DC Comics’ next big event starts here, which means mysteries begin, stakes are raised, and the heroes face a threat they could never imagine. Prepare yourself for a superhero event akin to a disaster movie. Many will be lost and only a few may be able to save us all!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
THE ROAD TO “DROWNED EARTH”! When Wonder Woman learns that Cheetah gained new powers and killed the Greek sea god, Poseidon, that sets Aquaman off on a search for answers, bringing him into conflict with an entity known as the Flood, a herald for long-dead ocean gods with an ancient grudge against Poseidon, Atlantis and, well, everyone else on Earth. Who are those guys? Some very big fish–and you know what big fish do? Eat smaller fish like Aquaman and his Justice League buddies!
Why does this matter?
This is a book that begins an event that may change Aquaman, and his corner of the universe, forever. It’s also good at showing how the Justice League may be spread too thin and their best at planning, Batman, may be needed more than ever.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue does a few things very well. As is custom in the series as a whole under Scott Snyder, it’s filled with content. More than once I turned a page and thought, “okay here comes the cliffhanger,” but no, it goes on! It also shows how the Justice League don’t necessarily fight as one, splitting them up between life-saving missions and information collecting missions. This directly influences how things end up and puts into question whether or not it’s a good idea to not have them ready and waiting for big time attacks. It also sets up the idea that we may think all stories have been told–all areas mapped–but we’d be foolish to think so.
The issue opens with Aquaman as a boy with his father. This scene helps establish the notion that all waters are mapped and accounted for. We then cut to Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Firestorm on a fact-finding mission to find Poseidon somewhere in the Arctic. The issue juggles this, a mission Flash and Superman are on (with Adam Strange) and a mission for the other Justice Leaguers involving the Totality quite well. There are a lot of balls in the air and yet you’ll never be confused as to who is where and what is going on. It’s the story involving Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Firestorm that leads into the big turn of events that take us towards “Drowned Earth” and a good understanding of what this event will be about. Snyder doesn’t give up all details on what this threat really means, but you get enough to understand how outmatched the Justice League will be.
The art by Francis Manapul is as colorful and dynamic as ever. I’ve always been a fan of his due to his use of purples and pinks, making things look otherworldly when they’d otherwise look normal — and it cracks me up to learn the flood in this event is purple (how fitting). Near the end of this issue, there are three double-page layouts which thoroughly establish the threat and stakes. In a beautiful final double page layout, Manapul draws Aquaman sitting on his side cowering from the threat he faces. It’s a good image that puts into question the heroes’ ability to stand against this threat, let alone fight it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The first page confused me a bit, which features Aquaman as a child and his father surprised to see sea life under his boat. I suspect he’s shocked to see the sea life since he doesn’t know his kid has powers yet, but that’s not incredibly clear. The image of him at the bottom of the page, scratching his head dumbfounded, looks more like a man who has forgotten something rather than a man who is perplexed.
Is it good?
I was on the fence about “Drowned Earth” but now I can’t help but get excited due to the high stakes clearly laid out. Usually with big superhero team books you get a sense of how they’ll win, but here I have no clue at all. The heroes have their backs against the wall and it’s exciting to not yet know how they’ll swim to safety.