Justice League Adventures #10
DC Comics (October, 2002)
“Must There Be A Martian Manhunter?”
WRITER: Josh Siegal
PENCILER: Chris Jones
INKER: Christian Alamy
COLORIST: John Kalisz
SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age
LETTERER: Kurt Hathaway
EDITOR: Steve Wacker
The Justice League squares off against Screamthief, a villain powered by fear who can make fear into reality. This includes the fear of someone Superman tries to rescue, fearful that Screamthief can find a way to defeat Superman. With the Man Of Steel in recovery J’onn sees that his loss is negatively affecting Metropolis and so impersonates Superman to build their courage back up. It does work but when he realizes Screamthief’s own fears are still giving her power it takes the understanding of the Martian Manhunter to help with their similar insecurities, thus ending her power.
What they got right: Some of my favorite DCAU Justice League tales are the ones that compare Superman and Martian Manhunter. While J’onn has chosen a more human-like form for the one he runs around in (I don’t know at what point in the DC Universe’s history the writers decided that wasn’t his true form) it still doesn’t connect to people the way Superman does despite them both being aliens. While “Superman’s” message helps the people fight against Screamthief’s fears it’s J’onn’s own character development that ultimately saves the day. It does go over the impact Superman has on people, but shows J’onn that what he does is still important and he’s just as much a hero as Superman and the others. John Stewart comes off a little better in this issue as the gruff military side that seemed to be the only characteristic he had in previous issues is allowed to show a more human side of himself.
What they got wrong: When Screamthief overcomes her fears and insecurities about her past and hands over the fear earrings why does she physically breakdown and disappear? I thought she was just an otherwise ordinary girl with a bad physical deformity?
Recommendation: A good story, a good one-shot villain, and a good message. This is an issue worth checking out.