Long considered the heart of the Justice League, the Martian Manhunter has recently taken on a darker edge. After the events of Infinite Crisis, J'onn reconsidered his position in the world. He'd been captured by Superboy-Prime and strapped to Alexander Luthor's dimensional tuning fork as the representative of the Pre-Crisis Earth One. After that, he disappeared, not playing any large role in 52, opting to avenge his friend Ted Kord by working behind the scenes to dismantle the Checkmate organization. He resurfaced just in time for World War III, which is where his new, darker attitude came from, after a run-in with Black Adam.
Finding a Martian Kuru pendant proves to J'onn J'onzz that he's not the sole survivor of his race - and nothing will ever be the same.
That pendant, by the way? It was given to him by a Martian named Roh'Kar, which is actually a neat little throwback: see, our boy J'onny here debuted in Detective Comics #225, in November of 1955. But two years earlier, in Batman #78, a green-skinned Martian "manhunter" (it's slang for a detective, just like "gumshoe" or "private dick") showed up in Gotham City chasing an escaped convict. He caught his guy, thanked Batman for the help, and left. No one ever intended for him to be seen again - he was just a proto-J'onn, an oddity to be written off. The Martian's name, in that long-forgotten tale, however? Roh Kar. Clever!
Part of J'onn's new outlook is a new costume - really, the first change of clothes he's had in, well, ever. Since his first appearance, he's been wearing a blue cape, blue boots, trunks and a big red harness across his chest. Those elements are all still the same, but they've been tweaked. His cape no longer has the big folded collar, but now drapes down over the front of his shoulders. It does still have the two golden discs above his chest, however - that's something that's always set it apart from other heroes' capes. His red harness no longer covers a bare chest, but instead a navy blue suit with red piping. It's certainly an interesting look, but it doesn't really say "Martian Manhunter." Yet.
Additionally, J'onn opted to relax his "human" looks. See, Martians are shapeshifters,
and J's familiar, beetle-browed form is one he adopted to make humans more comfortable around him. It was halfway between a human shape and his true Martian anatomy. Since he's feeling more Martian these days, his head is long and pointy, kind of like a bike helmet. For some reason, his chin is rough and bumpy, like a Skrull's. What's that about, DC? Forget which characters you did and didn't own, for a minute? And if J'onn is going back to his Martian roots, why is only his head its original shape?
The figure stands 6¾" tall,
and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and boots. The balljoints in his neck and shoulders are only slightly restricted by his cape, so you still get good motion out of them. The lack of biceps, wrists and thighs is particularly egregious, especially since the costume is mostly black, but the red piping would have mostly hidden any joints there. Same goes for the belt, which could have concealed a waist. Boot joints? Don't really add very much to a figure like this.
Martian Manhunter's only accessory is the same golden, 3½" "1st Appearance" disc base that all the figures receive. Something odd, though, that was a problem with the entire line:
each figure's name and first appearance are stamped on the base in black paint, which, under normal circumstances, would be fine; but for some reason, every one has a needless "comics" added to the end. J'onn, here, isn't from Brave New World Comics #1, he's from Brave New World; Blue Beetle isn't from Infinite Crisis Comics, he's from Infinite Crisis. Maybe it's a holdover from when the FA figures were taken from books like Detective Comics and Action Comics, but now it's just a mistake. Whoever was in charge of copyediting should really catch hell for a blunder like this.
This Martian Manhunter design isn't bad, it's just new. Given time, people will get used to it. It's just odd that it got a figure so fast. Even if it's not "your" J'onn, give this one a chance - pretend it's just some generic alien overlord, and it can fit with almost any collection.
Do you think J'onn will keep this look for long, or will they quickly change it back? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge