Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 review

This is it! Drowned Earth comes to its conclusion, and boy, is it something! What will become of the Justice League and the fish-human hybrids they protect? Find out in Aquaman/Justice League #1!

This review is an adaptation of an article that I wrote for Comics Now.

Heart and head

This one has it all. You like exciting, action-packed battle scenes? How about crazy, murderous beasts being physically held back by mighty heroes? True love? Self-sacrifice? Superman looking like a pirate? I won’t revisit my affection for this run on Justice League in general, because it seems I do that nearly every two weeks, but suffice it to say that this final installment of Drowned Earth delivers yet another outstanding blend of tones, depth, and meaning.

On the surface, this is the sort of wild battle royale that got me—and probably many of you—interested in comics in the first place. The Justice League square off against a multitude of foes, including at least two ridiculously huge ones, and both Francis Manapul and Howard Porter do outstanding work bringing these confrontations to the page. There’s so much going on, and yet we always seem to get a perfect balance of big scope and intimacy.

At its heart, this issue is a love song—a song for Arthur and Mera, but also a song for Atlantis, for the stars, and for redemption. Beneath the highly-entertaining, physical war lies a war of the soul: a struggle between that to which we are entitled and kindness toward those who have made themselves unworthy of it. It is a song of grace—a picture of the deepest sort of love there is: the love of the will, the choice to show love to the unlovely.

Hope. Optimism. Such were the promises of DC Rebirth. Some of us have wondered whether DC have abandoned these promises, because across much of the line, it seems they have. But Drowned Earth has brought to a fine point what Snyder’s Justice League has shown all along: that hope and optimism are still there—that we should never abandon our friends nor write off our enemies.

Heady stuff for a book about super-powered muscle-heads fighting intergalactic monsters. Here, in this larger-than-life reflection of our world, we see more clearly. Somehow, we perceive our truer selves in the abstraction. But that’s the magic of comics, isn’t it?

Recommended if…

  • You’ve been reading Drowned Earth and enjoying it—this is an excellent conclusion to the story.
  • You’ve wanted to see what that Death Kraken looked like since you first saw it mentioned.
  • You like a feast for the eyes.


Drowned Earth comes to conclusion with a smashing success. It works on multiple levels, offering excitement, humor, and a stirring emotional finale to this event. Manapul and Porter turn in outstanding work throughout, and Manapul, Hi-Fi and Napolitano ice the cake with outstanding colors and near-flawless lettering. This is everything a comic event should be.

SCORE: 9/10

DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of review.