Martian Manhunter (vol.2) #24 (November, 2000)
“Revelations | Double Stuff”
Writer – John Ostrander
Guest Pencils – Doug Mahnke
Guest Inks – Pat Gleason
Letters – Bill Oakley
Colors – Carla Feeny
Color Separations – Jamison
Associate Editor – L.A. Williams
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.50
After spending the last several months (it’s been months, right?) wading through Titans Hunt, it’s pretty refreshing to read something just a little bit different.
Before we get into the issue itself, the Revelations arc that ran through Martian Manhunter was a handful of stories which showed J’onn throughout different eras of DC History, and depicted him rubbing shoulders with folks like Superman, Batman, Abin Sur… it provided (perhaps newer) turn-of-the-century readers with context to illustrate where J’onn’s been and why he is so important.
I think we’ll eventually cover it in full, but… there’s just something about this particular issue that makes me want to put it at the front of the line!
We open back in the days on the Justice League International. We’re at the New York Embassy, and J’onn is sharing the story of the time he’d lost his… cookies! Being something of a Cookie Monster myself, I can see how troublesome this could be. Turns out he didn’t so much lose them, as they were hidden from him by Booster and Beetle.
After bragging to Guy, Fire and Ice about the theft (as well as buying up every Choco in a few mile radius)… they bolt outta the place. Just then, a fired up J’onn returns to the living room… and he ain’t pleased.
The other Leaguers play coy… they sure don’t want to be the ones to break the news and suffer J’onn’s wrath. J’onn goes from positively psychotic… to “hey, it’s all good” when he realizes he can just trudge up the block to the store and buy some more. Well… about that.
We rejoin Booster and Beetle as they tap into a camera at the local convenience store. J’onn is there trying to procure some Chocos… and is… ehh, a bit miffed that they’re sold out.
Then… we get one of the best panels put to paper. J’onn “hulks up”… we definitely wouldn’t like him when he’s
J’onn rampages through the streets of New York… flipping over cars and everything! It’s really quite the scene. Booster and Beetle finally realize their little gag might’ve gone a bit too far, and intervene. Beetle lets it slip that they were behind the cookie-heist… whiiiiich, might not have been the best idea.
J’onn doesn’t react all that well. I mentioned he “hulked up” earlier, well… now we go full-blown Hulk!
Booster and Beetle do their damnedest to take to the air and flee. Elsewhere, Maxwell Lord is meeting with his contact at the United Nations. Looks like the U.N. has lost a measure of confidence in the Lord-led Justice League International… and is considering severing ties. Max doesn’t like the sound of this, and so… his nose starts to bleed.
Just then, Booster and Beetle fly by… followed quickly by Hulk-J’onn. The windows of the U.N. shatter… annnnnd Max’s nose bleeds again. Such a funny scene!
We rejoin the pursuit with J’onn crashing through the roof of a warehouse. Lucky for all of us, it’s a Chocos warehouse! He digs into the loot, and regains his composure. He is soon cornered by Max and a bunch of “official-looking” fellas. It’s really great, J’onn’s just sitting there eating, like it’s no big thing.
Back at the Embassy, Max holds a little intervention with J’onn. He suggests that the Martian Manhunter’s cravings for delicious sandwich cookies might be signs of… addiction. Batman joins in via video-monitor, and actually goes as far as to refer to J’onn as a *gasp* “Chocos Junkie”!
J’onn ain’t buyin’ it… after all, he could kick the Chocos habit anytime he pleases. Max decides to put this to the test… whiiiiich goes exactly how you might imagine it would.
At this point, J’onn realizes that… yeah, he might just have a little problem when it comes to impulse control when in the presence of Chocos. And so, he focuses inward… to purge himself of this addiction. An addiction that takes the form of… a Venom-like symbiote?!?!
After J’onn evicts the beastie, it immediately looks to rejoin it’s old host. Unfortunately, Tora hops in its way… and takes it into herself. It’s revealed that her craving is for… delicious baby seal? Well, that’s disturbing.
Guy Gardner blasts the beast… which only makes it hop into him! We learn that Guy craves… his mommy… specifically, his mommy’s womb. We should’a known.
Then, the symbiote hops into Fire… and it’s confirmed that she craves attention. Yeah, nobody could’ve seen that coming. Off to the side, Booster and Beetle are taking notes… this is definitely information they can profit off of later on down the line!
The symbiote makes one final stop… into the body of Maxwell Lord. He wants everyone to do what he says… particularly Wonder Woman. We… won’t go any deeper into that.
J’onn’s finally had enough of this… and so, he collects the symbiote in a glass canister and delivers it to Reed Richa… errr… um… no, he actually just uses his heat vision on it. Once it’s gone, so too is his addiction. He walks over to Booster and Beetle to… thank them, for helping him save him from himself. Meanwhile, Tora is still crying over eating baby seals.
We wrap up with the realization that this entire issue has been a story told to Kyle Rayner. Once Kyle leaves, Wonder Woman reveals that she’d overheard it, and… really doesn’t remember anything like that happening. Welllll… that’s because it didn’t.
Well, dang… it’s not that often we get to read something that flat-out fun! I haven’t talked much about J’onn here over the years… but, the Martian Manhunter as part of the JLI has always been a favorite of mine. He’s usually depicted as the only sane person in the room… though, there’s also a feeling that if he’s cool hanging around all of these nuts… he might just be the craziest of them all.
I usually refer to him as “Dick Loudon” from Newhart. He looks like the he’s cool and collected… but you get the feeling he could fray at any moment… like say, if someone stole his cookies. Hey, I get it… cookies are important. I know I’ve had days where I looked forward to getting home and having a sweet snack… only to find that the wife had nabbed it by the time I get there! It’s that weird, irrational anger… where I’m not sure if I’m more ticked that the snack is missing… or that I’ll have to put my shoes back on and head out to the store.
It was cute that so many “Marvel-ous” elements were included in this silly story. Having J’onn “Hulk out” was a lot of fun to watch… and was especially antithetical to his usual demeanor. With the underlying issue being his missing cookies… it’s almost too much fun. I mean, at this point, it was obvious that we were reading an “imaginary story”, but I was enjoying myself too much to even care.
Another Marvel-ous touch… a craving symbiote?! Too funny… and helpfully facilitated revealing some of the other Leaguers’ deepest-darkest cravings. Some were obvious… okay, all but Tora’s were obvious… all told though, it was a pretty cute scene.
I’m a fan of Doug Mahnke… but, I gotta say, there were a few unpleasant-looking panels here. I know sunken and deeply-shadowed eyes are one of his hallmarks, but sometimes it’s just off-putting. Overall though, I feel like he did a great job conveying this weird mix of action, emotion, and humor.
This issue comes with one of my higher recommendations… it’s really just pure fun. You don’t need to be following the Martian Manhunter (or even JLA) series to “get” this issue. You could just read this one, and have a blast with it. As luck would have it, this bugger is available digitally!
Letters Page (Featuring Michael Bailey and Paul Hicks!):