Sunday, February 28, 2010

Which Martian Manhunter Villains Do You Have The Most Middling Interest In?

Getting back to our analysis of the January I-HoD poll which asked "Which Martian Manhunter Villains would you like to read about here? Check all that apply," we've arrived at the middle. With a poll like this, there's a tendency to assume respondents will either cherry-pick their very favorites, or click nearly every button in a show of their fascination with all things Manhunter from Mars. I followed this poll closely throughout its duration, and I'm confident neither happened. While there were clear favorites early on, the randomness of individual selections made it obvious thought went into each choice made by an individual, even if it just came down to a really cool name for an unfamiliar character. I thank you all for your delightful consideration.

That being said, the following are characters that had a reasonable overlap among respondents, but still represent a marginal overall interest among this blog's vocal readership. Every single character offered as a selection received some votes, and these did better than the worst, but not as good as the best. That equates to an 18% positive response, or exactly one more vote each than the five allotted to the 15%-garnered from the last round.

Alex Dunster

A scientist from Detective Comics #228 who was clearly smarter than J'onn, as he managed to get Professor Erdel's teleportation device to work for his wicked purposes. A shame he never appeared again.

Bloodworms of Mars
These guys rated two Wiki-type entries, one detailed at Wikia, the other brief with terrible picture at Angelfire? Oooookay.

Cosmic Creature
In Detective Comics #321, a shapeshifting beast burst out of a space capsule buried underneath Manhunter & Zook's secret mountain hideout. Random.


The wizard who created and named the infamous Idol-Head, though Diabolu himself only appeared in House of Mystery #158. Aside from synopsizing that issue, he's got a VM listing already, so not much left to do.

The Diabolu Idol-Head

Even though it plagued Manhunter for a couple of years, I can't see giving the Idol-Head of Diabolu its own VM listing. It isn't as though it had an intelligence of its own.

Doctor Light

I never felt comfortable with this guy as a Martian Manhunter foe, since they only seemed to only be tied together because Gardner Fox couldn't find a decent Jack Miller Manhunter from Mars foe for his Justice League of America scripts. Mark Waid played with the loose relation in a retcon story, but what really rates Arthur Light is his involvement in J'Onn's murder, along with Effigy and Libra. Dr. Light is really very dead now, so nothing more seems likely to come of it.


Probably still doesn't sit well that I added this Superman villain to the Vile Menagerie, but if J'Onn must constantly be a jobber for the Man of Steel, he's earned that partial ownership.

Duffy, Serial Cop Killer
Okay, you guys don't seriously care about this random nutjob from Showcase '96 #9, do you? He would make for an easy VM entry.


He helped Dr. Light keep Martian Manhunter captive before Libra speared him, making him an accessory in the murder. Regardless of his being perfect to battle J'Onn because of his fire-based powers, he's dead and a fairly committed Green Lantern Kyle Rayner foe.

Another shot at creating an evil Martian Manhunter, but mostly just another sadistic villain with little real personality, and presumably dead now.

The Human Squirrel
A second story man who went straight, the Human Squirrel was later caught in a scheme to trap him into returning to a life of crime. This was by means of a second grown man dressing in a giant squirrel suit to make the first look guilty. Does that mean I'll need entries for both Human Squirrel I and Human Squirrel II?

The Hyperclan

I don't quite understand why these guys weren't bigger. Sure, they were '90s goofy, but they're almost nostalgic in representing the Chromium Age. In theory, evil Martians could have gotten loose and formed a legion of Hyperclans, but instead they got owned by Batman one time and dismissed. Instead of returning in distinct costumes with various strengths in power, their reappearance was as a bunch of homogenic White Martians (with only about two still identified as individuals.) I actually quite like these guys, and they should have turned up in the Martian Manhunter solo series, at least. I've been sitting on partially written individual listings, but between the overlap of information and mild interest from you folks, I expect they'll stay in their queue.

Invaders From the Space Warp
Alien crooks who each looked like a red-skinned Ric Ocasek, and were indirectly responsible for bringing Zook to our dimension in 'Tec #311


There's not a lot of ambiguity with Lobo. You're either in the minority that like him, or you absolutely despise him. I assume this is a combination of overexposure in the '90s and his being directly opposed to the aesthetic of DC Comics. Personally, I love him in small doses, and I think he works better when paired off with someone like Martian Manhunter than Superman. J'Onn is more geared for satirical humor, and he's a far better straight man, plus J'Onn allows leeway for the (im)mature themes Lobo requites access to. Superman always ran with a silly cartoonish version of Lobo, but imagine a Manhunter story playing up the carnage, with J'Onn hearing the mental screams of the Main Man's victims and placed in a situation where his powers alone won't bring a resolution.

