Saturday, June 18, 2016

Reader's Diary #1324- Rob Williams (writer), Eddy Barrows and Diogenes Neves (artists): Martian Manhunter Volume 1 The Epiphany

It's somewhat strange that Martian Manhunter has had such a long shelf life at DC Comics. Created in the 50s when the world, at least according to much of the pop and pulp culture of the time, still seemed to be afraid of green men from Mars (though they'd been long since disproven even then). By now the world is much more knowledgeable about our neighbouring planet and yet, Martian Manhunter not only has hung on in DC storylines, seems to be undergoing a resurgence in popularity.

Much of this credit comes with a ret-conning of the character which is further explored in Rob Williams' Martian Manhunter Volume 1: The Epiphany. To an extent, it's messy and complicated and my comprehension was not helped with the break-neck pace, but in a nutshell, I believe it goes something like this: Martian Manhunter is not, as was previously stated, the last of kind. He was created (genetic engineering?) by other Martians to be used as a weapon against Earth. Now that the others have returned (from where I must have missed or else it wasn't stated), Martian Manhunter rebels against his weapon role, splitting his personality or soul or essence or whatever it is Martian's have, into 4 different individuals across the globe. Most, with the exception of the funny and loveable Mr. Biscuits, look human and have been able to fit in.

Convoluted plot as it was, it was entertaining and interesting for all of that. The sci-fi, and thanks to the art of Barrows and Neves, horror, provided unexpected, but welcomed, surprises.

Only encountering the character briefly in other works before, Martian Manhunter always sort of stuck out to me, not really fitting in with the other superheroes. Now I think he'd fit in better with the Justice League Dark stories and am not shocked to find that he has from time to time been a part of that , far more interesting sector, of the DC universe.

As a side note about Justice League Dark, recently when reviewing a John Constantine title, I embarrassingly called on the movie studios to focus more energy on the darker characters. Having immersed myself in comics so heavily these last 5 or so years, I thought I knew my fair share. But clearly I have so much to learn. Not only was I completely oblivious to Justice League Dark (a fact which will be remedied pronto), I didn't even know that Guillermo Del Toro had been fighting for years to get a Justice League Dark movie made. (I need to get out more.)

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