Saturday, August 1, 2009
Who's Who Vol.XI: Jemm (1/1986)
All in all, my only interest in Jemm was as a potential member of the Martian Manhunter supporting cast. I read Jemm's mini-series before his inclusion by Grant Morrison in the JLA story arc "Rock of Ages," and aside from it seeming improbable that he'd run willingly with the Injustice Gang (he didn't,) I only cared because of his role as J'Onn's opposite. Despite having read pretty near every appearance the character has made since 1984, he still feels like a cipher to me. He's basically E.T. as a super-hero. Jemm has the best intentions, is kind to children, doesn't speak much nor well, and only wants to return home in peace. Unfortunately, his gentle disposition has been perceived as too passive and weak by every writer that's handled him since creator Greg Potter, and so he's been repeatedly victimized for the sake of whatever story he appears in.
It occurs to me that as much as I loved J.M. DeMatteis' take on J'Onn J'Onzz as a pacifistic humanitarian in search for his metaphysical center, that's a very difficult stance to maintain in a super-hero universe. Even I love seeing the Manhunter from Mars get really ticked off and blast people with Martian Vision. Maybe the best compromise would be to transfer the spiritual take on J'Onn to the Son of Saturn, and allow the Manhunter from Mars to earn the inherent tension his name manifests in the hearts of evildoers. That way Jemm serves a purpose beyond being a bland doormat for every malevolent alien to come down the pike.