Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Justice League Task Force #8 (1/94)

Martian Manhunter: Unable to locate the briefcase containing the virus, the transgendered extraterrestrial opted to marry the queen of the Daals and be taken to the "holy place" where it was stored. "Your request to consummate our mating at the holy place is most unusual, Joan. But your happiness in my preeminent desire." J'Onzz argued that he/she had little choice in the matter, and resented not being consulted on much of anything. Her-Who-Must-Be-Served began to cry, thinking "Joan" hated her, and forced the Martian to sooth her wounded heart. At the holy place, J'Onzz again asked for the briefcase. "I shall tell you afterwards, Joan. Nothing shall distract me from this moment, which I have so long anticipated. Look upon me, Joan J'Onzz. Look at her who loves you, in all her glory." Her glory, it seemed, included a penis.

"Every generation, there is a Daal who is half male, half female. Thus is our species perpetuated... Relax, Joan J'Onzz, it is our time of joining." As this wasn't a hentai comic, our Martian transformed into his usual masculine self. "...all right, that's it! There's only so far I'm going with this!" In a moment of (perhaps understandable) homophobia, J'Onzz grabbed Her-Who-Must-Be-Served's swinging arm and forced it behind her back, then used his other fist to ball a handful of hair and position Her's privates in the opposite direction. The case was located, and everyone exited out of an active volcano... with much hesitation...

"My fear of fire... it's psychosomatic. I... I shouldn't... but it's just so.. so hot... I can do this! Just... don't look down!" While the otherworldly wuss waffled, Her-Who-Must-Be-Served snuck up behind him, and leapt on his back! "It was a lie! You were laughing at me! All the time, secretly laughing! I thought I loved you, but there was nothing there to love! You don't care about me! You never--!" In her scorned fit, Her-Who-Must-Be-Served failed to notice the trouble Martian Manhunter was having remaining aloft, though he dove to rescue Her from the lava after she took a tumble. "Her... I am... I am truly sorry. I am sorry to have deceived you. But I was never laughing at you. I..." Her-Who-Must-Be-Served wiped away her tears, and said, "I don't want your apologies. You've saved my life. The least I can do... is give you back yours." J'Onzz became "Joan" one more time, and kissed Her-Who-Must-Be-Served on the cheek. "If you ever change your mind, Joan J'Onzz... I shall be here."

J'Onn J'Onzz confided in Gypsy, "There is a tempting simplicity in the notion of shirking everything... living in a 'romantic' underground world. But I think our physical relationship would be... strained." Gypsy figured that was his call, as he could become "Joan" at will. "Perhaps, but not a decision I choose to make."

Dolphin: Perhaps anxious about her speaking streak, kept quiet for most of the issue. Cried at the wedding of J'Onzz to Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, then trailed the pair from a river. Found the briefcase containing the virus anchored to the river bottom. Both were carried to safety by the Manhunter.

Maxima: Found all this lesbianism disgusting and unnatural. Sneered at the Daals and hauled Vixen around. Used a psionic field to block the Daals pursuit of the group through the cavern of exit. Demanded of J'Onn J'Onzz as he struggled with his then-psychosomatic weakness to fire, "For God's sake, stop your simpering... and act like a woman!"

Wonder Woman: Asked "Who are you to say, Maxima, what means of satisfaction is appropriate for a woman?" As for how the Amazons of Themyscira dealt with the lack of men, "All I'll say is... We don't call it 'Paradise Island' for nothing." When a drunken Luta tried to take out her murderous rage at her queen's marrying someone other than her on the captive agent, Diana came to the rescue to free the male. Rejoined her team to fly those unable out of the underground city.

Vixen: Had girl talk with her teammates during the downtime. Joked of Wonder Woman's home "I always figured not having men around was enough reason for it to be paradise." Called on powers of the bird to follow J'Onzz and Her-Who-Must-Be-Served in the air. Upon the queen's big reveal, "Wow. Y'know, I guessed the secret of 'The Crying Game,' but this I never saw coming!" Fought the Daals again, and was stabbed in the leg while protecting Maxima. Carried by Maxima in return for the rest of the mission. Thought the theory of the Daals coming from outer space was dumb.

Gypsy: After "Joan" was bathed by courtesans, she ordered everyone out, then turned attention elsewhere. "Gypsy... your camouflage powers don't hide you from me. I was quite specific that I didn't want any of you in here during this... farce... If you ever...I mean ever...tell Blue Beetle...or Guy...or Booster..." Gypsy offered J'Onzz two Midol, then tailed Luta to the "Only Man" as directed. "And Batman! For God's sake, don't tell Batman!" Hit a guard on the head, then identified herself to the captive. "'Gypsy'? Like the stripper?" Our heroine responded, "In your dreams, pal." She noted that since he didn't know where his briefcase with the virus was taken, he'd have to stay in jail until after the wedding of "Joan" to Her-Who-Must-Be-Served. Invisibly tracked the newlyweds, then found a cave leading back to the surface world. When Gypsy agreed with Vixen's criticism of J'Onn's alien theory as far-fetched, one look at him made her reconsider. "Sorry. What was I thinking?" After J'Onzz shared his reflection on the opportunity Her-Who-Must-Be-Served offered, Gypsy surmised, "Hey, J'Onn... life sure is a vi--"
"That's enough Gypsy... Quite enough."

The Creators: Peter David really got away with some liberal naughty talk here, but made sure to repeatedly assert the Martian Manhunter was all man. Seeing how J'Onn started assuming female identities irregularly in the "JLA" years, sometimes in the presence of guys like Batman, one assumes he either became more comfortable, or even "comfortable," in heels. I do kind of hope his aversion to teh peener remained in place, if only because the "Manhunter" jokes would grow ever so tiresome. I seem to recall David mentioning in an interview that he wasn't allowed to show J'Onn kiss Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, as Sal never drew the lips making contact (though the breast rubbing that replaced it seems even more titillating.) What's funny is that it's a lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual kiss simultaneously, completing the LGBT BLT...

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "Joan" -Gypsy
"J'Onn" -Gypsy, Maxima
"Joan J'Onzz, the Martian Womanhunter" -Narrator


Luke said...

Yeah. I must own this story. In fact maybe I should just buy all of JLTF and just let it wash over me like one of those mudbaths you get at the spa.

Why do I get the feeling that a story like this published in 2008 would become the When Fangirls Attack Award Winner for Advancing the Cause of Mysoginy in Comics? (Excepting, of course, is Gail Simone wrote it?) Maybe I'm a slope-browned cretin, but this sounds hilarious.

Diabolu Frank said...

You would be well advised to purchase a run of JLTF, specifically the second half that Mark Waid & Christopher Priest wrote. I think you'd dig it the most. Triumph is an honorary Heywood.

I don't think the fangirls would hate on the story today, as it was very pro-woman. Even the roughing up of Her is levelled out by J'Onn's tenderness toward her at the end.

Bookgal said...

It struck me that at it was a goof on both the “Girl on Girl” soft core stuff we see in comics all the time (I mean, half of Wonder Woman’s fights are two steps away from a playboy cover) and the fan girl squealing over Bishonan type situations (Men that seem like women)

Diabolu Frank said...

Exactly. Plus Peter David is a pop culture whore, and had probably been looking for someplace to play with transgender roles since seeing "The Crying Game."