#2666: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The vast majority of the DC C3 Construction line was Batman-related.  It’s not a shock, since Batman’s always been DC’s main squeeze, and they tend to go heavy on him in any untried territory.  However, they did also include a few not-Batman characters, all courtesy of tying in with Justice League, which had just wrapped up its two season run a year prior, and was moving onto Justice League Unlimited.  This, of course, still got us one more Batman, but at least it also gave us Superman, Flash, and today’s focus, the J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released as part of the “Mini Javelin” set, which was part of the second series of DC C3 Construction, which hit in early 2005.  Like the Mini Batmobile, this set was meant to be a smaller version of a more properly scaled Javelin, which was set to include GL, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, but was ultimately scrapped.  So, instead, we got this set, which included this guy here and one of two different versions of Flash.  I’m just looking at Manhunter today.  He’s built on the basic C3 body, but still has one of the heads without peg-hole.  He gets a healthy helping of new parts, with add-ons for his head-piece, cape/torso, and the tops of his boots.  Ultimately, it’s a strange bit of give and take on the new parts.  It’s cool that he got so many, but ultimately I don’t know how well they handle the character.  The head piece seems a touch extraneous, especially given that there’s full detailing beneath it, allowing him to be displayed without.  Manhunter tends to have a somewhat pronounced brow, but this takes it a bit to the extreme.  The cape piece is nice, but is permanently attached to a bulked up torso piece.  Manhunter was depicted as larger than the rest of the team on the show, but this takes it a bit past that and makes it look more like J’onn has been enjoying too many Oreos.  The boots are nice in theory, but ultimately feel like they sit a bit short on the figure’s legs.  So, you know, it’s all kind of got issues.  Ultimately, the fully assembled product doesn’t look quite so bad, I suppose.  In terms of paint, J’onn sticks to the show’s color palette.  As much as I like how that looks on the show, it does wind up being a little on the drab side on this figure.  It’s not awful, I suppose, and the actual detail lines work quite well to define the character.  The face in particular seems quite right for J’onn.  Though these figures were little more than accessories themselves, J’onn actually got one for himself.  It was an alternate head piece, designed to look like his more natural Martian form.  Not a bad piece, though somewhat non-essential, so the fact that mine’s missing it isn’t the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was definitely the most in-demand of the second assortment (the fact that the other two sets were quite extraneous bat-variants aided in that), and I never actually saw it at retail.  It only became harder to find once DCD did their own official DC Minimates and neglected to update J’onn, making this figure the only version of the character.  I wanted one for a while, but he was just always outside of my price range.  Back in 2019, when All Time got in a big Minimate collection, this was the one item I requested from the start, and I actually wound up getting him in exchange for staying late one night to help get all of the ‘mates processed for sale.  Given his rarity and price, getting him was a touch anti-climactic, I suppose, since he’s not a terribly impressive ‘mate in his own right.  That being said, as with a lot of the older ‘mates, I do enjoy the old charm of this one, and I’m glad I finally got one.

#2644: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Martian Manhunter has a truly awesome array of powers. Beside being practically invulnerable, he has the power of super-breath, flight, invisibility, super-vision, and super-strength. He also has the ability to walk through walls, as well as the power to transform himself into any creature and acquire that creature’s powers and abilities.  The Martian Manhunter cannot survive in a vacuum, and cannot use any of his other powers when he is invisible. Most important, however is his vulnerability to fire, which can weaken and eventually destroy him.  On Mars, the Martian Manhunter’s real name is J’Onn J’Onzz. On Earth, he sometimes adopts the civilian identity of Detective John Jones.”

