Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast Begins!

Aside from denying the Martian Manhunter the sweet, sweet launch push potential of a solo ongoing series in September of 2011, the New 52 has treated J'Onn J'Onzz reasonably well. Unlike my blogging buddies at The Aquaman Shrine and Firestorm Fan, my hero was not officially dead when I started this blog. In late 2007, the Sleuth from Outer Space had just received his first Showcase Presents volume, had recently wrapped up a prominent role in the World War III and Justice mini-series, and was still appearing regularly in JLA: Classified and Justice League Unlimited. True, a year earlier the Alien Atlas had been dumped from all contemporary in-continuity Justice League series for the first time since 1992 (which was retconned away through Bloodwynd, so really more like 1984.) His 8-issue mini-series was a dud, and even a flirtation with founding a new Outsiders line-up fizzled out, but things could have been worse. Yes, he was murdered in 2008, but he'd been resurrected by 2010, and traded out his silly Coneheadhunter redesign for a featured role in the very popular Brightest Day biweekly maxi-series while sporting a more classic look. Since the New 52, Martian Manhunter has gotten a nifty new costume, done a tour with Stormwatch, beaten up the JLAers that forgot him, and joined a couple of satellite Leagues, including the first ever Canadian branch.

Despite Manhunter doing okay for himself, I've been growing more bitter with and disengaged from DC Comics since the turn of the century. I like to think of myself as an amateur comics historian, but after setting up five DC-themed blogs and running them with widely varied regularity/quality, I'm rather put out that all that continuity I memorized and memorialized got tossed out with the rubbish. This blog has made a small blip in awareness about the minor lore that encircles the Manhunter from Mars, but my other efforts haven't even had a fractional benefit in comparison to that dubious accomplishment. I'm feeling terribly burnt by and burned out with the DC Universe, so for the most part, my blogging has contracted to this venue and semi-weekly reviews at ...nurgh... I don't have the energy or see the point of working beyond that anymore.

On the other hand, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done wonders for revitalizing my early love of their comics, and while there remain considerable flaws in the narrative that have often worsened since I jumped ship for DC in the early '90s, I still find myself wanting to engage more with Marvel stories. I've also had an itch to try podcasting for a while now, so I recently enlisted my two best friends to do some heavy duty recording sessions. The result is our new weekly effort, The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast. Between the podcast and my behind-the-scenes work on 2015 posts in anticipation of the Martian Manhunter's 60th anniversary, I recognize this blog has suffered somewhat, but I'm also still invested and looking to the future with J'Onn J'Onzz. I just want to explore other realms, as well.

I encourage readers to give the podcast a chance. Episode Zero reintroduces myself in audio form and my two best friends as we discuss our childhood favorites Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk, as well as how we got into the comic book medium. The just released Episode #1 focuses on the first ever Marvel (anti-)hero, Namor the Sub-Mariner, as well as very recent Marvel news. It's fun hanging out with my buddies, reminiscing and opining without all the baggage of DC exclusivity I felt shackled to in blogging. Also, while we're trying to build a listener base with Marvel properties, the goal is to expand to other topics, not only from other comic publishers, but other entertainment mediums. Hell, I might even try some DC or even Martian Manhunter episodes, and I hope you'll be there listening and commenting!

Monday, July 21, 2014

2013 Young Justice: Legacy video game trailer by Little Orbit

"One Will Rise. One Will Fall. One Will Die.

The creative team behind the smash hit TV series Young Justice have joined forces with Little Orbit to bring you the ultimate in fan service - Young Justice: Legacy, an interactive bridge between Seasons 1 & 2!

Find out what happened during the missing years by playing through 15 pulse-pounding missions. Be a part of the story in co-op and multiplayer modes and level up in this action packed, RPG styled game. Assemble your team of up to 12 playable characters, take on cunning villains, and define your legacy!"
Danica McKellar reprised her role as M'gann M'orzz/Megan Morse from the television show as the playable character Miss Martian in this team building action role-playing game.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2013 “Yoshi Manhunter” fan art by Peter Townsend

Click To Enlarge

Part of "Justice League of Nintendo," which you can read more about by clicking on the picture.

