David Harewood’s J’onn J’onzz a.k.a. Martian Manhunter is one of the most important characters on The CW’s Supergirl. In the tradition established in Smallville, Martian Manhunter is a mentor to Kara Zor-El, as he once was to Kal El, as she navigates what it means to be both a citizen and protector of Earth. This incarnation of the Martian Manhunter is quite different from what comic book fans are used to seeing in DC Comics continuity.
Ever since his inclusion in the iconic Grant Morrison JLA series Martian Manhunter has become increasingly powerful with an array of skills and abilities that could, in the right situation, rival Superman himself. When Geoff Johns wrote the Martian Manhunter solo series during the New 52 he became even more of a force to be reckoned with, begging the question of why he has to always been blind-sided on Supergirl?
During several episodes Martian Manhunter has found himself unable to work to his fullest potential and during a press event today, as reported by ComicBook, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg addressed the dampening of J’onn J’onzz:
“The Martian Manhunter, he’s so powerful that it’s almost too powerful for like a weekly series, like with all the things he could do, if we really deployed him at his full comic book power arsenal, no one would be able to pull anything off of anybody.”
This is a classic argument that was made during the aforementioned Smallville series about why Clark Kent was the focus of the series rather than the Superman alter-ego that fans were hoping for. Kreisberg said:
“I mean, he’s super strong, he can fly, he can phase through matter and he can read minds. I mean good luck trying to pull one over on him.”
At face value, it seems that the people in charge of Supergirl are concerned with protecting the integrity of their titular character and keeping the focus on her. If a regular cast member can overpower the Girl of Steel then it would beg the question of why they are not the focal character rather than Kara. This level of stewardship on behalf of the producers and writers is nice and serves to protect the integrity of the superhero at the heart of the show.
However, this integrity hasn’t always shone through in past episodes of Supergirl. In the first season Kara was twice saved by Superman – off-screen, no less! – and then in the second season when Superman finally appeared, played by Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), he saved the day instead of her as well. On top of that, Mon-El (Chris Wood) has saved Kara in the past, despite his complete lack of training or heroic nature. Given that, it would be nice to see more for Martian Manhunter, who at least treats Kara with respect.
Supergirl airs on The CW Mondays at 8pm.