Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Story of the Human Flame 4


So, I'm not going to even bother repeating the options in our multi-choice cliff-hanger question in the previous post, since I'm positive that you all correctly guessed that the answer was
(e).Employs his two stupidest powers in combination and in a way never seen before or since to defeat Mike and Joey.

Yes, if you read enough J'onn J'onzz, it should be obvious what the solution to J'onn's problem with the Human Flame would be. It's the same solution he uses for
all his problems...

TWIRLING.

Yep, J'onn literally twirls the earth right out from under them! Really, it's kind of sad how J'onn can't just cut loose on his own, and has to maneuver himself into absurd situations where he can pretend that twirling is his only reasonable option (rather than just shooting someone in the leg). J'onn, sweetie; just go out to the club, throw your arms above your head and start twirling to the latest from Mary J. Blige.

Wait a second. Saying that made me realize something: Mike and Joey look AWFULLY familiar in the panel. Almost... almost as if I'd seen them before. OH, no! OF COURSE!

God, don't you hate those dancing queens at the club who insist on shooting fire out their nipples at the mirror ball?

What was the name of that club I saw them dancing at here in DC? Oh, yes, now I remember. What else would it be called?

APEX.

Oh, the comic book irony.

Anyway, I promised you J'onn combined two of his stupidest powers in taking down Mike and Joey, and so he did. He Martian-twirled the ground out from under them, then Martian-breathed them all into the upper atmosphere.

No, the Silver Age Martian Manhunter could not fly. He could conjure ice creams cones from thin air, alter the path of baseballs with his mind, and frighten sharks with one look, but he could not fly. So here he uses his Martian breath to blow them aloft. And you thought Wonder Woman "riding the air currents" was stupid (and it is, by the way).

There's a "clod" joke here, if you look for it.

So, the Manhunter successfully twirls and blows Mike and Joey to jail. Typical.

Another of Apex City's distinctive architectural touches is the use of giant decorative vanilla wafers on rooftops.

Note that this is the first time we've seen Mike without his helmet. Stunning, isn't it? By the way, is that John Jones's boss, the all-consumingly corpulent Captain Harding, or is this just Frank Quitely's first work for DC?

I guess we're supposed to assume that Mike and Joey go to jail after this. Personally, I assume that, since Mike's still wearing the crime suit and it's apparently impossible for anyone to simply, say, shoot him in the leg, that the next panel would show Mike burning the cops to screaming husks while Joey distracts Captain Harding by throwing him a Hostess Fruit Pie with Real Fruit Filling. Because I'm certain I've seen those two dancing at Apex since then... .

TOMORROW: What It All Means!



13 comments:

SallyP said...

You know, being able to conjure ice cream cones out of thin air, is a pretty handy power to have. If he could figure out how to conjure OREOs out of thin air, he'd be a happy happy man.

totaltoyz said...

No, the Silver Age Martian Manhunter could not fly.

So when did he develop that ability? I'm pretty sure I saw him flying in some early JLA issues, though I can't cite chapter and verse off the top of my head.

Citizen Scribber said...

I just want to join the chorus of readers in thanking Scipio for bringing us this hilarious and insightful Martian Manhunter series.

This in-depth analysis of particular stories is highly entertaining. And I'm also fond of the posts where Scipio gets all deep on Mythology (I'd been touting Jason & The Argonauts as the world's first super-hero team for years and was very pleased to learn I wasn't living in a vacuum on that one).

But these posts based on DC's Showcase Editions, whether it be The Phantom Stranger or Green Lantern, have probably helped to sell a great many copies and Scipio deserves some commission or at least a commendation for his efforts. He's also turned forgotten tales into legends- like Dr. Dominoe or The Phantom Stranger Goes To The Airport.

Well done, Sir. And thank you. The Absorbascon has introduced me to other great comics blogs, but this one is by far my favorite.

-Citizen Scribbler

Steve Mitchell said...

My favorite early Manhunter power was Martian Angle Vision, enabling the Manhunter to peer around right-angle corners. I gave this power to a character in one of my D&D campaigns once; he found it very useful for "scouting" ahead in dungeons. But, as you know, prolonged contact with Earth's atmosphere eventually caused alterations in the Manhunter's power set, and he lost this one.

Michael said...

Is it too much to hope that the post-Final Crisis Martian Manhunter returns to his Silver Age power set? I can count on Grant Morrison for that, right?

Of course it wouldn't stick. He'd be back to the familiar, mind-reading intangibility after 6 issues of JLA, but what a sweet 6 issues they'd be.

Batman, Red Arrow and John Stewart are about to charge into battle with the Legion of Doom when, suddenly, J'onn hold up his hand...

J'onn: "Wait! I have... a plan!"

He snaps his fingers and Giganta, Toyman, Brainiac and whoever all turn into giant rhubarb plants wearing burning clogs.

J'onn (out loud): "Oh no! Fire! My one weakness!"

And then it starts raining meteors.

totaltoyz said...

You know, without his helmet, Mike looks oddly familiar.

Let's see...wavy black hair...thick eyebrows...pencil-dot eyes...

Oh my Schwartz, he's the Earth-One Billy Batson!!!!

dozer said...

Being criminals, I guess Mike and Joey would stay away from the Green Lantern.

http://www.greenlanterndc.com/

Frank Lee Delano said...

By God, but the Human Flamer's coif was decades ahead of his time-- that being a mid-70's bathhouse.

"But these posts based on DC's Showcase Editions, whether it be The Phantom Stranger or Green Lantern, have probably helped to sell a great many copies and Scipio deserves some commission or at least a commendation for his efforts."

Or else blamed for alerting modern readers to how terrifically awful Silver Age DC Comics were. Scipio's synopsis, science, and humor are vastly superior to any of the comics that inspire him to employ those assets here.

"So when did he develop that ability? I'm pretty sure I saw him flying in some early JLA issues, though I can't cite chapter and verse off the top of my head."

This was actually the semi-boo-boo that first inspired me to post this comment. J'onn J'onzz was levitating from the very beginning, but was not prone to outright flight in the early years. As with any Miller or Wood script, his powers in a given tale depended on how much either had to drink prior to the half hour spent writing them on the back of a napkin.

Gardner Fox was good about using only a character's established powers, and only as few as possible. Now of course, being bonafied bandwagon hoppers, I'm sure the super-hero boom led to flight being employed constantly in later solo stories of the period.

"Is it too much to hope that the post-Final Crisis Martian Manhunter returns to his Silver Age power set? I can count on Grant Morrison for that, right?"

Your Cone of Silence is soundly constructed. Kudos on your spoiler aversion. Avoid my Manhunter blog at all cost.

Reno said...

In that third pic, J'onn seems to have lost his pants while twirling underground. Or maybe he MEANT to do that...

Scipio said...

"Well done, Sir. And thank you."

Thank you, Citizen. Appreciation by readers is what makes the effort worthwhile.

Scipio said...

"He snaps his fingers and Giganta, Toyman, Brainiac and whoever all turn into giant rhubarb plants wearing burning clogs.'

Well...

it is being written by Morrison, so this is as likely as anything.

Kevin said...

I don't comment enough but I love your blogs and you just made me sputter croissant over my keyboard, thanks!

Scipio said...

You're welcome, Kevin; thank you!