SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Justice League #16, by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Cheung, Stephen Segovia, Mark Morales, Tomeu Morey, Wil Quintana and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
A war with multiversal ramifications is brewing in the pages of Justice League thanks to the inevitable reemergence of the being known as Perpetua.
The creator of a previous Multiverse, all knowledge of Perpetua was hidden away on Thanagar Prime long ago by the Guardians of the Universe in hopes that it would prevent her from ever rising again. However, in Justice League #16, even more secrets surrounding her dark legacy have emerged, including one that fundamentally changes everything we thought we knew about Martian Manhunter.
While speaking with the Martian Keep, J’onn J’onzz learns that Perpetua wasn’t alone in her past endeavors. In fact, she had an entire army of deadly warriors by her side; warriors formed from the DNA of both humans and Martians. When Perpetua was eventually locked away beyond the Source Wall, her army was split back into its native species, with the humans relegated to Earth and the Martians to Mars.
The revelations don’t end there, though.
Before long, a small group of scientists on Earth discovered their true nature. Specifically, they realized they had the potential to be even more, so they reached through space and time, to before the Martians were all but eradicated, to harness the alien DNA and attempt to reengineer Perpetua’s army.
The “abominations” they ended up creating, though, are strongly implied to be White Martians based on their appearance, which – at the very least – leads us to the conclusion that the closest living beings to Perpetua’s original army in the current DC Universe are the White Martians.
And as for the DNA that the scientists extracted? It came from a young J’onn J’onzz.
If true, this would radically change our knowledge of Martian Manhunter (not to mention the Martians as a whole), whose first encounter with humanity was previously established as when he was brought to Earth by Dr. Erdel. As the Martian Keep explains, though, this was all part of Perpetua’s grand scheme.
“You were marked, J’onn,” she explains. “Marked by the story of Perpetua, and the part you would then have to play.”
Essentially, the Martian Keep told J'onn that human scientists attempted to recreate Perpetua's army by harnessing Martian DNA because, according to the Martian Keep, the original army was comprised of human/martian hybrids. She then told J'onn that the "abominations" the scientists created (abominations drawn to look exactly like White Martians) wouldn't have been possible if they hadn't abducted him as a child, at which point we see a young J'onn J'onzz in a cage.
How much of this, of any, turns out to be true in the end remains to be seen. What we do know is that Perpetua’s eventual return seems to be all but certain, but only time will tell if she’ll strike alone, or with a full army of White Martians in tow.