25 Things Fans Didn't Know About Martian Manhunter

Created by Joseph Samachson, the character Martian Manhunter made his comic-book debut in 1955 in Detective Comics #225. During DC Comics' Silver Age, the character appeared significantly weaker than his current self in terms of powers-- only having telepathy, flight and super-hearing. Left stranded on Earth, the Martian decides to adopt a human persona as detective John Jones (in reference to his alien name J'onn J'onzz.) During Post Crisis, the character became more refined and given a more in-depth origin story regarding his life on Mars and becoming the last of his race. In 1997, Martian Manhunter became a founding member of the Justice League in Grant Morrison's adaptation and received an on-going comic series in 1998.

Along with appearing in various comics, Martian Manhunter has appeared in many animated series such as Justice League and Young Justice. The character has also made his live-action appearances in Smallville, Supergirl, and a 1997 Justice League television movie. He's also appeared in video games like Injustice: Gods Among Us and referenced in Batman: Arkham Knight.  Due to the character's popularity, Martian Manhunter ranked #43 on IGN's Greatest Comic Book Hero list. With such an immense array of powers, his invulnerability to most destructive weapons alone is on par with that of Superman. Despite his alien origin, Martian Manhunter has proven over time that he is one of the Justice League's most human members; capable of intense emotion and having a desire to bring peace to a very troubled Earth.


Often described as the "Swiss Army Knife of superheroes," Martian Manhunter's alien DNA allows him complete control over his physical presence. Having the ability to change his skin-tone and mass, he's able to alter his appearance at will. What clothing he does wear, such as his super-suit, is made entirely from his own molecular structure.

Having control of his body's biopolymers, Martian Manhunter can shapeshift into anything imaginable. He can also camouflage himself as other people, assuming their identity and perfectly imitating their mannerisms. He also has the ability to render himself completely invisible and phase through impenetrable barriers.


Martian Manhunter is the keeper of one of two Kuru Pendants. Acting as a giant "memory core", the pendant connects a Martian to their heritage, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of their vast culture. There is believed to be only six pendants remaining in existence.

Using their telepathic powers, a Martian can interact with the pendant to learn the knowledge that has been stored within it. In turn, a Martian can also add to the information, increasing the amount of history being preserved.


Martian Manhunter possesses the Mayavana, the Martian ability to create a false mental reality in a person's mind. The intensity of such a power limits it to being used only once.  Along with this, Martian Manhunter's telepathic powers include mind control, the ability to create a telepathic link, and mental tracking.

If under a serious threat, he can use his telepathic powers in an offensive manner, causing his enemy to suffer a complete mental breakdown. Due to the invasiveness of such an attack, Martian Manhunter rarely uses this ability unless absolutely necessary.


Despite his superior intellect, Martian Manhunter has fallen victim to powerful persuasion. In the animated series Justice League, he becomes prey for the sorceress Morgaine Le Fay in the episode "A Knight of Shadows." Working closely with Batman and Etrigan, Martian Manhunter tries to locate Le Fay telepathically and in the process, has his mind seized by the sorceress.

She plants a vision of his life back on Mars, reuniting him with his deceased wife and children. Before he can lose himself in the fantasy, the illusion is broken by Etrigan. Now compromised, Martian Manhunter becomes an unwilling pawn in Morgaine's elaborate scheme.


Having the power to alter one's mental state, Martian Manhunter was able to temporarily bring sanity to the Joker's tormented mind. In JLA #15, the Joker steals an object known as The Philosopher's Stone and recreates his signature grin in the Atlantic Ocean.

Martian Manhunter uses his mental abilities to attempt to reorder Joker's chaotic mind by telling him to "Stop."  Bringing momentary relief, the Martian sways Joker into handing over the stone. Realizing the atrocities he's committed, Joker is briefly confronted by his terrible actions before his sadistic natures returns.


Though they are similar in many ways, Martian Manhunter isn't the biggest fan of Batman. Unlike those who find themselves intimated by the Dark Knight's brooding nature, J'onn has admitted he doesn't fear Batman and has harshly critiqued the Caped Crusader's methods.

In The Batman, Bruce Wayne and John Jones try to uncover each other's secrets. Bruce is able to easily detect Jones' Martian origin while Jones deduces Wayne is Batman by having previously read his mind. Realizing Bruce's tendency to be several steps ahead of his opponent, Jones remarks on how paranoid the billionaire has become.


Despite his critiques of Batman, Martian Manhunter did appreciate the Dark Knight's need for backup plans. In the "Tower of Babel" arc of Justice League of America, it's discovered that the Martian also made arrangements in case any member of his team went rogue.

