Comic Book Review: Martian Manhunter #6

Martian Manhunter has been a better than average mini-series. This title sagged a bit during issue #3 and #4. However, Lieberman got this story clicking again with the last issue. It seems that we are in store for a pretty exciting finish to this mini-series. I expect Martian Manhunter #6 to be a pretty good read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Penciler: Al Barrionuevo
Inker: Bit

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a platoon of soldiers breaking into Ms. Ferdinand’s apartment and arresting her. We shift to J’onn’s home where J’onn asks which of the Martians was the one who murdered the two D.E.O. agents. All of the Martians claim innocence. J’onn says that whoever did this brought shame to all of their people. Dal’en then snaps on J’onn and attacks him. Dah’len yells that J’onn has no idea what has been done. Dah’len then passes out.

We cut to Ms. Ferdinand begin questioned by a couple of F.B.I. agents. The agents tell Ms. Ferdinand that they found her fingerprints at Alex Ferguson’s lab in Arizona. The FBI agents ask Ferdinand if she has ever been to Arizona.

We shift to Martian Manhunter meeting with Batman. Batman asks Martian Manhunter if one of his Martian friends killed two D.E.O. agents. J’onn answers yes. J’onn says that he needs to know who redder Scorch to be transferred from her S.T.A.R. Labs security unit. Batman asks Martian Manhunter how much trouble he is in. J’onn responds that as a friend he must ask Batman to trust him and do this for him. Batman answers “No.”

We cut to the FBI agents releasing Ferdinand. They place her under close surveillance figuring that she will go right after her boss who she thinks sold her out. We see Ferdinand killing Keane’s bodyguard. Ferdinand approached Keane and asks him why he served her up to the FBI. Keane claims that Giggs also knew where Ferdinand was staying so it was probably Giggs who ratted her out. Keane says it makes no sense for him to give Ferdinand to the FBI since she would then give the FBI him.

We shift back to J’onn checking in on Dah’len. Dah’len begs J’onn to kill him. That they did something to him. In the government lab, they did something to him. That he is not who J’onn thinks he is. That he is not himself. J’onn responds that Dah’len will be all right and that J’onn will take care of everything.

J’onn then meets with Sara and tells her that he needs her help. They meet with the other Martians who are still stunned that one of their own took a human life. J’onn directs Sara to run tests on Dal’en to see if he was infected with the plague while in the government lab.

We cut to Ferdinand recovering a hidden stash full of information on the project that she has been working on under Keane’s direction. We hop over to J’onn getting Sara set up in an old abandoned lab. Suddenly, Alfred appears and says he must talk with J’onn. Alfred tells J’onn that Bruce does not know that he is here meeting with J’onn.

Alfred tells J’onn that he has the name that J’onn asked Batman for. That Batman can’t recognize someone caught in J’onn’s position where no matter what they do; they’ll hurt the ones they love. With that, Alfred hands J’onn a note with the information about the identity of that person.

We cut to Martian Manhunter intercepting Keane’s helicopter in mid-air. Martian Manhunter smashes into the helicopter and tells Keane that they need to talk. Martian Manhunter pulls Keane out of the helicopter and questions him in mid-air. J’onn asks what was done to his people in Keane’s lab. Keane responds that they did whatever they felt necessary. That no one trusts Martian Manhunter. That J’onn put himself and his people first and human lives were lost.

J’onn prepares to do things the hard way by forcibly reading Keane’s mind to get the information about what happened at the lab. Suddenly, J’onn gets a telepathic cry for help from Mica’Kel that things are getting worse with Dah’Len. Then Superman appears and tells J’onn to let Keane go. Martian Manhunter tells Keane that they will meet again.

J’onn tells Superman that his fellow Martians were infected with something. Superman says that the JLA has to bring in all the Martians while this mess gets sorted out. Superman tells J’onn to prove it that Keane did something to the Martians. J’onn asks for more time and promises to bring in Dah’Len himself. Superman gives an hour and then after that he is on his own.

We cut to Sara in her lab. She has discovered that all of the Martians have had their blood tampered with and now it is different than it normally should be. We see J’onn arriving back at the house where Dah’Len has attacked the other Martians. Dah’Len then attacks Martian Manhunter. Dah’Len’s green skin flakes off and it is revealed that Dah’Len has transformed into a pissed off white Martian. End of issue.

Martian Manhunter has been a better than average mini-series. This title sagged a bit during issue #3 and #4. However, Lieberman got this story clicking again with the last issue. It seems that we are in store for a pretty exciting finish to this mini-series. I expect Martian Manhunter #6 to be a pretty good read. Let’s hit this review.

