""Tragic Kingdom"": In Atlantis, 1043 BC, a baby girl is born with the Curse of Kordax: blond hair. As tradition dictates, the child is placed in a basket and sent to the surface. She was to be named Gamemnae, a name which will be stricken from the roles as curse
Synopsis for "Tragic Kingdom"
In Atlantis, 1043 BC, a baby girl is born with the Curse of Kordax: blond hair. As tradition dictates, the child is placed in a basket and sent to the surface. She was to be named Gamemnae, a name which will be stricken from the roles as cursed forevermore. Twenty-three years later Gamemnae returned to the city, and having learned fearsome magic in the meantime, raised the city above the waves. Then she gave the people a choice: suffer another catastrophe, or remain on the surface. She uses her magic to change her followers into air-breathers, and those who refuse suffocate in the air. She is referred to as "the Great Lady who conquered her people with sunshine and sea breezes."
Five years later, Aquaman and his Atlanteans arrive from the future. He meets her alone for talks, and she begins pumping for information. Fifteen years later, just after the defeat of the JLA, Gamemnae has absorbed most of her most of her followers. The last to fall is the Anointed One, whose last act is to denounce her. Just as she absorbs him, however, Manitou Raven creates the containment spell which will surround Atlantis for the next three thousand years, and buttresses it with the willpower of the Justice League. He muses, as he does so, that he is creating the spell he will siphon off to power his return to the past when he and Tezumak arrived in Daytona. He is left with mystification at the paradoxes that the world sometimes gives. His last act, before going into hibernation, is to speak top Aquaman begging forgiveness for his role in events and vowing to see that justice is done. Aquaman thanks him.
In the modern day, the worldwide drought has been active for two and a half days. In twelve hours, people will start dying. Firemen are desperately fighting fires on the lawn of the White House. For a few minutes, storm clouds form over Washington, and rain comes... but the raindrops stop halfway down, and retreats back up into the clouds. The clouds form the face of the earth creature, who reveals that it is Gamemnae, now freed from her imprisoned. Gamemnae demands the obedience of the Earth's people, or she will continue hoarding all the water.
On Atlatis, Nightwing's League is talking with Green Lantern and Manitou Raven, who is explaining that he preserved the souls of the League with "the sacrifice of a brother"—Green Lantern's heart. In addition, he explains that Gamemnae's magical prowess comes from her soul-bond with Atlantis, forged when she raised the city from the deeps. Since they cannot defeat her, they must destroy the link by sinking Atlantis sometime in the past. The only man with the right to make the decision is Aquaman, so they must rescue him too. And they need to fight Gemamnae in the present, to prevent from making good on her threats. Since her magic allows her to absorb any living foe, they must fight her with the dead. Batman gives one response: "Do it."
Gemamnae is about to contact the leaders of the world again, when she is attacked by the undead Justice League—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Martian Manhunter. Manitou Raven remembers thinking at the time that if their nobility hampered them but it was that same nobility which inspired him to help them. And that nobility sustained the containment spell for 3000 years to bring the fight to a world-destroying adversary. Manitou Raven and Zatanna forge the time-travel spell, locking it onto Manitou's own lifeline, to send Firestorm, Nightwing, Zatanna, Hawkgirl into the past, while Green Arrow and Faith stay in the present to run defense. Nightwing tells Faith that "the Fat Lady will have to sing," much to the puzzlement of Green Arrow.
In the past, Gamanae is spending her energy trying to break the containment spell, when it is shattered by the heroes from the future, much to her surprise. They can think of no way to free Aquaman, short of Firestorm changing the water into a solid and flying it away. Aquaman rises out of the water and tells them "the sea knows her king". Suddenly they are attacked by Gamemnae, who is intent on absorbing Manitou Raven and his power.
In the present, the League is beginning to lose ground, but their plan is working: Gamemnae is so eager to absorb them, she returns the undead Leaguers to life again. Faith is there to guard them while they recover, but she will not be enough on her own. Enter Green Arrow and Atom, with a large distraction: at Martian Manhunter's behest, Jason Blood trades forms with Etrigan, who is able to escape her spell because he is not alive in the human sense. Faith uses her powers to bully Etrigan into helping her. They must work fast, though, because the effects of Nightwing's journey to the past has already begun to alter the timeline.
