Saturday, March 19, 2011

Martian Manhunter Menagerie March Madness: Round 2 Round-Up First Half

The Hyperclan vs. Antares and the Clanetary System: The former is a super team of individually branded White Martians from one of the most well regarded JLA arcs of all time. The latter is a largely faceless force of sentient machines that turned up in a couple of early Ostrander/Mandrake issues of Martian Manhunter. The results of pitting one against the other seem like a foregone conclusion.(15-4)

Doctor Trap vs. Mr. V: Frankly, most of the tie matches we've had so far have ticked me off, because if we can't manage to eliminate one of two negligible, ultimately doomed candidates in a sweeping competition, what's the point? It also bugs me when really strong characters are taken out in major matches, while some bottom feeder makes its way through multiple rounds. This would be an exception, as Dr. Trap and Faceless are both significant threats that have played major roles in Martian Manhunter history, whether factual or through retroactive continuity. I'm perfectly happy to have the chance to set either of them up with other cool villains, or use them to exterminate some of the more tenacious vermin... (7-7)

The Master Gardener vs. Ma'alefa'ak: ...Which segues nicely into a discussion of the Master Gardener, who could have been a contender. Unfortunately, the rapacious appetite of Malefic must be slaked at least once per round, and no puny morsel will do. The Gardener held his own in the short term, but there was little hope against the most popular Ostrander villain, whose inclusion in the final four is a foregone conclusion. (5-13)

King Zeus vs. Mr. Moth: I never gave him much thought before, but I've developed a grudging respect for Mr. Moth. Having beaten the Falcon and the Human Squirrel, Moth has earned the right to be considered the official representative of geeky old school animal/bird/insect-themed villains in the Martian Manhunter rogues gallery. That might seem like a small thing, but if you think about it, that's a pretty important subgenre in comics. Most Spider-Man villains fall into that category, and fellow company includes the Penguin, Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd, and Titano. However, what I cannot respect is a tie against King Zeus, who has limped along against the sorriest of competitors. No more! Round three shall see them either truly prove their worth, or leave them limp and broken. (8-8)

Professor Arnold Hugo vs. Professor Ivo: The JLofA isn't exactly known for originating "name" villains with their own following, so Professor Ivo is sadly a relative headliner in that category. No flies on Ivo-- I like the guy myself, but I wouldn't pit Prof. Hugo against Lex Luthor, y'know? The Wizard of 1,000 Menaces, multiple story Manhunter threat and onetime Batman & Robin foe, barely beat the rather obscure (and non-credentialed) Alex Dunster, so I took a dim view of his survival chances here. Hugo pulled an extra 50% over Ivo, so some face was saved there. Next round, we'll have to give Arnold the chance to earn his keep... (9-6)

Asmodel vs. Brimstone: Everyone remembers the part where Superman wrestles with an angel of the Lord, but they tend to forget the soldier who was asked to stand down after holding the line before the Man of Steel tagged in. You know, the Martian who fought Asmodel while batting down flames, and was later murdered by the rogue leader of the Bull Host in disguise before teaming up with Zauriel to bring the battle to Heaven itself? Them's stakes, ya'll.

On the other hand, M.C.'s enthusiasm for Brimstone, the acolyte of a dark lord, saw my vote go his way. I see the value in Brimstone's clarity of mission and inherent commentary against evangelicals. Regardless, I think both characters are powerhouses that bring up the Manhunter's game, so I'm good either way. (10-5)

B'rett vs. The Magician-Thief Who Had Super Powers: This is a match I've been looking forward to, as it's the first bad Green Martian foe in the strip vs. the only Yellow Martian to date. I think they're both fun characters that I've revisted in fan fiction here, with the distinction that I turned the ineffectual Thief into a helpful supporting character, and played up the ruthlessness of the thoroughly sociopathic B'rett. You don't bring a pickpocket to a gunfight. (10-6)


mathematicscore said...

Now from the peanut gallery...

I don't remember how I voted, since Antares eventually gives earth all kinds of trouble and an MM led army of superbeings has to take them down, and I have the Hyperclan being nearly as effective as the JLA. Either way, both are fun.

I'm not sure how I feel about ties in tournaments. The brackets demand winners. I'll grant you that both are worthy competitors, but I feel a choice should be made. I voted for Mr. V, by virtue of organization and silver age super-science.

Malefic has a lot going for him, plain and simple; He shows great well roundedness with his powers, has some pretty cunning moves, Networks with heavy hitters and checks off at least a couple of key archetypes. Master Gardener, despite a far reaching conspiracy, was tentatively hiding with in another organization and Did not exhibit the kind of physical (or even mental) prowess of Malefic. Once our boy found him, it was over in short order.

Your analysis of Mr. Moth's appeal is dead on, and he would get my nod against King Zeus through Joker like deus ex machina. Again, I urge you not to allow ties to stand. After all, there's always next year... :D

The Professor's are a difficult call. I don't recal how I voted, but I think I'd side with Ivo just because he just has to whip out Amazo's remote to ruin most folks day. That said, Professor Hugo clearly has skills and has the aforementioned silver age super science to edge him out.

Asmodel is just too big a player for Brimstone. Despite my love of the big fiery behemoth, Asmodel got my vote. You outlined well his appeal and attributes.

And again I fully agree on the analysis of the Martian match-up. B'rett is just a tuff sumbitch.


jimmypulv said...

Malefic is tearing it up. But I got to say the biggest surprise for me so far is how well B'rett is doing. Also if anyone hasnt already i suggest you buy the Showcase Presents Martian Manhunter, It isnt that expensive and it helps you learn about MM older villains like B'rett.

LissBirds said...

"Which segues nicely into a discussion of the Master Gardener"

I'm just realizing now how similar these two characters actually are: both Green Martians tempting our hero with a rebirth of Mars. Why does one work and the other doesn't? (Well, for me, anyway. Sorry, Malefic fans.) Maybe because Malefic only operated on Mars, in the past, whereas the Master Gardener was a present threat to J'onn's adopted homeworld?

I really don't know the answer, just throwing that one out there.

Diabolu Frank said...

M.C., I never laid down rules for ties, so I'm letting them stand this year. Never again, though. Huge headache.

I've got a hard time getting excited about most any Ostrander villain, so it's easy for me to go Team Morrison with the Hyperclan.

Liss, my disdain for Malefic is well documented, but I have to agree with jimmypulv and M.C. that he brings more to the table than the Master Gardener. I love American Secrets, so I prefer it to stay pristine in my mind by not continuing it. Also, it was the story and the situations and the supporting characters I dug, while for me the villains were just the means to maneuver those pieces. They didn't stick to my bones. Besides, I still have my "fix" in mind for Malefic, which helps.

If at all possible, I'm going to try to get my tardy artist from Comicpalooza 2010 to bring my commission to 2011. If so, B'rett will be high on my list for new commissions. The more I play with B'rett, the more I dig him.