By Saren 3 Comments
This is mostly a collection of rambling thoughts on a similarity I found between two characters. I was wondering if anyone else felt the same vibe from Javik.
Those of you who have played the From Ashes DLC for Mass Effect 3 should know who Javik is; for those of you who haven't, crash course: the Mass Effect universe has these cycles of evolution where after the galaxy's races reach a certain level of technological advancement, a race of mechanical gods called Reapers show up to annihilate them and set the galaxy back to zero, so that new races can emerge, evolve and start a new cycle. This goes on indefinitely. In the current cycle, humanity shares the galaxy with races like the asari, turians, krogan, batarians et al. All of these races acquired the knowledge and technology to travel the galaxy at FTL speeds and build a common galactic civilization from the ruins of the race that was annihilated by the Reapers in the previous cycle: the Protheans.
The Protheans fought the Reapers for hundreds of years before they were overwhelmed and driven to extinction. However, some Protheans made plans to survive the war and rebuild after the Reapers departed. They built stasis pods within which a million soldiers would sleep, and after the war was over, they would awaken and attack the Reapers while they were caught unawares. But a lot of spanners were tossed in the works, and as a result Javik's pod was the only one that survived the war. Its automated reactivation capability was broken, so Javik was forced to remain asleep for 50,000 years until a new civilization found him and activated the pod. This should summarize the whole story:
The alien-pod-from-a-doomed-world-crashes-down-on-human-soil idea would seem to take a few cues from Superman's classic origin, and if I'm going to bring up comparisons between Javik and J'onn, it's worth noting that being the "Last Son of the Prothean Empire" is something that would stand Javik in good stead with several characters from the DCU, filled as it is with Last Sons: Last Son of Krypton, Last Son of Mars, Last Son of Czarnia, Last Son of Bolovax Wik, and (most recently) Last Son of Korugar as well. Buuuuuut running around with Javik for the rest of the game, I started to think he had more in common with MMH.
On the face of it, they have two very different personalities, even setting aside the debate about what kind of person DCnU J'onn is. Martian Manhunter was, traditionally, the wise old man of the Justice League; he'd frequently give advice to the younger members (Gypsy, Wally West, Kyle Rayner et al; although pretty much everyone was younger than him, seeing as J'onn was thousands of years old) and he was a mentor to some of them. Javik, on the other hand.....when he wakes up in the modern world and looks at Shepard and the Normandy's crew, he immediately laments that he is "surrounded by primitives". He's not a team player by any standard of the term. He's from a time when all of the galaxy's major races were just about beginning their climb up the evolutionary ladder (humans used to live in caves, salarians used to eat flies, etc), so despite all the advances since then, he can't help but condescend to everyone around regardless of their intellect since he's seen the primordial mud that they all crawled out from. When Liara T'Soni, an asari archaeologist considered to be the galaxy's foremost expert on Prothean culture, tells Javik she'd like to hear his firsthand version of what the Prothean Empire was like so that she can write a book about it, Javik just finds her amusing because he remembers a time when the asari couldn't count past their toes.
There are similarities in their powers, however. Javik possesses a form of extrasensory perception that allows him to read memories and emotions just by touching other people, or walking around places that they've lived in. Start from 5:23 on the video below:
Javik remarks that for his people, it was a way to transmit knowledge and information to each other in seconds, with a mere touch.That kind of networked knowledge-transference is something DC's Martians have been shown to live by in many accounts of their culture ---- including the most recent one in the new 52:
The moment from Mass Effect 3 that really pointed me towards these comparisons with J'onn is a conversation with Javik on the Citadel where he remarks that he is "walking among the young".
Additionally, his character class in the game is called "Vengeful Ancient", making him, effectively, an ancient walking among the young. And isn't that exactly what J'onn is, an ancient walking among the young? Martian Manhunter is an old, old, old man serving on a team whose ages could be all added together while still not reaching a fraction of J'onn's years.
They're both voiced by African voice actors; J'onn in the DCAU by Carl Lumbly, who has Jamaican roots; and Javik by a Nigerian voice actor named Ike Amadi. As a result they both have accented speech that differentiates them immediately from the rest of their colleagues. Pretty much everyone else in the animated JLA has a Caucasian speech pattern. Mass Effect's speech patterns are more diverse to reflect the fact that most of the cast is made up of aliens, but for the most part it's a Caucasian speech pattern with a few tweaks here and there. The asari sound just like regular humans, the quarians have slightly accented faux-Russian (I think) accents, turians and batarians have gruffer voices, the drell have a rasp underlying their words, the elcor speak slowly and ponderously.....hell, the freaking geth still sound like robotic Caucasians. Javik's accent sets him apart from the rest of the alien cast. He is the Other in more ways than one, similar to how J'onn is and always has been the Other; alien, but not the popular Superman-type alien whose appearance inspires a confidence born of familiarity.
Finally, there's a story that takes place during the DC One Million saga that describes J'onn's future battles --- including a 20,000 year long war against a machine race called the Swarm, that traveled from world to world destroying planets and civilizations in much the same way as the Reapers.
That hope that J'onn has, that humanity would have evolved enough in the 20,000 years that he was fighting the Swarm to stop them when they came to Earth? Javik said the Protheans had the same hope for the asari while the Reapers were destroying their Empire --- they hoped that if they retreated from the asari homeworld of Thessia and kept the Reapers' attention away from them, the asari would evolve enough to destroy the Reapers during the next cycle.
Those are all the thoughts on the subject I had.