Sunday, May 31, 2009

Which Obscure Supporting Characters do you want to read more about on this blog?



This has easily been the most interesting poll for me to follow on the blog to date, and the first which allowed multiple choice-- points which I suspect are connected. I cast the first ballot, for everyone except Department of Extranormal Operations agent Cameron Chase. This is in no way an indication of any dislike of the character, only that I already covered most of the relevant issues of her solo series (#1, #2-3 & #6.) You folks seem to disagree, as Chase performed consistently well throughout the poll. I guess this means I'll be tracking down more back issues, and finally taking a closer look at what I felt was the abysmal John Ostrander scripted ongoing Martian Manhunter series, in which Chase frequently appeared.

Unsurprisingly, Jemm: Son of Saturn took an early and commanding lead, and ended up with at least twice as many votes as everyone but Gypsy. When I originally conceived the poll, it wasn't going to be multiple choice, and Jemm was the only character option that had ever held his own series. I'm glad I switched gears, or I'd have likely not seen near as many alternate results. Jemm fans will be rewarded handsomely in the very near future for their overwhelming support.

Gypsy was also left off the original ballot, as I knew she was dear to many a Manhunter fan's heart as his surrogate "daughter," as well as a modestly popular super-heroine in her own right. Gypsy's strong second place showing confirms my belief in her, and it seems like I'll have to get around to returning her presence to the Idol-Head blog sooner rather than later.

I'm more than a bit disappointed in Zook's middling performance, tying for third place, as I adore the weird little otherdimensional pet from the Silver Age. Whether this is because I've written a synopsis for most of his appearances already, or because there's distaste for the character among more serious-minded modern fans, I'll leave to ya'll in the comments. In the future, I'll get around to filling in some blanks, and inevitably post a spotlight profile.

I threw Captain Harding in to represent the 1950s, but didn't expect him to perform, and he met those expectations. In truth, Harding was more of a reoccurring narrative device than a character, so I suppose his lack of popularity reflects that. He'll continue to show up whenever I do a 1950s synopsis.

Patrolwoman Diane Meade made a weird little journey. For a while she was neck-and-neck with the other ladies on this list, but as the month progressed she lost ground to heroines who were far more visible in modern times. I think Diane is the bee's knees though, and I've mostly held off on covering her appearances until I had better material to scan from. Her time will come before long.

Saul Erdel is another serious oddity. The 1988 revision of Martian Manhunter's origin saw the name and liveliness of the scientist responsible for bringing our hero to Earth changed radically, though this was never followed up on. For most of the month, Saul's dismal poll showing reflected this, hovering around 2-3 votes. Then, in the final week, his profile more than doubled, tying Diane Meade for fifth. What happened there, I wonder? Anyway, Saul will show up in the imminent mini-series coverage, then vanish again.

Finally, poor Glenn Gammeron. I was pleased to see him receive notice in the first several votes, only for him to be ignored entirely for the following three weeks. At the finish, Glenn got the "Saul Erdel Pity Bump," presumably from readers who voted once for everybody. I'm afraid the alien bounty hunter with undisclosed ties to J'Onn's life on Mars goes back on the shelf for a while.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and made this the most popular poll since we've started them, by a Jemm-like margin.

Results of a poll conducted among 44 readers of THE IDOL-HEAD OF DIABOLU, A Blog for J'Onn J'Onzz, the Manhunter from Mars conducted throughout the month of May, 2009.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Total Justice in Total Teamwork Coloring Book First Group Shot (1997)


TOTAL JUSTICE
in
TOTAL TEAMWORK

Written by Richie Narvaez
Art by Steve Crespo, Mike DeCarlo, Mini Kim, Joe Orlando, and Joe Rubinstein
Cover Art by Dick Giordano and Digital Chameleon


Featuring Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Wonder Woman, Steel, Superman, Batman, and fractal armor.

Friday, May 29, 2009

1997 Dollar General Total Justice Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book


Cover Art by Dick Giordano and Digital Chameleon

In 1996, Kenner spun a general DC super-hero action figure line out of their popular Batman series. This was the first major DCU offering since the awful short-lived Toy Biz line of the early '90s, which was itself mostly just badly recycled '80s Super Powers Collection molds anyway. While the Total Justice sculpts were all new, the story premise of the line was also essentially recycled from Super Powers: Darkseid using the forces of Apokolips and the villains of Earth in a bid for conquest. The major difference was our heroes would now require "Fractal Techgear" to combat these forces, a.k.a. translucent armor and other accessories.

Total Justice offered three waves of figures in stores, including JLAers Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and the hook-handed Aquaman. The Martian Manhunter villain Despero appeared in the second wave, but J'Onn J'Onzz himself didn't make the set. The line was then canceled, although figures intended for the fourth wave were reworked into two-packs titled simply DC Superheroes. Despero was also repackaged individually as part of DC Superheroes, and sold exclusively through the Warner Brothers Store. You can see the gorgeous Brian Stelfreeze packaging here by clicking on any of the links under Warner Brothers Store Exclusives: DC Superheroes - 2001, though I couldn't find a picture of Despero himself carded.

There are two strong indications Martian Manhunter was intended for a fourth or fifth Total Justice line. The first is that in 1998 Hasbro New Ventures took the Total Justice molds, repainted them, discarded the tech armor, and offered them under the name JLA through KB Toys. The second is this coloring book, offered through various outlets, including Dollar General stores. Both prominently featured the Martian Manhunter, and at over 150 pages, there's plenty of Martian scans in the coloring book to offer ya'll in the coming months!

"Total Justice in Total Teamwork"
First Group Shot
Inferno
Fire Extinguisher
Mission Team
Landing
Fear To Tread
Martian Maze
Dark Backside
Blasted by Darkseid

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bloodwynd Custom JLU Action Figure by Bottleimp



Although he never appeared on the Justice League Unlimited cartoon (or likely anywhere related,) someone decided he ought to have played a role there...

Bloodwynd
What an awful name. Sounds like a digestive condition one would get after eating too much fast food. Anyways, I know next to nothing about him, but I thought that the JLU could use some more minorities on the team. And at least this guy doesn't have to suffer the insult of having "black" before his name (Black Lightning, Black Vulcan, Black Panther, etc.). Anyways, I used a Green Lantern for the base, and added a craft store jewel for his blood gem and a Batman cape with a sculpted Dracula collar. I left out the jewels on his arms and the gem-studded garter belt because I liked the more streamlined look. Plus, what's with the guys wearing garter belts thing? That was a disturbing trend in the characters of the early '90's...


