Justice League : After the events of Justice League: No Justice, Martian manhunter was appointed as the chairman of Justice League . He, along with the rest of the league is imprisoned on Apokolips by the World Forger.
One version of his origin is that J’onn J’onzz is a Manhunter, a keeper of the peace and authority figure on the planet Mars. Well trained in various skills, including telepathy, shape-shifting, and energy manipulation, and possessing a keen detective’s mind with a compassionate heart, J’onn is among the greatest to have served as a Manhunter, and protected his home for many years.
In 1955, an Earth scientist named Dr. Saul Erdel, while experimenting with alien (possibly Martian) technology in secret, accidentally pulled J’onzz from Mars to Earth. This sudden revelation of a seven foot tall alien caused Dr. Erdel such a shock that his heart gave out, leaving J’onn stranded on a foreign planet with malfunctioning teleportation technology, and no easy way home.
J’onzz resolved to use his time on Earth to help others, upholding truth and justice as he had done on Mars for so many years. He has taken many forms and played many roles over the years: detective, spy, superhero, diplomat, corporate head; J’onn always uses his vast powers and abilities to protect the weak and serve the common good, as the Manhunter from Mars.
The New 52 rendition of Martian Manhunter is given in the back-up pages of Justice League of America. Here the Martians are a telepathic race that is in full commune with one another as well as the planet itself. Green-skinned and white-skinned Martians live in peace, unlike in the previous renditions.
J’onn is supposed to become the next leader of his people and so must undertake a Rite of Passage wherein he must detach himself from his people and understand what it meant to be truly alone. The Martian race had no such concept, as it was a very communal race, and J’onn needed the training in order to lead his people.
Upon his return J’onn finds that the paradise he once knew was burning with nothing much left but ashes. Not a psychic presence could be felt, J’onn was now truly alone. Standing in the burning ruins of the paradise he once knew, J’onn adopted the name “Manhunter” as he is now alone and in search for the being behind his misery.
Martian Manhunter was created by Joseph Samachson and Joe Certa, first appearing in Detective Comics #225.
Initially portrayed as a detective strip with an alien super power twist, J’onn J’onzz took on more and more of the traditional traits of a superhero as the Silver Age dawned and Superheroes regained popularity. Throughout the 1960’s J’onn was a member of DC’s premier super team, The Justice League of America, and his solo stories ranged from fighting gangsters and costumed crooks, to strange sci-fi/fantasy menaces, to jet-setting as super-spy Marco Xavier and fighting the evil spy ring Vulture.
The Bronze Age saw J’onzz leave the JLA and rejoin his people, now on Mars II. He returned for occasional cameos, but was largely absent from publication during the 1970’s. With a shake up to the JLA roster in the early 1980’s, J’onn rejoined the team in the War of the Worlds 1984 story arc, and would remain a staple of the Justice League for the next several decades. J’onn’s characterization began to emphasize the Noir detective elements, as well as his alien-ness among Earthlings.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, J’onn became a larger player in the DC Universe, featured prominently in crossovers like Legends, Invasion and Millennium, and starring in the popular Justice League International, usually as the team’s leader. His solo stories took on a more philosophical, existential bent. A mini series examining his origins was spun out of his Justice League appearances, and a second, prestige format series followed, this time set in the mid sixties during the cultural revolution.
With Grant Morrison’s reboot of the JLA achieving new heights of popularity for the Justice League, the Manhunter from Mars achieved arguably his greatest exposure, and was featured in an ongoing solo title, which ran for 37 issues. Writer John Ostrander expanded the history of Mars, chronicling a war with Apokolips, the ensuing near extinction of the Martian race due to Malefic‘s machinations, and ancient interactions between Earth and Mars. He also connected the Martian and Saturnian races, and expanded the catalogue of secret identities for the Sleuth from Outer Space.
As the 2000’s saw more Crises, J’onn’s solo title was canceled, and he started to be sidelined more and more. The One Year Later event gave him a new mini-series with a new look and a more reactionary attitude. In the opening stanza of the event Final Crisis, J’onn was killed, only to be resurrected a few years later as part of the Blackest Night. His solo story in the anthology Brightest Day saw him return to a more cerebral, compassionate attitude, as well as returning him to a more familiar look, albeit with some tweaks. This too would prove short lived, though, as even bigger shake ups awaited.
The New 52, a complete relaunch of the DC universe, placed the Alien Atlas in a role of ambassador, welcoming the newly folded into the universe Stormwatch as part of the initial lineup. No longer a canonical founder of the Justice League, J’onn has been portrayed as having kept to the shadows. He works behind the scenes, often telepathically erasing his presence from the memory of any he helps. Still, he is known as a former member of the Justice League and a relatively public “super hero.” While in keeping with his usual “warrior-poet” demeanor, the New 52 Manhunter is a bit more aggressive, and more willing to use his telepathic abilities in a forceful manner. Much of his origin remains to be revealed, although his basic power set is essentially consistent. Justice League of America writer Geoff Johns has been quoted as saying he “…will make Martian Manhunter the most dangerous character in the DC Universe.”
