J'onn Jonn'z, Last of the Green Martians
The Martians were an ancient species living on their arid red world. They possessed a genetic memory they could recall the lives of their ancestors in incredible detail. At their peak, millennia ago, they built a towering civilization that would rival anything on modern Earth. Today however the Martians are an extinct people, blasted from the surface of their world by a terrible civil war burned away atmosphere of Mars, and all evidence of life.
Millennia after the war that destroyed Mars the Radovednost probe landed, grabbed a soil sample, and launched the sample back to Earth. Examining the sample scientists found what they thought impossible, evidence of life, a damaged cellular structure. Using genetic recombination the cells were cloned. Dangerously, foolishly, a military science team had created a living Martian.
J’onn Jonn’z was confused, terrified and had every memory of his ancestors in his mind. He could remember the horrors of civil war, his family, his ancestors, even the moments before his own apparent death, but he couldn’t remember how he came to where he was. Terrified the Martian ran, using his immense strength and his ability to shapeshift he fled the facility. Taking refuge in cities all over the United States J’onn hid his nature by taking the form of the homeless that so were so easily ignored by society. Among those without true homes he found kindred spirits: the lost, the scarred, the forgotten, the alone.
He protected those homeless people that he found every where he went, whether from the predations from pretty criminals, to serials killers preying on the weak. J’onn moved from city to city, finally stopping in Chicago. He shadowed police detective John Jones after the man was the only one willing to look into murder of a dozen homelss men. For months the Martian watched the human, occasionally interacting with the man in the guise of a different homeless person each time. J’onn was drawn to the the detective; he was as lost as the Martian, and he had a sense of right and wrong that J’onn respected.
J’onn finally revealed himself to the human he’d followed for months. The detective was surprised, but not terrified. The two became fast friends, and J’onn picked up his human friend’s love of the Oreo cookie. During his time with the detective J’onn learned the fate of his home, it had been dead for at least 10,000 years and his people were worse than forgotten… they were never known.
John Jones died at a convenience store, killed while off duty during a theft when he was buying J’onn a bag of cookies. The Martian found his friend bleeding to death, and the detective made him promise to keep his sense of justice. J’onn took the detective’s form, and has kept his promise to his friend by fighting injustice as both Chicago Police Detective John Jones, and the superhuman Martian Manhunter.