For more of Bottleimp's great custom JLU figures, including Marvel characters like Captain America and Power Man, Charltons like Thunderbolt, and even Steve Ditko's Killjoy, visit here.

You know, I've been arguing with a friend about Bloodwyd's near absolute lack of merit as a character, but he looks good here, and it occurs to me you could tweak him into "Bloodgem" or "Bloodiamond" to make him suck somewhat less. Jettisoning all connections to Martian Manhunter couldn't hurt either, or a number of levels.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter Vol. 3 TP Fan Mock-Up



Idol-Head reader Tom Hartley submitted his above mock-up cover for a highly unlikely third Showcase edition. It's based on Luke McDonnell's cover for Justice League of America #248 (3/1986), and he offers an alternate Chuck Patton cover here from J'Onn's final confrontation with The Marshal! Tom also offered his choice of reprints for the hypothetical volume:

Even though a Vol. 3 probably won't happen, I've been thinking about what the contents would be. Here's what I've come up with:

Justice League of America #71
World's Finest Comics #212
Justice League of America #115
Adventure Comics #449-451
World's Finest Comics #245
Justice League of America #144, 177, 178
DC Comics Presents
#27
Detective Comics #500
Justice League of America #228-230, 248
Action Comics #595
Martian Manhunter #1-4
Secret Origins #35
Martian Manhunter: American Secrets #1-3

That would be 575 pages of material. I know American Secrets deserves to be reprinted in color, and in hardcover, but a black & white reprint would be better than nothing.


I'd throw JLofA #200 into the mix, but take out #248, since the John/Gypsy subplot dragged on for months. In fact, it even merged with a separate Zatanna subplot which preceded and overwhelmed Manhunter's. You'd have to include pages from #249, #255, #256, and #257, but in the end it still wouldn't make much sense. I'd also want to see 1987's Justice League Annual #1 and "The Man I Never Was" from the '89 JLI Annual, as well.

However, this is all pie in the sky business. As explained by Bob Greenberger, "DC pays a royalty based on a percentage of the cover price to writers, pencillers,and inkers to all material published prior to 1976 and after 1997. For the period in between, the vouchers that were in use called for a set reprint fee to be paid. In some cases, the amount of contractually obligated reprint fees makes the budget for a proposed collection unprofitable." Creators have the option of waving the set fee, but just tracking down and negotiating with everyone involved (or their estates) in the issues Tom suggested would be a Herculean effort no one's going to make for the Martian Manhunter.

On the plus side, Volume Two was finally released this month, so you can thrill to every confrontation with the magnificent Professor Arnold Hugo, every emission of the Diabolu Idol-Head, plus the first appearances of Zook, Marco Xavier, Mr.V/Faceless, Vulture and many more!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2006 "DC Icons: Justice League Unlimited" Fan Art by Israel S. Algarin



Here's the last Manhunter related piece from Israel S. Algarin's comicartfans.com gallery. Sorry for all the filler over the holiday weekend, but I'm still bushed, and I hadda make endz. At least this one features Detroit Leaguers Vixen and Aquaman, along with fellow JLAers the Flash, Fire (a.k.a. the Green Flame,) Green Lantern John Stewart, and Hawkgirl. Aquaman's wife Mera is also on hand, as everyone is coupled up-- J'Onn curiously with Alan Scott's daughter and Kyle Rayner's ex-girlfriend Jade. Martian Manhunter only made her acquaintance in any significant fashion in the JLA: Scary Monsters mini-series, during which J'Onn only made time with Kishana Lewis. This is what happens when you matchmake by the least discriminating of criteria ("You're gay! I know someone else who's queer too! I should introduce you!")

Click Here to Enlarge.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Martian Manhunter Kids' WB Online Graphic



As I mentioned yesterday, I'm kind of exhausted this weekend, so my posts will be inclined toward low hanging fruit. For instance, Rob at The Aquaman Shrine recently posted an image of the Sea King offered by the Kids' WB web site. I followed Rob's link and found this spiffy Martian Manhunter graphic, based on the design from the Justice League cartoon. I love the high contrast profile and use of the "pie" symbol. You'll note the lack of an official logo, but the understated look is a major reason I like this image, and it recalls the type of the outstanding American Secrets mini-series. If you'd like to see more, visit the Graphics Library.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Munching Martian Manhunter Sketch by Kevin Maguire



You may say Oreo, or you may say Choco, but regardless, isn't this a divine depiction of a Martian's love of COOKIES! I love Maguire! Click here to enlarge this undated sketch, which I assume from the brow was done sometime after 1997. One of the two pieces of original J'onn J'onzz art I own is a full body shot by Maguire, but I'd gladly trade it in a heartbeat for this piece!

I bit off more than I could chew, myself. I've been doing my periodic "Martian Manhunter through the decades" posting weeks where I write a story synopsis a day from J'onn J'onzz's entire publishing history. I'd hoped to do this for two straight weeks. That would have gotten me that much closer to finally closing out the '70s stuff, or wrapping up the storyline in JLI I started covering in January, or getting Bloodwynd regular coverage again, and so on. Unfortunately, I also started a new job that's fantastically demanding of my time and energy, plus I'm juggling a bunch of personal stuff to boot. I couldn't even start writing a synopsis for an Adventures of Superman annual until after nine o'clock. I soon realized it involved dozens of characters who would need external links, a probable secondary post for my Justice League Detroit Blog and basically hours of life I don't have to spare. I tried to substitute a biography of the character Siv from Haven: The Broken City, only to realize I'm only three quarters done with it.

Something in my brain kinda snapped, and I've given up on continuing this week as planned. There's no reason why I can't keep doing the blog in some capacity, but I need a few days to work out exactly how. In the meantime, I'll toss random stuff ya'll's way, and I hope you'll forgive the interruption in the various continuing stories in the meantime. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Justice League #6 (10/1987)



The Justice League gazed at the malformed town of Stone Ridge, Vermont. Mr. Miracle declared "It's... informed madness. Like something out of my childhood on Apokolips." Martian Manhunter observed, "If you grew up in an environment like this... then my heart goes out to you." Scott Free warned, "Don't worry about me, Manhunter-- worry about Captain Marvel! He's down in the middle of that mess!" Shortly thereafter, Blue Beetle asked rhetorically "...weird, huh?" J'onn J'onzz replied, "'Weird' is a relative concept, Beetle." Kord thought, "Sheesh! Sometimes this guy acts like he's from Mars!"

