Sunday, August 7, 2011

Martian Manhunter #5 (February, 2007)

Over New York City, Giggs' helicopter was shot down by Martian Vision a psychic pulse, but made a crash landing in water...

Three days later, in rural Pennsylvania, DEO agents Forlon and Kewell appeared to be murdered for a package they were carrying.

Elsewhere in the woods, the surviving Green Martians were in hiding. While J'Onn J'Onzz meditated, Dal'en had wandered off to take in the local fauna. "...The diversification in this area is incredible." Mica'kel mocked, "The first thing you find remarkable on this planet is the plant life? Maybe we should leave him?" J'Onzz led the group to an isolated, abandoned housing project. Even though this was a ready made neighborhood, J'Onn insisted that no one knew of its existence. Not even, as Telok'Telar put it, "...the one who flies, with the cape?"

Sara Moore was furious over being dragged through all the crap she'd seen only to be killed out in the middle of nowhere by these "freaks," and in reply, the Martians left her alone in a spacious bathroom to cool down. Meanwhile, the group discussed Sara, with the usual parties suspicious of her of being a spy who led the military right to their doorstep. Even Dal'en expressed concern, so that only Till'all gave the full benefit of the doubt. "I think she's overwhelmed... and scared. I think she lost someone she cared for, and now she's confused. And I think we should follow J'Onn's guidance-- until she proves she can't be trusted." J'Onzz considered the matter settled, because the child sided with him against three adults. Which is worse-- J'Onn's idea of democracy or no one's willingness to just scan Moore's mind to learn the truth after so many other psychic violations have already taken place.

The Martian Manhunter announced that he would be leaving for a few hours to reclaim the body of the deceased member of their party, Jornell, to perform Ter'Ya'Moa. Well, except I don't recall Roh'kar getting that treatment. Also, Jornell was called J'orneel in the issue where he died, but was as of this issue referred to as Sy'rann. The spirit of Jack Miller was clearly alive and well.

At the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., Rio told Keane that Giggs was dead. Keane refused to believe it without a body, but he was less motivated by optimism than paranoia. "...It means he's gone rogue... Giggs would only go missing if he chose to."

J'Onzz returned to his skyscraper penthouse, where of course the Martian's body was gone, and of course Coneheadhunter waxed on about the 22 Martian words for "home" and the 27 ones for "friend" and nowhere near enough for "maudlin."

Middleton Woods Estates Housing Development. In Pennsylvania. Yes, really. The Martian Manhunter had gagged Giggs, bound him to a chair, and beaten him enough for blood to have splattered around his mouth and turtleneck. J'Onzz wanted to know where his dear friend Jornell Sy'rann's body was, and if Giggs held out, "the amount of pain I can inflict while still keeping you alive-- is considerably more than you could ever imagine." Hold up, Dick Chicanery-- haven't we already established that J'Onzz can break through the mental conditioning of these secret agents telepathically? This book is so dumb.

J'Onzz floated up through the floor to find Mica'kel and Telok'Telar menacing Sara Moore after finding a transmitter on her. Sara swore ignorance, and J'Onzz added that the woman who had approached Moore (Rio) during an attempt to reach the media could easily have planted the device without her knowledge. Regardless, Mica'kel warned, "We put our lives in your hands, J'Onn. Now two of us are dead. You want our trust, start earning it."

Giggs managed to break loose, and demanded reciprocity for his information. Mica'kel flew Giggs through the roof. That loosened his lips. Still, everyone but J'Onn thought Sullivan Imports would be a trap. J'Onzz figured only a Martian would know about Ter'Ya'Moa, and on finding his dear friend J'orneel Sy'rann's body, was too overwhelmed to notice the trap closing. J'Onzz barely dodged the internal combustion bullets in time, then young Till'all of all people pulled him away to safety. See, even the kid faulted J'Onn's logic. The spirit of Denny O'Neil also lives on.

