The Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor Connection Deepens in Justice League

Lex Luthor is leading the charge in DC's Year of the Villain, and Justice League reveals his new look.

Justice League #28 Cover

We are living through a little bit of a Martian Manhunter renaissance right now. On the one hand, you’ve got Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo’s terrific “Year One”-esque take on J’onn’s time on Mars and how that shaped the man he is today in his solo miniseries, Martian Manhunter. It’s a weird, fascinating story about Martian life that, of course, looks incredible as is to be expected from Rossmo’s art.

On the other hand, you have Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV’s Justice League. It’s approaching him kind of like the Timmverse/DC Animated Universe did: he’s quietly the most important person on the team. In the cartoon, he was rarely the focus – it was always about John and Shayera’s relationship, or Wally West being a jackass, or Wonder Woman being an inspiration, or Superman punching Darkseid through a bunch of buildings. But when he got the spotlight, like when he sang Christmas songs to Streaky, or when he popped up on the Great Wall of China out of nowhere in the finale, it would always get a great pop and be the most emotional moment of the episode. 

In this book, they did much the same thing with two pretty substantial retcons. The first had J’onn pulled to Earth by Lex’s dad’s Legionnaires club, a proto-Secret Society of Supervillains. The second saw him bring his alternate-dimension son with Hawkgirl back to the present with him after the League escaped the Sixth Dimension. Both of these come to a head in the newest issue of Justice League, for which we have an exclusive sneak peek. 

You’ll recall that this month sees villains (or villain-adjacent people, as is the case with Jericho over in Deathstroke) being offered a power up by a freshly resurrected Lex, high on the Year of the Villain chaos power of Perpetua that he’s now spreading around. His offer was also sent to the Martian Manhunter, and here he’s following up on that with Hawkgirl in the desert. 

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Justice League has featured some killer artists so far: Jim Cheung, Francis Manapul, Jorge Jimenez, Stephen Segovia, and others I’m certainly forgetting because the lineup has just been that good. Javier Fernandez joined that team last issue and sticks around for this one, and he’s legit. He was most recently on Nightwing and Green Arrow, so you’d expect his figure drawing to be pretty dynamic, but his facial expressions are really what sell his work to me here. Look at J’onn’s face on page 3 when he has to put Hawkgirl to sleep: that’s just awesome work. Here’s what DC has to say about the issue:

JUSTICE LEAGUE #28 written by JAMES TYNION IVart by JAVIER FERNANDEZcover by JIM CHEUNGvariant cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSONThe Apex Predator rises! Justice-Doom War is coming! This is the culmination of the Legion of Doom’s master plan, and they will take the Justice League to far-out places they may never return from…and do things the DC Universe may never recover from.

Will the heroes find the Anti-Monitor on Qward? How did I make it through an entire article without freaking out about Qward? Will Hawkgirl wake up, and exactly how pissed will she be when she does? For the answers to these questions and more, stick with Den of Geek! Or first look at the preview pages. Then stick with Den of Geek!

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Justice League #28 Preview Cover