DC Comics’ event “Drowned Earth” comes to an end this week and it comes via an epic extra-sized issue. Scott Snyder finishes off this story with massive action sequences, huge ramifications, and reveals that will change the direction our heroes go in from here. Are you ready for Aquaman to make the ultimate sarrifice?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“DROWNED EARTH” finale! Aquaman faces the truth behind Atlantis’ past and must find a way to reclaim the power of his birthright or watch the floodwaters drown everything he has ever loved! With the world at stake and the Justice League on their last sea legs in their battle against the Ocean Lords, Arthur makes the ultimate sacrifice to return balance to land and sea!
Why does this matter?
If you’ve skipped this series it would be a good idea to check this out to understand where the Justice League go from here, who dies, and how the world is saved from the mass flooding. If you’ve been reading this far you’d be a dope to not pick this up!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Coming as a bit of a surprise, this issue is very easy to jump into without reading the previous issues in the event. Snyder recaps where we are, the stakes, and how our heroes might turn the tide. That makes this singular reading experience feel complete as its own story within the story. New stakes are raised in this issue that add some surprises and Aquaman gets to reign supreme as the hero of the day. That said, characters like Superman and Mera play big parts in the narrative further showing how good Snyder is at writing a team book.
One of the more satisfying elements of this issue is how resolute Aquaman is about doing the right thing. This event has been largely about shedding the failures of our ancestors and doing the right thing in the now. It’s safe to say this event is happening due to the Aquaman movie, but it thankfully doesn’t have any cash grab vibes because of how the writers have approached this character. He’s lost some things, reaffirmed his love for Mera, and made choices for the greater good. He’s been a resolute hero and comes out of this issue stronger and more heroic.
The art is shared between three fantastic talents of Francis Manapul, Howard Porter, and Scott Godlewski each of whom bring their epic A-game. Colors by Manpul and Hi-Fi are very bright and suit the action-heavy, all-out fun of the story. There’s an epic moment focused on Mera that’s done in a full-page splash capturing the life-affirming moment. It might seem strange how Superman has an eye patch-sporting an S, or how Flash is rocking a pirate-crab look, but that just adds to the fun. It’s a rather insane event when you sit back and think about it — this certainly isn’t a detective mystery in the dark night of Gotham, and it’s fun to see the artists lean into the imaginative and inventive setup with giant tentacles coming out of the sky and costumes that deserve action figure renderings.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m at a loss as far as the motivation of the Legion of Doom villains in this issue and previous issues. Black Manta is featured the most here, but really, what is his end goal? Turning every human into a fish and letting the world drown doesn’t seem very logical (what good are the spoils of war if it’s all burned down?) and Black Manta continues that trend of nonsense logic. I guess he wants to win by any means? It’s rather bewildering and the motivation reduces the impact of the heroes turning the tide.
Is it good?
This is a great comic if you like big action, heroic moments, and events that feel important and long lasting. I’m also impressed DC Comics hasn’t stretched this event out too thin and wrapped it up in an efficient and quick way. Drowned Earth has been a delightful Aquaman-focused event, adding to the Aquaman hype as the film draws closer to release.