And so it begins! The highly anticipated crossover event between Aquaman and the Justice League is finally upon us, and it starts right here in Justice League #10 with a prelude to ‘Drowned Earth’.
Before we get to the story I wanted to touch on the covers for this issue. The main cover is presented in Foil, consistent with DC Comics’ month long initiative to present its October releases in eye catching Foil Format. I have to say this cover jumped off the shelf. The splashes of metallic gold and orange really stand out against the monochrome backdrop. Cover and interior artist – Francis Manapul created a quintessential composition for the cover that is perfect for a team book embarking on a new beginning or facing a major new threat as part of a monumental storyline.
The variant cover for this issue is drawn by none other than the incomparable Jim Lee. Very few understand these characters better than Lee and that understanding really shone through in this cover. Aquaman takes centre stage in a traditional super-heroic stance, which suggests to me that the variants to follow will focus and highlight each individual member of the League in a similar position.
Straight off the bat this book starts similar to that of the inaugural issue, where the league has split into smaller groups coordinated then by J’onn J’onzz, but now by an incapacitated Batman. The team of Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Firestorm are definitely at the forefront pushing the narrative of the storyline forward, while the other teams are dealing with threads left from the previous storyarc. The majority of this storyarc is set in the Arctic Circle where the three are on a mission to locate a vessel containing a ‘key’ to the ‘Graveyard of gods’ at the behest of Greek God Poseidon.
As the story pushes forward the dialogue between them continues to be extremely dense and informative filling the reader in on the mythology behind that which they seek, however its still not totally clear at this point what that is, at least not to me. As our heroes embark further into their mission the action begins to ramp up as our team of heroes come face to face with what appears to be the main threat of the whole event. I was somewhat shocked by this early reveal especially coming in a book advertised as a prelude.
Wonderful splash pages and creative layouts capture our villains immense powers and might as they manipulate alien oceans, and bending waves to their very will. Its clear that our villains pose an entirely new, dangerous yet creative threat that the League may find difficult to curtail. The villains character designs are also very well thought-out, intertwining what appears to be alien and Atlantian style garb. As this issue comes to a close the full ramifications of these characters arrival is severely felt. This was a very strong ending to the issue for me as the stakes were definitely raised thanks to Francis Manapul’s amazing panel layouts and dramatic artwork.
For an opening chapter to a major crossover event I found this story to be very intricate and layered in continuity, which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from writer Scott Snyder. However, I do feel this issue becomes slightly inaccessible to first time readers who want to jump on-board, who are perhaps excited for the Aquaman movie. Scott Snyder is really good at balancing out large ensembles and making sure everyone has a crucial role to play. For example: Superman, The Flash and Adam Strange who appear in this issue in a minor capacity dealing with the after effects of the previous storyarc involving the Legion of Doom.
The extremely detailed story featured in this issue is wonderfully complemented by the amazing artwork of Francis Manapul who also provides colours. The colour palette used in this issue is something truly to behold, be it out in space or deep under the ocean. Manapul captures intense action with ease, even when it incorporates the ocean not only as a backdrop but as an element that effects our characters movements and appearance.
In terms of anticipation this book has got me intrigued for whats to come, and there were some great moments featured. Dialogue wise it was a little bit slow in places, but the incredible artwork definitely helped push the narrative forward in dramatic crossover event style. I can’t wait to see where this story goes.
By Ashley Short