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Art By: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Gabe Eltaeb, Tom Napolitano Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: March 16, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Oh, that Mars and it's wacky blood magic! We're dealing with some serious shit here people and the way that I know that it's serious is that it's all over the place confusing. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a complete dummy on what's going on with our favorite Martian and I've been able to suss out the main gist of everything......... but it wasn't easy and I'm sure that I'm still missing some of the pieces to this shape shifting green puzzle, but that doesn't stop this from being interesting as hell........ I just hope that some of those corner pieces spill out of the box soon so I can get a idea of the bigger picture of this thousand piece Martian madness. When we last left our hero, he was getting what Martians he could and hoping that he could transport them to Earth, while Agent Wessel sought out that mysterious Martian boy because apparently........... he's the key to everything. Let's jump into this alien epic and see what's going down.
Our issue begins with Agent Wessel, whom we found out in the previous issue is the "Hunter" aspect of J'onn and well............ he's out hunting. While J'onn and Pearl take care of rounding up the Martians who plan on doing the opposite of what Houser told Quaid to do.......... that's a Total Recall reference son, get yourself in the know. Anyway, Agent Wessel is out hunting for that mysterious Martian child and as it turns out, he's not alone. That's right, Alicia came along for the ride because if the planet is doomed, she's at least going out knowing that she tried everything she could to stop it. The hunt doesn't go on long though because Mr. Biscuits, who was in the Martian child's company in the previous issue, calls out to our two heroes and brings them to their search right in time for a story. That's right kiddos, we're going to get a full backstory on J'onn J'onzz and what the hell went wrong on Mars.
Alright, I hope you're in a nice comfy seat because this one could get long........ Okay, so millions of years ago we had ourselves a nice healthy Mars all technologically advanced and doing the whole civilization thing, but progress has costs and as we see all the time on the news and interwebs, the cost is the planet itself. So like a parent that sees it's child beginning to do something wrong and let's out a negative noise to let that child know that it's being watched........... I'll describe this noise something like "aaaahhhhttttt!"........ Do it out loud, I'm sure your parents did something like this. Anyway, the planet sent out a warning such as this to the Martians, but instead of a strange negative noise, the populace was given a telepathic notion of doom and a vision to accompany it. Only problem is, different people see doom in different ways and the majority of the Martians believed this doom to be coming in the form of a giant nightmare beast and just like the people of our world, when frightened, the Martians tend to lash out. This all leads to the Martian Council and J'onn J'onzz hearing Ma'alefa'ak out on his proposition to create a Martian super weapon to battle the beast he saw in his vision. It all sounds for the best, using science to save their world, but J'onn found out the hard way that Ma'alefa'ak can't be trusted when he was asked to be a part of this Martian conglomerate, but not just a simple part...... no, he was asked to be the soul of this fusion and since his planet was on the line, our hero agreed. So yeah, super science to save the world seemed like a good idea, but once Ma'alefa'ak started using forbidden Martian blood magic........... well, shit went off the rails. Our Martian Manhunter was born, but because the people of this world created an abomination of a weapon to combat the planet's simple warning........... well, the planet said "fuck you" and ended Mars. There was a mass exodus to escape the doomed world, but J'onn was expelled to Earth and spent the next million years trying to forget who he was, but the truth rarely stays buried and once he sensed Ma'alefa'ak's presence looking for him again, he knew he had to dig the truth back up and stare it in it's Rocky Dennis face. To make Ma'alefa'ak's quest harder, he split himself up into multiple personas, but as we've all seen from this series, it didn't turn out too well.
In the end, we find out that this mysterious Martian child, who is the embodiment of Mars is actually taking the form of J'onn's son in another sort of way of saying "fuck you" for it's people creating a monster against it, but after story time, Agent Wessel, Alicia and Mr. Biscuits plead with this entity to remove the barriers around the planet to let the Martian survivors leave and if words about how they have changed wasn't enough, we see that it's physically true too when Mr. Biscuit's takes off his Elephant Man hood to reveal a normal Martian Manhunter looking face. In my mind this means that the monster that J'onn had become has been removed and that Mars isn't hopeless or beyond being forgiven........ It's just too bad that it looks like Mr. Biscuits won't be able to see what the Martian child decides because Ma'alefa'ak comes out of nowhere and murders his ass.
That's it for this issue of Martian Manhunter and I really dug this issue for the backstory that it gave us here because it really ties up everything that we've been hearing in this series about J'onn being a weapon, but it works even better that it's because of him becoming this weapon that Mars died. He was created to save Mars, only to destroy it. It's kind of poetic and only adds to the tortured nature of this character. I'm a big fan of knowing things....... because in day to day life I rarely know what the hell is going on, but here we get a really in depth look at the end of our title character's home world on top of finding out his secret origin as well. The only thing I wish we would have gotten more of is the separate identities that J'onn created to throw Ma'alefa'ak off his trail because even though I understand that these people were created using certain aspects of Martian Manhunter, I still don't know what that exactly means, like what does Mould's death mean for our hero and what does Mr. Biscuits losing his Rocky Dennis demeanor really mean when referring to the subconscious of the character? Yeah, I got questions, but it usually goes back to the dummy factor and I can still get my exercise by jumping to conclusions about what all these things mean until they're hopefully explored further. This is a cool book that I find myself enjoying each month and like every issue that he's featured, Mr. Biscuits stole the goddamn show again and I'm going to be pissed if he actually died in this issue. As for the art........ well, I love the art. I say that about most titles though, but everything looks amazing here as it always does and I especially loved the constant changes in J'onn's physical appearance as this issue progresses. It's just that I've never seen J'onn depicted the way this book presents him and I'm really going to miss it once Rebirth comes along and smacks us in the face with all its meat and potatoes.
Bits and Pieces:
In this issue of Martian Manhunter we get a backstory about the fall of Mars and the creation of a Manhunter and just like the Dude's rug tied his place together, this story really ties this series together, so do me a favor and don't piss on it. Like you've come to expect from this series, the art was amazing and the many looks of J'onn J'onzz in this issue will leave you with your mouth agape like you just walked into a party with pinatas and RC Cola.......... because that's a cool ass party you see.