April 1, 2023

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case Files #76: Manitou Raven

A re-imagined Superfriend does some time travel to join the Justice League.

The Superfriends was one of the earliest animated incarnations of the Justice League.  Needing more multicultural representation caused the producers to create a few other Superfriends that represented different minority groups so the League would not be seen as just a bunch of white men.  Granted, few of these new characters were female, so they must have been fine with the heavily male representation.

Among the new characters was Apache Chief, a Native American who could increase his size simply by saying the magic word, “Eh-neek-chock”.  The Chief would eventually find a version of himself in the JLA, but how he got there is something of a story in and of itself.

During the “Our Worlds At War” storyline, Aquaman went out to fight an alien probe using Neptune’s Trident.  The resulting explosion ripped a hole in the ocean.  Seriously, where Atlantis once was, there was a big hole that somehow kept the water from filling in.  Everyone assumed he was dead at first, but it turned out the story was–quite expectedly–more complicated than that.

The clue that it was came when two individuals from the past appeared in the present to attack the Justice League, at the time consisting of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Wally West’s Flash, Kyle Rayner’s Green Lantern, the Martian Manhunter, and Plastic Man.  The two individuals were an Aztec in some sort of ancient-yet-high-tech armor that ran off human blood, and one Manitou Raven, a Native American with some sort of mystic powers.  The League defeated the pair and realized they came from the past, there was some connection to the missing Aquaman and all his subjects, and so the thing to do would be to go to the past and rescue everybody.

It didn’t go well.  I mean, it went really badly.  Manitou was part of an ancient super team set around equally ancient Atlantis, each member of which was part of some other civilization.

The "League of Ancients"...somehow, I doubt they saw themselves as Ancient.
The “League of Ancients”…somehow, I doubt they saw themselves as Ancient.  Gamemnae is the blonde woman, and Rama Khan is the one raising the toast.

Led by Rama Khan from a fictional country and an Atlantean sorceress named Gamemnae, this Bronze-Age Justice League stomped the crap out of the modern version.  And I mean stomped.  The Justice Leaguers were all killed, but not before Manitou Raven got suspicious.  First, he spotted Kyle Rayner protecting innocent bystanders, which bad guys tended not to do, and then further proved it when his enchanted tomahawk, which could not pierce the skin of a good man, could not pierce Batman’s skin.

Now, if you’re like me and I know I am, you’re probably thinking that with the League all dead, that would be the end of the story.  Except this is comic books, and no one stays dead.  Raven used some sorcery to keep the spirits of most of the Leaguers in suspended animation while he snooped around.  It turned out that Gamemnae was not as heroic as she appeared to be.  She’d raised Atlantis and made everyone there an air-breather again in order to use the place as a staging ground for world domination.  The sudden arrival of Aquaman and the water-breathing Atlanteans from her future told her she’d fail.  Aquaman had been converted into enchanted water while the rest of his people were put to work as slave labor.  Back in the present, Nightwing had been ordered by Batman to lead a substitute League in the meantime, and eventually the past and present storylines combined, Raven used the bodies of the dead Leaguers to hold off the homicidal Gamemnae until their spirits could be restored, bringing them back to life.  A few of the Ancients were killed when they learned too late one of their leaders wasn’t a benevolent soul.

The final battle also resulted in the lost Atanteans being returned to the present, Aquaman made flesh again, and Atlantis sinking in the past for the second time.  Oh, and Aquaman was responsible for that sinking.

When the dust cleared Manitou and his wife Dawn were still in the present, and outgoing substitute member Jason Blood recommended Manitou take his spot as team mystic.  Everyone agreed and there he was.

He threw them a few bones alright.
He threw them a few bones alright.

Oh, it should be worth noting that, in case his general part of the world being described as “Apache Land” wasn’t specific enough, Manitou Raven could increase his size by shouting “Eh-Neek-Chock!”

By the by, remember how I said most of the League was killed and resurrected?  Yeah, one wasn’t.  That was Plastic Man.  Since he was made of, well, plastic, he was simply shattered into a million pieces and then scattered.  So, while most of the League spent a few thousand years in suspended animation, Plas was fully conscious and trapped in millions of small pieces and was only rescued when those millions of pieces were located and fused back together again.  I think we know even better now why the guy is so nuts.

As it was, Manitou Raven’s time with the League didn’t last long.  When the anti-heroes known as The Elite resurfaced and became a more rough-and-tumble black ops team for the League, Manitou went with them.  However, he was so deep into his magical stuff, he didn’t notice his wife was fooling around with fellow Elite guy Oliver Queen.  Yes, that Oliver Queen.  Though, despite appearances, being born thousands of years earlier meant this time Ollie was screwing around with an older woman.

These things always happen and never end well. Will you ever learn that, Ollie?
These things always happen and never end well. Will you ever learn that, Ollie?

As it was, Manitou actually died soon after and passed his mantle on to his wife, who he’d forgiven all things being equal, and she became Manitou Dawn.  Where is she?  I have no idea.  She’s an even bigger Misplaced Hero than her dead husband.

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