He had a wife and a daughter, M’yri’ah and K’hym, whom he loved deeply. The Martians had been a thriving and space faring race for centuries, even venturing to Earth on occasion, inadvertently inspiring the Egyptians to build their colossal pyramids. However, their doom was approaching swiftly.
J’onn’s own brother, Ma’alefa’ak, had been stripped of his fellow Martians’ innate telepathic gifts for the crime of mind “raping” another, and had grown very bitter over time. In his anger and insanity, he created something that would come to be called Hronmeer’s Curse after the Martian God of Death. It was a plague that preyed on a Martian’s natural fear and weakness to fire. J’onn learned of his plan to destroy their race from the inside out, but was unable to stop him. J’onzz was then abruptly the last of his own race, and nearly lost his mind.
Wandering the Earth, J’onn’s First Years
The Manhunter from Mars, last of his kind, now found himself in a strange and different world. Knowing that he currently had no way to return to his dead planet, J’onn wandered into human civilization, attempting to find a new life among them. J’onzz had almost completely lost his mind on Mars, but being able to now live life however he pleased provided him with a sense of comfort. Using his vast shape-shifting abilities, he took many forms across the globe, seeing life from every possible standpoint. He took the shapes of men and women of all types, and even animals. He spent much of his time in the role of a man named John Jones, a deceased detective. J’onn took a liking to this particular guise, as he still possessed a strong passion for crime-fighting.
J’onn first revealed himself as an official superhero when he joined the Justice Experience as the Bronze Wraith. He only used his strength and psychic abilities as the Wraith, careful not to reveal his extensive Martian shape shifting abilities. However, his time with the team was short, as they would quickly be altogether defeated by the villainous Doctor Trap. J’onn was the only survivor, but was able to exact justice on the Doctor with the help of the Justice Society of America.
Shortly before his tenure as the Bronze Wraith, J’onn sensed the arrival of a small alien spacecraft heading towards Kansas. He investigated the vessel, although it resisted his attempts to scan it too deeply. When the Kents arrived, he became invisible to avoid detection. He left knowing the Kryptonian child would be safe with them, but was concerned about the power he would one day possess. He returned eight years later as Josh Johnstone and worked as a hired hand on the Kent Farm. He wanted to see how the alien child was integrating into human society. He could tell that Clark Kent thought of himself as a human being. He was further assured of the boy’s heroic nature when he defended him from racist thugs in Smallville.
The Justice League of America
For years after his tenure with the Justice Experience, J’onn continued wandering Earth, taking many different forms and identities. Although he believed that if he again revealed himself as a superhero that he would draw more trouble to himself, something quickly changed his mind. The super-powered protector of Metropolis, Superman, revealed himself to the world, and soon costumed vigilantes were saving lives everywhere. Eventually, in an freak alien invasion, Hal Jordan, Flash, Aquaman and Black Canary rushed into battle. J’onn quickly put aside his fears of revealing himself, and changed to his typical Martian garb, but kept his overall appearance more humanoid. He battled alongside the other heroes, and they left triumphant. From that point on, these five heroes, along with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fought together as the Justice League of America. This team would become a mainstay in the DC Universe, consistently protecting the Earth from otherworldly threats and even home-grown emergencies.
Through many years with the Justice League, J’onn J’onzz managed to find some measure of solace among his new found friends. The people of Earth accepted him, along with his fellow superheroes. He still kept many secret identities across the globe, maintaining a carefully built system that he used to learn all about his fellow Earthlings.
The Justice League Detroit
Eventually, the Justice League would relocate to Detroit and have a dramatic change in it’s membership leaving only J’onn, Aquaman, Zatanna and Elongated Man. Four additional heroes known as Vixen, Gypsy, Steel and Vibe joined the Justice League and J’onn would become a large contributor in their development as heroes. He became closest to young Gypsy who was a teenage runaway with an invisibility power of her own. She was homeless in the streets of Detroit and she used her her powers to protect herself. Aquaman eventually left the Justice League to return to his duties in Atlantis and Zatanna left the JLA after merging with the Godhead.
Near the end of this team’s roster, the only members left were J’onn, Elongated Man, Vixen, Gypsy, Steel and Vibe. What was worse came when Gypsy had a premonition that two members of her League, Steel and Vibe, were going to be killed. During the Legends event, Darkseid manipulated humanity to turn against super-heroes. Darkseid sent several of his minions, including Glorious Godfrey and Brimstone, to Earth. Godfrey, using his ability to control anyone just by telling them what to do, posed as G. Gordon Godfrey and told the people of Earth not to trust the super-heroes. Soon, he had with him an army of followers ready to storm the White House and take over the free world.
The League would try to turn back popular opinion even going into a pitched battle with Brimstone. After they fail to stop him, Brimstone caused great damage. Super-heroes themselves become outlawed by executive order of Ronald Reagan. After this event, Elongated Man quits the Justice League. This left J’onn alone with his four rookie members and left J’onn with no other choice but to disband the League. This left the League weakened and open to attack and Professor Ivo took that opportunity to kill all the young Justice League members. Just like Gypsy’s premonition the first to be killed was Vibe. He was killed by one of Professor Ivo’s androids on the same day J’onn disband the League.
