The Justice League is quite literally a fish out of water in Throne of Atlantis. This animated product was released January 27 and it continues in the world of DC Comics’ New 52. A bit of knowledge from the previous film, Justice League: War, helps establish a story arc that will span several films and just what Wonder Woman means about the Justice League being gods might see the light of day by the end of the year.
With this story’s focus on introducing Arthur Curry (voiced by Matt Lanter) as Aquaman, the rest of the heroes appearance really feels unimportant. Cyborg (Shemar Moore), Batman (Jason O’Mara), Superman (Jerry O’Connell) and crew are more like bit characters on a tale about who shall rule the seven seas. When a power struggle threatens the peace, it’s only the sea dwellers who will be concerned with how it will spill into a complete civil war. When Black Manta (Harry Lennix) is seen in cahoots with Orm, also known as Ocean Master (Sam Witwer), just what’s going on means somebody is pulling the strings.
When the world is recovering from the attempted alien invasion from Justice League: War, where Darkseid tried to conquer Earth, everything, including ocean life was affected. Perhaps a running joke here is that Throne of Atlantis is trying to mimic the Game of Thrones. Orm blames the death of his father, the king of Atlantis, on the human world. Queen Atlanna (Sirena Irwin) is the only ruler who wants a peaceful solution. However, just how Mantis is involved is never explained. He’s just there and the assumption by viewers not versed in the DC universe is that he is Atlantean. In addition to other glaring plot holes and geographical errors, the only real issue here is that this story feels like part of a greater conspiracy due to Mantis’ involvement.
For parents wondering if this cartoon is acceptable viewing for youths, it is not. This universe is getting even darker than the previous films and these direct to video releases is catering more to the young adult crowd too lazy to read the original comic books to which all these stories are being taken from. Death and destruction are abound when the call for war makes landfall. When Ocean Master resents the pacifist nature of Queen Mara, his attitude is simply like that for Brutus from Roman times for enacting the deed that would lead to revolution. And that would ultimately lead to having the people of Earth alerted to the fact that there they are not alone in the universe. With meta-humans everywhere, just what’s going to happen next for the homo sapien species may well be reflected in the excellent screenplay that’s been conceived.
When Diana starts to doubt her own thoughts about who the Justice League are from the previous film by saying, “We’re not like the gods, but we’re not like them [humanity] either,” there’s a sentimentality about the human’s plight too. Although these meta-humans can blend in as long as they do not reveal their powers, the theme of integration is an important one in the new 52 universe.
When the people all over the world find these heroes want to offer hope and goodwill, perhaps there’s a good reason to form a proper Justice League and build a watchtower to monitor large-scale criminal operations. Although the government wants to control them under a legislative act, just how well that can be maintained depends on when Amanda Waller will appear. As Cyborg once said, “There is no Justice League,” perhaps after this animated film’s case, they will unite proper to be the Superfriends that they must become.
To see how the New 52 is coming along in this new DC animated universe is a good one. Although it sadly displaces the much beloved Timmverse from long ago, at least creator Bruce Timm is lending his support in some upcoming productions. The next direct-to-video release, titled Gods and Monsters (due sometime later this year) will carry on the tradition and offer some unique Timm work to be released prior. Now the question is, just what will this new story entail?