All images: DC Comics

When his human partner discovered his secret identity, J’onn J’onzz revealed the tragic story that led to his arrival on Earth. Now it’s time for Detective Diane Meade to share her own history, and this week’s Martian Manhunter offers a character study that strengthens the bonds between the two colleagues. Written by Steve Orlando with art by Riley Rossmo, colorist Ivan Plascencia, and letterer Andworld Designs, the current Martian Manhunter series brings new dimension to the titular hero by fleshing out his past as a crooked cop on Mars, delivering a compelling fusion of sci-fi and crime genres elevated by mind-bending artwork. This week’s issue tones down the sci-fi elements considerably, telling the grounded story of how Meade’s personal life as a bisexual woman impacts her career as a detective.

Steve Orlando always carves out space for queer characters in his work, and his new take on Diane Meade explores workplace discrimination against queer people and misconceptions about bisexual identity. This exclusive preview of this week’s Martian Manhunter #8 reveals the relationship with a female coworker that cost Diane her job, but she refuses to let bigotry stop her from pursuing her life’s calling. The art does great work reinforcing emotional shifts through layouts and palettes. The flashback opens with warm colors and layouts that keep the women in the same panel, establishing a closeness that starts to break in the following page. The layout now puts Diane and Carol in separate panels at all points, drawing a line down the center of the page that accentuates the split. Diane loses a lover, but it puts her on the path to meeting a new partner that changes her life forever.

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