The Real Reason Martian Manhunter was removed from Justice League

Something I don’t understand is why does everyone insist on blaming Cyborg for Martian Manhunter's removal as a founding member of the Justice League. While I understand the logic I don’t agree with it.

From what I gather the animosity is coming from the fact that they believe that DC wanted to promote racial diversity so they removed MM and added Cyborg in his place; so now everyone uses this to direct intense resentment towards Cyborg. I'm sure some of it is genuine and others have different motives for showing such animosity towards his character. For those whose animosity is genuinely directed at Cyborg because they believe that he replaced MM, the argument doesn't make sense because it suggests that there is a set number of positions in the Justice League or more specifically there can only be only be 7 founding members of the Justice League. The simple truth is there is nothing to suggest that there can only be 7 founding members of the Justice League. Perhaps if the justice League called themselves the "Super Seven", then someone would be able to make that argument.

DC could have easily kept Martian Manhunter on the team and then added Cyborg to make 8 founding members of the Justice League. The REAL reason Martian Manhunter was removed form the team is simple; Martian Manhunter wasn't on the Superfriends "cartoon". So yes they did add Cyborg for racial diversity, but they didn't take out Martian Manhunter because of Cyborg. That's like saying they removed Jean Grey from X-Men comics to make room for White Queen.

Martian Manhunter's removal has nothing to do with Cyborg so there is no reason to direct such hate towards his character. Cyborg's removal and Martian Manhunter's insertion simply coincide with one another because DC is trying to create a new founding theme revolving around the Superfriends cartoon. This theme can be seen embodied in comments made in the New 52 Justice League issues #06 pg. 20-21 and again in New 52 Justice League #07 pg. 13.

New 52 Justice League issues #06 pg. 20-21

New 52 Justice League #07 pg. 13.

This influence can also be seen in the fact the White Martian invasion origin was replaced with a Darkseid invasion which to me was a shout out to Superfriends cartoon The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.

I think it's important to point out that Cyborg appeared in the last series The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. By that show the Superfriends were renamed The Superpowers Team, but The Super Powers Team shared the same continuity with the SuperFriends show, that's why he's technically a Super Friend.

While Martian Manhunter did exist in the Superfriends continuity, he only made his appearance in the Superfriends comic book, but he was never a part of the Superfriends cartoon. Apparently he left Earth to go to Mars in order to help his people search for a new world.

Basically, I do understand why people are mad. Martian Manhunter has been a charter member of the Justice League since the 1970's; but at the same time I think we shouldn't suggest that means there is no room for diversity on the team.

Would it make everyone happy if in the next reboot they tried write a comic that includes 8 founding members of the Justice League:

Superman Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Cyborg

Then perhaps they could adhere to the concept used in the Superfriends continuity, where MM leaves soon after (technically before) the creation of the Justice League to go back to Mars?

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Posted by Imagine_Man15

I disagree. Martian Manhunter was a primary character in the more recent Justice League cartoon, and if DC wanted to attract new readers with the New 52, they would target the newer generation which is more likely to be familiar with MM as a member of the League.

Edited by geoff2005

agreed most general audience is more familair with JL and JLU cartoons and those core members.

haha but MM is black when hes in human form, so race issue i doubt is the reason unless him being actual martian doesnt count.. I have no idea why they didnt put him in JL new 52...

Posted by KnightRise

I'm going to have to disagree with you on DC trying to insert the Super Friends into the DCnU or be influenced by it. Those remarks were just funny little references. On the 1st episode of Justice League, the Flash suggest that they be a team of "super-friends"

Posted by TheMinister

Neat points. I am a MM fan but I am getting tired of the Cyborg hate as well.

Posted by PowerHerc

Disagree:

Cyborg was indeed added to the "Original" roster of the Justice League because of his race.

Agree:

Considering all the reboots and retcons, DC could indeed have left MM on the "Original" Justice League roster and simply added Cyborg.

Edited by TitanTempest

Great Article!!!!!

I think they are trying to reintroduce past elements from all of past DC materials. Movies, games, Tv Shows, everything.

So I think it will be interesting to see if they add anymore elements from super friends, I love the New 52 lol

Posted by SHAZAM117

No prbs with Cyborg on the team, thats great and all for Cyborg fans, but they should have left MM on the team still. For the past 10-15yrs he's been a corner stone for the League from comics to cartoons and just as important as say Flash or Green Lantern....just seems weird with him not being there. I am HIGHLY looking foward to JLA coming out next year tho with him leader of the squad.

