African Reserves

Martian Manhunter got an edgy ’90s makeover called Bloodwynd

Bloodwynd was a mystical and somewhat violent hero in the ’90s who, unbeknownst to many in the Justice League, was also linked to Martian Manhunter.

Though sometimes overlooked or understated among DC’s stable of iconic heroes, the Martian Manhunter is considered by many to be the heart and soul of the Justice League. His wisdom and understanding generally makes him come across as one of the best-looking heroes in the League, mentoring young heroes and being sort of the team’s favorite father figure / uncle. However, that image didn’t merge with the dark, grainy ’90s, so Martian Manhunter briefly received a spooky makeover.

Bloodwynd was a mystical and somewhat violent hero in the ’90s who, unbeknownst to many in the Justice League, was also linked to Martian Manhunter. Despite his connection to the League as well as to the mystical world of magic, Bloodwynd has grown into an obscure and esoteric character since his early days. Here’s how the hero was born and how Martian Manhunter endorsed his bloodiest character to date.

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The origin of Bloodwynd

Martian Manhunter disguised as Bloodwynd

The man known as Bloodwynd was a descendant of a group of black slaves in America’s past who turned on their evil master Jacob Whitney. They carried out a ritual to create a magical blood gem with which they killed Whitney, and they will later bequeath this same gem to their descendants. The gem would give its user great strength, flight, mystical energy, necromancy and other powers, with the reserves of this energy being almost limitless. The user can also force someone to feel all the pain they have inflicted on others.

Unfortunately, Whitney’s spirit would live in the pocket dimension contained within the gem, where he would become the demonic Rott. It would be tantamount to biting Bloodwynd, and it would also involve Justice League hero Martian Manhunter.

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How Martian Manhunter Became Bloodwynd

Martian man hunter Alex Ross

Rott would eventually be able to lure Bloodwynd himself into the Blood Gem dimension, trapping the modern descendant of his former slaves. He also manipulated Martian Manhunter into impersonating Bloodwynd, with no one apparently being aware of the Martian’s absence during “Bloodwynd” presence. Bloodwynd had been incredibly mysterious before, which has led many to question its origin. The ruse will eventually be discovered during the battle that ends with Superman’s death.

The Justice League realized that “Bloodwynd” was actually Martian Manhunter when a nearby fire scared him. Fighting with Rott afterwards, they freed the real Bloodwynd, who officially joined the Justice League afterwards. However, his esoteric nature continued, as he remained aloof and refused to tell anyone why he didn’t want to fight the evil Dreamslayer. After a few other appearances such as in the “Day of Judgment” storyline, Bloodwynd left the mainstream and was forgotten in the DC Universe.

Bloodwynd was in many ways iconic of the ’90s, starting with his name. Bloodwynd and Rott both had the typical bad grammar of the time, with their names being intentionally misspelled. Then there were his dark, amorphous powers, which made him somewhat similar to his darling ’90s compatriot, Spawn. He also had a much looser moral code than most of the other heroes, as he showed when he tormented a drug dealer.

Beyond their initial connection, there has been no real connection between Martian Manhunter and Bloodwynd. This mainly stems from the latter’s obscurity, as well as how quickly it happened. The reason Martian Manhunter briefly became Bloodwynd was likely a combination of his Transfiguration powers explaining the transformation and Manhunter being niche enough not to derail the planned storylines. Ironically, modern comics and adaptations have depicted Martian Manhunter’s human form as an African American male, so this is perhaps Bloodwynd’s greatest legacy.

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