White Martians are a race of shapeshifters from Mars. As telepaths and shapeshifters, physical appearance has little meaning for Martians; the underlying cultural differences are what separated the peaceful Green Martians from the war-like Whites. White Martians have configured their physiology to reflect their philosophy, becoming a separate race from the Green Martians.
It was previously believed that the White Martians evolved alongside the Green Martians. In reality the Green and White Martians were part of the same race, known as "The Burning". This race used fire to reproduce asexually and were belligerent to all. The Guardians of the Universe, fearing the ruthlessly and violently powerful Martians, genetically split the Martian race into two distinct species, white and green, preventing the asexual reproduction. They also gave these two new races an instinctive fear of fire to prevent either group from ever accessing their full potential. The time-frame for this genetic tampering was given as 20,000 years ago, contemporary with the early life of Vandal Savage on Earth.
While the Green Martians were peaceful philosophers, the White Martians were savage warriors. A lengthy civil war between the two races ended when the few surviving White Martians were rounded up and exiled to the extra-dimensional "Still Zone" (apparently distinct from the Kryptonians' Phantom Zone). Although there are still remnants of the White Martian race that escaped from their persecution or during the civil war. Among those individuals was M'gann M'orzz, who would become Earth's hero Miss Martian.
Sabotage of Evolution
At some point in Earth's ancient past, the White Martians visited the planet and performed genetic experiments on terrestrial animals and primitive humans. These experiments led to the White Martians to discover the metagene in human beings that would grant humans metahuman powers. Due to their experiments, they actually altered the destiny of the human race. Whereas before evolution would have eventually made mankind into a race of superhumans similar to the Daxamites and Kryptonians, or the Martians themselves, now only a select few humans would be able to develop metahuman powers. This was another reason for the war between the White and Green Martians, who were outraged by such biological vandalism.
Furthermore, the White Martians also created a metavirus, a metagene that could be passed from host to host via touch. This metavirus was responsible for the empowerment of the very first Son of Vulcan. The Sons of Vulcan passed the metavirus down in an unbroken line from that time onwards, sworn to hunt and kill "the pale ones" (the White Martians).
White Saturnians called Koolars are descended from an underclass of worker clones created by ancient White Martian explorers. Green Martians cloned Jemm, Son of Saturn's people, the original Red Saturnians, from themselves, and the White Martians cloned the original White Saturnians from their own cells. The Reds were treated as equals by their creators, but the whites were treated as slaves by their masters. The enslavement of the white clones led to the civil war on Mars.
The White Martians resurfaced when a White Martian vanguard called the Hyperclan staged a elaborate takeover of Earth in which they masquerade as alien superheroes with the intent of displacing the Justice League of America in the affections of the people of Earth. Their initial attack results in the destruction of the Justice League's satellite headquarters and the death of Metamorpho and is preceded by a sickness that strikes all fire-based heroes and villains, such as Firehawk and Doctor Phosphorus, causing them to lose their powers. With the use of mind control and public relations, they nearly succeeded, brainwashing all of Earth into seeing the new Justice League as the villains.
Despite the heroes scoring some victories in later confrontations, the Hyperclan eventually managed to capture all of the Justice League. However, Batman managed to escape the Hyperclan after they had believed they had killed him in his Batplane, taking advantage of their belief that he wasn't a threat because he was only human, and, having deduced their true natures by their unwillingness to investigate his crashed and burning Batplane, used fire to stop them, and freeing the rest of the League. After Superman issued a public broadcast to the world that warned them of the threat, the invaders were captured, and each of them was telepathically brainwashed by Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onzz and Aquaman to believe themselves to be human. Given strong mental blocks to inhibit their powers, the Martians assumed normal Earth lives all over the globe, although they were kept under observation by the League.
The Bruce Wayne Martian
On subsequent occasions, the White Martians succeeded in breaking free of their psychological imprisonment. The first time, a single White Martian briefly believed itself to be Bruce Wayne due to the trauma of being caught in a flaming plane crash which erased the memory of its original human identity of a Wayne Enterprises employee. While the rest of the Justice League kept an eye on the other Martians in case the renegade tried to 'wake them up', the Wayne Martian was defeated by a team consisting of Green Lantern, Steel, Big Barda, Orion, and Plastic Man (selected because they didn't know Batman's identity and thus wouldn't 'tip' the telepathic Martian off to the fact that he was a fake).
The entire White Martian race was later revived after the battle with the wish-granting Id; the Martian Manhunter's wish to be reunited with his human self - the Justice League having been divided into their superhuman and civilian identities after a careless wish made by Superman - was subconsciously translated as a desire to cure his loneliness, thus prompting Id, in its usual sense of irony, to awaken those on Earth most like Manhunter. This time, the White Martians captured various human psychics to work on means of expanding their own mental abilities while simultaneously constructing chemical processing towers which would fireproof Earth's atmosphere by binding all the free oxygen, making themselves completely invulnerable, and conveniently asphyxiating mankind into extinction.
