Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scary Monsters #3 (July 2003)

Wonder Woman fared worse than Superman against the sinister entities. Diana was infected with a disorder that caused her to slowly turn into a demonic version of herself, then frozen inside a lake. It required most of the League's powers combined to release the Amazing Amazon from her trap, as everyone returned to the resort built around Carmody’s Folly to regroup.

During this quiet before the storm, Linda Park expressed discomfort around J’Onzz to her husband, Wally West...
“I know he’s your friend...”
“Tell me about it. Sometimes he spooks me, too.”
“It’s the telepathy. Intellectually, I know he doesn’t pry, but every time J’Onn is around... I feel like I’m naked. Transparent clear down to the soul.”
“But think about him. All those years living among us... and no matter how much he blends, he’s still an alien.”

J’Onzz made a second attempt at learning about the demons through Kishana Lewis’ mind, and was pleasantly surprised she still had no problem with his appearance. J'Onzz found her to be “Intuitive and brave. I like that.” Kishana responded, “Don’t be fooled, it’s mostly an act.” J’Onzz insisted, “I’m not. And it isn’t.” The Manhunter found a “memory” of the aftermath of the 1877 incident imprinted on Kishana’s genome, as she heard “Medicine drums, on the wind. A song of power.” Martian Manhunter also determined that though Lewis’ physiognomy was mainly African, her heritage was still definitely mixed. "Does the name Abel Carmody mean anything to you?"

The Alien Atlas and Kishana Lewis were attacked by a tentacle monster, but it was the progressively worse Wonder Woman's claws that tore open Manhunter’s face, as she swung wildly in the pair's defense. Kishana was concerned. “C’mon Manhunter, let’s get you—“
“My fate doesn’t matter! It is you they want!” Armed with an M-16, Lewis held her own, and vowed, “Those monsters slaughtered my team... Whatever you want of me, you got.”

Manhunter grimly warned, “Have a care Kishana. Before this struggle ends, we may well hold you to that pledge. And it will likely cost you more dearly than you can possibly imagine.”

By Chris Claremont, Joshua Hood and Sean Parsons.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scary Monsters #2 (June 2003)

“The Martian Manhunter can fly. He can bend steel in his bare hands and change the course of mighty rivers. In fact, he can pretty much do anything Superman can do. With two significant additions. He’s a shape-changer. And more important right now, he’s a telepath. Something attacked and critically injured two of his Justice League colleagues... J’Onn J’Onzz is going inside their minds... the forest around them bursts once more into flame. The Manhunter bares his teeth in a reflex of defiance... writhing in the heart of those flames is something far worse, so great and terrible that [GL & Flash’s] minds deny its existence, for their own survival.”

“That’s when we arrived.” Rayner and West were carried back to the lodge and put under observation, while Kishana Lewis was given her own room. There she was visited by John Jones. The narration read, "This is a challenge the Manhunter's faced many times before in his career as a detective. His Martian telepathy makes the human mind transparent. Knowledge comes easily to him. Proof is hard."

Introductions were in order. “Ms. Lewis? I'm John Jones. I’m a detective. I used to be with homicide. I’ve been asked to help... Is something wrong... you’re staring.”
“I’m sorry... it’s just your skin-- looks green.”

Manhunter was stunned, thinking to himself, “Incredible. Impossible. My replication of the human form is perfect, yet somehow she sees through it! I can deny it, but this might prove the way to get her to trust me.” J’Onzz revealed his alter ego to Lewis, who was unafraid of his form. “I mean, you’re a hero—one of the Justice League. Why should it matter what you look like?” Given permission to peer into Lewis’ mind, J’Onzz found her astral self to be a being of flame. “A very rare woman indeed-- by the twin moons!” Lewis' fiery astral form created a wall of fire to protect the lodge from demonic entry, then urged the Martian Detective to evacuate, before it was too late. The flames were too intense for J'Onn, forcing his mind to leave the astral plane, only to find Kishana was consciously aware of none of this.

Back in the valley, Superman and Batman found that the forest had special regenerative properties that allowed it to redevelop at an astronomical rate. “I think I can tell you why this forest burns so easily. The wood is super-saturated with a kind of resin. Once it ignites, the fire would burn as intensely as white phosphorus. And the shape of the valley, like a bowl, makes this a natural blast furnace… From the looks of the subsoil and organic residue, about one hundred-plus years ago the valley was burned down to its bedrock. Evidence suggests another fire, equally devastating, better than a thousand years previously. And yet another, even further in the past. But this is old-growth timber… the kind of trees you’d expect to find in an eco-neighborhood that’s been untouched for centuries. No way should this have grown in just a hundred years. Or even two. “ Then, as Superman himself felt the cold and a blizzard set in, the Man of Steel tossed the Dark Knight to safety just before a creature attacked. The magical monstrosity assaulted with a wealth of speed outdistanced only by its mass. “These punches hurt! The creature’s claws are drawing blood! So much for being invulnerable!” Superman managed to defeat the one abomination, but he felt the presence of a legion. Batman noted, “His uniform’s badly torn. There’s blood all over. I’ve never seen him take this kind of punishment before.”

By Chris Claremont, Joshua Hood and Sean Parsons.

Monday, October 29, 2007

JLA: Seven Caskets (2000)

I had intended to run this one on Wednesday for Halloween, but the breakdown and art reference for "Scary Monsters" ran longer than I expected, and I didn't want to break the flow once it really started going. I blame Claremont's infamous exposition.

Following is a synopsis exactly as written but unpublished seven years ago:

“Barrow, Alaska. The mind of the Moon King is closed to any attempts at parley. And despite the fluidity of its spirit highly damaging to the Martian Manhunter’s.” The world was plagued by ghosts sent forth by seven ancient kings old when the world was young. To combat the horrors, the JLA became possessed by chaos incarnate. They beat the bad guy. The end. JLA: Seven Caskets (2000) was produced by Dan Brereton.

Whether this speaks to my burn-out with regards to the old site or my utter indifference to the story is up to you. To be frank, I didn't remember that I’d even read the thing before stumbling upon this. In retrospect, it seems like an excellent opportunity for Brereton to draw dark, pointy things for an above-average paycheck.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

JLA: Scary Monsters #1 (May 2003)

In the Dakota Badlands of 1877, U.S. Calvary soldier Abel Carmody rescued the granddaughter of an American Indian shaman who gave his life to contain a demoniac hoard. Carmody eventually married the girl, become a great industrialist, and constructed the fortress "Carmody’s Folly" in preparation for another terrifying assault.

In the present, the Martian Manhunter ripped the back door of a suburban Denver home off its hinges with his bare hands. “As his name implies, he’s not from around here. But on his adopted homeworld, as on his planet of birth, J’Onn J’Onzz is a policeman. He swore an oath to protect the innocent. Moments like this, there’s nothing he’d rather do.” As he entered a den surrounded by police, the Manhunter began to assume a form more suited to the setting. He stepped over a young man unconscious on the floor to scoop up a frightened schoolgirl into his arms. “Hi, Ellie. I’m Detective Jones. You’re safe now. Everything’s going to be okay.” At that moment, a SWAT team burst onto the scene.

“Jones! What the hell are you doing here?!”
“What does it look like, Gene?”
“Watch the mouth, pal. You got no badge anymore, you got no right to be here!”
“Just doing my duty as a citizen, Lieutenant.”
“We had the situation under control--!”
“No—you were ready to start a war. In that kind of a cross-fire, what chance do you think the girl would have had? You got the bad guys, Gene. You saved the girl. You get to take the public bows. How ‘bout we leave it at that?”

Meanwhile, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, his girlfriend Jade, the Flash, and his wife Linda had taken to the Spirit Lake Resort for a vacation. Also at the resort were Kishana Lewis and three fellow forest service fire fighters, who were called out by resort manager William Hume to insure that there would be no sparks lit under the hot summer sun. Within hours, Lewis had made a fire, and left her men to burn in it. Smoke over the south ridge had alerted Flash and Green Lantern, where they found Lewis in shock and rambling. Clearing the flames, the heroes were attacked by the possessed bodies of the firemen, whose supernatural abilities allowed them to circumvent the Leaguers’ powers. The firemen spontaneously combusted just as the dual titans were ready to collapse. Additional Leaguers Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, and the Martian Manhunter were likely called to the western Badlands by Jade, who joined them in discovering Flash and Green Lantern unconscious.

By Chris Claremont, Joshua Hood and Sean Parsons.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Justice League of America #239 (6/85)

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Noted that the missing Leaguers had been gone to Earth-2 for three weeks, though to them it seemed mere hours.

Martian Manhunter: "May I suggest you were caught in a probability paradox while traveling between Earths? A ripple in the river of time?" J'Onn noted that his people on Mars II were detecting an increased frequency of temporal anomalies before he left them, which would later tie into the epic mini-series we all know and love, "Crisis-Earth." Make that "Universe." No, they settled on the unwieldy "Crisis On Infinite Earths," didn't they? Anyway, the missing Leaguers accepted the explanation, with Superman asserting that if the new League needed help, they knew who to call. J'Onn confirmed, "We can never forget." Later, Aquaman again abused his telepathy in a bid to bend the considerably more willful Vixen to his will. The Manhunter pulled "Arthur Curry" toward him by the shoulder, then seized him by the collar and demanded, "That is enough!"

