Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Infinitely Heroic" Giclee by Alex Ross

I decided to go ahead and post a spotlight on this item, rather than list it among this month's "Martian Sightings." I'll never own it, and it doesn't have to be in circulation to be discussed.

"Infinitely Heroic" is my current desktop wallpaper, so I clearly enjoy the piece. For too many years, Ross rendered the fabulous heroes of the DC Universe as his friends and neighbors in pathetic looking costumes, while everyone here (but Flash)is appropriately sexy. The colors are more vibrant than I'm used to from Ross, and there's a more potent airbrush look, rather than the affected appearance of oil. Of all the times Ross has used this exact same layout, this is my favorite.

On the other hand, I've been suffering from Ross fatigue for a long time. I know the guy's stuck in the 70's, but must he shoehorn Shazam and Plastic Man into everything? The Big Red Cheese looking over at the Atom on his shoulder is grievous revisionism that cannot be tolerated! Ross-- Captain Marvel wasn't a fully DC-owned property until the mid-80's, at which time he very briefly joined Justice League International, and never again since. Here's a thought, why don't you paint the "funny" League for once, perhaps over pencils from Kevin Maguire's 30th variation on his cover to "Justice League #1?" It would be ever so meta. As for Plas, not a Leaguer until the late 90's, so how about working him into a retread of Howard Porter's "JLA #1?" Another thought-- could we maybe use Jack Cole's work as a reference, as I've loathed every interpretation of the character since his creator's passing?

I'm sorry, but I must protest being afflicted by Red Tornado and other perpetual D-listers because they were in the League in the same years "Super Friends" was on the air. If we must go there, can we get Zatanna in the Sindella suit, or with the bug in her hair again? I know that look was a Scarlet Witch knock-off, but the top hat and tails is both sexist and, more importantly, drab. This is supposed to be a super-heroine? Looks more like a party stripper.

For goodness sake, Metamorpho? If you're going to paint the entire DCU third-string, I think it's about time we got to see Paco Ramone, Hank Henshaw, Cyndi Reynolds, and Mari McCabe in their cheese-tastic glory! Let's go to Detroit, blast it! You can maybe reference a "Welcome Back Kotter" cast shot, if that will grease the wheels. It's clearly working on your subconscious, as you grouped all the Detroit team but Batman together in this giclee.

Infinitely Heroic features 18 of the most celebrated heroes in the DC Universe.

Illustrated by award-winning comic book artist, Alex Ross, Infinitely Heroic is painted by Ross in his trademark photo-realistic style. Alex Ross’s artwork adds a new dimension to the exciting graphic world of comic book art by creating renditions of superheroes and villains whose proportion relates to a viewer on more of a human level. Published in an edition of 250 on paper, each fine art Giclee print is hand numbered and then signed by Alex Ross. This print is a companion piece to “Infinitely Evil,” a giclee released in March 2007 which featured 20 ruthless villains from the DC Universe.

Image Size: 14 ½ “ H x 29 “ W Paper Size: 18 ½ “ H x 33” W”
Edition Size: Limited to 250

This product will be in stock on Friday 29 August, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Alter Ego: Vandar Adg
Occupation: Conqueror
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: Scandal Savage (daughter;) Miss Watkins (daughter;) Billy Watkins (grandson;) Roy Harper (descendant;) Lian Harper (descendant)
Group Affiliation: The Society, the Illuminati, the Injustice Society of the World, Tartarus, Locus, Symbolix Corporation
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Green Lantern #10 (Winter, 1943)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 176 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

Vandar Adg was a caveman who stumbled upon a meteor which gave him a variety of super-powers, and more than enough time to master them. Under a myriad of assumed identities has pillaged and manipulated the world for over 50,000 years, throwing in with dictators ranging from Attila the Hun to Adolf Hitler. Savage prefers the role of puppet master, allowing figureheads to take the glory while he retains the true seat of power. Savage founded the Illuminati, a shadow government that supposedly runs the world, before the fall of Atlantis. He has often been involved in the plans of villainous super-teams, sometimes without even the members' knowledge.

