MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1

Written by Steve Orlando

Art by Riley Rossmo

Colours by Ivan Plascencia

Letters by Deron Bennett

THE DEAL: Justice League legend J’onn J’onnz has returned to the DC Universe! This time, under the guise of detective Joshua Jones, he spends his days and nights (mostly nights, from the looks of it) investigating violent crimes with his partner Diane. The scenes are grisly and shrouded in mystery … just like Joshua’s extraterrestrial past.

THE GOOD: First of all, the underlying themes of this first issue are poignant for the times, particularly as a re-introduction of a character with such steep history in DC’s canon. While Joshua searches for clues to uncover the more ghastly crimes he encounters on Earth, his Martian past drifts in and out with a flow that seems effortless. Each world is rendered with just the right colour and detail by the art team: stark lines in sombre greys and earth tones for our home, warped geometry in gold and red for J’onn’s. We only get a glimpse of Mars in this single issue, but it’s clear that while they may be a culture of shape-shifters, the skin-deep differences between them still stratify society in ways that are culturally relevant to us now. As a comic fan, I find that the most thought-provoking messages about our own humanity can come from fantastical realms. On that point, Orlando doesn’t disappoint.

THE BAD: While I understand the artistic thread that travels through Riley Rossmo’s work, I find the style a little too cartoony for my taste. It works quite well on Mars with a bunch of talking blobs, but it pulled me away from the story on Earth (Diane’s hair, I’m looking at you). A more effective juxtaposition of the two would have had greater impact. With that in mind, despite the thematic opportunities it presents, I found the parallels between Martian and terrestrial life to be more alike than seems sensible. I find it very hard to imagine a completely different species marrying and having children, walking to and from work, and listening to the radio, just like folks in some bygone era of our own world. This is a chance to explore the past, and still have it look like the future.

3 stars out of 5

Check out this issue at https://www.dccomics.com/comics/martian-manhunter-2018/martian-manhunter-1

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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