Friday, October 2, 2009

Unsung Comics Heroes: Joe Kelly, Part 3

So what does the guy who wrote the ultimate Superman do?

Write the... ultimate Martian Manhunter story?

Let's face it, the Martian Manhunter has never exactly been known as a story engine. His main function, since days of the BWAHAHA-Justice League has been to be "the heart" of The Justice League. What that mostly entailed was being... in The Justice League.

And talking about the human condition.

Or lifting the stuff Superman or Wonder Woman aren't lifting at any given moment.

Or using his Martian vision on stuff.

That is to say, The Martian Manhunter has become to The League what the hat became post-Kennedy inauguration, a lovely piece used to accent the ensemble but wholly unnecessary to complete it.

Until Joe Kelly and one story. J'onn J'onnz, The Martian Manhunter's one weakness has always been fire, the reasoning being that all heroes need some sort of weakness for a villain to exploit i.e. Superman and Kryptonite.

So, what happens when a hero conquers his weakness and goes on to become what he is: the most powerful member of The Justice League.


Ken Cox said...

I have to disagree. I don't think Kelly wrote the ultimate Superman OR Martian Manhunter story. For Superman, I'd take the usual suspects: Morrison's "All-Star" or Moore's "Whatever Happened..." As for J'onn, there's the criminally overlooked series by Ostrander and Mandrake. In that series, Ostrander explored J'onn's relationship to fire and why it was his weakness; fire represents pure chaos and a telepathic, shape-shifting species cannot tolerate chaos lest their bodies and minds disintegrate. It was a fine example of a writer taking hokey Silver Age material, reinterpreting it, and improving on it, rather than abandoning it for expediency's sake.

Devon Sanders said...

While I respect both of the Superman stories you chose, I've gotta say that when it comes down to more saying who and what the Superman concept is, I have to go with the Kelly story.

Let's agree to disagree.

My case is only half-presented.