The first big crossover event of Snyder’s Justice League run is here. “Drowned Earth” begins now and comes with some major stakes and new frontiers.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
We’re now ten issues into the great Scott Snyder’s Justice League, both the tone and team are nicely settled in. Snyder has a great handle on a pretty large roster of DC’s big guns. Now that we’re all comfortable with each other and took a tour of the Hall Of Justice, we can start digging into what will be Snyder’s JL legacy with story arcs like “Drowned Earth.”
Our heroes are scattered, solving various problems caused by the Source Wall being broken. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Firestorm are investigating a puzzling occurrence when they find themselves in the company of a “Space Kraken.” Aquaman gets separated and secluded into the Blood Reef, coming face-to-face with our villains–the triumvirate of evil ocean deities.
Snyder’s cold open with a young Arthur Curry and his human father discussing the discovery of oceans plays out extremely well by the end of this prologue. Scott Snyder has a talent for tapping into the mythology of a character and shining a light onto some of the untapped, dark corners and crafting a story from it–we learned that during his prolific run on Batman.
Ocean deities, in similar fashion to Earth’s Poseidon, from the far reaches of space hellbent on drowning and reshaping the Earth are a formidable foe for DC’s heaviest hitters. They look like a fun cross between Tamaraneans (Starfire) and the undead shipmates from Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dean Man’s Chest.
With Martian Manhunter off-planet on an adventure of his own, Batman takes over the coordinator position. Doing so from a massive body cast is a story attribute that will be both memorable and undoubtedly give way to a classic Batman moment of triumph eventually.
All the smaller groups that our heroes are in gives Snyder an opportunity to grow their chemistry further before things really crack open. His voice for each member of this huge cast is splendid, every quieter moment is flawlessly executed.
This prologue issue feels very much like the multi-episode arcs of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. Tapping into that nostalgia is going to present results every time when done properly. I imagine a lot of the readership has a special place in their heart for at least one of those two shows.
“Drowned Earth” may be a crossover story event through a few different titles, but for this to hit as hard as it can, it should be mostly a Justice League story.
Artist Francis Manapul handles everything but the letters (Tom Napolitano does great work). Justice League #10 is a stunning piece of work. Each page is littered with gorgeous splashes of color and vast landscapes. Manapul injects a ton of extra emotional into these characters at every turn.
The new characters, especially the Space Kraken, are sleek and interesting. The various Justice League uniforms on display are altered in tasteful and practical ways. There isn’t much action to this issue but that doesn’t take away from the drama or stakes one bit.
His work on the color is specifically breathtaking. The pink glow reflecting onto Batman’s body cast as he monitors the League is beautiful. There’s a lot of pink hue and glow throughout the whole issue that gives it a great shine. It provides a great contrast when we transition to the volcano environment where Superman is.
“Drowned Earth” looks to be Snyder’s first stab at a classic JL tale. He’s got a great voice for every character, a fresh and interesting premise, and gorgeous art by Francis Manapul. Justice League #10 is a superb opening number for what looks to be a very promising crossover story.