JUSTICE LEAGUE #11, written by Scott Snyder with art by Francis Manapul, continues THE DROWNED EARTH event that started last week with the first special. We find our heroes reeling badly. With their numbers dwindling and their heroes countered, it looks like the League will need a miracle. Snyder and Manapul are very ambitious in this book. Not only does he deliver, but he still manages to continue his Legion of Doom meta-story with this issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 Does Not Pull Punches

Continuing immediately from the events of the DROWNED EARTH Special and JUSTICE LEAGUE #10, we find the league scattered and reeling. Aquaman finds himself faring rather poorly. The Sea Gods stripped Aquaman of his abilities and transferred them to Aquaman, the last issue. These gods know they’ve won and remain satisfied to force Arthur to witness the end of his world before executing him. Arthur escapes, with help from Wonder Woman, and they head to find Poseidon in the Gods’ Graveyard.

That particular encounter ends with a cliffhanger that doesn’t bode well for our heroes. The rest of the league is not doing much better than Aquaman. The Sea God Drogue depowered Superman. Flash himself is slowly being transformed into a sea beast, and Batman is by himself in the Hall of Justice. Mera arrives to help Flash and Superman, and they set off to find the Tomb of Arion and the weapon he used to win against the sea gods the first time: the Tear of Extinction. Unfortunately for the heroes, Black Manta beats them to the punch and takes the opportunity to surprise the team with a flood, thanks to the aforementioned Drogue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 Page 2.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 Page 2. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Throughout JUSTICE LEAGUE #11, Batman is trying to salvage the situation, with the help of Jarro. Batman does everything he can to hold the Hall of Justice together and keep the Totality from the alien waters. Batman doesn’t count on the Legion of Doom stepping in, invading the Hall of Justice and forcing Batman to face Joker, Cheetah, Sinestro, Lex Luthor, and Gorilla Grodd on his own.

Snyder Loves Torturing the Justice League

If JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 does anything, it shows how much Scott Snyder likes to put the beloved DC super team behind the 8-ball. Heroes aren’t defined by their powers, but by how they overcome obstacles. Snyder is adept at burying the League under insurmountable threats. Of course, we are only in Part 2 of this mini-event. The troubles for the League should be elevating, the reader should be feeling anxiety for these beloved heroes.

Snyder is building dramatic tension, and you can feel the hopelessness of the situation. Drogue has weakened Superman and the alien water is rapidly changing Flash. They’re both going to get deluged with darker water. Mera failed to retrieve the ancient weapon of Arion and is also facing doom with Superman and Flash. Aquaman is trying to free Poseidon and gets a rude welcome. The Legion of Doom outnumbers Batman, however, and even in that tank of a suit of his, it’s doubtful he could stand up to all five members of the Legion. That is the kind of tension you want to build in a big event book like this one.

Manapul Delivers Great Art

JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 - 5
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 Page 5.Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Francis Manapul is joining Scott Snyder for this DROWNED EARTH event. Manapul is doing a very impressive job tackling the full artistic duties of JUSTICE LEAGUE #11. Manapul shifts coloring schemes and modifies his art style seamlessly. We went from the Anemoenal Badlands outside Atlantis, with its light, pastel-colored scheme, to the Hall of Justice with its harsh red and light from Batman’s monitors. The established shots are especially lush and gorgeous. If you’re not taking the extra time to take it all in, you’re doing the art a disservice. Manapul is a master.

I do have one gripe. Somehow, Manapul has given Superman an S-shaped eyepatch. I don’t recall Superman procuring an eyepatch in a special from last week, and the fact that he happened to have an eyepatch in his uniform seems a bit hokey to me. I’m not sure if this was in the script or if Manapul came up with it, but it was really distracting when I saw it.

Can the Heroes Survive?

The tension mounts, the heroes reel, and the villain’s inch closer and closer to victory. The writer Scott Snyder has given the Justice League an incredible challenge. It will be interesting to see how the League digs their way out of this particular hole, given that they’re all isolated, outnumbered and outgunned. The best stories are made when the heroes have their backs to the wall. The artist Francis Manapul’s art is equal to the task, providing a vibrancy and vividness that befits a book like JUSTICE LEAGUE. Snyder’s run on JL continues to be very impressive.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #10 by Scott Snyder, Francis Manapul and Tom Napolitano
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Summary
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 finds the League in deep trouble, beset on all sides by all of their enemies. Snyder is racheting up the tension, and Manapul's art is gorgeous.
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