Captain Marvel was in the clutches of the Gray Man, levitating motionless alongside the similarly compromised Dr. Fate. The Gray Man was disdainful of Dr. Fate's silence and his having brought the Justice League to Stone Ridge. The Gray Man decided to show his displeasure by taking control of Captain Marvel's body and assaulting the League.

Black Canary and Booster Gold were the Gray Marvel's first victims, picked-up and hurled through the air at deadly speed. The Manhunter from Mars warned his team's leader, "I can feel his mind, Batman-- he's being controlled--" The Dark Knight commanded, "Booster'll be all right. He's got a Flight Ring! Miracle-- you retrieve Canary! J'onn-- you nail Marvel! Don't hold back, do you hear me?"

"...Marvel-- I can feel your mind struggling against him! If I can telepathically bolster your efforts--" The Martian Manhunter was unable to complete his sentence, as the Gray Marvel backhanded J'onzz, who skidded face first along and through the ground. From his trench, J'onzz grimaced, "I'm not amused."

"Oh, but I am! This is exhilarating! This is fun! I could incinerate you with a single spell, but I much prefer it this way." As the Martian Marvel batted the possessed Captain Marvel away with a boulder, he confessed, "So do I."

The League began to regroup, wondering what had become of the
the Creeper. Batman ordered, "Forget the Creeper for now! The Gray Man's our problem! We've got to find him!" Mr. Miracle asked, "What about Marvel?" The Caped Crusader dismissed the concern with, "J'Onn can handle it." Booster Gold snorted, "You hope." Batman countered, "J'Onn J'Onzz has been at this game longer than I have, Booster! He's the only member of this team I don't feel I have to nursemaid!"

The Alien Atlas continued to trade blows with Captain Marvel, as the Gray Man whined, "Fall, damn you! Why won't you fall?!" The puppet master sweated and strained at his bijou hideout, as Dr. Fate eroded the Gray Man's confidence further. "Not as easy as you thought, is it? Captain Marvel's power is mystical in origin. Even in his comatose state, his mind resists you. And the Manhunter is a formidable telepath. With each physical blow, he strikes at you psychically. The strain is beginning to show." The Gray Man was on his knees, cradling his head in his palms. "I said it's-- effortless!"

Outside, the Martian Marvel was procumbent, an upturned palm and a tensed arm the only signs of a rally to come. The Gray Marvel stood over the shrugging Alien Atlas, raring his fists behind his head in preparation for a crushing blow. "Do you see, Fate? He's down! And now that he is, I'm going to-- to... to...?" The gray in Captain Marvel's hair darkened to its natural black, and the ominous glow in his eyes dimmed to confusion. "Hey-- what's going--" As the Big Red Cheese struggled with his surroundings, the Manhunter from Mars pulled himself up and delivered the mother of all haymakers. The Power of Shazam planted his posterior against the ground, his head put through a stone wall.

"Captain Marvel?"
"Uh-huh."
"Is it really you?"
"Uh-huh."
"I'm sorry. I was dazed... I didn't notice the shift in minds at first. Did I hurt you?"
"Uh-huhhhh..."

The Creeper called out to the rest of the Justice League, as he had tracked the Gray Man to the bijou. Inside, he and Dr. Fate were engaged in a sorcerous duel. "You're finished! Marvel and the Manhunter put too much pressure on you-- weakened you... allowed me the opportunity to break free! You've overextended yourself!" Not so much that the Gray Man couldn't defeat all the heroes inside, except Dr. Fate, who then took off the kid gloves. "Gray Man-- I pity you. I've tried and tried to get through to you-- to make you see the foolishness of what you've done... Do you really think that absorbing dream-essence can make you equal to the Lords of Order--? --Can make you equal to me? You pathetic little man-- I've been holding back in order to help you! But now I see that you're beyond help! And so I do what must be done to rid the world of you!"

Outside, Martian Manhunter saw the bijou vanish. "Gone. All of them-- gone. But gone where? With Fate and the Gray Man involved-- it's surely no place on Earth... or any other world. Which means that, for now, I'm utterly helpless. Yes-- for now. But I'll find a way to reach them. I have to. Still, there's Captain Marvel to think of. The strain of his possession... our battle... has caught up with him. I need to get him home. And, after I'm sure that he's all right-- I'll be back."

On a side note, Maxwell Lord IV met with Hal Jordan, who expressed his serious reservations about a Justice League employing his fellow Green Lantern, "that psychopath" Guy Gardner. Lord dismissed them.

I know super-hero battles are a dime a dozen, but b'gosh this one was swell-- though I may be just a tad biased. The rest of the story wasn't too hot, though. The Gray Man looked like Harlan Ellison, a plenty ornery novelist, but not a credible threat. The schism between the bleak mystical pretensions and screwball comedy was glaring, and you never want to have the League upstaged by guest-stars. The Creeper had way too much impact, and even Dr. Fate turned his teammates into sidekicks by the end. People hate magical super-heroes for exactly the shenanigans Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis pulled in this script. No fault of Kevin Maguire though, whose pretty picture helped the medicine go down. Bob Lappan was mostly back to form, aside for another rocky title lettering.

Back to Justice League #5 (9/87)

Forward to Justice League International #7 (11/1987)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1978 "The DC Explosion!" Ad by Joe Staton



Between 1975 and 1978, DC Comics chose to fight against Marvel Comics' market dominance and rampant inflation by offering more titles with greater page counts than any other publisher around. This was a great time to be a new creation or well-regarded b-lister, as series were being handed out like Halloween candy during the "DC Explosion."

Aquaman had spent years as a back-up in Adventure Comics before finally graduating to cover featured star status in 1975. Now he was offering his old back-up space, so Adventure hosted shorts for a few members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory before settling on three issue trials for a potential permanent feature. The Creeper followed up his brief stint in Detective Comics there with such a run, then hopped on board World's Finest Comics for about half a year in '78 and The Flash in '83. J'onn J'onzz should have been so lucky.

The Manhunter from Mars followed Aquaman for three issues in Adventure, and both performed well enough to consider revisiting the pairing. Aquaman himself left Adventure to pick up the numbering of his old solo title right where he had left off at its 1971 cancellation. After some book-length adventures and a few Aquafamily spotlights, Aquaman was set to offer J'onn J'onzz a regular back-up slot. That was, until what became known as the "DC Implosion," which saw the DC house of cards collapse in a bloodbath of failed titles.

