Monday, November 24, 2008

Commander Benson's Notebook: Rogue's Gallery

When I was first putting together my fan site "Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA," U.S. Navy Commander Adam Benson became my guru with regard to the Manhunter's Silver Age stories. I ran a series of "articles" culled from his message board posts from 1998-2000, and thought it would be nice to return the pieces to the web. If you'd like to read more current and thorough offerings, visit the index of his Commander Benson's Deck Log columns at Captain Comics and the Legion of Superfluous Heroes.

"The Manhunter from Mars had only two recurring arch-foes from his old Detective Comics/House of Mystery days. The first was Professor Arnold Hugo, who switched from being a Bat-villain to confronting J'onn J'onzz in Detective # 322 (Dec., 1963), and returned to plague the Manhunter in House of Mystery issues # 153, 157, and 165. The Batman also made a cameo appearance in that first Hugo-Manhunter story; in fact, that was the only instance--at least in the Detective/House of Mystery issues I have--where another DC hero made an appearance in the Manhunter strip.

The other regular foil was Mr. V, a.k.a. Faceless, and his international criminal organization, Vulture, who J'onn J'onzz opposed through most issues of House of Mystery, starting with issue 160. Ironically, in the old Certa strip, the one regular J'onn J'onzz foe--Professor Hugo--was given more dimension and background than the friends in his regular supporting cast. I don't know how much potential Professor Hugo would have as a viable villain for today's version of the Manhunter; but I can see an updated version of Vulture as a worthy regular foe.

This modern incarnation of Vulture could be an organisation of international terrorists, headed by a new Mr. V--an individual of such considerable personal fortune that he can finance the research and development of super-scientific weaponry to advance their manifesto. As a hero with few personal relationships, J'onn J'onzz would be in position to cross the world, combating Vulture's global threats. Just a thought.

(By the way, I didn't forget about the Idol-Head of Diabolu arc in the Manhunter strip; I just don't consider that as an arch-foe as much as a recurring gimmick.)"

Edited by Frank Lee Delano from posts made by "Commander Steel" on the DC Comics Message Boards. All material used with the written consent of the author.

Martian Manhunter's Rogue's Gallery - posted September 04, 1999


Bookgal said...

Okay, I know very well what the caption means. But I can't help but snicker like a 12 year old scoolboy over a potty joke at the quote: "Those boobs of mine." Heh heh heh.

Okay, Bevis and Butthead moment has passed

Diabolu Frank said...

Mr. V was... not a small man. The nature of the crimes he might set up for his boobs are meant for a whole other internet venue, I'm certain...