Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mars Needs Women!

Like a lot of modern readers, my Martian Manhunter fandom mostly began after the changes made to the character in his first solo mini-series. After decades as a bachelor, J.M. DeMatteis transformed the Martian into a mournful widower and father. As such, I, like I'm sure many of you, always thought of J'Onn as this lonely, tragic figure... and neutered. However, that vibe must have been exactly what he needed to begin pulling birds, because J'Onn has had more romantic entanglements since losing his retcon wife than the rest of his history combined! Who are some of these special ladyfriends, you may ask, so near to Valentine's Day? Here's a selection...

  • Patrolwoman Diane Meade: When the commissioner's daughter first showed up at Detective John Jones' Middletown precinct, he was sure taken with her pretty self. Jones even took Meade on a date in an issue of Justice League of America. Things seemed to cool once Diane became a member of the force though, and while she remained a friend to both Jones and J'Onzz, romance didn't seem to be in the cards. Since the character was revived in JLA: Year One, Officer Meade has seemed even further removed from Jones, mostly just taking amusement at his odd manner.
  • Marie Fouchere: A French double agent who dated the real Marco Xavier, and perhaps the alien who assumed the role as well? More here.
  • Bel Juz: It was never quite clear just how close this treacherous Martian Jezebel got to the Manhunter, but in the end she stood revealed for the manipulator she was. You can read her full profile here.
  • J'en: The lover J'Onn J'Onzz lost to The Marshal's invasion plot against Earth. One of the rare cases where both parties wanted to be together, but were tragically parted. My biography for J'en is here.
  • Vixen: After all those years in exile, J'Onn J'Onzz was greeted back to Earth with the amorous advances of supermodel Mari McCabe. It seems jungle fever hadn't yet set for the Manhunter, or perhaps he noticed Vixen tended to flirt with every non-villainous male within a ten-yard radius. They even had her retroactively fall for Steel, the Indestructable Man in an issue of JLA: Classified. In the end, Manhunter's animal-powered teammate from the Detroit League settled for a depressing sort of friendship, fueled by survivor's guilt.
  • M'yri'ah: Over thirty years after his first appearance, J'Onn J'Onzz learned everything he thought he knew was a lie, and that he was actually a widowed husband and father with an unpronouncible name. Since all retcons inevitably get retconned, his lost bride M'yri'ah was finally named a decade later. The great love of J'Onn's life died with their daughter in a fire caused by plague.
  • Her-Who-Must-Be-Served: Another unreciprocated love for the Manhunter from Mars, as this green-skinned hermaphrodite from an amazonian race wished only to turn a disguised-as-female J'Onn into his/her bride! Her story begins here.
  • Claire Jeffers: "I was responding to a woman-- in a way I never had before-- but a man would be crazy not to..." Claire was the scheming wife of a small time mayor covering for the murder of an alien mother and child by very effectively seducing J'Onn in his Martin Smith persona. Needless to say, things didn't progress far. Her story can be found in JLA Annual #1.
  • Princess Cha'rissa: The White Saturnian intended bride of Jemm, to whom she owed duty, but whose lust was all for J'Onn J'Onzz. Sure, it was perhaps less-than-heroic for the Manhunter to have an adulterous fling, but she was totally asking for it.
  • Kishana Lewis: A firefighter who fast became J'Onn's bedmate, until unearthed demons unleashed flame powers in Lewis, forcing the couple apart. Kishana co-starred in JLA: SCARY MONSTERS Prologue, #1-2, #3 #4-5, #6.
  • Scorch: Slightly demented, southern fried trailer trash with flame powers who sought to help the Martian Manhunter overcome his greatest weakness. The two actually became a couple, until Scorch accidentally unleashed a racial evil that lived within J'Onzz, and fell into a coma while struggling to put the genie back in its bottle. Say, that sounded really familiar!


Bookgal said...

Yeah, I always thought it was rotten that J'onn never got a chance to really have any kind of meaningful relationship with a woman past a short term deal. I always liked Diane Meade, and I wish they had re-done her in the modern mythos as more of a pairing for JJ. While I really liked the long term love he felt for his late wife, it also struck me as kind of needlessly obsessive to have her as the only lover he could ever have.

Or I could just be a sappy girl who likes the idea of her favorite hero getting his own "Lois Lane" so to speak....

Diabolu Frank said...

I'd have to disagree with you about Diane-- I think it's refreshing for a female supporting cast member to not fall for the heroic lead. I think that plays too much to the male power fantasy; that all women should lust for the male audience member living vicariously through his comic book surrogate. Now, the Silver Age and Modern Meades are pretty much completely different characters, but they're both dedicated police officers deserving proper respect. They're also fun to read as more than just love interests. Besides, the closer Meade gets to Lois Lane territory, the more she feeds detractors who claim the Martian Manhunter is nothing but a third rate Superman knock-off.

I'd like J'Onn to have a steady squeeze someday, but the one thing I'm surprised I can say is that he gets more romantic mileage than most classic DC heroes. Even Hal and Ollie have spent most of their years devoted to one woman. Aside from his wife, J'Onn's been a confirmed bachelor for more years than any of 'em!

Bookgal said...

Yeah, I can see your point about Dianne. I guess I just saw her as independent and a great character in her own right, and not prone to falling into that stereotype as "Just" the girlfriend.

I know what you mean though. It was one of the reasons I was bummed on "The X-files' when they finally made Mulder and Scully a couple. I liked them better as close friends/partners because I thought that fit them better.

Diabolu Frank said...

Exactly! I want more Diane Meade, and a girl for J'Onn too! :)

Bookgal said...

Well, if they got him a girl who was an interesting character in her own right alone, then I may mend my ways with DC and end our divorce....

But of course, they have to bring him back from the dead before that.