"We Are All Different People": In two hours, a paradoxical Mars will smash into the surface of Earth, destroying both worlds. Two warmechs, laden with a precious cargo of refugees, are rocketing to safety. But to get out, they need to get past the forcefield around the planet, which is being gen
- Such was the abomination of the desperate final days of Mars. Good intentions sliced to screams and blood fuel. Hope misshapen into fear. And so the Martian Manhunter was born.
Appearing in "We Are All Different People"
- The Mars Child
Synopsis for "We Are All Different People"
In two hours, a paradoxical Mars will smash into the surface of Earth, destroying both worlds. Two warmechs, laden with a precious cargo of refugees, are rocketing to safety. But to get out, they need to get past the forcefield around the planet, which is being generated by something called the “Mars Child”.
Daryl Wessel has opted to stay behind to find the Mars Child and deactivate the forcefield. Learning that he was a fragment of the Martian Manhunter has left him in a bad place, and he wants his final moments to be spent doing some good. As an earthquake rocks the mountains where he searches, however, he is rescued by Alicia, who has decided that staying behind to save her followers is the “adult” thing to do. The duo are joined by Mister Biscuits, who thinks they should go down a nearby cave.
At the back of the cave they find a preternaturally knowledgeable Green Martian child, which they think is the Mars Child. The child says that it is Mars – but more importantly, whenever he looks Mister Biscuits or Daryl in the eye, they are overcome with emotion and cannot understand why. So the child tells them the story...
A million years ago, Mars was home to a thriving civilization, strong and proud. But the civilization grew beyond what Mars could support, and the planet began to turn red as its ecosystem degraded. To warn the populace, the consciousness of the planet reached out telepathically to the people to warn them. Unfortunately, only a fifth of the planet heard the warning, while the rest perceived an external threat, not something they could individually fight or be held accountable for.
In their fear, they elected a new leader, a Red Martian named Ma'alefa'ak, who pushed the agenda of creating a super-warrior, who could hunt the man responsible for the threat. Some opposed him, including J'onn J'onzz, a writer and poet-activist. But the people's fear was too strong, and so the plan of Ma'alefa'ak went forward.
The plan was to gather the finest intellectuals and warriors of Mars, and unite their powers to form a gestalt figure that could stop the opponent. To gift this figure with a super-conscience, he recruited J'onn J'onzz, assuring him that the bonding will be temporary, and that he would be back to his wife and son very soon.
On the day of the procedure, J'onn mused that children suffer from the defaults of their progenitors, and how this gestalt would suffer from the sins of Ma'alefa'ak. Ma'alefa'ak responded by betraying J'onn. He and his followers butcher the other subjects, using the forbidden blood sorcery of the long-dead Black Martians to then channel the power of Mars' magic into J'onn, creating a powerful warrior. J'onn was enraged, but Ma'alekfa'ak insisted he had done the deed for Mars, to empower him to hunt the men behind the coming threat.
So J'onn went out to manhunt for Mars. He tracked the intelligence behind the warning to a remote location. The spirit of Mars had hoped to incite a rebirth, and the Martians had responded by sending a person to kill him – so it showed J'onn something he couldn't kill – his own son. As J'onn reacted in horror, the spirit introduced itself and judged the Martians by the blood-soaked monster they had sent to argue for themselves.
And so the atmosphere corroded and collapsed. The soil degraded. The ecosystem... stopped. The people choked. And Mars died.
This is a horrifying tale to Daryl and Alicia, but is worse for Mister Biscuits, because he knows what happened next. Some fragment of the populace managed to escape the disaster by leaving the solar system altogether. But J'onn was cast off of Mars in disgust by the planet's consciousness itself, landing on Earth in what would one day be Ghana. Ma'alefa'ak and his cabal followed. They were convinced that they could use the magic in J'onn to reverse the disaster and rebuild Mars under their protection. J'onn, running from them and himself, changed his face and forgot his memories, cycling through multiple different personalities over a million years, until the appearance of people like Superman sparked something in him, and he became a hero again.
When he sensed he was being followed by Ma'alefa'ak, J'onn created four cover identities from his own flesh and mind, and sent them to escape. Pearl, the heart. Mold, the head. Daryl Wessel, the hunter. And Mister Biscuits, the subconscious. All of them marked by J'onn's shame, but all of them able to become something better. Mister Biscuits reaches to take his hat off... and J'onn J'onzz completes the gesture.
J'onn J'onzz asks the Mars Child to lower the forcefield, saying the people of Mars deserve this second chance to live their lives.
J'onn is suddenly stabbed through the chest by Ma'alefa'ak, who trailed them here, and now wants to use Earth as a cosmic-scale blood sacrifice - to remake Mars in his image!
- This book was first published on March 16, 2016.
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