- "As a species, they exist to cause suffering and burn and breed. Nothing more."
- ―John Stewart
Twenty-thousand years ago, the "Burning Martians" were the dominant life form on the planet Mars. Their name originates from the fact that each Martian was perpetually ablaze with a glowing halo of fire. They were a ruthless and barbaric race whose life's goal was to wage never-ending war against one another. The Guardians of the Universe had been observing Martian culture for quite some time, but as the race's technology level grew more advanced, the Guardians knew it would not be long before they developed interstellar travel. They decided at this time to intervene. They programmed a genetic weakness towards fire into Martian physiology as a deterrent against violence. With their darker passions dampened, the Burning Martians began to evolve into the Green and White Martian races. Centuries later, the Earth-based Martian hero J'onn J'onzz awakened the genetic memory of his ancient ancestors. The essence of the Burning Martians overwhelmed him and he briefly turned evil and fought against his allies in the JLA.