Comments
The Good: Martian Manhunter #6 was a pretty solid read. Lieberman definitely cranked up the intensity with this issue. Lieberman delivered a fantastic ending with the revelation that the government tampered with the green Martians and mutated them into white Martians. That is a great hook ending that certainly made me eager for the next issue.

Lieberman continues to impress me with how he is handling J’onn’s character. Lieberman is giving J’onn a good balance in his personality. We see J’onn’s traditional peace loving, trusting and kind nature. However, we are now seeing a bit of an edge to J’onn’s personality that was absent prior to this mini-series. J’onn loses his temper more than I have ever seen and J’onn doesn’t mind getting rough when he has to.

Plus, J’onn has displayed a willingness to do just about anything to help save his people. J’onn is ready to rip from Keane’s mind the information about what the government did to the Martians. J’onn shows this newfound attitude of “by any means necessary” when protecting his fellow Martians.

Lieberman also does a great job getting the reader to empathize with J’onn’s predicament. Clearly, J’onn desperately wants to believe that his fellow Martians are nothing more than innocent victims. J’onn tries to do the right thing by his people, but his blind loyalty to his fellow Martians has cost the lives of two D.E.O. agents and now we have a white Martian on the loose. All of this could have been avoided if J’onn had surrendered his fellow Martians to the government.

In trying to do the right thing, J’onn has really made a huge mess of everything. It should be interesting to see how J’onn is able to dig himself out of this massive hole. And it is clear that J’onn is going to have to do this on his own, since his long time friends have abandoned him.

Lieberman turned in two excellent scenes with J’onn and Batman and J’onn and Superman. Both scenes highlighted J’onn’s desperation and blind loyalty to his fellow Martians. I thought the scene with Batman was pretty harsh. Still, it was definitely in keeping with Batman’s personality to refuse to help J’onn. We all know that Batman doesn’t trust other metahumans. And that goes double for aliens running around our planet acting like super heroes. At this point, J’onn is simply proving Batman’s suspicions correct that J’onn would be willing to hurt humans and go against the government in order to protect his fellow Martians.

J’onn’s scene with Superman was cool in that it showed what a huge hypocrite Superman is being over this entire situation. It is understandable that Batman wouldn’t want to help J’onn. Batman is naturally suspicious and probably feels that J’onn would always choose his fellow Martians and their needs over the needs of humans. However, Superman is a fellow alien. Superman knows what it is like to be the only survivor of your species.

Over in Action Comics, Superman has showed his willingness to attack government facilities and battle American soldiers in order to protect a fellow Kryptonian. Johns and Donner show a pissed off hostile Superman who decides that only he knows what is best for his fellow Kryptonian and not the government. Just like J’onn. And Superman ends up stealing the fellow Kryptonian and adopting him as his son and concealing his identity from the government. Pretty much like J’onn taking his fellow Martians out of government custody and hiding them at his house.

Yet, Superman, being a total hypocrite, tells J’onn that he has to turn over all the Martians. Does Superman offer to help J’onn in his mission? No. All Superman does is tell J’onn that he has one year before the JLA come for the Martians. Nice.

Lieberman uses this scene with Superman to stress the extreme differences between these two aliens. Superman has always been treated as one of us. Superman was raised as a human and knows what it is like to be a human. J’onn doesn’t. He has always been treated like an alien. He doesn’t know what it is like to be a human. While Superman certainly misses having his fellow Kryptonians around, he is able to exist in our world as a human and he has that void filled by his human parents, wife and friends. J’onn doesn’t have that luxury. J’onn has a void that can never be filled.

Barrionuevo turns in some solid artwork. I like his Martians a lot more than his humans. Barrionuevo tends to draw some odd faces on his humans that leave me a bit cold.

The Bad: No complaints with this issue.

Overall: Martian Manhunter #6 continues to crank up the intensity as we race to the conclusion of this mini-series. Lieberman has done a nice job re-defining J’onn’s personality and his role here on Earth. This is a good mini-series; however, I can’t say that I’d recommend that you run out to your local comic book shop and buy it. If you dig J’onn or have some extra money then I’d suggest giving it a try.

1 Comments

  1. Wow this issue was far better than any of the rest in my opinion. I loved the scenes with Batman, Superman and finally Alfred. This book has been bothering me because I kept thinking that it would never reach a decent enough conclusion to justify the money spent to date but with this issue and if Lieberman can finish with 2 more cracking issues I’ll feel vindicated in my purchase. Fingers crossed he can pull it off!

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