The Martians held another meeting at Middleton Woods Estates, where the transmitter should have led Homeland Security already, but for story contrivance. Giggs couldn't have tipped anyone to J'Onn's mission, so Dal'en offered Sara as a suspect, but J'Onn trusted her. J'Onzz wondered if perhaps the Martians had been coerced somehow while in captivity. Till'all urged him to begin Ter'Ya'Moa, but that would have to wait until after the autopsy. J'Onzz pointed out that Sy'rann's chest cavity had reacted differently to the flames than other parts of his body, indicating that he was infected with H'ronmeer's Plague. After 53 straight days of setting purification fires for the dead of Mars, J'Onzz knew the signs well. J'Onn chalked it up to part of the experiments the group had been subjected to, possibly to develop a strain of the plague that would work on J'Onn J'Onzz.

Mica'kel and Till'all had enough of this bull, and wanted to bug off to another world. "The longer we remain on this planet, the more danger we're in. This is not out home." Being with his people reminded J'Onn it wasn't his either, but he felt he owed it to the good people of Earth to stick around, conscripting the rest of the Martians into doing the same. J'Onzz also wanted Dal'en to perform tests to determine who amongst them might be infected, or have the antidote within themselves. "What? No, I'm an academic. Maybe I could formulate a theory, but to actually synthesize a working antidote... I'm not capable." However, Sara Moore knew someone who perhaps could.

J'Onn J'Onzz and Till'all went for a walk in the woods, and the elder congratulated the junior's bravery in standing up to Mica'kel and Telok'Telar in defense of Sara. "Till'all, it's no secret Sy'rann was the voice of reason among the group. With him gone, I am going to need to know I can count on you." Y'know, the kid, who I can't recall whether it's yet been established is Mica'kel son. No mention of Dal'en, an even-tempered adult, perhaps because any mature mind would recognize that J'Onzz had not made a single good decision since freeing the group. Anyway, J'Onn was impressed that the boy still had a good heart. Till'all replied, "Growing up I heard stories of you. Now that I know you, I know they must all be true." You mean, like all the ones where he folds like a card table to make Superman look good?

Intuition suddenly struck the Martian Detective, "The most human of traits... It's what makes Bruce so effective as Batman." No longer blinded by what he didn't want to face, J'Onn reasoned that all the information in the world wouldn't matter without someone intimately knowledgeable in all things Martian. "Someone who knew me like no one else on Earth. Scorch."



Really... Scorch?

Scorch. Really.

God, this series is so dumb.

S.T.A.R. Labs Eastern Metahuman Detention/Research Facility. The Green Martian posse rolled up, only to learn the DEO had ordered her transfer "last night." In her place was the tossed together Justice League that skipped an issue after their cliffhanger appearance, which I don't think is how that sort of thing is supposed to work. Anyway, it's the Vixen, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Zatanna and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Two people who nearly got J'Onn killed when he was unjustly accused in JLA: Year One. Another two who were among the survivors of the duration of Justice League Detroit, at least one of which having formed a close bond with J'Onn. Finally, Oliver Queen, one of J'Onn's biggest cheerleaders over the years, and the anti-Big Brother ultraliberal acting as an errand boy for Homeland Security. Totally makes sense as a Martian Manhunter hunting party.

These dear friends gave J'Onn exactly three panels as a chance to "explain himself" before one attacked without provocation... Vixen, whom J'Onn had previously hugged it out with during a Justice League International/Suicide Squad slugfest. His last words were "I'm not protecting them... I rescued them." Let's not forget that Vixen would be well aware that she has vixen powers, while the Martian Manhunter has Superman powers that make him pretty much impervious to any devastating "scratching" attacks. The Justice League followed through on this imbecility, and their group was defeated by the Martians... off-panel. Same Martians with well known flame weaknesses who were too weak to fend off some military helicopters. "...The battle is short, the injuries minimal. Little comfort though that brings me." Yeah, me neither. I'd trade in this entire moronic mini-series to see this one fight play out. But hey, it's not like you built it up for two issues and made it the cover feature on one. Oh, wait...

