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Comic Book / Throne of Atlantis

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Two brothers, one throne.
Throne of Atlantis is a New 52 Bat Family Crossover between Justice League (2011) and Aquaman. It is written by Geoff Johns.

When a US Navy missile drill goes wrong for unknown reasons, it sends multiple missiles into the ocean and strikes Atlantis. Their king, Ocean Master, takes it as a declaration of war and initiates ocean-to-surface war tactics that both he and his brother, Aquaman wrote up years ago. Atlantis sends giant tsunamis through many coastal cities including Gotham City, Metropolis and Boston; planning to invade and eventually sink the city hit the hardest. When Ocean Master surfaces in Boston, it is up to Aquaman and the Justice League to end his attack on the surface world.

It got a loose Animated Adaptation in the form of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and a loose Live-Action Adaptation in the form of Aquaman.

Throne of Atlantis provides examples of:

  • Bat Family Crossover: As noted in the introduction. It's also worth noting that this is Johns' first Bat Family Crossover since 2004's Hawkman/JSA: Black Reign where he's the sole writer.
  • Batman Gambit: The one behind the missile drill mishap that started all this was Vulko, Aquaman's loyal friend. They did this so Aquaman would embrace his birthright and become king of Atlantis again.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Dr. Shin is initially ecstatic about the invasion since it proves he's been right all along about the existence of Atlantis. But then he sees the devastation in progress and his excitement turns to horror. He wanted vindication for his theories, but not like this.
  • Big Bad: Vulko, who engineered the entire war to get revenge on Atlantis for exiling him and force Arthur to take the throne.
  • Broken Faceplate: During the conclusion, Aquaman smashes Orm's crown to pieces.
  • Cain and Abel: Arthur and Orm. They care about each other, they really do. But Orm is a full Atlantean and raised there to be king. Arthur is a human-Atlantean and was raised on land, but also for a time ruled the sea as well. They don't want to fight, but their ideals are so different it throws them into battle.
  • Cassandra Truth: Arthur tries to tell Orm that Vulko was the one who orchestrated the missile attack, not the United States. Orm initially plays this straight, then subverts it when he acknowledges that even if Arthur's telling the truth about Vulko, it only confirms for him that the surface world corrupts everyone.
  • Clark Kenting: When Superman makes Wonder Woman a civilain identity, he gives her a pair of glasses to hide her face. She's skeptical, but is surprised when it works.
  • Continuity Nod: The Trench from Aquaman's first story arc of the New 52 make a reappearance.
  • Continuity Overlap: Again, the crossover ran concurrently with the events of The Flash: Gorilla Warfare — thereby preventing Barry from being on hand to combat the invasion.
  • Continuity Snarl: Shazam is among the heroes Cyborg sends out the SOS at the end of Part 3. Yet, Trinity War will later make it clear that the League hasn't encountered Billy Batson's alter ego before.
  • The Dreaded: Batman to a pre-Justice League Arthur. Even though they hadn't met when he drew up the Atlantean war plans, Bats had built up enough of a reputation at the time that Arthur considered him a potential threat to any invasion.
  • False Flag Operation: Touched on in Part 4 when Batman and Arthur wonder if Orm deliberately triggered the missile launch. Subverted in that they don't speculate he was looking for an excuse to tackle the surface world. They're ultimately right about the launch be deliberately triggered, but Orm's not the culprit.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Dead King's Scepter and its ability to control the Trench. This builds on hints from Johns' first year on Aquaman that they have a connection to ancient Atlantis. The exact connection won't be revealed until Aquaman #24.
    • When the Atlanteans entrap Diana, Superman angrily responds with heat vision. This foreshadows his reaction to Dr. Light accidentally blasting Diana during Trinity War.
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked in-story during Part 4. Cyborg wonders why Orm is trying to sink Boston with Atlantean nukes if he has the Dead King's Scepter, a relic that had previously been revealed to have the power to sink continents. He and Arthur quickly realize that can only mean Orm doesn't have the Scepter — nor is he controlling the Trench.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: The first strike of the Atlantean war plans is to use giant tsunamis to flood the most heavily populated areas on the east coast. These include Gotham, Metropolis, and Boston.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: When Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Aquaman are captured by Ocean Master, Cyborg connects to the Grid to call for more heroes to aid the League. They include Element Woman, Hawkman, Black Lightning, Vixen, Zatanna, Black Canary, Firestorm, The Atom, and Goldrush.
