Subconscious Hand Puppets of The Dead
Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Ben Oliver, Gabe Eltaeb, Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 20, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Our time on Mars has been pretty turbulent in that it's in the process of colliding with Earth and that we've been thrown some far out concepts in trying to wrap our heads around this Martian Manhunter series. It's just been crazy........... but crazy doesn't necessarily mean bad...... it just means that poor old Eric Shea doesn't quite follow everything yet and even though I'd like to think that everything will come together in the end so that I can lay my head on my pillow at night and know that everything is proper and makes sense in the world of Martian Manhunter, I don't think it ever will and it's possible that I like that scenario better. We're dealing with an alien species, with alien concepts and really I think Rob Williams is taking this idea to fully explore everything that he wants to do without being worried with everything making sense to a pitiful human like me, because it isn't meant to completely make sense to humans because we don't have the capacity for it................. at least that's what I'm going to go with because it allows me to have a certain peace of mind and I like the idea of this story. So yeah, Mars is on the way out and it's up to Martian Manhunter and the separated aspects of himself to convince the embodiment of Mars to release the magic barrier around the planet so that our hero can transport the refugees of this planet over to Earth. Let's see if everything goes our favorite Martian's way. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with me being immediately upset because not only does it appear that Mr. Biscuits is actually dead from Ma'alefa'ak's attack in the previous issue, but apparently Agent Wessel is dumb as hell too and just stares up at falling rocks as he tells everyone that the cave is collapsing. It's an odd scene that makes me wonder if Wessel just had enough and accepted his fate because it's way easier than dealing with Martian blood magic rituals and the fact that he may be a Martian himself....... I don't know, but when you start this book, you're characters are dropping off left and right. With Biscuits and Wessel gone, Ma'alefa'ak takes the Martian Child...... who is actually the embodiment of Mars itself and Alicia as he attempts to use the child to remake Mars with Alicia as his blood sacrifice. Speaking of magic, we also have a really cool cameo session on Earth where we see Constantine, Etrigan, Zatanna, Sargon The Sorceress and Doctor Fate....... the new Doctor Fate, all working together to create a magical barrier to try and save Earth. It's nothing special, but with these mystical beings able to see the destruction that's on it's way, while everyone else goes about their day, it's just a cool acknowledgement that heroes are still doing their bit on Earth as the sky begins falling and I always appreciate that.
While magic is practiced on Earth and discussed on Mars, J'onn J'onzz tells Pearl that she needs to wrap herself around Alicia's city/war mech the way that J'onn did to Ma'alefa'ak's so that they can transport as many survivors to Earth, which she does........... but it's weird because we really haven't had much Pearl in this story and it's almost like Rob Williams wanted to give her a bigger part here, but really all it is her playing Simon Says with J'onn and Simon Says become that mech and get these people to safety, with some decent inner monologue action going on around it. With the magic barrier still up around Mars, J'onn's plan consists of following the Martian moon Phobos as it moves towards Earth, hoping that if the moon can get through the barrier, they can follow behind it if Alicia, Biscuits and Wessel fail in their mission to get the Martian Child to listen to reason........ which really, it's not a bad plan because as we've seen throughout last issue and up to this point here, the plan has kind of flopped.
In the end, Wessel believes that he's dying and it takes the hand of Mr. Biscuits becoming a kind of hand puppet and explaining to Wessel that he's gotta get all that human ideas about what's going on out of his head and start acting like Martian Manhunter because whether he really wants to believe it or not, he's a part of him and with that, Wessel shape shifts his body around the boulders crushing him and even though I really thought again that Mr. Biscuits might be alive do to the talking hand bit, it seems that he is actually dead and this was just a way for Wessel to communicate with himself to overcome a situation. Which he does when he shows up like a hero and shoves a spear through Ma'alefa'ak's head before he could slice and dice Alicia with his sanguine sorcery. Our issue closes with the Martian Child about to be crushed by another cave-in and Alicia about to push him to safety, when the Martian Child stops the boulders and realizes that with this sacrifice that Alicia was about to make, maybe there is redeemable qualities in Earth and Mars and drops the barrier around the planet so Martian Manhunter and Alicia can get through. Yeah, the planet still seems to be on its way to crash into Earth, but I guess this is a one problem at a time situation.
That's it for this issue of Maritan Manhunter and while the Pearl stuff kind of seems like a waste to me just to get the character some extra panel play so that she appears to be useful to this story, I have to say that I really enjoyed this issue because it opened my eyes to how this series is supposed to play. All my problems with understanding what was actually going on and wondering if everything was going to be tied up by the end was totally handled in this issue by a simple conversation between the dead Biscuits and Wessel and I was put at ease because whatever happens next......... whether it completely makes sense to me or not is okay because it's beyond my understanding as a human. I don't know if people will be on board with this answer the way I am or if they'll feel cheated in a way, but it was at least talked about and I appreciate that we took the time to do that. Now I can just enjoy the story that is presented to me without worrying. The art in this issue was as great as always, with only a few panels with Wessel in the beginning that I didn't quite get at first, but overall this book looks great and I really enjoyed everything it did here.
Bits and Pieces:
This issue of Martian Manhunter puts all my fears to rest about whether or not everything is going to be tied up completely by the next issue and while I don't know if everyone will be on board with the esoteric talk that put my mind at ease, I found myself really enjoying this issue and digging the art that conveyed the story. I seriously look forward to what comes next and I find myself sad that it won't continue after Rebirth.