"Get your hand off me, J'Onn. Who do you think you are?"
"The question, my friend, is who do you think you are? ...Your determination to dominate has done harm enough for one night, my friend. Let her go. We must allow her to handle this matter alone... for the sake of the League."

Aquaman: Played all sincere and nice around Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman, while Sue tried to let go off his rude remarks from a previous issue. Watched his friends set off on a Cosmic Treadmill to make up for their missing time.

Steel: Antagonized then apologized to Flash. Recalled the mental whammy Aquaman laid on him.

Vixen: After a two page myth sequence referencing her powers, focus of the issue shifted toward Vixen. On page nine, when she tried to get her freak on, she was distracted by Vibe's sister alerting the team Mother Windom had been kidnapped by General Maksai. She swore to confront her uncle, who was trying to extort her Tantu Totem from her, but was assaulted by Aquaman. Released, the book became entirely a Vixen solo issue for it's second half, wherein she had a deadly final confrontation with the killer of her father, "the Gored Ox."

Vibe: Shook Wonder Woman's hand, who patted him on the head.

Zatanna: Hugged Wonder Woman. Caught Vixen making out with Dale Gunn. Questioned Aquaman's recent actions.

Dale Gunn: "Since when did you become irresistible?"

Gypsy: Stood around.

The Creators: Conway, Patton, and Machlan make me angry as an Aquaman fan, with their unfair characterization of a hero that would fit right in with today's adulterated vigilantes. As a Manhunter fan though, I'm proud to see J'Onn speak truth to power and stand up for the sanctity of a person's mind and will.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: One time, Arthur called him "J'Onn." The rest of the time, Aquaman and the rest of the League (including Barry Allen) use his full name.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Rosita, mi hermana, what are you doing here?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Justice League of America #238 (5/85)

Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash: Beaten by wraiths conjured from a souped-up Casio synthesizer slung like a guitar. Held captive by stock evil Commie, only to be rescued by Justice League Detroit. Rumor has it Barry died not during the Crisis, but from the embarrassment.

Vixen: Provided early example of meta-commentary by directly addressing Detroit League hatas.

Steel: Enabled Vixen.

Zatanna: Hated on Vixen, possibly because she broke the 4th wall, or perhaps because she came off as kind of a tramp back then. Used magic to control a thunderstorm and down Soviet Migs.

Vibe: Rightly impressed that Zatanna finally used her powers right. Vibrated a rogue Soviet trooper. Fried by a "key-tar."

Aquaman: Probably forced Vixen to make lame speech with his telepathy or something. Trash talked Gypsy. Made no mention of the concept of "morale."

Elongated Man: Stretched by Steel like a rubber band in an elastic double-team with Martian Manhunter.

Martian Manhunter: As Zatanna observed, "J'Onn J'Onzz, we're the only two in the group who can fly, so..."
"Your point is well taken, Zatanna. Shall we see how backward-spell magic and Martian adaptive power fare against military hardware?" While invisible and not, J'Onn tore apart a Mig with his bare hands, and was mistaken for a demon. "Strange, the effect I seem to have on people. I'm not that frightening in appearance, am I, Zatanna?" Before she could reply, Vixen asserted, "Hey-- not in my book, Big Green. Matter of fact, I like my men tall and lean." J'Onn and Zee also fought a fire-breathing pterodactyl wraith.

Gypsy: Projected her illusion powers directly into the evil Commie's mind, sending him into shock as he imagined himself falling from a great height.

Dale Gunn: Still flying that personnel transport.

The Creators: Have to date faced the Detroit League with such impressive foes as street gangs, embassy security agents, a baseball-themed villain, weak poseur heralds of a lame Galactus wanna-be, Soviet military forces, and a dude with a keytar. Indulge in meta-commentary because, for some reason, fans think the new team stinks.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "Big Green" - Vixen
J'Onn J'Onzz wants to know why everyone calls J'Onn J'Onzz "J'Onn J'Onzz." J'Onn J'Onzz doesn't stand for ceremony. J'Onn J'Onzz just likes the spicy chicken.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Hey, relax, amigo."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Justice League of America #237 (4/85)

Vixen: Listened to Aquaman moan. Not like that. Disparaged by Hank Heywood Sr.

Aquaman: Moaned about his busted-up marriage, kingdom, and team to Vixen. Anxious when he learned Superman, Wonder Woman, and to a lesser degree Flash were back from whatever hole they'd crawled into, necessitating the League to work at half-strength during the Earth/Mars War.

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Alarm interrupted something that forced the pair up in their robes. Disparaged by Hank Heywood Sr.

Gypsy: Acknowledged as actual member of team living in the Bunker. Disparaged by Hank Heywood Sr.

Vibe: Disparaged by Hank Heywood Sr. Understandably.

Dale Gunn: Karate practice with Steel and pilot of L.O.S.T. for trip to visit Steel's powerful military-industrial-complex-proponent grandfather Hank Heywood Sr.

Steel: Cried some more. Tossed Hank Heywood Sr. out a window. He was sensitive like that.

Zatanna and Martian Manhunter: The only other heroes to show up in costume and ready for action after Aquaman's alert that the missing founding Leaguers were spotted flying into the U.S.S.R.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: None. He hardly appeared.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Amigo, if this was a test..."

Creators: Conway, Patton, and Mike Machlan let the old Leaguers get all the action, while the new tended to foreshadowing of upcoming issues.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Martian Manhunter Children's Halloween Costume

There's still just barely time...

"This Martian Manhunter costume includes a green, red, yellow, and blue jumpsuit with attached blue cape and boot tops, belt and PVC mask.

The Martian Manhunter Costume is 100% Polyester. Hand wash cool water. Line dry. No bleach."

All man-made materials! Rock! Kids don't need to breathe, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

JLofA #36 & House of Mystery #150 (April 1965)

Small wonder J'Onn J'Onzz lost his cover slot, as the 150th issue had a neat looking monster that reminded me of Doomsday instead. When the greenish-brown skinned creature with spikes running down his arms, legs, and knuckles was awakened, he burst free of his chains and destroyed everything in his path. That's a lot more interesting than the Idol-Head's creating a pair of cursed paint brushes to be found by twin landscape artists. Joe Certa was joined by Jack Miller, dealing out more punishment with "The Supernatural Masterpieces!"

Posing as a swimmer, John Jones watched one brother paint a water twister, only to have it (surprise?) vanish from the canvas and come to life. Tunneling underground, J'onzz lifted the whirligig in his hands from it's narrow bottom, then burst it over the ocean. Spotting the other brother, J'onn flew in and smashed his canvas to toothpicks. Explaining his rather harsh art criticism, J'onzz learned that two completed paintings had turned into monsters. Manhunter just snagged one tentacle of the gigantic (See? Thesaurus!) "All-Seeing Seaweed" and tossed it into the stratosphere to dry out from the sun's heat.

A four winged bird-thing was freaking out a school of dolphins. "That eerie mist discharging from the underpart of the creature's wings is causing it!" Well heck, that would bother just about anyone. It spat out a protective force field, leaving J'onzz to solve this one with his Martian mind. His plan? Have the artist paint an enormous (ta-dah!) harpooned, dying whale eating the winged freak. Oooooo-kay. Sadly, this was a Zookless issue.

"The Case of the Disabled Justice League" made use of Manhunter in July 1965's Justice League of America #36, but only 17 pages in (aka "Part 3,") alongside a “B” team of Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and the Atom. J'onn missed out on becoming crippled to prove to handicapped children that disabilities can be overcome, but got the chance to beat up on the heroes that did once they fell under the control of Brain Storm. This especially dubious, cone-headed foe used mind control and the power of illusion to diguise all of the Leaguers in his sway to appear the same, so that the “B” team was unsure how to defeat any single one. Batman started using deductive reasoning where super-powers failed, his fellows followed suit, and the Manhunter ultimately popped the real Brain Storm in the jaw.

Monday, October 22, 2007

House of Mystery #149 (Mar.'65)

An unusual turn in "The Man-Thing That Unearthed Secrets," had Diabolu zapping a loser named "Driftwood" Dagan, who then turned into a giant mole to dig up a child's buried "treasure." That was a test run before Dagan transformed into a steel screw against his will and drilled into the side of a building to swipe a time "scroll" (or capsule.) Returning to normal, Driftwood was arrested for defacing public property. That didn't last long, as he was forced to break out as a giant vulture that shot fire from its wings. With a power like that, you just knew the Manhunter would soon appear and be felled by it. Little Zook's body ballooned up, then expelled a gust of air (and presumably, a monster lugee) to cushion the powerless Martian's fall.

At least MM managed to snag a bill from the bag the vulture had uncovered, and concluded the money was from a recent payroll robbery just from the serial number. Like Martian Super-Breath, Martian mega memory was overused in spurts. Manhunter used his photographic memory to recall a page from the "Crutch (I mean Book) of Diabolu." He gathered that the Idol-Head was empowering Dugan to find the "Witch Doctor's Tomahawk of Evil," but something was derailing its efforts.