  • The Good King: Even though Orm thinks lowly of humans, he is shown towards Atlantis to be nothing but benevolent. He took a threat to a boy to be very serious business and has him returned safely to his mother. Almost any Atlantean that talks of him speaks very highly of him as well.
  • Magic Staff:
    • Ocean Master's scepter controls the storms.
    • The Dead King's Scepter can unleash seismic waves across great distances. Aquaman believes Orm intends to use it to generate a massive earthquake and sink the continent. Since Vulko is the one in possession of the Scepter, this thankfully never happens.
    • It's implied that the Dead King's Scepter controls the Trench, given that Vulko commands said creatures as part of his gambit. Aquaman's comics would later reveal that this aspect of the Sceptre does not have a magic component at all. The weapon is just a symbol of the true king of Atlantis, whom the Trench are instinctively compelled to obey.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It's revealed that Vulko was the one who hired Black Manta to recover the Dead King's Scepter during the events of Aquaman: The Others.
  • Mask of Power: Ocean Master's crown controls the oceans.
  • Mle Trois: Initially, the battle is between the Justice League and Atlantis. Then the Trench are freed from their watery prison and attacks both sides. When Aquaman becomes king again, he orders Atlantis to ally with the League and fight the Trench.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Cyborg has his father add eviromental protection modes to him so he can rescue the rest of the Justice League after they've been captured and taken to the bottom of the ocean. At the beginning of the story, he turned the upgrade down because it required replacing his remaining lung, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Aquaman somehow summons a school of red-bellied piranha in the middle of Africa.
  • Never My Fault: Despite orchestrating the attack, Vulko holds Dr. Shin ultimately responsible for the invasion. He feels that his action would not be necessary if not for Shin outing Arthur to the world and setting the events in motion that have brought them to this point.
  • Oh, Crap!: The entire world's reaction to the attempted Atlantic invasion and Aquaman's subsequent defeat of Ocean Master. In the fallout, everybody is left scared shitless of Arthur, finally realizing just how dangerous and powerful he is.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Mera gets one when she tries to push back the flood in Gotham.
  • The Purge: The Atlantean war plans include a hit list of surface dwellers that would pose the biggest threat to the invasion. Batman and Dr. Stephen Shin are the top targets.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: With the League at the bottom of the ocean, the hero reinforcements are an unorganized mess with no one leading them. Once the League returns, they start to get organized under their leadership.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Ocean Master is the king of Atlantis and is a force to be reckoned with. Having equipment that allows him to control the seas and the storms also helps. Aquaman becomes king when he fights his brother until he yields.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ocean Master, the king of Atlantis, leads the assault on the surface world. When Aquaman defeats him and becomes king, he orders Atlantis to stand down and sends the Trench back where they came from.
  • Sequel Hook: The conclusion foreshadows the creation of the government-controlled Justice League of America and the Secret Society of Super-villains.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The Atom only appears in a single panel, but plays a critical role disabling one of the bombs Orm had set on Boston. She would go on to have a much bigger role in Forever Evil (2013).
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • Cyborg agrees to have his body modified so he can breathe underwater. Unfortunately, the upgrade forces him to relinquish his lung, one of his few remaining organic components.
    • Downplayed with Superman and Wonder Woman, who have a conversation with Aquaman at the bottom of the ocean. Their speech bubbles have rough edges and their lines consist of a few short words, suggesting that they are doing their best to conserve oxygen.
  • Treacherous Advisor: It turns out Arthur's traditionally closest Atlantean political ally, Vulko, is the mastermind of the attack.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After forcing Orm to concede defeat, Arthur has him turned over to the human authorities. Orm is absolutely blown away by his brother's decision even though he gave up the fight.
  • Written-In Absence: The Flash is absent from the League's ranks during the invasion. It's acknowledged by Barry in the aftermath when he explains that he was defending Central City from an assault by Gorilla Grodd.