Full-Scale War with the Atlantean Army
Continued from Justice League #16, we were left with the likes of Cyborg asking his father to equip him with the artificial lung that'll help him to adapt and breathe underwater in order to save Batman, Superman, & Wonder Woman from the captivity of Ocean Master. Evidently, the Trinity including Aquaman were cast to the Deep Waters for the Trench to feed on. Having the fact that the operation would take several hours to complete, we see Cyborg call in reinforcements to help in the battle against the Atlantean army that has risen from the seas of Boston.
Aquaman seemingly breaks away from the fluid-like substance (as shown in "The Trench" story arc) that he was kept captive in and finds Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman near him in the ocean depths trapped in pods he was in. Aquaman was fortunate enough to be immune to the paralytic fluid, thus being able to move and break free while he was held captive. However, his feat of having the capability to see through the darkness of the ocean floors has been retconned and instead uses his telepathic abilities to figure where they're located. Soon after, he senses aquatic creatures nearby, and out of reaction strikes one of the trench with his trident but looks around and sees a whole group of man-eating monsters surrounding him while he was trying to protect the three that are currently paralyzed. However, Cyborg and Mera arrive by a way of the Boom Tube to help Aquaman fight off the trench and save them from being devoured. Afterwards, Aquaman no longer senses the trench around, which makes them think that they're heading to the surface.
Really enjoyed this issue as it consists of a great story line and extraordinary artwork that captivated me enough to the point that I wanted to write this review. I believe Geoff Johns is doing an outstanding job with this series and keeping the intensity level as high up there as possible to keep us on our toes throughout this crossover. He's also finally shining light on Cyborg, being depicted as the rookie of the team, he's finally coming around and showing us what he's actually made of. Cyborg has definitely stepped up his game in this issue having made the ultimate sacrifice of having his only lung removed so he can save his friends (and Earth) as well as taking control and assembling a reinforcement team to help in the battle against the Atlantean army. More so, he saved the lives of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, & Aquaman from the fleshing-eating monsters of the Trench while down in the Deep Waters. Clearly depicted of having great heroic personalities, Cyborg's quickly earning his ranks on the Justice League and becoming one of my favorite characters in the New 52. We also see writer Geoff Johns attacking the capabilities of Aquaman throughout the series, either adding on to his feats or demoting them into a weaker state. One of these capabilities he altered was his power of seeing through the darkness of the ocean floors; In the New 52, instead Aquaman uses his telepathic abilities to figure out where they are at the time of captivity in the Dark Waters of the Trench. Other feats that were somewhat demoted to a weaker state are his tough skin and ability to withstand immense pressure and force. He is shown multiple times in the New 52 that he has bled out after being bit by the Trench; however, he doesn't get paralyzed from the poisonous fluid like what happens to most of the infected targets.
Geoff Johns also touches up on the conversation with Dr. Shin and Vulko over at the Watchtower, as Vulko explains to Shin that if he was in Atlantis, he'd be dead knowing that he wanted to confront the public of the evidence about Aquaman, and the rest of Atlantis. Vulko, a loyal companion to the rightful King Arthur (or so it seems like it), also says that Shin was the main reason why the surface world is blaming Aquaman for these Atlantean attacks and accusing him of joining the Justice League, to plan such a cataclysmic attack like this one. We're also faced with a complete cliffhanger at the end of the issue that'll take everyone by surprise, as we find out who actually is controlling the Trench!
Having Paul Pelletier being the new initial penciler sketching for the series having filled in the shoes of Ivan Reis, we'll definitely receive some new, classic appearances within the panels, and hopefully keeping the same intensity in the emotions and scenes. Really love the artwork of Pelletier's and was agreeably comfortable when hearing that he'll be the one to fill in Ivan Reis' position as lead penciler. With his sketches being polished up by none other than the profound colors of Art Thibert, the panels are portrayed quite impressively with great emotion depicted throughout the issue. For example, the two page spread of the Trench leaping from out of the water to surface is so exceptionally collaborated that the finishing artwork almost seems like the art could jump out of the pages like a pop-up book. Another panel that caught my eyes was the splash page of Hawkman striking the Atlantean army with his mace having the rest of the backup team Cyborg assembled in the background. This was one of my favorite pages from this issue by far.
In some cases, Paul Pelletier's sketches seemed somewhat incomplete on the smaller, inessential panels; however, the rest of the bigger and more important pages definitely made up for their 'laziness', and displayed the best artwork I've ever seen in comics to date. However, there were smaller panels that should've been more essentially focused on than others and appears to be somewhat unfinished, with no facial expressions on some of them. Both, Pelletier and Thibert are great, and believe they can achieve great success and set high standards for other artists in the industry while they're both collaborating on this series together. We have yet to see their greatest pieces and believe they could reach their full potential in this series if they put in the time to create such artwork like the pages done on this issue, but throughout the entire series.
One of my favorite issues right now having featured such intense scenes and glorified moments. After finishing up this issue, I now know that I'm a big Cyborg fan, and not just a fan of his on Teen Titans animated series. He is now affirming to everyone that he is a superhero of complete dedication and full commitment to the team and protect the universe with substantial superhuman capabilities, some of which have yet to be fully accessible and/or acknowledged yet. However, so far he had the audacity to remove his lung for an artificial one to breathe underwater, he assembled a reinforcement team as a strategic plan to fight off the Atlantean army, saved the Trinity and Aquaman from the Trenches in the Dark Waters, and is also accessible to his "Boom Tube"; and uses it quite impressively. The ending of this issue will lead to a complete cliffhanger that'll definitely take everyone by surprise; as we find out who is actually in control of The Trench!
If you haven't been reading the "Throne of Atlantis" crossover, I highly recommend you picking up on the story arc. This is one those stories that you have to go back and collect the previous issues to fully understand what is going on. The crossover starts in Aquaman #14 continuing on in Justice League #15 and now were here, on Aquaman #16 and Justice League #17. You're going to have to read the New 52 Justice League issues of this crossover to actually have a full perspective of this story and what's going on. Overall, I give this a 5/5 stars. Great story line and filler to the next issue.