The tense stand-off between Aquaman and his brother Orm, the King of Atlantis, escalates with the involvement of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman who want revenge for the lives taken when Orm flooded several US cities in Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15. Aquaman keeps trying to stall his teammates and reason with his brother, but when the other heroes turn on him, he is forced to fight back, proving once again just how powerful he is, when he socks Superman and sends him flying. He argues with Wonder Woman, but Orm takes matters into his own hands when he electrocutes Batman with his scepter. At Orm’s command, the Atlantean army rises from the water in an absolutely dazzling two-page spread.
Elsewhere, Cyborg tries to rescue Dr. Shim from Atlantean attackers. Atlantean advisor Vulko thinks Shin could hold the key to stopping the invading army.
Ultimately, the heroes, including Aquaman, fight back against the invaders, but Orm proves too powerful. He defeats the heroes and takes them underwater, prompting Cyborg to decide to modify himself to battle underwater. The final page reveals a long-in-the-works and very welcome development.
The art is superb! The team of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis never fail to impress, but some of the work here, including the previously mentioned double-page spread are just incredible.
The writing, by Geoff Johns, is good but highlights the one thing that absolutely drives me nuts about this book; the Justice League are idiots. They really are. I tried to convince myself for a second that they were acting out after a terrible tragedy, but they’re always like that in this series. They’re elitist, entitled, think they know everything and worst of all, they seem to seriously dislike one another. Except for Superman and Wonder Woman who went from zero to fairy-tale-love-for-eternity in a matter of like two days. (What are they, like the super hero version of Taylor Swift and whoever Taylor Swift is dating this week? Hope Wonder Woman doesn’t like to write songs.) It’s really annoying to read about people who are supposed to be “super friends” when all they do is bicker.
Speaking of that, the reinvention of Billy Batson/Shazam in the backup feature as a snotty little jerk was grating at first, but in this strip, we start to see some cracks in that facade, as he is suddenly bested by his predecessor Black Adam and must flee.
So while the story was pretty sweeping and is shaping up to be for Aquaman what Blackest Night was for Green Lantern, the characters really irritated me this time. Here’s hoping they come to their senses and act like a team that could actually prove to be effecting and not the Bad News Bears of the DC Universe. And the art makes the book worthwhile.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #16
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Cover by Reis, Prado and Rod Reis