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 The Fire & Water Podcast Presents “The Elements Club” Fumetti by Ryan Daly

Click To Enlarge

Occasional blog commentator and regular Twitter buddy Count Drunkula of Flowers & Fishnets: A Black Canary Blog fame has crafted a photonovel with action figures as an unlicensed byproduct of The Fire and Water Podcast called “The Elements Club” on tumblr. While I too thought this was insane and would probably be awful, I underestimated the sarcastic wit of good Mr. Daly, as it's actually a funny and brisk read of an 18 "page" comic. The Martian Manhunter is referenced throughout the strip, so I highly recommend fans check this out. There's even a bonus section with "bloopers," promos, script samples and such!
  1. Swamp Thing
  2. Red Tornado, Metamorpho, & more
  3. Ever more dubious candidates
  4. The bottom of the barrel.
  5. Epilogue

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Vast Stadium

A baseball stadium in Middletown which has hosted games featuring the Flamingos and Wonders big league teams. Presumably, the Flamingos were the local team, although it was never explicitly stated. Pictured are a Wonders batter amidst the Flamingos, including rookie pitcher Big Bob Michaels. Appeared in Detective Comics #226 (December, 1955).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aroo vs. Titano

The Mighty Aroo
Debut: 1964
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Zook
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Flight, durability, destructive energy beam & flamethrower.

Bio: Released by the Diabolu Idol-Head to protect it and the egg of the Chulko. Caused destruction until it vanished under unclear circumstances.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: Genie of Gensu (3-1)
Lose: Iwangis (1-4)
Draw: 0


The Super-Ape!
Debut: 1959
Nemesis: Superman
Other Major Foes: Jimmy Olsen
Appearances: 30+ comics and a cartoon appearance.
Powers: Giant-sized; Kryptonite eyebeams, super-strength and durability.

Bio: A monkey sent on a space mission who became exposed to meteorites containing uranium and kryptonite, physically altering him.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0

Idol Speculation:
I don't think kryptonite rays are going to do anything to Aroo, who also has a flight advantage. On the other hand, Titano is sometimes resilient enough to throw down with Superman, while other times is just a big robot that collapses under super strength like a beer can. Could go either way.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Martian Sightings for October, 2014

Martian Manhunter
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by NEIL EDWARDS and JAY LEISTEN
On sale OCTOBER 29 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

The Infinitus Saga begins as the Legion of Super-Heroes arrive with the shocking news that the 31st century has been destroyed! Now it’s up to the Justice League United to save the future!
I like the Legion, and I plan to read this in the future. How far in the future depends on the scheduling of the tpb.

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Cover by MIKE McKONE
On sale OCTOBER 8 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US 8 • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Canada variant available
1:25 Variant cover by CAMERON STEWART
Retailers: This issue will ship with five covers. Please see the order form for more information.

This issue spotlights the newest member of the team: Equinox of the Moose Cree First Nation! As a rite of passage, Equinox must take down a mystical beast that’s terrorizing her people! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
Has McKone jumped ship already? He's usually not known for long runs. Wasn't this the solicited cover for a previous issue? Well, there's three variant covers if you'd prefer an alternative.

Written by various
Art by various
Cover by TBD
On sale DECEMBER 17 • 912 pg, FC, $99.99 US

In September 2014, every DC Universe series revealed the shocking fates of heroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and many more. Written and illustrated by top talent including Dan Jurgens, Charles Soule, Brian Azzarello, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire and many more! This massive hardcover collects all of the September 2014 Futures End specials!
If the choice is 52ish $4 lenticular comics or even $3 standards, a c-note sounds like a good deal. Of course, I prefer option #3-- buying about $6 worth of issues featuring a two-part Marian Manhunter story.

Art by IVAN REIS, DOUG MAHNKE and others
On sale NOVEMBER 26 • 320 pg, FC, $19.99 US

The blockbuster event of the summer is now in paperback, featuring stories from JUSTICE LEAGUE #22-23, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6-7, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #22-23, CONSTANTINE #5, TRINITY OF SIN: PANDORA #1-3 and TRINITY OF SIN: PHANTOM STRANGER #11. When the three Justice Leagues go to war with one another, whose side will everyone be on?
Hey. This got collected in an affordable trade. Should have waited, since I bought the six core issues and still haven't read them. Lesson learned and payed forward toward JLUnited.

On sale DECEMBER 17 • 288 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875” $29.99 US

The stunning mystery from #1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer is back in a new hardcover! When the spouse of a JLA member is brutally murdered, the entire super hero community searches for the killer, fearing their own loved ones may be the next targets.
For better or for worse, and the correct answer is much much worse, this is the story that set the tone for the entire DC Universe for the past decade and the foreseeable future. You never forget your first taste of secretly raped murdered super-hero wife with the particular tang of ironically revealed "terminated" pregnancy involving tiny mite-y tootsie-wootsies.