All that detective work led to a giant winged caterpillar pilfering gold bullion from the military. Zook froze the giant bug, which released the gold bars from hundreds of legs to rain down over the heads of Army soldiers charged with guarding the loot. Martian Super Speed allowed our hero to catch all the bars, but not to capture the creature. As a giant weasel (Yes, giant again. They wrote it, all right? I've got a thesaurus,) the drifter broke into the Manhunter's secret cave. Knowing this, Manhunter used this precious time while the plunderer was distracted to fashion and bury a fake evil tomahawk. Finding the forgery, Driftwood reverted back to normal. The full moon faded into a sunny morning, and all was well...except that the Manhunter lost the cover spot of HoM this month and the next. This one was of course drawn by Joe Certa and probably scripted by Dave Wood, though it's understandable if he'd demand to be let off due to reasonable doubt.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Inside? Outside? Upside-down?

So I'd built this massive Martian Manhunter site, maintained it for a couple of years, and took it all down again. Editing and hosting the site on WebTV was so arduous, tedious, and expensive, the thought of trying to rebuild from the HTML up was frankly a horror to me. I was also burnt out on the character specifically, and comics in general. Marvel had improved greatly in the Quesada years, but my passion wasn't there anymore, and I was sick to death of DC's pandering to their World's Finest over the rest of their library.

At first, I was impressed with Dan DiDio, who seemed inclined to shake-up the status quo and focus more on secondary characters. I certainly applauded his initiative to promote cultural diversity in the super-hero line. However, both came at the expense of established characters, who were dispatched in increasing numbers and in increasingly malicious manner. A notable target were former members of Justice League International, despite the success of two mini-series that reunited both team members and creative team. The focus was much more on the molestation of these characters and turning back the clock with an eye toward early-90's event hype and third rate Moore/Miller knock-offs than producing entertaining comics. I'm still waiting for Sinestro to turn up as Kathleen Turner to Hal Jordan's Michael Douglas, serving a rockin' pâté made out of G'Nort at a Green Lantern dinner party.

Anyway, I found myself dropping DC Comics one after another, with "Infinite Crisis" serving as the final, painful straw. With the "New Look" Martian Manhunter to follow, I figured I would pick up the heavily discounted first issue of his mini-series, dislike it, and allow it to stand as my official "jumping-off" point for Martian Manhunter fandom.

A few months later, I found myself wishing I had fewer comic boxes around, and making peace with chunks of my collection. A major part of that was dealing with all these Martian Manhunter appearances I'd cataloged over the years. Sorting thorough what I intended to keep and discard, I was seized with the realization, "this too shall pass." Someday, I'll look back on the redesigned look and costume and find nostalgia rather than contempt. Really, it wasn't such a bad uniform, if only it showed a bit more skin and allowed J'Onn J'Onzz's classic beetle-browed look to replace the Natural Martian/Skrull hybrid thing he's got going on. This also led to the previously noted creation of the blog you're reading now.

Click To Enlarge

My acceptance of this new period of Manhunter adventures even managed to fuel interest in Tony Bedard and Koi Turnbull's intended relaunch of "Batman & the Outsiders." While DC was a bit dodgy on the team's line-up, advance solicitations all but confirmed it to be J'Onn, Bruce, the new Aquaman, Catwoman, Katana, Grace, Thunder, and Metamorpho. The first three formed an unlikely but historical friendship with J'Onzz at its center, and I thought it might be fun to see a new dynamic between the Dark Knight and Selina Kyle. I always hated the Outsiders as a team, but with the additions to the roster, I figured I'd at least pick up the trade. Score one for the new DC, right?

Click To Enlarge

No. Stopping them now. Because you see, with very little notice or fanfare, DC Comics has changed everything. Chuck Dixon and Julian Lopez are the new creative team. J'Onn J'Onzz is still in the first issue or so, but his image was removed from Ryan Sook's original version of the promotional piece/variant cover, replaced by Geo-Force (with Batgirl bumping Catwoman and Green Arrow theoretically offing Captain Boomerang Jr.) Dixon states, "By editorial fiat and the demands of continuity the line-up will change with issue #3 and #4. Some jaw-dropping additions to the team will occur then." Considering Manhunter's appearance as a murderous Judas figure in a Countdown-related teaser image, there's no telling what the future holds. Yet, the book it still hitting its announced November 14th ship date, so DC knew their solicitations for at least the third issue were utterly fraudulent advertising and accepted orders anyway. I'm just glad I was wise enough not to pre-order the book. Wait for the trade shall remain my mantra, excepting Jim Shooter's upcoming run on Legion of Super-Heroes. It's funny, because Jim Shooter was seen as at least as much of a tyrannical presence in his editorship at Marvel twenty years ago as DiDio has proven today. The major difference, I suppose, was that Shooter also happens to be one of the greatest writers the industry has ever produced, often providing well-considered rationals for his interference with other creator's work. DiDio? Not so much, but hey, thanks for saving me the cost of another DC trade and additional fortification against purchasing any future wares under your editorial stewardship, Dan.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

1986 DC Comics Subscription Ad

It seems a safe assumption this in-house ad was intended to showcase DC's outer space heroes, which makes the inclusion of the entirely earthbound Ambush Bug (who didn't even appear in any ongoing series for which to shill) all the more curious. Further, Green Lantern and J'Onn J'Onzz were both in under-performing, soon-to-be-cancelled titles, while hopes for the just-launched Hawkman were similarly misplaced. However, all three and Superman were part of the Super-Powers toy line, which allows me to explore my personal connection to this ad. You see, when I started collecting comics, DC was already suffering near collapse in the marketplace. You could only find a few bestsellers and some new launches at the convenience stores I frequented in Texas (like "Teen Titans," "Warlord," and, honestly, "Blue Devil.") While Kenner's semi-popular toy line was introducing kids like myself to DC characters, the ball was getting fumbled at the newsstand, preventing DC from capitalizing on the interest. The only time I ever saw Justice League of America comics, for instance, was in older friend's collections. Those George Pérez covers would really grab my eye, before I'd crack the cover, see the interiors didn't match, and set the book right back down. I don't believe I so much as held a copy of a Detroit-era League comic until the mid-90's. So you might imagine, having bought the trés cool Martian Manhunter action figure back in '85, I was at a bit of a loss as to who this dude actually was. On the other hand, I was very fond of the Son of Ambush Bug mini-series, which somehow made it to 7-11 for most of its run. In one early issue was this ad, likely the first time I'd ever seen J'Onn J'Onzz in an actual comic book (as opposed to the rinky-dink number packaged with the toy I lost nearly immediately after opening the package.) The striking image added to the mystique in my mind surrounding this still obscure hero. Who is the Manhunter from Mars? What were his powers again? I wouldn't begin to unravel the mystery for about another year, when a shopgirl at Waldenbooks thought I was just too cute in my Houston Oilers jacket and gave me a double-sized comic book off the rack. I saved it for a trip to Colorado, though that was a trial, as the interiors of "Crisis on Infinite Earths #7" did in fact match the glorious Pérez cover... I'd love to find out who drew that Martian Manhunter image, and for what project. I initially assumed it was by Mike Nasser, based on the quality, prior association, and clear Neal Adams influence. That artist, now going by Michael Netzer, corrected my error, and we both figured it was Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, though that remains unconfirmed. Any help on the matter would be appreciated.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Detroit League & JLA Eyeline by Frank Lee Delano

Back in the days of "Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA," I had probably the most sprawling online enshrinement of J'Onn J'Onzz ever. Not just synopsis, scans, and biographies, but really extraneous stuff like personal reminiscences, rambling opinions, and the like. The one thing I never had though was fan art. Like fan fiction, I find the stuff near uniformly awful and embarrassing. However, blogs have a nasty habit of breaking down one's resistance to indulgences, especially as there has to be something new up on the daily. As I attempt to clean up as much junk accumulated from my life as possible, I'm bound to throw trash like this out there every now and then. It's also important to note, these are my lousy drawings. Bad enough I'm unleashing my own personal dreck on an unwilling public; I'm certainly not soliciting anyone else's equally crumby work. I'm not looking to work a gong or a hook here.

Speaking of work, I hate my job. I'm currently studying for the SATs about fifteen years too late because I also hated the last job I had, and most any other I've held besides the three that sustained me for most of the aforementioned decade-and-a-half. My present meal ticket is especially distasteful and mind-numbing, so after my boss busted me on my semi-undercover educational pursuit, I turned to the bottom drawing here. It's shown pretty much actual size, from off the corner of my TPS Report. All in pen, freehand, without reference. I tell you this not in some deluded boast, but to minimize the awfulness of all those asymmetrical faces and especially off-balance eyes (& brows that sprawl everywhere.) There's a little bit of the inaugural Martian Manhunter doodle left to the left, but it was somehow far worse than these, and the god-awful Ralph Dibney caricature I tossed in after will never be spoken of again.

Anyway, this is a Manhunter blog, and since (literally) today's doodle resembled an old job I did on the box I used to carry my Overpower cards in (circa '98 or so, another secret shame I'll further expose in the future,) I figured a pass at it was called for. The image here is less than a quarter of the original size, and spotlighted my favorite DC Overpower characters of the time (plus an Ambush Bug reference, though he wasn't in the game, and the intentional absence of the "bedraggled" Aquaman, in case rob! ever wondered where I stood on his favorite character's wanting to be a pirate.) This was the first and likely only time I ever tried to replace solid black feature outlines with colored marker, aping a popular printing technique of the time that thankfully went out of fashion.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Green Lantern #138 (July '01)

"I got a call two days ago from J'Onn J'Onzz, the Martian Manhunter. He wanted me to go to a planet in another galaxy. Yes. I get calls like this."