Professor Ivo sent an android to kill Gypsy next but she manages to find a conscience in the android that is sent to kill her. She convinced the android to not only spare her life, but to safely return her to her parents as well. Steel was mortally wounded when he destroyed one of Ivo’s androids. J’onn brought the dying Steel to his grandfather, the original Steel, who placed him on life support and remained in a coma. After this, J’onn and Vixen stop Ivo but the damage had already been done.
J’onn would meet with one last line of defense at the final onset of the invasion. Doctor Fate had organized Superman, Batman,Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Teen Titans members Changeling and the Kid Flash and the Blue Beetle in one last ditch effort to stop Godfrey. But much to the surprise of all those engaged in battle, a small legion of children unaffected by Godfrey’s mind control make a buffer between the heroes and his army. Suddenly, Godfrey’s mind-controlled minions are snapped out of their trance when he slaps one of the children. He was quickly defeated, and the people of Earth trusted their masked protectors once more.
Following the chaos of Glorious Godfrey’s invasion, a new Justice League rose from the ashes. Based in several Earth-bound United Nations Embassies, the new League found itself led by the Martian Manhunter and a man named Maxwell Lord. Lord acted as the face of the Justice League in the UN, and recruited all-new members. The new roster included the likes of Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle, Ice, Fire, Mister Miracle and more.
The Justice League International
The new Justice League would become the Justice League International as it works within the United Nations. Originally, J’onn would often act, alongside Batman. He performed most of the tactical work, organizing the team and sending them on various missions. After the League went international, J’onn becomes the leader and that allows Batman to stay in the background. The League was basically run for several years with J’onn as the leader but Max Lord was in a big way the owner of the League.
Under J’onn’s leadership the League would go through some of it’s best years. It did not have a lot of high caliber member but it did have a very familial atmosphere. There was always crisis in the League but they had real bonds with each other. The League would have some members that would come and go, but the core of the League stayed for years. J’onn, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and “the one true” Green Lantern, Guy Gardner.
One thing J’onn developed during this time in the League is an addiction to Oreo cookies, called Chocos. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle who delighted in practical jokes would find it very funny to hide and even buy all the Oreo cookies they could in an effort to drive J’onn nuts trying to find them. These pranks like all there others started out good but ended up bad for Booster and Beetle.
Unfortunately for Gypsy shortly after she is returned home, Despero arrived and murdered her parents. Despero tried to kill Gypsy as well but she was saved by the new Justice League. Despero killed the comatose Steel during his attack on Justice League HQ. Devastated by her parents’ death, Gypsy returned to being a superhero. Booster Gold himself took her on as a member of his team the Conglomerate.
After the time J’onn and Gypsy spend together, they grow very close. They end up developing a father/daughter relationship. Later after yet another incarnation of the League, they would both work as members of the Justice League Task Force.
Justice League Task Force
The Justice League Task Force was originally intended to set specialized heroes for specialized missions, but eventually it would become a super hero group just like the other Justice Leagues. This League however would become a little more militant under J’onn’s leadership as he forces his team to wear matching uniforms. Eventually like all leagues this one would dissolve as well. In later years, Gypsy is killed but is miraculously returned to life by J’onn, who pleads with his god, Hronmeer, to restore her life.
The League was reformed after the White Martian invasion and included some of Earth’s premier heroes. J’onn would again be an integral part alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) and Aquaman. He would often link his teammates telepathically to coordinate their plans. The ghosts of his Martian heritage would be a problem on more than one occasion and J’onn would often be key to beating them. When the White Martians attacked again, it was J’onn who helped provide the means of beating them, nearly sacrificing himself in the process. He would also have to foil the schemes of his brother, Ma’alefa’ak. Unbeknown to J’onn, he had survived the death of his people caused by a plague he had wrought and intended to finish the job by killing J’onn.
He was he one of the League’s most powerful members, which was a problem when another piece of his Martian heritage came to Earth, a Burning Martian called Fernus. He had been attempting to overcome his fear of fire with the help of Scorch. The therapy triggered ancient genetic memories that had been repressed by the Guardians of the Universe and transformed him into a being of fire and hate. As Fernus, he attempted to asexually reproduce by causing a nuclear strike in Japan. The League was little match for his immense physical powers and his psychic assault. However, a joint effort by the League, Scorch, and most importantly, Plastic Man allowed J’onn to re-assume control of his body. In the epilogue of this story, J’onn claims to have overcome his fear of fire unless the flames have a psychic or magical dimension. This is sometimes overlooked in more recent adventures.
One Year Later and 52
Following the events of the Infinite Crisis, J’onn, much like the other heroes went to find himself. During 52 we learn that J’onn has been working undercover to destroy Checkmate and avenge the death of Blue Beetle at the hands of former Black King, Maxwell Lord. He is successful, albeit temporarily as Checkmate is later reformed. He is also one of the first heroes to confront Black Adam as he rampages on week fifty.
