Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 Brightest Day #6 cover by Dave Finch

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There weren't any Martian Manhunter fan sites when I first got onto a friend's internet in the late '90s, and about two were around when I started a third of my own. I believe the oldest was the Angelfire J'ONN J'ONZZ The Martian Manhunter FAN PAGE, which hasn't changed in over a decade. I'm amazed by how much the character has penetrated the public consciousness in that short time, going from a total of one multi-second animated appearance in a 1984 Kenner Super Powers Collection Martian Manhunter Commercial to turning up on something like four different cartoon series/specials (one as a regular,) a reoccurring live action role in a popular TV series, and even as a playable character in some video games.

It looks like another barrier is about to be broken: a solo Martian Manhunter variant cover! According to the DC Source blog, we'll get an eyeful of this baby next month, and I think its pretty solid (although I can't tell for sure if that's Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz in the background without his headband.)

The Atom managed to beat J'Onn to the punch last year, and even scored an earlier Brightest Day variant. However, I only really came to realize in about that same time frame that the Atom is no longer anywhere near as well known or respected as the Martian Manhunter. Growing up, Ray Palmer was a familiar face from the Satellite era Justice League and a cartoon fixture in the '60s and '70s, but aside from reruns in the '80s, it seems like the Atom has descended into the bowels of obscurity J'Onn J'Onzz spent those years ascending out of. I bet Ray regrets snubbing Justice League International repeatedly, especially once he landed on the worst Teen Titans grouping ever. Poor little dude.

My point is, not only is it awesome J'Onn is finally a variant cover caliber super-hero, but it might be worth giving consideration to how many former greats he's climbed over on his way to somewhere several levels from the top, but still rather high up!

UPDATE: Oh yeah-- I forgot that it was Ivan Reis doing the variant covers, and this was the standard. D'oh!


LissBirds said...

Oooooooooooh....pretty. (Though the skull looks a tad like the skull from Temple of Doom.) Based on the collar, I'd hazard a guess that that is Black Lantern J'onn J'onzz. I wonder how much this variant will be.

"it seems like the Atom has descended into the bowels of obscurity J'Onn J'Onzz spent those years ascending out of." Interesting. I would've thought that the Atom would have a higher profile. Now I'm going to have to test this out on my non-comics-reading best friend. (But she does watch Smallville....) Hmm.

mathematicscore said...

The biggest appeal for me is his place as the the most interesting of the Supermen. I think we've reached a synthesis of nostalgia for both of J'onn's heydays and a return to more old school heroics.

Speaking of video games, have you played Justice League Heroes? I bought it a few months ago and played the crap out of it since J'onn has a big part in it. I also liked the story for what it was... I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Diabolu Frank said...

I occasionally play with my girlfriend's new Wii, but otherwise, I've been done with the video game scene since Resident Evil: Code Veronica. I've never played a JL game outside Task Force on the SNES. Dwayne McDuffie wrote Heroes as I recall.

mathematicscore said...

He did. The game play is all of twelve hours, so it goes pretty quick. It's not as addicting as Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but the story is much more immersive, and the forced character choices on most levels keep things well rounded. If I ever get Vengeance of Banality started I'll probably review it.

Diabolu Frank said...

OR you could throw in at DC Bloodlines...

Do the unlocked characters have any impact on the story (beyond whatever contributions they had initially?)

mathematicscore said...

Nope. Although they do have unique voices for the most part. Basically. it follows a linear path with a few more open ended missions, at least when it comes to who appears in the cut-scenes.