"It is called Tendax and they need an ambassador for a very auspicious ceremony. They contacted the JLA seeking the Green Lantern."
"Hal Jordan, huh?"
"Yes. I told them he was unavailable."
"And you told them about me."
"Then they asked for Superman."
"You said he was busy."
"Then they asked you to come."
"You declined."
"For the sake of time let's just pretend they asked about me next."
"Fair enough. Are you interested in going? It would only be for a week"
"Can I bring my girlfriend?"

And that's all a Martian Manhunter fan needs to know about that issue, by Judd Winick and Dale Eaglesham:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

House of Mystery #148 (1/65)

But wait...there's more! There's "The Beings in the Color Rings!" by Dave Wood & Joe Certa. Four giant rings (yellow, blue, green, red) with a pink center holding a pair of evil eyes! Ring one stole a yellow cab, returning it blanched of all color. J'onn J'onzz gave chase, only to be snared by a flying purple octopus that matched his strength...or was he? "I fear Manhunter not feeling well! Why he do crazy jig in sky at time like this...? Oh, oh! Color-ring creature moving on prowl! Man-hunter! Look! Oh gollies!"

Yes, the Manhunter had fallen into an illusory trap, while the rings stole the color from a blue dolphin sign. Once freed, J'onzz used his "incredible Martian super-memory" to recall text from the Book of Diabolu, that warned about the color being enslaving mankind (which helps explain why we should care about this ridiculous "menace.") In true optimist fashion, MM decided that there's, "No sense in attacking it again...It would just spawn that mirage beast against me..." Why was this courageous hero never as popular as Superman, again?

It's elementary logic (and I really mean that) to figure out that the color green would be the next target, so MM rolled up some grass off the ground like a rug (????,) and had both it and himself sucked into the rings' world. The stark white Martian battled his way through vicious Spagetti-O's, who gained strange powers from each color they stole. J'onn fell into a burnin' ring of fire, and went down, down, down. At about that time, Zook swiped a kid's toy fire engine, then cranked up his body temperature to red hot. The clueless rings drew him in (a felony in all fifty states,) and Zook "...put the ice on Manhunter..." J'onzz spun like a top, sending the Cheerios flying. Then, Manhunter sent Zook back home to safety while he monkeyed with the color machines. Those machines sucked the color out of the Ring-Creature, and it disappeared! "It couldn't survive with the complete absence of color!" If you say so, J'onn.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phasing Out: JLofA #31-33, HoM #147

As Manhunter's solo stories continued to deteriorate in House of Mystery, Justice League of America creators Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky were slowly phasing J'onn J'onzz out of their book. In "Riddle of the Runaway Room" (#31, Nov.'64,) Manhunter only appeared at the issue's meeting to induct Hawkman into the League. Green Arrow announced that, "We hate to break away but Superman, Aquaman, Atom, J'onn J'onzz, and I have important cases to work on!"

J'onzz was apparently tied up the following month but returned for "Enemy From The Timeless World!" in #33 (Jan.'65.) Superman, Batman, Hawkman, Flash, and Green Lantern were trapped in the team's meeting room behind a force barrier, and transported through time. J'onzz and Wonder Woman took a flying leap at the field, "The human missiles hit--with all the destructive fury of an atom bomb," but for naught. The entombed Leaguers were transported into the future, where energy harnessed from their super-exertion was used to power a machine which freed enslaved humans from the Alien-ator mind controlling entity. So much for Fox having a better command of pseudo-science than Miller. Taking a "Chrono-kinetic Ray" machine back through time to thwart the xenobased "virus" before it conquered humanity (thus negating the need for the invention of a "Chrono-kinetic Ray" machine, which could have been brought through time to thwart the xenobased "virus" that conquered humanity, but logically shouldn't be able to be invented now that the "Chrono-kinetic Ray" machine has been taken back through time to thwart the xenobased "virus" before it conquered humanity...,) the displaced Leaguers found those left behind had become helpless pawns of the Alien-ator. Worse, these Leaguers were more powerful than ever, as a green-skinned and finny Wonder Woman whaled on Superman, and a more-sickly-shade-of-green-skin than usual Martian Manhunter was immune to fire. J'onn got to trade blows with Superman (for the first time ever?) a feat Green Arrow also managed with ease thanks to his newfound "affliction." J'onzz shattered Hawkman's mace before putting the kibosh on Batman. J'onzz then joined Aquaman in out-vibrating Flash, plus he double-teamed Hawkman with Wonder Woman. This made Manhunter integral to every JLAers defeat except Green Lantern's (Wonder Woman and Snapper Carr handling that), but Superman remained to turn everyone back to their huma--er, normal form.

Manhandling the JLA must be tiring business, as the Alien Atlas was unavailable for another two months. He did make time for "The Orchestra of Doom", when demonic musical instruments lulled blocks of people to sleep, then had them rolling with laughter, before finally turning them into an angry mob. Along the way, they tore apart a rooftop (but stopped halfway through, so Zook left whoever was in the tilting building to fend for themselves,) and ran a train off it's rails using musical notes as tracks! While music itself couldn't harm the Orchestra, MM learned that they hate "Last Rose of Summer" so much, his becoming a one man band to play the tune ushered them into oblivion. No, I'm not joshing you. Just look at House of Mystery #147 for yourself, this one likely by Dave Wood with the stalwart Joe Certa.

Monday, October 15, 2007

1970 Fleer Justice League of America Gum & Tattoo

Yesterday we spotlighted the awesome 1969 Fleer Martian Manhunter Temporary Tattoo and the wrappers it came in. I’m not sure why the wrappers are copyrighted to ’69 and this header card ’70, but I presume one accompanied the other back in the day. For one copper Lincoln, you could twist the knob on your favorite gumball machine and receive not just something sweet to rot your teeth, but a primer tattoo for your upcoming career as a n’er-do-well. Then again, maybe these images of your favorite DC Super-Heroes would inspire a military career, so who’s to say? All I know is along the way, you’d be faced with the Manhunter from Mars, off in the corner and somehow smaller than the Atom. Somebody explain to these ding-dang licensors Ray Palmer’s union suit is invisible when he’s normal sized, unless of course he’s shown actual size and looking over his shoulder at the other Leaguers way off in the distance. That’s probably it...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

1969 Fleer Martian Manhunter Temporary Tattoo

This is the most awesome thing in the history of words ending in “some!” You know how much awesome history that is? It includes the invention of the Charleston Chew and the polio vaccine, that’s how awesome it is! But most importantly, Fleer Justice League of America Gum & Tattoo packs from 1969 featuring rare Martian Manhunter licensing! For 1/100th of an American dollar, you could temporarily add J’onn J’onzz to any part of your suddenly more manly body! That’s a sum smaller than the Atom, another favorite Leaguer of mine who also gets his own rare merchandising! Sock it to me! Hawkman, Flash, and Green Arrow joined the DC Trinity here as well! My only regret is no Sea King for the Aquaman Shrine.

The art is from a panel in Justice League of America #71, cover dated May 1969, by Dick Dillon and Sid Greene. The "ZOK" is all tattoo, though.

Praise H’ronmeer for Dan Goodsell and his blog a sampler of things specifically the posting from Wednesday, August 16, 2006! Wrappers following, with more tomorrow...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Justice League of America #236 (3/85)

Rebirth Part Four: Gypsy Genius

Aquaman: Teleported involuntarily with team to mountain headquarters of the Overmaster, who claimed he's what killed the dinosaurs. Overmaster and his evil super-team the Cadre attacked Aquaman's rudderless collective. Caught and returned a super-charged crowbar. Whined to self about his miserable failure as a monarch and group leader. Proven right when even Ralph ignored his orders. Wrestled freakin' Crowbar, only after the guy had lost his only weapon. Tried to redeem self with Captain America-brand speechifying. Vied for embarrassing quote spot with "Neptune's Trident!"

Steel: Bragged about his cyborg eyes again. Saved Vixen from Fastball, whom he later pitched. Narrowly avoided a second "Embarrassing Quote" spotlight with that "Man alive!" line.

Zatanna: Failed attack on Overmaster. Glorified lamp.

Vibe: Pulled a stupid face when saved from an Overmaster energy blast by Aquaman. Nailed by Crowbar. Saved by Steel from being blown away by Shrike, who also had to explain to Vibe how to use his power.

Vixen: Repeatedly rescued. Kicked Shatterfist in face.

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Light recon, fought Black Mass, caught a falling sorceress.

Martian Manhunter: Rescued Vixen from energy blast. Analyzed and explained Black Mass' powers. Ordered team to retreat into a crevasse. Bragged, "A Martian's eyes are sensitive to the shadows..." Deduced Overmaster was a phony "god" relying on stolen alien machinery. Along with Aquaman, detected the "telepathic presence" of the gigantic sleeping alien victim of this theft. Only member to follow a command of Aquaman, "J'Onn, we're both telepaths... but you have more experience communicating with alien minds. You know what to do. The others and I will buy you time. As you say, my friend, good fortune." Took on the big boss himself. "Have you in your godlike travels ever seen a Martian shigar? Allow me to broaden your education!" Felled Overmaster with Gypsy's help.

