The Obsidian Age

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JLA: The Obsidian Age - The Hunt for Aquaman

There may be some aspects of this story that confuse you. The most common question I've been getting is: "What is that big statue of Aquaman in the middle of the ocean?" Most of those questions are answered if you read the Aquaman-specific parts of Our Worlds At War (JLA: Our Worlds At War #1, Wonder Woman #173, and World's Finest: Our Worlds At War #1), but I'll give a short summary of where we are at this point, before JLA #66.

  • Aquaman is missing in action after battling an Imperiex probe during Our Worlds At War.
  • The entire city of Poseidonis and all its residents also vanished during the event.
  • The city vanished because of a teleportation spell that Tempest cast. He doesn't know where he sent the city.
  • When the city vanished, it left a gravity-defying "gash" in the ocean.
  • The JLA created a hologram monument to Aquaman at the spot where the city vanished from (that's the big statue thingy).
  • The Aquaman hologram has two purposes: it warns shipping away from the trench/hole in the ocean, and it has a homing beacon for Aquaman in it.

JLA #66: The Destroyers: Part One

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Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 30 May 2002, cover date July 2002.

Green Lantern is having horrible dreams about the Justice League dying. In the meantime, a wave of death sweeps Florida from the sea, as tons of dead sea life washes up on Daytona Beach. Among the dead sea creatures is a suit of ancient armor that attacks Green Lantern and Flash when they investigate it.

After getting away, whatever is in the suit of armor starts to kidnap children. The Justice League finds traces of children's blood on part of the armor that Kyle managed to snag. They jump to the logical conclusion and go after the creature.

They find him at a theme park, on top of a roller coaster mountain. J'onn scans him and learns his name (Tezumak) and that he's come from the past, before falling to some sort of mental trap. As the league faces Tezumak, a cloud of ravens (and Tezumak's buddy) appears and attacks.

NOTES:

Kyles dreams include water and ravens, and a voice telling him that "This did not begin with you! You are not a dynasty! You are stillborn children of a dead age! Insignificant! Begone from Atl--" Gee, I wonder what that is referring to? Hmmm...

Aquaman gets mentioned in this because the initial disturbance that lead to the sea creatures washing up on a beach started near the trench of Atlantis. Well, that and the fact that it was creatures of the sea who were dying.

JLA #67: The Destroyers: Part Two

Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 26 June 2002, cover date August 2002.

Green Lantern recovers enough to find out that the League is down and out for the count in Orlando Florida. He arrives in time to stop Diana from being sacrificed by Tezumak. The Justice League goes into all-out war against the two time travelers, and captures them.

But the Shaman still has his magic, and even when he's trapped by Wonder Woman's lasso, he still can escape, and take Tezumak with him. The League catches up with him at the Atlantic Trench, where Aquaman and Atlantis vanished, but the Shaman uses some sort of old magic to transport himself and Tezumak somewhere else...

Leaving the Justice League in the present, with the ruins of Atlantis appearing around them, above the water, where the trench used to be.

NOTES:

Green Lantern is convinced that the Shaman is connected with his nightmares, and tries to get the truth out of the Shaman. Instead, he gets a faceful of magical goo.

The Shaman doesn't like human sacrifice. While he has no problem killing the Justice League (because they are destroyers), he questions to himself why Tezumak should be sacrificing them. When Batman recovers just enough to throw a batarang to distract Tezumak, he no longer questions that they are human because he doesn't believe a human could recover from his spell so quickly.

As the ruins of Atlantis appear, the "Aquaman" beacon apparently fades away, lending itself to a very nice splash page.

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JLA #68: The Obsidian Age: Prelude

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STILLBORN ATLANTIS

Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 31 July 2002, cover date September 2002.

This issue starts with the Justice League and Tempest taking back the ruins from Ocean Master and Black Manta, who tried to move in and claim them. Then all the mystics of the DC Universe come together to try to unravel the mystery of the ruins.

What they discover is that Tempest had created a paradox when he sent Atlantis through a portal in OWAW. He had sent the city into the distant past, and a new timeline was created, one in which Atlantis apparently never sank. Atlantis was instead protected by a powerful spell so no one noticed it for 3000 years, and also so that the effects of the changes made in the past would not disrupt the future.

The JLA decide to venture into the past, through another portal opened by Tempest, and are lost.

