The Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz / John Jones) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Joseph Samachson and artist Joe Certa, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #225 "The Manhunter From Mars" in November 1955. He is one of the seven original members of the Justice League of America.
J'onn J'onzz has featured in other DC Comics-endorsed products, such as video games, television series, animated films, or merchandise like action figures and trading cards. He was ranked #43 on IGN's greatest comic book hero list.
The Martian Manhunter possesses a wide variety of superhuman powers, including superhuman strength, durability, flight, regeneration, self-sustenance, shape-shifting, intangibility, invisibility, telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory input, and optic blasts.
Many of his powers resemble those of Superman, including superhuman strength, flight, invulnerability, and "Martian Vision" (a term designating both the ability to see through solid objects and the ability to project beams of energy from his eyes). Superman once said of him: "He is the most powerful being on the face of the Earth".
J'onn uses his power of shapeshifting for various effects, such as adopting human or monstrous appearance, elongating his limbs, growing to immense size, altering the chemical composition of his body, etc. His default form during JLA meetings and in public is a "human-friendly" version of his actual birth shape.
J'onn can also phase-shift, becoming intangible to pass harmlessly through solid objects, or to phase through people and machines in order to damage them or cause pain. He can also render himself invisible, and he originally acted as an invisible hero or unknown "angel", helping those in need without revealing himself. In the Silver Age story "The Unmasking of J'onn J'onzz" he lost the ability to use his other powers while invisible and was revealed to the world as a Martian superhero, although his civilian identity of John Jones remained a secret.
A powerful telepath, J'onn can both perceive others' thoughts and project his own thoughts. He often acts as a "switchboard" between the minds of his teammates in order to coordinate their actions. The extent of his telepathic abilities is great; several times he has connected his mind to the entire population of Earth, such as in the Trial by Fire story arc, in which he connects to the whole population of Earth in order to find a rogue telepath who has been brainwashing prominent criminals and political figures. He also uses his telepathy for creating illusions, locating other sentient beings, controlling other’s minds, manipulating memory, inducing sleep, travelling on the astral plane, transferring information to people directly, and creating brain blasts and mental shields.
J'onn can absorb energy beams and waves. His telekinesis allows him to move objects with his mind, which he describes as "Martian mind-over-matter". He uses his telekinesis to manipulate and move or push multiple objects, as well as to fly at high speeds and to create a telekinetic push or a telekinetic shield. The inner valves and chambers in his air canals are very dense and greatly enhanced, allowing him to create strong hurricane force winds just by exhaling.
J'onn's eyes can project energy beams, known as "Martian Beams", the exact effects of which have varied in different decades from incendiary effects to concussive impacts to disintegration.
He has demonstrated regenerative abilities, once regenerating his entire body from only his severed head, but with great strain. (Due to the loss of mass, he found it necessary to incorporate new matter from sand.) In his early appearances, he could breathe underwater, such as when he encountered Zauriel in the sea of San Francisco. J'onn also possesses nine senses compared to humans, giving him clearer and more numerable perceptions.
Aside from his superhuman powers, J'onn is also a very capable detective. As Batman mentions in his file, "in many ways, Martian Manhunter is like an amalgam of Superman and the Dark Knight himself".
One of J'onn's signature traits is his vulnerability to fire. Although it has been an element of the character since his earliest appearances, writers have depicted it with inconsistency throughout the character's long career.
In his earliest appearances, he was shown as having a weakness to fire while in his native Martian form. Over time, this was developed into pyrophobia, with fire being the Martian's "Achilles heel", equivalent to Superman's weakness to Kryptonite. Exposure to fire typically causes J'onn to lose his ability to maintain his physical form, so that he "melts" into a pool of writhing green plasma. One portrayal explained that the flame weakness was tied into Martian telepathy, with fire causing so much chaos in Martian minds that they collapse.
It was revealed during the Trial By Fire storyline that the Martian weakness to fire is a built-in psychosomatic effect, placed in the Martian race long ago by the Guardians of the Universe to prevent them from reverting to a previous evolutionary state in which they were highly aggressive, on the verge of interstellar conquest, and in need of flames and the psychic suffering of others in order to reproduce. At the end of the arc, this weakness to mundane fire was removed, with J'onn explaining that now only fires of "psychic significance" could harm him, such as flames of a magical or pyrokinetic nature.
