Friday, October 24, 2008

The Blue Flame of Mars

A world-wide civil war broke out on Mars over dominion of "a gigantic 'tree' of blue flame" situated between the Pole Dweller and Desert Dweller nations. This flame was believed to be the only source of heat on the planet, and presumably the only type of flame that could be safely harvested by Martians. Military-Science leader J'onn J'onzz had hoped to harness the flame to power spaceships, but it instead fell under the control of Commander Blanx. While J'onn J'onzz was in exile on Earth, Blanx bombarded the Blue Flame with rays that caused it to burst its bonds. Blanx and his men looked on from an Antarean space-vehicle as the flame slowly engulfed the planet. Virtually all of Martian civilization was reduced to cinder, and only a very few survivors escaped the holocaust. The Blue Flame was finally contained when Green Lantern dug several feet below the soil where the fire had touched, shaving much of the planet's surface, and launching it into the vacuum of space.

The Blue Flame of Mars was absolutely resistant to water, actually flourishing as an entire ice planetoid was melted within it. For reasons unexplained, Martians could operate directly in the presence of the Blue Flame without it triggering their potentially fatal vulnerability to fire. Green Lantern Hal Jordan's Power Ring had no effect when leveled directly at the Blue Flame, despite his exhausting his willpower in the effort. Superman has said of it, "I've been to the ends of the universe-- but I've never seen anything like that eerie flame!"


Bookgal said...

Maybe the writers were looking at it as a different kind of fire…I dunno. This one always kind of stumped me too. After all, the fire weakness is such a predominate part of the character and the whole race, its just weird. Or as my husband would say “A plot hole big enough to drive a mac-semi through.” LOL

Marcel said...

I could be misinterpreting things but think both the martians' Blue Flame and Despero's Flaame of Py'tar are homages to "the City of the Singing Flame" by Clark Ashton Smith. There's an "audiobook" version here for reference: