The Martian Manhunter faces off against ancient serial killer known only as the Unnamed in this week’s issue of the Justice League of America. Titled “Rage of the Martian Manhunter”, J’onn not only faces off against this dangerous being but also has questions about himself and his place on the Justice League.
In my opinion the Martian Manhunter is one of the most overlooked characters in the Justice League. Not hard to do when you have Wonder Woman, Superman and such however this issue shows exactly why J’onn is easily one of the most powerful beings on the planet–and how it struggles with it on a regular basis. While Superman who’s an alien can easily blend in all the time, J’onn shape shifts and assumes identities this time being one of a Japanese detective. Its a life J’onn has come to like and deal with and it seems to push the thoughts of the past on Mars in the back of his mind. Matt Kindt and Rob Williams do a great job of telling you a story directly from the Manhunter’s point of view. He could easily mind control the entire Justice League to like him, or to do his bidding and yet he doesn’t because of his unshakeable character. The drawing by Philip Tan is exceptionally done to great detail from the looks of emotion on J’onn’s face to the actual fight against the Unnamed itself. Everything looks pretty good as whole on this issue.
I have to say I’m not a fan of the “one-shot” villain. By that I mean the villain who shows up outta nowhere, fights the hero and then disappears. And that is precisely what happened in this issue. I’m saying it as I’d like for the Martian Manhunter to have a “big bad” in his rogues gallery. Batman has Bane, Superman has Doomsday–what villain does the Manhunter have that pushes him to his limits? Honestly I like the concept of the Unnamed as a character which is why I hope Kindt and Williams do it more justice by maybe giving us more backstory to the character. All we know is really he’s alien and has a clear hatred for J’onn. Hopefully this gives us a bigger story arc in the future. I’m eager to see where Williams and Kindt go with this because since so much is unknown about the Unnamed the possibilities are almost limitless for a good story.
Overall I thought this was a great read. Justice League of America #5 gives us a view in the life of one of the most powerful members of the Justice League. It seems that J’onn struggles with his own past versus his present humanity often sets him apart from the League, however it seems to also make him more human than counterparts. With just one thought he could make you do his bidding or if he wanted he could erase your mind entirely and these very abilities often makes him question where he exactly belongs. If you’re fan of the Martian Manhunter then this is a great read for you–and if you’re not I guarantee that once you finish reading this issue you will be.