Justice League: Drowned Earth, Batman, and The Sixth Dimension

Justice League writer Scott Snyder dishes on what fans should expect from the book after "Drowned Earth."

After almost a decade of exciting Batman stories, DC veteran Scott Snyder has finally been given access to the company’s entire pantheon of superheroes. Ten issues in, Snyder’s Justice League series has already given readers one mind-blowing epic about the creation of the DC universe as well as the dawn of Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom. Along the way, we’ve also witnessed the return of Starman to the DCU, Martian Manhunter’s new role as chairman of the League, and learned of humanity’s ultimate destiny. Needless to say, this isn’t a small book. 

Now that the first arc, “The Totality,” has come to an end, Justice League has now shifted focus to the five-part, Aquaman-centric “Drowned Earth” crossover event which sees the Earth flooded by an alien invasion force. The event kicks off today with Justice League #10, with art from Francis Manapul. 

We caught up with Snyder at NYCC 2018 to talk about Justice League, what’s going on with Starman, Batman’s killer “Professor X” wheelchair, and an upcoming arc of the book, which is called “The Sixth Dimension.”

When it comes to Snyder, it’s hard to not ask him a million questions about Batman. He’s spent so much time writing the Dark Knight, getting to know (and breaking) the character, so it shouldn’t surprise you that Snyder has big plans for Batman in upcoming issues of DC’s flagship team book. In fact, Snyder’s approach to future Batman Justice League scenes sounds hilarious. 

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“I love writing him on the team because I play him more for comic relief a little bit, you know?” Snyder says. “He actually is having some dark stuff happen to him, where, as much as we joke about it, he’s in a body cast right now.”

For those of you who don’t know or need a refresher, Batman recently had his body completely shattered during his fight against Luthor. Powered by the Totality’s incredible energy, Luthor dealt a blow that left Batman with quite a few broken bones. His limbs are basically useless, which means he’s been left out of the action, forced to wear a giant body cast that doubles as a high-tech wheelchair. But because this is Batman we’re talking about, it’s not just a wheelchair…

“I always wanted to do this, where he’s in a kind of ‘Professor X’ chair that holds his bones and muscles together. But that chair has all kinds of crazy ass weapons in it,” Snyder teases. Snyder, ever a student of “Chekhov’s gun,” plans to put Batman’s wheelchair to good use in upcoming issues of “Drowned Earth.” 

“The Legion of Doom actually attacks the Hall of Justice during our Aquaman arc. Batman is alone in there in his body cast, and he takes them all on in his body cast and it’s one of my favorite scenes,” Snyder says. “He’s just like, ‘Bring it! My weapons have weapons.'”

Snyder has made a name for himself, not only for his incredibly dark Batman stories (“Death of the Family,” “Endgame,” and Dark Nights: Metal to name just a few) but for the way he’s able to write the Caped Crusader for laughs. Batman is the kind of hero who is almost comical in his level of preparedness and Snyder knows it. But in order for a book like Justice League to work, Batman can’t just solve all the problems the team faces single-handedly. 

“I like playing him a little bit more off-center in Justice League, just to give other characters a chance to shine, because I feel like everyone thought I’d put Batman right at the center,” Snyder explains of his approach to Batman in the team book. After all, Batman can’t be the only focus of a series also headlined by Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter.

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Besides blowing up bad guys with his wheelchair, Batman’s also focused on figuring out the mystery behind Starman, who returned to the DCU in Justice League #8 in a shocking opening sequence that not only brought the character back but tied his origin story to the arrival of the Totality, a cosmic energy source that fuels the creation of universes. In a clever retcon, Will Payton’s powers are now forever tied to the strange energy. Naturally, Batman needs to get to the bottom of this mystery and figure out how Starman’s story ties into their current predicament against the Legion of Doom, which seeks the Totality for its own evil gains.

To do this, Batman’s using an unlikely ally to get inside Starman’s memories: Starro, the giant space-starfish supervillain who met his demise during the Justice League: No Justice event last spring but is back in a new form.

“[Batman]’s got a baby Starro with him because he found a fragment of Starro and it’s in a jar. They call it ‘Jarro.’ And he’s using it to extract memories from Starman and all this stuff, so it’s very kind of fun and over the top,” Snyder explains.

While Snyder teases all the funny moments to be had in the upcoming issues, there are some dark things coming down the line as well. After “Drowned Earth,” Snyder is leaving Earth to catch up with Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl on a mission to Thanagar Prime, the homeworld of DC’s hawk-themed characters. That arc will then give way to the next story, titled “The Sixth Dimension.”

Snyder spoiled a tiny bit of that story for us, including what Batman’s going through during the arc:

“Deep down, [Batman]’s actually really hurt by the fact that Lex beat him and broke his bones. This mystery and this challenge are a lot bigger than anything he’s faced as a street detective. So there’s a lot of fear right now and that’s gonna come out in a bigger arc that we’re gonna do in about issue 19 called ‘The Sixth Dimension.’ You start to see Batman’s fears and the damage that’s been done to him really come out in a way that’s not funny anymore, that really hurts.”

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What other adventures await the Justice League in “The Sixth Dimension?” We’ll just have to wait and see as the mystery of the Totality continues in the pages of Justice League

John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!