Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martian Manhunter Menagerie March Madness: Round 1 Round-Up, Part 2

Mr. Moth vs. The Human Squirrel: Ever since Scipio's post lambasting Martian Manhunter's Rogues Gallery, I've worked under the impression that blog readers were enamored with the stupefying ridiculousness of the Human Squirrel. At one desperate early point, I was going to see if the magic of Marvel Comics' Squirrel Girl (who has defeated Dr. Doom, M.O.D.O.K., Deadpool, the Mandarin, Thanos, Terrax, Fin Fang Foom, Baron Mordo, Korvac and Ego the Living Planet) would carry over to a match against Gorilla Grodd. However, Squirrel Girl is a genuinely amusing character with a solid creative pedigree and a unique running joke that pokes fun at the entire Marvel Universe. The Human Squirrel is just a universe removed from being a '70s Spider-Man villain, too obscure to even rate Mort of the Month at Wizard Magazine. Factor in the identity confusion (The Trickster was only pretending to be the Human Squirrel in a frame-up) and Mr. Moth's being the more uniquely surreal of the two, and I can see why things went the way they did. (10-4)

Nemesus vs. King Zeus: I kind of doubt anybody really gives a rat's patootie about Nemesus, and I think he previously benefited from being the least boring of two options in my attempts at level field matches. I have my doubts about King Zeus, too, but at least he has something of a hook. I'd bet on him against Maxie Zeus at least. Maxie Priest would be more of a toss-up. (3-10)

B'rett vs. B'enn B'urnzz: 2010 had to be the best year B'rett's had in at least half a century. He was Andy Kuhn's first choice as a commission (before going with Dr. Trap because I didn't want a Natural Form Yellow Martian,) he got his own Custom Action Figure, and he was called as the Seventh Most Important Martian Manhunter Adversary. Of course, I was directly responsible for every bit of that, and both he and B'enn placed among the "Second Least Interesting" in last year's reader poll of villains, but shut up. That's right, you just shut up. I'm just glad B'rett beat an identical duplicate of J'onn J'onzz, but eeevil. B'rett is yellow and has a pistol. Completely different! (12-7)

Libra vs. Brimstone: I tend to see this as something of a referendum on Final Crisis. While the event has its defenders, I think a real malaise set in after Countdown and the inaccessible narrative. Libra didn't exactly come out as a fan favorite either, and the impersonal nature with which he dispatched the Martian Manhunter left a lot of readers cold. Meanwhile, Brimstone has been puttering around since the better regarded if time worn Legends, and fell victim to the Alien Atlas in one of his all time great pimp issues. Sometimes, it's better to lose well than to win badly. (5-10)

The Lizard Men vs. VULTURE: American Secrets strikes again, buoying fairly generic alien invaders through association with a superior story. Vulture as an organization wasn't too hot, but they were quite prominent in the Silver Age, and that was enough to eek out a victory. (8-10)

The Hyperclan vs. The Thythen: I talk about a curse hanging over the Bronze Age villains, but the silly looking Thythen were a nasty bunch that fared surprisingly well in this competition. I think perhaps there's some disappointment in the poor usage of the White Martians after "New World Order," as well. (11-7)

Vandal Savage vs. Diabolu the Wizard and his Idol-Head: In all serious, the Diabolu Idol-Head was a force to be reckoned with, and I expect that a sorcerer powerful enough to put it together could do serious damage to Vandal Savage. However, the wizard Diabolu was a pretty unappealing character, looking like he stepped out of a Chuck Jones cartoon. The immortal Vandal Savage is rather cunning, and I expect more went into his outliving Diabolu than a miraculous meteor. (13-6)

D'Kay vs. Bette Noir: This was a real litmus test for D'Kay D'Razz. She's coming off of an extended run of appearances in one of the top-selling comic books in the country after having been hyped as a hugely important new villainess and serving as the focus of several incentive cover variants. Bette Noir's debut sold half as well as D'Kay's final apperarance, and it's been about a decade since she turned up anywhere. However, you know how every new Wonder Woman writer expects to reinvent the wheel by creating the greatest adversary ever for the iconic heroine, but the only people who care are the faithful fans, who immediately recognize all the ways in which the villain is just like the last five new writer's attempts? Yeah, we've all seen D'Kay D'Razz before, and it doesn't seem like she won any hearts and minds, because she only took in a fifth of Bette's votes. D'Kay's greatest impact seems to have been in generating lopsided votes against herself. (3-14)

Darkseid vs. Mongul: This was much closer than I expected, but still didn't turn out the way that I would have hoped. Mongul vs. Despero could have been Sophie's Choice for some, but that would have left us with the dull as dishwater Darkseid vs. Doomday, which has already happened in the comics. Mongul put forth a valiant effort, but Darkseid edged out a lead that never quite went away. See, if Mongul would have fought Martian Manhunter during Brightest Day, everything could have turned out so much better for all concerned. (10-8)

Alex Dunster vs. Professor Arnold Hugo (Wizard of 1,000 Menaces): Alex Dunster was a solid enough early Martian Manhunter villain with the hook of using Professor Erdel's teleportation technology for crime, but to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't even been referenced anywhere in print since. Maybe in an old Amazing Heroes retrospective/index?  Meanwhile, the Wizard of a Thousand Menaces was the closest thing to a nemesis J'onn had before Mr. V was created, and he only survives Round 1 by the skin of his teeth. This does not bode well... (8-9)

I'll finally be separating the matches into four divisions, and here is the first half or Round 2:

Division I, Round 2

Reap What You Sow!

