Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone's Scale of Evil Rank
19) Psychopaths driven to terrorism, subjugation, intimidation and rape, but short of murder.
Why Commander Blanx has been selected for 1st Place:
- Commander Blanx was the Martian Manhunter’s first enemy… sort of.
- Commander Blanx was the Martian Manhunter’s opposite number in his life on Mars
- Commander Blanx was partially responsible for J’onn J’onzz’s exile to Earth.
- Commander Blanx was the first Martian to come to Earth gunning for J’onn J’onzz.
- Commander Blanx introduced retroactive continuity as a regular component of Manhunter’s story.
- Commander Blanx is one of the few ties between the Silver and Bronze Age Manhunter stories, enforcing the former’s relevance in Pre-Crisis continuity.
As a novel exercise, scripter Steve Englehart set a flashback issue of JLofA during a specific publishing month early in the Silver Age. It was fun to learn that Green Arrow wasn’t present because he was trapped on an island that month, or that Hal Jordan appeared sans power ring because he hadn’t met Abin Sur yet. However, the story pivoted on a random Manhunter from Mars strip centering on weapons teleporting from Mars into the hands of gangsters. As it turned out, this was a trial run for Commander Blanx and his men to come to Earth in pursuit of J’onn J’onzz, drawing them into conflict with other contemporary heroes. Until Grant Morrison brought back the Human Flame for Final Crisis, the rest of the DC Universe could disregard everything from the Manhunter from Mars strip except his origin and Blanx’s tie-in story, affording those surrounding stories greater validity. Compare that to Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Flash, whose statuses were constantly updated and referenced based on the going on in their solo series. The Martian Manhunter’s solo happenings usually only related to his absence from activity, but here was a key story that pivoted on his life.
- Commander Blanx “introduced” J’onn J’onzz to the world’s greatest super-heroes.
- Commander Blanx also better associated America’s heroes with one another.
- Commander Blanx was the catalyst for the formation of the Justice League of America.
- Commander Blanx helped turn the Martian Manhunter into a period hero.
- The New Frontier, America Secrets and other great comics exist in part because of Commander Blanx
- Commander Blanx turned the Martian Manhunter into a nearly peerless veteran hero.
- Commander Blanx popularized xenophobia as a major theme in Manhunter stories.
- Commander Blanx was the first Pale Martian, and introduced racism as a dominant theme in Manhunter comics.
- Commander Blanx turned the Martian people into aggressive militaristic invaders.
- Commander Blanx was the first Martian to kill just about every other Martian.
- Commander Blanx killed the planet Mars.
- Commander Blanx redefined the Martian Manhunter as a tragic character.
- Commander Blanx defined every Bronze Age Martian Manhunter story, helped differentiate the Alien Atlas from the Man of Steel, and was “the” villain of note for decades.
- Commander Blanx was a Justice League of America caliber threat.
Commander Blanx was the first villain specifically created to battle the Martian Manhunter and the Justice League, on the group’s turf. Commander Blanx and his men beat J’onn J’onzz in 1959, and it took most of the heroes who would form the Justice League to save him. In 1969, Commander Blanx successfully destroyed Mars, and all the League could do was bring him to justice over the crime, a literally pyrrhic victory. The simple fact that Blanx is a Manhunter villain who faced the League twice in a decade is enough to crow about, but to have distributed such widespread destruction under their watch is especially memorable. You may recall that Malefic had already been captured by Manhunter, released, plagued Mars, and thought dead before Batman was even born. Blanx did his dirty business right under the Dark Knight’s nose.
- Commander Blanx was the Martian Manhunter’s first apparent kill.
- Commander Blanx was in the Super Powers Collection-- sorta.
- Commander Blanx was not a carbon copy of the Martian Manhunter, and was his first archetypal super-villain.
- Commander Blanx is the ultimate embodiment of the betrayal of Martian principles.
Commander Blanx cared about absolutely nothing but himself. He cast aside a millennium of peace on Mars to wage a civil/racial war. In man-to-man combat with J’onn J’onzz, he brought in another man to sucker punch his foe. Blanx insinuated himself deeply into the Martian hierarchy solely to satisfy his personal ambition. Finally, he destroyed all of Mars, not because of emotional problems or divine direction, but simply to satisfy his own greed and disdain for the “weakness” of his people. Malefic may have been the nastiest Martian around, but Blanx was the antithesis of Martian ideals, so completely soulless as to be exempted from any connection to his people.
The Counter Argument:
- Commander Blanx appeared in two comics book nearly thirty-five years ago, and he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.
