Monday, August 23, 2010

Justice League of America #203: "Deleted Scene"

It's always fun to use context clues to unravel inexplicit details of relationships between characters. For instance, Martian Manhunter appears to be one of the few super-heroes Green Arrow truly admires, but Ollie's kneejerk opining and swagger seems to have kept their relationship tepid. Black Canary is a sweetheart, but runs in separate circles. Manhunter's relations with Green Lantern Corpsmen have always been strained, but there is mutual respect with all the Flashes. I don't believe Hawkman ever forgave the Alien Atlas for sucker punching him back in the '70s, and although they rely on one another outside of teams, Katar is unceasingly antagonistic. The Atom, Zatanna and Elongated Man are all agreeable.

J'Onn is clearly coziest with the DC Trinity, but also has a complex connection with Aquaman. Mutual tragedy and alienation seem to draw J'Onn and Arthur to one another, but Aquaman can be very abusive and fearful of intimacy, about which J'Onn is unusually tolerant. Conversely, Martian Manhunter and Firestorm have always been mildly antagonistic and distrustful of one another, with J'Onzz handing down lectures, and Ronnie getting fresh.

Recently, The Irredeemable Shag's Firestorm Fan and Rob Kelly's The Aquaman Shrine connected their respective dots, based on conversations that took place in Justice League of America #193 & 203. Shag has a gift for drawing exclusive archival material out of creators, and netted excerpts from an original Gerry Conway script that, as he put it, "ended up on Editor Len Wein’s cutting room floor." The following is taken from Shag's excerpt of an early draft for June 1982's Justice League of America #203. The scene involves the Sea King taking the Nuclear out into open waters as part of a training exercise...

Page 2, Panel 1
Firestorm thought balloon: I wouldn’t even be here if Martian Manhunter hadn’t made me promise to be nice to Aquaman.* Apparently, Martian Green-Genes has a soft spot for the Sea King.

* NOTE: Martian Manhunter and Firestorm met recently in JLA #200 – Editor Len

That's the sum total of Martian Manhunter's involvement, which bolsters my theory about his friendship with Aquaman, but might leave you hungry for more details. Visit Firestorm Fan for the full skinny on the excised portion, of which the above was only a snippet, and visit The Aquaman Shrine for his side of the story.


LissBirds said...

Interesting. It's the amusing read-way-too-much-between-the-lines kind of stuff that reminds me of Scipio's blog. Poor Flash. :)

There was a scene in the Meltzer version of the JLA that had Aquaman and J'onn together as friends, if I remember correctly. I've got to go look that up now.

Luke said...

Regarding Martian Manhunter and (the Silver Age) Hawkman: I think you pretty much hit it here.

Now, I have never read much of the Justice League but I can make some generalizations, as this is the Internet and we're allowed to do that here.

Let's look at the pros first. Both Hawkman and the Manhunter are strong believers in justice and law enforcement, as both are police officers. Both place a high value on intelligence gathering and the detective process. Both are aliens. So on a basic, lower level I think that they can work together well because they can relate to one another as professionals; two cops who both know the score and are, at the end of the day, out to achieve the same goal.

But the beyond that the differences start to pile up. They all stem, I think, from the fact that the Martian Manhunter is a detective and Hawkman is more of a SWAT guy. Previously on this blog I have referred to the Manhunter as the superhero equivalent of Joe Friday. To expand on this analogy, Hawkman would be the rough equivalent of Sgt. Rick Hunter, the overly-tough tough guy more likely to crack skulls than coax a confession. (I say "rough" because Hawkman is not a killer like Hunter was. Ironically, this analogy continues to work if you consider Hawkgirl a rough estimation of Sgt. Dee Dee McCall.) They have the same goals, but different methods of achieving them, and while they can work together to get the job done, I don't think either of them really enjoys the experience.

Of course, this is all based on hearsay and innuendo, so I may be wrong.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Frank - Thanks so much for the shout-out. Nice coverage of Martian Manhunter's relationships! Firestorm and MM have been bumping heads since JLA #200. Maybe we should talk about that sometime soon. *hint* *hint* :)

As far as my "exclusive archival material" from Gerry Conway's script... ummm... well... yah see... how should I put this... hmmmm.... well... maybe you shouldn't put a lot of stock into what I say. Let's just leave it at that. :)

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

Hah! I got suckered by Shag! You truly are irredeemable, sir! I'll have to add an "Imaginary Stories" tag to this post, and I'm glad I added all that supplemental yammering for good measure. Just don't tell me that mountain of Blue Devil archival material isn't legit!

Diabolu Frank said...

Luke, as soon as you started to shift toward discussing the differences between J'Onn & Katar's procedures, I thought detective vs. SWAT, and then you took the words right out of my brain! I'll further it though, in that the Silver Age J'onn J'onzz was a scientist/political leader who became an amateur detective/super-citizen patrol on Earth. In that sense, the Martian Detective is like an inscrutable Holmes to Hawkman's Inspector Lestrade, except with J'Onn much more obtuse and Katar much less. Then again, Katar was of the first generation of cops on Thanagar, learning Earth methods, so I guess a dilettante like Manhunter was at near the same experience level.

Also worth noting: in the '70s, Katar was the friendly one, and J'Onn the brusque jerk. The hell?

Finally, nice job working Dee Dee McCall into the conversation! That deserves some sort of prize for "appropriate comparison nobody on Earth has ever previously made before."

LissBirds said...

It's discussions like these that make me love the Internet.

Now I'm trying to figure out who Adam Strange's counterpart is in all this, becuase didn't he talk shop with Katar every once in a while?

Mean J'onn? Wha...? All I can think of is a line from I don't know where (and I can't even remember who said it): "Maybe on his planet, it's the men who get PMS?"

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Definitely add an imaginary tag to this one. All the other Firestorm and Blue Devil material I've posted is legit! This was just some fun tongue-in-cheek comments. Desperately trying to find a way for Firestorm to redeem his pride from this incident.

The Irredeemable Shag