Gypsy: Alerted Dale Gunn of the team's peril, who flew the both of them in a L.O.S.T., which traced the League's location. Blasted Overmaster in his/its Achilles tendon with laser. At the command of Martian Manhunter, reached the hovering pyramid that awakened the sleeping alien, who caused the Cadre to vanish and left Earth in its massive spaceship. Threw her hat in the embarrassment ring by admitting to self "Vibe is sexy..."

Dale Gunn: Looking for a parking space?

Creators: Conway & Patton w/Rick Magyar. Part of the rational behind a less powerful and experienced League was to avoid making established heroes look foolish or weak in combating a common monthly foe. Seems that rather than fixing a storytelling trap, the writer just introduced foolish and weak characters so that they could be written the same or worse without protest. Steel and Martian Manhunter are portrayed as the only seemingly competent members here (though Vixen performed well while injured.) Zatanna especially has had nothing to do since the new team formed, despite being arguable its most powerful member.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "JJ" -Steel, repeatedly.
"Martian" -Overmaster
Often referred to as "J'onn J'onzz," in full, this issue. Only Aquaman uses just his first name, and just as often in conjunction with the surname.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Taste the air, amigos."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Justice League of America #235 (2/85)

Rebirth Part Three: Heavy Metal

Vixen: Now a wanted suspect, McCabe attacked her uncle at the M'changa Embassy. General Maksai proved a dominating force, and his niece was shot in the shoulder. Wasn't this a Steel spotlight issue?

Steel: Stood up for the fugitive Vixen before having his mind clouded. Saved himself and Gypsy from an attack by Fastball, the assassassin super-pitcher (not a typo.) Unloaded his emotionally twisted origin story on Zatanna, shedding a tear. Age is established as 19.

Gypsy: Loitered invisibly at JLA HQ, then flirted with Steel before they were attacked. Blew Vibe a raspberry and bailed.

Vibe: Helped cool down Steel, man.

Zatanna: Used magic to trace Vixen and in later battle.

Aquaman: Cursed Vixen's vigilantism and intended to bring her to justice. Used his telepathy to cloud the particularly susceptible mind of Steel when the lad voiced objection. Led the team against Maksai's security agents to rescue Vixen. Denied New York police demands that he turn the heroine over to them.

Martian Manhunter: Detected Aquaman's abuse of power against Steel, and silently displayed shock and disapproval over six panels, half of which being solely close-ups. During the assault on the M'changa Embassy, disguised himself as a green door with his creepy mannequin hand as the knob. I always thought it was just Marilyn Chambers behind that one. Cradled the ailing Vixen, who again teased, "For you... tall, green... and handsome... anything. Elongated Man noted, "Y'know, Zee, it's pretty hard to tell with a Martian... but I could swear Big Green's blushing.
"I wouldn't be surprised, Ralph. After all, Mari McCabe is a former fashion model, quite aware of her beauty... and how to use it."

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Stretching in work and play.

The Creators: Patton played to his art strengths this issue. Shame some of that gumption was wasted on Fastball.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: Besides using his full name repeatedly...
"Big Green" -Elongated Man

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: Paco was well-behaved this outing, expressing a functional command of the English language. Instead, we'll use an excerpt of Steel cursing..."BUNK!" Harsh word, b'gosh! No wonder Aquaman had to reign this wild card in! Alternately, there's Aquaman being written as a total, well, that actually would be an expletive. Try lines like "When I want your questions... I'll ask for them" directed at Sue Dibney, or calling Steel a "young idiot" whom he orders to "Sit down and shut up."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Justice League of America #234 (1/85)

Rebirth Part Two: Claws

Vixen: Saved a black church congregation led by the Reverend Richard Pryor (er--Andrew Sinclair--) from ebony & ivory hippy terrorist duo trying to run everyone over with a convertible. I can't make this kind of thing up. Turned out Oreo hoods were in cahoots with an evil visiting African dictator who also happened to be Vixen's uncle (and the murderer of her father.) Vixen tore out a jailhouse wall at a Detroit police department to go all Jack Bauer on the thugs for information on General Mustapha Maksai, ruining the new League's relationship with the local law.

Steel: Flexed muscles in speedo. Whined to self. Made out with Vibe's sister. Used cyborg vision to track Gypsy briefly. Humiliated by Aquaman. I thought this was supposed to be Vixen's issue?

Aquaman: Jacked with Steel for no good reason.

Zatanna: Pushed Aquaman in pool for jacking with Steel. Both chuckle over incident.

Gypsy: Stalked Steel on his date, then distracted him into giving chase. Age established as 14.

Vibe: Fully recovered from knife wound. Angry about Steel making time with sister. Pop-locks. Wears mid-drift bearing muscle shirt. Joined Steel in trailing enraged Vixen to and from jail.

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Ate sandwiches while watching tv. No, seriously.

Martian Manhunter: When Vixen was researching the general, J'Onn eavesdropped on her thoughts, then questioned, "Who is his man, Maksai? Why do you hate him so?" Though Vixen reaffirmed her "thing for big green guys," she wasn't in the mood to share. J'Onn thought, "For your sake-- for the sake of our budding friendship-- I must know." J'Onn deduced(?) Vixen's hidden past as a survivor of Maksai's coup fifteen years prior (establishing her age as roughly 25) and unveiled much of it to an assembled League.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: None, unless you count the overly formal use of "J’Onn J’Onzz" in full.

Creators: Conway, Patton, and Bill Anderson, vastly improving on the previous entry. Plus, a "Crisis" teaser with the Monitor and Harbinger and the first appearance of Shatterfist.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Chu not bad--chu sad."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Justice League of America #233 (12/84)

Rebirth Part One: Gang War

Vibe: Breakdanced. Flaunted public identity. Threatened by black gangbanger with superhuman crowbar-weilding skills. Rescued by elderly African-American woman. The aforementioned Mother Windom was then harassed by pair of butch white chicks from one of those infamous multi-racial, transgendered street gangs you were always seeing in 80's Charles Bronson movies. They're beaten by Zatanna and Vixen, with a last minute save by a humiliated Vibe. Vibe tried to prove himself by harassing his gangleader brother, who ran a crew of "greasers," hopefully less anachronistic than just covering for an inability to use "beaners," itself bearing all the sting of "honkies." Vibe stabbed in back by butch chick from rival Rainbow Ruffs gang. Saved by League, while his brother continued to preach "el barrio" self-esteem through street brawling. Oh, and the black dude with a crowbar was given actual super-powers by an alien presence. Note how lame Vibe is in his own cover-featured spotlight story.

Vixen & Zatanna: Shop. Use incredible powers to brutalize the most silly-looking, non-threatening gangstas since the Sharks and the Jets.

Steel: Nearly killed himself trying to prove he could lift a whopping three tons to Aquaman. Rumbled in hood, ya'll.

Aquaman: Began consistent characterization in this run as first-rate jerk by imperiling Steel. Whomped hoodrats. Indulged in white guilt at denouement.

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Painted a room chartreuse, to the chagrin of J'onn and Arthur.

Gypsy: Stole an apple. Knocked out Crowbar with his own tool while invisible.

Martian Manhunter: Appeared on about eight pages in not many more panels. J'Onn was present for Steel's testing, and argued with the overbearing Sea King.
"Aquaman, Steel is just a boy, after all-- not yet a man by human reckoning. He wants desperately to prove himself..."
Arthur countered, "Then let him. He's a Justice Leaguer, J'Onn. You were one of the first members of the original team-- you should know what that means--"
"I know what it does not mean, Aquaman-- it does not mean testing oneself to destruction--"

As Steel collapsed from the strain, an excellent text piece examined his saviors:
"J'Onn J'Onzz, one-time leader of Mars II, now an exile from his land and his people. Aquaman, born Arthur Curry-- former Lord of Atlantis and King of the Seven Seas, deposed by his former subjects, abandoned by his wife... despite his half-human heritage, an outcast among men. Two who share a similar past-- and possess very different attitudes for the present." While Arthur slipped into jerk mode, J'Onn played the cool-headed, supportive counterpoint. Here though, it was Dale Gun who butted heads with Arthur, leading him to waffle.
"Why is it so hard to admit my mistakes, J'Onn?"
"Habit. Old monarchs make poor drill sergeants."
"It's just this new League is so important to me-- I want us to succeed."
"You musn't let it distort your vision, Arthur..."

The Martian Manhunter joined in on the gang war, though he seemed to see humor in the deeply unfair odds. At one point, he grew into a hulking giant and batted thugs about like a boy manhandling G.I. Joes.

Dale Gunn: "Back off, Fish-Man. The kid did his best. I told you he was at his limit." Then, when Aquaman told him to mind his own business, "Maybe it slipped your mind, but I designed and built this place for the kid's grandpa. Your League is just borrowing it" Dale pressed further his devotion to Hank, and even jabbed Aquaman repeatedly in the chest with his finger. Dale later confided to Hank he thought Henshaw Sr. had made a mistake in opening the Bunker to the JLofA, and in allowing Steel to join the team. Dale was a wise man.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: Arthur remains the only Leaguer to refer to "J'Onn" by first name alone.

