I really should be crashing, considering the day I've had and the four hours of sleep I'm coasting on. Instead, I will briefly discuss the Martian Manhunter.
There's rumors good old J'onn J'onzz from Mars is gonna buy the farm in Final Crisis. This would make The LookOut a sad panda.
Many people don't seem to "get" the Martian Manhunter. They compare him negatively to Superman or cite his lack of a supporting cast of characters. But the thing is, he's a cornerstone of the Justice League. Every single one of these great heroes are his family and his supporting cast. Just look at the classic Giffen-era JLI years. Without J'onn as a straight man, it all falls apart. And as far as Superman goes, well . . .
Okay, here's the reason Martian Manhunter isn't terribly popular. He owns Superman and Batman in terms of grief and loss. He is, to be frank, depressing as all hell. Perversely, that's why I love him so much.
Superman's world died . . . and what does he get? Loving human parents to raise him from the word go, a rocketship, a Fortress of Solitude, a gaggle of Superpets, a Cousin and the body of a Greek God.
Batman's parents died . . . and what does he get? A mansion, a faithful butler, a Batcave and a vast fortune. And both of our orphaned boys get the chance to put grief behind them as they grow.
Martian Manhunter's entire world and family died - wife, two kids, all of it - . . . and what does he get as an adult? A dead scientist's apartment on an alien world he doesn't understand.
No guide, no grief counseling, no gifts. Just a dead scientist's legacy of him being marooned and outcast from his entire world.
(Okay, maybe he also finds out there's really kick-ass cookies on this new world but that comes later.)
The Martian Manhunter is the flipside to Superman and Batman. Supes is the hope and joy the Justice League stands for and Batman's the justice but they both are essentially kids living up to their parent's expectations or their childhood dreams. J'onn is an adult who's suffered through hideous tragedy, more isolated and alone than "Mr. Fortress of Solitude" could ever dream of being. A creature who keeps on helping people anyways, not out of guilt or a vow to his dead family, but out of hope for the human race. J'onn J'onzz can see inside people and he still believes in humanity. And this is after years spent as a cop and private detective in his spare time. That's pretty amazing to me, frankly.
The Martian Manhunter is also the eternal outsider. The Other. Before Justice League Detroit and the social outcry of Denny O'Neil, the Martian Manhunter always stood out as the one member of the League that wasn't some whitebread homogeneous hero. For a Hispanic kid growing up, it felt good to know that there was at least one JLA'er who got looked at a little funny because of the color of his skin and different facial features, even if he could shapeshift them away.
(It also didn't hurt that the dude was actually based out of my hometown - that is, when he wasn't hanging out in the JLA or Australia.
All the Marvel characters in Colorado were either kinda lame or supervillains, a prison full of supervillains or a freakin' superteam of mostly Supervillains.
. . . Jesus Christ! Thanks a lot, Marvel.)
I think the degree to which you enjoy the Martian Manhunter depends a lot on how much you identify with the outcast, the brooder, the odd man out. If you're a vanilla sort of person or a pistachio ripple fan. For me, he's the one character that makes any good Justice League story into a great one because he's the sort of genre glue that makes the team feel right to me. Like a family, goofy as that may sound. Even without the Giffen-era atmosphere, I always pictured J'onn as being the one the other Leaguers killed time with and who knew everybody intimately.
Ah, well. I suppose I'm just rambling at this point. What I'm trying to say is, I dig the Martian Manhunter and I really, really hope they don't burn him to death.
And if they do kill off J'onn J'onzz, all I have to say is this . . .
Marvel better create a good goddamn Superhero in Denver already. Christ! What the hell did Colorado ever do to you, Marvel Comics? I mean, really?!?