At the Arctic Circle, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Firestorm are bringing a new meaning to ‘message in a bottle’, as they try to track down the Graveyard of the Gods following the murder of Poseidon’s human form by the Legion of Doom.
Off Indonesia, Superman, the Flash and Adam Strange have encountered old Challengers of the Unknown villain Volcano Man while trying to find the Legion’s secret base.
And in outer space, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern and J’onn J’onnz are heading for Thanagar in a bid to unravel the Winged Wonder’s connection to mysterious energy maguffin, the Totality.
Back on Earth, the injured Batman has been probing onetime Starman Will Payton for clues to the Totality.
It’s safe to say this issue of Justice League doesn’t lack in scope. And that’s before we meet the three beings who spark the upcoming JL/Aquaman/Titans crossover Drowned Earth, who have a connection to ancient Atlantean wizard Arion.
Arion. Adam Strange. Firestorm. Starman. God bless writer Scott Snyder, he’s totally pushing my joy buttons by including some of my favourite characters, heroes who aren’t seen nearly enough. Firestorm, at the very least, should have a permanent berth on the core League team, due to his massively useful powers, sparky personality and colourful costume. And Adam Strange should be around whenever there’s a link to outer space, preferably in his classic duds. Will Payton will hopefully recover from his Luthor-caused coma and rejoin the ranks of heroes, while there’s hope some time travelling will drop a hero or two on Arion’s doorstep.
As for the main members, everyone with a speaking role is on good form, though Snyder seems to have gotten the same memo as Brian Bendis over in Superman, the one that says to write Barry Allen like his excitable movie self; like Firestorm, basically. So there’s another reason to get the Nuclear Man on the team full-time – take the Young Guy slot and leave Barry to be Barry.
Oh, and five thousand million points to Snyder for Jarro.
Illustrating the book in full colour is DC veteran Francis Manapul, and my word, but his work gets ever better. From Diana and Arthur’s winter warmer costumes to the villains’ climactic act, via Volcano Man and phantom ships, this is visually thrilling fare. Manapul finds the sweet spot between superhero action and heroic fantasy with images that work as standalones while blending into one heck of a story.
And Manapul gets his five thousand million points for including a denizen of the planet Hykraius, homeworld of 31st-century superbeing Tellus – hey, we starving Legion of Super-Heroes fans are pathetically grateful for any crumb we’re offered. If I’m not mistaken, the LSH was Manapul’s first regular DC work and I’d love to see the writer-artist revive them.
I especially like Manapul’s Firestorm, the red in his costume darker… now, could we have the classic puffy sleeves, pretty please?
Kudos, too, to Tom Napolitano, for some elegant fontwork and perfect display lettering on the opening spread.
Manapul also provides the cover, and it is gorgeous, the orange Aqua-accents setting off Arthur’s teammates nicely – well, except for Cyborg and Green Lantern, I don’t know what happened there!
The variant cover from the team of penciller Jim Lee, inker Scott Williams and colourist Alex Sinclair is nothing to sneeze at, either… I’m not a fan of beardy Aquaman, but he really does look splendid.
One of the best issues since Snyder kicked off the new Justice League, let’s hope it’s a sign of the crossover’s quality to come.