera, who is also an archery based villain. However, Chimera was introduced with Issue 2 and archery based power sets were not available to players in the game until Issue 5. Chimera's archery did not appear in the game's encounters until after Issue 4, and he instead attacked with a Katana until then. Manticore himself appeared during the City of Villains end of beta event, being controlled by his developer, Sean Michael Fish. A powerset specific to Manticore was revealed during this event. Players noted that despite the developer's assertion that Manticore was a Defender, his powersets correspond to a Corruptor, a City of Villains exclusive archetype. His primary powerset is Archery and his secondary powerset is Trick Arrow. Defenders have the reverse. However, it must go noted that all of the Defenders in this event (such as Positron) had the Defender Primary Powers listed as their Secondary Powers, and it is not just Manticore's powersets. Manticore is of Natural origin.

(*): This information is outdated. Players fight alongside, and against, Manticore in the Mender Silos Task-Force.

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