Thursday, April 30, 2009

How Do You Feel About Mongul As a Martian Manhunter Villain?

You like him-- you really like him. 86% of poll respondents (myself included) are fans of Mongul the Merciless, while 69% gave him the thumbs-up as a Martian Manhunter villain. I guess there's a mandate to give Mongul an entry in the Vile Menagerie, and since I'm behind on my monthly installments, it will likely be sooner than later. I've also got to put together the final part to my fake cover/fan fiction pre/sequel trilogy in the relatively near future. I'm glad folks seem not to have completely hated "The March of Mongul," but don't expect me to ever devote so little time to the Martian Manhunter for an entire month again. I came to regret the extended shift in focus. I apologize especially to the 13% of blog readers who are flat out disdainful regarding Mongul. You're Martian Manhunter fans, and I shouldn't have made you suffer through so much distraction from why you come here.

Results of a poll conducted in April 2009 of 29 readers and one proprietor of The Idol-Head of Diabolu, a blog for J'Onn J'Onzz, the Manhunter from Mars.
20 Votes (66%): I think Mongul is a fine addition to the Manhunter rogues gallery!
6 Votes (20%) I dig Mongul, but he's more of a Superman/GL/DCU foe.
1 Votes (3%) I don't like Mongul, but I guess he's a decent Manhunter villain.
3 Votes (10%) I don't care about Mongul one way or the other.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2007 Rittenhouse Archives DC Legacy Uko Smith Heroes Sketch Cards

For more, visit The Art of Uko Smith!
Pictured: Firestorm, Blue Beetle, Batman, Black Canary, Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Plastic Man Captain Marvel, the Golden Age Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the Golden Age Green Lantern & Flash, Superman, Hawkman, the Atom, Green Arrow, Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hawkgirl, Supergirl, Zatanna, Guy Gardner, Raven, and Power Girl.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DC Challenge

Early on, I decided to offer new posts on this almost daily blog at 9 p.m. CST, which then shifted to 7 p.m. or thereabouts. I've had a rough couple of weeks, and am feeling a bit frayed around the edges, which has led to lightweight makeshift posts closer to midnight.

I've also been plotting a blog crossover that was intended to run before Easter, but now looks more likely a hopeful for Labor Day. The main problem is that a major component of the idea would involve this here DC Challenge mini-series, which I'd have to finish reviewing. Since this series was a slow moving train wreck through Crazytown, it takes several times as long to cover a single issue of DC Challenge than any other random comic I'll usually write a synopsis for. I decided to finally knock out the halfway point issue tonight for our big brother blog ...nurgh..., which left little time or energy for anything else.

Thing is, both here and at Justice League Detroit: The Blog, I've been offering character-specific excerpts from the main story. However, the newest issue barely mentions anyone related to either blog, and as the story gets more confusing, I figure I should at least offer folks here a chance to check out the big picture. So, in lieu of your regularly scheduled post, here's a list of links to the full issue coverage, and my promise to return to some sense of normalcy by this weekend.

DC Challenge #1 (11/1985)
DC Challenge #2 (12/1985)
DC Challenge #3 (1/1986)
DC Challenge #4 (2/1986)
DC Challenge #5 (3/1986)
DC Challenge #6 (4/1986)

Monday, April 27, 2009

fotolog highlights for jan - apr 2008

Not long after starting this blog, I received a message from a fellow under the alias "Zoiber," a Spanish "Detective Marciano" fan. Zoiber seems intent on collecting every Martian Manhunter image on the internet, and he was hoping it was okay with me if he started taking mine. I explained my belief that no one has the right to withhold a scan of a copyrighted image, so of course any of mine he cared for were fair game. Of course, a link is always nice, and bandwidth theft is just that, but you figure that goes without saying.

So anyway, Zoiber's been running an online catalog of these images since the start of 2007, and it just might be a bit of a task to get through them all, though I'm sure the process would be rewarding. I covered highlights for jan/feb 2007, mar/apr 2007, may/june 2007, july/aug/sep 2007, and oct/nov/dec 2007 so I figure it's about time I picked up with 2008...

Page scans from "Day of Judgment."
Page scans from "Countdown."
Page scans from "Countdown To Infinite Crisis #15."
"Countdown To Infinite Crisis #6."
"Countdown To Infinite Crisis #3."
Martian Manhunter & Aquaman Cosplay Gallery
Online Art Gallery
VS. CCG Card Art Gallery
Serafin Dibuja
Page scans from Catwoman #76
Page scans from Catwoman #77
Top Ten Enemies of Martian Manhunter #10-8
Top Ten Enemies of Martian Manhunter #7-2
Top Ten Enemies of Martian Manhunter #1
Page scans from Green Lantern Legacy:The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan HC
More page scans from Green Lantern Legacy:The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan HC

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2007 Jim Starlin Martian Manhunter Convention Sketch

Click To Enlarge

While I was working on the fan fiction "cover" for Manhunter from Mars #199 (February 1981), I found myself in need of a good Jim Starlin image of the classic Adam Strange costume. Dissatisfied with much of what I was finding in Google and Yahoo searches, I turned to Comic Art Fans Galleries & Marketplace, an excellent storehouse of scans featuring original works. I was pleased to learn that a fellow named Michael Dunne had posted a perfect Adam Strange piece for my little collage, and decided to scan through all the search results under "Jim Starlin" to see if I uncovered any other surprises. Sure enough, a fellow named Mike White (aka Off White) had offered up this convention sketch of the Manhunter from Mars. Most of the quality Starlin reference I had of J'Onn J'Onzz was from after 1997, which meant he had the big upturned collar, which would have been anachronistic in "1981." The image was perfect for what I had in mind... if you don't factor in all the time I spend playing with contrast, whiting out, resizing, reorienting, recoloring, and filtering the art. All worth it, as I envy Mr. White a great deal for possessing such a treasure.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Justice League of America: Secret Origins: Martian Manhunter (2002)













by Paul Dini and Alex Ross.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Justice League 1.12-13: The Brave And The Bold (3/10 & 3/17/02)

Disclaimer: Knowing full well there is a wealth of resources available to fans of the "Justice League" animated series, I have no intention of doing a bunch of dry story synopsis with the occasional new screen grab. I will chronicle, within reason, J'Onn J'Onzz's specific journey over the course of the series, but chiefly I will be reviewing the episodes through my own jaundiced perceptions.

Michael Rosenbaum works perfectly fine for me as the Wally West Flash, specifically from the Mike Baron/Bill Loebs/JLE era. I could see where fans of Barry Allen or the Waid/Johns Flash might take issue, but the team needed an over-enthusiastic wise guy youth in its dynamic. Screenwriters Fogel, Dini, and McDuffie wisely play him off the hardened veteran Green Lantern John Stewart. The dynamic is curiously unique to the screen, as the classic Barry/Hal team was one of equals, or in retroactive continuity, with Barry as the salt of the Earth to Hal's somewhat flighty hotshot. Wally and Hal never seemed to relate much to one another, while West played the critical skeptic to Kyle Rayner's well-intentioned if stubborn rookie.

This specific story is exceptionally well cast, with former failed live action Martian Manhunter David Ogden Stiers better serving as the super-intelligent gorilla Solivar, demoted by story necessity from king to security agent. Virginia Madsen plays a chilly scientist under the sway of Powers Boothe's Gorilla Grodd. The latter perhaps recalls the 70's Super Friends classic Solomon Grundy a tad too much with his pronounced drawl, but it's all in good fun, and sings to the ear. Bill Duke also turns up, sadly to lesser effect.

When Green Lantern questions Flash's story about having been framed for a crime he did not commit by a talking gorilla, he retorts, "Hey, we both got a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt here."