The Creators: Artist Chuck Patton was plainly giving this awful issue his all, painfully over-rending against his natural clean style to capture a Frank Miller grit the script undercut at every turn. Conway is the problem at this point, as he could put the Justice League in Detroit, but he couldn't get Detroit into his Leaguer's dialogue, yet. There was a two issue fill-in gap between the annual that introduced the new team and this first issue, which made for a terrible first foot forward with regards to anyone still undecided about the new take.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: Tough call, as Vibe started the issue doing some sort of doo-wop/human beat box hybrid, but I settled on, "See wha'chu made me do? I could'a handled this withou' chu, man, it wasn't your fight!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Justice League Detroit

In the early 80's, like much of DC's line, Justice League of America's sales stunk. Marvel had slowly but surely overtaken DC as the comic book sales leader in the 70's, and DC was feeling the heat. This sales crunch would lead to the "Marvelization" of DC in 1986, but what good would that be to Gerry Conway in 1984?

Conway was a popular Spider-Man writer in the 1970's, who made the move to DC late in that decade. After a number of failed series, and the modest success of Firestorm, Gerry took on JLofA. At that time, royalties were just beginning to be given to comic creators, but up to that point JLofA was the last book anyone would want to work on. While a popular title, writers and artists were not compensated for the extra work involved in producing a series about a 1/2 dozen + heroes with diverse looks and powers, often fighting villains of equal numbers. The series was creatively stagnant, buoyed by name brand characters and the Super Friends cartoon show.

For several years, Conway plugged away at fun JLofA stories that didn't attract much attention in the rollicking 80's, and sales continued to falter. Eventually, something had to be done. I doubt anyone at DC would admit to this, but it looks like they attempted to give JLofA the same X-Men flavor that turned The New Teen Titans into DC's gangbuster sales juggernaut of the early 80's. Instead of an international cast, JLofA would be the first major multicultural super-team. The group would consist of an Hispanic, a woman of African descent, a runaway teen of vaguely ethnic origins, an alien, a disenfranchised youth, and a few mainstays. Instead of a satellite in orbit over earth, the JLofA would now work out of a warehouse in Detroit. Sporadic Denny O'Neil style "relevant" stories would be told. None of the team members would have series outside of JLofA, giving Conway creative control that outstripped even Claremont's. There would be more personal interaction, and character's lives would actually be at stake. Kind of like the X-Men.

It looked good on paper, anyway.

Back to that alien. Conway, and penciller Chuck Patton, had created their "streetwise" team. Too bad most were terrifically underpowered to face anything remotely resembling a significant threat. Super-strength, invisibility, elasticity, animal mimicry, under-water breathing, and vibratory powers are not especially impressive. While Conway still had the magical Zatanna, the team needed a powerhouse to carry them. Guess who Conway picked?

Despised within comic circles, Justice League Detroit (not an official title at the time, but it stuck in fan circles) was still featured in some pretty good stories. Sells held up for a while, but it just wasn't the JLofA. Editor Alan Gold expected trouble from the change, and allowed himself a full page editorial in the annual to discuss his rational behind accepting writer Gerry Conway's proposal. Conway had wanted to reuse his short-lived Steel and Vixen characters from the 70's, while artist Chuck Patton had been looking for a place to put his ideas for Vibe and the Stevie Nicks/Cyndi Lauper/Madonna inspired Gypsy.

(Art by Tom Grummet and Bob Petrecca from JLA-Z #2, Dec. '03)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Vile Menagerie: THE MARSHAL of the RED BROTHERHOOD

Click To Enlarge

Real Name: Unknown, if applicable
Occupation: Former leader of military forces for Mars II
Group Affiliation: Soldiers of the Red Brotherhood
Base of Operations: MARS II
First Appearance: Justice League of America #228 (July 1984)
Height: Approx. 6' 9"
Weight: Approx. 350-400 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: None

As described by J'Onn J'Onzz...
"Life had been hard for my people on Mars II, particularly for the young. There have always been those who dreamed of returning to Mars...I did not know how many, or how strongly they craved a return to what was no more... He called himself The Marshal. I and the other Martian leaders had considered him a minor military figure, more ridiculous than threatening...I wrong we'd been. Genetically altered to be the perfect Martian warrior, the Marshal towered over his soldiers...a figure of tremendous charisma...Within a week, the Marshal took command of the government. Those who resisted were imprisoned--or killed. I chose to warn the Earth... I barely escaped in a scout ship...and the Marshal's hunters were soon after..."

Having convinced his troops that Earth was attempting to invade their abandoned home world of Mars with its NASA explorer probes, the Marshal's forces launched a counter attack on the third planet from star Sol. As part of the Martian assault on Earth, the Marshal launched the powerful android Challenger against the Justice League of America, and destroyed the United States' Explorer space shuttle as a show of power. Much of the Marshal's strategy came from an old enemy of the Manhunter's, the treacherous Bel Juz. "It was to protect myself from J'Onzz that I became The Marshal's lover...and encouraged his plan to take over the Martian government, and destroy J'Onzz and the other leaders. To protect myself, I started a war..." Bel Juz's maneuvering proved to be for naught, as the United Nations resisted the Martians' bid for power, and the JL of A destroyed Challenger.

Click To Enlarge

Martian Manhunter inevitably confronted the Marshal with his misdeeds. Before the lens of a television broadcast viewed by his Martian fleet, the Marshal ripped his shirt from his chest, and initiated a duel of honor with his nemesis. The Marshal had a significant size advantage over J'Onzz, but his mass proved insufficient to attain his goals. The Marshal resorted to the use of invisibility, a technique outlawed in Martian duels for thousands of years, in a final ploy against his foe. The Manhunter tossed the Marshal into a wall, knocking him unconscious, and proving his righteousness before the Martian soldiers. The invasion force returned to Mars II, and the Marshal has never been seen again. Retroactive DC history no longer supports this 1984 Martian invasion, although an attack by an unknown alien race has been mentioned. Somewhere, perhaps in a slightly altered form, the Marshal may be waiting for his chance at revenge...

Presumably, the Marshal possesses all the powers and abilities of the Martian race. This includes telepathy, invisibility, intangibility, flight and "Martian Vision." His already super-human Martian strength is believed to be enhanced through genetic engineering.

Quote: "Here we languish, beggars on a hostile world far from our native sun. Forced to grub for survival like insects in the dark--when there are those who live in light, on a world that should be ours...While we huddle on this barren rock, our sacred lands are raped--by those who mock our fate!"

Alternate bio from DC Database Project

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Five Reasons To Love the Manhunter from Mars

Art and color by Paul Rivoche from JLA-Z #3 (1/04)

I never got around to voting in CBR/Comics Should Be Good's reader poll of the Top 50 (or so) characters at the DC and Marvel Comics Groups. J'Onn J'Onzz placed well, as can been seen here. However, he has yet to have fan "flavor text" added to his listing, as solicited compilation master Brian Cronin so I submit the following...

Five Reasons To Love the Manhunter from Mars:

He's not the best. In an idealized universe like the one found at DC Comics, every major hero has to embody some conception of perfection. This is the American Way, as this nation adores winners, be they Übermenschen or underdogs. J'Onn J'Onzz, despite often being described as "more powerful than Superman," plainly isn't. He's been beaten through the overwhelming force of super-villains and fellow heroes, on to the most minor of thugs armed only with a matchbox. The character makes no pretense about being omnipotent, either. It's refreshing to see a hero who's constantly knocked down get right back up again and keep chugging along with the full knowledge he'll be getting knocked right back down again and again. He's heroic in a very European fashion, fully conscious of his faults and limitations, without the slightest hint of self-pity, and braced to take on whatever comes his way to the best of his abilities.

He's not popular. Yeah, he made it to the 11th place in this year's "Comics Should Be Good" ranking of DC characters, but the guy not only doesn't have his own book, but often doesn't appear in any book on a given month. He's delightfully underexposed. You will never be forced to buy weekly installments of a Manhunter comic written by committee using often underwhelming "talent." You will never be subjected to an obligatory, undercooked crossover event starring the Alien Atlas where he proves how great he is by making other characters seem comparatively lame. You will not be exposed to a silly live action television series centering on the adventures of the Martian Marvel when he was a mopey teenager, nor a series of overproduced but underwhelming feature films. You will rarely even meet anyone who knows that J'Onn J'Onzz ever had nicknames like "Martian Marvel" or "Alien Atlas." Urban youths will not begin to carve the Martian "pie" into their hair, and you will never be cut off in traffic by some jerk with a Manhunter symbol bumper sticker. Writers can go places with J'Onn J'Onzz prohibited for "popular" characters, and artists need not cleave their representations of him to a rigid style guide. The Manhunter from Mars doesn't belong to licensors and middling tastes, but to fans and creators.

He's a geek. His "girlfriend" really wasn't. He not only doesn't get babes, but doesn't even seem to want them. He's way more into science, religion, and philosophy. He pays lip service to "normal" life, but he's obviously all about his "campaigns," even when hidden among the mundane. He's awkward and freaky looking, prone to wearing ill-fitting and poorly considered costumes that too often expose parts of his body better kept under wraps. His kid sidekick was a naked toddler with antennae. You've never heard of his rogue's gallery, but it consists of a mad scientist, a fat spy, and a knick-knack. While he's worked with all the big names, he's just as prone to spend time with the biggest losers in comics. He's got a tons of squandered potential. He's one. of. us.

