Writer James Tynion IV promises that the next chapter of “Drowned Earth” will not only show what happens when a solo (and disabled) Batman is attacked by the Legion of Doom, but how the Caped Crusader utilizes the “full arsenal” of the new Hall of Justice against his enemies.
Justice League #12, which features art by Frazer Irving and Bruno Redondo, is the latest installment in an event that has taken over the series for the month of November, framed on each end by a Justice League/Drowned Earth special.
The issues are being written — every other one — by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, setting up a new direction for Aquaman before a new creative team takes over in December. “Drowned Earth” has already insinuated that Aquaman is meant to be a mariner, and the story revealed that Aquaman’s much-maligned power to “talk to fishes” is actually part of a powerful “Life Force” he once carried.
“Drowned Earth” also continues the battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom that has been anchoring the Justice League title since it launched earlier this year. In issue #11, Black Manta had stolen the Life Force (and Aquaman’s powers), Aquaman had been impaled by Poseidon the Graveyard of Gods, and the Legion of Doom had shown up at the Hall of Justice, ready to battle a disabled Batman.
Newsarama talked to Tynion about this latest chapter, what readers can expect from the confrontation between the Legion and Batman, and whether readers will learn more about the mysterious Life Force that appears to lie at the center of “Drowned Earth.”
Newsarama: James, the last thing that happened in the “Drowned Earth” storyline was the appearance of the Legion of Doom in the Hall of Justice. The only one defending the Hall is Batman, who’s in a full body cast and holding a jar with Starro in it (and calling it “Jarro”). In this next chapter of “Drowned Earth” that you’re writing, are we going to get a glimpse at what a broken Batman can do in a battle with the Legion of Doom?
James Tynion IV: We’re definitely going to be seeing a bit of that in the next issue of Justice League. The whole event, all of “Drowned Earth,” was set in motion by the Legion of Doom. They’re the ones who freed the sea gods; they’re the ones who sort of invited them here to Earth, and obviously Black Manta is working closely with the gods.
But the real goal of the Legion of Doom is still the Totality, which is locked away in the heart of the Hall of Justice.
This is their full-on assault on the Hall of Justice, which is now underwater, completely abandoned, and Batman’s in there with a wheelchair and a starfish. And there’s not much to do … except for the fact that he’s Batman.
Nrama: They’ve also entered his turf.
Tynion: Yes, they’re going after Batman in a giant superhero base that he more or less designed, that is loaded with the full arsenal of every villain and hero they’ve ever fought or teamed up with. That might not be the best idea for the Legion of Doom to do.
Nrama: The last issue also saw Wonder Woman and Aquaman getting to Poseidon. It didn’t end so well for Aquaman, but there’s certainly indications that he has survived Poseidon’s attack. I know you usually concentrate on the Legion of Doom in your issues, but will we see more of the Poseidon/Aquaman/Wonder Woman part of the story in Justice League #12?
Tynion: Yes, that definitely plays a role in this issue. We’re going to continue the storyline in the Graveyard of Gods. We’re going to understand a bit more why Poseidon impaled Arthur at the end of the last issue, and it’s not exactly the reason you’d think.
Nrama: So it wasn’t to just kill him off?
Tynion: Well, the important thing to remember is, in the Graveyard of Gods, they’re now in these realms of magic. Actions have many meanings.
There’s a special power inside Poseidon’s trident.
Nrama: OK, but Poseidon also knows more about these sea gods. Will readers learn more about his history with these sea gods?
Tynion: Yes. This is the issue where we’re going to learn a lot about why Poseidon was targeted back in Justice League #8 and what secret knowledge he has that could lead to defeating these gods.
I’m really excited for people to see it. The Graveyard of Gods sequence in this issue is done by Frazer Irving, and he did a spooky, terrifying job. So I’m very, very excited.
Nrama: We’ve also learned about this “Life Force” that you and Scott have revealed about Aquaman’s powers. Where do readers get more information about this concept?
Tynion: This issue, I think, lays out a lot of the back-story and mythology that we’ve been hinting at and referencing. We’re going to get it a bit more in full in this issue.
As we move into the “Drowned Earth” finale, everyone knows exactly where they stand. We’re going to learn a bit more about the Life Force, learn a bit more about the Tear of Extinction and the relationship between those two powers, and we’re going to set a bunch of dangerous things in motion that threaten the entire Earth, because it’s a big Justice League event, and that’s what we’ve got to do.