DC Comics recently announced a new series focused on the Martian Manhunter, a fan-favorite original Justice League member who hasn’t headlined his own series since 2015. Created by Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo, the 12-issue series is reportedly set to be a re-examination of the character’s origins while also delving into a detective story centered around the Martian Manhunter’s Earth identity, John Jones.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Steve Orlando gave some insight into his opportunity to create a definitive series for the character.
“In the past, J’onn has been too perfect. One of the reasons people have not connected to him is that he was a perfect upright cop on Mars, and yes, his family died but it was no fault of his own, and then he came to Earth and he was perfect. Our favorite characters, that’s not them, you know? Spider-Man let the burglar go. Bruce Wayne was too afraid to save his family. This book gives J’onn that moment, and that’s the keystone as to why this book will be, is, the Martian Manhunter story, because we finally know the why. Why he strives to be so good on Earth, why he has this journey because he’s never really had one before. All of our favorite characters overcome their faults, and we hope he’s going to do it here, but he has to have them first.” – Orlando
Rossmo, however, described the unique chance to build a new Martian culture and how the design actually started.
“There’s not that much pre-existing material for Martian culture. There are all these different aspects, and I really love the design challenge of that. Like, what does a building look like for people who don’t really need furniture? It’s an abstract visual problem-solving thing that feels pretty unique. I’ve been working on it for a year, and it’s been good to have that kind of run-up. There’s a problem-solving aspect to it that I really enjoy — what do the Green Martians look like, compared with the White Martians, how do they co-exist, even do they co-exist? And then the character designs have to reflect those cultural pieces and contrast all of that with how J’onn and the humans look like in the current storyline.” – Rossmo
The two creators continued, discussing their recent collaborations together and the theme of redemption that will be found throughout the upcoming Martian Manhunter series.
I had so much fun with Night of the Monster Men. There’s a sequence at the beginning of it — the people at the morgue are infected and they start to bubble, and when I read that, I thought, ‘I like this guy.’ [Laughs] That was when I knew we’d do some good stuff. With Batman/The Shadow, we started with traditional script/art, but after the first couple of issues, we’d opened things up and there was a freedom that’s really exciting. I don’t feel constrained ever with Steve’s scripts.” – Rossmo
“What’s uniquely exciting is that the complexity in Riley’s storytelling is innovative and new. You’ll see storytelling techniques that are not a reference to 1972, or 1986, they’re brand new. They’re ways that pages have never been told before.” – Orlando
“When we were discussing the project and getting ready to go, the present timeline story felt kind of David Lynch-y to me, and I thought that would be the piece that I could really dig into. But the Martian stuff, the family stuff, has been really emerging as the part that really grabs me. There’s a moment in issue 1 that they all have as a family together, and it brings a tear to my eye, because you know where it’s going, and what’s going to happen. I want to do it justice, and show how special that time is together, knowing from page one of the series where it’s going. That’s really become a driving factor for me.” – Rossmo
“Being the Martian Manhunter gives him a second chance. His life on Mars was a catastrophe of his own making; the tragedy that he undergoes is catastrophic, but his greatest failing is his family — he fails in his ultimate obligation as a partner, and as a father,” he His life on Earth is a gift to him; it’s his second chance to be the man he always wanted to be on Mars but wasn’t strong enough to be, and didn’t have the will to be. The question is, is he really strong enough to be this person? Is it just an act? Can he really seize the opportunity? That’s really what the series is about, and by the end, we’ll find out if he’s strong enough to make the Martian Manhunter a hero, to make him inspiring to people instead of just a reminder of what happened to his people in the past.” – Orlando
Both of the creators have already been very active in promoting the upcoming series on social media, giving fans a look at some of the Martian Manhunter covers that can be expected.
Be sure not to miss the new 12-issue Martian Manhunter series when it hits shelves this December! Stay tuned for more information as it releases.
NEWS WATCH: DC Announces New ‘Martian Manhunter’ Series
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