20,000 years ago, Vandar Adg was confronted by his first native Martian. "We had so few words, back then, the Cro-Magnons... hardly more than grunts... but every culture has a word for destruction. We called it Dakath... 'The Burning.' It took me two months to figure out a way to slaughter it. In that time... it destroyed thousands. Twenty millennia and five lifetimes of wealth later, I learned where it came from. Mars. It's a Martian." Adg kept the skull in a box for the duration.

Savage's first major recorded run-in with the Martian Manhunter came during the first year of the Justice League of America's operation. Concerned about a new heroic age coming, Savage assailed the group with a variety of villainous collectives. John Jones was the first among the Leaguers to devote serious time to investigating Locus, an criminal organization with ties to Savage. The Earth was soon forced to fend off an invasion from the alien Appellaxians, placing Savage and the Justice League on the same side, though J'Onn J'Onzz was forced to expose himself to great peril to sabotage an attempt by the immortal to adulterate the team while rebuffing the aliens' assault.

Whether Vandal Savage and the Martian Manhunter had sparred before in the interim, their next known engagement began during J'Onzz's time with the Justice League Task Force. Savage pointed out, "Much of my story is familiar to you, old foe." A daughter of Vandal Savage possessed of an x-factor that made her and her son prime candidates as organ "donors" in the event of his needing spare biological "parts" decided the best defense was a lethal offensive. "Miss Watkins" sent an army of assassins to kill her father, or at least disable his operations. Savage tried to manipulate the Task Force into protecting him, but J'Onn J'Onzz soon learned the truth behind the attacks. So did Savage, who decided to personally slay the mother. Shortly after, he learned the Manhunter had actually impersonated Watkins, allowing the woman and her child to escape his wrath. "Your wit is as sharp as ever, J'Onn... You've meddled in my affairs... Soon, I intend to demonstrate exactly how you and your --children-- have displeased me, J'Onn." With that, he blew up their temporary headquarters, and a feud had begun.

Savage familiarized himself with the personal lives of the JLTF. When the team erected their new HQ, Vandal again paid a visit... This time, to kidnap the young hero and potential recruit Damage. Next, he learned the Ray had created his own worst enemy, Death Masque, and was ashamed to call on his teammates to dismantle it. Savage provided Ray with a high-paying job and his mentorship, as well as putting Masque in his place. Before turning to Savage, Ray had asked Triumph for help, and was refused. On learning this, Manhunter was furious. Thanks to Vandal's manipulations, a rift had been created within the group that would never heal. After a brawl between Manhunter and Triumph, the youth was near death, but was saved by Savage, who intended to someday collect on the debt.

The war between Savage and J'Onzz's forces came to an abrupt end, when the demonic Neron presented Triumph with a candle that would allow him to rewrite his personal history. Once it was lit, the continuity of his time in the JLTF became suspect.

Savage would next clash with J'Onzz during a desert battle in Egypt. Driven temporarily insane by the Hourman virus, Savage had unearthed a giant tank from World War II as part of his rampage. The tank was overturned by Manhunter, costing Savage an eye, and earning the Martian an eternal enemy.

After the Martian Manhunter conquered his fear of fire with the aid of villainess-turned-romantic interest Scorch, he was left vulnerable to possession by "The Burning." As "Fernus," the Martian slaughtered a couple hundred of Savage's troops in an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim the "Dakath" skull. With the help of Scorch and information provided by Savage, Fernus was defeated.

Most recently, Vandal Savage was present for the murder of J'Onn J'Onzz by Libra. These things rarely take, however, and it's just as like the Martian Manhunter will return to wage war on the immortal for another 800 centuries, by some accounts.

Powers & Weapons:
Immortal, resistant to injury, and able to accept "donated" organs into his body with relative ease. He has built up an immunity to telepathic probes. He's also superhumanly strong, and can create inter-dimensional warps. Savage's access to these and other powers waver depending on his physical, mental, and spiritual condition.

Quote: "Is that what you think I am? A criminal? I am Cro-Magnon... I have lived a thousand lifetimes. Crime is so...pedestrian."