Later, after the Flash's impetuousness leads to Central City being wiped off the map, J'Onn J'Onzz, Wonder Woman, and Hawkgirl investigate. J'Onzz co-piloted a Javelin that scraped against the side of an invisible forcefield that encircled the city's former location. Unable to penetrate the field, the trio contacted Batman, whose analysis yielded an energy signature in the area identical to one found in Africa. The intercontinental quartet had found Gorilla City, shrouded in illusion, and Gorilla City now had them. Knocked unconscious by energy weapons, our heroes were taken prisoners as spies and faced brutal interrogation. When J'Onn J'Onzz tried to protest, he was laid low by an energy charge in his restraints. J'Onzz continued to be beaten and questioned by a Gorilla General, wonderfully voiced by Phil Morris. The actor who would later play MM foe Vandal Savage on the series, friend King Faraday in the animated "New Frontier," and J'Onn J'Onzz himself on the live action "Smallville."

Batman picked his lock and effected the release of his teammates, quite thanklessly, as they fled the scene by air while he ran through the city streets. At least J'Onzz saved some face by being the only flier who remembered the forcefield, rather than slam head first into it like the ladies, whom he gently set down. The machinations of Grodd then caught up to Gorilla City, allowing the Leaguers a bargaining tool for their freedom. Grodd had launched a series of missiles at his home town, though all of them were dismantled by the League, one by J'Onn J'Onzz. Wonder Woman seemingly perished in a similar attempt, prompting Batman to try digging her out from under a disarmed missile that had been embedded in pavement with his bare hands. J'Onzz rested his hand on the Dark Knight's shoulder to halt his hopeless endeavor. Almost immediately, Diana turned up alive and freed herself. What is it with J'Onn prematurely heralding the demise of his fellows? Grodd meanwhile was outsmarted by the Flash and temporarily left a vegetable.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Vile Menagerie: DIABOLU THE WIZARD

Alter Ego: Diabolu
Occupation: Wizard
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None Known.
Base of Operations: Babylonia
First Appearance: House of Mystery #158 (April, 1966)
Height: Tall
Build: Decrepit
Eyes: Magenta
Hair: Gray

Centuries ago in ancient Babylonia, the evil wizard Diabolu stood behind the throne of Nebuchadnezzar until his overthrow by the Persian king Cyrus. Since the Babylonian people welcomed Cyrus' arrival, Diabolu, dying and driven insane, vowed revenge on the land. To this end, Diabolu set about constructing his Idol-Head, which he filled with many terrible magical evils as a sort of Pandora's Box. A man Diabolu had forced to become his apprentice tried to destroy the Idol-Head before its completion, and failing that, fled. Diabolu sent a giant monster to destroy his former apprentice's entire village, but everyone was saved by a temporally-displaced Martian Manhunter. The alien hero had spent some time in his own era trying to locate and destroy the Idol-Head, whose periodic release of terrors the Manhunter was repeatedly forced to defend Earth against. Learning the true nature of Diabolu and the Idol-Head, the Martian Manhunter was finally prepared to help end the threat of both.

Diabolu cheered on the monster he had sent to the village, as it recovered from its initially defeat to resume battle with the Martian Manhunter. Pleased that the creature had appeared to best the Manhunter, Diabolu locked it up inside the Idol-Head, sealing off the construct for future mischief. The wizard, finally at peace and believing it was his time to die, collapsed and struck his head on a table. However, in truth the Martian Manhunter had assumed the form of a monster in order to return to his present time through imprisonment in the Idol-Head. Upon release, the Manhunter shattered the Idol-Head, ending Diabolu's legacy.

Click To Enlarge

Powers & Weapons:
The full breadth of Diabolu's power is unknown, as he was terminal in his only appearance. Diabolu could conjure a host of monstrous menaces, and direct them to some degree. Diabolu constructed his own Idol-Head as a storehouse for these creatures, whom he turned to mist and held in containment.

Distinguishing Features: Diabolu walked with the help of a small cane, his back perpetually hunched over. His eyes were magenta, and he had a large wart on his outsized nose.

Quote: "Some interloper has interfered with my plans! I must prepare to release another creature to destroy him!"

Created by: Jack Miller and Joe Certa

See Also:

House of Mystery #158

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Justice League Annual #1 (1987)

A sulking Green Lantern Guy Gardner on monitor duty alerted Batman to a major incoming emergency alert. The Dark Knight then requested, "Manhunter... come have a look at this. What do you think, J'Onn? Is this League business?" The matter concerned "zombie-like" behavior over large population segments in Paris, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo. "The computer was programmed to bring possible crisis situations to our attention. At the very least, we should investigate..." Batman continued to argue the matter with Blue Beetle and Mr. Miracle as J'onn frowned. Finally, Black Canary asked why he was wasting time discussing the matter. "I wanted you all to feel included in the decision-making process." Canary misinterpreted that to mean she could offer a battle plan, but she was dismissed as the Caped Crusader resumed complete control.The League then split into teams of two.

Beetle and Miracle were sent to California, although the former had intended to hit Kord Industries in his civilian identity as owner Ted Kord. It seemed Kord plants were ground zero for the situations in L.A. and Tokyo, as the heroes learned when they landed. Kord Industries employees swarmed the pair, and though they managed to escape the mob, both were infected with a nefarious virus that usurped their will.

Black Canary and Booster Gold were mystically teleported to France by Fate, where they headed for a hospital adjacent to a Kord Industries facility. Booster hit on Dinah relentlessly, while she tried to school the newb without resorting to violence against his person. Just as Beetle and Miracle would fall to "George Romero rejects," Booster and Canary were surrounded by patients with "eyes... like they're dead inside." Before long, the pair of Leaguers shared the infection, leaving the windows to their soul red pinpricks in a sea of blackness. "Oh. I understand now."

In Tokyo, Kimiyo Hoshi and a throng of other infected persons served as a creepy welcoming wagon. "Batman... Guy... It's soooo nice to see you again." The Dark Knight couldn't react to the trap fast enough, and was struck by a light flare. Even blinded, the heroes mounted a defense, but were just as hamstrung as the rest in confronting these infected innocents. Further Dr. Light II began working her powers in the yellow spectrum, negating the Green Lantern's Power Ring, then socking him on the jaw. Hoshi next kissed Batman, and all three heroes fell to the plague. "Love, my children. It's what unites you. Makes you whole. Makes you mine."

Dr. Fate teleported himself and the Manhunter from Mars to "...Australia. In all my years on Earth, I have never been here."
"One nation is the same as another to a Lord of Order."
"Sometimes I think you lack humanity, Doctor."
"An ironic statement, coming from a Martian."

The entire city had been infected by that point, and J'Onn J'Onzz was worried his team might be vulnerable. Doctor Fate was sure nothing could harm himself, while "Your alien cell structure should protect you." The detective questioned Dr. Fate's assurance the force controlling these drones was malignant, and felt "we still have to know what it is before we can effectively combat it... I'll leave you to your enchantments, Doctor-- and have a look around. You never know what might turn--"

The thought was interrupted by the scream of Kent Nelson, the host body of the Helm of Fate. "I... I am an immortal Lord of Order! But I use... a mortal host as my Earthly medium! And this... this thing intends to kill my host... unless I leave it!" The helmet was cast off of Nelson, who began to speak for the infection. "Dr. Fate is gone. I am the truth now... Something you can never understand, man of another world. You are... other. You are of no use to us. And so we leave you." Martian Manhunter tried to continue the dialogue, but being immune, he simply didn't matter. J'Onzz thought of his comrades, but "No. If Fate couldn't resist it-- what chance did the others have? The truth is-- I'm alone-- and I don't know what to do."

