Monday, November 20, 2023
Snaking her body around J'Onn's and taking advantage of the fear and dread being experienced by those Earthlings in the midst of unknown calamity, D'kay swore that she would never stop coming for J'Onzz... that she would use and destroy each and every life on his adopted world in her pursuit of his eventual companionship on their red planet. The Alien Atlas believed her... that she was an existential threat to multitudes on Earth, and that her menace would only end with her demise. The Manhunter from Mars flew himself and D'kay D'razz into the sun, where their flesh cooked off their bones, and those bones exploded into dust.
"Mars Attacks" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Patrick Gleason & company. Beyond the stupid title, the belabored conflict, the average art, the impossible astronomy, and maybe the ultimate instance of Martian Manhunter jobbing himself-- dying twice in one comic to addresses menaces he should have been able to beat with regular old powers and a little brain work-- this one was alright. And yes, the rare Green Martian survivor living secretly in isolation until reemerging well into the Manhunter's career before J'Onn kills them and nearly himself by diving into Earth's sun was already done to Ma'alefa'ak in the Pete Tomasi-edited Martian Manhunter #9. If you're going to be a second-rate Johns, might as well plagiarize from his second-favorite source, John Ostrander.
Monday, November 13, 2023
The Outlaws try to go legit -- and fail spectacularly. The Justice League has issued a challenge to DC’s Dark Trinity, forcing Red Hood, Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, and Bizarro to try and replace their goody-two-shoe counterparts as the heroes the world neither deserves nor needs. In this original series, the Outlaws will battle some of DC’s biggest Super-Villains and Super Heroes -- but their biggest battles are among themselves. Can this team last? And can they find their own identities separate from Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman?Per Wikipedia, WEBTOON is "a South Korean webtoon platform launched in 2004 by Naver Corporation, providing hosting for webtoons and compact digital comics. The platform is free, and is found both on the web at Webtoons.com and on mobile devices available for both iOS and Android." DC Comics has apparently farmed out some of their IP to the company, including the New 52's Red Hood & the Outlaws, under the recenty "Dark Trinity" model of wannabe bottom shelf Bat-Supes-WW. While doing research, I stumbled upon the project, and then suffered through it. I readily admit myt biases: I am an old. I like "Modern Age" North American comics, except most generations of readers are maybe fifteen years long and "modern" starts more or less in 1986, so it's an unweildy conceit. To be more precise, I like a combination of late Bronze Age world building/aesthetics but with "Dark/Chromium Age" mature and subversive elements. It would be especially ignorant and prejudiced to say that I don't like "manga," but I can say that I'm not big on stereotypical Asian storytelling tropes like massively decompressed storytelling and cutesy banter/romcom elements. I especially don't like when American super-heroes are forced into this model without regard for continuity. As an added bonus, the episodes are infinite scrolls optimized to be read on a phone, but I read on a desktop. This is not my jam. The story is that the Outlaws are mercenaries hired by the presumed deceased mobster Franco Bertinelli to recover a stolen family heirloom on Dinosaur Island. Yes, that's the name of Huntress' father, and he looks the part, but this is just the sort of superficial nod to continuity that only serves to confuse and frustrate the kind of people that will catch the reference. Besides facing dinosaurs, the Outlaws also run a Raiders of the Lost Ark gauntlet of boobytraps to capture the "heirloom." Did I also mention that I hate overt references to obvious pop culture sources? here
Monday, October 16, 2023
"Aquawar Part One" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Ivan Reis & company. A White Power Battery obsessed with "purity" against the darkies? Are our heroes headed to the GOP primaries? Also, by the end of this two part micro-series, Aquaman will be "dead" too. Not looking good for Martian survival...
Monday, October 9, 2023
Of course it's an imaginary story. Doi. I'm certain the writers did not expect the readership to be utterly clueless to this fact by the third page, and yet the story keeps on belaboring asserted facts that any experienced comics reader would dismiss on sight. It's hard not to get antsy reading pages of nonsense filler while waiting for the matter to resolve. So yeah, giant statue in Martian Manhunter's honor. J'Onn's family alive and expanded, with daughter K'hym herself now a Manhunter. Keeping the homicide witness family dog from earlier in the series as a pet, despite feeding it a steady diet of sandwich cookies, likely to cause daily severe stomach upset, pancreatitis, and chocolate poisoning. Batman feeling the need to list the ways in which every Leaguer but him is not entirely human, but failing to explain in the same panel why his head is in 3⁄4 but his mouth is a front view. I didn't know you could get punched that hard.
Superman was wearing a Kryptonite mask, and K'hym wanted to mentally probe his unconscious form for answers, as he was among the few beings capable of killing the League. J'Onn refused her, prompting a tirade about how he was okay with probing every Martian but not a single outsider, and how his loyalties are ever with Earth over Mars. A justifiable concern, but also D'Kay D'Razz's hand being tipped. More so when they line up all the corpses in a morgue, and all the cross slashes supposedly spell out the Martian words for "love" and "hate." Also, despite saving Superman's life, Manhunter randomly stabbed him to death with an undetected Kryptonite spike or especially powerful ring construct? Also, K'hym was inexplicably absent. And despite using heavy shadows as a handicap throughout the issue/run, the artist channels Ed McGuinness cartoon hyper-muscularity to depict Superman getting shived under lighting so bright that the only shadows cast on the entire pages were to highlight said inflated muscles. Being a sloppy second rate Doug Mahnke had gotten him this far, so is it too much to ask that we keep the artist we're deriving from consistent from panel to panel?
