[personal profile] thelazyreader posting in [community profile] scans_daily
To conclude my focus on the Martian Manhunter, I present to you arguably the most pivotal J'onn-centric story in recent times: Trial by Fire. This ran from JLA #84-89 and concluded Joe Kelly's run on the title. This is collected in trades and is one of my all-time recommendations for best JLA stories.

Ever wonder why the most powerful member of the League could be defeated by something as common as fire?

In JLA #82 and 83, J'onn is tired of turning into a pile of goop whenever someone strikes a match in his face and goes on holiday to seek out Scorch, a psychotic pyromaniac who gained flame powers during the Emperor Joker arc, to help him train his resistance against fire. Ultimately he becomes completely immune to it, and in the process gains a new lady love.

Kelly sure liked the Batman/Wondy pairing. While J'onn is enjoying his vacation, the League observes a series of... peculiar incidents.

-Batman is summoned to Arkham to investigate abnormal behavior among the inmates.

-Major Disaster finds armed men outside his trailer who were preparing to assault him but decided to go skygazing instead.

-Rival nations make sudden diplomatic breakthroughs across the world.

-And to top it off,

The JLA sits down and puts their heads together.

As much as the League would like to believe these villains just decided to become better human beings, they know telepathy is probably involved involved. And while they appreciate the intention, mind-control is wrong. So they go to J'onn.

Uncharacteristically pragmatic of J'onn. Yes, they don't owe Luthor anything; they could leave him to his fate and make the world a better place. But Superman is after all the world's greatest boy scout.

Tragically, the attempt to fix Luthor's brain backfires, and J'onn concludes that they are facing a telepath more powerful than himself. He pulls out all the stops and decides to go Cerebro and scan the entire world.

And fails again.

With their only telepath out of action, the League is groping in the dark again. It gets worse when Ronnie Raymond(Firestorm) suddenly loses the ability to use his powers and is left to die on the moon's surface. Green Lantern finally stumbles upon a lead with his ring: a hidden fortress in the Himalayan mountains.

Which turns out to be a hideout belonging to an old acquaintance of the JLA...

Apparently some telepathic monster showed up and started trashing everything. Those unlucky saps above were phased into the walls and left screaming. Savage believes it came for an item he had in his possession.

Having fought off a White Martian invasion not long ago(JLA: Terror Incognita) they realise this is bad, bad news.

Meanwhile, Superman is concerned about J'onn's health and his recent spate of setbacks in dealing with the telepathic menace. He suspects his supervillainess-turned girlfriend may have something to do with it.

Superman is understandably disturbed. And so are we. And I think you've guessed what this is leading up to.

The rest of the League returns to the Watchtower with the Martian skull and Savage in handcuffs. Someone has left them another nasty surprise.

Heh, despite the situation I laughed at the first panel. What does the JLA do when faced, out of the blue, with an invisible telepath having superstrength, superspeed and eyebeams? Get their asses kicked, that's what.

And now comes the most awesome page in this entire arc. For me this one's become a classic moment.

How many of you can say that reveal didn't send a chill up your spine?

Seeing the battle is already lost the League teleports away to the Fortress of Solitude to lick their wounds and figure out what they were fighting.

Can't say we didn't see this coming, but it was still a good reveal. What happens when the Heart of the JLA turns evil? While not, perhaps, the same in scope and execution, this story was to the Justice League what the Onslaught saga was to the X-men. Stay tuned for the rest.

Date: 2011-01-25 08:24 pm (UTC)
thatnickguy: Oreo-lovin' Martian (Default)
From: [personal profile] thatnickguy
I'm sorry to laugh at your favourite arc, but...

Fernus? Really? What's next? Boyler?

Date: 2011-01-25 08:44 pm (UTC)
omnipotent: All I can say is, "Bahahahaha!" (Be serious Batman!)
From: [personal profile] omnipotent
"You haven't noticed the tension between them?"

Oh Supes, innocent as always. How I adore you.

Stewart's got some kissable lips. Yum.

Date: 2011-01-25 09:16 pm (UTC)
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (Hormones?)
From: [personal profile] mommy
You mean they have hormones?

