Hi again, it’s been a while from the last post! Today, we’ll see one of the two characters who have been revealed to have a cameo in upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us: the Martian Manhunter, one of the founding members of the Justice League of America, who in the game is seen floating in the background of the Watchtower. The character had his first live action appearance in the tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by David Ogden Stiers. This version was much older than the comicbooks’ one, since he was an elderly alien crashed on Earth, who tried to save it gathering some superhumans in the Justice League; his powers, which only consisted in shapeshifting, were also fading away. He received a better potrayal in Smallville, with Phil Morris taking up the role: in the tv series, he was an old friend and collaborator of Jor-El, who helped Clark Kent in the discovery of his Kryptonian origins on Earth, and followed him in many adventures under the human alias of John Jones. Let’s see together who he is in the comics.
Centuries ago, Mars was a planet inhabited by a greatly civilized race, the Green Martians, who called the planet Ma’aleca’andra. Two of them, M’yrnn and Sha’sheen, got married, and had two sons, twins, quite an uncommon event for Martians: they called the first one J’onn J’onzz (translatable as Light to the Light), and the second, who was a mutant, Ma’alefa’ak (which meant Darkness in the Heart). The brothers grew up together, but, while J’onn was a good child, always eager to impress his parents “doing the right thing”, Ma’alefa’ak used his natural gift of telepathy to his own advantage, committing many evil deeds. When J’onn became an adult, he met and fell in love with M’yri’ah, and married her. His brother, jealous of his happiness, mind-raped M’yri’ah, then concealing his presence; J’onn, who had become a manhunter (a Martian cop), tracked down the raper, and painfully discovered that his brother was the criminal. Ma’alefa’ak was found guilty by the Council of Mars, which stripped him of his telepathy and the other abilities natural to his people, banishing him for life. J’onn J’onzz went on with his life with M’yri’ah, and the two had a daughter, K’hym. Unfortunately, the Manhunter’s happiness wouldn’t have lasted long: M’alefa’ak, seeking revenge against the entire planet that had banished him, had created a psychic virus, named after the Martian god of death and darkness H’ronmeer: it infected the Green Martians through their telepathy (so that its maker was immune), and whenever one of them used his or her gift, they ended up starting a mental fire within their minds, going to psychological combustion. In no time, almost every Martian died, and J’onn was forced to see his beloved wife and daughter suffer the same fate of everyone else. Seeing his family burning to death before his very eyes almost drove J’onn mad, and he stood alone, on the planet, waiting for the virus to take him too. But something happened right before he contracted the H’ronmeer.
On Earth, in Colorado, a self-proclaimed scientist named Saul Erdel was trying to use some ancient Martian technology he luckily came upon to assemble a machine he wanted to use to make contact with extraterrestrial life: the device sent a teleporting beam centuries back in time, and caught the wandering J’onn J’onzz, bringing him to present Earth. The Martian was in a semi-catatonic state, and istinctively created a telepathic link with Dr. Erdel: the man learnt of what happened on Mars, and also discovered the wounds in J’onn’s psyche. He managed to heal them using the bond they shared, and recreating his origins taking inspiration from his favourite writers, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury. Healed, J’onn became friends with Erdel, and stayed with him for some time, with his memories appearing only through his pyrophobia; he remembered that Mars and his family were dead only months after, but he understood that his friend had manipulated his memory for healing him from a deep trauma, thus forgiving him. When Erdel died of a heart attack, J’onn decided he would have fulfilled his friend’s wish to see him as a champion for good and, using his shapeshifting abilities, he disguised himself as a human, taking the name John Jones and becoming a policeman in Middleton. Some time later, many superheroes appeared on Earth, and J’onn understood he could now use his natural abilities publicly: he created the super identity of the Martian Manhunter, devising an appearance that was something between his natural one (which he perceived as a private thing: even on Mars, only his family saw him with his real look, while publicly he changed form, as anyone else on the planet) and a human appearance. With his enormous powers, his centuries-old wisdom and his investigating skills, the Martian Manhunter became a formidable force for good, a founding member of the Justice League of America, and one of the most tireless defenders of Earth.
Born more than a milliennia ago, J’onn J’onzz has a noble and righteous spirit, and perceives his crime-fighter activity as a service to the people. His unique Martian physiology grants him a variety of superpowers on Earth that makes him one of the most powerful beings on the planet, able to compete against Superman: he’s a shapeshifter, also able to turn invisible and to phase through solid objects; he can fly, he possesses superhuman strength, durability, stamina and speed, heightened reflexes and senses; he’s Earth’s most powerful telepath, capable of projecting illusions or to mind-control weak-minded people; he can regenerate from virtually any wound (he also had his head regrow once) and is extremely long-lived; being a manhunter, he is also extremely intelligent and well trained in hand-to-hand combat. A formidable fighter and protector, the Martian Manhunter is ready to do whatever is necessary to prevent what happened on his homeplanet from occuring again.