Wednesday, March 13, 2013

JUSTICE LEAGUE #17


“Throne of Atlantis” Chapter Five

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier
Inker: Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Sean Parsons
Colorist: Rod Reis with Nathan Eyring
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

The Justice League regroups and joins the Reserves in Boston to battle both the Atlantean army and the Trench.  The team splits up, as one group deals with the bombs that the Atlanteans have activated throughout Boston, while another searches for Vulko, the mastermind of the entire affair, while Aquaman challenges Orm.  As the tide turns in favor of the heroes, Orm yields the throne to Aquaman, who declares himself king of Atlantis once more.  Satisfied with what he has wrought, Vulko surrenders, and the Justice League teams with the Atlanteans to repel the Trench.  In the aftermath of the conflict, Aquaman returns to Atlantis without Mera, Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller form a new team, a secret society of villains forms, and Batman decides that the Justice League must open its ranks for the first time…

Notes

Page 1:  This is the lighthouse in which Arthur lived with his father Tom until the elder Curry’s death.

Pages 2-3:  “It was Vulko, Arthur.  He sabotaged the warship.  He sent those missiles to Atlantis.”  In Justice League #15, someone launched missiles from the U.S.S. Mabus to attack Atlantis, which prompted Orm to lead an invasion of the surface world.  It was revealed in Aquaman (New 52) #16 that Vulko was behind the attack.

“Because Vulko was exiled after Arthur left the throne, Superman.”  Aquaman talked about his brief reign as the king of Atlantis in Aquaman (New 52) #15.

“It’s what they did to my ancestors.”  As revealed in Brightest Day, Mera hails from the other-dimensional realm of Xebel, a penal colony for an ancient group of separatist Atlanteans.  Mera's not Atlantis’ biggest fan, to be sure…

Nice to see Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg accessorizing for battle.

“But a war with Atlantis isn't.  It’s the responsibility of all of us.”   Wait for it…wait for it…

Pages 4-5:  “This is why the Justice League exists.”  After a year and a half, we finally get something in the way of a purpose for the Justice League.  Too often these days, it feels like super-hero teams have no real reason to exist other than to simply have that team exist.  But I genuinely feel that each team needs to have purpose, a mission statement, if you will. 

In Justice League #6, we saw why the group came together in the first place, and what justification each of the embers had for staying with the team.  But it’s five years later, and those reasons and justifications can’t possibly be the only thing holding them together.  And here, finally, we have the League stepping up and admitting that they have a greater responsibility, not just to their own wants and needs, but to the world. 

If I haven’t said it before, Ivan Reis rocks.  He so knocks this issue out of the park, a this double-page spread shows.

Here we have Firestorm, Element Woman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Vixen and Zatanna facing off against Orm and the Atlantean army, with the Trench not far behind.  It just goes from bad to worse, doesn't it?

Pages 6-7:  “My brother…he must've figured out how to use his telepathy to control them.”  Orm mistakenly believes that Aquaman is controlling the Trench. 

Note to self:  you don't ever want to see Hawkman swooping down at you, mace in hand.

Lots of two-page spreads in this issue.  They remind me of Reis' work on Blackest Night, as well as Mark Bagley's art on Justice League of America

In Justice League #16, Cyborg accessed the Grid to recruit other heroes to aid the group against the Atlantean army.  Most of those called have appeared in Aquaman (New 52) #16 and this issue, with the exception of…

Green Arrow, but he’s otherwise occupied.  Check out Justice League of America (New 52) #1 for more information;

Shazam, who probably has school and can’t get away for the afternoon.  But, seriously, given that the Justice League knows who that Shazam even exists, this story must take place after the events show in the “Shazam!” back-up feature.  Billy’s origin is set to conclude in Justice League #21…

And Goldrush, who….oh, I dunno anything about this chick.  Anyone have a clue?

Pages 8-9:  Oh yeah, the Justice League is here.  Big freaking heroes time…

Everyone is in awe of the Justice League, even other heroes.

Remember, in the New 52 DCU, these heroes don’t get together every six months to worry about why the skies are red, to repel an alien invasion, or cross over to parallel worlds.  The “let’s get together and save the day” concept is still new to most of them.  So when they are called into action by the Justice League, and then the big guns actually show up?  They’re impressed.

Page 10

In Aquaman (New 52) #16, Orm consigned Aquaman, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to death in the Dark Waters (near the mid-Atlantic Trench), but they escaped, with some timely assistance from Cyborg and Mera.

Page 11:  “I've worked with most of you --”  Any chance of a new The Brave and the Bold series so we can see some of these Batman team-ups?  Pretty please?

“Not me, Batman.  I’m Element Woman.  And you are the awesome.”  They might be impressed by the Justice League…but they’re in awe of Batman and will follow him without question.

Even Hawkman, who doesn't exactly play well with others, does what the Dark Knight asks.

Page 12:  

Well, stop acting like one, Orm.

Page 13:  “But you found Atlantis first.”  As seen in Aquaman (New 52)#0.

Page 14:  

Hey, look!  It's the new Atom!  And guess what?  It's a woman!!  Who would've guessed that, hunh?  Oh, wait, I did...

