WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Justice League #36 by Scott Snyder, Howard Porter, Francis Manapul, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
Scott Snyder's Justice League has reached a fever pitch as Lex Luthor has finally become the Apex Predator and is now bearing down on the Hall of Justice with the Martian army Perpetua gifted him. Lex is at full power, achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a pseudo-god, and all that stands in his way of ultimate victory in the Doom War is DC's Trinity and their squad of heroes.
However, just when it seems the League might be outnumbered, they're set to gain a massive equalizer as the return of a key member of the team has been teased for the epic final battle.
Snyder's run has shifted Lex Luthor's rivalry from being with Superman to the Martian Manhunter as it was revealed Lex and a young J'onn J'onzz shared a relationship when they were kids, with the alien being experimented on by Lionel Luthor and the Legionnaire's Club. They formed a unique bond, only for Lex to be mind-wiped after helping the alien escape. Grateful for this, J'onn tried to reason with an adult Lex in the present so he wouldn't start this war, but it turned out to be a trap as Lex assimilated him and became the human-Martian hybrid Perpetua initially used as the universe's main inhabitants centuries ago.
It was a heartbreaking death as J'onn really did believe Lex could be a hero but rather than be redeemed Lex simply wanted power, all at the expense of his true equal. However, fans did speculate that J'onn could have remained hidden in Lex's psyche and as the villain becomes Perpetua's true agent of chaos, it becomes clear that this has indeed been the case all along.
When Perpetua prepares for her final assault, she betrays the Legion of Doom, turning Brainiac into a robotic throne with three chambers. She then overwhelms Grodd, Sinestro and Cheetah by controlling its mechanical arms and as they're forcibly subdued, Lex stands in shock as he had no intention of being a traitor. He's panicking and has no clue what to do as his 'mother' turns on her allies, begging her to rethink her actions only for the goddess to proceed anyway. As this occurs, a voice inside Lex's mind speaks out and from the green hue of the text bubble, and it appears to be J'onn trying to get Lex to stop Perpetua.
"Lex... Lex, you know this isn't right..." the voice pleads. "This is wrong... End this, Luthor!" But as Perpetua transfers the power of the Legion she bestowed upon them to Lex, he's corrupted and begins basking in the glow of his upgrade. He forgets about his friends and embraces the weapon he's further evolved into. Now, while the return of the Martian Manhunter is somewhat predictable, it's unclear how effective he'll be as this Trojan horse. It's possible he'll manifest physically and actually fight Lex, or maybe he'll battle him on the mental plane in a war of psychics.
J'onn could also just destabilize Lex's charge by affecting his mind and possibly alter his DNA to break down Lex's Apex Predator form. In other words, there are a few possibilities Snyder can work into his big play for the return of the hero. Even if it's not in the flesh, all it'd need is the Martian Manhunter fracturing Lex's psyche to cause the damage the League needs. Ultimately, J'onn won't enjoy breaking his old friend but as Batman made clear, desperate times call for desperate measures and the return of the Martian Manhunter will be a Hail Mary most graciously accepted because the heroes are short on numbers and running out of hope.
Justice League #37 goes on sale Dec. 4.
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