The Martian Manhunter return to the League's mountain headquarters, but fretted over his lack of information to act on as the infection became a pandemic. The Sleuth from Outer Space saw the connection to Kord Industries, but "I've got to know more. And you're the only one who can help me. They say the power... the knowledge... of Doctor Fate resides in this helmet-- and that whoever puts it on..." J'Onn J'Onzz donned the Helm of Fate, and was enlightened before removing it. "A sentient cell. An accidental mutation that they had no idea they'd even created. Fools! It extends its influence by total cellular takeover of the body-- then passes its 'contagion' from person to person. Gods of Mars-- what do I do?"

The cell spoke to its "children" of its origins and ambitions. "And through you, I have given the world my love... and through my love, I have made you all one with me... and you see as I want you to see. Think as I want you to think. Do as I want you to do. My love is great, is it not? But now... one is coming... who dares to threaten my love. To threaten the unity that makes us one. He is different. He is other. His thoughts are unclean. His beliefs are... alien. Let him come. If he truly dares. We'll be ready."

J'Onn flew to a South Pacific island that housed the lab of the Kord Industries acquisition that was responsible for birthing the cell. J'Onzz questioned if a direct attack was wise, or if he should have planned better, but believed the "disease" was spreading too fast across the planet for that. "In no time at all Mars will be-- Did I say 'Mars'? All these years and I still forget... but now isn't the time for nostalgia." Suddenly the Martian Marvel was being smothered by a "Larvae Bomb," and taunted by Mr. Miracle's possessed form. The Secret Visitor from Mars stretched his form to a withered state to rip the flight discs off Miracle's feet and slither to freedom.

"You would do well to look into those minds you control-- and study the information they contain about me! My strength is second to none. I have the ability to change my shape at will! To become invisible! To read minds! I'm not just another costumed human-- I'm the Martian Manhunter!" To cap the delivery, when the cell launched the Beetle's Bug ship at the Alien Atlas, he blew it away with his classic Silver Age power, Martian Breath! "You cannot stop me."

Guy Gardner was next in play, but the Martian Marvel grabbed him by the waist and threw him across the sky like a football. "You may mimic my teammates' speech patterns... but you cannot truly become them! In their hearts they resist you-- and so, do not fight to the best of their abilities! As I said-- YOU CANNOT STOP ME!"

Booster Gold struck with energy blasts, then he, Batman and Black Canary spoke as one about how the cell's "love" would win them over completely, eventually.
"Love? Your very use of that word corrupts it!"
"Do not all humans use words to suit their own ends?"
"I am not a human."
"The differences are negligible. Your form is essentially the same. Your thought-patterns... Your biological make-up..."
"I am not what you think I am! I am... I am..."
"You pause. You falter. Good. Then now is the time!"

The sentient cell had commanded the entire population of the island to form a giant, hulking humanoid form with their interlaced bodies to attack the Martian. "Together, we will stamp out all that is different! All that will not submit to our way of seeing... of believing! But my cause is not evil, Manhunter! I wish you no harm! If you leave now... depart for some other planet... you may go in peace!"

"I've already left one planet behind-- and I don't intend to leave another!" Unable to directly attack the human gestalt, the Manhunter yet found vulnerability in this one focused entity. "I can see into its mind! The central consciousness of the cell is within that fleshy mass... guiding it! Maybe I can't isolate it-- but Dr. Fate can!" The Alien Atlas had brought the Helm of Fate with him, and launched it into the being, briefly convert the whole of the form into the human host of a Lord of Order. Unable to maintain dominance for long, Fate determined that the only way to set things right was to imprison the cell inside "Your alien cell structure, J'Onn J'Onzz!"

"You want me to absorb that disease... that... plague?! No! I won't allow it! I won't go through it all agai-- Forgive me, Dr. Fate. You're right. It's the only way. My system will neutralize the cell. I'll become-- a living prison for it... There's no Earthly reason to wait. Do it!!" The Martian screamed as Fate infested J'Onzz bodily with the sentient cell, and then he passed out.

The Manhunter awoke to his restored teammates surrounding him, with Batman noting the sacrifice Dr. Fate revealed he'd made. "I made no sacrifice. I simply did what had to be done to save these people... to save you all. That's what the League is about, isn't it?" Guy Gardner wasn't too sure, and tried to avoid getting close to J'Onn J'Onzz. "Don't worry, Guy. As long as the cell is within me, you're in no danger... Precious little in life is 'for sure,' Guy. So we do what we think is right-- and pay the price."

"Germ Warfare" was by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Bill Willingham with Dennis Janke, P. Craig Russell, Bill Wray, Robert Campanella, Bruce Patterson and Dick Giordano. An editor's note from Andy Helfer suggested this tale took place "just after JL #4." It's also among my favorite Martian Manhunter stories, and directly foreshadowed his first ever eponymous mini-series.

Back to Justice League #4 (8/87)

Forward to Justice League #5 (9/87)

Monday, April 20, 2009

1984 The Martian Manhunter Postcard by George Pérez

This is one of my favorite images of the Manhunter from Mars, a lovely postcard I picked up on eBay about a decade ago. I used to feature it prominently on my old "Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA" site, along with the two articles Who is the Martian Manhunter? and J'Onn & Me. In light of the Idol-Head of Diabolu's upcoming 600th post and the postcards' being reprinted shortly in the DC COMICS CLASSICS LIBRARY: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA BY GEORGE PEREZ VOL. 1 HC, I thought it was about time I stopped hoarding the piece away from the internet. The return of the articles will keep. George Pérez produced 16 postcards for the unnumbered JLA set. Also featured were the Sword of the Atom (Ray Palmer,) Aquaman, Batman, Black Canary, Elongated Man (& Sue Dibney,) the Flash (Barry Allen,) Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond,) Green Arrow, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan,) Hawkman (and Hawkgirl, of Thanagar,) the new Justice League of America (Detroit Era members Steel II, Gypsy, Vibe and Vixen,) Red Tornado, Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna. You can view signed versions of all the cards here. Card Back Text:
THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER Brought to earth by the ill-fated Professor Erdel and unable to return to Mars, J'onn J'onzz adopted human form. His powers include telepathy, super-strength, flight, and invisibility. His only weakness: vulnerability to fire.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Justice League America Annual #6 (1992)

"On the dark side of the moon lives all that is darkest in human nature. And down within the deepest crater of that distant sea of dust and rock lies evil's greatest monument. It is Eclipso's castle... and Eclipso's prison!" The God of Vengeance had determined after years of slinking away from super-heroes that he could instead possess them-- through their own anger and contact with one of his black diamonds. "The handful of heroes whose bodies I already possess are only the beginning... What I require goes beyond raw physical power. I must have other abilities to take me to the next stage. And the telepathic powers of the Martian Manhunter will suit my needs ideally. So I'll take the Martian-- and through him gain all those fools who call themselves the Justice League... and all their power!"

Among those who had been "Eclipsed" was Green Lantern Hal Jordan. As it turned out, Hal had finally gotten Guy Gardner booted out of the Corps right after Guy abandoned the League on Almerac, but Gardner was then temporarily reinstated by Kilowog to help deal with Jordan. Gardner and Dr. Bruce Gordon (the solar scientist and former longtime Eclipso surrogate) made their way to the new J.L.A. headquarters, where a meeting was called on the matter by Superman. Predictably, the Man of Steel was late to his own gathering, as he was off "rounding up some more help," leaving his teammates to bicker with one another. Even the arrival of Metamorpho the Element Man was more timely. Fire took this as an opportunity to introduce the Justice League Europe member to the new additions to her team, Maxima and Bloodwynd...
"Pleased t'meetcha."
"As am I. I have heard much-- much about you."

