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