Superboy and Aqualad had taken over Adventure Comics, until luckless Garth was booted for Eclipso less than a year in. Superboy soon suffered the same fate, though he had other books to fall back on. Adventure then became an extra-sized dollar comic anthology to which Aquaman returned late in '78 for a series of short stints until the book's cancellation in 1983. Like Superboy, Aquaman always had another title to shelter him, this being World's Finest Comics.

J'onn J'onzz? Not so much. Unlike the characters the Martian Manhunter shared space with above, J'onzz had no actual pages of material in production when the ax fell. Guys like OMAC saw their produced pages burned up as back-ups in surviving titles before fading into obscurity. Others, like J'onn's Detroit League acquaintences the Vixen and Steel, only saw print through a 35 copy run of xeroxed art pages dubbed the Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, created only to secure DC's copyright on the material. Martian Manhunter was refused even that small grace, and didn't make a substantial appearance again until some guest spots in 1980.

You can read more about the DC Explosion through a great article at Dial B For Blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Detective Comics #280 (June, 1960)


"One night, as Capt. Harding and his ace detective, John Jones, go speeding to the waterfront," they spotted Biff Benson. Harding had a tip Benson was hired to intentionally go to jail to facilitate a crime. Harding figured if Benson didn't go to jail in their district, another unknown hood would just be hired to replace him. Detective John Jones was tasked with keeping Biff out of the pokey until the actual plot could be uncovered.

When Biff tried to smash the window of a jewelry store with a rock, the Manhunter from Mars caught it faster than the human eye could see and relaunched it at Biff's belly. Good Samaritans passing by helped Benson up and off to shelter for the night. The next day, Mike and Joe were driving an armored car flagged down by Biff. The Martian Manhunter simulated a falling meteorite, and Benson was hailed as a hero for getting the truck to slow down before it struck them.
"Too bad there aren't more public-spirited citizens like you around!"
"Oh, shut up!"

Biff next attended a charity costume ball, allowing J'onn J'onzz to arrive as himself. The Space Sleuth caught Benson in the midst of a hold-up, and with unerring aim threw a flower into his gun barrel. The Martian Manhunter next inhaled deeply enough to draw the bullets Biff fired toward his impenetrable chest. Benson figured he'd fired blanks, and tried to grab the crown jewels. Manhunter made Biff "dance" by "drumming on the same floor boards he's standing on, at supersonic speed," causing Benson to collapse. The Super-Sleuth listened to the half-conscious crook mumble an incrimination of Sam Spooner, and a phone call to Capt. Harding confirmed Benson must have been set to kill a witness set to testify against the gang boss. Harding had the witness removed to a safe place, while Detective John Jones finally arrested Benson.
"Y-you mean you really believe I'm a crook-- and you're taking me in? Great!"
"I hope you feel that way when you reach prison, Biff!"

"Bodyguard to a Bandit" was by Jack Miller and Joe Certa.

Meanwhile...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Detective Comics #237 (11/1956)



An off-duty Detective John Jones happened to notice a severed burglar alarm cable as he walked past a jewelery store, and spied thieves inside through the walls with his "Amazing Martian Eyesight." However, he failed to notice the pair of goons sneaking up behind him, and was knocked unconscious. At the dawn of the new morning, Jones awoke inside "some sort of underworld prison... a gang of thugs operating a jail for rival gangsters!" Jones was locked up, and the warden dictated, "Treat him like the other prisoners who've tried to double-cross us! He stuck his nose where it didn't belong!" Jones at first thought to use his alien aptitude to quash this nefarious (and rather impractical) undertaking, but his "Martian Ultra-Hearing" picked up a line regarding "the Chief." Jones wanted to net the kingpin of this operation, and chose to bide his time.

Intent on provoking a visit from "the Chief," Jones demanded roast turkey from the guard delivering gruel to his cell, "or I fetch it myself!" True to his word, he stepped through the walls and picked some up from a nearby restaurant, attracting the "warden's" attention. The Warden assumed a trustee was responsible for the unauthorized poultry, and sentenced Jones to laundry detail. Once there, Jones imbued the clothes with "Martian Mental Energy," excerpting "Mind Control Over Matter" to make the clothes wash themselves as swiftly as possible. Once again, a disbelieving guard called the warden down. "This bird must be using some sort of crazy hypnotism on us! Put him on the rock pile till I can figure this out!"

Outside, in lieu of his sledge hammer, "powerful alien currents swirl through the ace detective's brain," causing rocks to spontaneously combust! "Again and again the potent force penetrates the boulders," and then, "a vacuum created by a wind bouncing off that wall should load these pulverized boulders nicely..." allowing "Super-Lung Power" to finish the work.

By this point, the Warden figured Jones for a magician, and sent him to stoke coal in the boiler room until he could get the Chief on site. Jones was happy about this development, until the "Master Earthbound Detective" found himself near power-disabling open flames. The guard threatened, "I don't know how you're tricking us... but bullets don't like jokes-- so keep shovelin' pal!" The guard remained until fire had sapped away all of John Jones' virility, and the Chief later discovered the clown lying prone on the floor. From this position, "every muscle of the Martian Man" strained to focus ocular "Martian Power" at a nearby water tower until it collapsed. A deluge of water doused the boiler room's flames. "Now I won't even need secret Martian stunts to trap this gang... steam and water are my pals!"

Jones clobbered the bad guys and called in the police. Captain Harding congratulated Jones, and assumed of the water tower supports, "looks like somebody took a blowtorch to it... lucky break..." Jones covered himself by suggesting another convict did the deed to "reveal this place and get himself out of stir!"

"The Sleuth Who Went to Jail" was written by Jack Miller and drawn by Joe Certa.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Undated Brian Stelfreeze Convention Sketch



Here's another great Brian Stelfreeze piece, and if you're okay with nudity, you can take a gander at the fabulous offerings on his blog. I suspect this sketch was done after 1997, as it features a take on J'Onn much more strongly influenced by Howard Porter than the one I posted about the other day. Click here to enlarge.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Martian Sightings for July, 2009



This is a great month to be a Martian Manhunter fan, even if half of his appearances make you die a little inside.

