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"Martian Manhunter #6" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Martian Manhunter 6 00

Written by Scott Orlando
Illustrated by Riley Rossmo
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Lettered by Andworld Design
2019, 32 pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 26th, 2019

Review:

H'ronnmeer's Curse tore Mars apart. It swept through its citizens in record time, sending them all to agonizing death. J'onn J'onzz tried desperately to save his family from this horrifying disease, but to no avail. It was only due to a miracle on another planet that he managed to survive. He's carried that feeling of loss all this time and now he's revealed his role in spreading this plague.

Much of Martian Manhunter #6 is told in flashback as J'onn shares his history with his partner, Diane. If the two are going to catch the serial killer that's been terrorizing the area, they'll need to work together, but that means being open and honest with one another, hence this tell-all. Although he's usually a quiet, somber individual, this story comes out of J'onn like a firehouse. It's like he's kept this pent up inside himself for so long and he's grateful to finally have someone to share it with.

The amount of guilt J'onn feels is unimaginable. He lost everything in a matter of moments all due to a few mistakes. Although his intentions were good, they cost him his world and his family. This is the most heartbreaking part of it all. You can see J'onn holding onto the fleeting hope of survival. If he can just make it off world everything will be ok. It's just a little farther. They're so close. That's when the gut punch happens and it's devastating.

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J'onn may not look like us, but his story is relatable. I'd do anything for my family and that's the position J'onn is in here. He refuses to accept the harsh reality that's settling in around him, running on pure will and adrenaline until his mind and body are broken. Never let anyone say that you have to literally see yourself in a character in order to relate to them. Martian Manhunter #6 is a perfect example of how you can put yourself in someone else's shoes and instantly understand everything they've gone through.

A decisive moment comes when J'onn cuts himself and his family off from the thought stream. That's how everyone else is getting infected. This shifts the conversation from telepathy to speech. Letterer Andworld Design shows how abrupt and unnatural this is for a culture that's used to thinking at each other instead of speaking. They go from smooth dialogue to a panicked expression.

Artist Riley Rossmo has outdone himself with Martian Manhunter #6. Since this issue takes place mostly on Mars, Rossmo fully embraces the alien world and all it offers. We already saw how the Martian's bodies twist and contort as they change shape. This is something else. This is pain and torment as they lose the ability to hold themselves together. Countless people are writhing on the ground as their flesh bubbles up and bursts into flames before their skin melts off. I'll pause here to remind you that Martian Manhunter takes place in the same universe as Superman.

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Rossmo captures this agony in a way that will send shivers up your spine. It's an unsettling horror, as this is something no one can fight against. Imagine getting a cold that would tear your body apart like this in moments and there is nothing you can do about it. You can't take any medicine or punch it. It's a threat that will completely destroy you. This terror is shown on every single character's face.

Colorist Ivan Plascencia amplifies the alien nature of Mars with some amazing work. The Martians, usually shown in green or red, are instead agonizing in yellows and oranges as their flesh melts. Fires erupt in the distance as chaos reigns. It's like the sky itself is burning, adding to the tense scene.

Since this is a memory, this history has a faded look to it, distinguishing it from the present day. This doesn't take away from the anguish. That's just as potent as ever. This is something that J'onn has thought about constantly and will never forget. It's seared into his mind.

Martian Manhunter shows the character at his lowest moment as we enter the halfway point of this series. We can hope that writer Steve Orlando will build him up again with the second half, but after all the tragedy J'onn has been through and the menacing obstacle standing in his way, I'm not so sure that will happen. This book is an emotional powerhouse.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Martian Manhunter 6 Small
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Martian Manhunter 6 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
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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