Edited by Killer_of_trolls

@xybernauts: I highly doubt DC's targeted audience are grown ass men over 40. If what you said was correct then MM should have been in the roster because he is in all the the new cartoons(Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Crisis on two earths, and New Frontier) or even that unsuccessful live action pilot in 1997. while it was common knowledge for 21 century cartoon network viewing kids/teens that cyborg is only a Teen Titans member. The black thing is extremely possible, although I see no proof of it, but I 90% believe in it cause it's the only reasonable one here.

Posted by BlueLantern1995

@PowerHerc said:

Disagree:

Cyborg was indeed added to the "Original" roster of the Justice League because of his race.

Agree:

Considering all the reboots and retcons, DC could indeed have left MM on the "Original" Justice League roster and simply added Cyborg.

Posted by geoff2005

i just thought about it. Do you guys think they left him out so that he can be on stormwatch to boost storm stormwatch sales. Haha only reason i bought some stormwatch is because of MM. They didn't want him on two teams?

Posted by BlueLantern1995

That isn't the reason though I'm sure it was a added bonus and was to appease the MMH fans a bit. The real reason is they wanted only 7 members and wanted a Black human on the team...

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

dude,stop kidding yourself. we all know DC did this because Dan Didio hates green people lol.

Posted by texasdeathmatch

Racial diversity by removing the one non-white member and replacing with a black member. 
 
...That don't make sense.

Posted by Twentyfive

1st page cool!

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Still prefer MM over Cyborg

Edited by xybernauts

First, thanks to everyone for the feedback. It's really appreciated.

I'd like to point out that I did acknowledge that Cyborg was placed on the team to promote racial diversity. It seems many people missed that point. I believe that Super Friends is a clear factor prompting his selection. If that wasn't the reason then why pick Cyborg to be on the team when he's already has a place on the Titans. There are a few other minority DCU characters available for DC to chose from, and yet they pick the one DC comics owned minority character that happened to be on the Super Friends. Coincidence, I think not. Personally, I don't believe in coincidences.

The thing is it doesn't have to be a contest between MM and Cyborg cause there's room for them both.

@texasdeathmatch said:

Racial diversity by removing the one non-white member and replacing with a black member.

I think this makes alot of sense to.

Posted by viin

i just look at it if there was an actual JL would citizens of earth really trust a Martian from Mars to help the humans of earth....?

People dont trust the government so i think it would be hard for people to trust in lifeforms from other planets...

I just hope after awhile and whatever Geoff Johns is gonna do with his Justice League of America series, i hope someday we see MM in the actual Justice League title again.

Posted by Killer_of_trolls

Personally, I think it was a dumb move made by some over-paid executive, cause he want shiny robot with red light ooooh . Mostly, because Batman was already the brains on the team, Cyborg was not needed.

@xybernauts said:

First, thanks to everyone for the feedback. It's really appreciated.

I'd like to point out that I did acknowledge that Cyborg was placed on the team to promote racial diversity. It seems many people missed that point. I believe that Super Friends is a clear factor prompting his selection. If that wasn't the reason then why pick Cyborg to be on the team when he's already has a place on the Titans. There are a few other minority DCU characters available for DC to chose from, and yet they pick the one DC comics owned minority character that happened to be on the Super Friends. Coincidence, I think not. Personally, I don't believe in coincidences.

You still didn't prove why they took out Manhunter, though. The super-friend thing, as I already state, is unconvincing because most of today's generation never heard of it. And Cyborg is not the "one owned minority DC character". They could have brought back John stewert instead, who is a well known green lantern and JLA member in pop culture. There are a lot more JLA members through-out DC history from other races/nationalities(Black/Koryan/Arab/Japanese/Indian).

your perspective towards coincidences is unreasonable. not every effect has a willing cause. simpler, Not everything is planned by someone, accidents happens from carelessness, not because someone planned them.

@BlueLantern1995:

That isn't the reason though I'm sure it was a added bonus and was to appease the MMH fans a bit. The real reason is they wanted only 7 members and wanted a Black human on the team...

Why seven? again there were other black JLA member more known for being JLA members.

@geoff2005 said:

i just thought about it. Do you guys think they left him out so that he can be on stormwatch to boost storm stormwatch sales. Haha only reason i bought some stormwatch is because of MM. They didn't want him on two teams?

