J'onn J'onzz was the last Martian and one of the founding members of the Justice League. J'onn can be seen as the true founder of the Justice League, having telepathically reached out to each of the founding members, except for Batman, who nonetheless followed Superman's lead, and gathered them together.
Before the invasion of Mars by the Imperium, J'onn lived a normal life with his wife, My'ria'h, and his two children. After the invasion, J'onn's wife and children died, J'onn took part in the war, and was a member of the strike team that launched his people's final, desperate offensive. J'onn succeeded in releasing the nerve gas that placed the invaders in suspended animation. As the last known surviving member of the strike team, and of the entire Martian race, J'onn then sealed the invaders' underground headquarters to keep them entombed and stood guard over it for 500 years.
While J'onn was in a hibernation cycle, astronauts from Earth, including J. Allen Carter, accidentally revived the invaders. J'onn awoke, managed to escape Mars, and came to Earth to warn humanity of the Imperium. Once on Earth, J'onn was captured by Imperium forces posing as members of the U.S. military.
After the Imperium began their invasion of Earth, J'onn reached out telepathically to several heroes on Earth: Superman, John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, and Flash. Superman and Batman, having already encountered the Invaders, freed J'onn, and were joined by the other heroes he had contacted. Banding together, the newly formed team managed to destroy the Imperium and save Earth. Mindful of future threats, Superman proposed the formation of the Justice League. J'onn was initially hesitant, but Superman (who, as the sole survivor of Krypton, empathized with J'onn) assured him that he didn't have to be alone anymore.
During the League's first encounter with Morgaine Le Fay, J'onn attempted to locate her telepathically. Le Faye seized his mind and tempted him with visions of a fantasy world where his wife and children were still alive. Seduced by her promises to resurrect his family, J'onn stole the Philosopher's Stone from the Watchtower and brought it to her, but managed to overcome the temptation and destroyed the Stone. J'onn attempted to resign from the League in shame, but Jason Blood convinced him to remain, praising his strength and courage.
Along with Superman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, and Flash, J'onn traveled back in time to World War II, after time had been altered by Vandal Savage. Though he was captured and tortured, J'onn managed to escape, destroying the cache of Savage's advanced technological data, and taking part in the League's successful assault on the German invasion force heading for America.
During a search for the fugitive Lex Luthor, Superman proposed that J'onn try a city-wide telepathic search. When J'onn opened his mind, however, he was inundated with thousands of people's petty and selfish thoughts, and the experience nearly destroyed him, mentally and emotionally. Taking refuge in an isolated forest, J'onn was afraid to use his telepathic abilities again, until he saw a search party selflessly looking for a lost runaway child. Using his telepathy, J'onn located the girl and reunited her with her parents, his faith in humanity restored.
J'onn subsequently came to the aid of the League, left at the mercy of Luthor and the power-copying android Amazo. J'onn allowed Amazo to copy his own powers, knowing that the android's new telepathy would enable him to read Luthor's mind and discover his deceitful intentions. Sure enough, Amazo turned on Luthor, destroying his battlesuit before flying into space in search of new knowledge.
When the rest of the League except for himself and Batman were attacked in their sleep by Doctor Destiny, J'onn used his formidable telepathic abilities to rescue his teammates from their various nightmares and to bind them together to fight Destiny's mind control.
The Justice League had a battle with themselves shortly before fighting Grodd's newly formed Secret Society. When the team lost in their first encounter, J'onn was the first member to leave from the Justice League. When the rest of the League was captured in a well-organized attack by Grodd's Secret Society, J'onn managed to evade capture by masquerading as Clayface and duping Killer Frost into freezing the real Clayface (who had shapeshifted into J'onn's form) in a block of ice. J'onn released his comrades just before their execution. J'onn fought with the rest of the Justice League against the Secret Society, and won in front of a cheering crowd and reformed the team alongside his friends.
After Superman had apparently fallen in battle, J'onn pronounced the eulogy at his funeral. He also took part in the League's repulsion of the Thanagarian invasion, in which he used his telepathy to gain important information from their enemies.
After the League was expanded, J'onn took the role of the League's official coordinator, keeping watch on a global scale and handing out assignments based on the availability of hero personnel and the best match of abilities to situations. J'onn was presumably picked for this job because of his intelligence and wisdom, but also because, as an alien, he was the one most able to spend an indefinite amount of time in the Watchtower.
The downside of this role was that he spent nearly two years in the Watchtower, rarely taking an active part in a mission and almost never interacting with other humans. Wonder Woman, who felt particularly close to J'onn, encouraged him to get out more. Realizing that she was right and that he would be forever alone unless he learned to live among humans, J'onn took a leave of absence from the League and spent several months on Earth in a human guise. Mr. Terrific took J'onn's place as League coordinator.
By the time of Darkseid's final invasion of Earth, J'onn had succeeded in his mission. Taking a middle-aged woman as his wife, J'onn was living happily in China. J'onn's wife appeared to be aware of his true self because when he re-assumed his "hero" form to join the League against the invaders, she only voiced that he be careful. After the invasion, J'onn joined the League in pursuing the remaining members of the Legion of Doom. As they left the Metro Tower, J'onn spoke to his wife on a cell phone, telling her he would be home in time for dinner, and that he loved her.
In an alternate future created by Chronos, Justice League Unlimited member Warhawk mentioned that J'onn's future self had been killed during the destruction of the Watchtower, along with many other members of the Justice League.
