The White Martians
are a fictional extraterrestrial
race native to Mars
in the DC Comics
universe. A different fictional race of the same name appears in several novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The white Martians
are one of the principal Martian races in Edgar Rice Burroughs
series of books featuring John Carter of Mars
. They are described as being like humans in every way, except for being very long-lived and oviparous
. They are a remnant people of the "Orovars", formerly one of the principal races of Mars, but only now found in out-of-the-way locations: they include the Holy Therns who live on both sides of the Otz Mountains at the South Pole; the illusionist philosophers of the City of Lothar, in the middle of the region controlled by the green horde of Torquas; and the Orovars of Horz. They are principally mentioned in The Gods of Mars
, Thuvia, Maid of Mars
, and Llana of Gathol
. In The Gods of Mars
, they are described as having once been a species resembling Caucasian humans with blond hair, though inbreeding
has rendered most of them bald. The Therns pursue experiments to try to breed with the other Martian humanoids to increase their number.
White Martians, also known as Pale Martians, appear in the comics
of the DC Universe
, chiefly JLA
, Martian Manhunter
, and Son of Vulcan
Appearance and abilities
As a race of shapeshifters, physical appearance has little meaning for Martians. The underlying psychological 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
. In their natural form they are angular, hairless humanoids with chalky white skin which often forms bony ridges or plates, giving them the appearance of armor. They have sometimes been seen to have a gaping mouth on their thorax and a horn on the same level on each side . Like the Green Martians, White Martians have numerous superhuman powers, including great strength, flight, invisibility, telepathy, shape-changing, phase-shifting (sometimes called variable density) which allows them to be either invulnerably tough or completely immaterial, and "Martian vision", but they also share the Green Martians' vulnerability to fire. One of the White Martians disguised himself as the Hyperclan member Zum and had superspeed, though not on the level of the Flash
. In Teen Titans
vol.3 #41, Miss Martian
was shown quickly recovering from the effects of Bombshell's
neural scrambling powers as well as reforming after (apparently) having her head shot off. She was also shown in this appearance breaking a pair of handcuffs by waving her hand near them.
The phase-shifting ability is not depicted in their first appearance.Also, their power of flight seems limited to within an atmosphere: a White Martian is defeated by Wonder Woman after succumbing to asphyxiation in outer space; however, the White Martians are later shown flying from Earth to the moon without technological assistance and fighting the JLA in a vacuum.
The White Martians did not evolve alongside the Green Martians as was previously believed. 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 timeframe for this genetic tampering was given as 20,000 years ago, contemporary with the early life of Vandal Savage
on Earth, in JLA
series 2 #86.
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 Superman's Phantom Zone, in which they were later imprisoned again).
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.
are a White Martian vanguard for an all-out takeover of Earth who masquerade as alien superheroes
with the intent of displacing the JLA in the affections of the people of Earth. The Hyperclan members are known as Protex
, and Zenturion
, using the array of natural Martian powers to give each "hero" a seemingly different set of abilities; for example, Züm was a speedster, Armek was a massive armored figure who could change color, and Fluxus was a shapeshifter. Their initial attack results in the destruction of the League's satellite
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
. 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, such as the Flash
knocking out Züm with a punch at near-lightspeed or Green Lantern
taking out Armek by exploiting the fact that they thought his ring
was vulnerable to yellow, the Hyperclan eventually managed to capture all of the Justice League, keeping Superman
tortured with a mental illusion of green kryptonite
. However, Batman
managed to escape the Hyperclan, 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. 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 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.
Grant Morrison, the writer of JLA, deliberately designed the members of the Hyperclan to be as 'kiddy' as possible; Metamorpho even commented that they sounded like the names of children's toys.
