Monday, April 29, 2024

Podcast: Dial F for Flanger episode 26

DIAL F FOR FLANGER is a comic chat show.

Flanger is joined by Martian Manhunter super-fan Diabolu Frank to conclude #JLApril2024

The boys are looking at Martian Manhunter Annual 2 from 1999 which is part 8. the final chapter of JLAPE GORILLA WARFARE. The issue is by Len Kaminski, Gus Vasquez, Claude St Aubin, Mark Probst, Carla Feeny, Kurt Hathaway, edited by Dan Raspler and an epic cover by Arthur Adams.

Follow along with all the podcasts participating in the JLApril crossover by searching #JLApril2024 on social media
JLApril Podcasts

Monday, April 22, 2024

JLA Annual #3 (September, 1999)

After finally opening diplomatic relations with the U.N, and revealing the existence of Gorilla City to the world, King Solovar was assassinated. His nephew and successor, Prince Regent Ulgo, then blamed humanity and launched a counter-offensive. But also, Ulgo was secretly a member of the Inner Circle of the Simian Scarlet Cultural Purity Movement, an extremist faction of super intelligent gorillas. Other members included the mobster Grimm, General Zolog, Admiral Trafalgo, and the sorceress Abu-Gita, but they were all dancing on the strings of Gorilla Grodd.

Martian Manhunter received a request at the Watchtower from Gorilla City to send a diplomatic envoy of JLA members to help mitigate the damage. Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Dark Flash were openly deployed, while an invisible Alien Atlas followed along in secret. Before reaching Gorilla City, the party was ambushed, and exposed to a gas that turned the lot into gorillas. Worse, some form of mind control was exerted over them, causing them to turn on the "hu-mans." However, the Martian Manhunter retained his wits, if not his form, and used his telepathy to mostly restore the JLA's more human instincts. Back at the Watchtower, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner thought that he was being hazed by the more veteran members of "JLApe." Batman and the Martian Hu-Manhunter worked together on a cure for the "Gorillabomb," but the Simian Sleuth from Outer Space had to pursue help from Animal Man, who was disoriented by troubling memories of a "Coyote Messiah" and the like. Recognizing "I'm important to the plot," Buddy Baker helps J'Onn J'Onzz understand how to use the morphogenetic field to restore the team.

In his absence, the male JLApes began posturing for dominance to court Wonder Woman as a mate, and the Manhunter had to reassert their identity matrices telepathically. Unfortunately, Ulgo then deployed gorillabombs at the United Nations, transforming the entire body while adding Green Lantern to the apes. The intended cure was used to restore the U.N., but the JLA were still trapped in gorilla form. The JLA divided their forces to address various fields in play in the conflict with Gorilla City, while Batman couldn't shake the nagging suspicion that J'Onn was hiding something.

"Gorilla Warfare" was by Len Kaminski, Jason Orfalas, and Jordi Ensign. Aside from poor work-life-podcasting balance this month, my ambivalence toward covering this event (and its scale/page count) contributed to my low productivity this month. I needn't have hesitated, because this was a fun and relatively brisk read with a bunch of puns and two-page spreads (one of which was interrupted by a fold-out ad for a video game about monkeys and bananas, appropriately enough. I'm not wild for the artist's Semeiks-influenced humans, but his apes strongly reflect the Arthur Adams covers, which is surely a welcome sight. If you're interested, the recent podcast Dial F for Flanger - Episode 24 covers the issue in greater detail.

Monday, April 8, 2024

2024 New 52-ish Martian Manhuter art by Dee Kilroy

I have a project in mind for this month that I'm ambivalent towards, and coupled with recent overall delays and a painfully unweildy podcast edit to tame about six hours of recordings into two, at best that's deferred by another week. At least April has three more Mondays, and my lapse gives me another chance to feature a cool Dee Kilroy piece. I couldn't find the exact reference, but the artist had expressed an interest in seeing what the New 52 Martian Manhunter design would look like with the Bronze/Chromium Age high folded collar. This version is really high-- almost the "vampire" collar of Howard Porter JLA. I have a longing for the "detective" collar that is surely at least partially fueled by my introduction to the character in the Super Powers Collection from 1985 (remind me to fix those pics sometime), but I'm not sure if it mixes with the Jim Lee aesthetic. Still, fun to see it manifested, and I dig the extra alienness in the piece.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Nubia: Coronation Special #1 (July, 2022)

Years ago, in Denver, CO, the Amazon Nu'Bia was arrested by local authorities. Nu'Bia was the guard over Doom's Doorway, under the island paradise of Themyscira, through which Tartarus can be reached. I suppose she vacationed on occasion, while fully armored, and might have cause to break the arm of an attempted rapist* if one crossed her path. The cops were, well, cops, so they cuffed her instead of the creep and talked about putting her in her place (for women? Blacks? Resistors? Check all that apply.) It didn't help that the actual perpetrator was the deputy mayor's son.

Nu'Bia was taken to an interrogation room, where she was more cordially greeted by a plainclothes African-American detective. He explained that this was a he said /she said situation, presumably because the woman with her child who the assailed man had attempted to "take" had left the scene before police arrived, so the deputy mayor's son now claimed he'd turned down the woman's solicitation, and was beaten and robbed for his virtue. Nu'Bia was increasingly incensed-- by the assault, the disrespect, the lies. The detective repeatedly told her to calm down, eventually explaining "I know your sister, Diana. We work together sometimes." J'Onn let a bit of his green skin show, but it was the black skin he was otherwise wearing that he referenced when he continued, "... you and I have more in common here in man's world than the two of you. The color of our skin-- yours, my chosen form, and even the woman who was the real victim here? It has us viewed as not just less than others, but actively seen as dangerous. It makes us targets and scapegoats." Despite his own expressed contempt for the badged bigots that had brought Nu'Bia in, J'Onn acknowledged that even outranking them, he was still at least partially beholden to the white supremacist structures they upheld. The Martian observed that while African-Americans are no longer technically property, "they are still seen as objects. And if we are not acting as grateful mules, we are a liability to their way of life.

Nu'Bia rejected any accommodations for white frailty, and wondered if the people in this place were worth saving. J'Onn explained that he believed in being subtle in his aid to the oppressed of this land, but the Amazon questioned if that was just complacency. Essentially, his experiences with the race war on Mars meant that he was unwilling to use his powers to create an autocracy, so gently, quietly nudging humanity toward justice was the best option as he saw it. For instance, using his powers to essentially erase Nu'Bia's involvement in the assault, from both the physical and mental record, then removing the handcuffs she herself didn't break loose out of respect. J'Onn gave Nu'Bia a card that would provide her with help if it was needed again. "Just because they aren't ready yet, it doesn't mean you're not needed. You just need to be more careful, for your own sake.

This story segment was written by Stephanie Williams & Vita Ayala, with art by Darryl Banks. I was reading the event Trial of the Amazons for a podcast, not enjoying it, and this was part of a two book coda. I was kind of checked out, so I thought it was cute that the artist was using David Harewood as reference for this cop, and missed the "Denver" part entirely. D'oh! We're probably past the point of needing coded Blackness from a Martian, but as a fan, I do appreciate noted police officer John Jones expressing views that better align with my own than, say, David Clarke. Sorry for the lapse in posts, but I had a medical thing, then a crush of podcasting and life stuff.

* Apparently, just using this word will put the post in some sort of Google jail. I'm not changing $#!+. Euphemisms protect the guilty, not the innocent. Say it plain to speak the truth.