22 years ago - Mark Shaw, a clone of Paul Kirk, is decanted at an equivalent age of 25, intended to be used as an assassin by the Order of St Dumas.
20 years ago - 27-year-old Mark begins operating as an assassin for the Order of St Dumas.
16 years ago - 31-year-old Mark escapes the Order of St Dumas & goes into hiding.
5 years ago - 42-year-old Mark is killed by Jean Paul Valley's father for heresy against the Order of St Dumas, killing him in the process.
The original Manhunter, Paul Kirk, went on to have a series of awesome backup stories in Detective Comics. The costume we're using here is the one designed for that series, something built by editor Archie Goodwin & living legend Walt Simonson. It was meant to be the opposite of the main Detective Comics character, Batman: a colorful costume and a weapon-wielding martial artist. It might have been a goofy look in less capable hands, but Walt is an absolute genius, and the stories were fantastic. This is where the idea of Paul Kirk being cloned was first created, something we're absolutely using here.
There have been a LOT of characters using variations of the name Manhunter, and several that are tied to Paul's legacy of having clones. The name Mark Shaw was actually a version of Manhunter more closely related to the android Manhunters, a group of Green Lantern villains. Since we're not using the long-running Manhunters plotline that had them infiltrating character all over DC's earth in a manner similar to the Skrulls, this entire character concept is pretty much a wash. While "Paul DeKirk" exists, another character that is a more obvious clone of the original Paul Kirk, We prefer giving this character an identity all his own. To that end, we'll give him Mark Shaw's name.
The end result is a character that merges the 70's era adventures of Paul Kirk, which were great, with some of the ideas about clones used by some of the other versions of Manhunter. He has a built in nemesis in the Order of St. Dumas (the group responsible for cloning him), and by having him become a modern member of the new Freedom Fighters we even mirror the original Manhunter's career, as well as Paul DeKirk's career with the Power Company.
One clever little story element that we actually stumbled into happened due to the fact that Mark's career needed to end about 5 years ago as the new Freedom Fighters go through a transitional period. That just happened to be the same time that Jean Paul Valley's father is killed. Given his association with the Order of St. Dumas, it made for a neat bit of symmetry to make Mark the assassination target responsible for that death. Sometimes these elements just land in our lap.