Writer: Steve Orlando / Artist: Riley Rossmo / DC Comics
One of my favorite comics is back for its third issue! And this one has J’onn’s origin on Earth and his early days as John Jones.
This is one of the best books out. Every issue seems to top the one before. But not in a way that makes previous issues seem inferior. It’s just a good study on a well-crafted story. Everything builds off the solid foundation put in place by Orlando and Rossmo.
This time around, we got such a heartfelt deep dive into J’onn’s early days on Earth. It was really nice to see these things from the close view of his perspective, rather than an objective view. As everything pertaining to John, it pulls at the heartstrings. Homie was yanked from Mars and thwarted thousands of years into the future on a neighboring planet. He’s alone with no idea how to get back.
What I really liked was that Orlando used a lot of J’onn’s Martian history and backstory to explain why he assumed the identity of John Jones. There’s a Martian practice where you wear the shape of a deceased loved one for a full cycle (about a week) after they die. It’s like one last moment with them before you let them go forever. And since J’onn just happened to be present for John’s death, he instituted that same practice in a way to honor a kindred spirit on a foreign planet. The only problem is that it lasted longer than a week. His connections with people enabled him to keep the charade going on a lot longer than intended. But can you blame him? Life yearns to be seen, no matter where you’re from. His partner doesn’t see it that way, though. And her animosity toward this revelation about her feelings can potentially cause some problems down the road.
Something that really needs to be praised is Rossmo’s art. It’s really the perfect fit for this series. This issue shows us the aftermath of J’onn narrowly escaping a fiery car crash and let me tell you… it’s some nasty stuff! We all know that Martians have a weakness to fire, but Rossmo displays that weakness on the page in a way I’ve never seen before. It’s done in a way that makes it look like he’s melting out of his psychic form. It’s slippery and slimy, and it teeters on the fringes of body horror. And there’s no questioning whether or not J’onn is hurting. This isn’t just a weakness that leaves him incapacitated. This is something that puts him through excruciating pain.
Another issue, another look into the lonely life of J’onn J’onnz. My favorite thing about this book is that it’s really enabled J’onn to wear his heart on his sleeve. In the first 2 issues, that was solely for the sake of the audience. But now we get to see the first time that he opens up to a human and it’s a beautiful thing. This is the wholesome Martian goodness I’ve always wanted.
10 4-D Matter Transmitters put of 10
Reading Martian Manhunter? Find BNP’s other reviews here.