He could be worse. He's a telepath, but he had nothing to do with those League mindwipes, and wouldn't even invade the sanctity of Maxwell Lord's villainous mind to know there was a serpent in his midst. He can turn invisible and intangible, but still takes a beating in every battle so that other heroes can claim all the glory. He can stretch and assume the form of any object, but abstains so that guys like Elongated Man and Plastic Man aren't rendered redundant as teammates. He can fire laser beams from his eyes, but will not kill a living soul, not even his worst enemy. J'Onn J'Onzz has so many powers, that every time he chooses not to abuse them, he's all the more heroic in his restraint and respect for others.

He's a Communist. Seriously, the guy believes that everyone is equal, and that they should work to the best of their ability while taking only what they need. If you're a thieving fourteen-year-old runaway and you want to be a super-hero, he'll let you join the Justice League of America. If you're a murderous scheming running dog capitalist who pretends to have a change of heart and support super-heroes while really plotting against them, J'Onn will take your money and give you a say in defending the planet. If you're his nemesis, a world-conquering tyrant who'd gleefully level cities while draped in the U.N. flag, but now want to become a young hero in training, J'Onn will take you under his wing. The Manhunter would prefer to work with dregs like Vibe than the self-aggrandizing Guy Gardner, who feels he's better than other heroes and deserves more for his efforts. J'Onn J'Onzz does not discriminate according to age, race, faith, or any other distinction aside from those who wish to take more than they give or assume power over others. Most of all though, he gives of himself entirely, regardless of the consequences, for the common good. While he had a tragic circumstances tacked on to his origin in the late 80's, his motivation isn't based around any personal loss. While he didn't choose to come to Earth, once here his choice was made clear from his very first appearance. "Earth is far behind Mars in many ways-- but this is natural, since it's a younger planet! But this evil they have-- called crime... Mars once had crime-- centuries ago! Until the Great Evolution, we had wicked men who preyed on the good. But our enlightened science made crime obsolete! There seems to be much crime here-- so perhaps, while I am stranded on Earth, I can help the Earthlings by fighting this crime!" The Martian Manhunter isn't out there fighting the good fight due to some obsessive fixation, but out of a sense of social justice and moral obligation. It's textbook socialism of a type humans can't muster because hey, we're only human...

If I wasn't so prone to procrastination and had actually voted:
01) Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz, 11th place, 439 votes, 6 1st place)
02) Ambush Bug (46th place, 158 votes, 6 1st place)
03) Aquaman (Orin, 30th, 270, 6)
04) Wonder Woman (8th place, 543, 13)
05) Nightwing/Robin (Dick Grayson, 6th place, 666, 11)
06) Steel II (John Henry Irons, unranked)
07) Huntress (50th, Helena Bertenelli – 126 (2), Helena Wayne - 19) – 144 (1)
08) John Stewart (Green Lantern/Darkstar, unranked)
09) The Question (Vic Sage, 13th, 396, 4)
10) The Atom (Ray Palmer, unranked)
11) Vril Dox of L.E.G.I.O.N. (unranked)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

December '07 Martian Sightings

In order of appearance above...

Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Koi Turnbull & Art Thibert
Cover by Eric Battle & Art Thibert
Batman's dual loyalties are tested as the Outsiders and the Justice League clash over SALVATION RUN - but the Outsiders' underground work has already brought an architect of the Run over to their side!
On sale December 5 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Carlos D'Anda
Cover by Howard Porter
Collecting the acclaimed story by Peter Milligan and Carlos D'Anda from JLA CLASSIFIED #37-41! Professor Ivo and Amazo have hatched an unusual experiment that just might mean the downfall of the Justice League - but could their experiment turn on them?
Meet the robot Amazo's only child: Kid Amazo!
Advance-solicited; on sale January 2 128 pg, FC, $12.99 US

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phil Jimenez, George Pérez, Jerry Ordway,
Ivan Reis, Andy Lanning and others
Cover by Jimenez
The 7-issue miniseries event that rocked the entire DC Universe in 2005-2006 - a sequel to the epic CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS - is now available in an amazing softcover collection!

OMAC robots are rampaging, magic is dying, villains are uniting, and a war is raging in space. And in the middle of it all, a critical moment has divided Earth's three greatest heroes: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It's the DCU's darkest day, and long-lost heroes from the past have returned to make things right in the any cost. Heroes will live, heroes will die, and the DCU will never be the same again!

This exhaustive volume contains every cover and variant produced for the project, annotations, character designs, excerpts from scripts, unused scenes, and much more!
Advance-solicited; on sale January 16 264 pg, FC, $14.99 US

Written by Sean McKeever
Art by Eddy Barrows & Rob Hunter
Conner, Bart and the other Titans of Tomorrow have planted the seed that will ensure their totalitarian future comes to pass. All that remains is to eliminate those who would oppose them. Watch out, Ravager! Watch out, Supergirl! And most definitely watch out, Blue Beetle!
On sale December 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Written by Gail Simone
Cover by García-López
Art by José Luís García-López, Sean Phillips and Klaus Janson
Writer Gail Simone and legendary artist José Luís García-López send the JLA to an emerging nation torn by revolution in this volume collecting JLA CLASSIFIED #16-21! Who - or what - is the Hypothetical Woman that enables the dictatorial General Tuzik to create his own twisted League Against Justice?
Advance-solicited; on sale January 23 o 144 pg, FC, $12.99 US

Written by Ben McCool
Art by Dario Brizuela
Cover by Zach Howard
The Justice League's shadows are missing! Only Zatanna and Dr. Fate know how to fight such terrible magic, but they're in over their heads!
On sale December 5 o 32 pg, FC, $2.25 US

Written by Keith Champagne
Art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Covers by Andy Kubert
Variant covers by Dale Eaglesham
Get ready for COUNTDOWN: ARENA - a 4-issue weekly event written by Keith Champagne (JSA) with art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens (GREEN ARROW) that pits the DCU's greatest heroes against themselves!

The villainous Monarch begins the last chapter of his campaign against the Monitors, combing the entire Multiverse to enlist the most powerful - or deadly - heroes and villains from throughout existence to join his army. The abducted must battle one another in Monarch's specially constructed Arena, where only the strongest will survive to join his battle against
the Monitors.

Carefully selected from worlds throughout all 52 universes, including characters from SUPERMAN: RED SON, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, JSA: LIBERTY FILES, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NAIL, and TANGENT, among many others, three versions of each hero will walk into the Arena, and only one will walk away. Welcome to THE ARENA, where Monarch's only rule is to survive at all costs.
#1 on sale December 5; #2 on sale December 12; #3 on sale December 19; #4 on sale December 26 o 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art and cover by Paulo Siqueira & Amilton Santos
With the JLA away from Earth on a dire mission in space, the wives and loved ones of the heroes gather to support each other when at any moment any individual in the room could be left alone forever.
On sale December 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Unpictured Micro-Appearances:
Written by Judd Winick and Greg Rucka
Art by Joe Bennett, Matthew Clark, Eddy Barrows and others
Cover by Clark & Art Thibert
Collecting the explosive crossover from Checkmate #13-15 and Outsiders #47-49! The DCU's top spies throw down with the DCU's most troublemaking hero team as Checkmate hunts the Outsiders!
Advance-solicited; on sale January 30 o 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US

Written by Gardner Fox
Art by Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino and others
Cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson
A third gigantic black-and-white volume collecting 1960s adventures of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes, from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #37-60!
Retro-solicited; on sale December 12 o 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

Art by Ian Churchill
From the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #13, featuring Martian Manhunter foes Despero, Mongul, and Gorilla Grodd!
Advance-solicited; on sale May 21, 2008 * Poster * $7.99 US

Friday, October 5, 2007

2007 Rittenhouse Archives DC Legacy Katie Cook Sketch Cards

So I was at The Unofficial Aquaman Website and spied a link there to art by one Katie Cook of Aquaman and Tempest. I went "heeey, I wonder if she did anything with J'Onn J'Onzz?" Sure enough, as part of her "DC Legends" series were two too cute trading card images of the Martian Manhunter. Check out more of her work at deviantARt, which despite the name seems to be all-ages.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Legends of the DC Universe 3-D Gallery: Martian Manhunter by Tom Mandrake (12/1998)

Click to Enlarge

Continuing in the lighter vein, here's a 3-D pin-up by Martian Manhunter series artist Tom Mandrake. J'Onn J'Onzz bustin' his way through yet another villain created for his rogue's gallery to only ever make one appearance, Antares. Well, I guess this would technically be his first appearance of two, unless you count the two month jump of Legends of the DC Universe 3-D Gallery #1 as just a promotional piece. Clearly, a lot of the pin-ups were unused covers and such, but hey, better to see some of these beauties in some format than to never see them at all. I still have a few pairs of 3-D glasses from my comic shop days, and while I swear by "Valiant Vision®" as THE premier cheeseball comic book 3-D effect, this image works spectacularly in the ol'red/blue method. In fact, my scan worked better that the printed page, which is why I just HAD to post a hi-res version. Antares cyber-armpit comes right freakin' out of the monitor, man!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

House of Mystery #146 (10/64)

Most of Manhunter's HoM encounters play out accord to a standard formula, if not a clear one, as there's something off-putting drifting through the mix. To an extent, it seemed like writer Jack Miller was trying for that Fox/Broome sci-fi storytelling of the 60's, but without the scientific background to pull it off. Famous locations were hinted at throughout the series, but cities and monuments were rarely named. Pseudo-deductive reasoning was called into play to solve the problems created by Diabolu, but their conclusions are often either forced, painfully obvious, or just plain don't make sense. Then there's the fire thing...