The Martian Manhunter You Know And Love:
DC Comics Super Hero Collection #18 - Martian Manhunter
The ultimate collection for comics fans, the DC Superhero Collection Figurine Magazine brings together DC Comics` greatest heroes and villains! Official figurines of the characters, both good and evil, are cast in lead, individually hand-painted and numbered to form an authentic collector`s edition. Each comes with a 20-page magazine providing detailed history and background on the featured characters, including exclusive images and interviews. Choose this month from Starfire (#17), the Martian Manhunter (#18), Hitman (#36), and Batgirl (#37).
Release Date: 10/28/2009
Price:$14.00

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ARCHIVES T/C BOX (Net) (C: 1-1-2)
Rittenhouse Archives presents Justice League of America Archives Trading Cards, the first-ever trading card set to feature the JLA, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and more! The 72-card set will feature full-color art on the fronts and classic comic covers on the back. Bonus chase cards will include an 18-card Superfriends cartoon bonus set, as well as 1 Hand Drawn Color Sketch Card per box! Look for sketch cards from Warren Martineck, Andy Price, Pat Broderick, Kate Bradley, Mark Spears, Tone Rodriguez, and dozens more! Collectors will be looking to store their set in a custom-designed album, with 9-pocket pages and a bonus promo card. 5 cards per pack, 24 packs per box.
Release Date: 7/22/2009
MSRB:$80.00 (Box)

ABSOLUTE NEW FRONTIER HC NEW PRINTING
Written by Darwyn Cooke
Art and cover by Darwyn Cooke
Writer/illustrator Darwyn Cooke's award-winning, critically acclaimed masterpiece DC: THE NEW FRONTIER is back in a new printing of the Absolute edition, featuring new story pages, detailed annotations, alternate sequences and an extensive gallery of sketches, pinups, action figure art and more!
In the 1950s, Cold War paranoia outlawed the Mystery Men of the Golden Age. Stalwarts such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman continued to fight for truth and justice, but as the world hurtled toward an uncertain future, it would take a new breed of hero to define the American Way. DC: THE NEW FRONTIER takes readers on an epic journey from the end of the Golden Age of heroes to the beginnings of the legendary Justice League of America.
Darwyn Cooke's most ambitious project yet features the stunning color art of Dave Stewart, an introduction by DC's President and Publisher Paul Levitz, and an afterword by Cooke.
On sale July 29 • 8.25” x 12.5”, 464 pg, FC, $75.00 US


The Martian Manhunter You Neither Know Nor Love:
J'Onn J'Onzz provides a cameo appearance and part of the reason for the formation of the Hal Jordan League of America...

JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #1
Written by James Robinson
Art and covers Mauro Cascioli
What brings a team together? Justice! Batman and Martian Manhunter have been slaughtered. But he’s not the only hero to fall at the hands of villains. The murder has to stop, and it’s time to take the fight to the bad guys! Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Supergirl, Atom, Shazam, Congorilla and Starman unite in a cry for justice!
This 6-part miniseries from James Robinson (STARMAN, SUPERMAN) and rising star artist Mauro Cascioli (TRIALS OF SHAZAM) pushes our heroes to the brink and beyond as evil can no longer be tolerated to win. But when Prometheus plans his revenge on not only the heroes, but on the very places they call home, will this new team be ready to pay the cost for the justice they seek? This time it’s personal – and it’ll only get more bloody before it’s over!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers by Mauro Cascioli that will be separately orderable. Cover A shows the left side of the image; cover B shows the right side. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 1 • 1 of 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

We've replaced one of the off-brand supporting heroes in this comic with a disguised alternate reality J'Onn J'Onzz. Let's see if anyone notices...

TRINITY VOL. 2 TP
Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Art by Mark Bagley, Scott McDaniel, Mike Norton, Tom Derenick, Art Thibert, Andy Owens, Jerry Ordway and Wayne Faucher
Cover by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert
The second TRINITY collection, featuring issues #18-35 of the weekly series, is here!
“The Trinity of Heroes” are legendary characters who are believed to be the keystone to all of creation. Convinced that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are this Trinity, sorceress Morgaine LeFey teams up with Despero and Enigma to replace the three icons with evil doppelgangers from the Multiverse in order to recreate existence. Can the greatest heroes of 52 universes stop this evil plot – or will evil win?
Advance-solicited; on sale August 26 • 424 pg, FC, $29.99 US


BLACKEST NIGHT
The black hits the lantern this month, as Martian Manhunter joins the Corpse Corps! I can't say for certain Black Manhunter will pop up in these first two, but he's obviously in the third...

BLACKEST NIGHT #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis raise the dead in the most anticipated comics story of the year! Throughout the decades, death has plagued the DC Universe and taken the lives of heroes and villains alike. But to what end? As the War of Light rages on, the prophecy of the Blackest Night descends upon us, with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps at the center of it all.
Don’t miss this 8-issue epic taking the DCU beyond the grave!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Ethan Van Sciver). For every 250 copies of the Standard Edition, retailers may order one copy of the Sketch Variant Edition (with a cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 15 • 1 of 8 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

GREEN LANTERN #43
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
The official prologue to BLACKEST NIGHT starts here as the first Black Lantern is born! Black Hand has been an enemy of Hal Jordan since Hal’s early days as a Green Lantern. But even Black Hand is unaware of the true power he holds that will connect him to the Blackest Night! Discover this villain’s connection to death and the Black Lantern Corps!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

GREEN LANTERN #44
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
“Blackest Night” continues! As Hal Jordan and Barry Allen investigate a bizarre crime in Gotham City, they come face to face with one of their oldest allies – J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter! But their old friend is not there for reunions; he’s come for much more. Meanwhile, Sinestro seeks to rebuild his army and take his revenge on the being who would usurp it – Mongul!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

That's right, ya'll! Manhunter and Mongul in the same comic again! Not fighting one another, again!

More Blackest Night tie-ins, but far less likely to feature Martian Manhunter...

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #38
BLACKEST NIGHT: TALES OF THE CORPS #1-3


The Human Flame
FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: RUN! #3
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by Kako
Everything you’ve come to love about RUN! is on display this month: beatings, fire, explosions, guns, jokes at the expense of the less fortunate, stupid costumes and stupid people. You get all this entertainment plus the shocking chain of events that leads to the Human Flame getting a new girlfriend. It’s all downhill from here…
On sale July 1 • 3 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


Miss Martian
TEEN TITANS #73
Written by Bryan Q. Miller; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira
Cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
In the first feature, the team attempts to rescue Wonder Girl from the new Fearsome Five, as Calculator enacts his revenge on the team for not protecting his children. In the 10-page co-feature, Ravager faces the drug problem that could kill her!
On sale July 29 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Thursday, May 14, 2009

1997 Brian Stelfreeze Convention Sketch



I adore the work of Brian Stelfreeze, and if you're okay with nudity, you can take a gander at the fabulous offerings on his blog.