During the Fernus storyline, Batman noted that Martian shapeshifting was an instantaneous reflex based around the psychic study of others, allowing J'onn to adapt rapidly to any opponent's physiology or fighting style. Curiously, this aspect of his power puts him at a slight disadvantage when faced with Plastic Man, who is immune to telepathy (being inorganic) and who has no set fighting style, but is instead described as "inspiration given form", a completely spontaneous and unpredictable being.
In the New 52 the weakness to fire is pyrophobia that is unique to him as a crippling fear, due to the trauma of witnessing the fiery death of his race. J'onn himself notes that it's ridiculous that he is one of the most powerful beings alive and has such a simple weakness.
Hank Henshaw was an astronaut at NASA until a solar flare hit his space shuttle during an experiment in space, damaging the ship and the crew. Henshaw and the crew found that their bodies had begun to mutate and, after returning to Earth, Henshaw's entire crew (including his wife) eventually committed suicide. After learning that Superman had thrown the Eradicator into the sun in a battle during the space shuttle experiment, Henshaw blamed Superman for the solar flare and the accident. Before his body completely disintegrated due to the radiation exposure, Henshaw was able to save his consciousness. Using NASA communications equipment, Henshaw beams his mind into the birthing matrix which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant. He creates a small exploration craft from the birthing matrix and departs into outer space alone. Becoming increasingly mentally unstable, Henshaw used Superman's birthing matrix to create a body identical to Superman's, albeit with cybernetic parts. He returned to Earth to kill Superman, only to discover that Superman had already died during Henshaw's absence. Following Superman's eventual resurrection, Henshaw would not only become a recurring adversary of Superman but of Green Lantern as well. Hank Henshaw became a member of the Sinestro Corps during the Blackest Night.
Hank Henshaw is a supervillain featured in the DC Comics universe. While originally featured primarily as an enemy of Superman, recent years have repositioned him as one of the main enemies of the Green Lantern Corps. While the character debuted in The Adventures of Superman #465 (April 1990), he was reintroduced as the original Cyborg Superman during the Reign of the Supermen storyline following Superman's death. At times, he is also referred to as The Cyborg (not to be confused with Teen Titans member Victor Stone aka Cyborg).
In the Legion of Super Heroes episode "Message in a Bottle", a Superman robot that resembles the Cyborg Superman appears as the property caretaker of the Fortress of Solitude in the 31st century. He is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
DC's direct-to-DVD movie Superman: Doomsday, based on "The Death of Superman" storyline, features a variation on the Cyborg Superman character. One of the many changes is a streamlined cast which cuts the four Superman imposters, including Cyborg Superman. Elements from three of the four impostors (Hank Henshaw, Superboy, and the Eradicator), were combined into the Superman clone created by Lex Luthor in the film.
In a comic book crossover starring Superman and the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards and his team are forced into an uneasy alliance with Hank Henshaw when the Marvel Universe's world-eating Galactus kidnaps Superman and transforms him into his herald. In conversation with Susan Richards, Henshaw points out the "ironic" similarity between his origin and the FF's. The story concludes with Galactus blasting Henshaw with a ray that turns him into a simple metal rod in response to his pleas for perfection, after the discovery that Henshaw was responsible for Superman coming to the Marvel Universe after he planted faked evidence that Galactus was involved in Krypton's destruction (having previously encountered the Silver Surfer in Green Lantern VS Silver Surfer, Henshaw had learned of Galactus and sought the enhanced power of becoming a herald).
Supergirl is an American television series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti and Allison Adler on CBS. It is based on the DC Comics character Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), a costumed superhero who is the biological cousin to Superman and one of the last surviving Kryptonians, who was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.
David Harewood as Hank Henshaw: A former CIA agent who is the head of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), who goes on high alert when Supergirl reveals herself, worried that her otherworldly abilities pose a threat to humankind.
Martian Manhunter appears on Supergirl played by David Harewood, under the guise of Hank Henshaw. In "Human for a Day" it's revealed that he took Henshaw's identity after the latter died in an attempt to kill him. Henshaw was killed by Jeremiah Danvers, father of Alex Danvers and adoptive father of Kara Zor-El. J'onzz promised Danvers to take care of his daughter in return for saving his life. Unlike in most versions, he appears to be much taller than a human in his true form.
David Harewood portrays Hank Henshaw in the 2015 Supergirl TV series. When discussing his character, Harewood stated, "Hank Henshaw ends up becoming Cyborg Superman in the comics, battling Superman. So I'm looking forward to that. He's a bit of a supervillain. He seems pretty indestructible. Which I kind of like because I keep getting blown up in these things. I'm kind of looking forward to being indestructible."