In the past, Firestorm has had an idea: to carve a path from the pool to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing Aquaman some measure of freedom. Gamemnae decides to kill Manitou Raven in revenge, but she is stopped by Tezumak—the one member of the Ancient League with no innate skills or abilities. The blast cuts through his armor and he is dead within minutes. Before Gamemnae can respond, Aquaman rises out of the ocean. The spell is still extant, but now he has the entire Atlantic as his prison. Gamemnae tries to convince him to join her, but he will have none of it. He accuses her of turning "the strongest people on Earth into cowards" and admits that, for the good of the world, he must sink Atlantis.
In the present, The League are recovering from their undeath, and Faith and Etrigan have contained Gamemnae. The timeline catches up with her as she begins to remember the events of a new past—events paradoxical to her very existence. In desperation, she throws the water she was hoarding into space, disrupting the Earth's orbit. Manitou Raven remarks that he is ready to repent in word and deed. And the word is "Inukchuk".
Becoming a giant spirit, immune to her touch, he attacks Gamemnae at her own height. Increasing the size of Wonder Woman's lasso, he sends her, Superman and Martian Manhunter to drag the Earth back into orbit. Flash goes to the North Pole to absorb the stress they are putting on the Earth's surface.
In the past, Zatanna is sending the modern Atlanteans back to the present before Aquaman sinks Atlantis. As the continent sinks, Gamemnae's spells on the ancient Atlateans break, and they revert to water-breathers again. The other end of the portal is in the present, where modern Atlantis, Gamemnae and Manitou Raven are wiped out of existence as the timeline finally catches up. Green Lantern wakes up in time to restore the Earth's water to its rightful place, and Nightwing's heroes fly through the portal just before it closes, insisting that "no-one gets left behind." As Aquaman sinks Atlantis, Gamemnae's link to it vanishes, and she can no longer sustain her body-absorption spell. She dies along with the Ancient League as her abilities overtake themselves and her stolen power burns her alive.
In the present, the water level redistributes itself worldwide. Fires die out as water returns, and people flock to rain clouds and fountains. Poseidonis is returned to her rightful place, and all her surviving inhabitants with her. The heroes rejoice at their victory, and plans are already being made to find Plastic Man. Two surprise visitors then arrives: Manitou Raven and his beloved, Dawn, who somehow came through the portal as well.
In Atlantis, Aquaman is humbled by his people's example: after suffering 15 years of slavery, they are already rebuilding their city after less than a day home. Aquaman is reunited with his wife. However, this is bittersweet: as Queen of Atlantis, Mera is required to charge Aquaman for his hubris. He sent Atlantis into the past, and through this action, they were enslaved, had their history revealed as a sham, and were witness to the sinking of Atlantis by a hostile force: Aquaman himself. A reckoning is required.
Appearing in "Tragic Kingdom"
- Gamemnae (Final appearance; dies)
- Hera (Mentioned only)
- The League
- Poseidon (Mentioned only)
- The Presence (Mentioned only)
- Paris (Cameo)
- Jarhanpur (Mentioned only)
- United States of America
- Tokyo (Cameo)
- This issue shipped on November 20, 2002
- The "reckoning" Mera mentions was followed up in Aquaman (Volume 6). It begins with Aquaman exiled from Atlantis and the oceans. He was ultimately asked to come back, but he did not automatically accept, and thanks to the events of Infinite Crisis never officially returned.
- Justice League Recommended Reading
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Justice League of America (Volume 3)
- Justice League of America (Volume 4)
- Justice League of America (Volume 5)
- JLA (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 2)
- Justice League (Volume 3)
- Justice League (Volume 4)
- Justice League International (Volume 1)
- Justice League International (Volume 2)
- Justice League International (Volume 3)
- Justice League Europe (Volume 1)
- Justice League America (Volume 1)
- Justice League Task Force (Volume 1)
- Justice League Quarterly (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 2)
- Extreme Justice (Volume 1)
- Justice League Elite (Volume 1)