The owner of this sketch is a fella named Adam Richards, who noted that he got it at Aggiecon right around the time of the Morrison/Porter JLA relaunch. Since Stelfreeze hadn't had much chance to draw the Manhunter from Mars by that point, that's who he picked. Lord knows that after 50+ Shadow of the Bat cover, Batman would have been a snooze. I like the subtle Natural Martian form in J'Onn's shadow. Click here to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Haven: The Broken City #1 (2/2002)


Art from Previous Issue

Amidst the chaos, the violent criminals once incarcerated in Haven managed to escape from their prison cells. Upon discovering Valadin had been laid low, the murderous Nodecaum demanded of the JLA that the hero be turned over to his mob. Though the killer's words were in an unknown tongue, Manhunter warned "Be careful, Superman, I am sensing their hostility." The Man of Steel tried to reason with the mob as best as possible, while the criminals called dibs amongst themselves on his eyes and "fancy cape."

J'Onn J'Onzz's still unnamed new telepathic acquaintance made the scene to warn the JLA about who they were dealing with. Referred to by her foes as "the mind witch," the woman whisked Manhunter to a psychic plane. Commenting on her not having to pull such a maneuver in some time, the woman suddenly realized that she could now understand Manhunter's words. J'Onzz explained "On this mental plane we speak in pure thought. Language here is irrelevant to telepaths like us... Today we've come to help you and your city. That is why I 'called' you... We need to know what's happened here. We need to understand." The woman replied to her fellow thought shaper, "I am known as Katalia... The fallen hero you are trying to protect is Valadin... and I will let my memories tell you our story-- I'll show you what we are fighting for... and what we are running from."

The Manhunter From Mars was given a psychic tour through the history of Haven up until the present. Katalia further noted, " Unfortunately... the damage to the ship was far more severe than we thought... We crashed on your world... Most members of our alliance died in the destruction. And now only a few remain to protect the city. Now you know our story--and I hope that you will understand our struggle." No time for that, as they returned to the material world surrounded by vicious aggressors. One choked Superman with its bare hands, while another ripped his cape off his back. Diana drew blood as she whacked attackers with a piece of rent metal. Martian Manhunter commanded,"There's too many of them! We need to regroup! Everyone fall back!" However, with nowhere to run, the JLA braced themselves for attack. Blessedly, Siv arrived with heavy arms, heralding the arrival of the surviving Alliance.

Meanwhile, new U.S. Ambassador to Extraterrestrial Interests Nicole Stein protested her appointment to the post by telling President Lex Luthor, "Where do you get off dropping me in the middle of this festering pile of garbage? I wasn't hired to be an ambassador to a bunch of freaks from outer space!" Luthor explained that he needed someone he could trust on site, as the ship wouldn't be going away anytime soon. The President then held a press conference explaining military units led by General Norville would be supplying humanitarian aid directly. Stein, seeing she was being shipped off indefinitely, called her ex-husband about taking care of their kids.

"History Lesson" written by Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus & Matthew P. Schuster with art by Ariel Olivetti.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Haven: The Broken City



On the planet Competalia, a scientist named Anathema had unlocked the secret of cellular enhancement, allowing anyone on her world who wished it to gain super-powers. She called her free process "Becoming Competalia," but failed to mention the ennui and lack of will that came with the procedure. Using her augmented and devout followers to further her wishes, Anathema conquered Competalia, and imprisoned anyone who opposed her. Most ended up in the prison city dubbed Haven, specially built to serve as a ghetto for political prisoners.

As the years passed, a desire for freedom grew amongst the prisoners. A secret Alliance was formed between soldiers (Amun, Valadin,) scientists (Siv, Ignetia) and politicians (Sedga, Katalia) to pursue their own genetic augmentation experiments, but this time preserving their subjects' free wills. Everyone locked in Haven underwent the treatment, gaining sometimes spectacular and other times useless new abilities. An unfortunate side effect was that some subjects went mad and turned against their people.

Eventually, Amun and Valadin devised an escape plan, not from Haven, but through it. Alliance scientists devised a means to transform Haven into a ship of passage that would allow it to rip free from the planet Competalia and travel elsewhere. Havenites saturated with too much energy from their augmentation volunteered their lives to power the city-ship.

The Havenites did escape, and years passed as they flew toward their planned home, an uninhabited world. However a sudden engine failure spelled disaster, and sabotaged landing gear caused Haven to crash land on Earth. Before coming to a halt atop the former location of Coast City, California, hundreds of thousands of human and alien lives were lost. Most of the Alliance also perished, forcing the recruitment of new members. Havenite forces, with the aid of the U.S. Army, the JLA, and the Luthor Administration, began the slow rebuilding process.

For many months, Haven remained in the U.S.A., and President Luthor even looked to recognize it as a U.S. city. Anathema eventually located her former prisoners, but was defeated through the combined efforts of the Alliance and the Justice League of America. At some unrecorded point, Haven ceased to remain in Coast City, which was itself rebuilt. The current status of the Broken City is unknown.