In an attempt to maintain his Martian heritage, he has made himself look more alien than man. Recently he has found that he is not the only surviving Green Martian, something that changes everything he has ever thought about his past. J’onn tracks down a group of them who are being held at a secret facility. J’onn rescues them and hides them from both their captors and his former teammates. He soon learns that they are in fact White Martians who had been hypnotized into thinking they are Greens. The story ends with a friendship, of sorts, forming between J’onn and White Martian Till’All and the pair returning to the League together.
J’onn was captured by Dr. Light and Effigy and brought to Libra who stabbed him through the heart with his spear tipped scale thus fulfilling the Human Flame‘s inner most desire to have him killed. Suddenly, J’onn’s body reverts to it’s original Martian form and sends out psychic projections of himself and Justice League members (dead and alive) viciously attacking members of the Secret Society until Libra disrupts it and gives J’onn the final blow. In his final moments, J’onn broadcast a telepathic message to the Justice League. That night, after his body is discovered, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Gypsy, and Black Canary simultaneously recall part of his life story in their sleep.
His remains were interred in a pyramid removed from Egypt and placed back in it’s original location on Mars in a ceremony attended by many heroes. He was eulogized by Superman.
Not long after his death, a black power ring desecrated J’onn’s tomb on Mars and attached itself to one of his fingers. By its power, his corpse was reanimated as one of the first Black Lanterns. He journeyed to Earth and confronted Hal Jordan and Barry Allen in a Gotham City cemetery. The three fought, and J’onn was joined by most dead members of the Justice League to overwhelm the two resurrected heroes.
Like all Black Lanterns, this was not truly J’onn. His spirit was not inhabiting his body any longer. The black power ring was controlling his corpse and using all that he knew in life against his former friends, trying to elicit emotional reactions from which the Black Lantern Corps could use to power their central battery.
The Martian Manhunter was one of the Black Lanterns fully resurrected by the Entity. The reasoning for this is still unknown. The Brightest Day begins for J’onn with a visit from Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner on Mars. Guy brought him a large box of Oreo’s and milk. J’onn then showed him a tour of his desecrated and deserted homeland, but informed that he had discovered a water deposit deep underground and that with it he might be able to reignite life on Mars. “I am your only Martian, for now“. In his search for an alien serial killer whose M.O. seems disturbingly familiar to him, The Martian Manhunter contacts the Teen Titans looking to ask M’gann for her assistance on his investigation. Reaching Superboy instead, he is informed by the boy of steel that M’gann was on the reserve roster and that she was at her home in the Tanami Desert. J’onn then flies to Tanami only to find M’gann’s bloody corpse hanging from the roof of her pyramid. Carrying M’gann in his arms, J’onn tries to revive her by making telepathic contact, when suddenly a The White Light takes over him, transforming J’onn into a White Lantern only for a brief moment, though long enough to cure M’gann of her fatal wounds, thus fully restoring her to perfect health. M’gann then tells him how she was attacked by D’kay D’razz, a psychopathic Martian. J’onn tracks down D’kay and learns that she wants to start a new family of Martians with him. After blacking out from the power of the White Light, J’onn finds his entire race prospering. His wife and children run up to him, explaining that he resurrected all of mars with his White Ring. J’onn invites The Flash, Superman, Hal Jordan, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (now older) to see his culture in a ceremonious dinner. After being praised thanked, J’onn goes to bed. J’onn awakes, and realizes that his friends have been brutally killed with strange markings from their blood covering them. J’onn retrieves Flash, who was beheaded and was running around the planet until finally crashing, Aquaman, who was left to die in the middle of the Martian desert, Wonder Woman, who was hanged by her own lasso, Batman, whose chest was cut, and Hal who’s hand was ripped off. J’onn meets with Superman and explains his disbelief, truly believing that his life was perfect now. J’onn is then suddenly overcome with rage and murders Superman on the dining room table with a Kryptonite knife. He notices Kal’s cut up body, next to the other deceased friends, and they’re cut marks reveal a message in ancient Martian. J’onn then awakes on his destroyed planet, the entire thing being an illusion of D’kay. He then realizes his true mission as a white lantern. He must decide what his true home is, Earth or Mars. J’onn then flies D’kay into the sun and flies back to earth. Deadman then is forced to use his ring to transform J’onn into the Rock Elemental to fight the Black Lantern Swamp Thing.
For J’onn, years now no longer have a meaning; he registers time’s march by the passage of seasons in 853rd century on Mars (Malaca’andra in the old tongue).
In the next millennium, as humanity took to the stars to seek its destiny, J’onn went with them, mostly as a protector, but also searching for something he never found. J’onn lost himself amidst other alien races, taking their forms, living their lives, hearing himself being turned into a legend. He revealed himself briefly with the Legion of Super-Heroes, standing with them as he had stood with the Justice League, fighting a great evil. Afterward, J’onn disappeared again and drifted among the races of the galaxy, returning only at dire need. He thought it more important that humanity depend on itself. Once he waited almost too long, and many paid the price as a result.
