Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reader Korneel S. wrote in to ask the following:
Here's a question about comics:
Wikipedia tells me that Martian Manhunter has 9 senses ("compared to humans"). What are those senses?! And does he ever even use them? Their source they refer to is JLA Year One #6. Thanks in advance!
Here's the bit from the story...
Now, you see that comic book writers often do a little thing that you could often describe as "tossing an idea out there." In other words, they say something that sounds cool that really isn't meant to be anything more then, well, something that sounds cool. This is different than stuff like when Onslaught was first mentioned in the pages of Uncanny X-Men. Uncanny X-Men writer Scott Lobdell introduced the idea of a future threat called Onslaught, but Lobdell did not really know who Onslaught WAS. His theory was that he would figure it out as he went along. We see that happen in comic books (and TV series) a lot, as well. We see a future where someone might die and the writers have to then figure out WHO dies later on. That, though, is different from a tossed away line. A tossed away line is just something that sound cool that was never meant to be followed up on. The problem, of course, is that comic book fans can often be a bit obsessive about these things, so when a comic book (that was part of official "canon," although that miniseries was also the first series to introduce the concept of Hypertime, as the Blackhawks who appeared in that miniseries could not have really appeared based on the Post-Crisis DC Continuity at the time, so the concept of "Hypertime" would explain the seeming mistake, as the idea is that the Blackhawks from one timeline briefly intersected with the main Post-Crisis timeline and bled into the timeline for a brief moment of time, just long enough for their appearance in JLA: Year One. Hypertime was a cool idea) established the idea that Martian Manhunter has at least nine senses, it has bled into online Wikis and stuff like that. It even gained a mention in the official DC Comics Encyclopedia, but they sort of write it off as, you know, a throwaway line.
So, I asked Mark Waid about it and he explained that it was, of course, a throwaway line and thus, he did not have any extra senses in mind at the time. So that, in a way, is really the nice and easy answer to the question.
However, much like Tina Turner, we never do things nice and easy, so I said to Mark, let's come up with an actual answer right now. And so, we came up with the official nine senses of the Martian Manhunter, including a shocking TENTH sense!! These are all Waid-approved, so put that into your Wiki, people. ;)