Sunday, July 31, 2011

Martian Manhunter #4 (January, 2007)

Sara Moore stepped out of her shower, then talked to her cat about chess moves and her crummy taste in men.

Rio and Keene met with a scientist who explained the capabilities of the weapon used to kill Roh'Kar while viewing a victim's corpse. I at first thought this was Roh'Kar, but if so, it would negate a major upcoming plot point (not that I wouldn't wish for some intervention, like most any stupid plot point in this series.)

Dalen, Till'all and Jornell tried taking a walk outside, but were too weak to maintain human forms, and only the kid had a very loose command of English. He scared some girls in an alley with "Ahhh... it pleases me to meet your face," before J'Onn J'Onzz arrived to chastise their over-eagerness.

Sara Moore got stuck in the elevator with the talkative mailman, then learned from co-workers that Alex had died while setting off a bomb in an office building. The F.B.I. were investigating, but no one knew that Sara was with Alex. In denial, she cried in the bathroom and unsuccessfully tried Alex's cell. Still chanting "he'snotdead" as a continuous mumbled mantra, Sara was met by the mailman, who had forgotten to give her a package with no return address.

Rio was standing in Alex's former hotel room, trying to figure out why this of all the dingy dives was his choice to lay low. A techie sat on the bed, cross-referencing anyone within a ten mile radius against information known about Ferguson.

At the penthouse, J'Onzz tried to improve the Martians' shapeshifting ability and basic understanding of humanity. The two warriors were verbally resentful, the two elders found it tiring, but the boy was ecstatic. J'Onn and Jornell had a nice talk about the difficulties everyone was having with accepting their presence on Earth, even for J'Onzz himself. The Martian Manhunter felt guilty about not having looked hard enough for fellow survivors, leading to the horrors endured by his new friends. "J'orneel" was consoling, feeling they were simply victims of circumstance. "You did save us, J'Onn. And I have no doubt in my mind that you'll continue to do so." J'Onzz thanked him, and prayed "I live up to your faith in me."

In a private office, Sara watched the video Alex shot for her on his camcorder, explaining why he must now be dead, and what Sara must do to avoid the same fate. At about that same time, Rio and company realized from a cable bill that Sara Moore was subletting an apartment at 1100 Broome Street, almost directly across from the hotel room window. Breaking into her apartment, the techie caught a voice sample of Moore's from her answering machine, allowing the group to trace her via N.S.A. satellite feeds. Rio put a gun to the techie's head to rush him on that front.

Because the writer forgot he still needed it, the office of Dyer Investigations got un-blowed-up. This was so Sara could call that phone, which the Martian Manhunter's security system took note of. Don't they still have call forwarding available? Did cell phones wipe that feature out through obsolescence?

William Dyer returned Sara's call as she was riding her motorcycle to the nearest network news station to spill the whole story. Rio was waiting outside the offices of NTV, and after pretending to be an associate of Alex's didn't work, she threatened to blow Sara's head off via a nearby sniper. The Martian Manhunter snatched Moore up and flew off so quickly that only her disappearance registered. "Keane was right," said Rio. "It worked."

Sara Moore woke up on a bed at the penthouse, with William Dyer proclaiming his innocence. The Martians helped in the charade while in the human forms they had practiced earlier, but reverted back to normal as a way of selling Sara on their story. She fainted, hit the ground, and then missiles struck the building. Martian Manhunter demanded evasive maneuvers. Giggs was employing his usual subtlety, and upon seeing through J'orneel in disguise, shot him with his modified sniper rifle. Jornell's last broadcast thought was "Save... the others..." The rest of the group flew with Sara Moore and Alex's tape to safety.

"The Others Among Us Part 4" was by A.J. Lieberman, Al Barrionuevo and Bit. Continuing a Martian Manhunter tradition, the writer can't even remember his own characters' names. It was one thing to de-anglicize Roh Kar into the more overtly Martian Roh'Kar last issue, especially since the name was already a (potentially confusing) tribute to a very different '50s character. On the other hand, Jornell becoming J'orneel in the issue of his death seems like insult just prior to fatal injury. I wouldn't say that this was an intentional change either, since the two names are printed on parallel pages in the final narrow panels of each so that you can make them kiss each other. "Mmm, I love you, J'orneel! No, I you Jornell, even on this world far from home!"

It also irks me that John Broome, who never had anything to do with the Martian Manhunter, received the "Broome Street" homage. If it isn't Samachson Street or Certa Avenue or Miller Place or Schiff Square or even Weisinger Boulevard, I don't want to read it here.

Brave New World


mathematicscore said...

"Mmm, I love you, J'orneel! No, I you Jornell, even on this world far from home!"

Easily the best thing to come out of this mini-series.

Seriously though, the best things were the costume (not the head) the logo (sorta) and the end scene. Everything else was rather piss-poor.

James said...

I hated this series. I wish that some author would write a mm series and use one of his more well known enemies like Blanx, Malefic, Marshal id even love to see one with Brett (just not human flame, i hate that guy). The constant giving him a new martian enemy is tiresome. Even american secrets which i thought was very good only had the master gardener for a couple of panels.

Diabolu Frank said...

"There are 17 words for love in the Martian language, but only one for folding pages in a book to physically express the affection between two spelling of the same name in dialogue balloons. It was enough."

One of the things I love about Superman is that he's got the one universally recognized logo. It fits him perfectly, and while I don't mind occasional one-off variations, DC sticks with what works. Even the New 52 #1's still got it.

I liked the 2006 logo during its usage in this mini-series, but any time I see it elsewhere, I think it's a shame the design wasn't given to a more needy character. It's a really nice logo, but the "Martian Manhunter" one that was in use from 1988 to 2005 is just fantastic. It suits the character and looks great, which explains its longevity. If DC must keep other Manhunters around, cut off the "Martian" part of the '06 and give it to Kate Spencer.

The costume we've discussed. It's okay. I neither loved nor hated it. I can't get excited either way, so I'm kind of glad it fell by the wayside. A lot of people already see J'Onn J'Onzz as just being sort of "there," which explains his exclusion from the League of Johns, and dressing the part doesn't help.

Diabolu Frank said...

James, I'm glad we got Cay'an out of this series. She's utterly ridiculous in a way that amuses me greatly. D'Kay was a cross between Alex Forrest, Max Cady, and Sil, which basically equals a variation on every antagonist in a thriller made in the last few decades. That's boring. Cay'an, with her absurd Brazilian bathing suit and her prehensile flesh-hair and her nonsensical plotting and her illogical motives is so uniquely stupid, she's entertaining. You could literally write her playing out any whack-ass plot your heart desires, and then write yourself out of a corner by pointing out that she's an unknowable alien... and a woman... and the character ultimately responsible for every retarded element of this mini-series. D'Kay's just a psychotic mass murderer who's DTF with J'J'. She's Malefic with chesticles unrestrained by means as silly as Cay'an's. I'm a pepper, is what I'm saying.

I'm one of the few American Secrets fans who doesn't care about the Master Gardener, so I hear you on the "new arch-villain, again?" front. Malefic, Bette Noir, Despero and Bel Juz are among the greats of the Vile Menagerie because they bothered to show up for more than one series. I get why so few have touched on the Silver Age rogues, but at least take the modern bad guys out for a spin sometime.