If you are a long-time comic book fan, and you sit down to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League, then chances are you will work your way through the movie with very few questions. Because you are already well-versed in DC Comics lore, you will understand why certain scenarios play out the way they do, and why certain characters pop up with little-to-no explanation.
However, if your only experience with DC characters is through movies, then at times you may have found yourself scratching your head at Zack Snyder’s Justice League. You may have been left with a number of questions, ranging from ‘why does Superman wear a black suit?’ to ‘who is the green alien that appears in the movie?’
Well, if the identity of the green alien has been causing you a few headaches, hopefully I can help you out. Below is more information on the character, as well as the answers to a few key questions.
Who is the green alien in Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
The green alien who appears in Zack Snyder’s Justice League is J’onn J’onzz, or as he is referred to in the movie, the Martian Manhunter. J’onn/Martian Manhunter appears twice in Zack Snyder’s Justice League – the first time is around the 2-hour 14-minutes mark, while his second appearance is just after Bruce Wayne’s nightmare dream sequence (around the 3-hour 41-minute mark).
During his first appearance, and unbeknown to Lois Lane, J’onn takes on the form of Martha Kent, so that the pair can take part in a conversation. The conversation allows Lois to talk through her feelings regarding Superman’s death, and helps her to grieve.
Once the conversation is over, ‘fake’ Martha leaves Lois’ apartment, where she changes her appearance, first into Martian Manhunter, and then into General Swanwick – a character who previously appeared in Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
When J’onn reappears for the second time, it is at the very end of the movie. In this scene, he appears as Martian Manhunter, reveals that he is aware of Bruce’s importance in founding the League, and tells Bruce that a darkness is coming which will call for heroes once again.
Both of J’onn’s appearances are quite vague, and naturally lead to many questions. So, to help clear things up, let me run through some key details that will help explain who he is and why he is taking on the form of different characters.
Who is Martian Manhunter?
Martian Manhunter aka J’onn J’onzz is an alien super hero who has been a part of the DC Universe ever since he made his comic book debut back in 1955, via the pages of Detective Comics issue #225. In the comics, he is one of the founding members of the Justice League and has appeared in video games, cartoons, and animated movies, as well as live-action TV shows, including Smallville and Supergirl.
J’onn has a plethora of super abilities, most notably super strength, intangibility, telekinesis, flight, and the power to shapeshift. He is the last surviving Martian, and he has a weakness to fire.
Why does he take on the form of Martha Kent and General Swanwick?
J’onn takes on the form of Martha Kent so that he can have a private conversation with Lois. He understands how important Lois is to Superman, and vice versa, and believes the best way to help her through the grief process is to get her talking about the man she has lost.
He takes on the form of Martha, because this is someone who Lois trusts. Martha is also someone who knows about Superman’s secret identity, which means Lois can speak openly, without having to sidestep any details.
As for the reason J’onn appears in the guise of General Swanwick, this is because while on Earth, J’onn has been using the identity of Swanwick to mask his true identity. Prior to Superman’s first public appearance, J’onn believed he was the only alien on Earth, so he adopted a human guise so not to give away his presence.
It is never made clear if he has always taken on the identity of General Swanwick, or if something happened to the real Swanwick, and J’onn simply assumed his identity. Either way, this is who J’onn has been masquerading as, ever since Man of Steel.
If J’onn is an alien, why did General Swanwick seem so dismissive of Superman in Man of Steel?
J’onn (as Swanwick) was initially dismissive of Superman in Man of Steel because he didn’t quite trust him. J’onn had been on Earth for some time, prior to Superman appearing in public, and so was naturally unsure of Superman’s intentions.
Why did J’onn make contact with Bruce Wayne?
As Bruce Wayne helped to bring the Justice League together, J’onn sees Bruce as the driving force behind a positive change. And with Earth now beginning to accept heroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash, J’onn feels it is time for him to step out of the shadows – which is why he speaks to Bruce in his alien form, rather than a human form.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Martian Manhunter on I’ll Get Drive-Thru – I hope it has helped clear up some confusion. For more DC-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.