Meanwhile, Superman tried to talk Wonder Woman into joining the team. "Let's just say I'm not completely comfortable with this League yet. Guy Gardner is unstable. Gold and Beetle are a couple of comedians. And Maxima's not right for any group." Despite Kal-El's obvious determination, optimism, and enthusiasm, Princess Diana opted not to join his misfit band. However, the Amazing Amazon soon encountered Eclipso on her own, and realized she should aid the League in bringing about his downfall.

Upon her arrival at headquarters, Wonder Woman received Superman's undivided attention, which infuriated Maxima. The queen stormed out of the building, and soon fell under Eclipso's influence. This was thanks to the Eclipsed Will Payton Starman, who mentioned "I feared the Martians absence would stall my plans... but the powers of this body are incredible! The powers of the mind... intoxicating!"

Back at the meeting, Bloodwynd had detected that "There is something amiss here. Something about Metamorpho troubles me." The Element Man immediately went on the offensive, calling Bloodwynd into suspicion, and swaying Guy Gardner to his side. Ice jumped to the necromancer's defense against her supposed boyfriend, noting "how valuable Bloodwynd's been to the team!" Everyone began arguing, leading Superman to scream, "Enough!" so loudly the wind literally knocked folks off their feet. "It's time you people learned to straightened up and take orders!" So much for all those "ours" and "wes" when discussing his teammates, eh? Metamorpho joined Maxima in bailing on the team.

While Blue Beetle showed off his solar powered energy pistol to Bruce Gordon, Booster Gold tried in vain to pick up Wonder Woman. A news report came in from the Diablo Azul Nuclear Waste Facility that indicated it was under attack by Eclipso. Bloodwynd said "I fear his reasons are far more devious than we might imagine. Dr. Gordon has painted Eclipso as evil personified-- and it is in evil's nature always to corrupt what is good. I cannot shake the feeling that the forces of good have already been greatly compromised."

While Bruce Gordon and Blue Beetle remained behind to produce more solar guns, the rest of the team let out. At the waste site, the Eclipsed Maxima was behind the mayhem, and dealing with toxic materials kept Superman out of the fight for a time. In his absence, Bloodwynd stepped up. "Let the spirits of Earth protect their own!" Earth, rock and rubble battered Maxima at the sorcerer's command. Still, the dominated Almeracian used her telepathy to mentally control Wonder Woman, initially dividing the J.L.A.'s forces. However, Superman chose to capture the Amazing Amazon and fly her beyond Maxima's reach, while the rest of the team ganged up on the Eclipsed alien queen. Believing the fight to be over, Bloodwynd suggested that "The rising sun will have the same effect as the solar gun-- driving Eclipso from his host." However, Maxima was only playing possum, as she first controlled and then endangered Booster Gold as a distraction so that she could escape.

In the meantime, Metamorpho appeared to return to J.L.A. headquarters, prompting Bruce Gordon's swift exit. Shortly thereafter, Eclipso arrived to chase Beetle throughout the base, until he was finally driven off by solar lighting. Metamorpho at first seemed to have been Eclipso in disguise, but more likely this was instead the shape-shifting Starman, or rather he was a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude. In the aftermath, Blue Beetle disappeared in a flash of light, leaving his teammates to pick up the pieces.

In a later Superman annual, the Man of Steel became Eclipsed, leaving only Booster Gold, Fire, and Ice to make up the League. Bloodwynd was absent from two annuals in which this three member J.L.A. appeared, with no explanation given, until he returned to the fold in Adventures of Superman Annual #4.

"Maximum Eclipse" was by Dan Mishkin and Dave Cockrum with Dan Jurgens and Jose Marzan Jr.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

DC Challenge #5 (2/1986)

Back in New York City (or is it Metropolis? I'm confused,) the invaders prepared to publicly execute our alien heroes. Supergirl and Superman were helpless so long as a weird machine projected red sun radiation about them, so Jemm silently blasted it with his tikka jewel. "Good going, J'emm! Kara, what say we return the favor?" The Girl of Steel released the Son of Saturn, Manhunter from Mars and Starfire. Superman announced, "together, we'll show that these no-goods don't speak for all aliens!" The Maid of Might added, "When we're through with 'em, they'll be lucky to mumble!"

"If There's A Hole In Reality, Is Life A Cosmic Donut?/Thunderbolts And Lightning" was by Mike W. Barr, Dave Gibbons and Mark Farmer

Return to DC Challenge #4 (2/1986)

Continue to DC Challenge #8 (6/1986)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Martian Sightings for June, 2009


Written by Alex Ross & Jim Krueger
Art by Alex Ross & Doug Braithwaite
Cover by Alex Ross
The spectactular 12-issue series by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite is collected in this amazing, oversized, slipcased Absolute edition. The members of the Justice League of America are about to learn they aren't the only ones who can band together toward a common goal. The greatest criminal masterminds of our time appear to be acting in concert — but with a surprising plan that seeks to achieve more good than the JLA ever could!
This Absolute edition features a new cover by Ross, plus sketchbook a section with previously unseen artwork and more!
Advance-solicited; on sale November 25 • 8.25” x 12.5”, 496 pg, FC, $99.00 US

This was basically a really elaborate take on the Total Justice action figure line, right? Super-Heroes with rad tech-armor? I'd like to read this for the pictures... for free... perhaps at my local library.

Written by Gerry Conway
Art by George Pérez with Frank McLaughlin and John Beatty
Cover by George Pérez
The first half of artist George Pérez’s 1980s run on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA is collected in this new hardcover featuring issues #184-186, 192-194 plus Pérez’s very rare JLA postcard set! Don’t miss the team’s battles with Darkseid and The Secret Society of Super-Villains, as envisioned by the artist of FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS!
Advance-solicited; on sale August 26 • 176 pg, FC, $39.99 US

I own most of these issues, and there isn't much J'Onn J'Onzz in there, but what is whets my appetite something fierce. I'd hope his 1981 two page JLA/JSA Reunion spread from Justice League of America #195 will be in there, unless the jerks save it for volume 2. Regardless, they promised the postcard set, which offers one of the most glorious renditions of the Martian Manhunter ever committed to paper, which I really must post soon. Imagining that blown up blows my mind, and I don't own his Detroit League postcard, either. Still, $40 for material I already got? Probable pass.

Written by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and John Ostrander
Art by Kevin Maguire, Bill Willingham, Luke McDonnell, Al Gordon, Bob Lewis and others
Cover by Kevin Maguire
The second volume collecting the JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL comics of the 1980s, now in trade paperback! Included here are JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL #1, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #8-13 and SUICIDE SQUAD #13, featuring Batman, Blue Beetle, Martian Manhunter, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Mister Miracle, Dr. Fate, Booster Gold, Doctor Light, and the power of Shazam!
Advance-solicited; on sale July 8 • 208 pg, FC, $17.99 US

I was tempted to buy these JLI reprints, even though I own the issues, and even with J'Onn's crumby re-colored red eyes. However, I found a copy of the first new trade at Half Price Books, and they bypassed shiny paper stock for something about as good and possibly worse than my 80s copy of the collection. Pffft!

