Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CBR Martian Manhunter (1992)


It's time to review another Martian Manhunter series!
(check out the other previous one under CBR using the labels above!)

This one came out in the early 90s, as a test run to see after a successful mini in the 80s if an on-going series was viable.

Let's dig into...

Comic title: Martian Manhunter: American Secrets
Art by Eduardo Barreto & Steven Oliff
Story by Gerard Jones

Published by DC
From 1992
Lineup Martian Manhunter
Format: Three issues deluxe mini-series.

"I walk forever alone. 
A Stranger among strangers, I accept that as my fate, my burden. For all of that, I have never been this alone...a speck in the desert, blood on the snow. With the big burning eye of the world looking down on me, is there anywhere left to run?"

After being redefined in the previous mini, the Martian Manhuner was given yet another mini-series in '92.
Since his origin and past had been retconned to the newly established post-Crisis DC Universe, it was time to explore some of the Martian's early tales and role on Earth.

DeMatteis series defined the Martian as the last of his species, who came to Earth because of an experiment of Dr. Erdel, which probably zapped him to Earth across time AND space.
His superhero persona was given a reason, his martian appearance was give an explanation, but his human alter-ego persona wasn't given a purpose yet.
That's where this story comes in....

Introducing DC's most badass pulp detective.

This is a story about John Jones, J'onn J'onzz's human secret identity.
The story doesn't explain how or why the Martian Manhunter turns into a human, this human. But it establishes one of his earliest experience as Detective Jones.
It takes place in 1959. Jones comes from is in New York for a convention on forensics. Right there on his first day, he witnesses a murder...

This Denver Police Detective will have to go all the way if he wants the answer to his question, Why?
The Martian is still a bit shaky from his  memories of his lost planet Mars, and as this book is sort of a "Year One", the Martian is still trying to grasp, to understand humans work.

He loves some Oreos with his glass of milk.

"He's a stranger. I'm a stranger."

This is a great science fiction tale beautifully written by Gerard Jones. It is set in the late 50, a great way to take this story out of Golden Age superheroes'  usual classic atmosphere, nor modern times filled with capes and meta-humans.
The story does take place in the DCU, and makes some references to the end of the JSA-era, but takes places before there were Batmen and Supermen in the populated streets.

The story is heavily influenced by old pulp detective stories and invasion/UFO hysteria.
And all in all, anchored in a classic America, full of beatniks, Elvis, quiz shows, Mad magazine, McCarthyism, Castro and Red fear.
There's a great paranoid feel to the plot, to what is happening to the Martian Manhunter (and isn't it proof of how much humanity has started getting on MM?)

Lizard-people everywhere!

As J'onn starts getting involved in this case, the more he sees there's a lot of conspiracies going on.
Lizard-people are trying to take over America/the world!!

It's classic pulp hysteria/invasion story. With a martian twist *hint hint*

The art is quite clean and well suited for a detective story, some of the best early 90s artwork here.
The story references and follows his post-Crisis retelling (his Martian appearance..), introduces his early addiction to Oreos (who appeared in the market as they are today in '51), etc...
Classic Martian Manhunter at his best!

Overall, great detective mini-series, and one of the Martian's best.
Well crafted, fun....perhaps a bit too short?

One of the best incarnations of Detective Jones, establishing him in the DCU in a period of transition (no more JSA and not yet any JLA too), fun book, reader-friendly.
Great starting point to discover the Martian Manhunter.

Highly recommended for superhero fans, DC fans, scifi/50s/detective/pulp stories-fans.
Check it out ;)

I give it:

  2.5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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