Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: Always A Bridesmaid Week

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Always A Bridesmaid Week

In DC Comics hierarchy, there is the Big Three of course, consisting of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. At least they keep SAYING that Wonder Woman is part of the Big Three, but they certainly don't seem to treat her that way. But that's a rant for another day.

Then you have some of the other top tier heroes, such as Green Lantern and Flash. Aquaman OUGHT to be a top tier hero, but for some reason he's not. A shame really.

And we have the next tier of characters, not quite "B" level, but not quite "A" level either. I call them the Bridesmaids. They are great characters, with cool powers, but for some reason, they can't support their own individual books, or they get messed around with, by the writers, or for any myriad of other reasons.

Premier amongst the Bridesmaids, must be J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter. He's been around for a VERY long time. He has had his power level raised to absurd levels, and changed around. He used to be able to extract gold from sea water, and make ice-cream magically appear out of the air. There IS that little thing with fire, but heck, you have to have SOME sort of weakness after all.


J'onn had a lot of fun in the Silver Age, and if you want to see more of his adventures, I suggest taking a stroll over to Scipio's Absorbascon, and going through the archives.

More recently, J'onn was performing superbly when he was the head babysitter at the old JLI. Oh Batman was a part of the group, but he really didn't show up all THAT much, and besides he really considered the rest of them to be beneath him. J'onn didn't, although he DID used to get ferocious migraines from having to deal with Booster, Beetle and Guy's antics. And there was that little choco addiction.

He continued to be a part of the various incarnations of the Justice League after that, but it seemed as though he just never had the stories told about him that some of the others did. He's is a stoic and stolid straight man, although he CAN have quite the impish sense of humor when he's being written well. He's had a few series of his own, but they've just never really caught on for some reason. Then they killed him off, which was a shame, but happily brought him back, although things don't seem to be...quite right with him, due to the lingering effects of the Black Lanterns.

I don't know that J'onn will EVER be one of the premier characters for DC...and I guess that it's ok. He does fill a much-needed role, as the one person who doesn't lose his cool when all is in chaos around him. It's always nice to see him show up. My favorite characters ARE the second, third and even fourth tiers of heroes, so it would be nice if the Powers That Be would stop killing them off.

Does anyone have any favorite Martian Manhunter Stories?


At 12:42 PM, Blogger mathematicscore said...

I enjoy the first self-titled miniseries even though most of it's not in continuity anymore. American Secrets is also very fun. There is little else would recommend on self contained merit, even though I love everything he's ever been in by the virtue of his presence.

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Diabolu Frank said...

Obviously, I love the character and thank he has loads of potential. I spent years defending him as a 2nd/3rd tier hero, but have recently come to realize how recognizable he now is to the general public. Between Smallville and Justice League Unlimited, he's a known quantity with a decent sales record, judging by all the toys they've made of him in the past decade. He's no Aquaman, but the argument for his ranking above the Atom, Hawkman and even Green Arrow can easily be made. Like Wonder Woman, he's less bankable inside comics than beyond, but unlike Wonder Woman, I figure the majority of DC fans genuinely like him. I think his future will only get brighter, with a likely spin-off book in the next year. Perhaps J'Onn's time has come, with a re-teaming Tomasi and Gleason?

As for great reading, America Secrets is the book to put on the shelf next to the works of Alan Moore. DC: The New Frontier was also a greatest hits reel of the best retcons from the 70s, 80s & 90s, so I think that's another awesome introductory story. There's also plenty of material from JLI, JLTF and JLA, but that's almost entirely character moments in a team setting, so I'm disinclined to point those out.

Speaking of highlights reels:

"The Man Who Destroyed J'onn J'onzz"
"Secret of the Purple People"
"Iwangis--Creature King"
"The Giants Who Slept 1,000,000 Years”

"The Key That Unlocked Chaos!"
"Germ Warfare"
"Secret Origins: Martian Manhunter"
"The Man I Never Was"

"Heat Wave"
"Hardboiled Hangover"

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Sea-of-Green said...

Oh, J'onn. Is it terrible that when I think of him, the first thing I think of is the old Justice League animated series? Specifically, the Christmas episode, where he shows up at the Kents? "My name is J'onn J'onnz. I am a Martian."

At 12:02 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I'm very fond of J'onn, and I'm glad that he's back. I can't really think of too many people who DISlike him. He's a likeable sort of fellow.

He's also insanely powerful, which is something that a lot of people have a tendancy to overlook.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger LissBirds said...

I forget to check this blog for a few days and look what happens! The Jolly Green Giant gets the spotlight!

Frank already beat me to it, but American Secrets is perhaps one of (if not THE) the best Martian Manhunter stories out there. And DC: New Frontier is a close second, because it really captures the spirit of the character. And many of the JLI stories--I love seeing how he handles babysitting "children" like Ted and Booster. He's the Abbott to their Costello, and I never get tired of seeing him play the straight man to their antics.

J'onn is such a cool character, even though he's usually on the sidelines, but I love that he's not really "top tier." And if you look hard enough, there's that subtle sense of humor. The fact that they list "Choco Addiction" as a legitimate "weaknesses" in the DC Wikia just makes me laugh...


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