As part of the Legion of Doom's plan to bring Doom on the Multiverse, the Cheetah and Black Manta found the Tear of Extinction, one of the seven forces necessary to unlock the Totality. Cheeta Drowned Earth is an Aquaman / Justice League crossover event featuring Aquaman and Atlantis.
The Death of Poseidon
As part of the Legion of Doom's plan to bring Doom on the Multiverse, the Cheetah and Black Manta found the Tear of Extinction, one of the seven forces necessary to unlock the Totality. Cheetah, bathing her claws in the Tear, gained a power able to kill a god, so that the plan could proceed. Cheetah and Manta went on to locate Poseidon, and kill him. Then, they used the key to the Graveyard of Gods to free three ancient alien deities, who ruled on the ocean on other planets. Wonder Woman and Aquaman, while in the Hall of Justice, found out about Poseidon's death and started thinking that their two nemeses were planning to hit them, just like Grodd and Sinestro did with Flash and Green Lantern. They learned that the Legion had plans in regards to the Graveyard of Gods, and so they started an expedition with other members of the League, leading them to the Arctic. During that mission, both Aquaman and Wonder Woman disappeared after Diana found a key to the Graveyard inside an ancient ship property of Atlantis' greatest hero Arion.
As soon as Diana and Arthur went missing, a crisis spreaded on Earth: the waters of all oceans were polluted with a strange substance able to turn any human being in a monstrous sea creature on contact. The place mostly in danger was Atlantis, given that its people were accustomed to life in the sea: Mera, the queen of Atlantis, did her best to stop the contagion of her subjects using her aquakinetic powers to protect the whole city. Meanwhile, the waters of Earth started to pour into the surface, contaminating cities around the world. The Justice League, coordinated by Batman, started to organize an evac plan worldwide, but had an hard time with stemming the crisis.
As the crisis worsened, Batman and Mera contacted each other, with the queen asking for Arthur's status. Batman reported that six hours before, both him and Wonder Woman went MIA during a mission in the Arctic. Batman then also learned that Mera was holding the whole city of Atlantis in an aquakinetic barrier, and tried to convince her to let go and come to the Hall, to organize a better plan of action. Soon though, the Triumvirate of Sea Gods, the perpetrators of the attack, sent squadrons of invaders to hit Earth: one of the attacks was on Atlantis, and Mera was forced against her will to let the barrier fade. Finding herself the only Atlantean not transformed, she had to flee as she also lost communication with Batman.
Meanwhile, the Titans, even if ordered by Batman to not act against the enemy but to only help with the evac, decided to follow Garth's plan and attack a ship of the invaders, to find out if there were any weak points to exploit in a counter-attack. While there, they met one of the gods in combat, Drogue, who would have killed them if not for Garth's atlantean magic, which saved them as the only power working against the deity. With Garth sacrificing himself to the transformation, the other Titans were able to flee thanks to Steel's Boom Room.
The Tear of Extinction
Without any ally, Mera decided to free the Ocean Master and asked for his help, as he knew Atlantis' lore better than anyone, maybe outside Arthur. Orm revealed her that a weapon which could be key to defeat the Triumvirate existed on Earth: it was the Tear of Extinction, hidden inside Arion's real tomb, which was not in Atlantis. Leading Mera to an ancient room Orm hid from his brother, the Ocean Master gave to the queen the Clarion, Arion's crown, to lead her to the location of the tomb so that she might find the Tear. As they were trying to escape from Atlantis, Orm was captured by Gall and transformed, with Mera once again alone.
Meanwhile, Arthur was prisoner in the Blood Reef, headquarters of the Triumvirate in space. Finding out the three alien gods made a pact with Black Manta, Aquaman was stripped of his powers by Tyyde, with his Life Force connection donated to Manta as compensation for their return. They were in fact prisoners of the Graveyard of Gods, but thanks to Manta they were now free, their ancient enemy Poseidon trapped there instead. In another place, drifting upon mysterious waters, was Wonder Woman, who decided to keep travelling until she found out where her friend Arthur was.
On Earth, Batman made again contact with Flash and Superman, as he discovered the location of a Space Kraken, the beast responsible for the poisoning of the waters. Clark and Barry reach then the Atlantic Ocean, trying to face the beast, but the monster and its master, Drogue, are too much of a challenge for the two heroes: Drogue's magic was weakening Superman, while Flash was bathed with the poisoned waters. They were rescued by Mera, and escaped together with her, with Flash able to resist the transformation, at least for a longer period than others, due to his Speed Force powers. They agreed upon following Mera to help her in the research for the Tear of Extinction, even if Superman believed the weapon to be the worst case scenario for a solution against the problem they were facing.
The Graveyard of Gods
As Earth was in shambles and the League dispersed, Lex and his Legion had the perfect chance to get into the Hall of Justice, stealing back the powerful Totality. The only defense inside the Hall was Batman, also severely injured thanks to his fight against Lex during the mission to retrieve the Totality. Wearing an old suit of Luthor stored inside the Hall, Batman was able to knock out Grodd, Sinestro and Joker, but failed to reach the Totality before Luthor and Cheetah could take it: in the end, the League lost the powerful artifact, with the Legion gaining once again the advantage in the Justice/Doom war.
