Writer: Scott Snyder / Artist: Francis Manapul / DC Comics
Snyder and Manapul are back at the helm for Justice League #11 as our heroes regroup while the villains close in.
This issue felt a lot like an old Star Trek episode from back in the day. It’s the episode in the middle of an arc where the characters are in the thick of the conflict, and whatever can happen, will. But what really makes it feel like a Trek episode is the unorthodox groups that we follow as a result of the chaos of the conflict. Everyone’s split up without contact. No Manhunter to psychically connect them, and no comms. So, Bill Belichick Batman coaching the team from a submerged Hall of Justice really isn’t having much effect. The pairings are what made this issue such a fun read.
We’ve got a group led by a determined Mera featuring a weakened, cape-less, eyepatch-wearing Superman, and the Flash whose halfway through his transformation into a fish monster—The Speed Force being the only thing slowing the process. Then, we’ve got Aquaman and Wonder Woman who are continuing to expand their relationship that’s rooted in their mythologies being so similar. And finally, we’ve got Coach Batman and his son Jarro, a fragment of Starro. You know Snyder knows these characters when they can still feel as authentic as they normally would in the wackiest of circumstances. This was a really exciting read.
Despite the crazy circumstances we find our heroes in, there’s still craft at work here. Mera was the focus of the issue, with an opening scene conveying a flashback from her childhood. She’s becoming an integral part of this arc and equally as important as Aquaman, because she’s the only water-based hero on Earth capable of holding it down. It’s dope to see characters shine like this, especially ones that aren’t part of the core of the team. That’s why this book feels like the heart of the DC Universe.
Something I’ve liked as well about this arc is the intertwining mythologies encompassed by Aquaman and Wonder Woman. There’s always been room for overlap between the two, and I like that it’s being explored both personally between their characters and on a grander scale as well. With Wonder Woman being so close to Greek mythology, it was only a matter of time before we saw Aquaman and Poseidon meet in person. I’m sure this has happened before, but in the context of a story arc centered on water, it would have been a missed opportunity.
It’s time to praise Francis Manapul, because, when isn’t it? I mean—his art—it feels so real. His characters feel like people you can talk to, his locations feel like places you can visit, and his colors hurt your feelings because you realize you’ll never be able to do any of those things. He really is the perfect artist for this arc. What I really like about his colors is how they all bleed together, especially the underwater scenes. The colors don’t stay rigid and set in place. They’re fluid. They ripple. And… And… ?
Justice League #11 follows Mera’s lead as unconventional groups begin to find the answers they need to turn the tide of the conflict in their favor. If you like swashbuckling adventures featuring superheroes, this is the issue you’ve been waiting for.
9.5 Wrinkled Poseidons out of 10
Reading Justice League? Find BNP’s other reviews here.
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