The first superhero of the Silver Age is dead.
DC’s Martian Manhunter met his end in a rather ignoble fashion in Final Crisis #1. Having posed as the criminal Blockbuster among the villains on a prison planet, J’onn J’onzz was betrayed by Catwoman and captured in the Salvation Run miniseries. He was later brought to earth by Libra and killed when the villain stabbed him through the chest with a flaming staff.
Readers saw J’onn’s funeral in Final Crisis #2 (earth’s heroes traveled to Mars to bury him), but the story does not end there. This week, Final Crisis: Requiem arrives in stores, written by Peter Tomasi, with art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy.
We spoke with Tomasi for more about the special and what part of J’onn’s story is left to tell.
Newsarama: To start off with Peter, how did you land this project? Was it one of the originally planned Final Crisis tie-ins, and your name came up, or was it something you suggested after hearing what was going down in Final Crisis #1?
Peter Tomasi: Actually, Dan Didio and Eddie Berganza knew of my love for the character. I had written some Showcase stories featuring J'onn several years back and
also edited his monthly book by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake, so Dan and Eddie figured I was the right guy for the job.
NRAMA: So you’re a fan, and you also know of J’onn’s importance to the DC Universe. How did his death in Final Crisis #1 hit you?
PT: As I said, I really love the character and feel he's got a ton of stories to explore, so I was shocked to say the least that they had chosen J'onn to bite the red dust. He is one of those mainstays you expect to be around forever, but he is also a character that's taken for granted, so I think once it settles that he's gone, it'll hit people how much they like the character and wish he's had some better opportunities to shine in the DCU a little bit more.
NRAMA: So what's in store for Requiem? We've seen the funeral in Final
Crisis #2, but this is more?
PT: I don't wanna say too much about the issue, but there is a lot more.
NRAMA: Fair enough. Who is hardest hit by the Martian Manhunter's death?
PT: The whole DCU is hit hard by J'onn's death, but I do focus on just a few DCU heroes in the issue who I felt would be a good representation of the grief that follows such an event, especially the way he is discovered and such.
NRAMA: From the solicits, the story is said to involve the Martian Manhunter's final wishes. How do they find out what they are, since he's, you know, dead?
PT: Let's not forget J'onn does happen to be one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, telepath on the planet, so his ability to share his final thoughts isn't much of a stretch.
NRAMA: From your point of view, what does J’onn's death do to both the Justice League and the larger hero community?
PT: J'onn's death will have repercussions, some on a smaller interpersonal level, but also on a larger scale when the rage and anger as a result of his death is channeled by some of the big guns, especially Hal Jordan, into other outlets.
NRAMA: Something that was interesting in all of this, and hinted at the characters being
aware of the world they live in - Superman's comment that they will miss him, “And pray for a resurrection.” Your thoughts on that line?
PT: Not sure really. All I know is that when I typed the words: THE END in the
script for Requiem, it was really and truly the end of J'onn's journey within the DCU at this moment in time. My job was to bury J'onn in a respectful and interesting way. I hope I've accomplished that, and also given the readers some insight into J'onn' heart and soul.
NRAMA: But in that vein - this is Final Crisis: Requiem, not Final Crisis: Resurrection, right?
PT: Absolutely, "Requiem" is most definitely the operative word for this Final
Crisis tie in. There are no 'outs', no "resurrection" seeds planted. J'onn is dead and buried by the people who loved and cared about him.