Friday, June 24, 2005

The Middleton Manhunter


The Middleton Manhunter
Originally uploaded by Scipio1.

Poor J'onn J'onnz. Separated cruelly and irrevocably from his home, which is now a dead and empty place.

Not Mars, silly; MIDDLETON, COLORADO.

I'm not sure why the creators of Martian Manhunter put him in Colorado. When you think "hardboiled police detective" or "displaced alien who walks among us", do you immediately think, "ah, a typical Colorado story"? I don't.

But they did. I guess the main reasoning was that Dr. Erdel was an astronomer type and should live in an observatory high in the mountains. Thus, even though in his first story, J'onn is shown wandering around Paris at one point, he still settles in the hometown of the yutz who destroyed his life. J'onn is so co-dependent.

Anyway, "Middleton" doesn't sound like a metropolis, yet there are its towering skyscrapers in the background as J'onn gets haplessly sucked off (yet again). A mile-high city, indeed! Did "Alterior City", "Mountainopolis", or "Verticalia" simply not occur to them?

Places named things like "Middleton" are where you stop off to get a soda during a trip cross-county and are amazed to discover that people still sell Shasta. It's so undistinguished that there are 21 places in the U.S. named "Middleton". Yet J'onn's Middleton was large enough to attract rampant mafia activity and alien/superpowered menaces, including the world-conquering Appallaxians. Go figure.

But now it's GONE. I can't even tell whether it's been retconned out of existence. The last reference to it I remember was the revelation that John Jones worked with Robby Reeds' father on the Middleton Police Force (five years ago in the "Silver Age" crossover).

Appropriately enough, there really is a Middleton, Colorado; it's a ghost town. Maybe J'onn stayed because it reminded him of Mars.

So is there a crime-ridden, alien-magnet metropolis in the middle of Colorado or not? I like the idea; very X-Files. It's weird, and face it, J'onn is too.

DC! Bring back Middleton and give J'onn a home (with a nice view of the night sky, but no fireplace).

Comments:
I have a suggestion for your polls. For each poll, is it possible to put in a brief line explaining what the choices are? I'm a long-time DC reader and have no idea what Brick City is, for example. If you haven't showcased it recently, I'll probably have a tough time envisioning it. Makes it hard to vote fairly, you know? :)

That said, New Venice is clearly the most interesting of the choices as far as I can tell.
 
Kim Possible (from the Disney Channel cartoon) also lives in Middleton, so maybe there's hope for the city yet.
 
You know, I've notice that.

Kim Possible fan fiction places Middleton in Colorado, but is that corroborated by the show itself?

I really want to picture J'onn fighting Dr. Draaken...
 
It's coming, N....patience.
 
Middleton seems like its population should be exactly halfway between Smallville and Metropolis. The name just demands it.

I don't know what their current populations are in the DC universe, but if we say 10 million in Metropolis and 5000 in Smallville we'd end up with a Middleton of about 5 million people, which certainly could support a decent sized buisness district with skyscrapers and the like.

You know, forget the Martian Manhunter. Next time they retconn Superman, Middleton is just the perfect city for Clark Kent to spend his college years.
 
Why not have your cake and eat it, too?

During Clark's Middelton years, he certainly would have have a run in with Detective John Jones at some point!
 
I would love to read some good old-fashioned pulp-themed detective noir Martian Manhunter stories set in in the seemingly inappropriate Middleton. It could have a nice Twin Peaks feel to it. Written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, of course.
 
Ahhh, Clark Kent could take journalism classes during the day and Superhero classes from "Professor" J'onn J'onzz in the evenings.

The 2 overpowered aliens would make an interesting team for a writer who wanted to explore their similarities and differences. Having them work together could help develop their 2 worldviews (which has generally been 'ultimate ousider' and 'ultimate insider'). Encountering each other before Clark ever dons a cape could show how and why he chose to develop his 'Superman' persona the way he did.

The Martian Manhunter would then fit in nicely as the 'elder statesman' in your dynastic model for Superman. Is there someone else in that role for Supes at the moment?

Of course this only works if DC follows your idea of keeping Supes as one of the youngest superheroes. Play with the timeline and you could have J'onn leaving Mars for Earth at the exact time baby Kal-el gets rocketed from Krypton, tying the two characters together even more.
 
There was a story in an issue of the late Martian Manhunter solo series in which J'Onn got to know Clark in Smallville. A writer could go on from there, establishing J'Onn as keeping track of the young Clark Kent as he grows up through a variety of identities and being a "hidden mentor." This would dovetail nicely with the idea (from JLA: Year One) that J'Onn has been keeping files on superhumans.
 
Actually, there are TWO Middletons in present-day Colorado. One is the ghost town.

The other is not only still extant. It also has a lot of aerospace companies. Just like the one that Kim Possible's dad works for!

So, it also makes it a good place for J'onn J'onzz to have a day job as a cop.

As for the alien menaces he fought there, during the Silver Age? They might have been drawn there by energy residue from the experimental teleporter built by Dr. Erdel. After all; wasn't there a pre-Crisis Hawkman back-up story in DETECTIVE COMICS? One in which the computer running the teleporter was not only still active. But, also, artificially sentient and, thus, evil?
 
I like the aerospace-industry Middleton association. But speaking of a "mile-high city" -- which of course is Denver, where J'onn was retconned into basing himself -- travel due south from there some 522 miles and where do you end up? That's right -- Roswell, NM! :)
 
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