You sir, Win this thread with the best possible reason. Congratulations!

Posted by BlueLantern1995

@Killer_of_trolls said:

@BlueLantern1995:

That isn't the reason though I'm sure it was a added bonus and was to appease the MMH fans a bit. The real reason is they wanted only 7 members and wanted a Black human on the team...

Why seven? again there were other black JLA member more known for being JLA members.

I've no clue why only 7 members, If I ever meet the writers I'll be sure to ask. And as for picking Cyborg for that Black human member I guess they wanted Power set diversity as well and wanted a male member.

Posted by fodigg

I never caught the Superfriends connection, even with everything that's been argued about on this site. Great blog. And yes, I agree completely, to say that racial diversity is the only reason Cyborg was selected is laughable. They could have easily thrown John Stewart into the GL spot, made Manhunter's civilian ID black, or just had 8 members of the team. They went with removing Manhunter and adding Cyborg because the former had conflicting themes and the latter had modern themes. They gave these reasons explicitly but so many people just ignored them.

Personally, I wish they'd mixed up the team even more and selected characters from across the spectrum as far as era-of-introduction goes. Something more like:

This would also give you four originals, two legacies, and two "teen heroes", which I think is a nice mix. And the Legacies could easily be rebranded as originals if they really wanted to.

Posted by xybernauts

@Killer_of_trolls said:

You still didn't prove why they took out Manhunter, though. The super-friend thing, as I already state, is unconvincing because most of today's generation never heard of it. And Cyborg is not the "one owned minority DC character". They could have brought back John stewert instead, who is a well known green lantern and JLA member in pop culture. There are a lot more JLA members through-out DC history from other races/nationalities(Black/Koryan/Arab/Japanese/Indian).

You misquoted me. I didn't just say Cyborg was the "one owned minority DC character". I said Cyborg was the "one DC comics owned minority character that happened to be on the Super Friends".

You seem to conclude that all of DC writing is about pandering to what they believe the public wants. So based on your argument younger readers would want to see characters from the recent Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, but truth be told, true writing is an art. Many good writers write what makes them happy and let other decide whether they like it or not. They don’t simply write what they think others will like.

So it's very possible that Geoff Johns goal may have been to simply incorporate what was important to him in his writing. He is in his late 30's, so it's not surprising that Super Friends, amongst other things, would influence his writing. So the goal wasn't to "attract middle aged men", but instead it's a writing style which revolves around incorporating old elements from DC's past stories with the new material they are producing. Example's of this can be seen in Grant Morrison's writing in Batman and Superman comics's.

Edited by icysloth

I would like to say I don't resent cyborg at all for it, I think MM fits in better with Wildstrorm than with the Justice League. I also think wildstorm is a better book. I think they needed a black character yes, but it doesn't bother me. Just like I know the only reason blue beetle hasn't been canceled with its dismal sales figures is DC isn't willing to give up on a hispanic superhero.

Posted by Gigant

No love for fictional non-human races

Posted by warlock360

they took him out because he's basically a better Superman. No racial reason needed.

Posted by Sideslash

They're racist towards green people.

/Thread.

Posted by matchesmalone21

@xybernauts: Actually Martian Manhunter has been a charter member of the Justice League since since 60's

Posted by jonEsherfey

@xybernauts: If they wanted ratial diversity then why didn't they have John Stewart as Green Lantern and keep Martian Manhunter.

Posted by IfDCRuledTheWorld

I don't mind Cyborg. I just wish he looked more like the teen titan cartoon version. I like that design better.

Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER

It's because he was green.

Posted by Wboy

@Imagine_Man15 said:

I disagree. Martian Manhunter was a primary character in the more recent Justice League cartoon, and if DC wanted to attract new readers with the New 52, they would target the newer generation which is more likely to be familiar with MM as a member of the League.

Disagreed. I'm apart of this new generation and no one is as acquainted with him as the other members.

He's been on the team for like how long and never garnered an audience? That speaks for it self.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

@Imagine_Man15 said:

I disagree. Martian Manhunter was a primary character in the more recent Justice League cartoon, and if DC wanted to attract new readers with the New 52, they would target the newer generation which is more likely to be familiar with MM as a member of the League.

