Friday, July 21, 2006

Brave New Frontier

This one's for the geeks.

DC's coming out with an all-new Martian Manhunter series and as much as I dig J'onn...well, I just ain't interested in this one. It just seems like they're trying to jam the character into a new edgier and extreme look and characterization. Because that worked so well in the past.

I'm sure everyone involved has the best of intentions, but with all due respect, I think they're missing the core coolness of the character.

What kind of Martian Manhunter series would I like to read?

One by Darwyn Cooke. I'd like to see a retro take on the character, maybe even jumping off from his version in New Frontier. It could be self-contained, either set in the 50s/60s or set in that vague, neo-50s world Cooke seems to conjure up every time he puts pencil to paper. Done-in-one stories that aren't beholden to any one continuity but could easily slide into any given time frame.

I'd make it less of a superhero book and more of a sci-fi/pulp detective serial. Explore J'onn's trials and tribulations as he tries to fit in to a world not his own. An intergalactic detective of sorts, disguised as the very humans he has little understanding of, as he works to solve bizarre mysteries in seemingly ordinary locales. An offbeat noir starring an alien shapeshifter trying desperately to make sense of a seemingly senseless world.

A mix of Spillane and a ray of Chandler, a dash of Hammett, a helping of Wells, and maybe a pinch of Dick...

At once light-hearted and brooding, comical and poignant, J'onn J'onzz has the potential to delve into the mysterious underbelly of our world and perhaps truly discover that most precious secret of all: what it means to be truly human.

That's the series I'd like to read.