Miss Martian
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
On sale OCTOBER 1 • 32 pg, 5 of 6, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

Just when all hope of finding a new treehouse is lost, the girls travel to Paradise Island! Oh, what a wonderful place it is! But where are all the boys? And who’s Terra supposed to throw rocks at now?

Monday, July 14, 2014

2013 “Miss Saturn” fan art by Peter Townsend

Click To Enlarge

"Justice League of Nintendo" mashes up characters from both lines, and also involves a "Yoshi Manhunter." To read more about it, click on the picture above.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Big Bob Michaels

While serving a little publicized term for an unrevealed crime, Big Bob Michaels developed into a remarkable pitcher on the prison baseball team. Following his release, Michaels joined a minor league ball club, until the majors came calling. Michaels signed with the Flamingos, but they weren't the only ones with Michaels' number, as criminals attempted to extort a sour performance out of him during a match against the Wonders. "Lose the game, and you'll get a lot of dough," or win and have his dark past revealed to the fans. Michaels refused to play along, but the stress adversely affected his performance, which was compensated for through the mind-over-matter powers of guardian angel Middletown Police Detective John Jones. The blackmailers were arrested by same, after an "assisted" home run for Michaels won the previously 0-0 game. Appeared in Detective Comics #226 (December, 1955).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Vile Menagerie: Z'USH

Alter Ego: Z'ush
Occupation: Alien Invader
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: White Martians
Base of Operations: The Still Zone; previously Phoenix, AZ
First Appearance: JLA #56 (September, 2001)
Height: Variable; appeared approx. 6'0"
Build: Variable
Eyes: Variable; appeared red
Hair: Variable; appeared bald

Z'ush was one of the seventy White Martians who survived exile in the Still Zone and escaped to attempt multiple takeovers of the Earth. Z'ush was a key player in Protex's second global gambit, having determined that the harvesting of the freshly excised brains of human telepaths could augment the White Martians' natural psychic abilities. This was done in conjunction with the Martians' adulterating the atmosphere with a process that suppressed combustion, allowing them to move freely without fear of their weakness against flame. Z'ush pressed to strike immediately following the Martians' capture of J'Onn J'Onzz, but he was violently rebuffed by Protex, who wanted to be absolutely certain of victory. However, after the Batman discovered their lab and J'Onn J'Onzz briefly freed himself, Z'ush's wish to advance the timetable was granted. Even then, Z'ush was unsatisfied with having waited, and was complaining of such when J'Onn J'Onzz escaped a second time to incapacitated Z'ush and his companion Primaid via a varied density strike through their chests.

Later, the JLA were captured and sent to the Phantom Zone, so Z'ush acted as Protex's lieutenant in commanding Team Deimos and Team Phobos to resume the plan against Earth. However, turnabout led to the White Martians confronting the liberated JLA on the moon, and then being turned against one another by illusions. Given the choice between immolation near the sun or volunteering to enter the Phantom Zone, Z'ush joined the surrendering White Martians in returning to exile in a limbo realm.

Z'ush presumably possessed the innate abilities seen in most White Martians, but he only demonstrated telepathy, flight, shapeshifting and a superhuman physique in his appearances. However, Z'ush was one of only two White Martians to showcase the ability to manifest "psi-spikes" a glowing green shard of unknown tangible material that could be non-fatally driven into the brain of a Martian with seeming ease. These psi-spikes vaguely resembled Oan power ring constructs, as they retained material form for an undefined period of time in their creator's absence. The spikes caused excruciating pain throughout the brain and nervous system, largely silencing and immobilizing their victim. Z'ush and Protex gained this ability through the consumption of latent telepathic brains. It is unknown if the ability was retained indefinitely, if it required further consumption, or if it could be augmented by eating the minds of stronger telepaths.

Protex has a catastrophic vulnerability to fire, causing immediate loss of his abilities, and eventual death with prolonged exposure.

Quote:"The Green One is restless. Perhaps another psi-spike...?"

Created by: Mark Waid & Mike S. Miller

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 “Black power 02” cosplay

Click To Enlarge

I didn't see any info on the where and when of this picture, but the Green Lantern cosplayer posted it to his deviantART page. His name is Jorge Mosquera of Columbia.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Color-Ring Creature vs. Rainbow Raider

The Color-Ring Creature
Debut: 1965
Nemesis: Martian Manhunter
Other Major Foes: Zook
Appearances: One comic story
Powers: Energy bolts, animate objects, dimensional transport, flight, and mild telepathy to manifest illusions.

Released by the idol-head to steal color from Earth through kidnapping and extraction to empower an invasion force of ring beings from Disc World. Disappeared after J'onn J'onzz disrupted the process.

