Sunday, July 25, 2010

Martian Manhunter at SDCC 2010

I first got into the internet late last century, and have followed industry news fairly closely since the early '90s. Off the top of my head, this past San Diego Comic Convention was the least interesting in terms of "Big Two" news over that expanse of time. Maybe it's just the internet has killed the need for or thrill of a colossal summer announcement bomb. There wasn't much of anything regarding publishing plans that hasn't been known for a while, often directly from the company's sites.

To my mind, the big news was the look at the upcoming Young Justice cartoon. I think it shows how desperately unhappy DC Entertainment was with Martian Manhunter's look that this is their second animated project in the One Year Later costume, which itself lasted little more than one year. I never minded the suit all that much, and his head is standard beetle-browed rather than Coneheadhunter, so no complaints from me. Curiously, Miss Martian also seems to wear a variation on that get-up in a few scenes.

J'Onn seems present in a detached mentor role, which is still a greater presence than he's had in M'gann M'orzz's life since her creation four years ago. Still, the Usurper himself, Red Tornado, seems to be the veteran hero most associated with the team. That's one of the few holdovers from the series Young Justice got its name from, though Peter David will be writing some episodes. J'Onn remains with the Justice League, which appears to consist of the DC Trinity plus Grell Green Arrow and the hairy Aquaman that lasted for a few early issues of David's '90s run.

In what little can be seen here, I already like Miss Martian better on the cartoon than in comics. I assume she won't be a crazy person there, and I like the emphasis on her telekinesis (a Martian power never mentioned but played up heavily in JLTF) and invisibility. I was afraid she would end up a green-skinned Supergirl, but this gives me hope for something much better. A freakin' love the animation style and character designs on display, which is tight and athletic without sacrificing the fluidity associated with DC 'toons. Also, Miss Martians has a promotional piece where she fights albino space monkeys over her "Sweet Sixteen" takes, which is a dream I wish I had.

On a Green Lantern panel, Joe Prado discussed the tricky route by which J'Onn J'Onzz got his new costume...
Prado said it was "very difficult" to design the visuals of "Brightest Day." "Do you remember how many versions of Martian Manhunter we went through? 17! That sounds like not so much, but it's 175 emails!" The boots were the biggest point of contention, along with debate about whether Martian Manhunter should have pants. On cue, a fan shouted, "A jacket!" referring to the current Wonder Woman redesign controversy.

I understand John Jones has made some appearances in Madame Xanadu. Well, that's canceled, so I'll raid the cheapie bins a few months from now for the details.

Self-sabotaging as usual, why not dilute the Martian Manhunter brand (such as it is) by bringing up those evil other guys in a Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters video game?

Shortly before the con, DC offered a new cryptic teaser spread for Brightest Day, a practice that needed some time for the stink to die down from Countdown to Final Crisis. It's a fine arts swipe with super-heroes shoehorned in that offers no more relevant information than can be gleaned from solicitations. Martian Manhunter is shown trying to burn down the Star City forest, which tells us A) He doesn't like J.T. Krul's writing either; B) They're maybe trying to get rid of the fire weakness again, which never works; C) He hated The Rise of Arsenal like everyone else, and is hoping to stop Titans: Villains For Hire at the tree; D) It's good to wear pants near flickering embers; -A) Unrelated, but they totally figured the impression of Black Manta helmet on the ridge was too subtle, so they went all "red eyes in the shadows"; E) We're never going to get one of these things where J'Onn is just eating cookies with milk on a cloudless day. Arson, back-stabbing, but no Chocos with Lian and Ted.

DC Universe Online offered a stunning short film to preview their upcoming RPG game, but I haven't seen anything remotely Martian Manhunter related in their announcements to date. Aquaman appears to be in the same boat, but at least Wonder Woman gets serious face time (and holy cow, Giganta?)


LissBirds said...

The design of the Young Justice series looks an awful lot like Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Justice League: Crisis on 2 Earths. I guess the person who designed the latter also did the character designs for Young Justice.

I was surprised to see the telekinesis! All I know of Martian telekinesis is from the store with the baseball game from the very early 'Tec run. Not sure I like the OYL costume on Miss Martian, but I don't really like that costume on anyone. But I'm glad to see J'onn's in the series. I hope it's good! Bearded Aquaman raises a red flag in my mind, though.

Where's the space monkeys clip? It sounds kinda Silver Age.

"Prado said it was "very difficult" to design the visuals of "Brightest Day."" Wow. Here's a thought, guys...just go back to the original? Problem solved! I wish I could run committees. There'd be no time wasted on my watch. And the streets would be clean and trains would run on time, too.

And a comics video game available on the Wii? Finally.

I'm guessing B.) for the teaser spread. That's what hit me first. Here we go trying to get rid of the fire weakness again...*sigh*

"Chocos with Lian and Ted." Aww, you guessed the title of my Martian Manhunter fan-fiction story. It was supposed to be a surprise.

I'm still debating whether DC Online is worth getting a PS3 for or not....(what's up with the armored suits on Flash and Batman, though? Boy, that's ugly.)

Diabolu Frank said...

Yeah, "Martian Mind-Over-Matter" was clearly telekinesis, and most fliers without clear means of propulsion likely possess a degree of it. Christopher Priest explained that J'Onn didn't fly so much as mentally push and pull himself off objects, which suits me fine.

There are no animated space monkeys, but each member of the team has a spotlight lithograph or somesuch hanging on the wall in the background of the interview. The camera grazes Miss Martian's "Sweet Sixteen" a few times.

I understand the desire to spiff up J'Onn's dud duds. I'm not against retaining a strong design, but the clothes have never fully matched the mettle of the Manhunter. It's super tough designing around J'Onn's skin and retaining essential elements.

The DCU Online flick takes place in a dystopic future, so I guess the ugly armor is the super-hero equivalent of metal hockey masks and spiked football padding.