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Real Name: William MacIntyre
Occupation: Sculpture, Former student and investor
Group Affiliation: None, Formerly Justice League Task Force
Base of Operations: JLA Trophy Room, Earth's Moon
First Appearance: Justice League International #67 (August, 1994)
Height: Estimated between 6'0" and 6'2"
Weight: Approximatly 210-225 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Grey, formerly blonde

Jimmy MacIntyre was a super-villain, or at least one of their hoods, until he was busted years ago. In an attempt to keep his son Billy Mac on the straight and narrow, he asked Hourman to visit him one night. Having already discovered his father's criminal past, Billy Mac was a loner, but the visit made him dive even deeper into himself. He decided he wanted to become a super-hero, and began training both mind and body at an early age. By seventeen, he had a body-builder's physique, martial arts degrees, and working knowledge of science and criminology. He eventually developed powers as a byproduct of his father's career. Learning of an alien threat, he studied them, gathered equipment, and meticulously planned his strike. He also studied the new heroes of his time, learning their weaknesses, so he could command them in battle.

In short, Triumph was obsessed, more concerned with his own stature and gratification than helping his fellow man. He was egotistical, overbearing, aggressive, and reckless. He gathered together for the first time the heroes that would later form the Justice League, but would have sacrificed the lives of The Flash and Aquaman for his own glory. When the Manhunter stood in his way, he attacked his teammate, and set off a temporal explosion that thrust him ten years into the future. As it was happening, he was deciding on his heroic code-name.

Returning to reality during Zero Hour, he sought aid from what was left of the Justice League in defending the world against the aliens that started his career. His claims were met with ridicule, so he decided to punch the Tasmanian Devil through a window to show he meant business. While L-Ron/Despero erected a telepathic shield to protect bystanders from falling teammates and debris, Triumph fought Crimson Fox, Elongated Man, and Fire for no good reason. This attracted the attention of the ancient Atlantean sorcerer Arion, who broke things up. While the rest of the JLI decided to give Triumph the benefit of the doubt by heading to Washington D.C., Fire stayed behind. When The Manhunter returned, she informed him of the return of the JLA's founding member. "I've never met anyone named 'Triumph.'"

When Triumph spotted the Capitol Dome, which had been destroyed by the aliens in his past, he realized the time/space drive that kicked him into the future had also wiped the battle from the world's memory. That included J'Onn J'Onzz, who had traced his teammates' course. After receiving a telepathic status report from L-Ron/Despero, he delivered a well-deserved beating to the pompous Triumph. Received a theraputic kiss from an easily impressed Crimson Fox, a concussed Triumph remembered that the aliens' weakness was sonics. Finally heeding MM's decade old advice to attempt peaceful communications with the aliens, Triumph successfully called for an end to hostilities.

Turned down by seventy-seven universities upon his return, Triumph joined the Justice League Task Force instead, and immediately began undermining the Manhunter's authority on the team. He feigned a dispute with the Ray to cover their covertly exploring the headquarters of Vandal Savage during a mission. They were immediately detected, and the move only served to embarrass Manhunter. Later, Triumph bungled a break-in at one of Savage's offices, setting off a bomb which blew up one floor of the skyscraper. Later still, he and his team was trapped on Savage's island headquarters, with the place is set to explode. Powerless, Triumph stood watching Savage, waiting for him to open some secret escape route. While the rest of his team saved their lives, Triumph did nothing except expect a last-minute save that didn't exist. Savage believed Triumph was fascinated by his Machiavellian scheming, and wished to emulate the immortal. His continued actions would bare that out.

Even after numerous warnings, Triumph continues to go behind Manhunter's back for his own ends. Once, believing he had deduced the Manhunter's secret identity, he led the team in formulating a practical joke against MM's presumed alias. Instead, two members nearly died at the hands of a telepath named Von Mauler. After The Ray quit the JLTF, he needed help in dealing with his nemesis, Death Masque. Without consulting J'Onn J'Onzz, Triumph refused to provide assistance in the team's name, leading Ray to accept Vandal Savage's aid.

This was the final straw. On learning the truth, the very angry Martian Manhunter beat Triumph like a red-headed stepchild, then fired him from the team. Unbeknownst to Manhunter, Triumph had suffered a spinal injury on a solo mission, and nearly died from the extra trauma inflicted by J'Onzz. After a self-serving attempt to patch things up with Ray, he returned to JLTF like a stray puppy. While his membership was not actually restored, he tagged along on a mission to save L-Ron, which led to a battle in Skartaris.

