Earth is drowning! The Totality was safe, and the Legion of Doom seemingly at bay, but peace was not to be. With Aquaman and Wonder Woman attempting to escape the Blood Reef and the citizens of the world turning into fish-slaves of the Triumvirate, things look grim for the League. But will they get worse before they get better? Find out in Justice League #11, as Drowned Earth continues. SPOILERS AHEAD

Two great adventures for the price of one

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If the first part of Drowned Earth was a non-stop, action-packed battle-on-two-fronts, then this week’s story is a pair of exciting, parallel adventures, as different splinters of the Justice League pursue different solutions to the threats they face. Mera joins up with Superman and Flash, and together, they seek the tomb of Arion and the Tear of Extinction. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and Aquaman make for the Graveyard of Gods, hoping that Poseidon can restore Arthur’s powers, recently stolen and gifted to Black Manta by the Trimuvirate’s cruel Admiral Tyde.

Both quests are intriguing, paced well by Snyder, and drawn exquisitely by Manapul. Maybe it’s because I was watching UHF this morning, but I can’t stop thinking about the Indiana Jones franchise as I read back over this issue (for the uninitiated, UHF‘s opening sequence spoofs the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark). There are exotic, ancient settings with striking architecture; mystical artifacts; and, evil lurking in the shadows, hoping to beat the good guys to the prize. It’s all very exciting, and while I know not every issue of Justice League can be quite like this, I’m going to have a hard time moving on, and I’ll be savoring this one a few more times before I do.

Open minds and closed hearts

As you might expect, there are some interesting literary maneuvers by Snyder, as well. The story opens in flashback, Mera—then a princess of Xebel—and her father surveying Atlantis from afar. She sees an awful place, full of enemies, masked by its superficial beauty. Her father, however, encourages her to see past things as they are, and instead consider them as they might be. I trust Snyder’s bigger picture will bring things to a more hopeful point, but this particular issue’s conclusions are dark and cynical. Both quests fail, as does (or so it seems) Batman’s vigil over the Totality (back at the Hall of Justice).

These failures are like tines of a trident driven into the heart of the King of Xebel’s perspective. Mera, Clark, Barry, and Bruce are thwarted by the enemy. What might be—defeating the Triumvirate with the same weapon once used by Arion—cannot be, because the bitter, power-mad Manta got to it first. What might be—Poseidon blessing the world one last time by restoring Aquaman’s powers—cannot be, and Arthur pays dearly for believing that there was a better reality than the one he saw in the Blood Reef. I’m fairly certain this arc will eventually prove Mera’s father true; but for now, the forces of evil are calling him a fool, and they’re making a convincing argument.

Recommended if…

  • You like a little Raiders of the Lost Ark in your superhero comics.
  • You’re a big fan of the Justice League of Snyderica and Francis Mantapul teaming up—I know I am!
  • You enjoy books that keep on giving as you reread them.
  • Jarro. Jarro. But seriously, Jarro.

Overall

Drowned Earth has been a high-quality event thus far, and this is easily its best installment yet. Snyder’s themes are realized expertly in the script, and Manapul’s artwork deliciously brings the tale to life. Nobody published a better book this week than Justice League #11.

SCORE: 9.5/10

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