Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Great Evolution (Detective Comics #225, 11/55, part 2)

This is Part 2. Part One is here.

“Until that day--- the day of my release from Earth--- I am doomed to be just another Earthman! But meanwhile, I shall explore my new planet home...” The first stop was a visit to the seashore, to deal with the first cure of humanity. “GOLD-- the greatest bartering material on Earth! By my concentration of mind over matter, I am able to extract the gold particles from Earthian seas, thus! This should suffice for now!”

J'Onzz decided to make the best of his stranded status by taking in the sights in a literal globe-trotting exploratory trip on foot. In France, he commented at the Arch of Triumph, “Mars saw it's last war a thousand years ago!") His observations continued on skyscrapers (“Unlike on Mars, so many of the denizens here live in a small area that they build their structures into the skies;”) cars ("...ancient-wheeled vehicles! Hundreds of them, crawling along the same streets where people walk! In another century or two, this will all be changed;”); and most importantly, crime: "Earth is far behind Mars in many ways--but that 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 all crime obsolete! There seems to be much crime here-- so perhaps, while I am stranded on Earth, I can help the Earthians by fighting this crime! Yes--I think I shall do that!"

J'onn J'onzz became John Jones-Police Detective, and as an afterthought, the lighting of a desk attendant’s cigarette introduced the final key element that defined the Silver Age Manhunter. “FIRE! The enemy of all Martians! I can do many things that Earthmen can’t do--- but I am vulnerable to FLAME! It is my one weakness!” Much later, John Jones was introduced to his superior officer, Lt. Saunders, at the office of the Chief of Detectives. Another titular error (Dr./Prof?) Lighting another cigarette, Saunders affirmed, " All right, Mr. John Jones--- you’re qualified to become a detective! You’ll be on the force tomorrow!” In his private thoughts, Saunders considered, I've got a very interesting case for him to go on right away! I'm wondering just how this rookie will make out?" Fairly well, I'd say.

This first story established J'onzz's telepathy, invisibility and intangibility powers, as well as his aversion to fire. His annoying bristling at cigarette smoke was present, but at least he became a cop through semi-proper channels. These days, he'd have just used telepathy to cash in on the now popular "memory implant.”

Part two of "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel" was written by Joe Samachson and drawn by Joe Certa.

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