Wordy But A Ton of Fun: Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Mera, Superman, and the Flash have the Tear of Extinction, but they are pinned down by the transformed and controlled heroes and villains of Earth. The Ocean Lords ready to unleash the Death Kraken on Earth and end the planet once and for all. Aquaman and Wonder Woman return at last with power and knowledge gifted by Poseidon. Wonder Woman can use the towers of Atlantis to pierce the shield the Ocean Lords put around Earth. They can use Poseidon’s trident and the Tear of Extinction to slay the Ocean Lords, but Arthur doesn’t want to go that route. He wants to see if the Ocean Lords can be reasoned with, as they were betrayed by Arion, who was corrupted by Poseidon, centuries ago. The final battle between the Justice League and the Ocean Lords, aided by Black Manta, happens now, and the fate of the Earth is on the line.

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 cover by Francis Manapul
Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 cover by Francis Manapul

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 (by the way, this crossover naming convention is confusing and kinda sucks) concludes the Drowned Earth story that took over Justice League, Aquaman, and an issue of Titans.

The story is epic in scope and spanned centuries, if not eons. It rewrites the mythology of DC’s version of Atlantis and puts the Justice League at their most desperate point since Dark Nights: Metal. It also overhauls Aquaman’s position in the DC Universe and leads into Kelly Sue Deconnick’s upcoming takeover of the Aquaman title.

It’s also exceedingly wordy. The issue has a lot to cover and wrap up, but it is an extra-sized issue–unfortunately, that doesn’t mix well with verbosity. It makes the story feel very long without feeling anymore comprehensive or satisfying.

Thankfully, Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 is interesting and compelling enough to not be outright sunk by its propensity for exposition and dialogue. The battle between the JL and the Ocean Lords is awesome, and seeing Arthur at his most altruistic and optimistic is cool. It also ties back into the Legion of Doom story boiling in the background very well.

Also, the comic references both iterations of Clash of the Titans a lot, which is kinda cool.

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 art by Francis Manapul and letterer Tom Napolitano
Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 art by Francis Manapul and letterer Tom Napolitano

The very talented Francis Manapul, Scott Godlewski, and Howard Porter are the artists on this venture. All three bring their A-game, and I was honestly impressed by how complementary their seemingly disparate styles are to one another in the story. I had to double-check where Manapul ends and Godlewski and Porter begin; that keeps a nice visual consistency across the book. Hi-Fi and Manapul are the colorists here, and it’s a damn vibrant comic as a result.

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 can drag in parts, but the overall comic is a hell of a ride and wraps up this immense story quite well. Scott Snyder continues to impress me with his vision for the Justice League, and I look forward to what Kelly Sue Deconnick is going to bring to the table with Aquaman. In any case, this book earns a recommendation. Check it out.

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 comes to us from writer Scott Snyder, artists Francis Manapul, Scott Godlewski, and Howard Porter, color artists Hi-Fi and Francis Manapul, letterer Tom Napolitano, cover artist Francis Manapul, and variant cover artist Dale Keown with Jason Keith.

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