SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Dark Nights: Metal #5, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plasencia, on sale tomorrow.
When the DC Universe underwent a massive shakeup following the events of Flashpoint, one of the most notable changes was the revocation of Martian Manhunter’s status as a founding member of the Justice League, which was instead transferred over to Cyborg. However, despite being featured prominently in various titles throughout The New 52, J’onn J’onzz’s presence in the post-Rebirth DCU thus far, consisting of flashbacks, Easter eggs and passing references, has remained sorely missed.
Ironically, J’onn’s last proper appearance in the DCU was in the final issue of his eponymously titled New 52 series, which was released in May 2016, just one week before the DC Universe: Rebirth Special. For some, this isn’t necessarily the sort of hiatus one pictures when they hear the words “long lost.” Nevertheless, given Manhunter’s place in the hearts of countless readers, not to mention his pre-Flashpoint importance, a year and a half can feel like a lifetime, so it’s easy to see why his upcoming return in May’s Justice League: No Justice four-issue weekly miniseries is cause for celebration.
How, exactly, will he be folded back into thick of things, though? Where has he been this whole time? Well, Christmas came early thanks to DC Comics’ first look at Dark Nights: Metal #5, which features the triumphant return of everyone’s favorite Manhunter from Mars.
Locked up on Thanagar Prime, Mr. Terrific and Hal Jordan’s luck has seemingly run out, and with Hal’s ability to use his ring still being suppressed by Starro, it appears their hope is next. That is, until a Thanagarian guard approaches the pair’s cell before shape-shifting to reveal himself as none other than Martian Manhunter.
Upon freeing his fellow heroes, J’onn explains his absence was the result of his journey to Thanagar Prime to seek out the same answers they’ve been searching for – namely, “Why this place and others were kept secret.” However, rather than continue the trip down memory lane, J’onn asserts that their primary objective is to reclaim the Plastic Man egg. Blocking out Starro’s signal and returning the confiscated T-spheres, Manhunter joins Hal and Mr. Terrifc on the final page of DC’s preview images, as the newly reunited heroes prepare to continue their leg of the quest to finally put an end to Barbatos.
Given the ensemble cast nature of Metal, it remains to be seen how J’onn will factor into the remainder of the issue, let alone whether or not his reemergence will be made known to any of his other former teammates. Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to wait very long for these answers, as well as those to Metal’s many other outstanding mysteries.
Dark Nights: Metal #5, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plasencia, goes on sale tomorrow, and the story will conclude in Dark Nights: Metal #6, which hits stands March 14.