Using their weaknesses against them, Batman devised a way to use nanites to take down his teammates. For Martian Manhunter, his fear of fire would be enhanced through a nanite virus that would cause his skin to turn into magnesium, leaving him highly flammable when exposed to air.


During Blackest Night #8, Martian Manhunter is resurrected, along with other teammates from the Justice League, as a member of the Black Lantern Corps after his death in Final Crisis. In an act of revenge, he confronts Flash and Green Lantern who unite with the Atom to use a fire tornado to subdue the Martian.

Toward the end of the issue, he is revived by The Entity. Doubtful that his ally has truly returned, Superman asks if J'onn is really alive to which the Martian responds, "It appears so."


Martian Manhunter's only weakness is fire, having been instilled with the fear by the Guardians of the Universe and watching his family perish by being burned alive. This event left him with severe PTSD, rendering him powerless when confronted by the devastating element.

Over time, he learned to control this fear and channel it into perseverance to overcome this weakness. Most versions of the character share this weakness. It's only in the animated Justice League series where this fear is discreetly implied. In early episodes, he's shown to be vulnerable in battle when exposed to flames.


In an attempt to tame his fear of the flame, Martian Manhunter allied himself with the villain Scorch. Presented in an alternate timeline during Emperor Joker, Scorch is the "demonic doppelgänger" of Supergirl and has the ability to generate and manipulate fire.

After the Joker is defeated, Scorch is granted permission to keep her powers but struggles to maintain her identity based on her false existence. Trying to adjust to her new life, she enlists the aid of Martian Manhunter in exchange for helping him overcome his fear and the two begin a passionate romance.


As their relationship deepens, Scorch accidentally releases a rogue personality hidden within Martian Manhunter known as "Fernus" who begins to wreak havoc on the world. After his plans to set Earth ablaze are thwarted by the Justice League, "Fernus" chooses to set fire to a city, using the energy as a means to reproduce.

Scorch attempts to draw the fire into herself but "Fernus" attacks her, sending her into a coma and releasing the flames back to the city. Ultimately "Fernus" is defeated and after waking from her coma, Scorch briefly returns to her villainous ways.


Due to Martian Manhunter's superhuman powers, he's considered to be "the most powerful being on Earth" by Superman himself. Sharing similar abilities as the Man of Steel, there continue to be various debates on which hero could take down the other in a fight.

During the Pre-Crisis arc, the alien being was able to mimic the Man of Steel's appearance and assumed all of his powers, including withstanding his one weakness-- fire. However, in doing so, Martian Manhunter gains Superman's weakness to Kryptonite. When exposed to Gold Kryptonite, Martian Manhunter is forced to revert to his original form.


In Supergirl, Martian Manhunter's shown to have a tense relationship with Superman. During his first years on Earth, J'onn is forced to become a recluse among society, eventually finding acceptance by a Shaolin monk. Roughly 300 years later, he has his first encounter with Superman, leading the latter to remark on Martian Manhunter's incredible strength.

After assuming the identity of D.E.O Director Hank Henshaw, the two uncovered an asteroid composed of a foreign material J'onn would nickname "Kryptonite." Against Superman's wishes, he decides to store the substance in the D.E.O for safe-keeping, leading the two to have a falling out.


In contrast to his character on Supergirl, Martain Manhunter is Clark Kent's "guardian angel" in Smallville. As an intergalactic bounty-hunter, J'onn worked closely with Jor-El when it came to imprisoning various criminals. Promising to help Kal-El fulfill his destiny, he kept a close eye on the young Kryptonian after he was adopted by Martha and John.

Making his presence known in 2006, he continued to save Clark on numerous occasions, sacrificing himself to restore the young man's powers by flying him into the sun. After losing his abilities, Martian Manhunter assumed the persona of John Jones and began work as a homicide detective.


Current versions of Martian Manhunter's human persona have been portrayed by African-American actors and in the animated universe, the character has been voiced by mainly black actors. During The Death of Superman arc, he briefly took on the identity of Bloodwynd.  This has led some fans to rank the figure among other iconic black heroes.

Supergirl actor David Harewood is one of those fans, pointing out that the shapeshifter "chooses to be black" and "is proud to be wearing this skin." His argument lies in the fact that Martian Manhunter recognizes injustice and chooses to align himself with those fighting intolerance.


As the Justice League began to expand, Martian Manhunter was tasked with being the team's official coordinator. No longer an active member in the League's missions, he was forced to spend nearly two years alone in the Watchtower. Encouraged by Wonder Woman, J'onn decides to take a leave of absence to spend more time among humans.

