thelazyreader ([personal profile] thelazyreader) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-01-26 01:34 am

Martian Manhunter week Part 3-A: Trial by Fire

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.
junipepper: (heatvision)

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