NOTES:

Ok, I hate to start with a criticism, but Tempest is drawn so poorly in this issue that it was hard to ignore! He is not a drag queen! Ug.

Also, it's hard to believe that Batman would be quite so critical of Tempest. What they are asking him to do is outside his current confidence, that doesn't mean he's a "boy" who shouldn't be trusted. Nor did he fail. He sent Atlantis away to protect it, and it apparently worked in at least one respect. I have to wonder, Tempest is now chronologically older than Nightwing, does Bats go around calling Nightwing "boy"?

Anyway, otherwise the story is pretty tight.

Now, this is just confusing enough that I'm going to run through it once more, ok?

  • Tempest sent Atlantis and Aquaman back through time, 3000 years, during the OWAW event.
  • The "appearance" of Atlantis and Aquaman in the past created a paradox.
  • Someone, presumably in the past, cast a very powerful spell to protect the world from the paradox.
  • The spell also hid Atlantis, which was now on the surface, from the rest of the world.
  • Two mystic warriors from the past used the power of the spell to travel back to their own time.
  • The spell is now gone, Atlantis can be seen, and the effects of the paradox may start to work on the world.
  • Aquaman left a message for the JLA on the bottom of a pool in the ruins of the now surfaced Atlantis.
  • The JLA is going back in time to rescue Aquaman and to prevent the paradox from destroying the world.

It should also be noted that two members of the JLA, Batman and Green Lantern, had serious reservations about traveling into the past. Batman because he doesn't trust Tempest, and GL because he's been having nightmares about the JLA being killed.

JLA #69: The Obsidian Age: Part One

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NEW BLOOD

Written by Joe Kelly, art by Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst, cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 14 August 2002, cover date Early October 2002.

The Justice League has been missing for a month, so an emergency program designed by Batman goes into effect and recruits another Justice League to deal with the crisis.

NOTES:

At the beginning of the story, Tempest, Zatanna, and Atom are still in the ruins of Atlantis, trying to re-open the portal and bring the Justice League back. We get only one panel of Tempest, and none of his emotions or anything.

After he's been summoned to the watchtower to be part of the new JLA, Atom tells Zatanna to stop working on re-opening the portal and instead focus on the other energies around the island.

The real appeal of this book, though, from an Aquaman fan's point of view, is the artwork. The art team on this issue will be the art team on the new Aquaman series. They do not disappoint. Overall, I declare the art and storytelling on this issue to be satisfactory.

I'm looking forward to seeing more work by this pair, and hope it lives up to this preview.

Now, to review:

  • The JLA went back in time to rescue Aquaman and to prevent a paradox (unintentionally created by Tempest during OWAW) from destroying the world.
  • Tempest lost control of where he sent them, and they are "now" lost in time (like Aquaman and Atlantis).
  • The JLA have been missing for a month in the present, and their absence is being keenly felt.
  • Tempest, Atom, and Zatanna have spent much of that month in the newly discovered, surfaced Atlantis trying to find any trace of the JLA using both magic and technology.
  • The Atom has just left to join the new JLA, and instructed Zatanna to stop trying to find the old JLA.
  • There are other magics around the island Atlantis to investigate.
  • Said magics, after Zatanna calls to them, attack Zatanna. No sign of Tempest around to help her, yet.

JLA #70: The Obsidian Age: Part Two

REVISIONIST HISTORY

Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 28 August 2002, cover date Late October 2002.

Back in the Age of Obsidian, an Atlantis newly restored to the surface is attacked by Egyptian would-be conqueror Scarab, who is soundly defeated by two of Atlantis' protectors... members of the League, brought together by Rama Khan to protect the world, using Atlantis as a base of operations.

After deflecting a shower of fireballs, the League awaits as a portal is opened and Tezumak and the Shaman return from the future to bring news of their fight against the destroyers.

But the destroyers are already there, investigating the mystery of thousands of missing modern Atlanteans and Aquaman, as well as the surfacing of Atlantis 3000 years in the past. The travel into the past wasn't easy, and Batman is still recovering. The League decides to try to get to the reflecting pool, where Aquaman left his message to the future league.

Even as the Shaman realizes that the Justice League is now in the past, the JLA discovers that the reflecting pool is actually a prison...

