Paul Kirk was a crimefighter operating as Manhunter.
Kirk was a former big game hunter, sportsman and seasoned traveler. On one of his journeys, he learned about the mysterious order of the Manhunter Cult. Based on their teachings, he devised a costume much like theirs. One of his friends, police inspector Donovan, convinced him catching criminals was more dangerous and difficult than shooting big game. Kirk took up the challenge after his friend was killed by the criminal the Buzzard. He joined the All-Star Squadron, but during World War II he mostly operated in secret for the OSS. He did not enjoy his life as a secret agent, and returned to hunting in Africa after the war.
After a collision with a bull left him mortally wounded, he was picked up by the Council. They treated his wounds and enhanced him genetically, and made him the commander of their enforcement division. This unit consisted solely of clones of him. He remained loyal until he had to assassinate Interpol agent Damon Nostrand. Together with Batman, martial arts master Asano Nitobe, Interpol agent Christine St. Clair and weaponsmith Kolu Mbeya raided the Council's headquarters. They faced off against Council member Anatol Mykros, who blasted Kirk with enough radiation to kill him. The wounded Kirk used Mykros' psionic helmet to destroy the base, though Kirk died in the blast himself.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- In the Pre-Crisis cosmology, Paul Kirk must have migrated from Earth-Two to Earth-One at some point before his safari accident, even though that was never shown. Post-Crisis, that is not necessary.
- When Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the character, they called him "Rick Nelson", and that is his name in his first story in Adventure Comics #73. However, in the second story his name was changed to "Paul Kirk", which has led to him being confused with the private detective Paul Kirk ever since.
- When Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson first re-introduced Manhunter in Detective Comics #437, they intended him to be a new character using the name Manhunter (not Paul Kirk). Goodwin later changed his mind and made the character Pauk Kirk as a way of giving the character an instant backstory, as it was hard to establish a history for the character in eight-page stories.
- A Manhunter action figure was introduced by DC Direct in 2009 as part of their The History of the DC Universe line.
- 64 Appearances of Paul Kirk II (New Earth)
- 6 Images featuring Paul Kirk II (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Paul Kirk II (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Paul Kirk II (New Earth)