Human Target Exposes an Unhealthy Secret Justice League International Affair

The following contains major spoilers for Human Target #5, on sale now from DC Comics.

Scandal is nothing new to the world of superheroes. In both Marvel and DC Comics, there have been tons of controversial, shocking, and taboo moments. In that vein, the most recent revelation to come out of the ongoing Human Target miniseries just brought to light several bombshells.The series so far has followed Christopher Chance as he investigates a murder attempt on Lex Luthor. The clues have led Chance to conclude that it was a member of the classic Justice League International team that made the attempt on Luthor's life.

Over the course of several issues, Chance and his new partner/love interest, Ice (also formerly of the JLI) have been interviewing several of Ice's former teammates, including Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Green Lantern Guy Gardner (who also happens to be Ice's ex). In Human Target #5 (by Tom King, Greg Smallwood, and Clayton Cowles) the duo start to uncover more than just a potential murder plot. While engaged in a mental "interrogation" with J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, Chance is able to probe the famed Martian hero's memories. What he discovers is something that was not only previously unknown but dramatically recontextualizes the relationships between the members of the JLI: the Manhunter has been having a secret affair with his teammate Beatriz De Costa, aka Fire.

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It's unknown just how long this affair has been going on, but it is entirely possible that it was happening at the time that both members served together in the League. From the context given, it seems that they kept this affair a secret from their fellow teammates, begging the question of why they chose to do so.

From what is seen in the issue, the entanglement between the two heroes seems to be one that pushes certain limitations. After all, J'onn's greatest weakness is the element of fire. Maybe because of this, both of them realized that this is a relationship that cannot last, at least not in the long term. At the same time, however, the very fact that J'onn is willing to carry on this affair in spite of his vulnerability may speak to the depth of his attraction to Beatriz. He is literally willing to put himself in potential danger just to be with her.

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It is worth noting though, that this is not J'onn's only "fiery" romance. During the events of the "Trial by FIre" story arc during Joe Kelly's run on JLA, J'onn became romantically linked with the villainess Scorch who, like Beatriz, possessed pyrokinetic abilities. In fact, this is part of the reason why J'onn sought Scorch out in the first place: he wanted her help in overcoming his weakness to fire. Perhaps this is how his relationship with Bea started as well.

Regardless of why they chose to keep their relationship a secret, what's more shocking is what J'onn might have actually helped Beatriz do. The issue ends with the implication that Fire was the one who made the attempt on Luthor's life, as revenge for his part in her best friend Ice's (albeit temporary) death, and the Manhunter may have unwittingly provided her with the resources she needed to commit the act.

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