The Clanetary System completed their odyssey and sought to take over the planets of Sol with Antares VII the colossal space-ark robot called Antares VII. They all began terraforming planets with their only explanation being the omnipresent: It is necessary. The creatures who lived upon it were no more than parasites, to be crushed or enslaved. Each of the planets was remade into a vast orbiting fortress. There was a purpose to their annihilation and J’onn tried to find its meaning, but in the end, it all came to war. Antares VII was the last to fall. It was only afterward – after the millions had died and the planets were decimated – that he was able to link together the final pieces and understand the Clanetary System. They themselves had been fleeing another enemy, had been searching for a place on which to make a stand – an enemy that caused them to fear, one they knew only as the swarm. From the remnants of Antares VII, J’onn learned their approximate location almost 10,000 light years away. And he knew that humanity was not yet ready to face them. So he journeyed outwards to meet this swarm. For most of those 10,000 years, J’onn slept – and dreamed of Mars as he knew it when he was young.
J’onn found the Swarm and he found there was no understanding them, no communicating with them, no reasoning with them. The swarm came in, stripped a planet of all it had, left it with a husk, and went on. For another 20,000 years, J’onn fought them – from system to system, always seeking to slow them down or delay them – hoping that, by the time they reached humanity, humanity would have evolved enough to stop them. And so the fight came to Earth. J’onn was asked to lead the fight, to be the chief tactician. He laid out the battles and fought side by side with them. He bled with them while they died. But the swarm was stopped. Unable to go forward, refusing to retreat, the swarm no longer could replenish themselves and thus were exterminated. But J’onn felt no triumph. He had fought too long and the cost was so high. He wished never to fight again. He went back to Mars, and walked upon its sands once more. He lost track of the time; he just wandered. Gradually, he became himself once more and trusted himself again. And others came to him – human and alien of all sort – and J’onn talked to them of his life and what he had learned from his journeys. He talked to them of heroes – of the values they embraced, that they embodied. J’onn was happy and hoped to do nothing more than this for the rest of his days. Then, Darkseid came.
Darkseid of Apokolips, the darkest of the New Gods. J’onn and he shared an old grudge. Because of that grudge, he chose Mars as the focus for his newest stratagem, turning it into a copy of his own bleak world, a new Apokolips. The humans were crushed into his lowlies – the hunger dogs of his new regime. And from this base, Darkseid was determined to conquer the entire Solar system. J’onn opposed him – at first from the shadows and then ever increasingly in the open as he prepared himself and the others for the last great fight. On the streets of the new Armagetto came the final battle. It was a battle they could not win, but winning the battle was not the point. It was to lure Darkseid into position for the final trap to be sprung. When a boom tube materialized, he gave a final heave, and both Darkseid and J’onn fell into it. It fed them directly into the heart of the Source. Darkseid was taken away and J’onn told the Source he wanted Mars as he remembers it, clean and free. He wanted peace.
J’onn then became one with the Source. He returned to the core of Mars, and merged his atoms with that of Mars. He became the planet to save the planet. As his body conformed to his thoughts, Mars did too. J’onn chose what he wanted to be. So he became Mars, and the humans who lived there consumed him, for his DNA was linked with everything that grew. And slowly, a few humans living on Mars, over the centuries, even acquired some Martian traits. And thus J’onn has been ever since. His race, in a sense, are reborn, and these are now his people – his children.
DC’s New 52
The Martian Manhunter is introduced as part of the clandestine organization known as Stormwatch. The organization’s goal is to defend the earth from alien and trans-dimensional incursions. Whilst part of the group J’onn makes it a point to say that he is not a hero and he is just doing his job.
After some time, J’onn does a mindwipe of all members of Stormwatch and makes a deal with a Shadow Lord not to divulge to anyone of his time with the organization.
It was later revealed that the Martian Manhunter had been invited to join the League at some point. His expulsion came when he engaged the League in a skirmish for reasons yet to be revealed. This event had caused the League to become wary of opening up their ranks. Batman is greatly concerned that the Manhunter is out there and that he knows everything about the League.
Justice League of America
With Amanda Waller replacing Steve Trevor as the liaison of A.R.G.U.S. to the Justice League, she still had no control of the League. As a response Amanda decides to form a new League with the pretense that it was one for American interests. In reality the Justice League she was forming was meant to face off against the Justice League should they go rouge. Martian Manhunter was chosen as the one to take on Superman. The Manhunter was never formally asked to join, since he already knew of Amada’s plans, but he joins the JLA on his own volition with his own hidden agendas. He was also very instrumental in the formation of the JLA and the government backing it receives. He allowed for a Secret Society assassin to enter the White House to kill the president only to dispatch of the assassin himself proving the necessity of a Justice League of America.
Real Name: J’onn J’onzz
Occupation: Adventurer, Detective, Super Hero
Height: 6ft 7in
Weight: 300 lbs.
