Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wonder Wednesday 10-13-10 My Grudge Against The Martian Manhunter

Borrowing a page from the Aquaman Shrine and its My Grudge Against Shazam theme, today I present My Grudge Against The Martian Manhunter.
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the Martian Manhunter or anything. In recent years, he's been depicted very strongly as the heart and soul of the Justice League. However one comment keeps popping up, "He's the one character that's been a member of every incarnation of the Justice League." Oh... no he hasn't. He was, in fact, NOT a member around the time I first started reading Justice League comics.(This was my first actual issue.) Not just that, but a few scant years later, I started buying back issues way into the seventies and... still no Martian Manhunter.
Turns out he left the team in issue #61 in 1968! And didn't return until I think 1984! That's almost a twenty year gap with NO Martian Manhunter in the Justice League! And these were my "Golden Years" of comic reading, when everything was wonderful and perfect and magical and is now encased in amber! THAT Justice League is MY definitive Justice League and he was NOT part of it!So just who is the Martian Manhunter? Well, for starters, he has the stupidest name of any super hero. That's why NO ONE in the comics ever calls him that. Everyone calls him by his real name, J'Onn J'Onzz. Originally, it was pronounced John Jones and that's even how his name was listed in the Justice League Role Call every issue. Nowadays it's more exotically pronounced "Jzon Jzones."
He is the last surviving green Martian. His people were killed off by their enemies the white Martians. J'Onn was accidentally teleported to Earth by a scientist, Dr. Erdel, who upon seeing this startling creature had a heart attack and died, stranding J'Onn on Earth.
J'Onn can fly......has super strength...
... and "Martian Vision." Uhhhh... yeah that all sounds a tad familiar.Keep in mind, DC sued Fawcet Comics because they said that Captain Marvel was too like Superman... and Captain Marvel doesn't even have Marvel Vision!
But wait...
That's not all JJ can do! He's also telepathic!
He can turn invisible!
He can stretch and shape-shift! (Those are his arms.)

So that's another issue I had. He can do... like... ANYTHING! Were they just making it up as they went along? Did he just suddenly have whatever power was needed to get out of whatever situation in which he found himself? Blech. He wasn't all powerful, though. And no, his greatest weakness was not Marsonite, it was...
Fire! Him and Frankenstein. I guess it's a green person thing. Wait... was that racist?

So, derivative powers, too many powers, uninspired weakness (not entirely a deal breaker, I mean every bank robber in Metropolis had a chunk of Kryptonite and Green Lantern's weakness is the color yellow!)... but can we just talk about his costume?
His green skin camouflages the fact that his costume consists only of trunks, boots, a cape and crisscrossing suspenders! That's it! Imagine a Caucasian man in this getup and you realize how stupid it looks. (Actually, I think they've established that the green Martians are like the "African Americans" of Mars, which is why in recent years AA actors have played J'Onn in various adaptations. But still...)
I mean with all the fuss over Wonder Woman's costume being too revealing, it's kind of a tossup as to whether hers or MM's costume is skimpier!
Recently, DC gave him a more concealing costume and I liked it! Unfortunately, they also gave him a weirdly shaped head and a darker personality that most people felt was anathema to his character, so the black suit along with those other changes, didn't last. I wish they'd simply given him the suit without making any other changes. If they had, I'd argue that he'd still be rocking it today.DC has since reverted, basically, to his classic costume but with the addition of navy pants/tights. At least it's something. I'm fine with the leggings, but wish they'd have worked in a shirt of some sort. It works for his teenage counterpart Miss Martian.Real name, M'Gann M'Orzz, of course.
Once you've gotten yourself a teen sidekick, you've arrived. Like I said, I don't hate the Martian Manhunter. I don't begrudge his popularity or feel like he shouldn't be in the Justice League or anything like that, but... I dunno, I just can't muster the affection for him that other people have. If I were collecting a toy line one figure at a time, he'd be the last one I'd buy. Does that make sense?

It's weird because SO MANY people consider him their favorite Justice Leaguer, the heart and soul of the team, the one indispensable member... I could do without him. If I were creating my dream Justice League roster, he probably wouldn't even be on it. What with Superman, Wonder Woman, Elongated Man (or Plastic Man)... really all he brings to the table is telepathy. And Aquaman kinda has that too. Aw well, best of luck to him!

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