There was a question asked recently about Martian Manhunter, and it’s a question a lot of people have started asking. I think the original questioner knew exactly the answer, but I’m going to take his facetiousness and make it an article. So who is the green man of mars? How did he get here? What’s he doing? Does he have an ALF-like affinity for cats? No, that’s messed up to just assume all aliens are like that. He is a friend to cats. For the other questions? Let’s find out!
J’onn J’onnz was living in his Martian house with his Martian wife and Martian child. Then he found himself on Earth. How did he get there? Well, you see, Dr. Erdel was doing some experiment and it flung poor J’onn from his home and brought him all the way to Earth. Thing was, it wasn’t just a simple teleportation. He’d brought him to the present day where Mars was a dead planet, J’onn’s people long since dead. Now with no home to go back to he did what any of us would do. Take up the identity of detective John Jones and use that identity to try and live amongst humans, while using his Martian powers to aid mankind as the Martian Manhunter.
Living life as a hero, J’onn would become a founding member of the Justice League of America. He’d frequently become a member of most iterations of the team. He would often be counsel and great for linking everyone mentally for communications. That’s not counting his shapeshifting and strength. J’onn would be the heart of the Justice League and known for a penchant for Oreos.
Sadly, J’onn would learn that he was not the last of his planet. You’d think that was a great thing, but he’s still the last green Martian. White Martians are a whole other problem; with very few exceptions, most of them are downright evil. They’d become a constant thorn in his and the rest of the League’s side. He’d find some hope in meeting M’gann, a white Martian who wanted to be a hero like him and took on a look similar to his costume, and saw her as a mentee.
Another green Martian arrived, but turned out to be quite the villain. D’kay D’razz would attack M’gann and try to claim J’onn as a mate. The only way to stop her plans was to throw her into the Sun, and J’onn was saved by the White Lantern force. During a world-threatening event, J’onn would become an Earth Elemental to protect key locations. He’d eventually be made back into his normal Martian self, and the idea that the Earth was temporarily Martian is still funny.
In the New 52, J’onn has been more involved with the Stormwatch organization, and has very little to do with the original Justice League. He eventually teams up with the government sponsored Justice League team as an emergency counterpoint to the regular Justice League team; J’onn is meant to deal with Superman. When things seem to fall apart, J’onn joins Green Arrow (someone he had helped forge the Justice League back in the old continuity) to create a new Justice League based out of Canada.
So there’s the story of J’onn J’onnz, the time and space tossed alien trying to defend humanity and the Earth that he is now calling home. He’s not the first alien to do so and he wont be the last, but he sure has some interesting powers and fun quirks to do it with.
Detective Comics Vol. 1 #225
Justice League International
Dr. Alexander Bustos