#2644: Martian Manhunter



“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.


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.


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”)


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.


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.


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.