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Martian Manhunter 11 Main

"Martian Manhunter #11" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

article-cover

Written by Steve Orlando
Illustrated by Riley Rossmo
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Lettered by Deron Bennett
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 1st, 2020

Review:

Charnn, the renegade Martian who has turned into a monster during his time on Earth, has made his move, ready to destroy the town of Midleton in an effort to regain his ability to shapeshift. He's already rocked J'onn J'onzz to his core, forcing the Martian Manhunter to doubt himself more than ever. Aided by his partner, Diane Meade, J'onn sets out to stop Charnn once and for all, fighting through all of his past pain and regrets along the way.

We'll get to the Martian-on-Martian battle in a moment, but first, let's talk about Diane and how much of a badass she is. She's like Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs mixed with Sigourney Weaver in Alien. Since she's the only one who really knows what's going on (aside from J'onn), she's in the unique position to save the entire police force and the whole town. This is an insurmountable task, but she tackles it head on and with confidence. People need saving and that's what she's going to do.

Artist Riley Rossmo makes Diane look like an absolute champion, standing tall in the midst of chaos. Bullets are flying and she's running into battle with poise and attitude. This crazy alien isn't going to destroy her town. Diane's face rarely changes. It always has an expression of anger and rightfully so. She's pissed that Charnn has gotten his hooks into Midleton and caused this much carnage.

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Click images to enlarge

OK, now we can talk about Charnn. This villain is terrifying. He stalks around like an animal circling his prey, towering over J'onn in a threatening manner. All the while, Charnn is taunting J'onn with visions of his past failures. Imagine heading into the biggest and most important test of your life and hearing and seeing everything you've ever done wrong moments before. That would mess you up, wouldn't it? Well, that's what J'onn has been training for.

Colorist Ivan Plascencia makes Charnn look like mutated sinew, slithering around in a blood red visage. It's like he doesn't have any skin. It contrasts well with the green and blues of J'onn's skin and costume.

J'onn has been broken down to his core components and built back up again. Writer Steve Orlando has delivered a fascinating character study and Martian Manhunter #11 is the culmination of that (or the beginning of the culmination because we've got one more issue left). We see J'onn fighting through all of his failures, coming to terms with them along the way. Yes, he made mistakes and that cost him dearly. He's paid a huge price for those and fighting Charnn is a way to continue to make up for it.

Rossmo has a great visual way of showing how Charnn's mental attacks are working on J'onn. There's a nice sequence in the middle of the battle where Charnn shapeshifts into J'onn's wife. We know that Charnn is locked in his form, so this is something that's only affecting the Martian Manhunter's mind. It leads up to an awesome shot of J'onn cutting through this ruse and fighting his attacker.

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Click images to enlarge

This is just one example of Rossmo's excellent art direction. The panel layouts are varied and impressive as they control the pace and tension of each scene. If things are calmer, the layout is more traditional with regular shaped panels. This changes drastically when the action heats up. The page fills with smaller panels, each focusing on specific details. Images are shown in cascading angles to unsettle you. It's top notch.

Letterer Deron Bennett puts these squiggly lines around the word balloons when the Martians are speaking telepathically. The tails even lead up to their foreheads instead of their mouths. This is an eerie effect that works to differentiate the speech as well as add an unsettling tone to it. I wonder what it would sound like to be in that room with these two guys fighting it out and not hearing them say anything, but reacting like a heated conversation is going on.

J'onn J'onzz is facing his toughest challenge of his life and it's not yet over. He's fought through his own failures and relived the horrifying consequences of his actions. That's fueled a fire within him to take down a monster, but will it be enough? That's the question we face as we head into the conclusion of this amazing maxi-series.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Cover
Tfaw Buy Button
Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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