COMIC BOOK REVIEW - Martian Manhunter: The Red Rising
By The Masked Medic
Okay, I know, I said that I would be doing more comic book reviews but life has been super busy and I’ve found myself in a real slump when it comes to comic books. But if I think about it, it does really make me happy to read them, so it was time to return to a series that I started quite late; Martian Manhunter!
’The Red Rising’ is largely all one story, with a one-shot issue at the end. The novel continues from ‘The Epiphany’ with the emergence of a version of Mars where everyone is still alive. J’onn, aka The Martian Manhunter, had split himself into several different identities, all of whom have no memory of being Martian Manhunter. However, they don’t have much time to revel in this identity crisis, because J’onn’s arch-nemesis and brother Ma'alefa'ak who is alive on ‘Living Mars’ as it’s referred to, is looking to take over and ensure Mars’s survival. Evidently, there’s a lot at stake, and when Agent Wessel and Mr. Biscuits discover that the little girl Alicia is all grown up and leading the resistance on the planet, they’re quite confused. Very quickly, it becomes evident that this version of Mars being so close to the Earth will lead to one planet’s destruction, and J’onn has a decision to make. He attempts to connect with all the split parts of him, including Pearl, ‘the human thief’, and sets about to mount a rescue mission for the people on Mars at the moment. He realises that he will have to let his planet take the fall in order to save his new home of Earth. But the only force that can help him is the ‘Mars Child’, a living embodiment of Mars. The final story involves J’onn chasing down a psychic alien that has been murdering people left right and centre. The creature claims that it too is from Mars, but J’onn is unsure. Can J’onn’s splintered selves combine once more to save the day? And where does Ma’alefa’ak come into this whole plan?
I thought the last novel took me ages to read, but I had to genuinely start this one so many times, I thought I was going back into the past and becoming ‘Living Mars’, ahaha! Initially, I thought I was going to have to rate this as impossible because it has a really confusing first half, but it does settle down in the second half. Despite the issues that I have with the storyline, it’s quite clear that J’onn is an extremely fascinating character whose nuances are not explored enough in this series. One of the things that I would like to see further though, is the relationship between J’onn and Ma’alefa’ak. Unlike other arch-nemeses Ma’alefa’ak has a much closer connection to J’onn and again, that is sometimes underplayed.
The artwork was okay, in some parts I really enjoyed it, in others, it was a little odd, but that reflected the character well. The covers were actually quite good but this one above was a clear favourite. Overall, not a bad novel, but not a great series given the potential of the character!
It was a confusing novel, but nothing confusing about this panel. This guy is a beast!
It’s obviously J’onn. I think there’s untapped potential there and he’s very underrated!
Story Arc: ★★★
Character Development: ★★★½