Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today Mars, Tomorrow The Universe!

Today's Collected Classics Wishlist is an hodge podge of all the Bronze Age Martian Manhunter appearances. Of these, my favorite is from 1977 by Denny O'Neil - a 4 part mystery story wherein J'onn J'onzz is framed for a murder on Mars and the clues lead him to believe the real killer is a hero from Earth. This series started as a backup in Adventure Comics 449-451 and climaxed in World's Finest 245.

The art in this run was primarily by Mike Netzer (as Mike Nasser) (remember that guy? He often got tagged as a Neal Adams clone, but he was really too good for such a lazy tag as that.) Netzer must have really gotten attached to the Martian Manhunter, because years later, when there were rumors that MM would be killed as the kickoff event of Final Crisis, Netzer posted a very sincere plea to DC to spare the Green Gumshoe.

As a bonus, Terry Austin, Curt Swan and Jim Aparo also handled parts of the art in this story arc.
Here is what this collection would contain...

Adventure Comics 449
Mission Catch A Killer
Script:Denny O'Neil
Pencils:Michael Netzer [as Mike Nasser]
Inks:Terry Austin

Characters: J'onn J'onzz Manhunter from Mars; R'es Eda; Flash [Barry Allen] (Cameo); Green Lantern [Hal Jordan] (Cameo); N'or Cott; Superman [Clark Kent] (Cameo)

Adventure Comics 450
Return To Destiny
Script:Denny O'Neil
Pencils:Michael Netzer [as Mike Nasser]
Inks:Terry Austin

Characters: J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars; Supergirl; N'or Cott; R'es Eda (flashback)

Adventure Comics 451
The Secret of the Sinister Abyss
Script:David Michelinie
Pencils:Jim Aparo
Inks:Jim Aparo

Characters: Aquaman; Starro; Aquababy; Topo; Mera; Sett; Thoran; the Idylists; Justice League of America [Martian Manhunter [J'onn J'onzz] (Flashback; Cameo); Wonder Woman (Flashback; Cameo);

World's Finest 245
Today Mars, Tomorrow the Universe
Script:Bob Haney
Pencils:Curt Swan
Inks:Murphy Anderson
Characters:With J'onn J'onzz, Hawkman; Superman; Batman; Hawkgirl; N'or Cott; R'es Eda; Supergirl (flashback)

The completist in me would like to also include these random appearances from the Bronze Age...

Justice League of America 71 - wherein MM leaves the JLA in 1969 to go search for his people. (Or something like that...) While he had been absent since issue 61, this Denny O'Neil/Dick Dillan issue makes J'onzz departure from the League official.

The next time we see him is in 1972 in World's Finest 212 in a story written by Denny O'Neil and illustrated by Dick Dillan.

The final story I would include in this volume is (by my reckoning) the very last JLA Bronze Age appearance of J'onn J'onzz. From 1975, Justice League of America 115, which also happened to be a 100 Page Giant in a story written by Denny O'Neil, who may have had some regrets about banishing ole J'onn J'onzz as he keeps bringing him back.

What I think is most interesting about the Martian Manhunter is that he was such a big character in in the Silver Age (appearing in House of Mystery and Justice League of America) but was relegated to just this handful of appearances during the Bronze Age. Is there another example of a character who was so big in one comic Age, banished in another, and then finally returned as triumphant as the Martian Manhunter did in the Giffen JLA? I can't really think of one off hand.

Have a great day!
- Jim


Trey said...

I think that would be a great collection. In the 90s-00s the Martian Manhunter was a such a JL fixture I think a lot of people forget he was absent from the team for a number of years (from #71 to his return to the Detroit League in 1984). This collection would show what he was up to over that time.

Reno said...

Who WAS the real killer? I only had one issue (Adventure 450) and I never did find out the answer to the mystery.

tlyoung88 said...

I sold this collection of comics as "The Martian Manhunter Chronicles" a decade back.

In retrospect, though I loved his early Bronze Age appearances, the stories were decent, but story-wise he really jumped the shark with the Adventure Comics run. I mean, he flew back to earth because some senator's dying words to be the name of our sun??? And then it turns out to be a frame-up. And the climax wasn't great either but would love to hear feedback from other fans.

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