Meanwhile, the Triumvirate decided to punish Aquaman, killing him by throwing Arthur into a space whirlpool. But they couldn't know that Wonder Woman would appear, rescuing Arthur. Once far from the Blood Reef, Aquaman revealed to Diana he had a plan: they would travel to the Graveyard of Gods using the key Diana found in Arion's ship in the Arctic, then they would meet Poseidon and hope that him, thanks to his powers, would be able to restore Aquaman's connection to the Life Force. Accessing the Graveyard, they met Poseidon who submitted Aquaman to a trial.
As Arthur surpassed the trial, Poseidon revealed to him the true story of Arion and the Triumvirate: encouraged by Arion's ideals of union and peace, Poseidon revealed to the ancient atlantean hero that Earth was the only planet to possess the Life Force, a power Poseidon possessed as god of the seas. Arion, in awe, decided he would put part of the Life Force inside his Clarion, to then deliver it in space for other planets struggling to develop life in their own ocean. But then, Poseidon was struck by fear and selfishness: he did not want to share his unique power with no one at all, so he convinced Arion that the alien gods who answered his call for union were evil, trying to trick him into giving them power so that they could come and conquer Earth.
In a fit of rage, Arion reverted the process of his plan, instead filling the Clarion with a power opposite to the Life Force: the Tear of Extinction. Then, he launched the Clarion in space, killing all life on the planets of the three alien gods, taking their lives as well. Since then, Atlantis stopped being a beacon of union and hope, instead replaced by a xenophobic society. Poseidon felt guilty about his action, now the cause of Earth's demise. He then used the last piece of his power to sent Diana and Arthur away before the Graveyard collapsed, due to the actions of Cheetah, telling Aquaman to bring the deity's trident with himself, bathing it into the Tear which remained hid inside Arion's body, to use it against the Triumvirate one more time.
The Tomb of Arion
Mera, Flash and Superman were able to find the tomb inside the Atacama Desert, but once there they found out the Tear was already a possession of someone else, soon revealed to be the Legion by Manta, who came to the place to kill Mera and the other heroes, also telling them he now had all the powers which were once property of Mera's lover, Aquaman. As the situation was desperate, with only Mera's powers saving them from contamination and Flash closer to complete metamorphosis, the Queen found out that the Legion did not extract all the Tear, and that some remained in Arion's bones. Taking it and bathing an aqua-sword with it, he caused the retreat of both Drogue and Manta.
Soon after, Aquaman and Wonder Woman helped Mera and the others escape from the tomb, with Arthur telling the true story of Arion to Mera. Also, Arthur told her that using the Tear to kill them once again might be the wrong course of action, instead favoring another approach: Aquaman wanted to plea for peace and understanding with them, offering Poseidon's trident as a sign of friendship as it contained the Life Force which was denied them in the first place. Mera, not convinced, accepted to give Arthur only one chance before using the Tear to kill the enemy.
A key part of the plan was for someone to travel to the center of the planet, using a mechanism to launch the towers of Atlantis so they could break the barrier the Triumvirate set to protect themselves from a counter. Once those barriers were destroyed, Aquaman would reach the gods and plea. Wonder Woman, given that the launcher was half a technology of Amazons, offered. Protected by Mera's powers, Diana reached the place, but was ambushed by Cheetah: the amazon was saved by Batman, and then launched the towers which broke the barriers.
With the barriers broken, the gods accepted Manta's suggestion to make a Death Kraken descend on Earth: a variant of the Space Kraken which polluted the Earth's ocean, this creature, like the Tear itself, had the power to extinguish life with his touch. As the League contained the menace, Arthur tried to reach with his mind the three alien deities, but failed. He still gained an important victory with his action: he was able to shake the Tear's influence on Mera, who was starting to be corrupted by its dark force. Mera, now herself once again, suggested then to Arthur to concentrate on the Clarion, trying to turn it back into a weapon of Life instead of Death.
Aquaman was successful in doing it, and then gave it to Mera, as only her could use the Clarion being the rightful ruler of Atlantis. Thanks to their actions, the Clarion broadcasted in all the universe the original message of Arion, now expressed with Mera's words. A message of life, union, community. This message shook the three alien gods, who remembered what they were: young deities trying to spread life on their planets, and not death. Accepting to end the conflict in peace, Manta betrayed them, killing both Drogue and Gall, while he also disobeyed the orders of Lex, who called him back to base.
Taking control of the Death Kraken, Manta wanted to obliterate life in the oceans, but found out that only Drogue could order the beast around, meaning Manta not only condemned all the life on Earth, but also himself. Asking to be transported away by the Legion, Manta was denied as Lex told him that who does not follow his orders cannot be a member of his Legion. As all seemed lost, Aquaman understood that only him, as bearer of the Life Force after Tydde restored his powers, could stop the Death Kraken, and so Arthur sacrificed himself for humanity.
With Earth safe once again and Mera rebuilding Atlantis, Wonder Woman told then his League comrades that Aquaman was not dead, but only missing and unreachable. She believed this because his death would be felt by everyone, as he was linked to the Life Force.
- Justice League (Volume 4) #10 (prelude)
- Aquaman (Volume 8) #41 (tie-in)
- Titans (Volume 3) #28 (tie-in)
- Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1
- Justice League (Volume 4) #11
- Aquaman (Volume 8) #42 (tie-in)
- Justice League (Volume 4) #12
- Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1
Links and References
|Aquaman Family Storyline|
This event or storyline is specifically related to Aquaman, or to members of the Aquaman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Aquaman Storylines category.
This event or storyline is specifically related to the Justice League of America, or to any other incarnations of the Justice League. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Justice League Storylines category.