Created by Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus, Matthew P. Schuster and Ariel Olivetti

Sunday, May 10, 2009

1976 Mike Nasser/Terry Austin World's Finest Pin-Up



In a previous life, Michael Netzer was an extremely important factor, after a decade in limbo, in revitalizing the Manhunter from Mars as a viable character. Unfortunately, the once Mike Nasser only produced about an issue's worth of Martian Manhunter art, and wasn't even available to finish the story he began with the character in Adventure Comics. Instead, the tale was completed in World's Finest Comics by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. The best guess is that this piece of art by Nasser and his inker on J'onn J'onzz, Terry Austin, was intended as a send-off in that last part of the story. However, the piece, which features story co-stars Superman, Batman, and Hawkman, did not appear in World's Finest Comics #245 (June-July, 1977.) In fact, if it ever saw print anywhere, I've never seen it. Instead, I found this at Comic Art Fans, and decided to share. To see the piece in its full detail, including a Superman headshot, click here. It's swell, and I considered trying to use it as a "cover image" for my fan fiction "Manhunter From Mars" series of posts, but in color all those blue costumes turned into a solid wall of blah. Ah, well...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2004 John McCrea Convention Sketch

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Here's a Martian Manhunter piece by John McCrea, the frequent Garth Ennis collaborator best known for his work on Hitman and The Demon. You can see the image full size here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Vile Menagerie: R'ES EDA



Alter Ego: R’es Eda
Occupation: Criminal, former Keeper of the Sacred Martian Symbols and military leader
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None, formerly Martian Government
Base of Operations: Mars II
First Appearance: ADVENTURE COMICS #449 (January/February, 1977)
Height: Approx. 6'2"+ (Variable)
Build: Athletic
Weight: Approximately 200 lbs.+ (Variable)
Eyes: Green (Variable)
Hair: None (Variable, previously white)

History:
R’es Eda was a survivor of Commander Blanx's unleashing of the Blue Flame of Mars, which rendered their world uninhabitable. Exiled among the few survivors to a tiny surrogate world dubbed Mars II, Re's Eda served as Keeper of the Sacred Martian Symbols. However, Eda felt that his people were doomed to die far from home, and was receptive to Army Commander N'or Cott's revelation that he had discovered an advanced underground civilization called Baltaz. Through his friendly relationship with Martian leader J'onn J'onzz, Eda was certain the Manhunter would stand in the way of Baltaz's subjugation. Fearing a revolt if he had J'onzz killed, Re's Eda instead conceived a plot to smear his name. Eda took a bio-serum to counteract the effects of a ray blast, then had N'or Cott "assassinate" him as he was presenting J'onn J'onzz with the Scepter of State. R'es Eda left J'onzz a "clue" that sent him on a wild goose chase off-world, while N'or Cott pursued in a bid to exterminate the Martians' leader before he could return.

In the meantime, Re's Eda swiftly recovered to assume command of the colonists at the Spacefort. R'es Eda told his people J'onn J'onzz had arranged to have him shot, but fearing such, he had taken the bio-serum. Eda claimed J'onzz had stolen one of the Martian's last ships to escape detection. Re's Eda next emptied the Spacefort's armory, taking all weapons and military supplies available for use in conquering Baltaz. Every Martian man, woman and child was led out of the Spacefort on an exodus through the Primitive Zone. Near the end of their trek, Martian Manhunter returned with Superman in tow to find his people camped for the night. Confronting their leader in his tent, J'onn J'onzz was shocked to uncover his best friend's treachery. Re's Eda proudly elaborated on the intricacies of his grand plan to secure the riches of the fabulous civilization of Baltaz, while dispatching J'onn J'onzz through his hotheaded loyalty. Re's Eda grinned as he acknowledged how he had lied to the Martian colonists about Baltaz to motivate them.

J'onn J'onzz tried to reveal the truth to the Martian troops, but they were completely behind R'es Eda, and the hope Baltaz offered them. The Martians turned first swords, then ray blasters against the Martian Manhunter at Eda's command, injuring their former leader and driving off the Man of Steel. Later, Re's Eda led the march on Baltaz, but was halted by the arrival of the Batman and a dying N'or Cott on Mars II. Eda's co-conspirator revealed that the atmosphere of Baltaz was deadly to Martians, and the cause of his lethal malady. Before he passed, N'or Cott fingered Re's Eda as the traitor who masterminded all the recent transgressions. J'onn J'onzz ordered his troops to seize R'es Eda, and the renegade hasn't appeared since.

Powers & Weapons:
N'or Cott presumably possessed all the powers and abilities inherent in the Martian race, but displayed none in his appearances. He wielded a sword while commanding the Martian Army.

Weaknesses:
Martians are known to be terribly vulnerable while in the presence of fire.

Quote: "Oh, my fellow Martians-- this is a glorious destiny we march towards... to conquer the underground city of Baltaz and take its riches from its corrupt and evil inhabitants! Thus shall the future of our Martian race be assured!!"

Created by: Denny O’Neil & Mike Nasser


See Also: Adventure Comics #449, #450, #451
World's Finest Comics #245

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2007 Rittenhouse Archives DC Legacy Daniel Brandão Sketch Card



Here's an interesting bit: Artists often had to produce hundreds of hand sketched bonus cards for this set. It hadn't occurred to me that they might render a detailed template to base these sketches on. However, I'd guess that's what the top piece of art I found at Estudio Daniel Brandão is, while the bottom is an actual card.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There Is No New Mars



I've been reading Martian Manhunter critically for years-- ever since I worked on the old site in the late '90s. The thing is, it took me years to finally put most of J'Onn's adventures before my eyes, and they most certainly arrived in an order that was not remotely chronological. In much the same manner as I work on this blog, my knowledge came piecemeal, and connections that would have been drawn otherwise were lost.

For instance, there is no "New Mars." I've been referencing this so-called planet forever, using it interchangeably with Mars II. As I've been working to finally pin down synopsis and other important information related to the years in exile (1968-1984,) I've covered and recovered old and new ground in hopes of working out the inconsistencies. I've worked under the assumption that writers couldn't even keep the name of the Martians adopted planet straight, whether it be Vonn, Mars II, or New Mars.

There's truth in that. Dick Dillin kept the look of Vonn consistent from its first appearance in World's Finest Comics #212 (6/1972) through a one-panel cameo in Justice League of America #100 (8/1972). The planet was less distinctive in Justice League of America #115 (1-2/1974,) and this is where the conflice begins.

In that first Vonn story, it was established that the planet orbited a red sun, stripping Superman of all his powers. However, in JLofA #115 Superman is shown using his flight and super strength. How could this be the same planet? The problem also crops up in World's Finest Comics #245 (June-July, 1977), where Superman has the use of most of his powers. Meanwhile, it was established that on Vonn J'onn had limited flight and super strength, which vanished in his Adventure Comics series and WF #245. So Martian Manhunter has powers, Superman doesn't, and then they flip. Wah?

The kicker for this post was DC Comics Presents #27 (11/1980), where Superman and Martian Manhunter fight one planet back from "New Mars." Superman clearly flies past a yellow sun, and both heroes appear to be at full power. The wheres and whys boggle my mind. Worse, in one line of dialogue in one panel of the book, Superman refers to "New Mars." Except their is no New Mars, because the term is never used again in the three part DC Comics Presents story. Just a few months prior, in JLofA #177-178, it's still Mars II, and remained so in JLofA #228-230, the planet from which the Martian invaders launched their attack on Earth.

