Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Justice League Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Paul Pelletier, and Tony S. Daniel

            If there’s one thing that Geoff Johns has definitely left his mark on, it’s big comic events.  While Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night certainly had their smaller character moments, it’s the twists, the fight scenes, and the big, memorable moments that make them such enjoyable reads.  Throne of Atlantis doesn’t quite match their scale, but it’s still a big, fun comic.
            A military missile attack gone wrong misses its target completely and hits Atlantis instead.  This causes the Atlantis war protocol to go into effect, with their army led by Aquaman’s brother, Orm.  Now Aquaman has to decide which side he’s on, while Gotham, Metropolis, and Boston are all faced with destruction.
            As should be obvious, while this is a Justice League book, and the Justice League does appear (minus The Flash and Green Lantern, who are busy with stuff in their own books, apparently), this is really an Aquaman story.  You can stop giggling now.  Geoff Johns’ takeover of Aquaman has been pitch-perfect in turning him from a joke into a must-read comic, as he expands on the character and makes him into a true badass—without having to fall on the “beard and hook” crutch that befell the character before Flashpoint.  And part of that is the complexity of the character that he’s developing, especially on being torn between two worlds.  Having to finally make his stand between the world of man and Atlantis is a big moment for him, and what happens in the end of the book will make huge waves (no pun intended) for the character.  And we’re also seeing that, as far as morality goes, Aquaman is as grey as it gets.  So yes, stop the “what is he gonna do, talk to fish?” jokes now.  Aquaman is one of the New 52’s real successes.
            Of course, it wouldn’t be an event comic without some huge fight scenes.  As always, Ivan Reis’ art is perfect for these big, two-page spreads of lots of heroes fighting lots of Atlanteans.  He shows the chaos of the battle without making it confusing for the readers, and he also captures the destruction of the cities well.  There’s a bit of over-reliance on two-page spreads, but then, it’s also built up on, making the battle bigger and bigger as it goes.  I will note that my ARC did not have individual issue credits, so I do not know which issues Reis did and which were Pelletier.  The fact that I could not tell while reading where one ended and another began is probably credit that Pelletier is on the same level.
            Throne of Atlantis also includes a smaller story featuring Wonder Woman fighting the Cheetah, which adds in a few more character moments, including the fact that Wonder Woman and Superman have started on their relationship.  This relationship is pretty controversial, and honestly, I was happier when it wasn’t being brought up.  It’s not necessarily bad, but the story beats aren’t all there to convince me that they should be together.  It still feels very much like pairing the characters together for the sake of it.

            Still, Throne of Atlantis succeeds as being a fun comic, with well-done fight scenes and plenty of Aquaman’s character development.  Whether you’ve been reading Justice League or Aquaman or neither, this is a book worth picking up.

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