Thursday, May 1, 2008

JLA/Avengers #3 (12/03)

Mirroring the Earth-1/Earth-2 relationship between the League and the Justice Society of America, the Avengers now enjoy regular team-ups over the years with the JLA. A repurposed commission piece showed Manhunter as part of the inaugural meeting, though he seemed to miss most that followed. He did enjoy a luncheon at Avengers Mansion alongside Leaguers from the first year or so of the International period, alongside numerous late 80's/early 90's Marvel counterparts. A flashback showed Manhunter as part of the League prior to Hawkman's arrival, joining the second Avengers line-up against the combined menace of Amazo and Ultron (the latter shown taking a blow from the Alien Atlas.) Manhunter was also part of a nod to the abortive first JLA/Avengers project from the early 80's.

A clash between Superman and Captain America disrupted the merger of the universes. Manhunter found himself in a version of Marvel's New York that was dying by fire. The Martian Marvel held back a flow of lava with a stone wall, and it was intimated he might have usurped the Vision's role as the Romeo to Scarlet Witch's Juliet. At intervals, Marvel and DC Earths would merge, causing the haunting of "ghosts" from one world to another (with some unfortunates being swept away to one another's worlds as contact waxed and waned.) The Manhunter determined this fact with a probe, which caused him to vanish back to DC Earth, though he was able to maintain contact with the Marvels. The Sleuth from Outer Space directed the heroes of two worlds toward the malevolent essence of Krona, trapped by Gamemaster between realities but still wrecking destruction. Both teams focused all their power on separating the worlds, succeeding physically, but with residual effects that plagued them with temporal anomaly.

The Phantom Stranger arrived to take the heroes to visit the Gamemaster, near death after Kronas' attack. He explained the full circumstances surrounding their current predicament and the "true" reality for each before dying. This included a vision of J'Onn J'Onzz being tortured by a White Martian from the "Terror Incognita" story arc. The collected heroes girded themselves for final battle.

Additional Notes:

  • For the third and final time, Martian Manhunter appears on the back cover, sort of. Bloodwynd somehow popped up on it twice, once on the back, the other on the front. According to the Avengers/JLA Compendium, the second Bloodwynd is also the Martian Manhunter, which goes to show how much confusion remains about the nature of Bloodwynd's relationship to J'Onn J'Onzz. Besides, if you use J'Onzz to explain the second Bloodwynd, how do you explain Martian Manhunter also being on the cover, opposite "himself," near the real Bloodwynd?

  • Also featured in cameos on the cover and/or within: every member of the Detroit League, though of course none get a word of dialogue.

  • On page 37 of the original book, Martian Manhunter was miscolored as Superman, even though the Man of Steel's feet are still visibly ascending the stairs. Corrected in the trade.

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