If anything the JL lineup for the new 52 should've been

Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, John Stewart, Wonder Woman, Flash, Hawkgirl

Posted by Black_Claw

^ I would actually love to see that type of Line up! But then Aquaman would be excluded, and he's such an awesome character in the new 52.

Posted by xybernauts

@jonEsherfey said:

@xybernauts: If they wanted ratial diversity then why didn't they have John Stewart as Green Lantern and keep Martian Manhunter.

Technically the core argument of the article was that the line-up was made up of characters who were part of the Super Friends cartoon series of the 80's. So diversity was part of it, but not the only reason. John Stewart and MM were not part of the Super Friends cartoons so that's why he wasn't included. Maybe in a future reboot we shall see a comic based on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. Truthfully, I wish the Justice League of America cartoon included Martian Manhunter, John Stewart, and Hawkgirl as a shout out to the series instead of Hawkman and Green Lateran Baz; although I admit Baz looks interesting.

Posted by beatboks1

Has no one cottoned on to how familiar many characters are in the New DC to their current live action equivalents in digital media. Green Arrow anyone??

Obviously Cyborg is a founding JLAer because of

Be grateful they didn't do the reboot back when this telemovie was made.

Posted by name_already_chosen

Actually, this makes sense. DC and Marvel have both been becoming more and more regressive of late, and bypassing the more recent continuity of the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series to replicate the Super-Friends cartoon of the childhoods of the current comic book writers in their midlife crises seems to be just more of the same.

Perhaps future comic book historians will refer to the 2010s as the Imitation Silver Age?

Posted by whitelantern64

Well, this is all moot point anyways since MM is on JLA now. I kinda wish that they made the flash black, I know that this sounds really racist but I think that the JL could have more racial diversity and the Flash is the one of the few characters whose whole history was rebooted as opposed to batman and GL (if they had to have hal as the first GL on the league) and having flash as an African-american wouldn't have changed the character that much. They could have also made wonder woman a homosexual or at least bi-sexual. I mean she was raised and surrounded by women, it makes sense that she might have developed romantic feelings for one of them one time or another in her entire existence. Plus that would let wonder woman become even stronger as a feminist figure because it shows that strong women doesn't need men and having her fall in love with a female strengthens that role. They could have also have an asian, or hispanic character. I mean, how hard would it have been to make an asian character? There's so many of us in real life but you have to really think while for a character that's prominently asian in dc comics. the lack of diversity in the JL is really lacking compared to the Marvel's avengers and x-men.

Posted by xybernauts

White lantern, you really have some really interesting ideas. I think the idea about Wonder Woman is the best, and makes a lot of sense. I agree with everything else except the idea about making the Flash black. Maybe if someone in the Flash's family had an interracial relationship and had black offspring as a result creating a new Flash it would work, but I think it's unnecessary. I would really like to see more diversity though.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@whitelantern64 said:

Well, this is all moot point anyways since MM is on JLA now. I kinda wish that they made the flash black, I know that this sounds really racist but I think that the JL could have more racial diversity and the Flash is the one of the few characters whose whole history was rebooted as opposed to batman and GL (if they had to have hal as the first GL on the league) and having flash as an African-american wouldn't have changed the character that much. They could have also made wonder woman a homosexual or at least bi-sexual. I mean she was raised and surrounded by women, it makes sense that she might have developed romantic feelings for one of them one time or another in her entire existence. Plus that would let wonder woman become even stronger as a feminist figure because it shows that strong women doesn't need men and having her fall in love with a female strengthens that role. They could have also have an asian, or hispanic character. I mean, how hard would it have been to make an asian character? There's so many of us in real life but you have to really think while for a character that's prominently asian in dc comics. the lack of diversity in the JL is really lacking compared to the Marvel's avengers and x-men.

Ryan Choi is joining the team soon

Posted by TheMinister

I don't see John Stewart ever being in Justice League's main 7... He doesn't appeal to me that much. I would rather have Cyborg than him. Now if I had to choose between Icon or John Stewart......

Edited by xybernauts

@TheMinister:

I think Cyborg is the best choice if your looking for diversity. Maybe Black Lightning. I actually prefer Hal Jordan over John Stewart as the team GL. As for Icon, the problem with Icon is he isn't really black. He's an alien who used special technology to morph into a black baby. Yes he grew up as a black man, but ultimately he's not black.