So here's my problem: for years I've treated an apparent slip of Superman's tongue as gospel, though hey, it was Superman after all. Meanwhile, variances in Superman and Martian Manhunter's powers make it appear as though Vonn and Mars II are not the same planet. How does all that work? I don't know. I just wanted to make clear once and for all that there is no New Mars, even if Alan Moore referenced it in Twilight (of the Superheroes). D'oh!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Vile Menagerie: N'OR COTT


Alter Ego: N'or Cott
Occupation: Commander of the Martian Army
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: Martian Army
Base of Operations: Mars II
First Appearance: ADVENTURE COMICS #449 (January/February, 1977)
Height: Approx. 6'2"+ (Variable)
Build: Athletic (Variable)
Weight: Approximately 215 lbs.+ (Variable)
Eyes: Green (Variable)
Hair: None (Variable)

History:
N'or Cott was among the exiled survivors of the Blue Flame of Mars' destruction of his home world. Cott had found an abandoned Superman Robot while living on Mars, and cleverly made off with it as he joined his people in colonizing Mars II. While on a scouting mission, N'or Cott alone discovered the underground city of Baltaz. Marveling at the civilization's wonders, Cott was surprised by a citizen, whom he shot with his ray pistol. Before he expired, the citizen claimed that his city's very air would avenge his death. N'or Cott reported his findings to the Keeper of the Sacred Martian Symbols, R’es Eda, and the pair hatched a plan to conquer Baltaz. The leader of the colony, J'onn J'onzz, was Re's Eda's best friend, but he was seen as an obstacle that would have to be eliminated.

N'or Cott was present with other Martian troopers as R'es Eda began to present J'onn J'onzz with the Scepter of State, and in secret fired a ray blast that felled his co-conspirator. After the seeming assassination of R'es Eda, N'or Cott tried to prevent the Manhunter from leaving Mars II to investigate the supposed murder. Cott's sword was kicked out of his hand, and he was beaten to the ground by an unusually violent and unreasonable J'onn J'onzz. Cott staggered to his feet and ordered his men to pursue J'onzz to the Spacefort. There, the Manhunter stole one of the only two functioning spacecraft his people spared from cannibalization. The embittered N'or Cott commandeered the other ship, this one armed with missiles, and pursued J'onzz to Earth.

Cott blasted J'onzz's ship out of the sky over the city of Metropolis, U.S.A., which attracted the attention of Supergirl. A dazed Martian Manhunter had escaped his craft just as it exploded, so N'or Cott targeted him with a pair of missiles, which were intercepted by the Maid of Might. Supergirl offered to retaliate, but believing N'or Cott was only doing his duty, the Manhunter forgave Cott and continued with his investigation alone.

Though N'or Cott felt obligated to oversee J'onn J'onzz's demise, he allowed the Martian Manhunter time to confront the Thanagarian heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl aboard their starship with wild accusations of murder, hoping J'onzz would be dispatched in the process. A scuffle ensued, while Cott looked on at a distance from his own spacecraft. Recognizing there would be no actual bloodshed, N'or Cott happened to have stowed his Superman Robot on board his vessel. Arming it with a fire bomb, N'or Cott sent the artificial impostor to slay J'onzz and his cohorts, but it was detected and expelled from their ship. The eventual explosion struck N'or Cott's vessel, forcing it to crash land on Earth.

On learning of the Martian Manhunter's quest, the Batman volunteered to track down N'or Cott on Earth while J'onzz and Superman flew to Mars II. Two days later, N'or Cott was found in a desert, but not in time to prevent him from ambushing the Dark Knight Detective. However, N'or Cott was by this point dying from his exposure to the atmosphere in Baltaz, and put up little struggle against the Caped Crusader. His allergic reaction causing his flesh to die cell by cell, N'or Cott turned penitent, fearing the same fate for his people. Cott revealed his conspiracy to the Batman, and with him journeyed to an old mine for ore to smelt, which could be used to repair his ship's damaged rocket tubes.

The pair managed a return to Mars II, where N'or Cott took back command of the Martian Army from R'es Eda just as it was set to invade Baltaz. Making an example of his own mottled flesh, Cott explained to the Army the price of entering Baltaz, then exposed with his dying words the treachery of R'es Eda.

Powers & Weapons:
N'or Cott presumably possessed all the powers and abilities inherent in the Martian race, but displayed none in his appearances. He instead relied upon his sword, ray pistol, and the use of an armed space shuttle.

Weaknesses:
Martians are known to be terribly vulnerable while in the presence of fire. N'or Cott fell victim to an allergic reaction to the atmosphere of Baltaz, which claimed his life.

Quote: "My duty as a peace officer is to eliminate J’onn... but I am perfectly willing to let the Thanagarians perform the task for me!"

Created by: Denny O’Neil & Mike Nasser


See Also: Adventure Comics #449, #450, #451
World's Finest Comics #245

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Robo-Chargers


Gigantic monstrosities which seemingly combined elements of androids and machines, the Robo-Chargers were designed for war and employed by the Thythen. Fueled by the life force of living beings, the Robo-Chargers were used to police the planet Vonn. Their unconscious "batteries" were hung from girders, and had their essence drained through helmets connected with networks of cable to the Robo-Chargers.

The Thythen at one point captured most of the surviving Desert Dwellers of Mars and exploited them to power the Robo-Chargers. This proved their undoing, as the Martians had the distinction of gaining control of the Robo-Chargers, via their life force coursing through the weapons. Presumably, this had not occurred with other races used as batteries. The Martians used the Robo-Chargers to kill all the Thythen present, and expressed their intention to turn these engines of destruction toward a new purpose, rebuilding their civilization on Vonn.

The Robo-Chargers stood several stories tall, and moved through rocky terrain with great speed on tank treads. The constructs were covered in turrets called projectors which fired blasts that could disintegrate a target. The design of their upper bodies were humanoid, complete with head, chest, arms and five-fingered hands (including opposable thumbs.) The Robo-Chargers had large antennae, likely used to receive commands from the Thythen, who also bore antennae. Whether communication with the Thythen was telepathic was not made clear, but this seems most likely to have been the case with the Martians.

The Robo-Chargers only appearance was in World's Finest Comics #212 (6/1972).