Page 15:  “Up, up and away!”  One of Superman’s catchphrases, of course.

The Justice League...big freaking heroes...

Note that, when Orm uses his crown to control the oceans, it makes a nifty "VRR VRR" sound effect, similar to how Aquaman's mental telepathy sounds like "VUU VUU."  Just like in Super Friends, kids...

Page 16:  Everyone’s getting their moment to shine.  Batman’s rallying the reserves, Superman and Wonder Woman throw a bomb into the air, and Mera holds back a tidal wave.  Cool stuff.

Zatanna's spell, of course, turns "Water to ice."

Page 18:  

Part one of Aquaman;'s big moment...punching out his brother, who's been acting like a tool for a few issues now.

Page 19:  “King Orm has fallen.  Kill Aquaman!”  Oh no, they didn't…

Page 20:  

Part two of Aquaman's big moment...declaring himself king of Atlantis once more.

Page 21:  “I surrender.”  This was Vulko's plan all along, getting the throne back for Arthur, whether he wanted it or not. 

Pages 22-23:  “I tried to establish a connection when I first encountered these things, but I can’t.”  Aquaman and Mera first met the Trench creatures in Aquaman (New 52) #2.

“We need the Dead King’s Scepter if we want to control them.”  Aquaman and Batman learned this in Aquaman (New 52) #16. 

Page 24:  So, Vulko, you hijacked a battleship’s missiles, sent them to attack Atlantis, prompted a war between Atlantis and the surface world and unleashed a horse of man-eating monsters…all so Arthur would become the Atlantean king again?  Surely there are easier ways of doing this than that?  Couldn't you doctor some photos so it looked like Orm was smoking some undersea pot or catch him hiring mermaid hookers like we do on the surface world?

Page 25:  

Part three of Aquaman's big moment...sending the Trench packing.  A big day for Artie, no?

Page 26:  

Aquaman looks genuinely sorry for what he has to do with Orm, but he doesn't have many options.  He's a king now, and he needs to make hard choices.  He can't be seen as being preferential to Orm, despite the fact that they are brothers.

Page 27:  “The terrorist behind this, the monstrous ‘Ocean Master,’ is being held in Belle Reve Prison awaiting trial.”  Hey, you got your super-villain name, Orm!  Congratulations!  “Ocean Master” is much more menacing and foreboding sounding than “Orm” ever will be.

Belle Reve's gotten an influx of prisoners lately.  The Cheetah in Justice League #14, Black Manta in Aquaman (New 52) #14, and now Ocean Master…Anyone else think that keeping them all locked up in the same place is a really bad idea?

Who is Orm speaking to here?

Page 28:  “The last time you took the crown, the Atlanteans nearly killed you for it.”  In an as-yet untold tale. 

Mera is trying to convince Arthur that returning to Atlantis is a really, really bad idea...

“You know why I can’t.”  Could have something to do with the fact that the Atlanteans exiled her ancestor to another dimension…

So what's the deal with that shell.  Is it an Atlantean relic of great importance, or just a souvenir from that magical summer that Arthur spent on the Jersey shore?

Page 29:  Poor Doctor Shin; all he ever wanted was to become famous for his work regarding Atlantis, but he was treated like a crackpot for years.  Now that the world knows that he was right, he feels bad for Arthur and all that has happened.  The guy can’t catch a break.

“You saw how he hit Superman.  He was out on control.”  Aquaman struck Superman in Justice League #16.

Page 30:  

Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller discuss the justification for their new team, which debuts in Justice League of America (New 52) #1.

“We need to do what we haven’t done before.”  The threats to the world are growing stronger, but the Justice League has weakened – Green Lantern quit, the Flash is off fighting gorillas, and Aquaman is going to be tied up in Atlantis for a while – so they need to make some changes…

“The opportunity is now.”  This guy is one of the two “super-villains” – the other being Professor Ivo – who met in London in the aftermath of the formation of the Justice League in Justice League #6.  It also seems that he’s the head of some new “Secret Society,” if you believe in such things…

Ladies and gentleman, your new Justice League of America – Catwoman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern Simon Baz, Vibe, Stargirl, Katana and Hawkman.

Yay!  A membership drive!  And one for real this time, not like Cyborg telling people "Welcome to the Justice League" and then not inviting them back to the Watchtower for snacks afterwards...

I read of a review of this issue online where the writer commented that it was strange that the Justice League is going to be adding Scarecrow and some villains to the team.  No, sorry, these are the potential members of that oft-mentioned “Secret Society,” Whatever that is. 

Seen here, from left to right, are Captain Cold and Mirror Master (currently appearing in The Flash), someone I can only assume is Blockbuster (who has yet to make his New 52 DCU appearance), the Cheetah (incarcerated in Belle Reve), the Scarecrow (most recently seen in Batman: The Dark Knight), Killer Frost (another villain who has yet to debut in the New 52 DCU), Black Manta (also a Belle Reve resident), Felix Faust (who fought the Justice League Dark a few months ago), Poison Ivy and Clayface (this happy couple faced Batman in Detective Comics) and Grodd (who’s been busy invading Central City in The Flash).