"Whatever Happened to the Manhunter from Mars?" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Patrick Gleason & company. It is perhaps the worst Martian Manhunter story. You might dismiss that as hyperbole, and it's certainly not true at the level of raw craft, but bear with me. "For the Man Who has Everything..." and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" are considered to be two of the greatest comic stories ever told, a pair of Alan Moore's most well regarded tales, and typically at minimum top 10 Superman yarns (though both lose impact the further perception moves past the Silver Age model, into the ongoing Byrne Man of Steel period.) Martian Manhunter is widely considered to be mint-flavored Superman. Blatantly cribbing from major Superman stories, much diminished in length and talent, on a highly visible maxi-series that eclipses any audience the Sleuth from Outer Space ever commands on his own, conforms the bias held by many that the Alien Atlas has nothing more to offer than being a stand-in or jobber for the Man of Steel. Plus cynical ultra-violence, which is itself reheated '80s Moore. Plus the story just stinks, and the artist can't maintain quality or character from panel to panel. Plus, all those wardrobe changes, and they're all Green Lantern costumes. There may be objectively worse stories, but few more harmful to the Martian Marvel.
Monday, October 2, 2023
"The End and the Beginning" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Scott Clark & company. A White Power Battery obsessed with "purity" against the darkies? Are our heroes headed to the GOP primaries? Also, by the end of this two part micro-series, Aquaman will be "dead" too. Not looking good for Martian survival...
Saturday, September 30, 2023
The Atom determined that Superman had been bitten, and that it was possible his powers were being remote-controlled. Superman feared his mind might be next, and isolated himself. Martian Manhunter continued to stand atound in the background. "Lost" was by Marv Wolfman & Mike S. Miller.
Then Superman accidentally killed Lois Lane and exiled himself into space. A green Tom Taylor came in for a couple fill-in issues involving space battles with Sinestro that were so jarring I thought I was looking at the wrong book. Tony Bedard leaves and Wolfman drags things out on his own, seemingly losing the plot but figuring out more opportunities to work in the conceit of player-generated original characters. Eventually, the past and future cyborg Lex Luthors teamed up and reset the entire timeline so that nothing in the series happened. There are a few issues with extra nice art, but otherwise this was a waste of everyone's time. Sorry I bothered to cover this at all.
Friday, September 29, 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
"Anarchy at Arkham" was by Marv Wolfman, Mike S. Miller, and Sergio Sandoval.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
"Reconstruction" was Tony Bedard & Mike S. Miller
Monday, September 25, 2023
So what does the Alex Forrest of the Red Planet have in mind? A candlelight dinner with a whole cooked turkey, white wine, and... a stacked pyramid of Chocos on a silver platter? I quit. This was a mistake. I never should have started this blog. Martians dining with cookies beside an open flame atop a transparent coffin? ████ you! ████ this! I'm out.
Just as I'm trying to reconsider, we learned that the ritualistic scarring on D'kay D'razz's body was the Martian symbols for love and hate. You know, like in the 1955 Robert Mitchum noir flop The Night of the Hunter, involving a preacher with the words tattooed on his knuckles? Who are you trying to kid? More like the Simpsons' Cape Fear parody with Sideshow Bob stalking Bart. I've seen both, but trust that this third time held no charm, just an exhausted groan. The single person I hold most responsible for Martian Manhunter's inviability as a solo character since his big breakthrough opportunity in the wake of JLA is Pete Tomasi, because whether as an editor or creative, his hand is always at play when it comes to stupid ████ like this. What is D'kay D'razz but Malefic with ████, and what is this story but repeating oneself and expecting different results? Dc Comics ran a fan poll while this book was running, and I recall the Manhunter storyline ranking at or near the bottom (I think the Hawks were the only competition.)
"All This Useless Beauty" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Patrick Gleason & company. I didn't take time to mention that a punch of Pat's page were lousy, with wacky proportions and an over-relience on shadow. Obviously he perked up when the fake Justice League showed up, and his Martians toward the back were quite good, but I think the J'Onn/D'Kay stuff bored him. Same. Also, the Black Lantern Martian Manhunter simulacrum flew around. I dunno. Whatever.
Sunday, September 24, 2023
"Downfall" was by writer Tony Bedard, art by Howard Porter & John Livesay and Pop Mhan.
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Superman in "Hero of Heroes" was by Kevin Grevioux, Roberto Castro, & Scott Koblish.
Friday, September 22, 2023
"Three Minutes" was by writer Marv Wolfman, Mike S. Miller, Adriana Melo, and Norman Lee.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
"Easy Come Easy Go" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Scott Clark & company. Don't it, though?