Triumph was given a candle by the demonic entity called Neron. Should he light it, the ten years he lost in time would be returned to him, at the cost of his soul. Later, he saved Gypsy's life in outer space, but not out of any concern for her safety. "I was too scared to go after you--I thought better you than me...[but] I knew it would look bad if I didn't! ...I weighed the pros and cons of saving you--then I let you believe I was some kind of hero!!" At a Christmas party, Triumph made peace with his fellow heroes, but was still turned down for League membership. After starting a brawl, he left, then debated lighting Neron's candle. Triumph decided against it, but it is accidentally lit by The Ray. That's when continuity got weird.

It is revealed that the pre-Justice League Triumph gathered opted not to stay together, so he didn't get the credit he longed for there. Billy MacIntyre's powers were stolen by Amazo, never to return, and parts of his anatomy were left reduced by a shrink ray. Apparantly, Triumph was still a member of the JLTF, but as a loser also-ran instead of as a rookie. At some point, MacIntyre swiped some souvenirs from the JLA trophy room, including a pen containing a 5th Dimensional Imp named LKZ. Down on his luck, MacIntyre tried to sell these items to a two-bit supervillain, who decided to just kill Billy Mac for kicks. Tempted by LKZ (pronounced "look-o's"), Triumph freed the imp, who killed his captors. The Imp restored Triumph's powers, then wrecked havok in Keystone City. Triumph contacted Ray and Gypsy, taking mental control of his friends, and directing them in invading the JLA's Watchtower. "Let's go live on the moon now."

After ironically taking out the android version of Hourman with an electromagnetc pulse, Triumph sat in Superman's meeting room chair. "After all these years...the throne's mine. This is the way it should have happened ten years ago." Steel disagreed, and ended up with his armor ripped off his body. John Henry Irons narrowly managed to escape into a vent shaft. Triumph's plan was to allow LKZ to defeat the combined might of the JLA and JSA, then ride in with his League to save the day. Pretty weak plan, especially after Batman learned of it, and took down the controlled Ray. Triumph retaliated successfully, beating both Batman and Superman. That is, until Steel turned the Watchtower's security system on Billy Mac. The Spectre finished the job, turning Triumph into a statue made of ice. It is unknown whether Triumph survived the destruction of the Watchtower a bit afterward, but he has not been seen since.

Originally, Triumph drew power from Earth's magnetic field. He could manipulate electromagnetic energy, allowing him to fly, create forcefields, "read" electronic messages, trace energy signatures, emit energy pulses, manipulate objects, enhance his strength, and other formitable abilities. When empowered by 5th dimensional energies, he could mentally control people, had 360º "hyper-senses," super-speed, and could mentally syphon energy. Triumph claimed to be Superman's superior at this level, while slowly killing the Man of Steel by draining his solar cells. It is unknown if Triumph retained these powers after LKZ imprisonment.

Vulnerable to microwave radiation.

Quote: "See, you and Ray were my League, Gypsy, the losers nobody remembered or cared about when the headliners climbed back on stage like it was a Beatles reunion."

Created by Ruben Diaz, Brian Augustyn, Mark Waid, Christopher Priest and Howard Porter.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bob Rozakis on The Vixen #1 (Nov-Dec 1978)

"THE VIXEN No.1, November-December. "Who Is The Vixen" is by Gerry Conway, Bob Oksner, and Vince Colleta. Fashion model Mari McCabe comes in contact with the Tantu Totem, and suddenly regains her long forgotten past, as well as the powers and abilities of three animals. At the United Nations, she attacks the African ruler who murdered her father, years ago."

That was the synopsis given by The Comic Reader #159 (August 1978) as part of their announcement of DC titles caught in the infamous "Implosion." You can read in great detail the circumstances in this article at Dial "B" For Blog. The gist is the suits at Warner Brothers and sales impacted by heavy snows conspired to cut DC comic production by 40% in one fell swoop, robbing what should have been the first African-American super-heroine with her own title. I'm quite fond of Mari McCabe, and am pleased that she's begun to get her due a quarter-century later through the Justice League of America comic and cartoon.

Dial "B" For Blog covered the first issue of her non-series, among many others here. That's also where I got the art poorly and hastily colored under duress by myself above. According to that blog, "Created by Gerry Conway with Carla Conway... The story's final caption reads: "THE END…AND THE BEGINNING." Vixen finally made her official debut three years later, in Action Comics #521." You can also find the splash page for the aborted project there.