NOTES:

We've already met Tezumak and The Shaman (Manitou Raven). In this issue we meet other members of the Ancient League, including the pipe-smoking Whaler, the warrior woman Sela, Rama Khan of Jarhanpur, Gamemnae who raised Atlantis, and one more... a Golem creature (if he's named in the issue, I missed it).

Kyle is still having dreams about the other members of the JLA dying. Somehow he recovered faster than Batman, though.

Martian Manhunter does the scouting throughout Atlantis, but has trouble with the ancient Atlantean minds. Wonder Woman advocates charging in, but Superman is the voice of reason.

Again the Shaman, now named as Manitou, has doubts. He doesn't admit to Gamamnae that he used magic from a spell at the scar of Atlantis to get himself and Tezumak back. He doesn't tell the others about the "ghost" of Aquaman that he saw guarding the scar of Atlantis. And while he thinks that the future is horrible, he's also dismayed at the actions of his fellow Leaguers, especially the sacrifice of children. And the slaves... and casual murder... but that doesn't stop him from telling the other Leaguers when he detects the JLA.

Wonder Woman uses her magic lasso to try to get truth out of the reflecting pool. She discovers that it is unhappy and lost... that there is lots of magic in the pool. And that it's become a prison for Aquaman, who manifests to them as a water-being.

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Now, to review:

  • The Justice League of Ancients has seven members, and were brought together by Rama Khan to prevent the destruction of the world.
  • The Rama Khan is apparently the ancestor of the guy seen in JLA #62-64. His powers are over the land of Jarhanpur: the earth itself responds to him.
  • Atlantis has only recently risen from the ocean floor in this time period. It is the ancient Atlantis, the modern Atlantis is nowhere to be seen.
  • Lady Gamemnae raised Atlantis, and has magic powers. She doesn't think the Shaman's powers equal hers.
  • The JLA didn't have a pleasant journey into the past, and Batman is out of commission.
  • Kyle is still having nightmares about the JLA dying, in fact, he sees visions of them dying almost every time he looks at them.
  • The Ancients keep slaves, kill people who displease them, and practice child sacrifice. The ancient Atlanteans are being brainwashed through their religion.
  • The ancient Atlanteans are starting to tear down the dome... and the dome was mostly intact in the future.
  • Aquaman is apparently in the reflecting pool. But is it really him? And where are the rest of the modern Atlanteans, including Mera and Vulko? Where is the modern city of Atlantis?

JLA #71: The Obsidian Age: Part Three

TRANSITION

Written by Joe Kelly, art by Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst, cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 11 September 2002, cover date Early November 2002.

The newly formed Justice League shakily adapts to being the protectors of the world, while strange things are happening in Atlantis.

NOTES:

The new league doesn't get along well with itself. Nobody is used to working together, and some of the more... bizarre... members have modus operandi that confuses, or disgusts, other members.

Nightwing isn't paranoid enough to pick up on Zatanna's lies. Either that, or whatever that thing is that's controlling her is doing a perfect job. Still, you would think that Nightwing would be suspicious, since all the water in the world is apparently being drawn to Atlantis. Surely Zatanna would notice something.

Tempest finally arrives on the scene, and is quickly taken out by the thing that is controlling Zatanna. The power it uses is clearly magical, it never lays a "hand" on him.

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The thing that has Zatanna is some sort of creature made of earth and old skeletons. PURE SPECULATION WARNING! I'm going to put two and two together to come up with eight, but my own personal pet theory (MOPPeT) is that it's a combination of the "water-being" Wonder Woman and company saw in the last issue (that looked like Aquaman) and the power of Jarhanpur somehow stolen from the Rama Khan. In any case, it's set a trap, using the skeleton of Superman, for the new Justice League.

Now, to review:

  • The sea level in Japan dropped over 10 feet in 24 hours, causing massive destruction, which the League is fighting.
  • Zatanna is being controlled by something that claims to represent Atlantis.
  • Jason Blood realized that the JLA Watchtower was defenseless against magic, and put up spells to protect it.
  • Nightwing was given specific instructions from Batman to not search for the original Justice League, but is chomping at the bit to do so.
  • Tempest is quickly taken out by the being controlling Zatanna.
  • The Atom figures out that the water in the world is being "flushed" to Atlantis.
  • The monster in Atlantis puts Superman's skeleton on Zatanna's vid-feed, with a trident through it that says "COME". Looks like bait to me.