Vile Menagerie Stats
Win: 0
Lose: Iwangis (1-3)
Draw: 0


Roy G. Bivolo
Debut: 1980
Nemesis: The Flash
Other Major Foes: Booster Gold
Appearances: 50+ comics.
Powers: Colorful light projections that alter moods and allow flight & invisibility.

Bio: Failed colorblind artist who took to stealing other people's works with his powers.

Vile Menagerie Stats:
Win: 0
Lose: 0
Draw: 0

Idol Speculation:
The emissions of the idol-head haven't fared well in their rounds against mostly C-list or lower villains unaffiliated with the Alien Atlas. This one should be a gimme, since "The Great Color-Ring Spirit" can gobble up anything the Rainbow Raider spits out and still hunger for more.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Dorkly “The Best Justice League Members Ever” Reader Showdown Poll

Dorkly is one of the many, many geek-centric news/opinion/distraction sites on the interwebs, but a tweet related to them caught my attention...

Which led me to the site and this description...
"The Justice League - the best of the best superheroes in the DC universe. Filled with incredible heroes like Superman, Batman and...other, non-Superman/Batman people. But who are YOUR favorites? Vote below - FOR JUSTICE!

The official voting period ends Sunday July 13, 2014 at 11:59PM so get your votes in now."
The way it work is that there are 55 rounds pitting two JLAers against one another. You vote your preference in the given match, and that sets up another round with new adversaries. Each character seems to receive multiple elimination chances, but the repeat victors turn up ever more frequently as the rounds wind down. The last dozen or so is typically dominated by favorite characters, especially if you run a Martian Manhunter blog and vote for him every time by default, even against your beloved Wonder Woman, though you do legitimately feel J'Onn J'Onzz is the quintessential Justice Leaguer. Or is that just me? Anyhow, the results are massively tainted by there being multiple bearers of the same mantle (four Green Lanterns, three Flashes, two Hawks) without full representation (no Connor Hawke or Red Arrow, only one lady Hawk or Ice) or gross over-representations (two entry identities for Dick Grayson, inclusion of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, two Rocket Reds,) plus there are legions of past members left out of the running.

You're allowed to take the challenge as many times as you like, potentially/probably yielding different results, and I'm not sure whether the mulligans are counted as one vote or cumulatively. You're given results that rank your top five picks based on voting. I tried three times, each sitting Martian Manhunter on top, but with more varied results thereafter (Wonder Woman at #2, 3 & 5, Zatanna at #2 once, Steel at #2 twice & #3 once, The Atom at #4, The Vixen at #4 twice, and Doctor Light II at #5 twice.) There was a fourth try where I went purely with who I liked over who works in the JLA, and ended up with Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Blue Devil, Martian Manhunter and Superman, which was very inaccurate with regard to how I feel overall, especially where Superman is concerned. While some cream consistently rises, a lot of the shakedown comes to how the cards are dealt.

Currently, the overall top five across respondents are Batman (Bruce Wayne) at 87%, Superman 74%, Wonder Woman 71%, Nightwing 70% and Martian Manhunter 68%. Yes Nightwing, but hooray for the Alien Atlas over so many bigger names, though surely the lion's share of credit goes to brand delusion over multiple Green Lanterns & Flashes. Aquaman has no such excuse.

Try it for yourself, but don't look for any of these heroes...
  • Phantom Stranger
  • Steel (Hank Heywood III)
  • Gypsy
  • Fire
  • Hawkwoman
  • Lightray
  • General Glory
  • Tasmanian Devil
  • Maxima
  • Black Condor
  • Agent Liberty
  • Bloodwynd
  • Blue Jay
  • Silver Sorceress
  • Maya
  • Justice League Antarctica (entire team, including Major Disaster)
  • Triumph
  • Nuklon
  • Obsidian
  • Amazing Man
  • Icemaiden
  • L-Ron/Despero
  • Mystek
  • Zan & Jayna
  • Aztek
  • Oracle
  • Zauriel
  • Hourman
  • Jade
  • Antaeus
  • Jesse Quick
  • Dark Flash
  • Moon Maiden
  • Faith
  • Manitou Raven
  • Justice League Elite (non-marquee members)
  • "52" League (ditto)
  • Black Lightning
  • Geo-Force
  • Starman
  • Guardian
  • Donna Troy
  • Starfire
  • Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
  • New 52 Justice League International (non-marquee members)
  • Element Woman
  • Captain Cold
  • Justice League Dark (entire team except Zatanna)
  • Justice League 3000 (entire team)
  • Katana
  • Stargirl