The lineup of the current incarnation of the Justice League to be release very soon by DC Direct will have one important absence, the heart and soul of the team, the Martian Manhunter. Fortunately, the previous Martian Manhunter figure released by DC Direct is incredible, and a great fit with the upcoming Justice League action figures.
The Martian Manhunter has had a variety of depictions in comics. There are two interpretations of this character, the modern and the Silver Age version. The modern look can encompass the Bronze Age, the 1980s, the 1990s and the millennium versions. His is a large man with overreaching eyebrows. He is taller than most. The action figure captures this very well. It is large with a strong built.
The Martian Manhunter looks like he is calmly waiting for an opponent's next move. His face looks down, as if caught in his thought and feeling the pain of the world on his back. This figure is one of the most beefed up one from DC Direct. He's got more muscle toning than the modern Superman's action figure and more bulk than the Eclipso action figure. His forearms are strong and nails are sculpted in his hands.
The paint on the Martian Manhunter's exposed skin is different from most other DC Direct action figures. It doesn't a uniform colour. There are a variety of greens used which make the figure look dirty at times. The paint on the red straps of his costume do not fully cover them and allow one to see the figure's base colour. Only the character's boots are uniformly blue. There's much smudge and bleeding on the toy.
Many collectors have complained that this figure is too tall. Considering that Martian Manhunter is an alien, his height is questionable. This figure's scale, in my opinion, is just right. He towers above every Justice League character, modern or from the Silver Age, including the modern Superman. J'onn, the Martian Manhunter, is as tall as a basketball player but as bulky as a football quarterback.
This figure is extremely stable, considering he leans forward very much and that his feet are too short for his body. Bending his knees to adjust him is not even necessary. The figure is top heavy. His cape is also heavy. Yet everything balances well. Collectors have often used J'onn J'onzz to anchor other figures with stability problems. This is a sturdy alien. J'onn has but one peg hole in his right sole.
This figure has nine articulations at the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the hips, and the knees. Because of his sculpt, more would have ruined the character. Fortunately, DC Direct did not give the figure ankle articulations like other flying characters. However, they did give J'onn movable ball-jointed shoulders. The wide gap in the T-crotch articulation and the cut at the neck articulation ruin the sculpt.
The Martian Manhunter, contains hard plastic, similar to other DC Direct figures. It's ideal to capture intricate sculpts. However, the plastic stinks and may soften in warm weather. The cape consists of similar materials although a soft rubber cape would have been better and allowed collectors to view the details in the figure's back better. The cape was reused later for the Phantom Stranger action figure.
The figure was packed in a blister pack featuring the Red Tornado on the front card stock. The same sculptor who designed the Red Tornado figure sculpted the figure. The name is not available now, but I will update it soon.
Stores sell the Martian Manhunter action figure as a single action figure for the regular over priced DC Direct price. Perhaps one day DC Direct will listen to its fans and adjust its prices. Another version of the Martian Manhunter action figure is available with a five pack of the original Justice League's founders. The figure's green skin tone is lighter.
The original DC Direct Martian Manhunter action figure has not sold out. One can order from Diamond and buy it at several comic book store and specialty stores. The lighter green variant, is more popular with collectors because it's of its lighter tone and brighter colours. If the lighter version is your favourite, you can easily trade it or get it from a fellow fan on toy forums, without having to buy the set.
Update February 6 2005:
This figure has sold out from Diamond Comics, the exclusive distributor of this action figure.