Friday, October 4, 2013

Justice Volume One (2006)

A variety of super-villains had a dream in which the world died by fire, and the Justice League could save no one. Martian Manhunter was the second hero from the team shown to be dying. His morphing body contorted into an horrific thing, a blood tear in one of his eyes. The unseen, critical narrator clarified "The Martian is dead, the last of his race of shape-shifters. This day is the death of races." The villains awoke, and took action.

In the true day's light, the Justice League of America lived on, defending the Earth under normal circumstances. The Alien Atlas was joined by Superman, Plastic Man, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Red Tornado, Aquaman, the Atom, Green Arrow Oliver Queen, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Black Canary, the Flash, Batman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl. For how much longer, who could say?

“Where on Earth are you, Arthur?”

At the suggestion of Batman, Red Tornado had contacted the Manhunter from Mars in hopes of locating Aquaman under the sea. The League Satellite could turn up nothing, and J’Onn’s friend had been missing for weeks. “Martians, those of us who still live, are not defined in physical geometry like the people of Earth. The natural laws that govern Martian understanding are far larger and more encompassing than anyone can imagine. Our nature is adaptation, to this or any other world.” Through the sharing of other beings’ thoughts, and through the shifting of his shape, the Manhunter would plumb the depths for the king of Atlantis.

In the form of a porpoise, the Sleuth from Outer Space followed a trail, sensing something terribly wrong as he delved into a cave. “It’s as if I were being watched and not watched at the same time… Aquaman was here. His genetic makeup is unique. Parts of it still flow in these waters… his blood.”

Electrodes attached to his dark gray brow, Gorilla Grodd was aware. “Black Manta lacks imagination. He would be defeated by the Martian as easily as he was defeated by Aquaman. I will face the telepath, Brainiac. You have nothing to be concerned with.”

In a bipedal, hybrid form, the Dolphin from Mars found a black dome of extra-terrestrial origin, and knew Arthur was within. Passing immaterially through its hull, J’Onn J’Onzz assumed his super-heroic form, but decided it would be best to proceed “all but invisible.”

The Manhunter from Mars found a metropolis within, like a human city, but an amalgamation of influences. There was artificial sunlight and atmosphere, but no people. Taking flight, the Martian Marvel searched for signs of life, until a scream in his mind sent him hammering into the street below. “MARTIAN! I SEE YOU!”

The Alien Atlas believed he had fallen into a trap, as he saw the entire metropolis engulfed in flames. J’Onn J’Onzz knew that he was in a city surrounded without by the ocean, and that this vision was a lie, but still he struggled against his inborn vulnerability to fire. Grodd muttered, “Yes, Martian. Yes. I know you. But you cannot fight me. You won’t win. I know where you come from. I know what happened on Mars. Welcome home.”

Stumbling through an inferno of the mind, J’Onn J’Onzz had returned to the final days of Mars, his people dying by numbers in their native cities. The Martian Manhunter tried to focus on water, as his home planet faded into the meeting hall of the Fortress of Doom. Still aflame, the room and its wicked occupants closed in on J’onzz. Grodd was not among them, affirming from afar “You can’t fight me. I’m stronger than you. Even if you get out of the city, you’ll never warn anyone. You’ll never be seen again.” Was the Manhunter still on fire, or was he now drowning in the ocean? Grodd simply commanded, “Burn.

Tens of thousands of miles above the Earth, a dismantled Red Tornado lay on the floor of the secret headquarters of the JLA. Grodd grinned, “The Satellite no longer holds any secrets.” Telepathically, the super-gorilla handed the alter egos of the Justice League to his fellow villains, assigning them to snuff the heroes lives when they would least expect it…

The Legion of Doom struck out against the Justice League of America, whether in their heroic guises or private alter egos. All the while, a seemingly lifeless Martian Manhunter drifted through the ocean’s depths…

In the first Justice trade paperback, an introductory piece was written in which Superman considered his fellows in the Justice League. Superman noted Martian Manhunter's many powers, used only "as a friend to mankind." Kal-El continued:
"I have no idea how old he is. I sometimes fear that J'onn allows me to make too many mistakes for the sake of my own wisdom."

"Justice, Vol. 1," collecting the first four issues of the 2005 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

No comments: