Review of Martians Manhunter, By Johnathan

Hello again, folks! Time for the second installment in our portion of the Paul and John Review/Living Between Wednesdays crossover tribute to our favourite dead Martian, J'onn J'onzz! Today, I'll be looking at some of the Manhunter's different appearances in Elseworlds yarns and what have you and trying to review how he looks instead of the book as a whole. Easier than you think, though, because I haven't read some of this stuff yet.

For comparison, here's J'onn J'onzz in his standard configuration, before he made his head pointy and started wearing that terrible uniform that he died in.

I'm writing these in no particular order, so first up is J'onn in an Elseworlds tale about the JLA, called Destiny (I think that I might have to do little mini-reviews of these things to keep my opinions about them from seeping into the main reviews. In brief, this one is about a world in which there is no JLA: no Superman, no Batman, etc. There are some really neat original characters and I remember liking it enough that I'm not going to spoil it more than I have to. Thoroughly JOHN APPROVED). As I recall (it's been a while), J'onn has been half-dead in a desert for years, and is slowly dissolving or something like that.

Or maybe it's his mind that's dissolving, since you can see him floating in the middle of the forehead there. In any case, for the purposes of this story, J'onn J'onzz is an immobile, intangible green giant lying in a desert and conversing with Destiny, the title character.

He acts as a sort of informant and clues the good guys into some of what's been going on in the world (if this isn't one of the 52, it should be. It's a damn sight better than that crappy Red Rain universe, I can tell you that.). It's really fun; I wish I could tell you more but there are ethical considerations. Read this one if you get the chance.

Oh, he's also really ugly, even for a giant. Even so, I enjoy the creative use of the character - this is the good kind of Elseworld, where it's not just Batman in a pirate outfit (not that that's necessarily a bad time, just that it's not as cool).


Here's the Manhunter from the much-maligned JLApe event (I haven't actually read this yet, but I like the concept and the name is kind of clever, so it's tentatively JOHN APPROVED):

I have to admit, I was hoping for some sort of Martian primate, or a weird lizard-man or something. This just looks like Beast Boy doing some cosplay or something. This:

terrific look/sound of surprise kind of makes up for that, but doesn't mitigate the fact that the Manhunter immediately uses his shapeshifting powers to become normal and wreck the whole premise of the thing. Damn internal consistancy.


Three quick ones:

First, Mr. Mxyzptlk takes him out in World's Funniest:

Nothing new, really, but it's a great comic, so I felt compelled to mention it at one point or another. (JOHN APPROVED!)

Next, the Manhunter in an Elseworlds called League of Justice, which is a fantastically creative name:

I haven't read this one, but the J'onn-analogue is really creepy looking, so I felt like including it here. Bug eyes and veiny head? ugly is one thing, but this guy is ugly-ugly.


And here's the funny animal version of him, from Captain Carrot No.14:

Martian Anteater? Mediocre at best - better than Rat Tornado but nowhere near Elong-Gator. Though it wouldn't have quite as effectively hammered home the THIS IS AN ANIMAL VERSION OF THE JLA message, I feel that calling him the Martian Anthunter would not have caused panic and rioting in the streets. NOT APPROVED

Here's the Manhunter in Kingdom Come:

He's a shell of his former self, but he doesn't deserve this:

Real tactful, Spectre.

I have a theory about why J'onn ended up this way here (and it applies to his similarly neutered state in Dark Knight Strikes Again): Ross (and Miller) had written his great big epic featuring a conflict between Superman and Captain Marvel (or Superman and Batman's brain), the two most powerful forces in the DCU, and then remembered that there was a third, slightly more green guy floating around in the same weight class. Thus, the telepathic self-lobotomy is born (or the nanotech-to-the-brain. Nanotech that both invalidates mental powers and makes someone all hard-boiled and Sin City-esque). It kind of makes sense, but it's an ignominious end for the noble Martian.


Here's a non-pathetic-looking Ross Manhunter, just for the hell of it.

Guh. I'm done for the day. Turns out, though, that I have enough of these pictures for a whole 'nother day of this. Tune in next time for J'onn J'onzz as a kid, as a cowboy and as a lady!


Review of Burial Customs, By Johnathan

Here we go, here we go, here we go now. Today we're taking a look at what happens when a Legionnaire kicks the bucket. In Adventure Comics No. 341, the awesome yellow robot Computo seemingly vaporised Triplicate Girl (but really only 1/3 of her, so it was okay). The Legion, mildly wracked with grief, was moved to honour her thusly:

By signing their names. That's right, the Legion of Super-Heroes treats the death of a close friend in the same way that they do the approach of an eight-year-old clutching a duotang with 'Delia + Ultra Boy' and 'Mrs. Delia Nah' scrawled all over it. Luckily, the other 2/3 of Triplicate Girl don't show up until after the funerary rocket has left, so she doesn't have to see that Sun Boy absent-mindedly scrawled 'have a bitchin' summer - S.B.' across her engraved face.

Lame tributes aside, it is pretty cool that they shoot what little Triplicate Girl that they could scrape up into space. Not only that, but the charred hero-bits have a destination!

Shanghalla! Asteroid resting place of the galaxy's heroes! Number one destination for clone-happy mad scientists! Surprisingly small!

Shanghalla's another one of those things that got built up in my mind by the little entries at the back of Jeff Rovin's Encyclopedia of Super-Heroes. It's a neat idea, if little-used. I kind of wish that there were an issue of Secret Origins or something dedicated to it, but what are you going to do? Me, I'm gonna check out some tombstones!

Every hero interred in (on?) Shanghalla has his or her own little rocket ship, complete with a character synopsis and picture on the side. Uh... here they are:

Mog Yagor: Mog Yagor is a neat name, but recently I've been thinking that it sound a bit too much like something out of H.P. Lovecraft to be a coincidence. My current theory/hope is that Mog Yagor is the green thing up above and that the 'space beast' was a hostile astronaut. Because nothing brings greater joy to my solitary existence than reading way too much into the single-panel appearance of a dead character forty-odd years ago.


Hate Face: Oh, man. Hate Face. Possibly one of my favourite super-hero names ever. I was absurdly excited when some random character was referred to as Hate Face in a bar during the run of (I think) L.E.G.I.O.N. in the 90s. And he's so tragic! I mean, how many other people are ugly enough that their epitaph bears the phrase 'revolting visage'? My guess? Not too many. Someday Hate Face. Someday, someone will tell your story.


Beast Boy: Eh. Beast Boy is the only one of this corpsey crew that had appeared pre-mortem. He was similar to the other Beast Boy (the green one) in that he could change into animals, but dissimilar in that he was a complete wuss. He got all upset and quit his super-team and declared war on humanity or something because people sometimes found it disconcerting when he turned into a huge alien bear or whatever. Then he got killed saving a child, so everything was alright. Booooring.


Nimbok of Vaalor: I gotta say: the people of Vaalor need a good editor. First off, they really shouldn't refer to themselves as 'his alien race' on the tomb of their planet's champion. Secondly, they need to clear something up a bit more: was the sorcerer disguised as his best friend or did Nimbok (great name) think that the sorcerer himself was his buddy when really he wasn't?

Thirdly, nobody should end an epitaph with an exclamation point.


Leeta 87: Another great name; another horrible tomb-rocket. Is it possible that the best picture that anyone had of Leeta 87 was the one in which she is about to crack her skull open? Is there a connection to the fact that her rocket is shaped like a cocktail shaker? Was Leeta 87 a drunk? Does 'innumerable enemies' really mean 'innumerable martinis'?


Still awful.