I’m quite a big fan of the Kenner’s Super Powers, and it’s no secret around these parts that it gets my vote for quintessential DC toy line.  Speaking of quintessential, if there’s a member of the Justice League who gets my vote for quintessential, it would be J’Onn J’Onzz, better known as the Martian Manhunter, who received his very first action figure as part of the Super Powers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released in 1985, the second year of Super Powers.  He was one of four members of the Justice League to be added to the line that year.  He’s based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character from the DC Style Guide, just like the rest of the line, which means he depicts J’Onn just after they’d started adding in a few more of his more Martian aspects.  It means it wasn’t *quite* as classic a design as some of the others in the line-up, but it also made him slightly more distinctive, and ultimately became the more common design for the character.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an entirely new affair, well-matched to the style of the rest of the line.  It gives Manhunter the proper presence for the character, with a build that’s not quite as bulked up as the line’s version of Superman, but which still casts an imposing silhouette.  His arms aren’t as preposed as the first year figures were, which looks a little better in the basic standing pose.  Manhunter’s head sculpt is the part that is the most modernized portion of the figure, with Manhunter’s much more prominent brow.   His expression has a nice, friendly, if still alien feel about it, which really feels perfect for the character.  Like other figures in the line, Manhunter’s cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got the extra bit of collar, which helps to hide the plastic clip a bit better than other figures, making it a slightly more convincing piece.  Martian Manhunter’s paint work is pretty simple, but it’s bright, colorful, and pretty clean, at least apart from the bit of wear and tear that my figure’s taken.  As with all Super Powers figures, Martian Manhunter got his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Martian Punch”.  When you squeeze his legs, his arms swing back and forth.  Or at least they should, but they actually don’t on mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Martian Manhunter is on the earlier side of my Super Powers collecting, when I went through a string of getting them as Christmas presents from my parents.  I want to say he was the fourth or fifth figure I got from the line?  It would have been when I was around 7 or 8.  He was the same year as Green Lantern, so he did sort of pale in comparison just a touch at the time.  He didn’t have his cape originally, but I got one for him later down the line.  He’s a really cool figure, and definitely a fantastic starting point for the character.

#1372: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER (aka “Martin Spartan”)

RETRO ACTION DC SUPER HEROES (MATTEL)

It’s been the better part of a month since I’ve looked at a DC Comics-based item, so I guess I should go ahead and give them some coverage too!  So, hey, that Justice League trailer just hit and it looks…about the same as everything other DC movie that’s been released in the last 4 years.  Oh goody.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the line-up they’ve chosen for the team’s first live-action outing.  Obviously, I’m lamenting the lack of my personal favorite heavy hitter, Green Lantern, but I’m also really not digging the lack of J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter.  Sure, he’s not the team’s most prominent member, but it’s a bit like if they’d left Hawkeye out of the first Avengers movie.  Alas, there’s no going back now.  Anyway, I’m gonna make myself feel better by reviewing this here Martian Manhunter in all of his retro-inspired goodness.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter (or “Martin Spartan,” as Super Awesome Girlfriend accidentally named him) was released in the fourth, and final, series of Mattel’s Mego-inspired Retro Action DC Super Heroes line of figures.  Like a large number of figures in the line, he has no original Mego counterpart.  The figure stands roughly 8 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  J’onn was built on Mattel’s Mego-equivalent body, which is different from the standard body in ways that make it…different.  That’s it.  They’re changes for the sake of change, with no actual improvements to the basic body.  It’s just Mattel being weird, really, but hey, what else is new, right?  It’s certainly workable, and at a glance really isn’t much different, so that’s good.  Manhunter has a unique head-sculpt, which depicts an earlier, more human-like version of the character, which is certainly befitting of a Mego-styled figure.  Apart from a slight molding error on my figure, it’s a pretty great sculpt.  Manhunter has an outfit made up of a cloth jumpsuit, a cape, and a pair of rubber buccaneer boots.  The jumpsuit makes up his exposed skin, which is true to the old Mego style, and it has some nice extra bits attached to it make up his actual costume.  I particularly like the use of pleather for the straps and belt, though I do wish there were an actual buckle.  The cape is a little thin for my taste, but overall a nice addition.  The boots are nicer than a lot of the Retro Action figures, and look a good deal less bulky.  Manhunter is largely without paint; the only actual paint is on his eyes, and it’s probably my one real point of contention with this figure.  The sculpt is clearly a classic Manhunter, so his eyes should be white, and possibly even have pupils, but they are instead red, as they would be on a modern Martian Manhunter design.  It’s a small nit, but it sort of throws the whole retro thing off for me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad and I collected this whole line of figures together when it was first released, so I remember when this guy first hit.  The ones we collected are more part of my dad’s collection than mine, since he was the one with the vintage Mego collection, so I only have the few spares I picked up along the way.  This guy came into my collection when Super Awesome Girlfriend and I found him at a 2nd Avenue for $2.  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt sorry for him, and insisted that I add him to my collection.  He’s a pretty fun figure.  Definitely for a specific demographic, but fun nonetheless.