JLA Come Join Gry T-Shirt LG
The classic Justice League of America stands ready to defend the world on this grey t-shirt!
Sizes: MED, LG, XL, XXL
Release Date: June 24, 2009
SRP: $19.95-$23.49


Blackest Night Series 2 Action Figures: Black Lantern Martian Manhunter

Lantern Corps Black Symbol Hoodie
The Lantern shows its true power on the new Green Lantern Graphix T-Shirt. Inspired by the incredible graphics seen in some of the current Lantern comics, check out this colorful imprint on a deep forest 100% cotton shirt. In need of something warmer? We also offer the new Black and Blue Lantern Symbol Hoodies screenprinted respectively on a black and Carolina Blue Hanes heavyweight, 10 oz., 90% cotton/10% poly garment. The Blackest Night is here!
Sizes: MED, LG, XL, XXL
Release Date: June 24, 2009
SRP: $39.95-$42.95

Written by Bryan Miller and Sean McKeever
Art and cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
Thirty pages of story content! In the first feature, Wonder Girl’s leadership is put to the test as the team faces the all-new Fearsome Five! In the debut of the 10-page co-feature, Ravager goes solo for the first time, continuing her descent into darkness begun in TERROR TITANS.
On sale June 24 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

I'm pretty sure I still don't care.


Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Cover by Philip Tan
As a massive cosmic battle between good and evil rages across the DC Universe, a war of faith tests the might of The Spectre and the souls of humanity! Darkseid has waged a brainwashing war against mankind, leaving The Spectre to face off against the mad god’s followers. Worshipping a religion based on crime, these disciples plan to subdue humanity and extinguish its free will. It’s up to The Spectre, The Question and Batwoman to take down these minions before all hope is lost in this new hardcover collecting the entire 5-issue miniseries!
Advance-solicited; on sale August 5 • 168 pg, FC, $19.99 US

This is the one where they killed the fellas what killed the Martian.

Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by Kako
Cars explode! Fireworks explode! People explode! Surprise villains make appearances…and explode! Get ready to run as the Human Flame ends up finding a new “benefactor” who may grant him a fate worse than death. Did we mention the explosions? Good, because this issue has tons of them.
On sale June 3 • 2 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Detective Comics #279 (May, 1960)

Captain Harding arranged a secret meeting in his office at police headquarters. "Martian Manhunter-- I've summoned you here to ask a favor! You must pretend to leave town-- at once! ...I just received a tip that escaped convict Willy Ward is holed up in the city-- and fears to come out of hiding whole you're around!" The Sleuth from Outer Space understood. "I get it! Okay, Captain-- you can tell the newspapers that I'm off on a top-secret mission... Actually, I'll be around all the while in my secret, everyday Earth guise!" Harding thought the plan was perfect, little realizing the Alien Ace was on his payroll as Detective John Jones.

Jones spied a fellow officer watching over a gathering crowd in the park, and asked what the excitement was about. "Hiram Horner, an eccentric millionaire, who fancies himself an inventor!" The huckster intended to show how his Molecular Light-Beam Painter could near instantaneously change the color of statues on display, but the process proved too powerful, causing "tiny molecular explosions!" J'onzz knew he had to protect bystanders from the shrapnel, but didn't want to ruin Harding's gambit, so the Alien Sleuth bored into the ground. "By spinning at Martian Supersonic Speed, I'm burrowing a tunnel which should get me beneath that statue in seconds! Now to get a good grip on it..." and cause the statue to sink beneath the earth! Detective Jones then returned to the scene to relieve Horner of his dangerous device. "Very well, sir... but I'm sure that even Edison had a few goofs in his time!"

The next day, Jones was pounding the pavement in pursuit of Willy Ward, but "Great Comets! There's Hiram Horner again! What's he up to this time?" Showing off "the world's first Remote-Controlled Airborne Building Transporter!" Well, at least until the rocket motors conked out, leaving the curiously flat bottomed building (or not, to Silver Age readers) falling in a crowded metropolitan area. Jones again transformed into the Alien Atlas in order to make one swift, mighty leap onto the airborne building. Sure that no human eyes could detect him, the Manhunter anchored himself on the roof, spread his arms like propeller blades, and began whirling himself as an inhuman helicopter. After the Martian Miracle Man set the wayward building gently to the ground, he resumed his duties as Detective Jones. "Hiram Horner-- if you don't put a stop to these foolish inventions of yours, I'll clap you in jail and throw away the key!"

The following morning, John Jones hit paydirt, spying Willy Ward on the street with a pretty lady on his arm. The Detective swiftly adopted his mighty Martian form, but was distracted by "Great Suns! What are those floating objects?" Hiram Horner had unleashed Solar Receptors that would absorb the sun's rays and project cheap lighting at night... in theory. In fact, they began to burst into hovering balls of flame, stripping the Manhunter of his powers just as the alerted Willy Ward was making a break.

J'onn J'onzz sweated on his knees and cursed "that fool inventor," which reminded him he was still carrying the Molecular Light-Beam Painter he'd confiscated from Horner as Detective Jones. The device's rays were powerful enough to snuff the flaming receptors. "Thus, before Willy Ward can get very far, he samples a taste of blazing alien fists..." The crook surrendered, and later, the Manhunter from Mars lectured his liability/benefactor. "It's a lucky thing Detective Jones turned over your inventions to me! I hope this experience has taught you a lesson!" It certainly had, as Horner now intended to invent things strictly to serve the police department, as his Molecular Light-Beam Painter had helped J'onn J'onzz, who slapped his forehead and cried "OH, NO!"

"The Impossible Inventions" was by Jack Miller and Joe Certa. Art above has been digitally enhanced and altered.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ambush Bug: Year None #5 (1/2009)

In a story by Keith Giffen with Robert Loren Fleming and Al Milgrom, we learned that Ambush Bug's old frat buddy was none other than DC Comics Executive Editor Dan Didio. Further, Ambush Bug had just accidentally killed Dan, which was okay, since he was now the unstoppable force behind the terrific darkness that had overtaken the DCU in recent years. Using the fabled Blue Pencil of Schwartzamotto, Didio turned Wonder Woman into a killer, Superman into a leach, and gave Batman a potty mouth. Learning that even all-pervasive death and destruction can get boring, Didio then unleashed the Anti-Sales Equation, which caused the collapse of the Direct Market.

Go-Go Chex and Saki Toomi captured Ambush Bug, and tried to warn him of Didio's systematically destroying every planet in the Multiverse. Didio had been resurrected, as "Even grim death failed to stop this insatiable powermonger! Like the many characters he killed, revived and killed again, he has transcended mortality to become a shaper of worlds! And these are but a few of his countless victims!" Among them, one J'Onn J'Onzz.

Ambush Bug dismissed these warning and teleported away. "...and this guy never shuts up! Blah! Blah! Blah!" Yet, when the Bug returned home, he learned his wife Dumb Bunny held a lengthy phone conversation with Didio about how much he liked Ambush. The Bug realized this truly wasn't the Didio he knew, but not before Go-Go Chex and Saki Toomi had been murdered, with Dumb Bunny likely Dan's next victim!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1996 Dusty Abell Group Pin-Up

This illustration from Martian Manhunter Special #1 features a number of iconic DC super-heroes without a Batman or Superman family member in sight, for which I am grateful. I'm fond of Abell's unique style, but I understand that his quirks may turn some people off. For instance, beyond giving us a rather awkward Aquaman butt shot, he compounds the issue by giving him light colored shorts that turned out orange. Still, the Sea King is among my favorite characters, along with Wonder Woman and the Ray Palmer Atom. I also have love for Hawkman, though the less said about the Wally West Flash and Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the better. I also dig that J'Onn J'Onzz has the beloved DC bullet behind him, which I've been missing for years now. Stupid Didio Tidy Bowl swirl...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wonder Woman #8 (9/1987)

From the journal of Professor Julia Kapatelis:

...the self-styled savior of the Human Race, that fanatical Psychologist who called himself G. Gordon Godfrey, began his nationwide campaign to outlaw all of America's so-called "super-heroes."

