Martian Manhunter No. 2: Fiery prophecies and distrust


Martian Manhunter proves no matter where you go, problems stay the same.

DC Comics has always been the grimmer of the Big Two. The ’80s were a dark time, full of brooding heroes who might as well have been villains and villains who lacked much of the humor that made comics so fun in the ’60s. The Comics Code messed with all that, and DC only dropped the Code in 2011. But they still tend towards bleaker stories. Martian Manhunter, written by Steve Orlando, drawn by Riley Rossmo, colored by Ivan Plascencia and lettered by Deron Bennett, has plenty of happy, squishy moments, but the overall tone of the story is still pretty unpleasant. In this issue, we learn more about Martian life, and we learn more about Jones’ partner, Diane Meade and the issues everyone faces, from here to Mars.

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The Martian Manhunter ponders the future, and “fire bad”

Last issue, J’onn J’onzz sure looked like a Martian Manhunter, who was more than a bit crooked, and John Jones (J’onn J’onzz in human disguise) freaked out after a murder scene investigation and crashed a car, with his partner in the automobile. This issue starts out with a tender scene of J’onzz and his partner looking at Earth, wistfully thinking of the future and discussing their love for each other. Then the story cuts to Jones and Diane Meade, his partner, in the wrecked and burning car. As Diane tries to figure out what she is witnessing, Jones is melting all over the place, and utters the classic monster line “fire bad”, which tickles this author pink. Such a powerful reference. Jones has visions of his offspring, K’hym, and the murder victim, Ashley Addams, telling him to wipe Diane’s mind and flee. But he resists, and Meade pulls his shifting flesh from the car.

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The Martian Manhunter is a bad cop and a good father

In an effort to explain himself to Diane Meade, Jones tells her that back on Mars he was a cop. The issue then flashes back to J’onzz busting up a drug den, full of Martians using seduction domes. One of the Martians fires its heat vision, referred to by the Martian Manhunter as “bio-thermal”, and they argue about the drugs as they fight. J’onzz thinks the drugs spread a curse, but the other Martian claims to only give drugs to already-infected Martians. Apparently, the curse is a real thing, which causes Martians to explode in flames, as J’onzz quickly finds out. Before perishing, the flaming Martian warns J’onzz that within a megacycle (a year?) every Martian will die from the curse. He leaves the trap house and heads off to the pick his kid up from school, and they head off to the museum to meet his wife.

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Thu’ulc’andra and the effects it has on the Martian Manhunter

The new exhibit at the museum is about Earthlings, called “Thu’ulc’andrans” on Mars. J’onzz explains that Martians (Ma’aleca’andrans) discovered humanity and got a little obsessed, which is why Martians walk on two legs and kind of look like humans. He tells K’hym that he was borne at the height of the craze, which is why he looks so similar to prehistoric man. They attend a megacycle ceremony, in which young Martians take the shape they imagine for themselves as adults. K’hym chooses a shape in only one more megacycle, which causes J’onzz to reflect on the prophecy from the burning Martian, keeping things grim.

Dream bails on everyone, for real, in The Dreaming No. 5. dark. Next

Back in Colorado, John Jones is trying to pull himself together, literally, and Diane Meade confesses that Jones (the human) was the only officer who accepted her after “the trouble in Houma.” But Jones thinks he has to wipe her mind. Meade isn’t having any of that, and as Jones reaches for her, she blasts him in the chest, causing an organ to plop right out. Ew. There the issue ends. The art is amazing, and the take on J’onzz as a kind of shady alien is intriguing. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.