Scott Snyder has dug a deep hole for our heroes in this “Drowned Earth” story. The Justice League is beset on all sides by Sea Gods from the cosmos, as well as their own archenemies in the Legion of Doom. So Snyder, plus artists Frazer Irving and Bruno Redondo, start to give the League some hope in this issue, and the Earth may yet survive its watery fate!

Righting Wrongs

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 reflected a lot on decisions made in the past by various characters. The issue starts with a young Black Manta going on a salvage mission with his father in the middle of a hurricane. David Hyde learns a lesson that day: the ocean takes, and you have to fight to take back from it. Manta has literally achieved this, by using the Sea Gods to steal Aquaman’s power for himself! He now connects to the ocean, and also to all of the life in it. Meanwhile, he’s using that power to defeat Flash, Superman, and Mera.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12
JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In the Hall of Justice, Luthor and Cheetah work to unlock the power of the Totality using the Key to the Graveyard of Gods — they spend most of JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 trying. Grodd, Joker, and Sinestro simultaneously take on Batman, his body broken from a few issues ago. Batman hides in the League trophy room, until he can turn the tables in one of Luthor’s old warsuits. Unfortunately, the Legion leave Batman to be consumed by the water.

Aquaman Is The Key In JUSTICE LEAGUE #12

In the Graveyard of Gods, Wonder Woman and Aquaman fight back against Poseidon, only to learn his intentions. Poseidon explains everything that happened with himself and the Gods and then gives his trident to Arthur to use against them. The life-giving power of the trident is to be used to destroy them. With the last ounce of his power, Poseidon spirits Diana and Arthur back to Earth, and embraces his oblivion when Cheetah finally destroys the Graveyard.

Meanwhile, Mera discovers the secret of the Tear of Extinction and uses it to turn the tide against Drogue and Manta. She kills the giant kraken responsible for the metamorphosis of Earth. That massive blow shakes Commander Drogue, which causes the villains to flee. The League rallies this issue, but is it too late? So what will the Sea Gods do next? Will the Legion of Doom achieve all their aims?

Snyder Provides Epic Storytelling

Snyder continues to deliver on heavy-hitting heroic storytelling. Mera, Batman, and Wonder Woman all get big hero moments, but Aquaman’s journey is front and center. Poseidon himself mentions that Aquaman is of two worlds, the sea and the land. Poseidon’s wish is for Aquaman to use the trident, which has the power to give life to oceans, to amplify the Tear of Extinction and kill the Gods. He fears they spent too much time in the Graveyard of Gods to be reasoned with.

Snyder also utilizes classic Greek themes in Poseidon very well. The Greek Gods were always powerful and flawed. Poseidon doesn’t want to share his power. In the past and the present, he wants to use the power to kill these would-be usurpers. Poseidon again makes the mistake of letting fear guide him. Aquaman has been the polar opposite: the decisions he makes and the conclusions he comes to are a shining example of his heroism, and the courage of his convictions. He continues these appeals even as he’s surrounded by enemies and stripped of his powers. JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 highlights Aquaman’s heroism and his humanity very well, while putting him and his friends in constant and mortal danger.

Irving and Redondo Step In With Good Art

Francis Manapul stepped away from the series this issue, and we got an interesting team replacing him. Irving and Redondo split penciling duties in JUSTICE LEAGUE #12. Sunny Gho colored Redondo’s work (Irving colored his own).

Irving’s art is perfect, eerie and ethereal, for the underwater sequences. His coloring gives off the desired effect of the characters being in water or beyond the grave. He also does a great job rendering the sea creatures. It’s easy to see why they chose Irving for those particular scenes.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12
JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Bruno Redondo does solid work, while operating with limited pages. He and Sunny Gho provide us with vibrant, colorful scenes. Redondo’s linework is simple and clean, and he fills the backgrounds with just enough detail. They’re a nice counterweight to Irving’s busier, murky pages.

What Will Aquaman Do?

While the Justice League is made up of the World’s Greatest Superheroes, this story and the lives of everyone on Earth lie in the hands of Aquaman. Will he again attempt to reason these alien gods, or will he strike them down as his predecessor Arion did before him? Snyder continues telling excellent Justice League tales, and JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 is exemplary.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 by Scott Snyder, Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, and Sunny Gho
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Snyder kickstarts the Justice League's comeback, as we learn what Poseidon did, and what Arthur and Mera must do. Snyder does a great job of balancing all these plates, and the artwork fits the mood and setting in each instance.
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Justice Strikes Back!
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