Sabotage of Evolution
In JLA series 2 #4, Hyperclan leader Protex tells Superman how his people first came to Earth "long before there was human life" - and performed genetic experiments on terrestrial animals which, "unfortunately," crippled the evolutionary potential of the human race. The result: "the creatures which could have been gods ended up just...humans." The implication is that we should have been, literally, a race of supermen, instead of such frail, limited creatures when compared to Martians. This was another reason for the war between the White and Green Martians, who were outraged by such biological vandalism. According to the storylines in Martian Manhunter (#25 - 27) by John Ostrander, and [[Vulcan (DC Comics)|Son of Vulcan]] (#5), the genetic potential for a future metagene was discovered in ancient human DNA by the White Martian race. The White Martians performed experiments on these primitive humans, changing the metagene. Due to their experimentations, 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, now only a select few humans would be able to develop metahuman powers. As punishment for this, the group of renegades known as the Hyperclan was exiled to the Still Zone, a version of the Phantom Zone.
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. While the rest of the League kept an eye on the other Martians, the Wayne Martian was defeated by a team consisting of Green Lantern, Steel
, Big Barda
, and Plastic Man
(selected because they didn't know Batman's identity and thus wouldn't 'tip' the Martian off to the fact that he was a fake).
The whole race was later revived after the battle with the wish-granting Id; J'onn's wish to be reunited with his human self 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 J'onn. 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 J'onn 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 the 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, while Earth's magicians worked to negate the damage that would have been caused by the lunar gravity otherwise. Placed in this position, the Martians were forced to accept being banished into the Phantom Zone- a common punishment for DC's most dangerous supervillains - 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.
The white Martians 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 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 unrevealed sources. The five hybrids all have a latent fear of fire. Funky Flashman never revealed whether or not Blur's human DNA came from Barry Allen or Professor Zoom. Sapling resembled Poison Ivy in powers and costume, and Buster seemed like a cross between Bizarro and Solomon Grundy. Silhouette seemed to be wearing a variant of Nightshade's old costume and had similar powers. Blur is an albino teenager wearing an altered form of the Reverse Flash's costume.
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. In the JLA story arc "Trial by Fire", an ancient Burning Martian entity called "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.
Miss Martian, the White Martian known as M'gann M'orzz, is a member of the Teen Titans during the year between the events depicted in Infinite Crisis and the "One Year Later" stories. At first she pretends to be a Green Martian, until she is exposed by Bombshell. In her Earth form, M'orzz has green skin, shoulder-length red hair, dresses in a mini-skirt version of Martian Manhunter's outfit, and uses the Earth name "Megan Morse". In Teen Titans #39, M'orzz says she lives in the Tanami Desert in Australia because it reminds her of home. When the Teen Titans ask M'orzz to use her telepathy to discover who has betrayed the team, she refuses, saying that she is forbidden to use her powers to probe the minds of "good" people.
Martian Manhunter mini
In this miniseries
, several beings that appeared to be Green Martians were found alive on Earth. They were eventually revealed to be White Martians, under mind control and disguised as greens; a Green Martian named "Cay'An" had brainwashed them to believe they were Green Martians. All of the White Martians had been killed in one way or another before the series' end, except for a juvenile named Till'All. Till'All became friends with J'onn J'onzz, and was introduced to the Justice League at the end of the story.
In other media
In the first episode of Justice League
titled Secret Origins
, Earth is invaded by a race of evil aliens who came from Mars. Although they came to Earth from Mars, the aliens weren't originally Martian. These aliens were responsible for wiping out the peaceful Martian civilization, and had parasitically absorbed or copied the Martians' shapeshifting powers. J'onn J'onzz said that he had managed to lock them away in suspended animation for a thousand years, but they were awakened by astronauts from Earth. The aliens on Earth were killed by dispersing the protective clouds they'd created and exposing them to sunlight (which was deadly to their species), and the rest fled into deep space. These aliens may have been loosely inspired by the White Martians.
The White Martians appear in the game Justice League Heroes
with their leader voiced by Steven Blum
. Brainiac had Killer Frost launch a nuclear missile to release the White Martians from their imprisonment.