Powers and abilities
J'onn possesses a vast array of superpowers that he uses to serve others: superhuman strength, speed, limited invulnerability, telepathy, and several others.
J'onn is not only able to fly but is able to do so at speeds of the level of meta-humans. His superhuman strength makes him much stronger than the other members of the League, with the exceptions of Superman and Wonder Woman. Under normal circumstances, J'onn's strength is inferior to that of Superman's, but his strength could be augmented by his phase-shifting and size-manipulation powers. Hence, he might actually be as strong as Superman, if not stronger, depending on the extent to which he used his powers.
He is a shapeshifter and can assume the shape of most organisms, humanoids, and objects. He has shown himself able to increase his size significantly, but not to decrease it. He also uses telepathy in which he can read minds and project his thoughts. He is a powerful telepathic especially with physical contact as he is able to get into Kragger's mind by tearing apart his mental barrier. However, this resulted in Kragger being mentally impaired for the remainder of his life. He also rescues Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman from Doctor Destiny by entering into their dreams. He also had the ability to mentally shield people from being detected. In addition to telepathy, J'onn could apparently sense magical energy, at least when being actively used or at very high levels (he was able to seek out Morgan Le Fey's mind despite never having met her and judge Mordru's mystical strength when the villain was attacking Metropolis, but apparently missed that Mordred was a spellcaster like his mother. However, J'onn was distracted by Morgan's lies and so may have missed Mordred's power).
J'onn is also able to alter his density at the molecular level, which in practice allows him to become invisible, pass through solid objects (and vice versa), or become invulnerably solid. An increase in his density results in a blue aura that increases his strength and invulnerability on par with that of Superman. This also allows J'onn to fully recover after sustaining severe physical damage, such as being torn apart into two.
As the product of an advanced civilization, J'onn also possesses a wealth of scientific knowledge and technological expertise. After his long experience of war, he is a brilliant field medic, and his telepathic abilities make him a great counselor and empath. Finally, his long life gives him great wisdom and an aptitude for strategic thinking. Despite being over 1,000 years old he maintains the appearance of what appears to be a middle-aged man.
In the comics, J'onn was a Manhunter, a Martian law officer and the (presumed) sole survivor of an engineered telepathic plague that wiped out the Green Martians. The plague was created by his brother, a non-telepath. Centuries after the event, he was accidentally teleported from Mars to Earth by a kindly human scientist who died from a heart attack after seeing J'onn's form. Unable to return to Mars, he adopted a human form and the name "John Jones" and worked as a police detective, using his telepathic abilities to solve crimes. While J'onn was believed to be the sole survivor, it was later revealed that five other Green Martians survived.
Despite J'onn being regularly referred to as Martian Manhunter in the main DCU, the term was only used one time in the DCAU in "Task Force X."
The Imperium invaders are somewhat similar to the White Martians, a belligerent genetic offshoot of J'onn's species that attempted to conquer Mars, and were banished to the Phantom Zone, but later returned occasionally to combat the Justice League.
In the comics, J'onn's powers also include super-speed and the ability to fire laser-like beams from his eyes, similar to Superman's heat vision. J'onn also has some form of telekinesis, which is the source of his flight and also allows him to emit destructive "Martian vision" eyebeams. Also, he and other Martians are shown to be severely weakened by fire, which is never shown in the animated version, although it is discreetly referred to in early episodes, in the form of large flames somewhere nearby when J'onn is incapacitated during those battles.
In the comics, J'onn also loves Choco sandwich cookies, a passing reference to which is made in "Comfort and Joy." J'onn originally loved Oreo cookies, but DC changed it to the fictional "Choco" brand cookies for legal reasons.
In the first issue of Final Crisis, J'onn was killed by Libra to show the Secret Society that he could fulfill their heart's desire. A funeral was held on Mars attended by many of Earth's superhero community, where Superman gave the eulogy. A book about Mars was left on his casket by those who received the info (via telepathy) from J'onn in his last moments. As a final goodbye, Batman left a Choco (J'onn's favorite) on his casket.
The character was recently brought to life again in the Blackest Night arc, as a Black Lantern. At the end of the story, he was fully revived by the Life entity along with several others, which in turn, led directly into the "Brightest Day" series, in which J'onn was a featured character.
Appearances and references
|Members of the Justice League|
|Batman • Flash • Green Lantern • Hawkgirl • Martian Manhunter • Superman • Wonder Woman|
|Aquaman • Atom • Atom-Smasher • Aztek • B'wana Beast • Black Canary • Blue Devil • Booster Gold • Captain Atom • Captain Marvel • Commander Steel • The Creeper • The Crimson Avenger • Crimson Fox • Dove • Dr. Fate • Dr. Light • Dr. Mid-Nite • Elongated Man • Etrigan • Fire • Green Arrow • Gypsy • Hawk • Hourman • Huntress • Ice • Long Shadow • Metamorpho • Mr. Terrific • Nemesis • Obsidian • Orion • Plastic Man • Question • The Ray • Red Tornado • Rocket Red • Sand • Shining Knight • Speedy • Stargirl • Starman • Steel • S.T.R.I.P.E. • Supergirl • Johnny Thunder • Thunderbolt • Vibe • Vigilante • Vixen • Waverider • Wildcat • Zatanna|