This is what Icon looks like in his true form. Truthfully I hope they reboot his origin to say he's an actual black human alien. And as opposed to contrary belief, a person who morphs into a black human isn't the same as being a black human. Just sayin'.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

@xybernauts said:

@TheMinister:

I think Cyborg is the best choice if your looking for diversity. Maybe Black Lightning. I actually prefer Hal Jordan over John Stewart as the team GL. As for Icon, the problem with Icon is he isn't really black. He's an alien who used special technology to morph into a black baby. Yes he grew up as a black man, but ultimately he's not black.

This is what Icon looks like in his true form. Truthfully I hope they reboot his origin to say he's an actual black human alien. And as opposed to contrary belief, a person who morphs into a black human isn't the same as being a black human. Just sayin'.

is it bad to suggest that Icon be incorporated as an identity J'onn used for a while? he's done similar things in the past and it would be cool to see him and Rocket together, at least in my opinion.

Posted by The Finality

I just think it has to do with the fact that Geoff Johns really likes the character. His run of Teen Titans, Cyborg teaming up with the player in DCUO (which Johns wrote the script for), Cyborg replacing Superman as Earth's Greatest Hero in the alternate reality Flashpoint story (also written by Johns), Cyborg as a founding JLA member in Smallville (Johns had a couple of episodes he wrote for that show, maybe he was a creative assistant), and finally Johns' Justice League run has Cyborg as a founding member.

Posted by SUNMAN

I think there has always been that inherent fear of Martian Manhunters abilities overlapping too closely with Superman's. I actually think he works better outside of the League just reading about him in the new 52, he isn't being constantly nerfed because of Superman being DC's number 1.

Look what happened to Shazam *cough* Captain Marvel *cough* Johns has stated they've changed up his abilities even more, no doubt in an attempt to differentiate him from Superman even more.

Posted by Jorgevy

because it's just redundant. MM's powers. So they took out the less known member that possessed the flying brick of death powerset

Also, IMO, if Icon grew up as a black man in our world he is entitled to be called and accepted as such just as much as anyone else, even if he isn't human. He grew up with the same skin colour as the other black people in his universe so he is of the same ethnicity and has the same life experience taht comes from it, no matter what

Edited by xybernauts

@Jorgevy: I might agree with you if we were just talking about him as a solo hero, but that doesn't pan out because we are talking about using him to add diversity to an all Caucasian superhero team. Behind Icon there is the message that skin color doesn't matter but instead it's our shared experiences that are important. That's true in a big way, but at the same time the purpose of adding diversity to the roster is to promote representation. It's hard to be truly represented by someone whose ethnicity is designed to be just a mask.

It's easy to overlook Superman's alien origin because he really is Caucasian, but even if you don't agree, Caucasians have three (maybe five) truly human characters to chose from that can represent them. Unfortunately minorities don't have that luxury and I'm not just talking about black characters. So if minorities are going to get just one character to represent them I would prefer it to be someone whose ethnicity isn't just a disguise that they can potentially just take off at the push of a button.

Posted by Jorgevy

@xybernauts: 1) I was never talking about diversity. that's you guys in here that were talking about that, I was just talking about Icon having the right to consider himself black because 2) you said it yourself, he grew up as a black guy, so he IS a black guy. Doesn't matter if that's to cover his alien origins, he grew up as one, he is one

Posted by xybernauts

@Jorgevy: Well you jumped into a conversation about teams and diversity so it's hard not to link your comment to the conversation at hand....

I agree that he is a black man, but only to a degree; not completely and not enough so that he is an adequate substitute for an actual black guy in a team comic. That's what I was saying.

Posted by Durakken

I don't think Cyborg replaced MM at all... however I think Cyborg on the Justice league goes against his character in general and Cyborg is also not in the same league as the others in the JL nor does he fit as a character with the group.

Was Cyborg added for diversity? Yes

Is that the only reason? No

Does that make him a bad choice? No

Are there better choices? Yes

Is he a bad choice? Yes

Could it be worked so that Cyborg becomes a good choice? Yup

Do you think they will? Not a chance.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

Should've just made Hal Jordan, John Stewart instead of adding Cyborg

Posted by Jorgevy

@xybernauts: obviously he is not really black and if someone is looking for a character in comics to "look up to" that is black, he can only do so to a degree, because even though he is black because he lived as a black guy, he doesn't really have the heritage and all that other stuff. it could also be seen as a cheap way of having a black character in a comic, him not really being black. I get that, but still, it's a good character to include in the "black super heroes list"

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