...After weeks of self-imposed silence, the Amazon Princess known to our world as "Wonder Woman" decided the time had finally come for her to fight for her unalienable rights.

...Finally though, G. Gordon Godfrey met his inevitable downfall...

Suddenly, Diana found herself standing among many of the other costumed heroes who had suffered because of Godfrey's madness, other super-powerful being such as she. Now, for the first time, it seemed as if Diana might finally find some sense of belonging in Man's World. But, despite their warm welcome, Diana fled this company of heroes even as she was invited to join the newly re-formed Justice League.

Later, I asked Diana why she had refused such an incredible invitation. She told me she did not believe the point of her mission to Man's World was to become a costumed crimefighter. That, she said, implied violence condoned by society in the name of order...

However, from that day forward, Diana was constantly discussing these unique beings. The Black Canary was the first female crimefighter the Princess had ever seen. On Paradise Island, Diana said, the Canary would have been hailed as a great gladiator. Then there was J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, the proud, emerald-skinned alien from that bright red planet named for a god who was Ares in all but name. Diana found the irony most amusing. And of course, Diana was fascinated by the militarily named Captain Marvel, whose own power were supposedly derived from the gods of various pantheons...

Most interesting was the strange silence that would come over Diana whenever I mentioned Superman. She would not talk about him -- as if some unspoken secret existed between them...

Friday, April 10, 2009

JLA/Haven: Arrival (2001)

"Lamont, California. Population: 12,412. 2:43 A.M." The tip of a space-faring vessel the size of a major metropolis began its crash landing on Earth. "Adjusted Population: Zero." The situation was little better aboard the vessel itself, as buildings crumbled, and its heroes were crushed in its wake.

En route to the scene, the Flash telepathically asked Manhunter how something so massive could come out of nowhere with no one wise to it. "Evidently it dropped out of warp space just before it entered Earth's atmosphere." Wally West snorted "What-ever... Are we some kind of interstellar tourist trap?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"Well, you would know."

Martian Manhunter confirmed the evacuation of the nearby Wasco (15,031 strong) by Flash and a pair of alien heroes. After a failed attempt to steal all the speed from the collapsing star-craft, Flash was rescued by another hero of this extraterrestrial Broken City, though not without personal cost to the being.

At The Pentagon, President Lex Luthor received a debriefing from General Norville. "Our observation of the ship since it began its crash reveals a city-like structure within. We estimate the on-board casualties in the hundreds of thousands." In a fun twist, the older white male butch general argued for helping the aliens, while a lean bespectacled black woman named Nicole Stein pushed to nuke the ship.
"This is obviously a planned invasion gone wrong..."
"Invasion? What kind of invasion fleet has children involved in it?"
"The long-term kind... We know absolutely nothing about these aliens. Better safe than sorry."
"My God, you're cold-hearted, Stein! There are babies on board!"
"Since when has that stopped us?"
Luthor choose to offer humanitarian aid through Norville's troops, but reassigned Stein to the post of Ambassador to Extraterrestrial Interests. "Congratulations."

Martian Manhunter carried a Plastic Man "basket" full of human citizens escaping more towns in the collapsing space-city's path, later morphing his own arms into tentacle-like forms to catch falling debris. In the midst of this process, Manhunter contacted Green Lantern Kyle Rayner to learn the status of his attempts at saving faltering buildings. Rayner was hampered by a massive sinkhole opening up, until he was aided by a trio of new alien super-heroes. "You three are going to need costumes, a secret clubhouse, and code names. For your information, Green Lantern is taken. J'Onn?"
"Kyle, where are you?"
"Almost there. Tell me, have you noticed anything a little strange about the crash victims? Like they can control energy and reality and stuff?"

By this point, J'Onzz had mentally contacted the military, learning they had evacuated yet another town themselves. Superman queried, "Any luck in communicating with our visitors?" Manhunter replied, "None. The language is foreign, even to me. I am feeling their fear and panic, though... If we can contact some of the authorities on the ship, perhaps we can develop a course of action." Wonder Woman asked, "J'Onn, can your telepathy do anything about understanding these people?" Picturing a pale-skinned, heavily pierced alien woman with pink "Bozo the Clown" hair, he answered, "Possibly. I may be able to learn their language easily-- but I need someone who can give me that information quickly... another telepath. I have felt an extremely open mind on the ship, someone who shares my talents... I shall try to guide them to us." Manhunter located this woman, and found her to be a telekinetic, as well. They paired off to save innocents from falling rubble.

The scientist most responsible for the Broken City's continued survival was the green-skinned and tattooed Siv. Through his cybernetic eyes and energy emitting nanites, he managed to activate reverse boosters before the city-ship fell into the sea. The task wasn't quite accomplished, so the boosters were aided by Superman and Wonder Woman pushing the ship from one side, and Green Lantern with Valadin (a bald Caucasoid with purple tattoos across his eyes and head) on the other. The final nudge that kept the Haven on dry land was buttressing an end against the Coast City Memorial. Alien criminals escaped confinement during the disaster, and upon finding Valadin seemingly vulnerable, a band of them demanded of the JLA in their foreign tongue "Back off, weirdos... this hero's ours!"

By Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus & Matthew P. Schuster with art by Ariel Olivetti.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Green Lantern #81 (12/1996)

For those coming in late, Coast City, home of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, was destroyed by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw. After apprehending Mongul, Jordan appeared to go mad, slaughtered the Green Lantern Corps, and became the villainous Parallax. After a variety of cosmic mischief, Jordan gave his life to reignite the sun during Final Night.

The Manhunter from Mars sat next to Aquaman at the service, with the rest of the third row pew empty, except for Wonder Woman at the far end. Why the pair were so isolated was not explained. Superman and his family were seated in the next row up, while Flash's fellow speedsters were a row back. From there, seats were filled by intermingled Justice League teams and random heroes, including the Task Force. Speakers at the service included Superman, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Black Canary, Flash (Wally West), Carol Ferris and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.

Later, outdoors, Green Lantern Alan Scott offered some words and an emerald eternal flame on the Coast City Memorial. Swamp Thing reintroduced vegetation to the desolate land. Martian Manhunter joined other heroes in flying over the new Eden. J'Onn J'Onzz landed to get a look at the Hal Jordan statue created by Kyle Rayner, but only from the furthest reaches of the crowd.

"Funeral For A Hero" was by Ron Marz, Darryl Banks and Romeo Tanghal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

DC Challenge #4 (2/1986)

Aquaman: In the Sahara Desert, the Sea King was surrounded by pointy-eared aliens. "We will indeed end the 'menace,' Aquaman-- and you will be one of the most important tools we shall use! ...Just as we took knowledge of the JLA from your mind to 'borrow' their shapes-- we used your signaler to call your comrades! There are several among them who can be important pawns in our game-- for they are traitors to our cause! ...Some of your comrades are no more 'people' than I am, Aquaman! Your purpose is concluded, human. You are now irrelevant, and may prepare to cease existence."

Martian Manhunter: "Whoever you are, you can't kill a Justice Leaguer that easily!" The Alien Atlas flew into the aliens line of fire, shielding Aquaman with his own body.

Zatanna: Teleported with Martian Manhunter. "You didn't think we'd ignore our leader's summons, did you, cutie? Besides, I haven't been to Egypt for years, and the sight-seeing's great!" Zee tried to apply her sorcery to the aliens, but it wouldn't work. "The power of magic is no longer so great, woman-- and soon will be gone entirely!"

