Review: Martian Manhunter #3

mm003DC Comics has never really seemed to know what to do with J’onn J’onnzz.  He was featured for a time as a backup story in the 1960s and 1970s, and made a member of the Justice League of America, but he has most often stood in as a fill in for whatever was needed by the story, a characteristic convenient to his wide range of powers.  Despite having being a fairly prominent member of DC Comics since almost six decades, there has never really been a definitive Martian Manhunter story which has been told.  There have been stories alongside the Justice League which have told of the Martian civilization which is long since gone, and various other stories in the character’s past, but there is no Dark Knight Returns and no Emerald Dawn for the character, in other words no defining story which stands for what the character embodies.

That is not to say that no one has ever tried.  There were attempts in his relatively short lived monthly to give him some bigger stories to work with, and there have been other attempts to define him, but most have missed the mark.  With the relaunch of the character into DC You, DC Comics’ newest marketing blitz, it would seem as though the same focus on the quirkiness of the character is not there as elsewhere for other characters, but it would also seem as though the writers have gone for a bigger story than what one might expect.  This third issue expands on that idea, focusing more on broader concepts and a grander kind of storytelling than what has come before for the character.  International terrorists, a Martian conspiracy and some odd looking Martian Manhunter like individuals all permeate this series, which so far has been enticing, but not fully easy to discern where it is going, and the same continues in this issue.

What this has done is to give the character a chance to shine for what could potentially be one of his better stories.  The layering of the story here is complicated at times, as there is lots going on with not so much explanation, but equally the writing is held together enough to make this about J’onn and therefore deserves some respect for taking the character in a new direction.  There is even an interesting enough twist in this book which brings it together pretty well at the end and gives better momentum moving forward.  Regardless this could finally be the story which people might refer back to in a few years “as the best to read about the character” although it is still in its earlier stage here.  In other words the story here is still working through its intricacies but it has a lot of potential.

Story: Rob Williams Art: Eddy Barrows
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy