Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Carnival of Doom: The Martian Gaslighter

When last we left them, Detective John "Martian Manhunter" Jones and his tagalong, Willy, were following the crooks who'd just robbed the Wonderland box office into the  TUNNEL OF THRILLS.  Let's see what THRILLS the tunnel has in store!


That is substantially less thrilling than a giant robot bear. Why not just take a walk downtown?

Phew, lucky for those crooks they have a "ROPE" as part of their "special equipment"!

Dude; Martian-breath.

Oh no, sorry; solved by spinning; silly me.

J'onn has superspeed, you see, but he doesn't have super-reaction time or superfast-perception; that's why all his applications of it
 are static ones like spinning, otherwise he'd kill himself (or others) almost immediately. Seriously.

"Something like that."
J'onn has always had a dry sense of humor.

Willy has now been primed to ignore whatever shenani-martia-gans John gets up henceforth to defeat and capture the crooks.  

Um, J'onn; if it's your Martian form, it's not a 'guise'. "True guise" is an oxymoron. 


Nothing says "quality foe able to take on a godlike being like the Martian Manhunter" than "scared in the Tunnel of Thrills".

At least they saved these props to use later when J'onn started to combat the Idol-Head of Diabolu.

Okay, there is a secret exit in the tunnel, so the crooks plan to use it for their escape makes sense.  Unlike what actually happens.
This is clearly a special effect and not an actual threat.

I hate when J'onn does this.

Clearly, just more of the SAME special effect. In an amusement park ride designed to be full of them.  What is wrong with these people? They live in a town with giant robot bears and moth-copters, why are they so easily frightened?

That is, when J'onn goes to great lengths for most of a story to stay hidden and then decides at the end of the story that the solution to his problem is... to stop hiding.  

Now would be a great time to jump out of the boat and head for that secret exit, boys.

Turns out that's all J'onn had to do; put on a one-man strobe light show (like the disco queen that he is) to completely FREAK OUT these hardened criminals, who instead of following their escape plan, run out of the tunnel.

Right into the arms of burly Officer Mike Hanson.  Not that I blame them.

Why didn't they assume the images of J'onn were part of the tunnel's thrills? I dunno. Why didn't they use their secret exit? I dunno.  What did J'onn really accomplish with his spook show? I dunno. 

"Good! Because it's my day off!"

It's a Martian Manhunter story.  In a Martian Manhunter story, everything happens for the same reason; to create an opportunity to force J'onn to use his vague set of abilities in some new and unusual way in a different setting. That, at heart, is why the Martian Manhunter never became very popular.  The "Martian Manhunter" seemed more like party game that writers were playing rather than a set of ongoing challenging adventures of a consistent character in a broadening and increasingly detailed world.

Speed Saunders tells you he was right;
John Jones tells you you were wrong.


John C said...

I get the distinct impression that our master criminals never bothered to scout the Tunnel of Thrills([citation needed], as the kids say) beyond Big Funny Man Grotto or whatever that's supposed to be. If it was anybody else's story, the crooks would've paid a bundle for the rights to this robbery scheme, only to have the mastermind unmask himself as the hero, at the last minute, revealing that the escape route was actually just a closet where they could be captured.

J'Onn not only missed that golden opportunity, but he missed a bigger one in the last panel, to reveal to us that Willy is confused (a) because he's clearly a creepy doll brought to life through dark sorcery and (b) they've just spent the day at Wonderland Bemusement Park, where the only wondering is how they get away with charging for those rides. I assume that the plane ride was originally meant to be where you spend twenty cents to do some quick carpentry, but the contractor didn't understand the grand vision.

Scipio said...

"Big Funny Man Grotto" is the name of my next quartet.

Anonymous said...

"Tunnel of Thrills" really sounds like a euphemism for "Tunnel of Love". Lord knows I wouldn't have been able to resist the sex appeal of Giant Elmer Fudd.

Bryan L said...

I'm still trying to figure out why Giant Elmer Fudd would be "thrilling." He looks like Frisch's Big Boy after losing his toupee and deciding to dress like Mr. Mxyzptlk.

cybrid said...

"They live in a town with giant robot bears and moth-copters, why are they so easily frightened?"

Well, that's just it, in Apex City, you never know WHAT damned thing is gonna kill you...