Martian Manhunter finally got the solo series he deserved towards the end of New 52. “The Red Rising” is the second and last volume of the series before DC launched Rebirth. So is it good?
Martian Manhunter Vol. 2 (DC Comics)
Martian Manhunter Volume 1: The Epiphany, is one of those story arcs that doesn’t give you the satisfaction of a clean cut break in the story line. Martian Manhunter’s New 52 material requires a full two volumes to complete the entire story arc which makes Volume 2 incredibly UN-friendly to new readers, but a relief to those who waited several months on the cliff hanger. “The Red Rising” continues documenting Martian Manhunter’s struggle to prevent Earth from being destroyed by a resurrected Mars while he’s faced with the decision of saving his own race or humankind.
This second volume is deeply rooted within the science fiction genre that extends past the obvious fact of alien involvement. Time, space, extraterrestrials and even a little bit of magic play a heavy role in this story arc and if you aren’t a fan of perpetual confusion then you may want to end your reading with the first volume. The plot is deeply convoluted and while it doesn’t answer every question and involves some truly bizarre and questionable events (one featuring our favorite alien turning into a giant robot city), Rob Williams does a good job of bringing everything together and creating a clean end to the series.
While Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira are the ones credited for the volume’s pencils and ink, it actually took a village to put the aesthetics of this novel together. Almost every issue features a group of artists and guest artists yet the art is relatively consistent and delivers some fantastic scenes of the Manhunter. This must have been one of the most challenging novels to illustrate considered the amount of action, shape-shifting, and extraterrestrial inclusion. Despite a large portion of the storyline taking place on Mars, the volume features incredibly bright and vivid colors that make the splashes truly eye popping.
Rob Williams delivers one of his finest works as he’s able to deliver a quasi-origin story for one of the most underrated superheroes in DC’s lineup. Williams is able to incorporate both cognitively complex concepts and simple thrills (i.e. the aforementioned giant robot city battle), all the while highlighting the complexity of Manhunter’s character despite the stoic exterior. Mr. Biscuits continues to be a fan favorite and by the time the story ends you realize how emotionally attached you were to the cast of characters.
Is It Good?
Williams and a group of illustrators are able to deliver an exciting and climatic end to Martian Manhunter’s New 52 run. The storyline is confusing, but rewards patient readers who are able to stick it out. The creative team knocks the art out of the park as this volume should be highlighted for its incredible pencil and color work.