The first thought I think everyone is going to have when reading Martian Manhunter #1 is this: “It worked for Mister Miracle, it should work for Martian Manhunter.” and honestly, I understand the logic. A twelve issue maxi-series about another DC mainstay that isn’t popular with the mainstream public really isn’t a bad idea, and all in all Martian Manhunter is a good choice. The question is whether this first issue delivers. It’s not as powerful as Mister Miracle #1, but I think I can say that yes, this is a good start.
Martian Manhunter #1 reads like a cop story, and first and foremost, it is. J’onn J’onzz is living incognito as a police detective in Colorado and he and his partner (Diane) get put on a particularly nasty murder case. J’onn gets some backstory and naturally there’s a reveal at the end. I wasn’t hot on the backstory given to J’onn, as we see his life on Mars with his family in flashback (which is actually a flashback within a flashback) but that’s a personal preference, as I’ve always liked the idea that life on Mars was something J’onn kept to himself as his family’s death was too personal to ever discuss. Since we’re going to be looking at that aspect of the Martian Manhunter more in depth, I am hopeful that writer Steve Orlando can sell me on it, and I believe he can.
I’m not sure if the book is trying to look like Mister Miracle on purpose, truthfully I think it’s the colors (lots of reds and greens) but I enjoyed the way the book looks. The art by Riley Rossmohas an old time detective feel to it that fits the crime aspect of the story, and the vibrant colors are pleasing to the eye.
I wasn’t sure I had any interest in this book but the story and art won me over. I’m particularly interested in solving the murder (which looks almost ripped from today’s headlines) and watching the partnership of J’onn and Diane develop as things progress. All things considered, if you liked the twelve issue format of Mister Miracle, this sets you up for something similar, which I think is a good thing.
- Interesting mystery gets you hooked
- Art and color is very appealing
- It's J'onn J'onzz solo for a change
- Not so hot on the "Life on mars" parts