Sunday, July 17, 2011

Martian Manhunter #3 (December, 2006)

J'Onn J'Onzz once again waxed philosophical about the nature of "home," or to be more truthful, whined again about the JLA breaking up and making more ridiculously dramatic overstatements like "Home. For the first time in all the years I've lived among humans, that word has started to feel... alien." Wait, doesn't that mean you used to be comfortable and happy here? I guess running into a group of plainly irritating Green Martians has made J'Onn feel ready to move to another planet?

J'Onn put the relatives up in a swanky highrise apartment that he sure wasn't paying for on a P.I.'s earnings. Once there, he chewed out Mica'kel for totally being solely responsible for killing all those troopers last issue, and not him at all, so don't pull his League membership, please sir, thank you. "I respect you, Mica'kel, but only a fool would mistake that for weakness. Kill anyone again and you'll have to answer to me. That goes for all of you... the carnage at the lab was unnecessary-- and wrong." Telok'Telar still thought, "The humans have done something to you."

I like Telok'Telar. He rocks the same basic outfit as OYL J'Onn, but his colors work better, and he's 100% behind being a jerk in a way J'Onn wouldn't commit to here. Most importantly, Telok'Telar went with the dual prong "Wolverine" head, where the Martian Manhunter looks like he was revised to sell okra for the Farmers Association of America. Coneheadhunter from Mars is a bit of a misnomer in its main venue, because the design really recalls the grimmest, grittiest Veggietale of all. Anyway, Jornell chimed in with "J'Onn's right. Without trust we won't survive. We shall do what you think best." Cue scene transition.

The airport. Alex Ferguson's plane was still burning as William Dyer checked the passenger manifest for Flight 21. Ferguson, under his alias of Alex Ferguson, had decided not to board at the last minute. Seeing as Dyer couldn't even wait around to see Alex off, much less conceal his identity, is it any wonder Ferguson continued running on his own? Not far, however, since he rented a hotel within a binocular's reach of his secret office girlfriend's apartment, whom he continued to lie to about his situation. Figuring his days might be numbered, Alex recorded a confession and warning for Sara Moore on his camcorder.

Rio Ferdinand reported to her superior, a mustachioed older man shooting clay pigeons on his palatial grounds. The gentleman was not concerned about the lab or any casualties, only locating William Dyer. Rio erroneously reported Ferguson dead. "Right, the plane. Giggs' attempt at subtlety, no doubt. What about anyone Ferguson might've talked to." Rio believed she'd tied up any loose ends with extreme prejudice, and that Alex "had no life." Her superior thought otherwise. "People with nothing don't run."

Up above the world so high, telepathy did J'Onn apply, trying to find this Alex guy. Failing that, even thought they were both still in New York, J'Onzz returned to find Till'all hovering invisibly many meters above the city streets. "I-- I just wanted to see them. See what this world was like." J'Onn chastised Till'all, explaining that it was too dangerous to be near the fearful Earthlings. "We're... different from them. And we're stronger. And they know that." On their flight back to the Martians' penthouse, Till'all told J'Onn about Roh'Kar's escape, the groups' past life on Mars, and a few details about their capture. Upon their roof landing, Dal'en joined the conversation, offering even more information on the group's history. However, there was an interruption when security monitors at William Dyer's office set off an alert.

Alex Ferguson's only lead in retrieving the Kuru Pendant was to visit Dyer Investigations, which was an office empty save for an answering machine. However, the building across the street offered Giggs an excellent view of the previously presumed deceased. The Martian Manhunter arrived in time to dismantle a highly sophisticated flying gunship, but overstatements cost lives. "I have fought gods, demons, aliens... even my fellow superheroes. But never this. Never foes who knew Martian physiology from the inside out." Wow, I've seen random dudes with flamethrowers do more damage to the Alien Atlas than this black ops team would deal in this entire mini-series, but you wouldn't know it from the hyperbole. No, the true engine of death in this book were phrases like, "It's okay Alex. You're safe now."

Not from napalm.

Good thing the bad guys already knew where the other Martians were, and had orders not to bother with the Martian Manhunter if possible. After they bugged out, J'Onn brushed off the napalm, and then immediately... determined Alex was dead, then swiftly... contacted the painfully slow in forming Brad Meltzer Justice League of America team. Meaning Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were taken to the abandoned secret lab two hours later. The Martian Manhunter believed the powers recently employed against him could only have been wielded by or replicated from another Green Martian. Diana questioned J'Onn's judgment, while Bruce and Clark were both uneasy about the psychic invasions J'Onzz had committed against the captured assassin of Roh'Kar and the definitely deceased Alex Ferguson. J'Onzz also withheld the truth about the dead troopers, but guilted Superman with "Tell me you wouldn't do the exact same thing, Clark." For the Man of Steel, no matter how honorable the motivation, that simply was not good enough. All three heroes turned their backs on their friend, with the Dark Knight being especially pointed about it, because.