The Master Gardener




Jawless vs. Faceless

Doctor Trap


Mister V


Two Klutz Clans!

The Hyperclan (White Martians!)


Antares & the Clanetary System


Division II, Round 2

Tense Revival!

Asmodel (Corrupt Angel of the Bull Host)


Brimstone (Servant of Darkseid)


The Boldest Profession!

Professor Arnold Hugo (Wizard of 1,000 Menaces)


Professor Anthony Ivo (Amazing Inventor!)


Gods & Insects!

Mr. Moth


King Zeus


LissBirds said...

Darn it! My winning streak is over!

See, Mr. Moth just seems like too much of a Batman villain for me to be playing in J'onn's neighborhood. (Not to be confused with Killer Moth, but you get my drift.) Plus I just like squirrels. I gotta read up on this Squirrel Girl chick. American Secrets villains at all now? Vulture wins? I'm seeing the upside of this in that the Silver Age villains seem to have a pretty high profile, probably from your blogging efforts. I wonder how the Silver Age will do in the later rounds.

Prof. Hugo better step up his game!! That's way to close for comfort.

Diabolu Frank said...

The Master Gardener is still competing, even if an actual victory against Malefic is unlikely.

I have been repeatedly surprised by the results of these matches. Do people really like Alex Dunster that much, or were they voting against Professor Hugo?

Mr. Moth has had a wellspring of support I never saw coming. He does seem Batman-y, but less so than Mr. Falcon. He's very weird looking, which may help. I also think the Human Squirrel lacks an identity, and somehow a full body costume is less odd than a moth mask in an otherwise conventional suit. It looks like his own head is eating his garments.

mathematicscore said...

I am enjoying this waaaayyyy too much btw.

Mr Moth vs Human Squirrel; Mr Moth just seems to have more going for him. Plus he has a shiny things obsession and still looks better than Magpie.

King Zeus seemed to have more organizational skills and a winning attitude where as Nemesus was woefully stuck in the past.

B'rett vs B'enn Burnzz; Yellow Martians just seems like a fun idea.

I see Brimstone defeating Libra by being the ironic tool of his comeuppance for being such a scheming ass.

VULTURE just has more "zazz" than the lizard men. Love the lizard men, but VULTURE all the way.

I've been viewing the Hyperclan as evil JLA with the Martian Ace in the whole. I don't seem them losing until there's serious competition

Everything you said about Savage is true.

I was actually on D'kay's side in this. Her apparent psychic advantage over J'onn fit nicely with my ideas about Martian society (that I stole from the Mindless Ones) and I feel like the latest issue pulled out a win over all for MM's story arc in Brightest day. That, and Bette Noir is the same archetype of psychic femme fatale, except with out the Martian powers or the killer instinct. Bette Noir is likable, especially for her later appearance as a semi ally for our boy.

Mongul is a badass, but I can't in good conscience give him a leg up over the character he is twice removed from being based on. Plus, Mongul has always seemed less cosmic in scale. Oddly, I would give Despero a much better shot, and will be voting as such should it come to it.

Professor Hugo; all day, every day.

Diabolu Frank said...

I liked Magpie. R.I.P.

"...woefully stuck in the past." Rimshot.

Blonds have more fun, or in this case, jaundice > gangreene.

Libra was too vague. He was somewhat satanic, but without the hedonism, and somewhat fascistic, without selling the authoritarianism. Brimstone works on the simple premise that he is blunt engine of righteous fury against the nonbelievers. As an added bonus, Muslim and Christian alike can point fingers and say, "Ha! He's making fun of you!"

I'm just not on the Lizard Men boat. Under the rock? On the windowsill?

I like the Hyperclan. Not White Martians. THE HYPERCLAN. Evil '90s mocking JLA without actual analogues (which has been done to death.)

I wouldn't say I'm a Bette Noir fan, but I respect her and see potential in the character. D'Kay was just too much while still not being enough.

I've long felt that comparisons between Darkseid and Thanos are too simplistic, based mostly on their physical similarities. Mongul is definitely a rip-off of Thanos, and Darkseid is often written like Thanos, but I don't believe they are at heart the same. I voted for Mongul, but mostly because I'm terribly bored with Darkseid.

...and it will come to that...