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Comic Book Review: Martian Manhunter #2

The Revolution thought the first issue of this Martian Manhunter mini-series was a pretty solid read. Both the art and the writing were above average. In the past, Martian Manhunter is a character that seemed a bit too vanilla for my taste. However, Lieberman has delivered a rather interesting Martian Manhunter. I expect that Martian Manhunter #2 is going to be another good read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo
Inks: Bit

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We start with the government scrambling to evacuate the secret base where they have been conducting the tests on the Martians. We see that Martian Manhunter has already infiltrated the base and is disguised as one of the base’s technicians.

We cut to four weeks ago. A meteor shower hits the desert in Arizona. Two scientists for S.T.A.R. Labs investigate the scene. They find a Martian medallion.

We cut back to the present time. Martian Manhunter breaks into a room that houses numerous Martians in containment suits. J’onn proceeds to free all of them. The freed Martians do not trust J’onn.

We shift back to four weeks ago in the desert. The two S.T.A.R. lab workers are discussing what to do with the Medallion. A woman arrives at their lab. It is Ms. Ferdinand from the last issue. She says she is with NASA and asks them if they have seen anything odd. They say no and she leaves. The one scientist, Alex, tells the other one that he is contacting his friend William Dyer in the Department of Extranormal Operations for help. Suddenly, the other scientist gets a bullet through his head.

We cut back to the present. The freed Martians think J’onn is working with the “White Martians.” J’onn says there are no White Martians on Earth. The freed Martians say they don’t know how long they have been held captive. Could be a week. Could be a year. There are a couple of captive Martians missing. The freed Martians won’t abandon them so J’onn helps look for them.

We shift back to two weeks ago. Alex, the S.T.A.R. Labs scientist is meeting with Mr. Dyer who is none other than Martian Manhunter. J’onn gets all the information about the Martian Medallion and then puts Alex on a plane to London where he will be protected by some of his contacts over there. We see Alex get on the plane and it blows up just after takeoff. We see Giggs report to Ms. Ferdinand that his job is completed.

We cut back to the present. J’onn locates the room where the missing Martians were taken to. It is a hideous testing room where unspeakable things were done to those Martians.

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Suddenly, a platoon of troops enters the room where J’onn and the other Martians are located. J’onn cloaks himself and the other Martians so that they are invisible to the soldiers. J’onn wanted to leave without killing anyone. However, the freed Martians want revenge and they use being cloaked to their advantage and slaughter all of the soldiers. J’onn can’t blame the freed Martians for wanting revenge. After all, it is the one human emotion that Martians also possess. End of issue.

The Good: Martian Manhunter #2 was a great read. I’m really digging the storyline that Lieberman is spinning on this title. Lieberman is wasting no time with this mini-series. The pace of this issue was quick, but not rushed. This issue has a nice flow. I like how Lieberman mixed in the flashback scenes while J’onn was freeing his fellow Martians. Lieberman has constructed a sound story that has a solid foundation and a clear direction. This is absolutely essential when you are dealing with a mini-series limited to just 8 issues in order to deliver your entire story.

I also like that Lieberman has crafted a story that is actually designed to further develop J’onn’s character and will have a definite impact on his personality and role in this new DCU. So many mini-series fail to actually further a character’s personality. Many mini-series offer up a flat and undeveloped story that simply is a spotlight for the character rather than an opportunity to actually grow the character. Initially, my biggest concern is that this mini-series would be another random pointless story centering around a character that has never managed to become worthy of having his own solo title.

Lieberman has certainly erased any of my previous concerns. Lieberman is determined to give the DCU a much different Martian Manhunter than the one we have known in the past. The first obvious difference is in his physical appearance. J’onn is now embracing his Martian appearance. The not-so-obvious changes are the little tweaks to his personality. We are seeing a much more cynical and angry J’onn than ever. We are seeing a much more “Martian” J’onn who is now proud of not being anything like a human.

These changes are only going to become more pronounced as J’onn discovers how the U.S. government has held Martians in captive and performed horrible studies and tests on them. Plus, no longer being the sole survivor of his people will also change his personality. How will J’onn react now that he has others like him alive and on Earth? It should be interesting to find out.

The scene where J’onn finds the captive Martians and frees them was great. It was cool to see so many Martians alive. I am curious to see what the presence of these Martians on Earth will have on the DCU. I also like that unlike J’onn, these Martians have no desire to live peacefully among humans. This is going to make for one entertaining storyline.

Lieberman serves up some quality dialogue. Lieberman has a good feel for J’onn’s character and does a good job writing his dialogue. I like the dark tone of this story. It is perfectly complimented by Barrionuevo’s heavy-lined art. Barrionuevo draws some wicked Martians. I have really enjoyed his artwork on this title. He helps to bring to life Lieberman’s solid story.

The Bad: I have no real complaints about this issue. Personally, I’m not a big fan of J’onn’s conehead look. But, that is a very minor aesthetic complaint.

Overall: Martian Manhunter #2 was an enjoyable read. Lieberman and Barrionuevo make a good team. I have never read a title written by Lieberman or drawn by Barrionuevo. I must say that both men have impressed me with their work. This is a solid mini-series that is certainly worth giving a try.