With all the Brightest Day hullabaloo, there's the promise of a reboot of many a character back to their Silver Age days.
First, I urge you to read Manhunter of Integrity over at I-HoD (Idol-Head of Diabolu), a post explaining J'onn's original incarnation as a detective, which is the essence of his character. It's a great introduction for readers and a guidepost for writers on how to remain faithful to this character's original design. Currently, the Martian Manhunter has derailed mightily from his roots, and I hope that will be fixed.
And now, my own humble foray into how the Martian Manhunter should be written...
Top Ten Things Writers Need to Remember About the Martian Manhunter
10. Stop trying to explain the weakness to fire.
Guys, you don't even need to bother with this. Just accept it and move on. It's part of the premise of his character, and yet I've lost count of how many writers have tried to explain it, make sense of it, or just plain get rid of it. It's psychological, it's a phobia, it's genetic, it reminds him of the funeral pyres during the plague on Mars, it's only flames of "passion," etc., etc., etc. How many multi-issue arcs have been written about why Kryptonite affects Superman? Or did Superman ever go so far as to be best buds with Metallo to "get over" his weakness? No, because the Man of Steel needs no explanations.
And quit whining about how a civilization can be built without fire. I give you this panel to whisk away that complaint:
From Detective Comics #245
What's that, Mr. Jones? Earth weakness? Yeah, you heard him. Fire only weakens him on Earth. So there you go: now you don't have to worry about how a whole civilization got built without fire, becuase it probably didn't. Just like the yellow sun of Earth somehow mystically gives Superman his powers, fire on Earth mystically takes them away from J'onn. No need to explain it. Simple, no?
Wow, looking back at all these Silver Age issues, it's like all of J'onn J'onzz's current problems could easily be solved. I think we're on to something...
To be continued...