Unsatisfied with those slim details (wrapped in an otherwise highly informative article,) I cast about on the internet for more. Luckily, I came upon the Answer Man Bob Rozakis' synopsis of the issue, as part of fantastically extensive coverage of Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, the only place Vixen's story ever saw print. Here's what he had to say...

"The last full-length book included in is THE VIXEN #1. Is she the same character who finally debuted in ACTION COMICS #521, three years after the DC Implosion? The same one who became a member (with Vibe and Gypsy) of what's been referred to as the Justice League of Detroit? Well, yes…and no.

Super-model Marilyn McCabe is on top of the fashion world and a modern businesswoman, but after seeing President Manitoba of the African nation of D'Mulla on TV, she faints. This brings back awful memories of her childhood, memories buried in her subconscious oft her father being murdered by Manitoba.

After consulting with her attorney and realizing she can not pursue Manitoba from a legal standpoint, Marilyn discovers that a necklace left with her by her father has mystical powers. It awakens powers within Marlyn and she dons the costume of The Vixen.

The Vixen learns that Manitoba, while now preaching peace, intends to unite all of Africa under his rule…by force. His true mission in coming to the United States is not to preach peace, but to murder the sole remaining witness to his crimes in his own country. Luckily, The Vixen is there to save the day. In the battle that ensues, Manitoba is killed by his own manic attack, bringing down a massive cross which crushes him.

The story ends with Marilyn feeling that a new energy has taken control of her, that she has been reborn. And the bottom caption promises us that this is "The End…and The Beginning." (Well, so, it took three years before she actually appeared. Maybe she was just a slow starter…)

Beginning with issue #2, there was to be a back-up feature in THE VIXEN, one that I was going to be writing. It never got past script stage… and a few columns from now, I'll be sharing all the details about a series SO canceled that it never even made it into CCC!"

So there you go. Hopefully The Vixen #1 will be available for us all, but until then, I'm happy to have enough details to keep me quiet in the meantime.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Justice League Task Force #8 (1/94)

Martian Manhunter: Unable to locate the briefcase containing the virus, the transgendered extraterrestrial opted to marry the queen of the Daals and be taken to the "holy place" where it was stored. "Your request to consummate our mating at the holy place is most unusual, Joan. But your happiness in my preeminent desire." J'Onzz argued that he/she had little choice in the matter, and resented not being consulted on much of anything. Her-Who-Must-Be-Served began to cry, thinking "Joan" hated her, and forced the Martian to sooth her wounded heart. At the holy place, J'Onzz again asked for the briefcase. "I shall tell you afterwards, Joan. Nothing shall distract me from this moment, which I have so long anticipated. Look upon me, Joan J'Onzz. Look at her who loves you, in all her glory." Her glory, it seemed, included a penis.

"Every generation, there is a Daal who is half male, half female. Thus is our species perpetuated... Relax, Joan J'Onzz, it is our time of joining." As this wasn't a hentai comic, our Martian transformed into his usual masculine self. "...all right, that's it! There's only so far I'm going with this!" In a moment of (perhaps understandable) homophobia, J'Onzz grabbed Her-Who-Must-Be-Served's swinging arm and forced it behind her back, then used his other fist to ball a handful of hair and position Her's privates in the opposite direction. The case was located, and everyone exited out of an active volcano... with much hesitation...

"My fear of fire... it's psychosomatic. I... I shouldn't... but it's just so.. so hot... I can do this! Just... don't look down!" While the otherworldly wuss waffled, Her-Who-Must-Be-Served snuck up behind him, and leapt on his back! "It was a lie! You were laughing at me! All the time, secretly laughing! I thought I loved you, but there was nothing there to love! You don't care about me! You never--!" In her scorned fit, Her-Who-Must-Be-Served failed to notice the trouble Martian Manhunter was having remaining aloft, though he dove to rescue Her from the lava after she took a tumble. "Her... I am... I am truly sorry. I am sorry to have deceived you. But I was never laughing at you. I..." Her-Who-Must-Be-Served wiped away her tears, and said, "I don't want your apologies. You've saved my life. The least I can do... is give you back yours." J'Onzz became "Joan" one more time, and kissed Her-Who-Must-Be-Served on the cheek. "If you ever change your mind, Joan J'Onzz... I shall be here."

