The Grandmaster claims to be the last of the Council's clones of the second Manhunter (Paul Kirk). It is unclear if he is the same Paul Kirk clone who was a member of the original Secret Society of Super-Villains for a time.
All that is known about the Grandmaster is that several years ago, shortly after the Millennium event, he came across a store of Manhunter technology. Using the advanced technology, he set up a new organization dedicated to one thing: the Game.
The Game, as Grandmaster envisioned it, was to use the world as one giant chess board. The players would be some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in the world and their assets would be the pawns. Each player received a special chess board which would track the progress of the game and allow Grandmaster to monitor and communicate with the players. There have been many players over the years, including the CIA, KGB, Lex Luthor, and even Vandal Savage. Though the rules of engagement changed with each game, one rule was always the same: Empire City was neutral territory. It is not known why that rule was in place, perhaps a sense of nostalgia since Empire City had been Paul Kirk's home when he began his career as Manhunter. In any case, Empire City was the Grandmaster's territory. He controlled the municipal government and kept everyone in check. That is, until someone broke the rules.
It happened during a game between the Crime Cartel and a covert U.S. agency (at the time under the control of OMEGA). The Crime Cartel kidnapped several wrestlers from a show the UWF was putting on in Empire. They intended to use the wrestlers as experimental subjects, to give them metahuman powers and brainwash them into serving the Cartel. What the Cartel hadn't counted on was the presence of several would-be super-heroes in the crowd that night. The heroes teamed up and defeated the Cartel, and the Guardians were born.
The Guardians eventually discovered the Grandmasters manipulations of the games, and of Empire City. They confronted him, but he escaped and as he fled he told the Guardians that he would no longer involve himself with Empire City. The consequences, and the responsibility of protecting the city, would be on the Guardians shoulders now. The Grandmaster has not been seen since, but one of his special chess boards was seen in the possession of Vandal Savage so it appears that the game goes on...
Powers and Abilities:
As a clone of the second Manhunter, the Grandmaster possesses all of Paul Kirk's memories and skills at the time of Kirk's near-death in Africa in the late 1940's. Additionally, the Council had all of the clones trained in the art of ninjitsu and as a result of the Council's genetic engineering all of the clones possess an augmented healing factor which allows them to regenerate from even a near-fatal wound in minutes.
The Grandmaster has also gained access to much of the remaining Manhunter technology left on Earth and used it to build his organization. He has also used metahuman operatives on occasion, and was responsible for the creation of a new Secret Society of Super Villains