the_mighty_monarch's Justice League #16 - Throne of Atlantis, Chapter Three: Friends and Enemies; Shazam! Chapter 9 review

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Justice League vs. Itself ROUND 3

Ivan Reis really is the bet artist for this story, fresh off his Aquaman run right into an Aquaman/Justice League crossover. Orm is truly deserving of the name Ocean Master, as the entire seas are his to command, on a level that even towers over that Mera. Ivan Reis illustrates the crashing waves, spinning maelstroms, and thunderous storms with such intensity; it really sets the desperate tone perfectly.

Aquaman and Orm are pretty much the only characters I'm really enjoying in this story. Orm is debatably a simply misunderstood foe, much of his hatred and rash decision are based in ignorance of the surface world. He's brash and arrogant, but Aquaman can see that much of his motivation comes from a hatred of the surface world he's likely been spoon fed since birth, and a desire to protect his people. It's almost certain at this point that the thief of the scepter and the liberator of The Trench is not Orm, but someone attempting to use his impulsive desire to retaliate against the surface to his or her advantage.

This means that Aquaman's in the right, which is partly why the actions of the rest of the League bother me so much. Batman is incredibly impulsive, the pragmatic tactician is apparently way beyond eager to instigate the man who, if instigated, will send an army to raze the surface world. Despite Aquaman's insistence on handling this diplomatically, the rest of the League wants to fight. It just seems counterintuitive to all of their characters, every single one of them would be the ones who want to see a fight end with as little bloodshed as possible; except, apparently, when Geoff Johns writes them. This is just like the first arc. And the second arc. Every major arc it seems Geoff Johns wants an excuse to have the League fight each other, it's getting old quickly, especially when it's already this forced. And of course Superman goes into his berserker mode WHEN WONDER WOMAN GETS ATTACKED. Wonder Woman who is easily Superman's equal, or close to it, not to mention that their relationship already frustrates me.

One of the better things, besides awesome action, to come from this issue is also a bit wishy-washy. We're finally seeing the call put out for the expansion of the League, I'm just a little baffled by the character choices. I have no idea how the League knows anything about Captain Marvel, Zatanna's already in the Justice League Dark, though I guess her connection to Steve Trevor and former connection to Batman from Justice League Dark #1 makes her make sense. Though Green Arrow and Hawkman I thought were supposed to be part of Justice League America, and Black Canary's already still part of the Birds of Prey. And I don't even know who Goldrush is supposed to be, but she could be cool.

Meanwhile, SHAZAM continues to be the superior story that needs it's own series. Gary Frank's artwork is a little weaker than most issues, but still fine. The fight's a little so-so, Black Adam seems to use the same basic move, knocking Captain Marvel through a wall. But the way young Billy Batson gets away, and the emotional reaction to it are brilliant and intense. In addition to that, Black Adam's siblings of sin continue to gather together, and their designs are pretty damn awesome. But the same problem continues to crop up, SHAZAM doesn't get enough pages, and has no connection to the main story, and needs its own series.

In Conclusion: 3/5

Don't get me wrong, Ocean Master is a BADASS foe. The action in this issue is a truly epic spectacle, it's just that it's all flash and no substance. Even more than that, Geoff Johns makes the entire Justice League take steroids and stupid pills; so everyone is angry and illogical and completely out of character compared to every other appearance they have in the DC Universe. SHAZAM is excellent, but is always too short. It needs it's own series.

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