Hope is lost as the world continues its deadly descent into the seas! As depicted throughout Scott Snyder’s latest crossover, Aquaman and the Justice League have been on a mission to stop the end of the world as we know it. So far, their efforts have been far from successful. Their enemies have only grown stronger, and their allies and loved ones continue to drown. Thus, in AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1, it all comes to an end!

The finale of the DROWNED EARTH saga is undoubtedly an electric, heart-pounding adventure. From its magnificent artwork to its thrilling climax, the issue will leave audiences gasping for air.

Warning, potential spoilers for AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 are below!

The End of the Sea

AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1
AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 commences with a peek into life in Atlantis near the beginning of human existence, a time when Atlanteans and Amazonians worked together to strive for peace across the world. Immediately though, the story transitions into the saga’s current events that greatly juxtapose the tranquility of the past. In these current events, the Justice League are attempting to take down the Sea Gods, with little success.

However, the League gains an upper hand when Mera utilizes her sword — empowered by the Tear of Extinction — against the primary antagonists. Additionally, Aquaman appears — after quite some time away from his wife and allies — to assist in the battle, though he’s still powerless.

Following his intervention, Aquaman proceeds to tell Mera that the loss of his abilities has opened his eyes, revealing to him that the only way to save the world is for Atlantis to die. Unsurprisingly, hearing this shocks Mera. Though, he does state that Atlantis has a shot at salvation through the transport of the nations’ Great Towers.

The Ascent of Atlantis

AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1
AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In quite the surprising moment, Batman returns and initiates the ascent of Atlantis’ towers! Meanwhile, Aquaman and Mera restore the Clarion, using their respective life forces. Unfortunately, all of these combined victories aren’t enough to stop the Sea Gods’ conquest entirely. Thus, Aquaman decides that he must utilize the life force that remains within him to kill the Death Kraken. He does so, seemingly sacrificing himself, yet saving the world and catalyzing Atlantis’ reconstruction.

Ultimately, AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 is an epic conclusion that truly puts Aquaman front and center. The action sequences are a joy to witness, pulling us into each and every panel while also developing the plot through the action. Thus, the action never feels repetitive simply because it galvanizes the narrative.

Also, I greatly enjoy seeing Aquaman in a leadership role, particularly exemplified in his sacrificial act. Of course, it remains to be seen if Aquaman’s truly gone. The final page does suggest otherwise. So, though the saga of DROWNED EARTH ends in this issue, Aquaman’s battle against the Sea Gods in addition to its repercussions remain unresolved.

The Many Hues of AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1

There’s an abundance of artists who worked on the finale in AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1, and they all did a magnificent job. Oftentimes, stories that operate on such a grand, epic scale such as this story falter in the execution of said scale. This issue, however, nailed the imagery to a tee.

Personally, my favorite image was that of Mera restoring the Clarion. In that specific scene, we witness her traverse the history of the universe past, present, and future. It’s just a gorgeous, captivating image, to say the least; one that also emphasizes Mera’s prowess as a hero and, more specifically, an Atlantean.

Thus, though this issue is a non-stop action set piece, it never falters in the creativity it exhibits. Each and every panel maintains an attention to detail and vibrancy, truly bringing the work’s narrative to life.

What Lies Beyond

AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1
AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

If there was one thing I could change about this work, I believe I would have omitted the final page. I liked entertaining the idea that Aquaman truly did sacrifice himself to save the world. Suggesting that he did, in fact, survive his sacrifice immediately after the act almost mitigates it.

Thus, I would have concluded the story with the belief that Aquaman did indeed pass. Of course, this conclusion is what we have instead. His fate remains ambiguous, though there’s definitely a heavy implication that he’s alive.

So Arthur Curry is, potentially, about to embark on a brand new journey, one that will force him to find his way back home!

AQUAMAN/JUSTICE LEAGUE: DROWNED EARTH #1 by Scott Snyder, Francis Manapul, Howard Porter, Scott Godlewski, Hi-Fi, & Tom Napolitano
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Summary
The finale of the DROWNED EARTH saga thrills with its large-scale action sequences as well as a poignant conclusion, though some may be displeased with the ambiguity of the final pages' contents.
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One Comment

  1. […] “Drowned Earth” storyline wrapped up last week, and it’s time for another interlude. Guest writer James Tynion […]

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