Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Vile Menagerie: THE MASTER GARDENER
Alter Ego: Unknown
Occupation: Invader from Mars
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: The Lizard Men
Base of Operations: Puerto Iberez, Cuba
First Appearance: Martian Manhunter: American Secrets Book 3 (November, 1992)
"I was the Master Gardener of Mars! But all my knowledge of organisms couldn't stop the spread of the microbes that slaughtered our children! My knowledge kept me alive, age after age, enclosed in my loneliness, haunted by the funeral pyres of my babies. Then the Lizard Men came. Lonely, isolated Lizard Men. I made them think I was their lost Father-God. I used my horticulture to give them new thoughts. To make them my children. But I couldn't bear the dead plains of Mars. I needed a home. I needed a world rich with life. A world I could prune and nurture into harmony. And that world is here!"
The Master Gardener and his shape-shifting Lizard Man came to Earth during World War II, and took advantage of the terror and confusion of the time to infiltrate governments and communications cartels. They grew plants bearing fungus that bonded to the human nervous system, allowing them to control the very words they spoke under threat of spontaneous combustion. Based in Puerto Iberez, Cuba, they exported the plant around the world, infecting much of the human population with their tyranny. They were the real reason the Justice Society of America was forced to retire, and held sway over all media. "Don't they look the other way when they see the truth? Don't they settle for the happy pictures I give them of what life should be? They feel safe so long as there are warriors in the sky to protect them from the evil 'other...' They feel content so long as I feed them a simple picture of the world."
"It was my mission. This planet has become an event nexus, an intersection of cosmic forces that create great beings and attract great beings. It would continue to produce 'heroes' had I not come. In the quest for harmony, great individuals only bring chaos. Rebellion. Conflict. But such heroes can be tamed! They can serve harmony! They can help us keep our children!" Perhaps, until the plot was uncovered around 1959 by J'Onn J'Onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, who turned on his Martian brethren.
The Lizard Men were immune to fire, so they employed advanced flame throwers with impunity against a Martian Manhunter whose weakness they had discovered. They were unaware their "Father-God" shared this vulnerability as they fired upon both beings in a final conflict. The Master Gardener chuckled at his "children's" error, before appearing to collapse into oblivion. Leaderless, the Lizard Man conspiracy fell into disarray, and was subsequently dismantled.
Powers & Weapons:
The Master Gardener presumably possessed all of the powers typical of Natural Martians, including great strength, relative invulnerability, flight, telepathy, invisibility, intangibility, and shape-shifting. As the ersatz deity of the Lizard Man, he had a chameleonic army at his disposal, as well as their saurian "lizard-dogs," which were powerful enough to hinder a full-powered Martian. The Gardener also had access to a fantastic arsenal of alien weapons, and briefly controlled all of the major armies and technology of Earth.
The Master Gardener was afflicted with a catastrophic vulnerability to flames related to H'Ronmeer's Curse. He appeared to perish almost immediately to direct exposure.
The Master Gardener was exceptionally pale for a non-White Martian, calling his race into question.
Quote: "The human... should show me his gratitude... Gratitude that I crossed the starry gulf to bring his competitive, conflict-ridden world together... in perfect peace, serenity, equality, and order. "
Created by Gerard Jones & Eduardo Barreto