Although the towers were destroyed when the Martian Manhunter escaped his imprisonment, the League were forced to trick the Martians into sending them to the Phantom Zone to come up with a plan of attack; the Zone was the one place Martian telepathy couldn't reach. Released by the Atom (who had hidden inside Protex's head to use his own telepathy against him), the League faced the Martians in a climactic battle on Earth's moon. The plan required Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern to move the Moon itself to expose the Martians to flame by dragging it into Earth's atmosphere, Martian Manhunter keeping the Martians occupied while Atom manipulated Protex's telepathy to make the other White Martians believe that their fellows were the League members, Earth's magicians working to negate the damage that would have otherwise been caused by the lunar gravity. Placed in this position, the Martians were forced to accept being banished into the Phantom Zone or die on the Moon. J'onn was prepared to sacrifice his own life to defeat them, but was teleported out of danger at the last second by his teammates, Batman subsequently informing him that he was never alone, and to have considered himself such was the one thing that he couldn't easily forgive.
White Martian Hybrids
With the help of Funky Flashman, an oviparous White Martian named A'monn A'mokk creates five human-Martian hybrid children named Sapling, Buster, Silhouette, Quaker, and Blur, using superhuman DNA from unknown sources. The five hybrids all have a latent fear of fire.
When the Martian Manhunter overcame his fear of fire, he broke the ancient genetic block and released Fernus, a member of the primeval Martian race. Fernus took possession of J'onn J'onzz and exterminated as many members of the White Martian race as he could find before being defeated by Plastic Man in a last desperate confrontation.
The Others Among Us
A secret United States program led by Section Chief Keane of the Department of Homeland Security hold several captured surviving White Martians that were experimented in an attempt to weaponizing on Martian abilities in order to build a defense against potential Martian invaders. Initially, these White Martians were brainwashed by a Green Martian named Cay'an and made to believe they were Green Martians as part of Cay'An's vendetta against the Martian Manhunter for being indirectly responsible for the destruction of Mars. All of the White Martians had been killed or incapacitated, except for a juvenile named Till'all. Till'All became friends with J'onn J'onzz, and was introduced to the Justice League.
Powers and Abilities
- Martian Physiology: The average Martian possesses the potential for the following power set:
- Shape-Shifting: Martians have psionic control of their physical for down to the molecular level. This allows them to a form of shape-shifting that allows them to mimic other forms, elongate aspects of their body, increase or decrease their physical size, and so on.
- Invisibility: Martians can cause the biopolymers in their bodies to lose their ability to reflect light, making the Martians invisible to normal light and human sight.
- Phasing: Martians can go through solid matter.
- Superhuman Strength: Martians possess vast levels of superhuman strength and are among the few races that are able to match Kryptonians in terms of raw strength. Martians can easily shatter reinforced concrete and steel, lift and carry houndreds of tons with ease and deliver incredible damage with their blows.
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Durability: Martians possess high levels of durability that make them nigh-invulnerable to all forms of damage. Martians can withstand high caliber bullets, powerful energy blast and kinetic impacts without suffering damage.
- Superhuman Speed: Martians can process thoughts, move, and react at incredible speed, being able to cover vast distances in little or no time, catch bullets in mid flight, run on water and create afterimages as they run.
- Regeneration: Martians have powerful regenerative powers that enable them to regenerate their entire body from a severed limb, they can furtherly enhance their regenerative powers by drawing mass from nearby sources.
- Extrasensory Input
- Super Hearing
- Heat Vision
- Martian Vision: Martian visual acuity greatly exceed human norms and allows for a wider range of information to be observed. This includes the following:
- Telepathy: Martians have the ability to read the minds of others and project their thoughts to varying degrees. They can also project their mental essences into a gestalt community known as the "Great Mind". Through this, the community can enhance the telepathic strength of other Martians. This power can also enable them to reverse the effects of amnesia or psychological brainwashing. 
- Astral Projection
- Mind Control: As an extension of this, Martians can also use the ability to alter a psychological profile of a target, enabling them to manipulate, and in some cases, outright control that individual. This practice is greatly discouraged however, and only rarely used. 
- Telepathic Relay
- Telepathic Assault
- Telekinesis: Martians have mind-over-matter abilities and can lift and move objects with their minds. They can also employ their telekinesis in offensive way by discharging telekinetic blasts capable of great concussive power.
- Martian Physiology
- Vulnerability to Fire: Martians are much more vulnerable to fire than the average Earth human. At times this has been portrayed as physical, psychological, or a combination of the two. The effect of this is to strip any Martian of their powers as they involuntarily lose control of their body.
Links and References
- JLA #86
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 2) #13-#16
- JLA #3
- JLA #4
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 3) #8
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 4) #1
- Detective Comics #225
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 4) #2
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 3) #3
- JLA #3
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 2) #8
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 2) #3
- DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Who's Who: Update '88 #2
- Martian Manhunter #4
- Detective Comics #226
- Martian Manhunter (Volume 3) #8