Friday, March 12, 2010
52/WW III Part Three: Hell Is For Heroes #1 (June, 2007)
Week 50, Day 5. Once again in the guise of an adolescent white girl, the Martian Manhunter surveyed the terrible destruction wrought by Black Adam in Pisa, Italy. Far from overwhelmed by the psychic agony surrounding him, "None of it more than a distant, faraway static in the back of my mind. Jumbled bits of colored ash that I quickly blink away." J'Onzz assigned those arbitrary, non-Corps-approved colors to the following emotions: Green- Heartbreak, Black- Natural Human Evil, Muted Gray- Despair, Red- Anger, Gold- Courage, Blue- Strength, Yellow- Compassion. While Little Girl J'Onzz was painting the world in his jumbled head, the Justice Society of America showed up to actually help people in the disaster area. Some victims were distrustful of Adam's former teammates, though.
Despite already establishing Black Adam's psychic defenses (and the left field mental offensive that turned J'Onn into a jerk,) Manhunter telepathically sought out the mass murderer at the Parthenon in Greece. An interim cannon fodder Teen Titans team met the villain, resulting in Young Frankenstein's (literal) disarming death and the serious injuries of Zatara II and Offspring. Beast Boy, recalling every Titans writer since Geoff Johns, didn't bat an eye at the casualties. Manhunter arrived too late to the scene, disguised as a haggard EMT, compelled by "curiosity." J'Onzz mentally shared Young Frankenstein's final moments of life. "Humans, Martians... it matters not the race. At the end of things, we all die alone."
Junior high profundity. Boo-hoo. No seriously, this is me crying over John Ostrander writing Martian Manhunter again. Oh, the missing humanity.
King Faraday and Sasha Bordeaux made the scene and argued about the inevitable intervention of black ops aficionado Amanda Waller. Jones observed, "Amanda Waller. Two sides of human nature combined in one soul. Among humans, few are so comfortable doing good with evil hands."
In Detroit, MI, "No surprise then, that when my mind locates Ben Turner... I'm already two steps behind Amanda Waller." Why J'Onzz chose to peek in on Turner, beyond his being a certified badass in the Motor City, I don't know. Turner kicked down the door of his own apartment, prepared to face an unwanted intruder. The Wall replied, "That's one door that'll never piss you off again. Me, I usually just put an extra key under the mat." Turner wasn't having any of it. "Answer's no. Leave. Now." An argument ensued between two great characters Ostrander can write, but Waller as always got her way. The Wall revealing that Turner's old Task Force X leader Rick Flag Jr. was alive and a prisoner of a hostile nation. One assumes these two pages were gifted to Ostrander, as they were only relevant as a lead-in to the great Suicide Squad: From The Ashes.
Week 50, Day 6. The Teen Titans caught up with Black Adam in the Himalayas. The killer punched the heart out of Terra's chest, killing her once again. Since this was a character Beast Boy and people who were teenagers in 1984 actually cared about, mourning commenced.
Back to Martian Manhunter, "I ghost into Director Bones' D.E.O. inner sanctum, silent as a thought." With Checkmate boxed into a corner, the D.E.O. had stepped in to fill the void in the pursuit of Black Adam. Bones was also handling prosecutor Kate Spencer, whose double life as the vigilante Manhunter (no relation) had begun impacting her profession. Martian Manhunter had met Spencer during the investigation of Shadow Thief's involvement in the death of Firestorm, and later connected her to Not Martian Manhunter. The Manhunter from Mars eavesdropped into the meeting where Spencer resigned under the scrutiny of Federal Prosecutor Andrew Bates to start her own defense practice under Bones' guidance. "Theft. Lies. Deceit. All in the name of justice. The two sides of human nature, once more represented. Smaller acts of malice performed in service of the greater good. It is not the Martian way. It is not my way. Or... is it?"
The Martian Manhunter returned to the Denver, Colorado* precinct where he began his impersonation of deceased detective John Jones*. "Peter Santorelli. Diane Meade. My first partners.* My first friends.* In spite of never knowing who I really was.*" The still active Santorelli walked up to J'Onzz and burst out laughing uncontrollably. John Jones revealed himself as J'Onn J'Onzz, as well as "I'm inducing laughter in your mind to lessen the shock of learning my true identity. It is cowardly of me. I apologize. This is who I am, Peter. This is who I have always been. Many were the times I manipulated this truth. My motives were pure, my methods less so." Why come out now? "To make certain I never do it again, my friend. Goodbye."
* All of the above is per John Ostrander, who knows continuity like he knows the secret of cold fusion. The Silver Age Manhunter invented the John Jones persona to join the Middletown, U.S.A. Police Department, while Post-Crisis it was Middleton, CO, which is about 250 miles from Denver. As far as I know, this was Peter Santorelli's first and only appearance. Jones' first friends on the force were Capt. Harding in the Silver Age, and an unnamed retired beat cop in the modern era. If I recall correctly, Ostrander himself wrote a story where Diane Meade knew about Jones' dual identity. The real corker follows...
"The Terrel Building. My base of operations when I left the police to become a private investigator. After long decades of use, it now stands empty and condemned. I shared this office with Diane Meade. She selflessly bore the weight of both our partnership and our friendship while I... I failed her. She died."
Um, no. Ostrander killed Jones' p.i. partner Karen Smith. Diane Meade not only survived Ostrander's lousy series (my sanity didn't,) but her last modern appearance was alive and well a year later in Harley Quinn. Ostrander can't even keep his own continuity straight.
J'Onzz started whining about how everywhere he looked he saw lies, and used his Martian Vision to level the building in a terrible fire. That's fire. Y'know, fire. Please don't write anything but Suicide Squad, Grimjack and stuff I don't want to read for the rest of your life, okay Johnny O.? I'd really appreciate it. The art was by Tom Derenick and Norm Rapmund, which while not the best pairing of styles, maintained the surprising quality of art throughout this curse of a mini-series.