Does anybody here remember the film Water World? Warning the following review will contain spoilers. So be sure to read your comic before reading this review. You have been warned.
Does Heroes In Crisis bum you out? Do you want something that is more over the top? Then I highly recommend you read this opening salvo for Drowned Earth. Before Scott Synder began his run on Justice League proper, I didn’t think he could deliver the bombastic stories that the JL deserve. Thankfully I’ve been proven wrong and Drowned Earth is no different. From giant sea creatures, to a hologram of Batman fighting a fish monster version of Jim Gordon, Synder clearly wants to pay homage to Justice League stories of old, but with a nice fresh coat of paint. Given that is the kick off to this crossover, it helps that Synder does a great job of making the needed exposition not feel like a chore, characters are constantly or surrounded by Howard Porter’s stunning pencils.
One of the better aspects of this issue, is despite this being the true opening chapter there were two prologue issues within Justice League and Aquaman. If you decided to skip over those two prologue issues, then it pleases me to say that you can just dive right into Drowned Earth right with this issue. I won’t deny and say that the Justice League issue does provide deeper context, but it’s nothing that isn’t answered within this chapter. That’s the sign of a comic writer, who understands the importance of at least attempting to make a event comic like this as accessible as it possibly can be.
Some readers might be content with members of the Justice League fighting giant sea creatures to be enough and while Synder delivers those moments in spades, these god like characters need to be grounded emotionally, otherwise the readers will risk out on losing that personal connection. The opening flashback scene lets readers know that Synder understands that the readers need to have some personal investment for the Justice League, whether or not you’ve read their adventures for X amount of years. Small scenes like Superman hovering over a drowned Metropolis, as he comes to terms of his inability to save his city. You can’t rely on the readers past experiences to create that emotional investment, you need to give emotional context within your story. You need to show not simply tell.
Howard Porter, legendary Justice League artist from the 1990’s, and despite it being close to twenty years since Howard has drawn the Justice League proper, it’s great to see that he’s art has gotten better over time. There’s a kinetic energy that radiates off of Porter’s pages, even in slower moments. Character’s are very expressive with their facial expressions, giving more emphasis on that emotional connection to the reader point. Plus it helps that Porter draws very cool and unique sea monsters. It’s great to see that a veteran artist still be able draw amazingly cool stuff. If for whatever reason the plot of Drowned Earth doesn’t hook you in, Howard Porter’s pencils will. Plus I love the final page featuring Wonder Woman. perfectly captures he strength and beauty. A fun opening salvo.
Justice League Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 earns a 4/5