- Blanx was never a physical challenge for the Martian Manhunter, always falling back on weapons and underhanded plays. He even died like a sissy, screaming as he fell off a friggin’ staircase to his death-by-globe.
- That plunging neckline from his first appearance is reason enough to blackball him, but coupled with the hideous color scheme, the man’s an eyesore.
What Commander Blanx Represents:
J’onn J’onzz has a simple name and garb. His green skin represents life and vitality, and its lack of covering honesty. What clothes J’onn wears are a noble blue. He has a loving family, and his people embrace peace. When presented with a power source, he wishes to use it for exploration and advancement. When trapped on an alien world against his will, he chooses to secretly act as its benefactor. J’onzz joins a cooperative of good Samaritans in this endeavor. J’onzz is the favorite son of Mars, and an ambassador of goodwill to other worlds.
Blanx has no first name, only a title. His skin is absent of color, cold and pale as a corpse, and almost entirely concealed in regal garb. Their sickly orange and green color scheme highlights his otherness from humanity, and Blanx was never without a lethal weapon of some kind. Blanx has no significant others to speak of, only nameless minions serving as his hostile army. When presented with a power source, he uses it to kill as many people and destroy as much property as possible. Even conquering his own world isn’t enough to satisfy Blanx, so he sells out all other Martian life to the highest bidder. Blanx is a commander, seeking to subjugate and dispose of lackeys at will. Blanx was the antichrist of Mars, and a criminal everyplace else.
As J’onn J’onzz put it, "We were so close! After untold hundreds of centuries, we were about to find maturity... outgrow senseless strife... become all we might have been! And one individual, sick with the need for violence, deprived us of our destiny! And so my world ends!"
- Commander Blanx is to the Martian Manhunter as…
Ra’s al Ghul is to the Batman
Ares/Mars is to Wonder Woman
The Mandarin is to Iron Man
The Leader is to the Hulk
Moses Magnum is to Luke Cage
- Commander Blanx is to the Martian Manhunter as…
General Zod is to Superman
Sinestro is to Green Lantern
Venom is to Spider-Man
- Commander Blanx is to the Martian Manhunter as…
Black Manta is to Aquaman
Red Skull is to Captain America
Doctor Doom is to Iron Man
Who isn't ranked because of Commander Blanx:
- No one. There were nine ranks of important Martian Manhunter villains to filter out the riff raff beneath Commander Blanx. His only concern was insuring that none of those nine usurped him as master of the Vile Menagerie.
- Darkseid is too much of a broader DC Universe villain to ever belong to the Manhunter franchise, was associated with J’Onn J’Onzz decades after his establishment, and frankly wasn’t all that interesting in the Manhunter stories he appeared in.
- Professor Arnold Hugo is too inherently silly and unthreatening to work as a serious adversary, and started out as Batman & Robin’s one-time foe. Plus. He hasn’t appeared in a Martian Manhunter story in over four decades, or much else anywhere.
- The Diabolu Idol-Head was a contraption and a storytelling device, not a character.
- B’rett appeared one time over half a century ago, and he was defeated by burning leaves. Also, he’s just a yellow Martian Manhunter with a ray gun.
- The Human Flame has to date been defined by his comedic lameness, and has only fought the Martian Manhunter one time.
- Despero will always first and foremost be a Justice League villain, and that role is the only real reason he regularly fights J’Onn J’Onzz. The Martian Manhunter hasn’t fought Despero since he left the team, and they’ve never had a solo throwdown. Despero didn’t even schedule a single appearance in the three years the Manhunter solo series ran.
- Mr. V is a fat European mobster in one of the weakest get-ups ever, and he seems to have died decades back. Also, Faceless never provided a real non-flammable threat in his years as the Manhunter’s main villain.
- Bel Juz, if anything, makes the Martian Manhunter look bad by her appearance. She royally chumped J’Onn J’Onzz, despite displaying hardly any powers and manipulating others to do most of her dirty work.
- Malefic is just a Commander Blanx wannabe. He didn’t do anything Blanx hadn’t done decades earlier. He only ran repeats with the necessary jacked-up extra details of the Modern Age.
Decades after Commander Blanx’s last appearance, no villain has yet to prove as accomplished an adversary, and those who have come the closest simply follow in Blanx’s footsteps. How do you top setting up your hero’s origin, demonizing him on his adoptive world, inspiring the formation of the Justice League, destroying your rival’s home planet, killing almost everyone he knew, and forever altering how the character works and relates to audiences?