As it turned out, Scorch was the package carried by the two murdered DEO agents, and even though they had been immolated, Scorch was not the culprit. The Sleuth from Outer Space determined that it was instead the work of a Green Martian. I always knew Scorch was red, and this is the second time she's also been a herring. I love her being eliminated through the scientific process of "'cuz." Meanwhile, back at Middleton Woods Estates, Giggs got loose and made a break for it. Since this series' artist loves to use obscuring angles, you would be forgiven for not noticing that only J'Onn, Mica'kel and Telok'Telar had gone to beat up a Justice League. Giggs ran toward a large fire where Keane appeared to be standing. It turned out to be Dal'en, and he didn't look too friendly...

"The Others Among Us Part 5" was by A.J. Lieberman, Al Barrionuevo and Bit. Scorch? Will not come up again. Dal'en standing next to a fire? Nope. Story logic? After five issues of paranoid dream logic, you should know better...

Brave New World


Tom Hartley said...

The Zatara story made more sense. The pages of the Zatara story assembled in random order would make more sense.

Diabolu Frank said...

Zatara was like The Hero Your Hero Could Smell Like. This smells like pot. "Dude, what if the government were after these Martians, and they sent the Justice League after the Martians, and the Martians kicked their ass? Whoa, that's so obvious, you could just like, say it happened without showing it. Then we could spend more time on the black helicopters and Big Brother hassling the green buds..."

will_in_chicago said...

At the risk of sounding arrogant, why do I get the feeling that any of the regular posters here could create a better story while fighting a serious flu. Also, I would like to have seen someone ready for Green Lantern. Hal Jordan is not that tough if someone poured a bucket of yellow paint all over him. ;)

Perhaps one of the good things about the DCnU is that this series will no longer be in continuity.

Yes, the Zatara story was more internally consistent. There was also a sense of character growth. Here, nada.

Diabolu Frank said...

Laying claim to competence in the face of incompetence is not arrogance. It's simply the acknowledgement of basic standards. If you can run Spellcheck and remember the names of your own characters, that's objectively an improvement over A.J. Lieberman's performance.

will_in_chicago said...

Frank, maybe this is why I have high hopes for Stormwatch. The writing standards have to be better than this dreck.

Diabolu Frank said...

A.J. Lieberman is best "known" as being the guy who wrote Batman: Gotham Knights into cancellation. Paul Cornell is best known for his work in Doctor Who television and novels, as well as other shows and some well reviewed comics. Most importantly, he's British. I don't know exactly why that matters, but somehow, you're automatically a better writer for being British.

Tom Hartley said...

The J. must stand for Joe. A.J. has all the Joementum of the other Lieberman.

will_in_chicago said...

Tom, I was thinking it might be Avigdor Joe Lieberman, thus combining two politicians that I do not care for -- neither of whom are known for their elegance.

On a more serious note, Cornell does have a much stronger track record than many who have worked on J'Onn. As for British writing, I think that students get more exposure to the classics and a variety of literature in the British schools. (I would be delighted if Cornell has J'Onn quote a few authors. Let's face it, J'Onn has probably read tons of literature about us -- and may be able to come up with a quote appropriate for most situations.)

mathematicscore said...

I forgot that scorch gets name checked here. They were sort of trying. Failing, but trying. But pretty much failing.

LissBirds said...

I don't have anything to say except that I'm just sitting here laughing out loud at all your comments.

I find the idea of Cornell being British a very interesting prospect--he automatically has an outsider's perspective, on writing an outsider. Also, if some quirky British humor was written into comics, I wouldn't protest in the slightest.

Writing novels (especially Dr. Who, which has a pretty vocal fan base) would lead me to believe he's a great storyteller who's open to feedback from fans--but then I think of Brad Meltzer and the whole Identity Crisis thing and I balk a little. I think having a novelist write comics can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes I think novelists writing comics take too many liberties with the characters.

And J'onn being ultra-literate--I love that idea. Wasn't there a comment he made once about learning German to understand English better? (Can't remember what that was in, though.)

Diabolu Frank said...

M.C., that Scorch story ended what, a couple of years before OYL? Less fan service, more O RLY?

Liss, I believe that bit about German was advise given to Aquaman by J'Onn in JLA: Year One...