This. Issue. Was. EPIC!!! This was just a big super hero throw down, gorgeously drawn and very nicely wrapped up one of the first big crossovers of The New 52. At the same time, the book is narrated by Aquaman, giving it a nice intimacy.
Now that the heroes are all on the same page, they charge Orm and the Atlantean Army. Aquaman battles his brother, while trying to reason with him. One highlight is an absolutely jaw-dropping double-page spread of the expanded Justice League battling the Atlanteans, showcasing Black Canary, Black Lightning, Element Woman, Firestorm, Vixen and Zatanna. (We also get the truly savage Hawkman and the new female Atom in the mix. But considering Hawkman is part of the new Justice League of America, I don’t suppose he’s sticking around.)
The battle between Arthur and Orm is truly brutal and then when Orm tries to sink Boston, we get treated to an amazing scene of Mera unleashing her full potential. Then there’s the threat of The Reach, the carnivorous monsters from the deep who have been unleashed by Arthur’s treacherous former adviser Vulko. Ultimately, Aquaman must make several heartbreaking decisions to bring about peace, but his reputation may be permanently damaged.
The majority of the pencils this issue are handled by new regular illustrator Ivan Reis and it all looks incredible! This truly looks like a massive crossover extravaganza should look! Paul Pelletier steps in toward the end to add a few pages and his work is fine, but Reis’ is the real star attraction.
Despite being a massive super hero battle, the issue is narrated by Aquaman giving it a real personal, emotional core. In addition to him, almost every character gets a tiny scene to shine. Zatanna came across more powerful here than in her main book, Justice League Dark. Hawkman lives up to his “savage” description, tearing through enemies. Even Element Woman had a funny line, upon meeting Batman.
Finally, this book has grown into the book it should have been from the beginning– DC’s best mainstream super hero book. It’s truly a flagship book now, big, loud super fisticuffs, anchored by great character development. Can it stay this good? That remains to be seen, but this was probably my “must read” book this week!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #17
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier
Cover by Ivan Reis, Rod Reis and Joe Prado