Saturday, February 23, 2008

ARTWORK: Kevin MaguireDuring the week, [Men are from Mars], we did a little spotlight on two of my favourite stories starring the Martian Manhunter, each adding definitive layers to the martian who found an adopted home on Earth, and became one of our greatest protectors.

When you really think about it, Earth's been pretty fortunate when it comes to alien invasions. I mean, sure, there's always going to be some bad Skrull-apples in the bunch, but for the most part Earth has been blessed with some of the universe's most fantastic alien protectors!

Though they sometimes attract war mongers from space, these heroes from the stars bring us a new hope as our tiny planet continues to warrant notice from undesirable types in space, beckoned by our emenating presence throughout the fictional galaxies. Ponder with us, as we take a look at stories featuring the top five ranks alien protectors, and appreciate the evils they fight!

Silver Surfer #13 (July 1988)
"Masques!" Englehart/Staton

Earth is poised to soon discover a Skrull invasion in their midsts, but they need only look to the stars to know they are anything but the first! On a distant Kree world the Supreme Intelligence has charged his greatest champion, Ronan the Accuser, with the task of weeding out insubordination and treachery from within their ranks!

Ronan unwittingly becomes an agent of the enemy as he bends to their whims, travelling into space on a special mission to eradicate one of the Skrull's most powerful enemies: the Silver Surfer!
It's a spontaneous spat of Kree science vs power cosmic, with Frankie Raye caught in the middle!

Spider-man Unlimited #2 (August 1993)
"The Hatred, The Horror and The Hero" DeFalco/Lim

It was on Battleworld, home to the Beyonder, that Spider-man unwittingly came into contact with an alien symbiote that would change his life forever. Though threat of bondage would be averted, the symbiote would linger on Earth to gain it's revenge through the vessel of Eddie Brock!

Soon the symbiote would spawn an offspring which would bond with the serial killer Cletus Kassidy, who would use his newfound power to spread Carnage throughout New York City. Though reluctant, Venom finds himself forced to team-up with the web-slinger and a band of other NY heroes to protect the innocent, and put a stop to the familial terror of
the deranged, villainous troupe spreading Maximum Carnage!

Action Comics #713 (September 1995)
"Scarlet Salvation" Michelinie/Dwyer/Rodier

Born on distant Krypton; a tiny child named Kal-El is sent across space in a rocketship to evade certain doom on a planet destined for destruction. Having crash landed in Kansas, the child would be raised as Clark Kent, only to grow into Earth's mightiest hero, Superman!

When the beastial alien called Doomsday arrives on Earth, Superman pays the ultimate price to defeat the killer, and protect Earth from his violent rampage -- or so it seems! Superman is eventually restored, but not everyone is pleased to see him. One man believes the long haired hero to be little more than an impostor, and drawing upon strange untapped powers, he intends to become a true Saviour!

Hawkman #33 (December 2004)
"Earth and Sky" Gray/Palmiotti/Smith

Originally from the planet Thanagar, the heroes Hawkman and Hawkwoman, find themselves living multiple lives as part of a curse that keeps them destined to remain apart each time they find happiness with one and other -- star crossed lovers in every sense of the word.

In their many lives they each fight for justice, and in this most recent incarnation, Hawkman has the gift of remembering his many previous existences. Despite her reluctance, Hawkwoman joins him in the good fight, and together they face all menaces who come their way -- such as a terrible attack in New York City! Who is this chalky lumbering menace, and can they possibly be strong enough to stop the monster alone?

JLA #118 (November 2005)
"Crisis of Conscience" Johns/Heinberg/Batista

The Justice League have been torn apart by suspicion and mistrust, but as is inevitable, they will be drawn together once more by the threat of great evil. The space-borne menace, Despero, has hatched a plot to use discension in the League against them, and his first target is the Martian Manhunter!

Plummeting to Earth from the heavens, the beseiged Manhunter angles his trajectory toward a potential ally, the Atlantean monarch, Aquaman! Together they rally their unique forces against the psychic onslaught of the pink skinned alien, but Despero's battles with the League are storried, and rarely has it taken any less than the entire team to put a stop to his charge!

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