Marital Status: Widowed
Place of Birth: Mars
Relatives: M’yrnn J’onzz (father, deceased), Sha’sheen J’onzz (mother, deceased), Ma’alefa’ak (brother, deceased), M’yri’ah J’onzz (wife, deceased), K’hym J’onzz (daughter, deceased), M’gann M’orzz (niece)
First Appearance: Detective Comics #225 (Nov. 1955)
Martian Manhunter possesses powers and abilities common to all Martians but has shown to be the most powerful of his race, largely due to be from his training as a Manhunter of Mars, and also his years as hero of Earth.
- Super Strength – Martian Manhunter is one of the strongest heroes on Earth, with strength comparable to Superman. J’onn along with Superman was able to move one of Brainiac’s ships away from Earth; the ship in question dwarfed the planet with its size and was hurtling towards the Earth at 36,000 miles/hour. J’onn has also shattered Earth’s moon with his strength.
- Invulnerability – J’onn’s durability has allowed him to withstand the destruction of Earth’s moon without so much as a scratch, as well as taking hits from characters like Superman and Wonder Woman. He has in the past displayed the ability to make his body more dense in order to boost his durability, or his resistance to gaseous or chemical agents.
- Flight – Martian Manhunter has been seen flying at Mach 10 in Earth’s atmosphere. He has maneuverability and flight speed comparable to Superman.
- Super Speed – J’onn and other Martians have speed that allows him to keep up with the Flash. His speed grants him accelerated reaction times as well. He is able to process thoughts and carry out actions with incredible speed as well. He can even utilize his telepathy at super speed, able to create a telepathic conference room for the Justice League to discuss matters in the privacy of J’onn’s mind in just an instant.
- Stamina – The Martian Manhunter has nigh inexhaustible endurance and resilience. He can last for extensive periods of time without food, rest, or air. J’onn has been able to travel great distances in space and fight long battles without tiring.
- Regeneration – J’onn can quickly recover from almost any injury. He is able to reconstitute his body even when severed into several pieces. His regenerative abilities have allowed him to reconstitute his body from even an extremely small mass in only a matter of seconds, and he has even grown a new body from a severed arm.
- Shape-Shifting – The Martian Manhunter has vast shape shifting abilities that stem from complete control of his molecular structure. He is able to take on any shape he pleases, often taking the human guise of Detective John Jones. It has been revealed in the older comics, that he takes the powers and weaknesses of whoever he turns into. He can form shapes of objects or organisms alive, extinct, or imagined, and he has often shown to grow an extra pair of arms to supplement his fighting abilities and his strength. He can become as stiff and unmovable or as flexible and malleable as he pleases. He can also alter his size or the size and length of his limbs. During his fight with Antares, J’onn grew to the size of building. When increasing his size, J’onn often borrows mass from matter around him and incorporates it in his body, expelling it when he returns to his normal size. The Manhunter has even shown to use his shape shifting powers offensively during his fight with Ultraman. He has elongated parts of himself into bladed weapons during combat. His density is also variable and changes as he wills it. He can use this ability to become intangible and move through objects or allow attacks to fly by harmlessly through him or to become extremely dense to add more mass to his blows and increase his invulnerability. J’onn’s control over his own molecular structure also allow him to adapt his visibility, granting him the ability to become invisible at will. His shape shifting abilities extend beyond even that allowing himself to change his chemical composition. He was able to turn his skin into a thick exoskeleton of human bone in order to shield him from a corrosive that would normally disintegrate his Martian physiology.
- Intangibility – By greatly lowering the density of his own mass, Marian Manhunter is able to become intangible. He has used this power often during combat to protect himself from his enemy’s attacks and to pass through walls and other structures to travel. Another use of this power is phasing opponents into solid objects, as J’onn as Fernus was able to do to Superman.
- Invisibility – J’onn is able to control his visibility and render himself invisible to beings that can even view the entire electromagnetic spectrum. He can even appear invisible to Superman.
- Telepathy – Martian Manhunter is one of the most powerful telepaths in the DC universe. Through sheer mental strength, he was able to resist Brainiac’s telepathic control of the entire world. His offensive psionic abilities are at least planetary in scale, and he has demonstrated great finesse with his powers – achieving everything from planting subtle subliminal messages in Superman’s head, casting an illusion over the entire Justice League, and forcibly invading and shutting down the minds of powerful telepaths like Despero and Doctor Psycho.
- Psionic Blast – J’onn is able to project painful and destructive blasts of psionic energy from his eyes and his hands
- Psionic Shield – J’onn is able to project a telekinetic shield of distinct size and force for their protection and that of others.
- Martian Vision – Martian Manhunter can project powerful blasts of energy from his eyes. The power of these blasts are comparable to Superman’s heat vision and have been shown to be able to harm the likes of Superman and Black Adam. He is able to create powerful enough blast to sever his own arm. He is also able to project telekinetic blasts of force.
