Throne of Atlantis Review: Justice League #15 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

jl15

Justice League #15
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis
SHAZAM by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson

The short of it:

Something goes wrong during a missile test aboard an aircraft carrier in the mid-Atlantic, and it unleashes its payload directly to the bottom of the sea, to what they presume to be the middle of nowhere….to what is actually Atlantis. Meanwhile, in Kansas, Clark Kent tries to teach Wonder Woman the importance of wearing regular glasses in public, and how they are better for any mask when you aren’t a dark and gloomy hero. Speaking of, in Gotham City Batman is in a high speed boat chase on the tails of Scarecrow’s henchmen. Of course, it’s a boat chase, so the King himself shows up to help out…the Gotham PD get a laugh out of it. There’s a problem with the fish on the eastern seaboard….they just keep swimming away.

Batman and Aquaman are in Gotham, Superman and Wonder Woman are in Metropolis, and then the waves crash. Mass hysteria, flooding, death….the biggest threats this League has faced since Darkseid. War has been declared…and it’s all Aquaman’s fault?

SHAZAM!

Continuing the misadventures of the recently empowered Billy Batson, money has again become an issue. Freddy suggests using his lightning to get money from an ATM, and while they get some cash…it’s by breaking the machine. They freak out, but there’s a bank robbery that Billy easily stops. Next up, given their ages, they figure “hey, time to get some beer!”, so they hit up a convenience store. Also being robbed, and then they walk past a car jacker, and then Billy flies. We get more understanding of the abilities he has come to possess, but his personality still shines through; he’s a boy in the body of a man who doesn’t want to go back, and that’s going to be a problem given his new friends and foster family.

Oh well, it won’t matter for long.

BLACK ADAM IS HERE!

What I liked:

  • The stuff with Superman and Wonder Woman, with Kal trying to teach Diana what it means to be a normal person, and the advantages of a secret identity. I absolutely loved that, and if there was ever any reason to try out a relationship between the two, it’s moments like this. Where else can you see Wonder Woman learning how to blend in?
  • One of the problems this book has had is that it hasn’t felt much like a Justice League book, sure, you have the big name characters teaming up, but save for moments in the first arc…they’ve been replaceable. This issue changes that feel by giving them a threat that is so big that it’s possibly too big for the short handed group.
  • No Hal, no Barry, I can dig it. There’s no reason at all Hal should be in this book given that Geoff also writes Green Lantern, but seeing that Barry is too tied up to help because of his book is also a very nice touch that adds value to the other titles.
  • Welcome to the big leagues Ivan, Joe, and Rod! Sure, these guys aren’t exactly unknown commodities at DC, and they did spend years kicking ass on Green Lantern before moving to Blackest Night, Brightest Days, and most recently Aquaman…but this is the Justice League! That means they get to bring the biggest names in DC to life every month! I might love Jim Lee, but this is a major upgrade!
  • The end with Aquaman immediately made me think of Tower of Babel, and then all I could think was “Aquaman is finally a true badass”. Geoff has done an amazing job rebuilding the biggest joke in comics into one of the better characters in DC right now.
  • There was a point in the SHAZAM backup where I said aloud “Man, this is all way too convenient” about how he kept coming across crime after crime, and then the next panel there’s an actual explanation for why it happened and it makes perfect sense. That’s good writing, leading the reader into believing that you’re overdoing something to the point of cliche, and then working it into the character. The character almost instinctively seeks out trouble to stop, and people to protect, and it was a fun little moment.
  • BLACK ADAM.

What I didn’t like:

  • Cyborg is good for a few minor moments an issue, usually one, but he’s in desperate need of more screen time. It seems like every issue there’s a poignant moment with him that lasts a few panels, and then he gets back burnered. Now, I take him seriously because I’ve been a fan of Cyborg’s for years, but we the readers need more reason to care about him besides his few panels of teasing, and the fact that he has all the coolest toys. He’s the only member of this team without their own solo title, he need more love.
  • I know Superman is getting it on with Wonder Woman, and the sex is probably Earth shattering (literally), but man, before the New 52 he would have heard Lois in danger from the other side of the globe. The fact that he can’t hear her from across town is sad. It means he doesn’t care anymore.
  • SHAZAM needs more Mary.
  • It took Wonder Woman five years to try and blend in around the normal people?

Final thoughts:

So are Arthur and Mera married? Dating? Divorced? Working on it? Has there been an Aquababy? Will there be an Aquababy? When the hell did they even meet? These aren’t problems, just questions that I’m realizing I have no idea the answer to. I read Aquaman, and it’s quite possible I’ve just overlooked the answers or forgotten them, so if you’ve got them, leave them in the comments!

A few years ago Marvel did an event called Ultimatum that had a similar premise, with a giant flood killing thousands. One issue in and this is ten times better (a hundred times better after reading Aquaman).

SHAZAM is on the cover with the team, and I know he’s supposed to be joining, but when? Throne of Atlantis has the League facing off against Atlantis, and his backup stories have him about to take on BLACK ADAM, so is he just on the cover to remind us he’s in the issue? Or do we get to see some weird bend of continuity where he joins the team just before we get the conclusion to his backups?

Same thought, but do the backups continue after he joins the team? Because if not, how about a Geoff and Gary SHAZAM ongoing? Really, just any excuse to put those two guys together on a property that deserves far more love than it tends to get. They combine for a goldmine, and I need more from them that isn’t Earth One GNs.

Aquaman’s reveal at the end just cements his bad ass cred in the New 52. He’s like a regal ‘has nothing to hide’ version of JLA Batman.

Does anyone else want to see Geoff write Batman on a more regular basis? It’s so rare, but his version is awesome.

Overall: 9/10

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