Saturday, June 28, 2008

Martian Manhunter in the 2000s

It was the best of times, it was the sometimes-not-okayist of times. Martian Manhunter entered the new millennium with an ongoing solo series and a co-starring role in the wealth of top-selling JLA titles. The "Justice League" series was launched on the Cartoon Network, in which J'onn J'onzz was voiced by Carl Lumbly, and appeared in more episodes than any other character. The sheer volume of licensing featuring J'onzz related to that show would be difficult to catalog, but included another monthly comic book series. The Alien Atlas even began making guest appearances on other cartoons, "StaticShock" and "The Batman" (the latter realized by actor Dorian Harewood.) In the video game "Justice League Heroes," Daniel Riordan assumed the role. Phil Morris portrayed John Jones in a reoccurring role on the popular "Smallville" television series. Miguel Ferrer lent his vocals to the character in the direct-to-dvd animated adaptation of "The New Frontier," a critically acclaimed mini-series by Darwyn Cooke, in which the Martian took a prominent role. Australian actor Hugh Keays-Byrne was cast in a proposed Justice League live action film. The Martian Manhunter was finally responsible for a proper spin-off character, the heroine Miss Martian. Thanks to the DC Direct line of niche merchandising and other licensing, the Martian Manhunter appeared on more "stuff" than ever before, and quite possibly ever again.

Conversely, while Phil Morris aspired to a spin-off series, he only appeared on five episodes of "Smallville." The "Justice League" movie has been placed on indefinite hold. The animated series and its product lines ended. The "Martian Manhunter" comic was cancelled after three years, having found a lukewarm reception and little impact on the character beyond the revelation of his evil brother "Malefic." J'Onn J'Onzz was written out of "JLA," sat out the mega-crossover "Infinite Crisis," and was not invited to join novelist Brad Meltzer's relaunched "Justice League of America." The character was part of a widely distributed $1 anthology special called "Brave New World," intended to introduce a variety of series, from which not a single hit was produced. Among these losers emerged an eight-issue "Martian Manhunter" mini-series by a little known or regarded creative team tasked with a massive reworking of the hero. Respected Mexican illustrator José Ladrönn turned in a sweeping redesigned of the Martian Marvel for the project. The book itself, by A.J. Lieberman and Al Barrionuevo was treated to general disinterest; essentially revisiting the reactionary, antagonistic take of the 70's O'Neil/Nasser short stories.

The new Martian Manhunter was set to join a new super-team, but even the Outsiders would not have him. After several issues had been produced but not released, they were scrapped for a whole new creative team and direction, limiting the Manhunter to a two-issue guest stint. More appearances followed, here and there, but it had been decided Martian Manhunter would serve as the sacrificial lamb of the 2008 mega-crossover "Final Crisis." Murdered with little fanfare by the obscure 70's super-villain Libra, whom J'Onn J'Onzz had himself never met, it seems likely the hero will remain in limbo for at least the rest of the decade. All that fame from the early aughts had made the Manhunter from Mars a major enough character for his first major death in comics to have an impact...

Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1

Action Comics #764
Adventures of Superman #578
Aquaman #65-69
Martian Manhunter #24
Secret Files & Origins Guide To The DC Universe 2000 Vol.1, Part 1, Part 2
Sins of Youth Part One: Young Justice, Part Two: JLA Jr.
Superman: Emperor Joker
Superman: The Man of Steel #96
Superman Y2K #1

Adventures of Superman #596
Action Comics #780
Adventures of Superman #596
JLA: Black Baptism #1, #2, #3, #4
JLA: Incarnations #5 (Detroit League Story), (Barry Allen Story) (Tully Reed Story)
JLA: Our Worlds At War
JLA/Haven: Arrival
Our Worlds At War In A Nutshell
Superman: Our Worlds At War Secret Files & Origins #1
Wonder Woman #174, #175
World's Finest: Our World's At War #1

Haven: The Broken City #1
Justice League of America: Secret Origins: Martian Manhunter
Superman #179
Wonder Woman #177

JLA: Scary Monsters #1, #2, #3 #4, #5, #6
JLA/JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (Lead Story)

Firestorm #4
Firestorm #6
Flash #208-209
Identity Crisis #1
Identity Crisis #2-5
JSA #54

Action Comics #821-824 (1-4/05)
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1 (11/05)
Identity Crisis #6,#7
JLA #115A, #115B-116, #117-118, #119

JLA Classified: "The Hypothetical Woman" #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21
JLA Classified: "A Game of Chance" 22,23,24,25
Justice League of America #0

Batman and the Outsiders #1

Week Fifty

Part One: A Call To Arms #1
Part Two: The Valiant #1
Part Three: Hell Is For Heroes #1
Part Four: United We Stand #1

Batman and the Outsiders
#2, #3-4

Black Adam: The Dark Age #4

JLA Classified #49

Blackest Night #0, #1, #2, #3
Green Lantern #43, #44

Current as of 6/28/10


XaNoS said...

It's sad to see such a wonderful character with a rich back story and a vast array of powers be killed off so quickly. Even though he is dead, I guess no one ever really stays dead in the world of comics. Still though, J'onn was probably one the most under appreciated heroes in the JLA not to mention the entire DCU. Hopefully he's brought back soon.

Anonymous said...

Yes but now he's back and his DC regular title is awesome! As great a site as this is, it really should be updated, please.