REVIEW: ‘Martian Manhunter,’ Issue #6 – We Plan Escape

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Martian Manhunter #6, “We Plan Escape,” is published DC Comics, written by Steven Johnson, with art by Riley Rossmo, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and lettering by AndWorld Design and this is the issue that reveals the dreaded past of J’onn J’onzz. Previously, J’onn barely escaped with his life after being mentally tortured by Charnn. He was made to suffer in a prison of his own fears. What these fears highlighted, was that the Martian Manhunter had an incredibly shady past. With the threat of H’ronmeer’s curse looming, and other corrupt Manhunters reportedly in the ranks, J’onn bypassed his own personal ethics to assure the protection of his own family, but at the cost of his fellow officers.

After being shown his deepest, darkest mistakes, J’onn is left battered, bruised, and bereft. He is alone, and haunted by his memories. Seeking to confess his sins, he turns to the only person he can trust, his partner in the police force, Diane. Martian Manhunter #6, deals with the side effects of unpacking all of that trauma. Now that he’s been faced with the ugly truth, J’onzz must relive his past once more to explain why he isn’t a hero.

Martian Manhunter #6

Orlando, has been doing an excellent job of weaving the mention of J’onn’s sordid past into the story. This secret that the Manhunter has been carrying around has been referenced, and teased, and shapes the essence of who the Martian Manhunter is currently. So, when this part of his life is finally revealed, it lands with the impact and gravitas it so truly deserved. It’s a defining part of the entire series. This one event has definitively changed the perception of this characters’ arc in the DC comics-verse.

In Martian Manhunter #6, this series continues to elevate the tension as we move through relevant points in time on Mars. We are witnessing one of the most harrowing moments of J’onn’s life, and the tension and suspense is so heavy throughout. It built so well to the most heartbreaking of final panels I’ve seen. The irony of the choices, the conclusive feeling that regardless of which path had been chosen, was a truly impossible one to make. It’s difficult to truly delve too finely into the details of this story, as it’s a pretty big spoiler, but I was left with a heavy heart after putting this one down.

Being able to elicit this much of an emotional response, is truly joyous given that I’ve not often given the Martian Manhunter much thought before. This series, this issue, really zones in on the soul of J’onn. His core beliefs, his motivations in life, and his deepest regrets.

None of this would be possible without the unbelievable art that Rossmo created within the pages of this issue. While I commend Orlando for building to this point of anguish, the artwork in issue six is what truly stands apart, and I will happily credit Plascencia in the same breath. For it to work so well, both functions have to move symbiotically. This isn’t to say that their other illustrations have been poor as Rossmo and Plascencia continue to up the bar in what they are able to accomplish and this time they’ve hit perfection.

The final days of destruction on Mars, the anguish felt from the surrounding population, those full sized panels near the end of the issue. If you give me the time, I will wax lyrically for days about the finite detail that has been crafted into these pages.

Not to forget AndWorld Design’s lettering, the creation they’ve added within this series gives depth to the actions and the stories. The tender conversation at the beginning between two lovers creating life, frantic zagging speech bubbles of a frustrated J’onn trying to rescue his family, the sounds of the carnage and the explosions that engulfed the Martians.

This is very much, as of date, one of my favorite series being published this year. There are so many components of this story to get lost in. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Martian Manhunter Issue #6.

Martian Manhunter Issue #6 is available now, wherever comics are sold.

Martian Manhunter #6
5

TL;DR

This is very much, as of date, one of my favorite series being published this year. There are so many components of this story to get lost in. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Martian Manhunter Issue #6.