JLA #72: The Obsidian Age: Part Four

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HISTORY IS WRITTEN BY...

Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 25 September 2002, cover date Late November 2002.

Back in the Age of Obsidian, the League of Ancients drinks to victory, although Manitou Raven does not drink because the wine looks like blood to him. His loyalty is questioned by Gamemnae, and he is defended by Rama Khan.

Out by the reflection pool, Manhunter manages to learn from the now liquid Aquaman where the rest of the Atlanteans are. Aquaman uses all his willpower to convey one thought to J'onn: "Free my people".

Meanwhile, Kyle is still having doubts, and a delirious Batman only makes his terror worse.

The League finally is ready to take action, having learned that the modern Atlanteans have been imprisoned and turned into slaves by the ancient Atlanteans and Gamemnae, who also took Aquaman away from them. It's clear from Mera's story that Gamemnae knew what she was doing to both Aquaman and the modern Atlanteans.

However, the modern League is a little too late, as the Ancients have found the Flash and made him pay dearly while the rest of the League was away.

NOTES:

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I guess I lose my bet. The water-creature in the reflection pool is Aquaman after all.

Manitou Raven seems determined to figure out the truth of what is happening around him. He is apparently using flies to spy on Gamemnae and Rama Khan, as well as keep tabs on what is happening at the reflection pool. Gamemnae seems to recognize this, and kills the flies. There is definitely something going on between the two.

Rama Khan describes his dream/prophecy that led to the formation of the League of Ancients. He saw Jarhanpur in ruins, an event that did occur in JLA #64, when Wonder Woman stole the heir. Is this the event that Rama Khan sees? If so, how does forming a League help prevent that future? Also, at one point, Rama Khan says that there are visions, and there are dreams... I'm wondering if Gamemnae is manipulating Rama Khan through his dreams, and he's resisting? This would explain why he claims the prophecy of Jarhanpur in ruins started out as a dream.

The real shocker of the issue is the fate of the Atlanteans from the future (ok, it's not the real shocker, but it's second). Mera, Lori Lemaris, and Vulko are all present, and Mera describes what happened to them fifteen years ago. Yes, the JLA arrived fifteen years after the modern Atlanteans did. In any case, the modern Atlanteans have become the slaves of the ancient Atlanteans, who are using them to reinforce the foundations of the new Atlantis to make sure it never sinks again.

Mera also describes how Gamemnae took Aquaman away, and was the visible villain in all the events that followed. With Mera's viewpoint added in, it sure seems that Gamemnae isn't all she seems. She's worse. Also, Rama Khan doesn't seem to know that there is a person trapped in the reflection pool. He's confused as to why the modern League would be interested in it.

And then comes the real shocker. Look at that last page again. Tell me, does Wally have any legs left?

Now, to review:

  • Why hasn't Batman recovered, if Kyle has?
  • Who is Gamemnae? More than any of the others, she's the key to the mystery of the Obsidian Age. This issue clearly is leading readers to believe that she's the true villian of the story.
  • Aquaman's big plan was to send modern Atlantis into the Golden Age of Atlantis if it was ever threatened, and plans were made to minimize the impact of the future on the past. All that went out the window when the modern Atlanteans ended up in a different past than they expected.
  • Apparently the modern city of Poseidonis was actually destroyed in the Imperiex attack during Our Worlds At War, since only the inhabitants were sent to the past.
  • Mera believes that the Chronicles of Atlantis have been altered to omit Gamemnae and the events of the Obsidian Age.
  • Mera thinks that Aquaman felt a kinship with Gamemnae because of her blonde hair. This implies that Gememnae is Atlantean, and that she must have powers similar to Aquaman's.
  • What was Lori doing in Poseidonis? She's from Tritonis. And if she's there, where are S'ona and Iquila (King and Queen of Tritonis)?
  • What happened to all the Ancient Tritonians? Did Gamemnae give them legs?
  • Why isn't Mera fighting alongside the JLA when they attack at the end?
  • The cosmic reset button will have to be pushed at the end of this storyline. Why? Just look at Wally.
  • MOPPeT: Gamemnae may have co-opted Tempest's spell to bring the modern Atlanteans into her timeline.
  • MOPPeT: Tempest isn't responsible for the paradox at all. Gamemnae is.
  • MOPPeT: The mud-creature in the future is an incarnation of Gamemnae. Yeah, I'm just going to pile all the blame on her...