J'Onn J'Onzz confided in Gypsy, "There is a tempting simplicity in the notion of shirking everything... living in a 'romantic' underground world. But I think our physical relationship would be... strained." Gypsy figured that was his call, as he could become "Joan" at will. "Perhaps, but not a decision I choose to make."

Dolphin: Perhaps anxious about her speaking streak, kept quiet for most of the issue. Cried at the wedding of J'Onzz to Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, then trailed the pair from a river. Found the briefcase containing the virus anchored to the river bottom. Both were carried to safety by the Manhunter.

Maxima: Found all this lesbianism disgusting and unnatural. Sneered at the Daals and hauled Vixen around. Used a psionic field to block the Daals pursuit of the group through the cavern of exit. Demanded of J'Onn J'Onzz as he struggled with his then-psychosomatic weakness to fire, "For God's sake, stop your simpering... and act like a woman!"

Wonder Woman: Asked "Who are you to say, Maxima, what means of satisfaction is appropriate for a woman?" As for how the Amazons of Themyscira dealt with the lack of men, "All I'll say is... We don't call it 'Paradise Island' for nothing." When a drunken Luta tried to take out her murderous rage at her queen's marrying someone other than her on the captive agent, Diana came to the rescue to free the male. Rejoined her team to fly those unable out of the underground city.

Vixen: Had girl talk with her teammates during the downtime. Joked of Wonder Woman's home "I always figured not having men around was enough reason for it to be paradise." Called on powers of the bird to follow J'Onzz and Her-Who-Must-Be-Served in the air. Upon the queen's big reveal, "Wow. Y'know, I guessed the secret of 'The Crying Game,' but this I never saw coming!" Fought the Daals again, and was stabbed in the leg while protecting Maxima. Carried by Maxima in return for the rest of the mission. Thought the theory of the Daals coming from outer space was dumb.

Gypsy: After "Joan" was bathed by courtesans, she ordered everyone out, then turned attention elsewhere. "Gypsy... your camouflage powers don't hide you from me. I was quite specific that I didn't want any of you in here during this... farce... If you ever...I mean ever...tell Blue Beetle...or Guy...or Booster..." Gypsy offered J'Onzz two Midol, then tailed Luta to the "Only Man" as directed. "And Batman! For God's sake, don't tell Batman!" Hit a guard on the head, then identified herself to the captive. "'Gypsy'? Like the stripper?" Our heroine responded, "In your dreams, pal." She noted that since he didn't know where his briefcase with the virus was taken, he'd have to stay in jail until after the wedding of "Joan" to Her-Who-Must-Be-Served. Invisibly tracked the newlyweds, then found a cave leading back to the surface world. When Gypsy agreed with Vixen's criticism of J'Onn's alien theory as far-fetched, one look at him made her reconsider. "Sorry. What was I thinking?" After J'Onzz shared his reflection on the opportunity Her-Who-Must-Be-Served offered, Gypsy surmised, "Hey, J'Onn... life sure is a vi--"
"That's enough Gypsy... Quite enough."

The Creators: Peter David really got away with some liberal naughty talk here, but made sure to repeatedly assert the Martian Manhunter was all man. Seeing how J'Onn started assuming female identities irregularly in the "JLA" years, sometimes in the presence of guys like Batman, one assumes he either became more comfortable, or even "comfortable," in heels. I do kind of hope his aversion to teh peener remained in place, if only because the "Manhunter" jokes would grow ever so tiresome. I seem to recall David mentioning in an interview that he wasn't allowed to show J'Onn kiss Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, as Sal never drew the lips making contact (though the breast rubbing that replaced it seems even more titillating.) What's funny is that it's a lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual kiss simultaneously, completing the LGBT BLT...

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "Joan" -Gypsy
"J'Onn" -Gypsy, Maxima
"Joan J'Onzz, the Martian Womanhunter" -Narrator

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Justice League Task Force #7 (12/93)

Hannibal Martin: In remote Africa, a government operative carrying a deadly canister filled with viral agents found himself trapped in a hidden underground city. Though captured by green-skinned amazons called The Daal, he was allowed to send word to the outside world. Only fellow females would be allowed to reclaim this male agent, so Wonder Woman, Vixen, Dolphin, Maxima, and Gypsy were gathered for the job. J'Onn's leadership was still required in Martin's eyes: "Besides, you saw... they're green... and don't think you can spend the whole time invisible. I want you at the forefront of this group!"

