Monday, December 3, 2018

Drowned Earth: JLA/Aquaman #1

I'm guessing they're not a bunch of misunderstood ocean beings whose powers don't exactly mirror those of Justice League members on a one-to-one basis?

I haven't read a comic book in two weeks because this was on the top of the stack. Fuck you, Aquaman. Why haven't you been killed yet by DC? Oh, wait! I know why! Because it wouldn't have been a huge event because nobody fucking cares about you. Die in an underwater fire.

This issue begins with a flashback to Aquaman as a youth hanging out with his dad in Amnesty Bay. Ever since Geoff Johns began The New 52 in this exact manner, it has become the de facto method for beginning an Aquaman story. This is because comic book writers and editors aren't as smart as people who spend too much time writing comic book critiques online for no money at all. They saw that New 52 Aquaman had more success than Aquaman had had since he put on the blue waves suit, so they held a meeting to discuss why that happened. Was it because Geoff Johns decided to work into the DC Universe the knowledge that Aquaman sucks? Or was it because Ivan Reis (if he was, indeed, the artist. Why should I spend ten extra seconds checking facts when I can just plow ahead pretending I'm some kind of super intellectual expert? I went to school as a white male, so I'm sure I know what I'm talking about here!) painted some beautiful art for the flashbacks? Or maybe 2011 was peak concussive head damage in the comic book reading community? I guess we'll never know. Except we do know one thing (because I'm stating it as fact): Aquaman's success was not because the story opened with a flashback. Although you'd be right to think that's what it was by the amount of Aquaman stories that begin with young Arthur Curry learning some kind of lesson about the sea from his father. Like, "Kid, if you ever meet a mermaid, fuck her. Fuck her hard!"

Here's how the story opens: "Tom Curry knew the sound of waves." Wow. Brilliant. What a human specimen! Whenever I hear waves, I think, "What was that?! Did I just shit myself?!" And I'm fairly certain I'm pretty smart! So to be able to differentiate waves from shitting yourself must make a person a Goddamned super genius. Tom Curry: the man who could hear a wave and say, "Hey! That was a wave!"

The entire Earth has been flooded by space Aquamen because they're tired of being jokes. But people don't drown in the water because regular people in the DC Universe have been dying too much lately. Since every threat to the Justice League has to be a universe ending catastrophe to prove the Justice League's power, thousands (if not millions) of people need to die every time. It would be nice if the Justice League could save everybody but that wouldn't be realistic and realism is the most important thing in comics since Watchmen and it keeps comic book readers from losing their suspension of disbelief. If nobody died, comic book readers would never stop rolling their eyes or making jerk-off motions when discussing the Justice League. "Can you believe they saved everybody?! I mean, they're good. The best even! Better than the Avengers. But saving everybody?! Come on! So unrealistic. It's like when Ripley defeated the queen alien in Aliens. It just exposed the movie as the fiction it was! So unrealistic!"

So instead of killing people in this catastrophe, the writers have decided the water turns them into fish people. Also the water probably doesn't do any structural damage since it's flooding the entire world and it would be too difficult to have to deal with the repercussions of that kind of destruction. I bet the water isn't even really wet since it's magic. I'm sure once it all dries up, nothing will have changed at all and it will be like the story never even needed to be told.

Oh! That means I probably don't even need to read it! Or any comic books at all! I free from this obsession?! Did I just make a breakthrough?! I'll think about it after I finish reading this entire Drowned Earth story arc.

Jim Gordon turns into a fish monster in the first few pages which guarantees that every fish person will be back to normal by the end of the story. Am I supposed to continue to feel the dramatic tension knowing that Jim Gordon can't be a fish monster until the end of time because of this story? Stupid writers. Stop telegraphing the entire story. I bet Aquaman winds up saving the day as the only person left not an aquatic monstrosity by the end of this. I mean, he is an aquatic monstrosity but he's not the same type of aquatic monstrosity that this water would turn him into if he wasn't immune which he probably is.

Anyway, you know the story without having read it (which makes you smarter than me (and I'm pretty smart! I'm sure of it!)): the chips are way down and the Justice League are in their underwear (because it's both real poker and strip poker, I guess) and the poker table is on fire and a news report just came on the radio saying that Trump was still president. Things were looking bleak! How was the Justice League going to win this time?! But then a ray of hope: Wonder Woman appears! She'll save Aquaman and bring him back to Earth to save Earth while Batman saves Earth at the same time Mera saves Earth! But will we learn the secret of how The Flash survived the touch of the magic water?! I bet we will! I bet it will reveal the secret to saving Jim Gordon! And, I guess, the other billions of humans turned into aquatic monstrosities.

Grade: B. There's only one real reason to tell an Aquaman story in the DC Universe. And that's to scream, "Aquaman is more powerful than you fucking mocking fangenders realize! And the proof is in this story!"

See?! Black Manta just told us how powerful Aquaman is! And made a "speaks with fish" joke to boot! I mean, we'll probably never really see how powerful Aquaman is in the course of the story. Easier to just have somebody say, "Holy crap! Aquaman is so powerful!"

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