The Magician-Thief Who Had Super Powers

I could have sworn I made a VM entry for him already. This was the first super-powered villain to appear in a Manhunter story, as well as the first Martian besides J'onn J'onzz himself. I even used him in my two-part anniversary fan fiction, the "1984 Manhunter from Mars Annual #1" parts one and two. How'd I miss that?

Mr. Moth

A silly character whose sole appearance has been covered and who already has a VM entry. We need never speak of him again.

Monty Moran: The Getaway King / Getaway Mastermind

Moran has a rare double distinction: A Manhunter from Mars villain who appeared more than once and showed up in an anti-Justice League of America group. I suspect this was because he was the closest approximation to a super-villain to appear in recent memory contemporaneous with the JLofA story, and not because Moran was especially appealing. A shame.

“The Man of 1,000 Disguises” from Detective Comics #315 who was largely defeated by Zook. So, he's a Zook-caliber threat. A'yup. On the bright side, this ginger stage act could meet Mysterio and the Chameleon halfway, which puts him in a decent power range.

A not-terrible Jovian criminal in execution, but his porcine appearance and terrible fashion sense ruin him for modern use. Unseen since 1959.

Saturninan Criminal
Powerwise, probably the best non-Martian match of the Silver Age. This red-skinned, bushy browed criminal had superhuman strength, acute vision, shapeshifting ability, and some ill-defined energy/telepathic projection. Definitely worth revisiting.

A witch who resurrected the mafia's dead as her foot soldiers in a gang war. Appeared in one comic that I'm aware of to face the Martian Manhunter and the Spectre, an impressive duo. As far as I know, she's unrelated to the Shadowpact foe, though they're both red-heads.

Vulkor, the Capsule Master

Another evil Martian, this time an inventor, who fought J'Onn and Green Arrow in their first team-up. Vulkor has personality, and was one of the few decent Silver Age entries into the Vile Menagerie.

Weapons Master

You were expecting the Silver Age JLofA's Xotar? Nope, this is the '90s version, a mercenary in battle armor who could teleport an arsenal into his hands, or use that ability to make a hasty escape. Weapons Master was also more of a J.L.A. foe, but was specifically aligned against Bloodwynd (and by extension, J'Onn J'Onzz.)


LissBirds said...

"Does that mean I'll need entries for both Human Squirrel I and Human Squirrel II?"

By all means, yes.

LissBirds said...

I forgot about Dunster!! I just browsed through that issue and remembered how much I liked it. A really important moment in J'onn's character development, too, since he chooses to stay on Earth and catch the crook rather than go home, and the art really rocked in that issue, too. I loved those early issues. Sigh. The good ol' days...

Diabolu Frank said...

You single out Human Squirrel and Alex Dunster? How can you not like Grant Morrison?

LissBirds said...

Bwahaha. Maybe it's one of those instances where someone's too similar to me that they annoy me.

Plus I'm on a Silver Age kick lately.

Tom said...

Somebody besides me actually voted for Mr. Moth.

mathematicscore said...

Dunster would be fun to see pop up again, because he's so normal.

The Bloodworms are pretty cool, and I rather liked J'onn's use of his powers in dealing with them. That said, I'd monkey with their origin a lot. It seems like Mars only had one epoch, even when they were talking about the distant past. Ah, well.

Diabolu is actually kind of awesome, and would be fun, at least in passing. Is this J'onn's only magical foe?

Dr Light is more the Atom's sparring partner, isn't he?

As I've said before, I like Doomsday, and a solid ass kicking should be handed out to him sooner than later by the Alien Atlas.

I still haven't read that Showcase. Gotta do that.

Effigy is pretty cool, but I'm ignorant of Kyle's solo adventures, so beyond the obvious...

Fernus....You know in light of the events of Blackest Night #7, the whole Guardians warring with and then genetically engineering the Martians takes on some interesting connotations. I don't totally approve of Johns' making earth the source of life, but I could work with it.

Human Squirrel. He and Mister Moth have that cool Silver Age Bat villain thing going on. I can dig it.

Hyperclan as individuals were ruined by the reveal, but I agree that their loss of individuality in subsequent appearances was a bad(and lazy) move.'s funny how many of "Alien" villains in the silver age were defined by colored skin, and how many I have no idea about because I've only read the showcase volumes.

Monty Moran has potential, mostly because of his awesome facial hair.

Weapons Master...what a loser.

Diabolu Frank said...

M.C., Strega and Malador also come to mind as Martian Manhunter mystical menaces.

I always took Dr. Light as a team villain in decline. Starts out solo against the JLA, then as part of a group. Drops to the New Teen Titans solo, then with help. Much later the Teen Titans, and finally as part of the collective that killed a one man JLA. I figure the point is moot now, though.

I actually like Weapons Master. He is to the Chromium Age as Human Squirrel is to the Silver.