For instance, in "The Doom Shadow," MM and Zook found the Idol-Head just in time to watch it spew a giant orange were-cat thing with antennae called Aroo. After the first antennae failed to down MM with electricity, the second shot a burst of fire that stripped the Martian of his powers. Whilst that was happening, Zook tried alternately to fry and freeze the Idol-Head, until Aroo thought to snatch it and escape. Later, a dam burst, and both MM and Aroo arrived to dig trenches that diverted the oncoming water. MM realized that Aroo must be protecting its egg (!?!), and found it just as it hatched a purple electrical giant called the Doom Shadow (who's name he learned from...The Book of Diabolu!). Aroo just vanished (its work done,) while the Doom Shadow literally petrified everything in its path. MM realized that it was D.S.' own shadow doing the damage, so he (get this) tried to use the roof of a grain silo to block out the sun! Why the D.S. bothered to zap MM with an immobilizing eye ray, I don't know, but its shadow soon crept up on MM's downed form. It must have been pretty slow coming, because Zook had time enough to freeze the water in the makeshift trench, lift the giant ice cube over D.S.' head, then melt it. Since Aroo was protecting the D.S. egg from water, it must be his weakness, right? I must note however that this example of problematic Jack Miller scripting may be flawed, as there's some question as to whether he or perhaps Dave Wood wrote it, but the Miller playbook was at least in sight the whole time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

House of Mystery #145 (Sept.'64)

"In the sealed mountain cave that serves as the hideaway for J'onn J'onzz, the Martian's other dimensional pet, Zook, paces the floor with impatience... 'What keep Manhunter? ...I -- I go out and see if he coming!'" Zook elongated its body to exit the cave through a "mailbox slot,"where it was noticed by a sailor who asked if this was J'Onn J'Onzz's secret hideout. Turns out this was really just the Manhunter in disguise, teasing his little friend. "You away long time! Where you be?" I'd rather not get all Frederick Wertham about his reply, "Wandering about the docks, Zook-- as a sailor!" Innocently enough, he was just checking incoming ships in hopes one might have picked up the Idol-Head.

A perfect example of Diabolu strangeness can be found in "Secret of the Purple People," in which three pointy headed creatures flew around turning folks into animals with their touch. A cargo ship's seaman had found the Idol-Head bobbing in the ocean, and the beasties escaped out a porthole as he slept. Hearing of this menace over an unidentified, vaguely Mid-Eastern country, Manhunter checked on the monsters via The Book of Diabolu. "Yes, here it is, Zook--They're known as Venomee--Strange people with amazing powers! And the legend about them says...'The form they want, they dread the most, until the magic brew is drained!'" Exiting the "hideaway" he shared with Zook through intangibility, Manhunter flew intercontinental to stop the creatures, but was turned into a pink fish at their touch! Again, I will not invoke Freudian theory here. Temporarily unable to revert back to normal, MM defended Zook and himself from an attack by a swordfish. More subtext, I wonder? You've got to admit though, there aren't many comics daring enough to devote two pages to battling fish, and it was actually pretty cool. Sometimes a swordfish is just a swordfish.

A restored Manhunter swatted the swordfish ("On your way, my finny foe!") but was soon trapped by the Venomee in a shrinking energy cage. Failing to pass through the bars as a bird, the Martian wasn't freed until Zook used his heat powers to burn the cage (and yet, no hot wings.) "I save you, Man-Hunter!" J'Onn affirmed, "You sure did, Zook! Thanks a million!" Zook employed his antennae to track the beasties to the former location of the Temple of Bir Adar, where the *sigh* "magical brew" was to be "drained." J'onzz deduced their intentions: The Venomee had previously stolen sacred roses from the Ancient Gardens of Ahasha, and a vial of "sacred essence" from the Temple of Katum. They were now seeking the final ingredient to the magic brew.

"...Martian eyes--like super-powerful lenses--absorb the mighty rays of the sun..." By focusing the sunlight on a field being approached by the Venomee, he melted the dirt into a giant quicksand pit (?!?) As J'onzz tried to recover the ingredient ahead of the Venomee, the violet vandals escaped to turn the tables. "I want my revenge on that strange being! After him!" The Venomee were a regional legend tied into sacred beliefs, prompting the government to move Bir Adar to a remote location for their own safety, which J'Onzz now had to reach. Manhunter disguised himself as a human with Zook hiding under his robe(...,) and overheard one Venomee say, "It almost seems as if he were able to perform what we seek to do, without losing everything!" This final clue sealed their doom, as Manhunter shapeshifted into a Venomee ( thus taking on their powers), and transformed the buggers into humans. "Yes--it was no wonder they dreaded human form before they drank the brew--For it meant they would vanish forever. J'onzz retained the Venomee form long enough to turn their victims back to normal, though it frightened poor Zook.

Two quick points-- One, the Venomee, curiously enough, longed for an existence of hiding anonymously among ordinary human beings when not using their abilities. This was a fate later to be inflicted on the White Martian invaders by J'Onn J'Onzz in the first arc of Grant Morrison's JLA series. Two, in this issue, as with to my knowledge all others, Zook refers to J'Onzz exclusively as "Manhunter." The kidding in this synopsis aside, I prefer that simple handle to "Martian Manhunter," and think it's a shame DC always insists on having one or more other Manhunters" running around to undermine the most famous and regularly published bearer of that name. To my recollection, DC's never had a series under that name to outlast J'Onn's self-titled three year run anyway, so what's the point?

Credits: Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Monday, October 1, 2007

1981 JLA/JSA Reunion by George Pérez


After a rather morbid week of "Identity Crisis" tie-ins, I figure it's time to lighten things up. How about a celebrity rag-style commentary of this two page pin-up by George Pérez for the 1981 JLA/JSA team-up in Justice League of America #195.

Although this is from the latter-days of the Satellite Era, J'Onn J'Onzz had guest-starred in a two-parter a little over a year previous, and this was an all-inclusive photo. Above Manhunter is Superman, which speaks volumes about their strange relationship. I could devote weeks to covering all the instances in which J'Onn has been dumped on by Superman or in his books, but the two still maintain a cordial relationship.

To J'Onn's side is the Flash, a very agreeable fellow with whom the Manhunter from Mars co-founded the League and co-starred in each's second Brave & the Bold team-up. I don't think any heroes had a disagreeable relationship with Barry Allen, but this specific pair never expressed any great depth of feeling, either.

Below Barry is Oliver Queen, who co-starred with the Manhunter in the first TB&TB team-up ever. J'Onn was on hand to induct Green Arrow into the Justice League, and Ollie has expressed kind words for J'Onn on many occasions over the years. Y'know, if Black Canary hadn't snuggled up close, Green Lantern would have solidified a block of all the League's green-themed heroes.

At J'Onn's feet is Aquaman, which again is somewhat telling about their relations. While the Batman-Superman-Wonder Woman and Barry Allen-Hal Jordan-Oliver Queen triangles of familiarity are fondly remembered, few have noted the lengthy-if-tumultuous friendship between the Alien Atlas and Sea King. Basically, Arthur abuses J'Onn or his fellows in some way, the two butt heads (with J'Onn always in the right,) and then they make up again. This has been going on since at least the formation of Justice League Detroit (well okay, J'Onzz was definitely wrong when he beat on Orin in a delirious fit upon his return to Earth,) and thanks to retroactive continuity now dates back to the League's first year in action. The Atom rests on Aquaman's shoulder, with whom J'Onn served little more than a year, and has had little association (no pun intended.)

The piece parallels the JLA and JSA membership, and as is often the case with this sort of thing, the Manhunter is paired with the odd man out. This dated back to JLofA #61, when every other hero but Green Arrow fought an established personal foe, while the Martian Manhunter got saddled with Dr. Light. Maybe it's just a doctor thing, as here he's opposite Dr. Fate, who had inspired no Earth-1 version of himself. Bravo for uniqueness, I suppose...

From Top Left: Earth-1 Superman, Earth-1 Wonder Woman, Red Tornado II, Earth-1 Batman, Elongated Man, Thunderbolt, Earth-2 Robin, Hourman (Rex Tyler,) Earth-2 Wonder Woman, Earth-2 Superman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Zatanna, Silver Age Hawkman, Silver Age Hawkgirl, Firestorm I (Ronnie Raymond,) Star-Spangled Kid, the Atom I (Al Pratt,) Golden Age Hawkman, Earth-2 Huntress (Helena Wayne,) Golden Age Flash (Jay Garrick,) Earth-2 Doctor Fate, the Atom II (Ray Palmer,) Earth-1 Aquaman, Earth-1 Green Arrow (Oliver Queen,) Bronze Age Black Canary, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Snapper Carr, Johnny Thunder, Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott,) Earth-2 Power Girl, Dr. Mid-Nite I (Charles McNider,) Wildcat I (Ted Grant.)