Graphic Novel Roundup: Justice League Vol. 8 & Martian Manhunter Vol. 2

by Eric Joseph
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Justice League Vol. 8: Darkseid War – Part 2

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Francis Manapul

Collects: Justice League #45-50, Justice League: Darkseid War Special #1

Those of you with a sharp memory may be saying, “Hey, Eric, you reviewed this one three months ago!” And you would technically be right because I did critique the initial hardcover release of the finale to Geoff Johns’ magnum opus. But now having received the paperback edition, I didn’t want to ignore it.

As such, I will not be reiterating my views regarding the story, which was superb. If you want to know my thoughts in that regard, please click here to be transported to my original review. Still, I will say that this epic holds up after multiple reads – and getting another chance to take in Jason Fabok’s sublime artwork is never a bad thing.

Initially, what I wanted to do was to point out any differences the paperback edition may have from the hardcover, but there really aren’t any. Everything is there, right down to the supplemental material (a variant cover gallery). Therefore, it all comes down to aesthetics and what you’re willing to spend. If you’re looking for the prettiest version possible and can still find it on store shelves, then by all means pick up the hardcover. But if you’re on a budget or just don’t mind something a little more compact, buy the paperback.

Because it’s the same great content, this edition earns a…

Martian Manhunter Vol. 2: The Red Rising

Writer: Rob Williams

Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Gabe Etlaeb

Collects: Martian Manhunter #7-12, Justice League of America #5

While I was highly indifferent when it came to Rob Williams’ decision to completely pull the rug out from under longtime devotees of J’onn J’onzz and drastically redefine the character’s mythology in the previous volume, The Epiphany, I still enjoyed my reading experience. But as we went further off the beaten path with The Red Rising, not only did I find myself to be less enthralled by the material, I could almost describe myself as being uncomfortable with what was being done with my favorite Martian.

In short, everything you knew about J’onn was a lie. He was crafted by malevolent Martians to be a weapon of mass destruction and now must prevent two worlds from being destroyed. What I’ve always liked about the character is that he’s essentially the ultimate outsider, yet finds a way to cope and fit in with like-minded heroes. There’s always this underlying message of hope.

With The Red Rising, I felt like I simply didn’t get that. The ending, which I won’t spoil, felt bittersweet at best and I couldn’t help but get this vibe of utter hopelessness. Ultimately, all that happened was a preservation of the status quo, unless of course, you count J’onn having his feelings and memories crapped on.

Had this been an Elseworlds tale or a standalone, I may not have had as much of a problem with it. All I can hope for is that these events are eventually glossed over in the wake of Rebirth. I won’t take anything away from  Williams’ creativity or deny the fact that this was a highly inventive sci-fi story – you may end up disagreeing with everything I said above. It’s just that what happened to the titular character left too bad of a taste in my mouth to ignore.


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