Spoilers ahead for DC's "Drowned Earth" crossover event.
In this week’s Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1, readers learned of yet another force being collected by the Legion of Doom - a power held by Aquaman called the “Life Force.”
According to writer James Tynion IV, this part of the story will explain why Aquaman can talk to and control sea life - a part of his continuity that’s been loosely touched upon before, but never quite like this.
This power of life has been drained from Aquaman by one of the cosmic sea gods who are attacking Earth.
And now Black Manta has that power.
It’s all part of the “Drowned Earth” crossover event that will now cross between Justice League and Aquaman.
Newsarama talked to Tynion about some of the spoilers from this week’s issue, how the “Life Force” fits into the puzzle Lex Luthor is building for the Legion of Doom, and what readers can expect now that the final page showed Wonder Woman on the warpath.
Newsarama: James, we got a hint in this week’s issue about the “life energy” that Tyyde has taken from Aquaman and given to Black Manta.
This is the latest of all the forces that Lex Luthor has been tapping into in order to bring down the Justice League and have doom reign? This is the “Life Force?”
James Tynion: Yes. Right. And it’s been the source of some of the jokes that are made about Aquaman... that Aquaman has this very strange power to communicate with all sea life and have control over it.
That power is unique to him. Not all Atlanteans have that ability.
And it’s something that there’s been a few different explanations for over the years, but we’ve never fully understood what that power is and what it means.
We are going to learn in this storyline that this power, this ability that he’s had since childhood, is something that ties him to this larger cosmic narrative, that there is something special and unique in the oceans of Earth, that there is this “power of life,” and life as a kind of connecting force.
It’s also the nature of the ocean itself. It’s the idea that all life is born in the ocean, all life is connected in those roots in the ocean. And through those connections, he has the ability to tap into the life force of different beings around him.
Nrama: So it’s not just fish telepathy?
Tynion: It’s not telepathy. And it’s not connected to other power on that spectrum. It’s something unique and powerful that Aquaman has wielded his entire life without fully understanding what it is.
And he’s going to learn what it is right at the moment that these sea gods rip it away from him and give it to Black Manta.
So that’s going to be pretty rough.
Nrama: Bad timing. OK, the other thing we learned in the issue, although it was teased previously, was the Tear of Extinction. Is this linked to that stuff we saw down below Atlantis in Dark Nights: Metal?
Tynion: There’s definitely a connection to that scene where we visited the center of the Earth in Metal, through a secret cavern beneath Atlantis. Describing anything in Metal is awesome.
But yes, the machinery we saw there is going to play a key role in this arc and we’re going to understand exactly what that is as the story moves forward.
The Tear of Extinction is definitely connected to that. But it’s also connected to the Life Force.
One thing that we’ve seen in each of the forces that we’ve been playing with is that they’re kind of opposites. So, like, the Still Force is kind of the opposite of the Speed Force. And then we saw with the Ultraviolet Lantern, the Invisible Light Spectrum is the opposite of the visible Emotional Spectrum.
So if we have this Life Force that’s channeling through Aquaman and all of that, the Tear of Extinction might be the thing tied to the polar opposite of that, the real antithesis of connection, of life.
It’s tied to a kind of cosmic death force.
It’s going to be pretty scary as the power behind that starts really getting into this story.
Nrama: And the other big spoiler is that Wonder Woman shows up at the end and is really to kick some butt and get Aquaman back to Earth. It feels like her determination might turn the tide - pun intended - and I assume we’ll see her connection to this Tear of Extinction and other concepts connected to it?
Tynion: Wonder Woman is very much connected to the larger storyline we’re building toward the Graveyard of Gods in the event of "Drowned Earth." Right now, she’s up on the Blood Reef, trying to find Aquaman.
The real goal is going to be to try to get the League back together so they can overcome this.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman are going to have some discussions about how best to fight back a force that they are really dwarfed by in both power and literal resources.
This is going to be a phenomenally dangerous moment for all of these characters. It’s always exciting when Wonder Woman is coming as the calvary.