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How Martian Manhunter Became the Animated Justice League’s Heart

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
How Martian Manhunter Became the Animated Justice League’s Heart

The Wrap-Up

Design-y

One image from the DCAU that always works is Batman defiantly holding tiny amounts of Kryptonite. He uses it here against A.M.A.Z.O.

Continuity Notes

The comics’ Amazo bears little resemblance to A.M.A.Z.O. Aside from the redesign, he’s typically referred to only as “the android.” (The producers felt uneasy with the various “-o” villains from the Silver Age comics.) Making his name an acronym was the show’s attempt at updating the android while providing a nod to the comics.

I Love the Early Aughts

A sassy victim of Screamthief declares she’s “About as scary as O-Town.” Google this reference at your own risk.

Hey, I Know that Voice

Lisa Edelstein returns as Mercy Graves. She’ll later become famous as Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House.  Robert Picardo voices A.M.A.Z.O.  You might remember him as Coach Cutlip in The Wonder Years, the Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager, and Agent Woolsey on Stargate.

Battle of the J’onzzes

More than one writer has used J’onn’s view of humanity as a way of exploring deeper themes in the superhero context. Siegal’s story has him recognizing his own alienation amongst humanity. “Tabula Rasa” pits J’onn against our darkest thoughts. (Given just how offended J’onn is by humanity, you’d think all Martians were saints.) Berkowitz’s story has more to do with the corruption of innocence, with Luthor starring as a Satan-like figure. Both stories have potentially cheesy moments, but manage to skirt the edge and get their point across. One has J’onn seeing himself in humanity. Another has him recognizing our complexity.

Fine work, and the Adventures issue deserves credit for exploring this first.  But “Tabula Rasa” has one advantage — Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor. “Tabula Rasa” is Luthor at his nastiness, which is pure fun to watch.

That’s all for now. If you have any episodes of an animated series you’d like to see paired with its tie-in comic, just leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.

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