Monday, 30 September 2013
The comics are chosen completely at random and apart from a four week lead-in period, even I don't know what I'll be looking at in the weeks to come!
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1,000,000 - November 1998
Gimmicks and variant covers aside, there can't be many comics that have two standard monthly issues before they publish the #1 issue, surely? At the time of Grant Morrison's JLA, every member of the team had their own solo titles - numerous in the case of Batman and Superman - and J'onn J'onnz the Martian Manhunter was given his own with the creative team of John Ostrander writing and Tom Mandrake on art, the same pair that had done such a fantastic job on The Spectre a few years before. It launched with a zero issue and then went straight into this, part of the Morrison driven DC 1,000,000 event.
The issue tells of how, in the year 85,271 J'onn is still alive but has actually become Mars, a fact discovered by Green Lantern Kyle Rayner when the latter is saved by J'onn after he was attacked by Solaris.
J'onn then tells Kyle of how he came to be, of the tens of thousands of years spent wandering the galaxy, of returning to protect Earth from an alien race and how he settled on Mars to teach and inspire those who came to him to learn and listen. He was happy for a time until Darkseid arrived and turned Mars into a new Apokolips, forcing J'onn to fight once more with the heroes of Earth against the dark lord.
J'onn, being the tactician that he is, fought Darkseid merely to lure him into a trap: a Boom Tube direct to the Source which finally took Darkseid to his end.
And as reward, Mars is remade clean and whole with J'onn literally at its centre, becoming the planet. As the issue ends, he tells Kyle something of the plan that was hatched many years before to deal with Solaris.
It's a cracking issue, one which takes the crossover and allows Ostrander to tell a huge, epic story in just a few pages, giving a glimpse of the enemies he would face in his ongoing series and also showing the final fate of one of the biggest DC villains in a wonderfully atypical fashion.
A splendid series all round.