Atlantis Chronicles

I've been asked how this all ties into the Atlantis Chronicles. The short answer is: It doesn't. It doesn't need to.

According to Haumond, talking with Solon the Greek in Atlantis Chronicles #6, Honsu the Great attempted to conquer Egypt 9000 years before their time. Solon died in 559 BC, which makes Honsu's era over 11,500 years before the "current" time (and makes Atlan a really old man indeed). That's 8,500 years before Obsidian Age.

Even if we assume that Solon misunderstood (or that Peter David recorded it wrong in the Atlantis Chronicles), the Sea People attacked Egypt in our timeline about 1190 BC, which is still a good 190 years off of the 3000 years the JLA are working with. Indeed, it actually makes sense if Honsu attacked in 1190 BC for the Egyptians to still have not forgotten, and when Poseidonis rises be willing to attack as they did in JLA #70.

All in all, this story so far has had no impact on the events in Atlantis Chronicles, though obviously there will be an impact if the timeline of Gamemnae and a surfaced Poseidonis continues. The Atlantis Chronicles only shows three time periods past Honsu's war. One is the death of Haumond soon after Solon visits Egypt, one is the appearance of a mermaid during Columbus' voyage, and the last is the events leading up to the birth of Aquaman.

JLA #73: The Obsidian Age: Part Five

LAST CALL

Atlantis Written by Joe Kelly, art by Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst, cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 9 October 2002, cover date Early December 2002.

Responding to the image of Superman's skeleton, the new JLA ventures into Atlantis and Nightwing confirms that the skeleton is, indeed, Superman's. They then meet the mud-creature, who says it wants "Atlantis to guide the course of human destiny" and that it wants to "sit upon that magnificent throne as the undisputed Queen of the World". The JLA quickly takes down the creature when it attacks, and starts to investigate its nature.

Unfortunately, they underestimate it badly. It frees itself with a spell from Zatanna, and Disaster is captured and "absorbed" by the thing. Green Arrow and Firestorm are injured, and Jason Blood uses a spell to attack it and free Zatanna.

American President Lex Luthor, however, isn't impressed by the JLA's performance, and orders the city nuked. The JLA apparently perishes, but the creature survives.

Luckily for the JLA, though, they are rescued by a 3000 year-old ring construct of Green Lantern. The construct was designed to bring the new League up-to-date on what happened to the old League and kick off a plan to battle the mud-creature.

NOTES:

The stories are coming together, as the mud-creature is probably Gamemnae, the only female mage with ties to Atlantis in the other storyline. Jason Blood says she's cast a "quagmire", a fleshspell that allows her to physically absorb the strength of other people. He says there are at least nine people absorbed. Let's see... Tempest, Zatanna, the original JLA... yup, that could be nine. So what happened to the JLAncients?

The Earth is in serious peril when the JLA goes in to confront muddy-girl. It's beginning to wobble out of its orbit because all the water on the planet is being drawn to Atlantis. The Atom indicates to Nightwing that they don't have much time to fix the problem.

Each time we see the mud-creature, it has a number of bodies sticking out of it's right shoulder. They aren't drawn so you can tell who they might be. Zatanna is more obvious, as she somehow is able to keep her hat on and part of her upper body free.

Firestorm encases the mud-creature in "Prometheum" but she frees herself using Zatanna's power.

At one point Hawkgirl indicates that she can see Zatanna and Tempest in the creature's back, but the art only shows Zatanna.

When Jason Blood attacks the mud-creature, he tells Nightwing to "protect her... she's more powerful than you know!" Is he referring to Zatanna, whom he frees with his spell, or Faith? By the same token, is the bombing by Luthor a result of Luthor's impatience, or did the mud-creature use Disaster's powers to bring on the bombs?

At the very end of the issue, we see the Green Lantern construct's unlikely ally: Manitou Raven. He's wearing a strange skull headress, but it's him underneath, you can see his face. He's also holding a glowing green heart. Yuck.

