Thursday, August 12, 2010

JLApe part eight, Martian Manhunter Annual #2, "Fear and Loathing on the Planet of the Apes"

That is a pretty good title, there. The last chapter of JLApe begins with J'onn J'onzz telling of his time in the wild, not merely observing, but living with the apes. In the form of an ape, J'onn observes the anthropologists observing the apes, until poachers kill both while J'onn is away. Experiencing "the intensely focused madness of primate rage," J'onn holds back and instead telepathically induces in the poachers a compulsion to confess.

From the whole experience, and humanity's "persistant misrepresentation" of other primates in movies, TV, and comics; J'onn attributes it to a subconscious projection of man's brutal nature to their innocent monkey relatives. "In the ape," J'onn realizes, "Mankind sees a reflection of itself as it would be if freed from the constraints of civilization."

It's usually safe to say, J'onn has a unique perspective on things. But he does cop to overphilosophizing about the current gorilla invasion, and he beams up to the JLA Watchtower, to confer with Batman. J'onn and Bats are both a little snarky today, but they both may have been up for days at this point. While Bats catches the rest of the JLA up, J'onn sets out to get some intel on Grodd, and Aquaman is still pursuing the apes' sub Kong. The Kong opens fire on an American sub, and even though they're apes, the American apes move to retaliate.

As detective John Jones, the Martian Manhunter interviews Detective Chimp, Monsieur Mallah, Congorilla, and Sam Simeon of Angel and the Ape. (That last one, J'onn meets as the Manhunter, since he knows Sam is a fan.) All three tell of Grodd's brutal ambition, but Sam admits when he chose to leave Gorilla City and become a comic-book artist, his brother Grodd was the only one to support him.

In Africa, the JLA evacuates Gorilla City, and J'onn shows up after piecing the puzzle together: Grodd has been turning people into gorillas, because he can siphon off their mental energies. Grodd gives J'onn the monkey equivalent of a slow-clap for figuring it out, because by this point Grodd's sucking the juice of several million gorillas...that line didn't turn out right. Grodd forces J'onn into his pointy-headed mode ('Gumby') but J'onn just takes it, "venerating in the presence of a superior mind." He professes his admiration for Grodd and his courage, in sacrificing his ego and transcending the material universe.

Grodd has no idea what that's about, and J'onn explains he won't just be absorbing all that mental energy, Grodd will become "the foundation of a wonderful syncretic collective." Grodd will lose his identity, to a larger gorilla group mind; and Grodd didn't sign up for that crap: he rejects the power, and goes into shock.

Aaaaand the rest is all clean-up: Ulgo apologizes to the JLA, and pledges to work for peace in Solovar's name. Steel and Batman write up the plans for a "de-apifying resonator" that Green Lantern can make with his ring and restore humanity. And J'onn admits that everything he told Grodd was a lie, since he knew anyone with an ego like his would never be able to give it up.

Scans from Martian Manhunter Annual #2, "Fear and Loathing on the Planet of the Apes" Written by Len Kaminski, pencils by Gus Vasquez, inks by Mark Propst and Claude St. Aubin.

1 comment:

plainwater said...

Monsieur Mallah! I have to say quite seriously that Monsieur Mallah and the Brain are my favorite gay couple in all comicdom.