Martian Manhunter: "Considering that I am male, how do you propose I... I... oh, you can't be serious!" J'Onzz considered his pre-operative options in solitude, then refused to come out. Martin threatened to drag him out. "'Drag' is an... unfortunate choice of words... A leader cannot lead if he appears ludicrous to those who would follow him... You'll laugh... Very well. I'm trusting you to be mature about this." Out stepped Martian Manhunter in very female form, his chest straps converted to a bra, plus a thong to replace his usual banana hammock, plus thigh-high boots. Everyone did laugh at him, but Martin consoled, "For what it's worth... I think you look adorable!" J'Onzz rolled her eyes and pushed off with his team in a submarine.

Wonder Woman: Sobbed over Manhunter's selection of "An Affair To Remember" as a movie to entertain the ladies before the mission briefing. "What a noble woman she is. So proud and self-sacrificing..." Promised she wouldn't make fun of J'Onn's gender-bending, but stifled a smile. Paired off with J'Onzz when exiting the submersible. Caught an arrow in midair that nearly struck Maxima, then blocked a great many more with her lighting swift bracelets.

Gypsy: Went "Bwa-hah-ha" at J'Onzz's choice of a pre-briefing movie. "This is the dopiest thing I've ever seen... why did you think we'd like this film?" Wondered where J'Onn got the femmes who fell for the flick. Asked, "J'Onn, what's the deal? We know you're a shapeshifter. One shape should be like another to you. You're worried about nothing." Among the loudest to laugh at the Martian Womanhunter. While J'Onzz captained the underwater vessel, opined "We won't get lost. I mean, now that you're a woman, you'd stop and ask for directions, right?" Stuffed Dolphin in a torpedo tube. Repeatedly mocked Wonder Woman, and even threw Mari a bit of shade. Knocked out Daals while invisible.

Dolphin: Sniffled during the movie with Diana. Laughed at the gender change. Revealed, probably for the first time in her long but spotty existence, that she could speak. Drew piranha that could eat through metal away from the sub, then guided her teammates to safety ashore.

Maxima: When J'Onzz explained his rental with, "Blue Beetle said he'd heard women found it moving," replied quite irritably that only her stomach was moved. "I will never understand women... not that I'll ever understand humans as a whole, but women are especially perplexing!" Scolded J'Onzz at his apprehension over assuming "womanhood," but made sport of him all the same. Shocked when Dolphin spoke, then noted that once she got going, she wouldn't shut up. Couldn't keep the damaged sub together, but rescued Gypsy in an air bubble. Guided along with teammates by the High Priestess Luta to the queen of the Daals, Her-Who-Must-Be-Served.

Vixen: Said of the movie, "Maxima's right, J'Onn. This is really pathetic." Announced at the transformation, "Oh, God... it's JOAN J'ONZZ!" Continued through the mission, to which the subject pleaded, "don't call me Joan!" Helped Gypsy and Maxima get to shore with the abilities of a fish. Joined team in battling Daals, as they were having their mettle tested in preparation for meeting the queen. Saw her dubbing of "Joan" mimicked by Wonder Woman in introducing J'Onzz to Her-Who-Must-Be-Served, who declared the Martian the one she's waited her life for as a worthy mate.

The Creators: As soon as you hear "McGuffin Virus," you know pun-happy comics humorist Peter David can't be far. David had a ball with the Burroughs-inspired amazons and the female cast, especially Gypsy's sarcasm and the more transgressive elements. Sal Velluto and Jeff Albrecht fulfilled the cover promise, "The Martian Manhunter as you've never seen him!" Velluto was still in his transition between the coarseness of his Marvel work and his slicker Neal Adams look to come, so the quality varied by the panel. Still, "Joan" was stunning, and Sal seemed to relish the opportunity to present so many strong and lovely heroines.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "Joan J'onzz" -Vixen
"Joan" -Vixen and Wonder Woman
"J'Onn" -Gypsy, Vixen & Wonder Woman
"J'Onzz"- Hannibal Martin