Martian Manhunter #3 Review

Written by: Rob Williams

Art by: Eddy Barrows

Publisher: DC Comics

Martian Manhunter is without a doubt the sleeper hit of the DC You relaunch. I wasn’t expecting much from this series, being unfamiliar with J’onn J’onzz outside of the Justice League however Williams and Barrows have crafted a unique, scary and tense thriller that’s unlike any other comics out there. After two issues of (admittidley brilliant) set-up, issue 3 begins to build towards the main conflict of the story and starts revealing some answers. It’s a tighter feeling story as a result and cements this as one of DC’s strongest current titles.

After the shocking events of last issue, this time we focus on fleshing out our main villains, including the terrifying new Martian Man-eater and also get introduced to a new character who shares has a dark connection with J’onn. It’s a much tighter feeling story than last, with a lot more focus given to one story which allows for a slower, tenser feel to this issue. It does drag a little in the middle as the new character feels at first a little too removed from the story and after his role and connection to the main story is revealed (in a awesome way) it seems to go on a little longer than it needs to. That said, by the end of the issue the plot threads begin to come together, shedding light on previous issues’ events while also raising even more new mysteries. It continues the psychological approach to the story so far and feels so smartly written that every twist feels earned, it’s fascinating watching the story unfold and makes me want the next issue right now.

What really surprised me about this issue however is how fluid the art of Eddy Barrows’ manages to be. Barrows’ is a pretty fantastic artist and has so far done a stupendous job at making the Martian Manhunter look scary and imposing. This issue he turns his powers for the grotesque and nightmare inducing towards the aforementioned new villain the Martian Man-eater, who looks like something from Carpenter’s The Thing. He has such a talent for drawing distorted flesh and twisted creatures that I started to seriously worry about his mindset. While this is a natural step up from the rest of the issues, it’s Barrows willingness to shake up his style that grants the comic a very psychadellic quality that demonstrate J’onzz powers perfectly. The art style makes the book seem like a highly creepy 80s horror flick and a trippy romp, while gelling perfectly alongside the slow burn, thriller style of the writing. It’s a mix of tones that somehow blend together to create something fascinating and new. Not once does the story seem to conflict itself or feel janky, it all works seamlessly to create what feels like a new, modern and adult take on superhero comics.

Overall, Martian Manhunter has broven itself as a bold new entry in DC’s lineup. With so many books vying for attention amongst the DC You lineup it takes a lot to stand out. Martian Manhunter demonstrates a fresh take on the character and feels unlike any other DC comic out there. It’s smartly written thriller action at its best, while blending together elements of heady scienfiction and 80s monster movies. It’s a cocktail of horror and suspense that leaves you wanting more. Williams and Barrows have tapped into what makes the character great and are running with it, if you hurry now you can catch up and enjoy them on one hell of a ride.