In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Destroyer", we find J'onn has taken on the persona of an older man and has settled down in China with his wife. Seemingly aware of her husband's true identity, she voiced caution when he resumes his heroic duties.


Another persona Martian Manhunter uses as a disguise is Hino Rei, a Japanese financial reporter. Sailor Moon fans will recognize the name references the civilian identity of Sailor Mars. Even more alarming is during a scene in JLA #27, Bruce Wayne reveals he recognizes the alien's alias.

In Sailor Moon, Rei Hino is a very reserved school-girl with the ability to see future events. She also has the limited capability to produce fire. As a civilian, she is capable of performing exorcisms and has a "sixth sense" when it comes to detecting evil.


Martian Manhunter made his first live-action debut in the 1977 television film Justice League of America. Played by David Ogden Stiers, the hero had the limited ability to shape-shift and is the leader of the Justice League.

During the episode, Martian Manhunter uses his power to thwart the attempts of Weatherman to destroy New Metro. The character himself is mainly confined to the team's control room in the underwater headquarters while the M*A*S*H actor was forced to wear terrible green make-up and an oversized costume.


After his bad debut in Justice League of America, Martian Manhunter was denied his chance at redemption when Justice League: Mortal was scrapped. From 2007-2008, plans were made for a movie involving the iconic DC team but eventually was shelved due to creative differences, copyright issues, and a writers strike.

In the script, which involved violence and various interconnected storylines, Martian Manhunter encounters a strange "seahorse" substance that causes him and everything he comes into contact with to burst into flames. The team eventually contacts King Arthur (Aquaman) who agrees to help them cure their teammate.


Justice League movie full team header

Denied his big-screen debut in 2008, Martian Manhunter was again cast aside in the 2017 Justice League film in favor of Cyborg. This led to a major uproar among fans who were dead-set on seeing the original members of the team on the silver screen.

The main reason for the switch was the issue of diversity seeing as how the majority of the group is played by white actors, leaving Jason Momoa as Aquaman to be one of the few persons of color. Another factor was Martain Manhunter's powers are exactly like Superman, eliminating the reason to have two identical characters in the line-up.


While having not made an appearance in Justice League, a theory suggests Martian Manhunter has made one in the DCEU. An interaction between General Swanwick and Superman toward the end of Man of Steel has led some to believe the military man is actually a Martian in disguise. During their exchange, Superman's "Guess I'll have to trust you" makes it appear he knows Swanwick is a fellow alien.

Actor Harry Lennix, when asked on Twitter, denied the theory and instead suggested someone else should play the role. When questioned, Zack Snyder encouraged the idea but has yet to shoot down the theory.


In a cross-over comic, Martian Manhunter learns he isn't the only Martian left in the universe. However, his hopes of reuniting with his own kind are short-lived when he comes face-to-face with Looney Tunes character Marvin the Martian and the two quickly come to realize their opinions of Earth drastically differ.

As suspected, turmoil between the Justice League hero and cartoon villain ensues and each character struggles to understand the other's feelings toward the existence of the human race. Failing to convert Marvin, Martian Manhunter uses his Mayavana to make him believe he has successfully destroyed Earth.


Martian Manhunter also made brief appearances in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series in The Wake arc. In the comic, the Martian, as well as Batman and Superman, discuss their dreams; the latter two discussing their desire to be actors playing their heroic roles. Martian Manhunter reveals he hasn't experienced that dream due to the fact the character had yet to make a television or movie appearance.

The Wake is the final collection of issues for the Sandman series and encompasses the wake and funeral for Morpheus. Other DC characters referenced are Constantine, Doctor Occult, Phantom Stranger, and Darkseid.


In December, Martian Manhunter will have his own comic series written by Steve Orlando. The twelve-issue series aims to explore J'onn's origin on Mars and delves into the Martian culture. Using J'onn's grief as a stepping stone, Orlando seeks to explain the Martian's need to be perfect despite the trauma he witnessed long ago.

The series will follow the character in his human disguise as Detective John Jones, having him investigate a scary mystery that may connect to his life as an alien. Along the way, Orlando hopes to use J'onn's faults as a means to develop a connection between the character and the readers.


Much like E.T had a love for Reeses Pieces, Martian Manhunter developed a taste for the chocolate sandwich-cookie Oreos (known as Chocos in the DC Universe). His love for the sweet treat developed into a full-blown addiction when Booster Gold and Blue Beetle played a prank involving buying out the entire stock of the cookie from retail stores.

References to Martian Manhunter's love of the chocolate desert have been made in Smallville, Supergirl, and the animated Justice League. After his passing during the events of Final Crisis, Batman placed a single Oreo on J'onn's casket.

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