Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Martian Manhunter Menagerie March Madness: Round 1 Round-Up, Part 3
Round 1 Final Assessments
Gorilla Grodd vs. Ryx vs. Thantos, the 3-In-1 Man: Two characters that I really like, are fairly popular, and had great potential to crush Vile Menagerie subjects while having somewhat questionable credentials in that department are Gorilla Grodd and Vandal Savage. These factors made their placement in the contest problematic. At one point I was going to have the aforementioned David and Goliath match of Grodd against the Human Squirrel. "Big Game" could have made the '90s stubbly Weapons Master a gorilla poacher. I kept juggling possibilities, but my responsibilities in balancing things out kept screwing up the lines.
Then I had Ryx, a military leader of an invading alien army repeatedly tricked by J'Onn J'Onzz into believing all human males were like Superman. Like a lot of characters, Ryx benefited from low vote turnouts ending in ties/narrow victories. Pitting him against other minor villains seemed unfair, since he did have an army, even if its mettle had never really been tested. Finally, there was Thantos, a goofy looking creation that was nonetheless very powerful and a legitimate threat wholly owned by the Martian Manhunter franchise. In the end, I decided to have the Three-In-One have a DC Three-In-One fight with the other two square pegs I had left over. Thantos had done well in qualifications, so he had a legitimate shot against Grodd, but I figure Ryx watered down the Silver Age vote. In the end, Grodd managed a win at six to Thantos' four and Ryx three, but I still figure it for one of the dirtiest matches.
The Magician-Thief Who Had Super-Powers vs. Vulkor: The Capsule Master reminds me of the Ghost Rider foe The Eye with that giant orb on his head, and unless you happen to be Mysterio, that kind of dome tends to be a serious liability. While Vulkor's debut remains one of the most often reprinted Martian Manhunter stories, and he was probably the most widely exposed of that rogues gallery in the Silver/Bronze Ages, his omission from the two Showcase Presents Martian Manhunter volumes had to hurt. While Vulkor made a lot of history, the "Magician-Thief" was still the first Martian villain in the John Jones series, and that means a lot. Also, while M-T may have worn pink, at least he didn't look like a marital aid gone rogue. (8-4)
The Headmaster vs. TOR: The Robot Criminal of Mars should have been a much earlier entry into the Vile Menagerie files, but a) I figured I was going to synopsize his debut "soon" a couple or three years ago & b) I didn't have any color reference to work with. As this March Madness bit got started, and wanting a break from school pressure, I knocked out three easy entries in one night. It might have seemed like ballot rigging to post TOR's during the contest, but it didn't have any impact on a deadlocked vote. What actually happened was that I don't like stalemates, and I hadn't voted because I think Headmaster is a solid newer villain, but gave TOR the nod. The thing with the Headmaster is that his "zombie"/robots hybrids and spaceship were trashed by Martian Manhunter in his only story. TOR was another rare early villain who could not only meet J'Onn J'Onzz on the field of power, but did so through a human host. We only have TOR's dubious word that his robot form was disabled, and he already displayed body-hopping abilities, so he could be revived at any time with power enough to tangle with the big boys. (6-7)
The Saturninan Criminal vs. S'vor: To be honest, I've only skimmed either of these guy's stories, and I was rooting for the Mercurian against the Saturnian in the pre-season. S'vor seems like the dopiest looking of the lot, so I kind of wash my hands of the whole thing. (6-7)
The Martian Marauders vs. The Devil Men of Pluto: I knew this would be a massacre. The Marauders were just another gang of all-bald, all-boring red planet hoodlums causing trouble on Earth. The Devil Men were vicious bastards who marked the turning point when Martian Manhunter became a dark character who dismissed the value of their evil lives. One looked like a demonic Adolph Hitler, and what part of "Devil Men of Pluto" does anyone find unappealing in their villains? (2-11)
Scorch vs. The Human Flame: Two of the most highly visible Manhunter-related adversaries whose fire-based powers prevented them from fairly tangling with Martians. In other words, two pains in my ass I had to have face off, because where else could I place them? I wasn't at all sure which way this would go, as Scorch has her fans, but the Human Flame had his own mini-series and old school credentials. I didn't vote, and it wouldn't have mattered, because J'Onn's old flame made this a cakewalk. (9-4)
The Osprey vs. Weapons Master: One of these guys literally appeared in a few panels of foreshadowing in one comic book that was never followed up on, which goes to show nothing is more open to fan projection than a blank canvas. Just ask Neil Gaiman's Morpheus, or the Phantom Stranger. Then again, Weapons Master was only the 198th high-tech mercenary who could afford full body armor but couldn't scrape the stubble off his own chin in 1994. It never helps to be a Bloodwynd villain, either. (8-4)
The Marshal vs. Commander Blanx: Part of me really wanted the genetically altered leader of the Soldiers of the Red Brotherhood to play Pac-Man with lesser lights for a round or two, but how boring would it have been to see the Marshal murder B'rett and Commander Blanx batter Bel Juz? Nope, let's cut to the chase, and have the two great militaristic evils of Mars in ultimate combat. The Marshal put up a struggle, and there's some honor in that, but the odds were never in his favor. (5-9)
Despero vs. Doomsday: The prospect of the three-eyed Kalanorian going out in the first round horrified me, but there was no one else to potentially tackle Doomsday, and you always have to kill your babies in this sort of thing. Well color me surprised (or fuchsia) that not only did Despero destroy Doomsday, but it was the single greatest annihilation to date. There was a time when Doomsday seemed unstoppable, but I guess the Superman creative team thoroughly poisoned the well after so many tainted dips in its waters. (15-1)
That does it for Round One, and here are the final matches for Round Deux....
Division III, Round 2
Mistresses of the Obvious!
Bel Juz (Green Martian Traitor!)
Bette Noir (Mind Manipulator!)
Rocket Ridin' Drrrty
B'rett (Yellow Martian Criminal)
The Magician-Thief Who Had Super-Powers
S'vor (Tec 267)
Tor, the Robot Criminal of Mars
Division IV, Round 2
Py'tar vs. Apokolips
Sic Semper Tyrannis!
Have Ray-Guns... Will Travel!
VULTURE (International Mob)
The Devil Men of Pluto (Space Hitlers!)