Monday, November 20, 2023

Brightest Day #21 (Early May, 2011)

On Mars, the cover(s)-featured star engaged in final, fatal battle with D'kay D'razz (solo on one, with D'kay on the variant.) J'Onn J'Onzz fought off mental manipulation, with tears of rage over the molestation of his family memories. D'kay insisted that J'Onn was invested in the fantasy as she was-- that it could still be a reality-- and that it was the future their child deserved. Although their bodies had melded often in recent weeks, the Sleuth from Outer Space probed his mistress' psyche and form, determining that she was barren and deluded. In denial, D'kay picked up bones from the Martian skeletons that she had exhumed and began stabbing the Manhunter with them. In retaliation, the Martian Marvel flooded D'kay's mind with the thoughts of the living multitudes on Earth, exceedingly painful for one as sensitive as she.

Snaking her body around J'Onn's and taking advantage of the fear and dread being experienced by those Earthlings in the midst of unknown calamity, D'kay swore that she would never stop coming for J'Onzz... that she would use and destroy each and every life on his adopted world in her pursuit of his eventual companionship on their red planet. The Alien Atlas believed her... that she was an existential threat to multitudes on Earth, and that her menace would only end with her demise. The Manhunter from Mars flew himself and D'kay D'razz into the sun, where their flesh cooked off their bones, and those bones exploded into dust.

The White Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz emerged from the inferno, once again restored by the Life Entity. Asked to choose his home, the Martian Manhunter returned to Earth. Star City was aflame, and the forest imperiled. The Martian Marvel rescued innocents for a moment, but was swiftly drawn by the White Power Ring of Deadman. Recently, the Hawks and Aquaman had been disintegrated by its power, and now it seemingly threatened J'Onzz's newborn reincarnation. "Your heart is no longer divided, J'Onn J'Onzz... Your sense of devotion and duty is now pure and singular in purpose." Deadman protested that the recent "killings" of Manhunter's fellows was the Lantern's doing, and that he couldn't stop it from using him as a vessel for its wishes. Manhunter had read Deadman's thoughts, not only absolving him of guilt, but also the White Lantern itself. In the belief that it was necessary to surrender himself to halt the new menace to the Star City Forest and beyond, J'Onzz allowed himself to be swallowed into the earth

"Mars Attacks" was by writers Peter J. Tomasi & Geoff Johns, with art by Patrick Gleason & company. Beyond the stupid title, the belabored conflict, the average art, the impossible astronomy, and maybe the ultimate instance of Martian Manhunter jobbing himself-- dying twice in one comic to addresses menaces he should have been able to beat with regular old powers and a little brain work-- this one was alright. And yes, the rare Green Martian survivor living secretly in isolation until reemerging well into the Manhunter's career before J'Onn kills them and nearly himself by diving into Earth's sun was already done to Ma'alefa'ak in the Pete Tomasi-edited Martian Manhunter #9. If you're going to be a second-rate Johns, might as well plagiarize from his second-favorite source, John Ostrander.


Kevin from New Orleans said...


The Deadend Kid said...

In forty-seven years I've never thought once to ask this, because comix. But hell, today I'm asking. And you're The Expert, so.

What's with J'onn's flight? As in, how does he? He has such a broad spread of talents, yet I've never seen how flight slots in. As a shapeshifting, mind-reading alien, I mean. He can manipulate his mass & density, I guess, but that doesn't exactly cover propulsion. How can he fly at speeds exceeding 448,000 mph? If he's going to be stopping planets or punching moons, he must have one hell of an engine. Maybe Oreos should be re-evaluated as an alternative fuel.

With Diane, I can wave a hand and say magic. With Clark, I can reason "John Byrne may be an ascended fanboy, but he did at least attempt to explain the flight business". Buddy Baker? Morphogenetic field, or something.

But J'onn, I don't get it. I feel like maybe Morrison covered this in JLA... Because I know sure as shit Giffen never did.

Diabolu Frank said...

In my experience and to my recollection, the only writer who addressed this was Christopher Priest in Justice League Task Force, and he based it essentially in telekinesis. J'Onn is pushing off of or pulling towards objects via "mind over matter." Another reason why "off to the sun we go" makes me shake my head. Without a means of actual propulsion (much less a sealed system,) J'Onn should be among the worst "fliers," not making jaunts between planets and stars. Even in the Silver Age, there was a tendency to refer to his "levitation" more than his flight, at least in the early days. Gardner Fox and Jack Miller tended to just have him up and go without a lot of captioning on the matter.

The Deadend Kid said...

Thank you. That right there is why I love listening to the RSP: reasoning.

J'Onn's been one of main guys for an aeon now. If I were still an unreconstructed DC junky, I think it would offend me how much focus there is presently on his Design. I tried an image search on his costume just yesterday and the results were... I resist how present superhero fashions are trending. There's no need for all the fiddly complexity. It doesn't make J'Onn more appealing: it makes him look like there's no consensus at DC on who he is. And as I've trawled the MM eps, you've only cemented that impression. How wrong can a publisher be, consistently, and argue their success?

It's the same as throwing ever more layers of kevlar & plate armor on Bats. It makes him look, well, like he's compensating. Hard. Bruce doesn't need that shit any more than J'Onn does! Just give us the Bart Sears model again with the high starched collar and let J'Onn move on...

The Deadend Kid said...

Hit send too fast. Typo: "one of MY main guys"

MM, Dr. Fate, Black Lightning, Robotman, Creeper, Vixen... DC's bench runs deep. I'd go back to buying DC titles if the publisher could throttle back on their raging self-importance & risk a Little Justice League again. Let some "lesser" heroes enjoy the limelight. The trio of WW, Bats & the Big Blue Cheese already have an average two-to-three books apiece. Why do they need to suck all the oxygen outta the League, too?

Anyway. Thank you again.

Diabolu Frank said...

Finally reading these replies. Sorry for the delay. The truth is that DC is struggling to sell their biggest names these days, so hopes for quality stories for the deep bench rest in other media now. There's still money to be made in video games, animation, et cetera where comics are barely a thing anymore. I mean, just look at the artist line-up on this series. You couldn't do this book in 2024, and this wasn't all that great a book.