Martian Manhunter: Screamed "AYEEEIIIII!" when confined in an energy cage projected from an alien's ray gun. Spirited away through a portal in the sky with the other extraterrestrials. "We will let you live to ponder that knowledge-- for we have the traitor now-- and although your powers may be sufficient to allow you to survive, you are, as we said, irrelevant. Hardly worth bothering to kill."

Aquaman & Zatanna: "Huh???" Left to die in the desert, again.

Martian Manhunter: The aliens conquered New York, and took captive J'Onn J'Onzz, Supergirl, Superman, Starfire and Jemm: Son of Saturn, who were tied to poles for a public execution. "The independence of this planet has ended! You are now to be a part of the Greater Galaxies-- and these aliens who have lived among you shall be the first to feel our justice! For having dared fraternize with you-- for pretending to live among you in peace-- these traitors shall die!"

"Atomic Nights" was by Paul Levitz, Gil Kane and Klaus Janson.

Return to DC Challenge #3 (1/1986)

Continue to DC Challenge #5 (2/1986)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Justice League of America #100 (8/1972)

Original comic book panel digitally altered and expanded for this presentation.

As a who's who of the Silver Age DC Universe's premier heroes prepared for the Justice League's celebration of their 100th meeting as a team, "countless light-years away, there stands a man who will miss the meeting..." Founding member J'onn J'onzz was regretfully unable to attend. "I'd give almost anything to be with my Earth-Friends on this day of days-- but there are more important things for me to do here! The Martian Manhunter has to rebuild a world!" After all, the Alien Atlas had just been reunited with his fellow Martians in exile two months earlier, after their planet of origin was rendered uninhabited three years previous by the genocidal Commander Blanx.

"The Unknown Soldier of Victory!" was by Len Wein, Dick Dillin & Joe Giella.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Detective Comics #276 (2/1960)

"Late one afternoon as the Graybar Bank* prepares to close for the day," it was robbed as part of a spree by "Big Boy" Benson and his mob. Detective John Jones happened by as the hoods raced off in their getaway car, so the "famed lawman" ducked into an alley to undergo a startling transformation. "Moving at a speed that makes him invisible, the Sleuth From Space pursues the crime car to the outskirts." The Martian Manhunter picked up their automobile and shook the crooks out, but "Big Boy" wasn't among them. "Abruptly, J'onn J'onzz falters, looks dazed..." The Alien Amnesiac left the thugs clueless, until a news report over the car's radio announced, "Scientists report a sudden cosmic cloud passing between Mars and Earth! The effects are yet to be determined!" The goons put two and two together, and come up with a crime spree, "as long as it lasts!"

The mob convinced the Martian Marvel they had saved his life when he first landed on Earth, "and in gratitude you joined up with us!" J'onn a thief? Impossible, J'onzz thought, until he saw the loot he'd supposedly helped steal in their car with his super-vision. The robbers were pleased as punch at pulling the wool over, and planned to tell "Big Boy" in their "usual secret way."

Not long after, the racketeers sought help hijacking a mint in new currency from a moving train. "Any ideas, J'onzz?" Twisting the train tracks ahead into a nearby forest, to loot the train in privacy! "Wowie! Wait'll 'Big Boy' hears about how we broke into this steel car!" J'onzz asked who "Big Boy" was. "The big boss! Too bad we can't take you to his hideout, pal! He wants it kept secret!" The scoundrels were set on exploiting the Martian for as long as possible, including conning him into revealing his secret Earth identity for a photograph. "When he's normal again, every gang in the country will be on guard against him!" As an aside, J'onzz also seemed to forget his weakness in the presence of fire, as he breathed in second hand smoke from a cigar and cigarette during a car ride.

The rogues flew the criminal J'onn J'onzz atop a biplane to steal millions in diamonds off an ocean liner. Using super-breath, the Alien Atlas sent the massive ship airborne, then began flying with the whole thing in his arms. The only place to stash an unexpected haul that huge was "Big Boy's" hideout, so off they went. "Big Boy" Benson was surprised by this spectacle as he lounged on a patio, listening to music on the radio. "Well-- it's about time I met the newest member of the gang!" Not so fast... as the Martian Manhunter asserted "it was only a matter of time before I captured you!" Just then, the radio broadcast an update on the cosmic cloud's passing "without having had any effect." One of the stickup artists drew on J'onzz, "but Martian fists, flashing at super-sonic speed, make short work of the opposition."

"Later, at police headquarters," Captain Harding congratulated the Martian Manhunter on outfoxing the gang. "Big Boy" Benson protested, "You forget-- we photographed your Martian in his Earth guise! He won't be much use to the law after we make copies from the negative we hid!" However, their photo was of a chubby-faced amiable fellow that shared few of John Jones' features. "If I had amnesia, how could I remember the exact Earth guise I'd chosen?" A confused Benson thought, "Hmm... I still can't make up my mind if he really had amnesia-- or if he was just bluffing so he could find out where my hideout was?"

“The Crimes of J'onn J'onzz” was by Jack Miller and Joe Certa.

(*Graybar Bank? As in "graybar hotel?" Or GraybaR Electric? "I wanna spend all your money, at the Graybar?")

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Detective Comics #273 (November, 1959)

"Gasps of astonishment go up," as city citizens gazed upon an unearthly missile overhead. "The strange craft lands in a nearby park," from which a jaundiced extraterrestrial exited. A crowd gathered nearby, taking cover behind a statue. "Is he friendly-- or dangerous? Approach him carefully!" Caution proved the better part of valor, as the yellow-skinned Martian drew a ray gun that vaporized the statue with one shot. "Out of my way, Earth people!" As the humans evacuated the scene, B'rett thought to himself, "Ha, ha... Look at them flee! With my Martian powers, I'll become the most powerful man on Earth!"

"Immediately, the alien newcomer begins his reign of crime..." Recognizing Earth people stored their money in banks, B'rett used "one of my Martian talents" to pass immaterially through a vault wall to help himself. Confronted by armed guards, he chided, "Guns? You think you can stop me with your puny guns? Come to think of it, who needs money? I can take anything I want from you helpless Earthlings!"

Minutes later, Captain Harding summoned ace Detective John Jones to his office. "Jones... Hundreds of calls are pouring in about an alien on Earth!" Jones promised to look into it, while wondering "what the chief would say if he knew that I'm an alien... Still, I doubt there's actually another outer-spaceman on Earth!" However, Detective Jones soon found himself in a crowd watching B'rett plow through heavy traffic with his super-breath. "Great Suns-- It's true!" The super-sleuth noticed B'rett was warning people not to follow him, rather than simply turning invisible, "as any Martian can do." Only through his Martian Eyesight could Jones follow the evil alien's sudden burst of speed, leading to an abandoned warehouse. Jones followed B'rett into the warehouse before undergoing his "startling change" into J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars. B'rett exclaimed "Thundering Meteors-- another Martian! How did you get here?" J'onzz played it tough, demanding "Suppose you first tell me who you are-- and how you got here?"

"My name is B'rett! I-- er-- had to leave Mars in a hurry... so I hid myself in an experimental missile that overshot its mark-- and accidentally landed on Earth!" The Martian Manhunter wasn't buying it. "A criminal, eh? Well-- I'm returning you to your missile!" B'rett was no more interested in J'onn's line, and drew his Martian ray gun. "I may be invulnerable to Earth weapons-- but that gadget can finish me for good!" The Alien Atlas turned himself invisible as the Martian Criminal used up his gun's battery firing blind. B'rett had "plenty more" batteries at the missile. "Meanwhile, I've got another weapon I can use against you!" The Martian Marvel was shocked at the sight of "A pellet of Formula Z6-- the chemical given to Martian criminals to rob them of their super-powers while invisible! No wonder you never vanish!" J'onn J'onzz collapsed from exposure to the gas, though he remained obscured. "Exactly... and from now on, you will never be able to use your Martian powers while invisible, either!"