Even though it had been explicitly stated that the bad guys knew where the Martians were, and the Manhunter was clearly distracted, they hadn't attacked, because.

Since there still wasn't an official Justice League, the mastermind behind the Martian experiments called together a groups of heroes consisting of Black Canary, Zatanna, Green Arrow, Vixen, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. This was done on the gentleman's home turf, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Even though Ollie Queen is possibly the most vocal liberal in comics, and everyone else had worked closely with the Martian Manhunter for years (including at least one instance of presuming his guilt in a frame-up that nearly killed J'Onzz and ended the JLA,) they agreed to bring the rogue Martian in, because. Because? Because Hal Jordan is a douchebag Frienemy of Mars?

"The Others Among Us Part 3" was by A.J. Lieberman, Al Barrionuevo and Bit. No spell check, proofreader, or editor was disturbed between Lieberman's typos/misspellings and the letterer immortalizing them.

Brave New World


LissBirds said...

"because the design really recalls the grimmest, grittiest Veggietale of all." Bahaha. Veggietales 3: Out for Blood, maybe?

That and "No, the true engine of death in this book were phrases like, "It's okay Alex. You're safe now." Yep. You're right on the mark. Everyone he tells that to dies, if I remember correctly. Just a tad disconcerting that the superhero protecting you completely fails again and again.

mathematicscore said...

I positively hate the poorly orchestrated interpersonal super-relationships in this series. Vixen, Zatanna and Black Canary would all go to bat for J'onn in a heart beat, and GL and GA, while stupid enough to be brought into this sort of thing, also like and respect him enough to just talk it out. Where's task force x or checkmate? Or any other superpowered government agency?

End rant

aota said...

There is just so much wrong with this series. In some ways I'm glad the DCnU will wipe most of this clean.

Diabolu Frank said...

M.C., while the official government agencies would have been more practical, I understand why these specific heroes were chosen. We had to see that the Martians were completely isolated. The problem is that the means to that end were ham-fisted and utterly contrived. Here's an idea: frame Coneheadhunter for the murder and impersonation of J'Onn J'Onzz. Also, leave the bodies where they lay, and implicate Coneheadhunter, rather than cleaning up to make him seem delusional. I thought about how to do that for whole seconds, plus I paid attention to the grammar and spelling notices in my Word doc. It was pretty much effortless.

By the way, was Keane, the head of Homeland Security, ever identified by name in this issue? Was his first name ever revealed? I've tried to find this information in my copies, and come up empty. I'm thinking naming your characters, especially when they're government officials exposed in a public scandal, should be rudimentary.

Tom Hartley said...

Yes, the food is terrible, but you can't complain about the small portions. For what Jack Miller would have done in 12 pages, this guy needs 8 issues. A sequel would have easily "promoted" A. J. from my second least favorite Lieberman to first place.

Diabolu Frank said...

Tom! Long time no hear!

For me, this mini-series was like my early exposure to the Idol-Head stories. At first, I hated them, because they're just plain awful by most any measure. Then I recognized that they expand the history and variety of Martian Manhunter lore, and that there are peanuts amongst the turds, and that hardly anybody noticed that the crap was ever laid down, and just sort of forgave them.

The Idol-Head stories tended to make only the most rudimentary, childlike fantasy version of sense. Regardless, Zook was a bundle of qute, a few monsters like the Creature King were really cool, and I'm happy to discuss the saga of the Diabolu Idol-Head in broad strokes.

Lieberman's "arc" is self-contradicting, illogical, melodramatic in the most taxing way, and laden with bridges to nowhere stacked atop one another in hopes the complexity masks the ineptitude. Still, I kind of dig J'Onn J'Onzz vs. Homeland Security (look out INS!) it was neat to have him relate to other Martians at length (a surprisingly rare occurrence,) Cay'an was certainly cooler than D'Kay, and I even dug supporting antagonists like Rio Ferdinand.

I guess the 2006 mini-series was kind of like a modern take on Manhunter vs. Vulture merged with the inanity of the Idol-Head. I could have actually gone for a second mini-series, just to see Till'all tag along as the Zook of the '00s against some goofy supernatural nonsense with lots of contrived hoodoo dragging everything out. I'd still wait to fish it out of a dollar-or-less bin, though.