- Telekinesis – Presumably a side effect of his Martian vision is telekinesis. He seems to keep this ability in reserve, as he does some of his other powers. J’onn is capable of controlling / manipulating; move; push; cut out; attrack; and levitate objects even at the subatomic level. J’onn can manipulate atoms, subatomic particles, and cells perfectly. J’onn can fire extremely powerful Telekinetic Blasts, causing others to telekinetically explode and create a telekinetic shield. J’onn has only demonstrated this power a select few times.
- Martian Breath – The Martian Manhunter has also demonstrated an increased lung capacity, allowing him to blow powerful wind bursts and freeze opponents with his breath, similar to Superman. J’onn has also demonstrated the ability to fly through space for extended periods of time.
- Sonic Scream – J’onn has on occasion demonstrated the capability to emit a devastating sonic scream.
- X-ray Vision – J’onn J’onzz described this ability colloquially as ionized particulate matter mapped to a variable density wavepacket. It allows him to see through objects.
- Extrasensory Input – Martians have nine senses as opposed to a human’s five senses, which grants the Martian more numerable and clearer perceptions.
- Longevity – Martians possess naturally longer lifespans than human beings. J’onn has lived for at least one hundred years and is still not at old age. Based on the “One Million” story-line, we can also presume that J’onn has the capacity to live and operate at peak functionality for thousands of years to come.
- Mayavanna (Formerly) – This is a Martian ability that gives the receiver a gift of a reality even more powerful than our own. It grants them what they want most in the world and is reserved for those held most dear to the Martian giving it. It is a gift that can only be given once in a lifetime. J’onn had to use his on Despero in order to stop him from murdering the League.
J’onn was trained as a Manhunter on Mars, making a capable crime fighter and combatant. Since his arrival on earth, he has demonstrated a high degree of intelligence and great skill in detective work while working under the guise of Detective John Jones. Martian Manhunter has exceptionally high reasoning and logical skills, which added to his detective expertise, and also grants him highly competent diplomatic abilities. He has shown to be remarkably empathetic and understanding of human emotions and human nature. He has often given extremely wise advice to his fellows during times of crisis and in personal adversity. Despite his civil understanding, J’onn is able to assess situations and recognize which circumstances require intellectual solutions and which merit combat. When he has decided to use force, he has never been hesitant to fight against his opponents ruthlessly.
J’onn has been portrayed as having a weakness to fire, which has varied over the years, usually according to the needs of a given storyline.
Evolution of the Fire weakness
In the Silver Age, even the smallest flame could cause J’onn to cringe and occasionally fall unconscious. It was explained as the natural enemy of all Martians, and would vary widely in severity by the writer’s whims.
In the Bronze Age it became more defined, causing him to slowly lose his powers and eventually consciousness.
Post Crisis it was explained as being psycho-somatic, a result of the traumatic experience burning the bodies of his race killed by a plague.
When Grant Morrison took over JLA, he reintroduced the fire weakness as being a racial trait of all Martians, white or green. Later in that same title, Joe Kelly explained it as the result of a prehistoric war with the Guardians. The Guardians of the Universe, after defeating the Martians, placed within the Martian race a psychological fear of fire. This was to prevent them from taking on their earlier, “Burning” form, marked by aggressiveness and chaos. When J’onn excised his weakness to fire by working with Scorch, he unleashed Fernus. Afterwards, J’onn stated that he no longer fears ordinary flames and that the only fire that affects him is fire of psychic or mystical power.
In the New 52, it has been revealed that he once more has a psycho-somatic weakness to fire, stemming from the traumatic, fire related destruction of the Martian race. It is noted that his body is still ultimately invulnerable, even as he is being affected.
Alex Ross’ take on J’onn in the Kingdom Come series shows the Manhunter as a shell of his former self. After attempting to touch all humanity’s mind at once, he could not handle the mixture of feelings of hate, love, anger, sadness and joy. He was shattered and stayed in human form. Although, he can be seen in at least six different pictures (in his Martian form) slightly before and during the battle at the Gulag (this may have been another character, however).
JSA: Liberty File
This Elseworlds story takes place during WWII. JÂ´onn is by accident being beamed to Earth by Hitlers scientists, but appears to be human due to his shapeshifting powers and has lost his memory. What we get to know about him is that he is being called “Johannes” (the German version of John) and that he takes on knowledge by touch. Since Hitler is the only one allowed to touch him, JÂ´onn takes over his world view and comes to be the NaziÂ´s secret weapon. Only when Batman touches him is his memory somewhat restored and he sees the Nazi propaganda for what it is. He fights back and thereby turns the tide of war.
J’onn appears in the fifth issue of the series. He is revealed to be one of the infected and proceeds to attack the remaining heroes residing in the Fortress of Solitude. He manages to kill Lex Luthor and infect The Flash. Before he could do more damage, he was burned to death by Firestorm
Film & Television
DC Extended Universe
In the DC Extended Universe, Martian Manhunter is played by Harry Lennix. In his first two appearances of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, he disguised himself as a military general named Calvin Swanwick. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he reveals his true self.
DC Animated Universe
In Justice League, J’onn helps to bring the League together. In Justice League Unlimited, he takes care of the logistics of running the League. After a point, Wonder Woman convinces him to take leave from the group to interact with humanity. The series finale shows him married to a middle aged woman and considerably happier than he was in the series’ beginning. He was voiced by Carl Lumbly.