Now, to review:

  • The Earth is in serious danger of being thrown out of orbit if the "flushing" of water to Atlantis continues.
  • The mud-creature is totally insane, having absorbed too many people.
  • Jason Blood refuses to call in Etrigan, but does attack the mud-creature with a spell.
  • The mud-creature really wants Zatanna back, and claims that Disaster is more powerful than they realize.
  • Luthor bombs Atlantis with a muon wash, designed to destroy all organic matter but leave the buildings intact. The mud-creature is unaffected.
  • A Green Lantern ring construct "ghost" saves the League, but claims to barely have enough energy to bring them up-to-date.
  • The set-up of Raven versus Gamemnae is complete: Gamemnae is present as the mud-creature, Raven is hiding in a mystical cave.

JLA #74: The Obsidian Age: Part Six

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OBSIDIAN

Written by Joe Kelly, art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 23 October 2002, cover date Late December 2002.

The modern Justice League was on the attack, but were thrown completely off-guard by the sight of a legless Flash being held by the League of Ancients. Superman makes one last attempt to talk before the Ancients attack and the battle is on.

Unfortunately for the modern League, the Rama Khan of Jarhanpur has some sort of mystical connection with his heir who fought the League 3000 years in the future, and so he knows how to fight them in the past. He takes out Manhunter with fire, while the Golem battles Superman with magic.

Manitou Raven notices that Gamemnae isn't doing all she can in the battle. Coupled with evidence he got from Batman when the League of Ancients took out Flash earlier, and with the added evidence of Kyle Lantern's obvious desire to protect innocents, he decides to help the modern league. By ripping Kyle's heart out while he still lives.

After the battle, while everyone else is celebrating, Raven goes to the reflection pool that is a prison for Aquaman. Gamemnae confronts him there, intending to absorb him, as she already has absorbed Rama Khan, but he escapes into the pool to warn Aquaman, then to his secret cave to prepare for the future battle.

NOTES:

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No doubt about it now. The mud creature of modern Atlantis is definitely Gamemnae. She starts with Rama Khan. During the battle, she allowed Plastic Man to suffocate Rama Khan resulting in brain death, which was apparently one of the signs that Manitou Raven interpreted to choose his path. After the battle, she absorbed Rama Khan, though she tells Raven he feels no pain. After Raven escapes her, she goes to absorb the other Ancient Leaguers.

We learn the whole plan from Gamemnae when she confronts Raven at the reflection pool. She tells him that she did it for Atlantis. She was horrified when the future Atlanteans appeared and were water breathers, because it meant that Atlantis would sink beneath the waves again despite her efforts to raise it. When Aquaman defied her, she turned him into water and imprisoned him in the pool... and in the process learned about the future League and realized they would come to rescue him. So she made up a story about a group of future destroyers who were coming into the past, and used Rama Khan's convenient nightmares to bolster her story. She gathered up a League of all the powers that could threaten her Atlantis and set them to protecting it. And when the future league died, the Ancient league was weakened enough for her to absorb...

Most of this issue is battle, and we have narration from two sources. Martian Manhunter provides one set and Raven provides the other. After the battle, we also hear from the scribes of Atlantis, celebrating the victory.

Raven needs three signs to believe that he should help the modern League. The first sign was apparently during the attack on Batman and Flash. Raven's tomahawk cannot pierce the skin of a good man, and couldn't injure Batman. The second may have been Gamemnae's hesitation in saving Rama Khan during the battle. The third was Kyle trying to save innocent Atlanteans, even though they hated him.

Not much Aquaman in this one. Only two panels. When Raven enters the pool, we see Aquaman carving "JLA" in the bottom of the pool. Raven then holds up a JLA pin and tells him to prepare.

Despite all the other deaths, Kyle might have been able to defeat the League of Ancients. Raven used his powers to talk Kyle into sacrificing himself. Using Kyle's heart, the Raven prepares a spell that brings back the ghosts of six leaguers. Plastic Man seems to be gone for good.

One more issue to go...

JLA #75: The Obsidian Age: Part Seven

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TRAGIC KINGDOM

Written by Joe Kelly, art by Doug Mahnke, Yvel Guichet, Darryl Banks, Dietrich Smith, Tom Nguyen, Mark Propst, Wayne Faucher, and Sean Parsons & cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen.

Shipped 20 November 2002, cover date January 2003.

