Monday, October 1, 2007

1981 JLA/JSA Reunion by George Pérez

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After a rather morbid week of "Identity Crisis" tie-ins, I figure it's time to lighten things up. How about a celebrity rag-style commentary of this two page pin-up by George Pérez for the 1981 JLA/JSA team-up in Justice League of America #195.

Although this is from the latter-days of the Satellite Era, J'Onn J'Onzz had guest-starred in a two-parter a little over a year previous, and this was an all-inclusive photo. Above Manhunter is Superman, which speaks volumes about their strange relationship. I could devote weeks to covering all the instances in which J'Onn has been dumped on by Superman or in his books, but the two still maintain a cordial relationship.

To J'Onn's side is the Flash, a very agreeable fellow with whom the Manhunter from Mars co-founded the League and co-starred in each's second Brave & the Bold team-up. I don't think any heroes had a disagreeable relationship with Barry Allen, but this specific pair never expressed any great depth of feeling, either.

Below Barry is Oliver Queen, who co-starred with the Manhunter in the first TB&TB team-up ever. J'Onn was on hand to induct Green Arrow into the Justice League, and Ollie has expressed kind words for J'Onn on many occasions over the years. Y'know, if Black Canary hadn't snuggled up close, Green Lantern would have solidified a block of all the League's green-themed heroes.

At J'Onn's feet is Aquaman, which again is somewhat telling about their relations. While the Batman-Superman-Wonder Woman and Barry Allen-Hal Jordan-Oliver Queen triangles of familiarity are fondly remembered, few have noted the lengthy-if-tumultuous friendship between the Alien Atlas and Sea King. Basically, Arthur abuses J'Onn or his fellows in some way, the two butt heads (with J'Onn always in the right,) and then they make up again. This has been going on since at least the formation of Justice League Detroit (well okay, J'Onzz was definitely wrong when he beat on Orin in a delirious fit upon his return to Earth,) and thanks to retroactive continuity now dates back to the League's first year in action. The Atom rests on Aquaman's shoulder, with whom J'Onn served little more than a year, and has had little association (no pun intended.)

The piece parallels the JLA and JSA membership, and as is often the case with this sort of thing, the Manhunter is paired with the odd man out. This dated back to JLofA #61, when every other hero but Green Arrow fought an established personal foe, while the Martian Manhunter got saddled with Dr. Light. Maybe it's just a doctor thing, as here he's opposite Dr. Fate, who had inspired no Earth-1 version of himself. Bravo for uniqueness, I suppose...

From Top Left: Earth-1 Superman, Earth-1 Wonder Woman, Red Tornado II, Earth-1 Batman, Elongated Man, Thunderbolt, Earth-2 Robin, Hourman (Rex Tyler,) Earth-2 Wonder Woman, Earth-2 Superman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Zatanna, Silver Age Hawkman, Silver Age Hawkgirl, Firestorm I (Ronnie Raymond,) Star-Spangled Kid, the Atom I (Al Pratt,) Golden Age Hawkman, Earth-2 Huntress (Helena Wayne,) Golden Age Flash (Jay Garrick,) Earth-2 Doctor Fate, the Atom II (Ray Palmer,) Earth-1 Aquaman, Earth-1 Green Arrow (Oliver Queen,) Bronze Age Black Canary, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Snapper Carr, Johnny Thunder, Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott,) Earth-2 Power Girl, Dr. Mid-Nite I (Charles McNider,) Wildcat I (Ted Grant.)

2 comments:

totaltoyz said...

I would make two points regarding your commentary on Justice League of America #61.

First, not every other hero except Green Arrow battled an established personal foe. The villainous pirate "Cutlass Charlie" was created specifically for this issue and had never faced Aquaman before, at least not in any recorded adventure. (How do you like that; they go to the trouble of creating a new enemy for Aquaman, and the best they could do is a Gilbert & Sullivan reject comic-opera pirate.)

Second, just what "established personal foe" would you have preferred J'Onn J'Onzz face in this issue? The Human Squirrel? Mothman? The Malevolent Mr. Falcon?

Frank Lee Delano said...

Goodness, this is a long way to go back for a comment... and sadly one of the posts I haven't updated with a better scan. Sorry about that. On my "to do" list.

On to your question, by JLofA #61, the Martian Manhunter's entire Silver Age rogues' gallery was established. That means two primary reoccuring foes: Professor Arnold Hugo, and the Faceless Mr. V. Neither would have been as strong a foe as Dr. Light, as was the nature of Manhunter's foes in general, but either would have qualified as regularly appearing character-specific foes.

Hugo was an evil genius who fought Batman in his first appearance, but moved on to the Manhunter for all of his subsequent hero confrontations (by my immediate recollection, 3-5 bouts.) Mr. V and his minions appeared in most of the last year-and-a-half's worth of Manhunter solo adventures (1966-68.) I loves me some Prof. Hugo, so he'd be my pick.