B'rett had escaped to his missile by the time J'onzz regained consciousness and resumed the chase. As B'rett exited the craft with his re-charged ray gun, he was met by three police officers in over their heads. "I can't use my powers to save them, unless I become visible-- and give away my presence on Earth! ...I have no choice..." The police were rattled by the sudden appearance of two Martians, but the Sleuth from Outer Space assured, "...have no fear of me! I am on Earth to fight crime!" B'rett dismissed, "BAH! ...Take one more step, Manhunter, and I'll start blasting!" J'onzz knew "he means it," and used his Martian Distance Vision to detect a man burning leaves miles away. The Manhunter filled his Martian lungs, then let loose a mighty blast that drew in the burning leaves and encircled B'rett. "Fire-- the one Martian weakness! I-- I'm losing all my strength! Oh-h-h!" J'onzz announced, "Now's your chance, officers... Grab him! I don't dare come any closer to that fire!"

"Helpless, the evil Martian is placed back in his missile-- and soon after, at a nearby rocket launching base," he was shot into orbit around Mars at the Manhunter's request, "So the Martians will then be able to send up a ship and bring it down." Just after liftoff, the familiar voice of Captain Harding greeted the once-Secret Visitor from Mars. As he shook J'onzz's hand, Harding considered, "Imagine... a Martian Manhunter, here on Earth! Would I love to have you on the force!" Though he was intent on continuing to keep his Earth identity secret from even the chief, J'onzz promised "I will always be available for emergencies." Later at headquarters, Harding continued to brag to "Jones-- until today, you were the top detective in town... but from now on, you'll have to take second place to the Manhunter from Mars!"

“The Unmasking of J'onn J'onzz” by Jack Miller and Joe Certa.

Friday, April 3, 2009

1994 Skybox Superman: Man of Steel Platinum Series Card #40

Living Legends!

Superman and the other legendary heroes of Earth joined in resisting Darkseid's insidious plot to turn Earth's inhabitants against them. Together, they thwarted Darkseid's minions and restored humanity's faith in her heroes.

Painted By: Joe Phillips

Sorry the textured silver foil border didn't scan, as it's pretty ginchy. Pictured above is the Justice League that came out of the 1987 Legends mini-series, meaning the one that lasted less than a year. Let's see, there's the Wally West Flash (just upgraded from Kid Flash, but wouldn't join until "JL Europe" a couple years later,) Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Black Canary (soon to lose her powers, membership, and that awful '80s costume,) J'Onn J'Onzz, Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson, soon to die and, by extension, desert,) Batman (reduced status after #7,) Wonder Woman (new incarnation, and a member of JLE for exactly one issue, not to really join until 1993) Captain Marvel (out after six months,) Blue Beetle and Superman (joined 1992.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

1984 Kenner Super Powers Collection Martian Manhunter Commercial

I saw a post at Shag's Firestorm Fan blog the other day spotlighting a Super Powers Action Figures TV Commercial. It featured what for all I know may be the first (very crudely) animated appearance of our Martian Manhunter, so I went surfing YouTube to see if I could find a video with a more substantial showing. Lo and behold, here's the ad for the first Martian Manhunter action figure, introduced alongside Dr. Fate and Green Arrow. I remember seeing this as a kid, so it was likely the first time I was ever exposed to the Martian Manhunter. An alternative would be the house ad for 1984's Justice League of America #230 featuring the glorious art of Chuck Patton as J'Onn J'Onzz and The Marshal of the Red Brotherhood pounded one another. Either way, 1984 was a big year for the Alien Atlas in my book, and I actually owned most of the figures in this ad, so marketing works! By the way, the only thing better than Manhunter standing front and center behind Superman (who I got in a bad trade) in the cartoon is watching Brainiac (who eluded me) kick Kryptonian butt in an ad pimping the J'Onzz!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bloodwynd Mini-Series Announced!

Comic Book Resources has announced a Bloodwynd mini-series featuring art by Bart Sears. The book will tie into the "Blackest Night" event, and will extensively feature Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter related characters. Writer Christopher Priest was interviewed:

Priest describes his joining the "Bloodwynd" team as serendipity. "I'd more or less wandered off from comics for awhile. The email account used for comics publishers wasn't checked much at all," the writer said. "Last fall, I was doing some reorganizing of my PCs and realized I needed to clear email sent to the comics-related address, and down came, um, 24,000 emails. Not kidding. Most were junk mail, mail list type of things, but among them were quite a few from editors and friends in the business, including some offers I missed out on... My last big writing project was 'Green Lantern: Sleepers' Book Three for iBooks/Simon & Schuster. It kind of ruined me for comics because it was immensely freeing. It was so much fun, and so much work (for so little pay), but it allowed me to discover things about myself and my writing, and to fall in love with writing again. So, I hadn't been that anxious to write comics again. But there, in all of that email, was an offer to write more stories in the Martian Manhunter universe. That was the first thing that caught my attention."

It's been a number of years since "Captain America and the Falcon," Priest's last monthly comic, and the "Bloodwynd" mini-series represents a return to the format.

"'Captain America and the Falcon' was a godsend in that, at least Marvel had confidence in me to write a major character. It had been years since I'd been allowed to write even a second-tier character. Usually, when my phone rings it's like, 'Hey, you wanna write Black Gladiator!?' After the first year, however, Cap was moved back into the Marvel U (from Marvel Knights), but we weren't given the slot, and our book suddenly became redundant. Marvel opted to move Cap out and make it 'The Falcon,' and, for me, that was a vote of no confidence. I mean, I understood the logic, and I was pleased that Marvel liked my bad-boy take on Falc, but I felt like I was being ordered back to the ghetto... I was tired. I was worn out... Over at DC, I was being offered all the black characters I wanted to write, but the door to 'Batman' remained shut. So I counted on my fingers and said it's time to do something else. The Green Lantern novel was glorious. It was therapeutic. It absolutely ruined me in a way. I remember calling Paul Kupperberg and saying, 'Look, Paul, if thus-and-so happens in this book, Superman is bound to stick his nose in it,' and Paul said, 'So? Write him in.' In novels, the usual office politics don't apply: you're not bound by what's going on down the hall this week or this month, and the name game-that personality crap-is nonexistent. I was able to write stories and not worry about all of that. And I just fell in love with it."

Geoff Johns had read the Green Lantern novels, and as his plans for Dark Lantern Martian Manhunter progressed, he was reminded that Priest had also done fantastic work on J'Onn J'Onzz in the series "Justice League Task Force."

"When [Green Lantern Editor] Eddie Berganza first offered me 'Bloodwynd,' it felt like I'd been downgraded from Name Black Hero Writer to the off-brand variety. It actually wounded my ego at first. Then Eddie laid out the framework for 'Blackest Night," and we began to work out a pivotal role for this forgotten leftover that really supported what Geoff and [Green Lantern Corps writer] Peter Tomasi were doing in the main books. Bloodwynd has always had these vague ties to the Martian Manhunter, but wasn't much developed on his own. Coupled with his necromantic powers, Bloodwynd was a perfect fit for the crossover, and pretty much a blank slate for me to play with as a character. Plus, Dan Didio has been working hard to diversify DC, and assures me there's a place for me here for some time to come. For once, I have the full support of my publisher and editor, and access to all the best toys. "

When pressed about what that future might hold, Priest declined to go into much detail. "I'll be working on another series for Eddie after 'Blackest Night. That's all I can say, except so far it's good to be back."

BLOODWYND #1 begins a 4-issue mini-series on sale July 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

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