Smallville TV Series
Phil Morris portrays Martian Manhunter in the Smallville television series. In this show, he is portrayed as an old friend of Jor-El who came to Earth to monitor Kal-El and assist him when he needed it, aiding Clark in defeating the escaped Phantom Zone prisoners. The Manhunter sacrifices his powers at the beginning of the eighth season to save Clark from a fatal wound (flying Clark close to the sun, restoring Clark's temporarily lost powers while depriving him of his own) but, after joining the Metropolis Police Department under the name 'John Jones', he is restored to full strength mid-Season Nine by Doctor Fate, who sacrifices a chance to save his life so that he can send the Manhunter to Mars and restore his powers. John then returns to help battle Icicle's son who had taken the mask of Fate from Dr. Fate's dead body. Later, he and Chloe went for dinner with Oliver Queen, where he mentions that, during his time as a human, he gained a strange desire to eat cookies.
Justice League of America 1997
J'onn J'onzz is played by David Ogden Stiers in the 1997 Justice League of America live-action television pilot. He has difficulty shapeshifting, being only able to impersonate others for a short period of time, and no mention is made of any other powers - although he sets a chair aflame during a scene where he impersonates JLA member Fire, with what may or not be Martian vision. He also does not appear to be vulnerable to fire/heat (when the villainous Weatherman attempts to cook the heroes alive by superheating their base with a laser, J'onn does not leave with the others, claiming the intense heat is not considered dangerous "where I come from"). He was also played by Miguel Ferrer when he temporarily changes into Weatherman, Miguel's character in the film.
Justice League: The New Frontier
Miguel Ferrer portrays Martian Manhunter in the animated film, Justice League: The New Frontier. The movie shows his first adventures after arriving on the planet Earth. His weakness to fire is portrayed as an unexplained mixture of the psychological and the physical: when confronted with a fire, he is mesmerized, and falls to his knees, seemingly powerless to move at all, until someone else douses the fire.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Jonathan Adams voices the Martian Manhunter in the animated film, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. He also has a Crime Syndicate counterpart called J'edd J'arkus (a play on the Martian "Tars Tarkas" from the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels) who was killed during a raid by Lex Luthor and Jester.
Justice League: Doom
Martian Manhunter appears in the animated film Justice League: Doom, with Carl Lumbly reprising his role from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes Unite
Martian Manhunter appears in the animated film Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite, an adaptation of the video game of the same name, with Cam Clarke reprising his role.
Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom
Martian Manhunter appears in the animated film Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. This version's true form resembles Frenzy from Lego Space Police. He has only recently arrived on Earth before being captured by the military and held in custody in Area 52.
Lex Luthor plans to steal the cell containing him (which was hinted in the previous film) so he can use him against the Justice League. Lex and the Legion of Doom attack Area 52 with the Justice League arriving to stop them. Unknown to the Justice League, Lex manages to use a Boom Tube to steal Manhunter's cell and escape with it. When he and the rest of the Legion of Doom arrive back at the Hall of Doom, the release Manhunter from his cell and trick him into believing that they are heroes and the Justice League are villains, resulting in Manhunter gaining their trust. Manhunter sneaks into the Hall of Justice (disguised as Batman) and uses a device to show the Metropolis power plant in meltdown stage.
When the Justice League arrive at the plant, Manhunter uses his telepathy to create an illusion that what the device showed is true (which Cyborg does not notice due to half of his brain being inorganic), resulting in the Justice League unwillingly destroying the power plant and the world leaders banishing them. (with the exception of Cyborg, who noticed Manhunter in disguise in the angry mob and is trying to prove the innocence of the Justice League). Manhunter eventually discovers the truth about the Legion of Doom and explains the lie they told him to Cyborg. Manhunter later helps Cyborg defeat the Legion of Doom and joins the Justice League at the end of the film.
In Static Shock, The Martian Manhunter appears in the episode "A League of Their Own", along with the majority of the other Justice League members.
