Sunday, September 4, 2011

Martian Manhunter #7 (April, 2007)

"I keep waiting to wake up. But I don't. Which can only mean this nightmare is actually happening. My last encounter with the White Martians was the Hyper Clan. Now, like then, I was unable to detect their true identities. Ultimately, though, they were defeated. This attack is different. This time the JLA aren't here to aid me. This attack might work."

  1. Stop abusing commas, periods, and sentence structure in general.
  2. Hyperclan. One word.
  3. The Hyperclan only appeared in the JLA arc "New World Order," in which J'Onn J'Onzz not only recognized fellow Martians, but was solicited to join their cause in subjugating Earth.
  4. In "Terror Incognita," some White Martian former members of the Hyperclan got the drop on J'Onn, but I don't recall his actually being fooled by any disguises. In fact, one of my problems with that story was that the White Martians pretty much didn't bother with shapeshifting, and were just running around as White Martians in identical swimsuits. J'Onn was captured following the telepathic assault of a genetically altered super-White.

Dal'en and J'Onzz's fight carried them to a suspension bridge over a mining operation. J'Onzz saved a trucker Dal'en tried to use as a hostage, then sent the fellow to warn the nearby miners. Dal'en did his best to flee, but was clearly outmatched. "His insane rage is all-consuming. I have to slow him down if I'm to do what I must-- enter his mind, and-- shut down his body. And then try to do it three more times. Knowing that each time I do, I'll be weakened, slowed, and that much more vulnerable."

At a former Spectrum Tech Corporation lab in Milbourne, PA, Till'all began to "hulk out" into a full grown White Martian while Sara Moore tried to calm him down. This earned her a smack in the face, as Till'all flew screaming from the building.

"Batman was right. I was blinded by my desire for the others to truly be members of my race. The killing of the lab guards. Their inability to maintain human aliases. Their hatred for Sara. Their overriding contempt for human life." The Martian Manhunter flew back to Middleton Woods Estates to confront the also transformed Telok'Telar. J'Onzz threatened to wipe him from existence, and the art indicated J'Onn smashed Telok'Telar's head bloodily against the hardwood floor. However, captions told the tale that Telok'Telar had been too heavily conditioned by the experiment to know who he really was. Confused and frozen by great emotional distress, Telok'Telar still claimed to be a Green Martian while J'Onzz shut down his mind. "And though there was no honor in treating an adversary who was in such a state so dishonorably-- I couldn't take the chance."

Just as Telok'Telar was brought low, Mica'kel struck with such speed as to be invisible. Unlike Dal'en, Mica'kel was a warrior who pressed his advantage while accusing J'Onzz of being the culprit behind his brainwashing. "It's as if whatever was controlling them has suddenly let go, leaving them to inexplicably blame me." Blood pouring from an open wound on his head and weakened by the previous two takedowns, J'Onzz was unsure he could survive round three.

Returning to New York City, Rio Ferdinand arranged to meet her F.B.I. investigators in Chinatown with the evidence on Keane that she had collected. "Okay Rio, you do this and it goes south, the devil himself will be looking for you." The two agents pulled up to Rio in a sedan, and she climbed into the passenger seat. While Rio negotiated with the driver, his partner shot her through the back seat. The driver was as shocked by Essien's betrayal as Rio, if not more so, as his brains were splattered by his partner. Essien exited the vehicle, took the box of evidence from Rio, and raced to a limousine parked in a nearby alley. Keane let down his window, and was let down when Agent Essien opened the empty box. Running back to the scene of the crime, Essien discovered a bulletproof vest discarded where Rio had been seated.

J'Onn J'Onzz tried to reason with Mica'kel, but the White told him to talk to his Psionic Pulse emitting palms. By this point, the Martian conflict had reached the mining camp, where J'Onn actually had to argue with a supervisor to sound the evacuation alarm. Must have been a libertarian. Mica'kel roamed through the mines, demanding J'Onzz show himself. "What makes you think I was hiding rather than lurking? All warfare is based on deception, Mica'kel. A human taught me that." The Alien Atlas smashed Mica'kel's face into a wall, then kept pounding him through it. Maybe if J'Onzz had learned that lesson on Mars, he could have handled Blanx before the genocide.

The Manhunter from Mars broke off his assault when he realized methane levels had built up to critical mass in the coal mine. J'Onzz warned Mica'kel that the ventilators they had damaged would soon be the death of them both. "You think after what you did to me, the others, I care if I die here? My only concern is that you pay the price for what you did." Psionic pulses struck tanks of "Tylene", while J'Onn J'Onzz barely escaped the subsequent and expansive explosion. "His hatred for me blinded his reason. Such a terrible waste of life, nonetheless... Three down, one to go."

Three hours later, J'Onn found Sara on the floor of the lab, battered and lightly bloodied. The Martian Detective learned what had happened with Till'all, and explained the differences in Martian races. "Sara, in the entire universe, in all the galaxies, my people have only one sworn enemy. One." I don't know if he meant the White Martians, which seems like an overstatement, or the mysterious manipulator behind the mind control. In the absence of other Whites, J'Onzz suspected Till'all. Sara Moore pointed out what a stupid hypothesis that was, and how he had been a total moron throughout the mini-series, even allowing for a last issue reveal of the big bad that was so utterly without precedent as to outright contradict large portions of the story. Well okay, some of that was me. Sara suggested that it was more likely someone with immense power and influence closer to J'Onn J'Onzz's own.

The Martian Manhunter flew out to Keane's mansion, screaming his name and demanding he show himself. Failing that, the Alien Atlas blew the mansion all to heck with a blast of Martian Vision. I read the book three times before I realized the accompanying sound effect was "KEANNNNNNNNNNNE!" Rio Ferdinand stood in the rain, watching with apprehension from the roof as J'Onzz entered the mansion. Initially burning to choke the life from Keane, J'Onzz finally saw past his hands 'round a neck to the fear in his victim's eyes and blood in his mouth. Light dawned on cone head, as he realized "He's not a Martian at all." Keane was just a garden variety government jackass.

"The Others Among Us Part 7" was by A.J. Lieberman, Al Barrionuevo and Bit. It was a bit like finally reaching a toilet after your wearying sphincter had fought a hard won battle against evacuating in your pants. It's still a stinky, dirty bit of business, but you're relieved to finally have seen the worst of it, and know that a reasonably predictable end is in sight. The Martian Manhunter was finally doing something proactive, but it only amounted to beating White Martians already established as being far weaker than himself one at a time. Maybe a warrior like Mica'kel should have absconded with Telok'Telar until he could have been brought around, or maybe gone after his son (I still don't think Till'all's parentage was actually established at this point, but...) or aided Dal'en. Basically anything but go one-on-one with a stronger opponent on home turf while still in a daze. On the plus side, there was so much action in this issue, I didn't have as much to be offended by, although J'Onn remains a clueless dolt led around by the worst conspiracy hatched (or rather laid, like a proper egg.)

Brave New World


Anonymous said...

I too read this series, and still remember the disappointment that they had let MM down, again.

I can hardly wait for your dissection of "the head shot" and the did I miss a page ending.

Anonymous said...

I remember getting this series and how disappointed I was ...

I await your dissection of the "head-shot" and did I miss a page ending.