Comic Book Review: Justice League #11
When you think of the Justice League, the kind of threats you imagine would have to be God-like in order to truly challenge their power. Just when you think that eventually these creative teams would run out of ideas to do that, they once again prove that skepticism wrong. Not a problem at all when the first part to ‘Drowned Earth’ was so intense for everything that could go wrong for the Justice League and the world at the mercy of The Flood.
After the events of Drowned Earth #1, I really had to know what would come next for these heroes after finding out exactly what they were up against. These were not the kind of stakes you were prepared for. The way that this issue opened up was chilling for the fact that there was more lost than you had previously assumed. Of course you may have thought that you were missing something considering the connection this story has to other books, but that was mostly just choices made for the sake of pacing. Choices in time-lapse that I could agree with since this is an event where you want to have the momentum on your side. That means seeing actions, followed by reactions, and immediate consequences. So the first half of this issue was spent well in addressing the kind of uphill battle that these heroes faced on both fronts of this battle.
What I did manage to appreciate here was the clarity in plot. Normally I would be wary of an event like this because a writer might lose you to the idea of this grand story. One that might either be too much to explain, or spend too much time explaining that you lose interest altogether. Yes, there was plenty to read here between dialogue and narration, but fortunately none of it was too much work to follow at the same time. It all counted when it mattered most. Especially towards the end of the issue when this story was finally starting to come full circle to the point where it all started.
Now it was quite the adventure following the two groups left who stood a chance against this threat. You have Aquaman who believes the road to victory lies in unleashing a power he took for granted, and then you have the others who are chasing the last person who was able to oppose these Sea Gods. This was the first time reading something Justice League where I felt some sense of horror. For as much power as these heroes wielded, they were all vulnerable to The Flood and outmatched by these Sea Gods. No one was safe. A great realization to have in mind where it was anything goes. I mean honestly, you really have nothing to assume here when at every turn these heroes are finding that they are caught in a game where they are consistently one step behind. Getting a true villainous monologue from the Legion added so much understanding to what was unfolding since these were wheels they set in motion the minute they killed Poseidon.
The artwork for this issue was spectacular! Francis Manapul was put on this Earth for stories like Drowned Earth. There’s nothing more impressive than artists like this who can do both jobs and have such a distinguished style. This is a larger than life story, and this guy gets it. The way every page is laid out, for how much he can capture in each page, you are pulled into this plot and engaged from all angles. In some cases I might feel exhausted as well with so much to take in, but Manapul jumps into the action with clarity and distinction in the actions of these heroes. Not only that, but the expression pulled from these characters was strong as well. Impact makes a big difference right now, and there was not one time where you weren’t connecting with these characters and their uphill battle. Especially when it comes to heroes like Superman who would struggle keeping up that hopeful presence in the face of so much loss. For Justice League #11, I would say it was his color work that stood out more this time around. I was blown away by how Manapul brings out the aquatic elegance of this story. This involves aliens/gods, and the color choice for the water, ancient structures, even the design for them popped out as something beyond the ordinary. This is exactly what you would picture if someone wanted you to explore ocean life out in the cosmos.
Justice League #11 left us bracing for the worst when these heroes are seeing exactly what can come of the world when they aren’t handling their problems with haste. That is how you end up with dead gods, a flooded world, and losses at every turn because your enemy just so happens to have things a bit more figured out than you. At the end of the day it is exciting to know that heroes of this caliber can still face dangers that can put their backs against the wall.