There are people in our lives who we take for granted. They are the ones who care for us when we are sick, or water our plants while we’re on vacation. Their service is often unrewarded, and we fail to realize how much they meant to us until it’s too late.
Today we are gathered to honor the memory of such a man, one whose quiet strength and dignity have been a positive influence in our lives for years. I speak, of course, of J’onn J’onnz, the Manhunter from Mars.
Oh J’onn! Your death had been speculated on for months (if not years,) but it doesn’t make your passing any more difficult to accept. You were a father, a hero, a friend, and the prevailing voice of wisdom in a team full of gods. The DC Universe is a worse place after your passing, and it will be quite a challenge for your peers to reach the level of expectations you set and reset so many times before.
While Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman were too busy dealing with personal issues, it was you alone who took on the murderous rage of Black Adam. While the world recovered from one great Crisis after another if was you alone who built and rebuilt the greatest group of heroes the world has ever known. Without a single sarcastic remark you were always there to compensate for the failings of your peers, no matter what the challenge or what the cost.
My favorite memories of you are simple ones: Your love of Oreo cookies, your kinship with Aquaman, and your affection for all of humanity. Though you often turned to Superman for guidance and support, it was he who could learn the most from you. Whereas Kal-El is not old enough to remember his Kryptonian heritage, you is constantly haunted by memories of his lost family and homeworld.
Ironically it is that loss that truly makes him the ‘Heart of the League,’ Other heroes have families, other heroes have supporting casts – yet for most of your career you have always been alone. How many sleepless nights has he spent aboard the Watchtower, taking over monitor duty so that Wally West or Bruce Wayne could spend more time with their loved ones? Yet, it is those same ‘heroes’ who were nowhere to be found when you needed them the most. To lose Ted Kord through neglect is an insult, but to lose the Martian Manhunter is a travesty!
On Earth you were constantly abused by writers and editors, but perhaps now, finally, you can find peace among the stars.