Justice League #12 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, Artists, Sunny Gho, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Lots of Backstory
Ray: James Tynion IV takes over on writing duties for Justice League #12, as Drowned Earth continues to unfold and new threats emerge. He’s joined by two artists – Frazer Irving and Bruno Redondo – who make this issue feel like more of an oddball jam issue. As the story unfolds, it feels more bizarre, almost jokey at times, but there’s still a very strong core of suspense here. We’ve seen quite a few flashbacks to Aquaman’s childhood in this event, but this issue opens with a flashback to Black Manta’s – before the trauma that turned him into a supervillain, we see his hatred for the sea and his desire to take everything from it. That plays neatly into his new status quo as the avatar for Aquaman’s powers, as he bristles under the control of the sea gods who empowered him. As the Justice League makes a last stand against Manta and his patrons, Batman takes on the Legion of Doom in one of Luthor’s old battlesuits in one of the issue’s most entertaining segments.
Snyder injuring Batman early in this run and keeping him largely incapacitated has been an odd choice, but he and Tynion have both made good use of this odd status quo. Sadly, no Jarro this issue, but I did enjoy Batman in a giant robot suit. Frazer Irving’s segments focus on Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s battle with Poseidon, as Aquaman rebounds quickly from being stabbed by the old God. There are more details of that story in this week’s Aquaman, but we get a lot of information about Arion and his role in accidentally causing this event to come to pass. It’s a complex story, almost an infodump at times, but it sets up some interesting plot threads. Of course, we don’t come to event comics for exposition, so the event makes sure to set up something truly crazy at the end. Black Manta’s final line feels almost meme-worthy, and I’m not sure all the art shifts work, but this remains an entertaining old-school event comic, even if it’s not a patch on Tynion’s last event outing.
Corrina: This reads like a chapter pulled together to explain why everyone is in this mess, rather than providing forward momentum to the plot, though there is a little of that.
Perhaps issues like this are inevitable with these kinds of crossovers, existing to get the proper information across to the reader. Still, the explanations for what’s happening to the Earth, a combination of inter-dimensional beings/aliens, Olympian gods, and Atlantean magic, is more than a bit confusing.
And while it’s good to have some background on Black Manta, I’m not sure why we needed it right now with so much else going on. Perhaps it will play into something Manta does later in the story.
The most compelling segments of the issue are Mera, Superman, and Flash fighting against being transformed and Batman fighting alone in the Hall of Justice.
But despite the explanations, I’m still puzzled about some things with this issue, including what Mera did (a tear in space/time?) and why the Legion of Doom thought drowning the Earth would benefit them in the long run. (Maybe Luthor assumed, in his arrogance, that he could fix it all?)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.