Saturday, February 23, 2013

Justice League #17 - April 2013

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Comics Weekend "Throne of Atlantis Chapter Five" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis, and more.

The penultimate chapter of "Throne of Atlantis" opens with a memory...

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Up in the Watchtower, Aquaman berates himself for allowing this war to start. Despite what they have just been through though, his fellow Justice Leaguers try and convince the Sea King that he isn't ultimately responsible. Back down on Earth, the other half of the team continues the fight:
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But while they fight hard, the new Leaguers aren't yet a team--in Ocean Master's view, they're disorganized and ill-trained. We see evidence of that, as Firestorm accidentally gets in the way of Black Canary, leading to him getting zapped by Orm.

He then gets ready for the next phase of the attack, which involves cracking Boston on half and then letting the ocean sweep it all way ("That's ah wicked pissah", local residents are quoted as saying). Luckily for everyone involved, the core team has arrived:
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Aquaman makes a beeline for Ocean Master, trying to explain to him that everyone is being manipulated into war by Vulko (who watches from above). Orm doesn't believe his brother, sending a massive electrical charge into Aquaman and knocking him out for the moment.

He commands his army to detonate another bomb, but they find it's been shut down, thanks to the new Atom. A second bomb is carried off into the sky by Superman and Wonder Woman. Aquaman, awake again, tries once again to reason with Orm, but he won't listen. He uses his helmet to create a massive wave which will crush the city...but it's stopped in it's tracks by Mera:
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Aquaman explains (via words and fists) that he never wanted to be King because it is a lonely life, something he didn't want. But he now accepts his destiny, and demanding his brother officially abdicate the throne. He does, which leads Aquaman to finally claim his destiny:
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Orm's men instantly fall in line, and combined with the Justice League they take on the Trench. Vulko, not having a great sense of timing, chooses this moment to surrender and try to explain to his King why he did what he did. Like Orm, he receives a smashing blow from Aquaman, who is enraged over the loss of life brought on by Vulko's mad plan.

Using the scepter, Aquaman then orders the Trench to go home, which they do like a pack of obedient dogs (massive, razor-teethed, blood-sucking dogs). He orders Vulko taken into custody and back to Atlantis, but that is not what's in store for Ocean Master. As a deposed king, he now has no immunity for his crimes. Begging for mercy, he is dragged off to Belle Reve prison, crushed.

A few days pass, and Aquaman asks Mera to come with him back to Atlantis. Fearful this could all happen again, he has decided to take the throne. But Mera cannot and will not go, tears in her eyes. She and Salty The Aqua-Dog watch him leave:
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Meanwhile, three different groups are reacting to what just happened. Amanda Waller on Slimfast and Steve Trevor see this as an opportunity to finally introduce breakdancing to the world, the League realize they have to open their ranks, and a mysterious baddie decides to start his(?) own team, starting with the always-stable Scarecrow.

...to be continued in Aquaman #17!


Were it not for all the paperwork that would surely follow, DC could have renamed this book Aquaman and the Justice League, since he dominates the proceedings so thoroughly, both thematically and visually. As we've talked about before, the team of Reis/Prado/Reis always get a real ka-pow moment in every book, and in this issue they get about half a dozen! While the events unfolding may be utter chaos, they pace the story so perfectly that it rises and falls, rises and falls like clockwork.
Knowing that Aquaman isn't leaving the League, I'm intrigued to see how Aquaman manages to be King while also playing superhero. I was genuinely disappointed to see he and Mera separate, even if it's only going to be temporary. It took a quarter century and a company-wide reboot to get these two kids some happiness, and dammit I don't want to see it taken away from them.
Geoff Johns has really set things up to enter, if he chooses to, a potentially new classic era for the Justice League. They've spent a year and a half squabbling, arguing, and even fighting; now it's time for them to realize they can trust one another and be a real team. The camaraderie of the original JLA was probably my single favorite part about that team; I'd love to see a bit of that introduced into the New 52 version. Like Aquaman, we'll see I guess.



Bonus: Shrine Correspondent Joe Slab will be covering the week's other Justice League-related release, Justice League of America #1, later on today!


5 comments:

Ryan said...

"I am your KING!"
Best Aquaman moment ever!

Shellhead said...

Are you sure Arthur's coming back to the JL? It sure looked like a farewell to me.

Jorge PR said...

I like this issue, but I feel like I'm missing something. How/when did Arthur find out it was Vulko behind all this?

Shellhead: I hope you're wrong, although I kinda have the same fear (with Arthur not being in the next JLA movie, this might be the way to mark his absence).I really hope he comes back.

Anonymous said...

He found out at the end of Aquaman #16 that someone else was controlling the Trench. Then at the very beginning of JL#17 Shin told him it was Vulko.

David J. Cutler said...

I really enjoyed this issue and arc, but I'm very, very uncertain about the new direction for Aquaman. Living on the surface is half of what I loved about the first 17 issues of Aquaman, and Reis's art would be the other half. Without either, man, I am worried. We'll see, I guess.