Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Martian Manhunter, the hero who was picked last for dodgeball.

John Jones, Manhunter from Mars. Arguably the first new hero of the Silver Age. Never invited to the cool parties. If you thought Aquaman was the token second stringer in the Justice League lineup, think again. Accidentally teleported from Mars by a scientific genius who dies of a heart attack before he can send him back, Martian J'onn J'onnz (clever)is stranded on 1950's Earth with no way to return home. Luckily, he's telepathic (meaning he doesn't have to work too hard to pick up the lingo) and a shape changer (meaning it won't really be a drawback that he's 6'6" and lime green). He quickly adopts the human moniker of John Jones and then goes out and applies for a job as a police detective (I coulda sworn that-even in the '50s- you had to work your way up to that one) where his various "Martian powers" come in handy. Basically a sort of green Superman/Batman combo, John can read minds, change his appearance, fly, pass through walls, turn invisible, blow really hard with his "Martian breath" and if I've left anything out, it's just because he has so darn many powers. Of course, no hero is complete without a fatal weakness (ever since Kryptonite). Martian Manhunter becomes weak and pathetic in the presence of fire. Even so much as a match can make him queasy. MM had a pretty good run as a backup feature in Detective Comics throughout the 1950's (hey, nobody was ever clamoring to add Roy Raymond, TV Detective to the JLA lineup)and eventually found his way into House of Mystery, grooming him for the solo title that would elude him for the entirety of the silver age. Still, for all his relative obscurity in the decade that spawned him, he WAS a founding member of the JLA and has been featured in just about EVERY incarnation for the Justice League from 1959 to present.

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