Sunday, August 22, 2010

DC75: J'Onn... My family... My Family--! (Justice League America #39, 1990)

Since the 1950s, the Manhunter from Mars had lived amongst humanity, but somewhat apart from it as well. J'onn J'onzz had family on Mars in the Silver Age, but he seemed to keep them somewhat at arm's length. His closest companion for years was his pet, Zook.

In 1988, readers and J'Onn himself learned that he had been a father and husband, and thus was born the personal tragedy that has endeared the character to modern age readers. However, so few people read J'Onn's initial revelatory solo mini-series, that broader audiences only discovered his life on Mars through trickles of information in the Justice League books. Probably the most thorough look to that date came when J'Onn's memories were used against him in Justice League America #39, viciously reopening wounds J'Onzz was still struggling to process. Meanwhile, his former teammate Gypsy had just seen her own family murdered by Despero. On a hill overlooking the crime scene, as a losing battle for the League raged on further in the distance, the Martian Manhunter held the injured teenager in his arms...

"I wish I could offer you words of solace, child-- but for a tragedy of this magnitude... there are none. What I can offer is my friendship... and all the love in my heart. I won't desert you child: that I swear."

J'Onn J'Onzz had served many roles over his career. The romantic idea of a surrogate father protector, not just to Gypsy, but the League itself, was a new one. Only a few months earlier, Martian Manhunter was arguing with Batman over his desire to abandon the team to indulge in self-discovery, but his journey to "the rock of the JLA" he is often perceived as truly began here.

Check out more highlights from the past 75 years of DC Comics at The Truly Most Memorable Moments of the DC Dodranscentennial


will_in_chicago said...

This showcases the J'Onn J'Onzz that many of us know and love. Perhaps more so than most heroes, J'Onn understands the importance of treating others with compassion. As a telepath, he can sense and share in the emotions of others.

Greg said...

Frank, I was catching up on the blog and saw your Batman Brave and Bold 18. I also saw how you were talking to the writer. Do you know if he purposely wrote Malefic as a White not knowing he was green. Or did he write him like you said as a combination of Commander Blanx and Malefic. Also can you explain how you think he is also combined with the Master Gardner?

Diabolu Frank said...

Greg, Landry Walker left a comment on the B:TBTB #18 post which links to his personal blog, if you'd like to cut out the middleman. Better to get your questions answered straight from the writer's mouth.

What set the Master Gardener apart from other Martian Manhunter villains was his drive to resurrect Mars. Although his route wasn't as direct as General Ma'alefa'ak's, the Master Gardner sought to insidiously conform Earth behavior to an approximation of Martian culture, quite probably while literally compromising the human body with Martian cultures. Also, the Master Gardener was the "sole" Martian survivor in this endeavor, whereas his nearest cousins in agenda, the Marshal and the Hyperclan, worked in concert with other surviving Martians.

LissBirds said...

Great moment, and probably going to show up somewhere on my countdown, too. I'm not sure if it's telepathy that drives his compassion or idealism. I like to think of it as the latter. (e.g. Darwyn Cooke's wide-eyed version of J'onn.) I think that carries more weight than just being able to read other people's minds.