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

4

The Justice League finds themselves battling the Atlanteans as well as Aquaman!

The Good

Aquaman battles the Justice League in hopes that the Atlanteans, and Orm, will retreat back into the ocean and end the war on the surface world. Cyborg decides to step up and help the Justice League. In the back-up, Shazam and Black Adam square off.

No battle is going to be easy for the Justice League, and in this issue, it seems like this may be their toughest challenge yet. Sure, they are just going up against people from under the sea, but the Atlanteans are so much tougher than even the deadliest of Disney songs. Orm's powers seem to exceed even Aquaman's here, and he's got quite a few tricks up his sleeve.

In this issue, Aquaman does something I've been telling my friends for years he could do: hold his own against the Justice League. The new Aquaman is a powerhouse and in order to prove a point to Orm, he fights the Trinity and seemingly does pretty well against them. His decision to take on the JL may seem a bit over-the-top, but writer Geoff Johns does a great job grounding these scenes and makes them believable. I especially love the dialogue between Wonder Woman and Aquaman where she claims if the Amazonians invaded the city, she'd stand by her friends and the city and not them. It's a pretty arrogant and quick answer to a problem that's so much more complicated, or maybe it's just a way to get Arthur back on their side?

I really want to like Cyborg, but up until this issue, I just couldn't do it. He's finally stepping up here to do what's right and the conversation he has with his father and Vulko have made me finally come around. Sure, he's younger and has less experience, but he's finally starting to come into his own and realize that sometimes you have to sacrifice some of yourself in order to help the world. This leads to a pretty darn exciting final page, which will only make the next parts of this story even more exciting.

Artist Ivan Reis, with Joe Prado on inks, and Rod Reis on colors, puts together a consistently fantastic issue, filled with numerous, highly detailed splash pages that truly bring a realistic scope to the reader of how large and impactful this war truly is. Now, while it's easy to over-do a book with splash pages, this art team does it right. It's only used for the most revealing and shocking scenes, and the two-page splash featuring Orm and his army is breathtaking.

I've mentioned a few times, most recently when I was on The Invincibly Super Massive Comic Book Podcast of Stuff, that I have not been a fan of the Shazam back-ups on this book. I really enjoyed the back up here though. As always, the art, by Gary Frank, is top notch, and I loved seeing Black Adam (who is one of my favorite villains) go at it with Shazam. I also enjoyed the last issue's back up as well, and I feel like I'm finally on board with these stories.

The Bad

Call me crazy, but I just didn't find myself loving this as much as I thought I would. The first two parts of this story, which took place in AQUAMAN 15 and JUSTICE LEAGUE 15, were both fantastic and on my list for Top of the Pile, but this issue just didn't grab a hold of me as much as part 1 and part 2. Everything about the issue was great, even the back-up, but overall, I just liked it. I didn't love it.

The Verdict

JUSTICE LEAGUE 16 is a dynamite cross-over and Throne of Atlantis is shaping up to be a lot more epic than anyone could have imagined. It's going to bring a lot of heroes in the DCU together, and it may break a lot of relationships as well.

While I truly enjoyed this book, and I didn't have any real problems with it, I didn't find myself loving it as much as I thought I would. I felt a tad bit let down, but oh well. It was still a dynamite issue regardless of that.

Overall, I highly recommend this issue.