In the past, the ghosts of the JLA help Manitou Raven to cast the containment spell that allowed history to proceed without the influence of Gamemnae and the Obsidian Age. In the present, Gamemnae threatens the world with complete dehydration if they don't bow to her whims. And in Manitou's cave in the present, Manitou explains to the modern league that they've got to travel back into the past, to the point right after he casts the containment spell, and defeat Gamemnae there. Meanwhile, in the present, something must keep Gamemnae distracted, and that would be the ghosts of the dead leaguers using their own bodies to fight, since the dead can't be absorbed.

So, the plan goes into action, and part of the modern league travels to the past to free Aquaman. Luckily, Firestorm figures out what to do.

And in the present, the dead leaguers are given back their bodies by Gamemnae so she can absorb them, which is exactly what they wanted her to do. And Jason Blood, who was absorbed, finally lets loose Etrigan.

And in the past, Aquaman reaches the open sea. Still a water wraith, he's now literally the entire ocean. And he chooses to sink Atlantis again to end the Obsidian Age.

In the present, Gamemnae realizes through sudden memories of the past, that she's lost. She decides to destroy the world by pushing it out of orbit, but Manitou has prepared the magic lasso so that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter can pull the planet back to where it ought to be. They won't succeed, but Manitou makes one last sacrifice to revive Kyle and he puts it right with his own and Raven's power.

And the thanks for Aquaman for rescuing his people from slavery and putting Atlantis back in its place is... well, not his kingship, let's put it that way. Gonna have to read Aquaman #1 for that bit, aren't you?

NOTES:

First problem: When Raven casts the containment spell in the Obsidian Age, there is nothing to replace Atlantis. Therefore, in the future world before the containment spell was broken, Atlantis should not exist. And yet, the Atlanteans from the future went to the past, so they clearly do exist... are you seeing the paradox yet? I guess the explanation for this is the same thing I said at the very beginning of this review. It was the present Atlanteans travel back into time that formed the paradox in the first place. All the events had to happen, but a paradox only existed while the present Atlanteans were in the past. Therefore, before the Atlanteans travelled into the past, Gamemnae had already been defeated 3000 years ago. The containment spell only existed because the modern Atlanteans were in the past, and only existed in the present while the modern Atlanteans were in the past.

Second problem: Despite Gamemnae getting defeated in the past, she still somehow existed in the present long enough to bring back the JLA and push the world out of orbit. Another paradox, and probably one solved by the same reason as above.

Next, when did Aquaman return to the modern era, and how did he get his body back? Probably for the same reason given in the book as to why the ancient Atlanteans don't drown: when Gamemnae's link to the land was broken, her spells started to break. When Aquaman goes through the portal, and I'm guessing he went after everyone else, he got his body back.

Ok, enough with the complaining... one last nitpick though. WHY ON EARTH DOES GAMEMNAE KEEP CALLING MANITOU "INDE"???!?? Someone give Joe Kelly a history book. The name "Indian" wasn't applied to the natives of North America until L-O-N-G after Gamemnae's time. I thought, throughout the first few issues, that he must come from India, but he's definitely a North American native. It made no sense, unless Manitou's tribe is called Inde or something. Gah. Irritating.

Manitou confirmed my suspicion that the Justice League vanishing into the past wasn't Tempest's fault. He tells Zatanna that Gamemnae was manipulating the mystics during that attempt. The first attempt, however, is still Tempest's. Oh well.

Firestorm freed Aquaman from the pool by creating a channel to the open ocean. Very nice thinking. See, Aquaman was turned into water, but the pool was the actual prison, not the spell that turned him into water. By freeing him from the pool, he was able to use his abilities as a water wraith against Gamemnae.

The modern Atlanteans, when they return to the present, are apparently still 15 years older. This is something I hope Veitch gets a chance to clear up in the Aquaman series. Unless going through the portal reversed the aging process, all the Atlanteans are older.

At the end of the story, two more surprises. First, Plastic Man is not dead. Second, Manitou Raven, the one in the past, travelled through the portal and wants to join the Justice League.

And last of all, the Atlanteans arrest Aquaman for treason: for sending the Atlanteans to the past, for allowing his people to be enslaved, and for sinking the ancient Atlantis. While Mera seems to be in charge of the arrest, I think that something else is behind the whole movement. That story, however, will be told in the pages of a different book.