The Martian Manhunter appeared in the Static Shock episode A League of Their Own along with his Justice League teammates. He was again played by Carl Lumbly.
The Martian Manhunter has also appeared in The Batman, in the episodes The Joining and Lost Heroes. He is first seen practicing his shape shifting in front of a television, just like “Justice League: The New Frontier”. He also has minor telekinetic powers, as he was seen levitating his TV’s remote control. He is played by Dorian Harewood.
J’onn appeared in the series, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, as a member of the Justice League, and is the uncle of Miss Martian. Though similarly to the comics, M’gann is actually a White Martian in disguise. The show’s tie-in comic showed that Mars was still heavily populated and J’onn has family there, like the Silver Age stories. His human identity is a Black man named John Jones. In the episode “Failsafe“, J’onn puts the team into a mental exercise on Batman’s orders, which goes horribly wrong when Miss Martian takes Artemis’s simulated death hard. He ends up entering the exercise himself to knock Miss Martian out of the trance. At the end of the episode, he concludes that M’gann’s telepathy is some of the strongest he’s ever encountered, even more powerful than his own. Vandal Savage placed him, along with the rest of the Justice League, under his thrall, in the first season finale. Miss Martian is able to free him after telepathically projecting an image of him surrounded by flames into his mind.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Martian Manhunter appears in the series as a member of the Justice League International. His love of “Chocos” is changed to a love of a generic brand of boxed chocolate chip cookies. He was voiced by Nicholas Guest.
Justice League Pilot
In this low-budget adaptation, J’onn J’onzz was the founder of the Justice League. He claims to have fled from his homeworld (not Mars, as it apparently had high temperatures over 300 degrees) in a starship, which he parked on the sea floor to use as JLA headquarters. Aside from shapeshifting (which cannot be maintained for long without pain), he displayed no powers. He was played by David Ogden Stiers of MASH fame, in very bad rubber prosthetics.
Martian Manhunter appears on TV’s Smallville as John Jones. He is played by actor Phil Morris. Throughout his time on the series he has only appeared in his human form. In the first episode he appeared to transform into his Martian form but it was not seen on screen, all that could be seen was his Martian hand print burned into the body of one of the phantoms Clark accidentally released. John lost his powers as he expended them all. He regained them later thanks to Dr. Fate in the episode “Absolute Justice”. Also included in Smallville is his love of Oreo Cookies, they can be seen in the first episode he appears in.
Justice League: The New Frontier
J’onn appeared in this movie and was played by Miguel Ferrer. Reference is made to his fear of fire.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
J’onn is portrayed by Jonathan Adams. In the movie he falls in love with Parallel-Earth Rose Wilson. Even though he was tempted to stay, with Wonder Woman encouraging him to, he decided to return to his reality as he made a promise to protect that Earth. Diana tries to cheer him up by suggesting he look up Mainstream Earth Rose. J’onn replies: “With my luck, she’ll probably be evil.”
Justice League: Doom
J’onn appeared in the movie, voiced once again by Carl Lumbly.
Martian Manhunter appears as a major character in this series, portrayed by David Harewood. In the show, he poses as a D.E.O. operative by the name of Hank Henshaw.
Justice League: Heroes
In the game, Justice League Heroes which was published by Warner Bros. Games and released in 2006, he appears as a playable character, along with many other of the Justice League members.
DC Universe Online
J’onn is in the MMO DC Universe Online which was released in 2011 as an NPC Character. He is voiced by Dwight Schultz. J’onn will assist the player in a certain quest against the villain Circe who posses Mera in the game. He is shown as a hologram which will assist the player in different safe houses on the hero’s side. He can also be found in the Watchtower, in the Monitor Womb.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
In Lego Batman 2, J’onn appears with the rest of the Justice League. J’onn is also playable in Lego Batman 2, by unlocking him after you beat the main game. He can be unlocked after taking down a gold brick gate, and purchased with a specific number of studs. To take down the gold gate, it requires 175 gold bricks. He costs 125,000 studs to unlock. His abilities in the game are super strength, laser/heat eyes, and flight.
Injustice Gods Among Us
In the fighting game Injustice Gods Among Us, developed by NetherRealm Studios, J’onn appears in the game as a cameo. He is shown floating in the background of the Watchtower stage. He is also specifically zoomed in on at the end of Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion Injustice reveal trailer.
In 2013’s Evo tournament, NetherRealm Studios revealed J’onn as the fifth DLC fighter in the game. In his intro, he is seen disguised in an alley as a human, then turning around and transforming into himself, then flying into the air.
In his supermove, J’onn is showing transforming into the enemy, and punching them twice. He transforms back into himself, and uppercuts the enemy into the air. He then morphs into a giant version of himself, picking up two huge stones, and smashing them both into the opponent.
His outro is J’onn looking directly into the camera, as a focuses in on him. The screen then moves back out, to show J’onn transformed into his true form on his home planet.