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John Henry Martin grew up on a farm in Dawson, Georgia. As a young boy he made a marble out of clay and his grandfather had whittled him a small wooden pig. He kept these items behind a loose wooden wall plank. He had gotten repeatedly in trouble having served in reforms schools and numerous prison terms, one in New York for armed robbery. During that resultant prison term he met Mark Shaw and told him of his home. More recently while in Dawson he had a girlfriend named Lydia when he was framed for killing a police officer. The frame-up was arranged by elected official Haskell Weckler who was secretly running a drug operation. John was in prison, on death row, when the Gene Bomb exploded and he was granted superhuman strength and bodily protection, both of which he had poor control over. He inadvertantly injured a prison guard and busted through the fourth-story wall landing on top of other guards. He attacked some guards on a catwalk who were shooting unsuccessfully at him and the catwalk buckled under his new weight. This fall somehow knocked him out and he woke in a make-shift hospital for gene-bomb metahuman victims. From there he was sent to Belle Reve prison where he was treated and tested but, since they could no longer find evidence of his powers, he was sent back to his original prison. However, John could tell the powers were still present and, as his transport neared the Georgia/Florida border, he activated them and escaped into the swamplands. He made his way to the home of Brody, an old friend. There he heard on the radio that Manhunter had joined in the search for him and he realized that time was running out as he knew Manhunter from prison and knew him to be clever. Brody gave him a motorcycle and, after they reinforced it to handle his new weight, John set off for Dawson.
He stopped at his father's farm where he was quickly found by Manhunter, who remembered John speaking about the farm. Manhunter listened to John's story of being framed and he offered to help John clear his name if John voluntarily returned to prison with him. John refused but asked Manhunter to let him walk. Manhunter refused and the two fought until Haskell Weckler and numerous police officers arrived. Manhunter protected John announcing the presence of a wire and the back-up of several state police officers. John and Manhunter took down the locals but Officer Dunhill drove off. John rode after him and Manhunter chased them both. They reached Maddox Bridge where the state police had set up a roadblock and John managed to get Dunhill, a crooked cop, in his grasp. Despite Manhunter's pleas John snapped Dunhill's neck and leapt off the bridge while being shot about a dozen times. The state police later found evidence supporting Haskell Weckler's drug-related crimes and arrested those involved.
Super-human strength, partial invulnerability - powers can be switched on/off though John initially had little control over this.
- 5 Appearances of John Henry Martin (New Earth)
- 1 Images featuring John Henry Martin (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about John Henry Martin (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: John Henry Martin (New Earth)