Date: 2011-01-25 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
I think JLU had a homage to that moment in the JLU episode "Kid's Play"..

Date: 2011-01-26 12:24 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Yes, I think it's GL comments that for a man who can see so many different spectra, Superman can be REALLY blind sometimes.

Date: 2011-01-25 08:51 pm (UTC)
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (The same thing we do every night.)
From: [personal profile] mommy
I love Clark's shocked face in the last panel of the first page.

Date: 2011-01-25 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
I'm pretty annoyed the resolution issue to the Bats/Wonder Woman relationship isn't in any of the TPBs of Kelly's JLA stories. Any reason why they chose to skip that one particular issue:?

Date: 2011-01-25 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I think they put some of that recently in one of those "DC Comics Presents" mini-trades.

Date: 2011-01-25 09:17 pm (UTC)
rainspirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rainspirit
Batman smiling as he watches villains like Joker and Two-Face driven to guild-ridden suicidal despair is a terrible, hilarious moment for me.

Date: 2011-01-25 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Right before that scene, there's a funny moment where Bats sits in the Batmobile checking his messages but gets annoyed that Wondy has sent him anything.

Date: 2011-01-25 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
From later on in that issue, when the team is convening to try to figure out what's going on:

WONDER WOMAN: Have you learned anything from the Arkham inmates, Batman?
BATMAN: Yes...I can still feel joy.
DAWN: That's just wrong.


Date: 2011-01-26 12:24 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Oh I LIKE that! :)

Date: 2011-01-26 01:37 am (UTC)
rainspirit: (indeed cat)
From: [personal profile] rainspirit
Hahaha! Oh Bruce, you so cray-cray.

Date: 2011-01-25 10:05 pm (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
I've never approved of J'onn getting a girlfriend. Back when he was starting out on JLA, Grant Morrison said that J'onn still considers himself married to his wife, regardless of her death. Martian marriages, in effect, lack a "til death do us part" clause. I always preferred it that way. Then again, it's not like women (or men, giving how Martian genders work) have been throwing themselves at J'onn during his time on Earth.

Date: 2011-01-26 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Well, the idea, I think, is that he's finally trying to get past that and move on with his life. Mars is gone, his family is gone; there's nothing he can do about it - he might as well find some happiness where he can.

Date: 2011-01-25 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Love this arc, too--great moments for a lot of the JLA'ers, especially Flash and Plastic Man.

Date: 2011-01-26 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Cool stuff! I'd like to have seen more of Scorch, though - I remember liking her, back when some of this was posted on one of the older s_d's. Any chance of posting some of the stuff with her in it - or if anyone has the 'Emperor Joker' stuff that features her, posting some of that?

Date: 2011-01-26 05:54 am (UTC)
equinox216: (Default)
From: [personal profile] equinox216
Aw, MAAAAN, you skipped Batman's "Yes... I can still feel joy." line.

Date: 2011-01-26 11:11 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
And then I want to find out that Batman slipped in and loosened the Joker's straitjacket and unlocked the door to the roof...

What? It's not really murder if the person REALLY wants to die and Batman's busy... I dunno, off saving a kitty from a tree somewhere on the other side of Gotham City (His radio message to Robin asking him to deposit a cat in a tree somewhere on the other side of Gotham is just... um... an example of Batman's ever preparedness.)

Date: 2011-01-26 11:24 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Is there supposed to be some sort of symbolic theme going with the eye Manitou Raven gives Superman, and the staring single eyes in the last panel (which otherwise just look weird)?

And I have to say the Fernus reveal doesn't really work for me, I think it's trying to go for a "Forbidden Planet" "invisible monster meets the electric barrier" moment, but it just doesn't really work for me because other than Wonder Woman, I'd not got a real sense there was an invisible monster attacking them directly.

Date: 2011-01-26 02:16 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
I wasn't really reading the JLA at this point. Who are some of the female characters, specifically the girl in white and purple?

Date: 2011-01-27 03:13 am (UTC)
junipepper: (heatvision)
From: [personal profile] junipepper
For me, the scariest part of this whole storyline is J'onn's outfit in the beginning...


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