Major Spoilers is a great blog and comics news site. I especially like their rundown on oh….every single member of the Legion of Super-Heroes ever! It is a lot of fun to read. So, I decided to do the same thing on my blog (I hope they don’t get mad). Instead of the Legionnaires, I want to focus on a superhero team that is even more under appreciated then those from the 31st Century….a team in the 21st Century; a team that that exists on the fringes of the Superhero Community….and yes I am talking about THE OUTSIDERS.
The Outsiders have always been a favorite team of mine. Maybe because I like the underdogs? Maybe because of the characters? Maybe I have no reason. I just know I like them. From Barr to Winick to Dixon, they have always captured my imagination. It seemed fitting to do this now since Tomasi’s run is about to begin and we are getting another overhaul of the team. I can’t promise it will be as witty and well-written as the Hero Histories over on Major Spoilers – in fact I can guarantee that it won’t be – but I will try my best.
In the first installment I want to focus on an easy one. He was once a mainstray of the Justice League and very much an insider but for at least a few issues he lived life on the Outside – I am talking about the recently deceased Manhunter from Mars; J’onn J’onzz, aka Martian Manhunter
If you are familiar with the DC Universe, you should be familiar with the Martian Manhunter. You know how the story goes. Last surviving member of the martian race is accidentally transported to earth by a scientist and the rest is history. Martian Manhunter has always been a cornerstone of the DCU and some say it was his creation that sparked the beginning of the Silver Age of Comics.
He was always a member of the mainstream heroes and some say he is the heart and soul of the Justice League. But life after Infinite Crisis wasn’t easy on J’onn. DC gave him an awful new costume and a new attitude and outlook on humanity. He no longer tried to blend in with humanity, and began to see himself as…well….an Outsider. That and the fact he was not asked to be in the new Justice League (I would be pissed if I were him, bad idea on Meltzer’s part) led him to be the pefect candidate Outsiders membership.
He first became involved with the team in 2007’s Outsiders Five of a Kind One-Shots – a kinda mini-series designed to bridge the gap between Judd Winick’s run on the Outsiders and what would have been Tony Bedard’s run. You see after a cross over with Checkmate and a mission that goes a little awry, Batman decides to re-take over the team he founded all those years ago. This occurs in Outsiders (Volume 3) #49:
Nightwing’s reasoning makes pefect sense – and Winick shows the problem with Nightwing even being a member of the Outsiders with those three panels. He is just NOT an Outsider.
Okay so for some reason I remember Batman basically stealing the Outsiders back from Dick – but it looks like the transfer of power was more peaceful then my memory believed it to be. Anyways, this led to Batman picking a new team – which was what the Five of the Kind One-Shots were all about. What does this have to do with Martian Manhunter?…er…well:
So obviously in one of the one-shots (This one isactually written by Bedard) Batman sends Thunder on a try-out with Martain Manhunter. I understand Thunder’s anger here, as she has been a member for fifty issues and Batman still treats her like a novice. But she is a novice compared to the Great Martian Manhunter, who she freely admits she is intimidated by:
Thunder says it herself, J’onn is a first stringer…or at least he was. )-:
As it turns out, J’onn wasn’t even being tested. Batman was going to bring him in no matter what. As he should.
Obviously, Thunder wasn’t as lucky. But as Batman says – He KNOWS J’onn – So why wasn’t Martian Manhunter in your Justice League Line-Up Mr. Meltzer?
Anyways, we see J’onn briefly in the Wonder Woman/Grace one-shot (Wonder Woman is sooo not an Outsider by the way) and finally we see him as a member of the team, doing surveillance duty in the final issue of Outsiders (Volume 3).
I question why Martain Manhunter wouldn’t be one of those that were undercover in this issue since one his powers is to IMPERSONATE PEOPLE. Good planning Batman.
But anyways, don’t you just love J’onn’s stoic nature. Oh how I miss him. The DCU is truly worse off without him. I assume that he is going off to be in Salvation run here, but he is certainly back in time and using those impersonation powers for the relaunch in Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #1
Chick Dixon became the writer with this issue as for some unknown reason Bedard was taken off the project of relaunching the Outsiders. But it doesn’t matter, because Dixon’s run was fantastic and he writes a fantastic debut for the Manhunter from Mars in this series; drawn beautifully by Julian Lopez:
Lopez actually makes me kinda like his current costume in this issue, which is something I thought could never happen.
J’onn shows how he is awesome and so full of awesomeness in this page from the second issue. But sadly, this is the same issue he leaves the team because of his loyalty to the Justice League, whom Batman is keeping secrets from. (One has to wonder why since the League seems to have forgotten about him)
Martian Manhunter’s time on the team may have been short, and at one point I would never have thought of him as an Outsider, but during this time it was right for him to be a member. Unfortunately instead of putting him back in the League, DC Killed him off in Final Crisis #1. But I will always think of him as the heart and soul of the Justice League, and the 28th member of the Outsiders.