Justice League Animated Series
J'onn J'onzz appears in the Justice League animated series, voiced by Carl Lumbly. In this series, J'onzz' history is even more closely tied with that of the League. In the series, the Justice League originates as a temporary uniting of Earth's heroes against an alien invasion; the invaders had previously invaded Mars, wiping out all the inhabitants except J'onn J'onzz, who travels to Earth to warn of the invaders and join the fight against them. For the animated series, executive producer Bruce Timm revised and reduced J'onn's powers somewhat. His superstrength was downplayed (though he was still seen performing great feats of strength on occasion); his superspeed, invisibility and Martian Vision are not present; and emphasis was placed on his telepathy, shapeshifting and density alteration, specifically his ability to become intangible. J'onzz only increased his density sporadically on the series, usually noticeable by a glowing blue aura surrounding his body. In the episode "A Knight of Shadows", J'onn transforms himself briefly into a dense, metallic substance hard enough to deflect the blows of, and even harm, the super-strong demon Etrigan.
In Season 2 episode "Comfort and Joy", J'onn lands on a child's roof and reaches down the chimney for cookies, which are drawn like Oreos. In the comics, J'onn has always displayed a liking for the cookie called Chocos, which are essentially Oreos. In the same episode, he is shown to be a beautiful singer in his native Martian language. Like the other member in the first two seasons, he is used on a semi-regular basis. In "Tabula Rasa", he becomes disappointed in humanity after hearing their thoughts and realizing just how selfish they can sometimes be. His faith is somewhat restored when he mentally spies on a group of people searching for a lost little girl, namely on one man who thought, "I'm freezing my butt off for the girl and I don't even know her... But I know how I would feel if she were mine." It is J'onn who turns the tide in the battle with A.M.A.Z.O., allowing the android to replicate his powers. When Luthor tells A.M.A.Z.O. he has all their powers, J'onn tells him to use them well, leading to A.M.A.Z.O. telepathically discovering Luthor's true intentions and turning on him.
Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006)
Justice League Unlimited (JLU) is an American animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the previous Justice League animated series. JLU debuted on July 31, 2004 on Toonami and ended with the episode aired May 13, 2006. It was also the final series set in the long-running DC animated universe, which started with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.
In Justice League Unlimited, J'onn remains almost exclusively in the Watchtower, manning it and serving as mission coordinator. The Martian Manhunter impersonates Kalibak when Flash goes with Mister Miracle and Big Barda to save Oberon. In "Task Force X", he fights off Flag, Bette Sans Souci, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and The Annihilator single-handedly, losing only when Souci takes a hostage. He leaves the Tower at the end of Season 4 to battle Luthor with the rest of the original seven. He leaves the Tower again in "To Another Shore" to help Wonder Woman against Killer Frost, Devil Ray and Giganta. At the end of that same episode, he leaves the League to go on a sabbatical, claiming he has become too detached from humanity and needs to reconnect. He later resurfaces in the series finale "Destroyer", having assumed the form of an elderly Asian man, and having seemingly found new love, as well. He reunites with the League and helps to fend off the invasion. He is noticeably different from when he left, demonstrating more human behavior. In his entire DC Animated Universe appearances, he is almost exclusively referred to as either "J'onn J'onzz" or "The Martian" only being called "Martian Manhunter" once, by the Clock King in "Task Force X".
Dorian Harewood voices the character in The Batman animated series. In addition to the character's standard powers, he also displays telekinetic abilities. He uses the guise of Detective John Jones to warn Batman about "The Joining", a coming alien threat to Gotham. Despite not being in continuity, his appearance is very much like his appearance on the Justice League series (the only real differences being that his features are more angular and that he wears shorts).
Martian Manhunter appears in the Young Justice TV series voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Miss Martian is the Martian Manhunter's niece in the show's backstory. Like the original Silver Age stories, the show's tie-in comic book reveals that Mars is still heavily populated and that J'onn still has family living there. When assuming an earthbound secret identity, Martian Manhunter takes the appearance of an African-American man and uses the alias "John Jones". In "Failsafe", Martian Manhunter puts Young Justice through a mind-training exercise on Batman's orders which ends up going horribly wrong when Miss Martian takes Artemis' simulated death hard. Martian Manhunter ended up having to enter the mind-training exercise to correct this by knocking Miss Martian out of the trance. While Captain Marvel comforts Miss Martian about what happened, Martian Manhunter tells Batman and Red Tornado that in terms of raw power, Miss Martian's telepathy is the strongest he has encountered, including his in comparison.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Martian Manhunter appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Darkseid Descending" voiced by Nicholas Guest. He is a member of Justice League International. He appears in "Shadow of the Bat!", where he and the rest of the JLI try to stop Batman after he is turned into a vampire. The vampire Batman tortures J'onn by entering his mind and forcing him to relive the violent deaths of his wife and daughter. In "Night of the Batmen!", he takes care and keeps an injured Batman from leaving the Satellite.