“Injustice 2” the video game is out in stores, and the tie-in comics are coming out just in time. I’m going in to this with no knowledge of the new game, but enough of the first “Injustice: Gods Among Us” to jump into the story, so it’s time to see if this can live up to the standards its predecessor set.
Written by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Bruno Redondo
Ink by Juan Albarran
Colors by Rex Lokus
A new Suicide Squad has been assembled for a mission – but it doesn’t turn out to be the one they originally expected. Who is the mystery villain pulling their strings? Plus, has Batman really gone over the edge?
It’s no surprise that the Suicide Squad plays a big role in the comic, considering DC has been doing a lot to hype the squad after the movie, and the “Injustice 2” game involves a few characters from it. What is interesting is what they do with it – last issue ended with Batman busting in with guns blazing, so you know the status quo is about to shift.
Indeed, not even five pages in and the comic starts wracking up a body count. I don’t know what Waller was doing with some of her squad recruits, but the comic made sure to gather a few C-list villains with nicely explodable heads, including, of all people, Crazy Quilt, a villain so seldom used I had to google him just to double check if it really was him.
The first “Injustice” comic began with Superman shoving his fist through the Joker. This one begins with Batman exploding Crazy Quilt’s head. Quantity over quality of villains, perhaps?
Either way, it kicks things off well. There’s a fantastic panel where this version of Batman calmly strolls through a firefight as his new Suicide Squad tears through the surrounding security; he’s centered right in the middle of the panel and carnage, but there’s a perfect calmness about him while hell breaks loose all around.
Shortly after that, we get another excellent panel as the Batman we know appears. (Of course the Batman who casually murders people is a doppelgänger, probably from an alternate universe.) We get the iconic shot of Batman shadowed by lightning in the background, as his cape flaps around him in the wind. In the foreground, we see the other Batman, illuminated by the lightning bolt, as they face each other in the rain.
Indeed, Bruno Redondo’s artwork is perfect for this comic. There are some panels that are perfectly framed, particularly when Batman is involved. The combat scenes are dynamic and fluid, and every hit throughout the beatdown has force behind it. Even outside of combat, the panels and scenes move smoothly from one to the other, such as a transition from a wounded Batman on the ground to Bruce Wayne in a hospital bed, with each one framed at the exact same distance and angle to make the transition a smooth one.
Rex Lokus’s color work suits the comic nicely as well. The fight scenes look as good as they do thanks to his great use of darkness, illuminated with a slight light in the backgrounds and the glowing red from the alternate-Batman’s suit. The hospital scenes use white backgrounds, allowing the characters to stand out more, and cause the colors of their suits to really pop. And then there’s the wonderful use of a red glow in the last page, which I’l decline from spoiling here, but it makes for a great cliffhanger.
Outside of the setup with the alternate-Batman (who I will refer to as “Murderbat” for the time being), we get some good scenes with Bruce Wayne and his allies. Lex Luthor has left him with both a mission and a vast sum of money (because let’s be real, both Lex and Batman have “money” as their superpower), nicely setting him with another goal and motivation.
Then we get the reunion with Black Canary and Green Arrow. It’s an adorable scene, especially after Dinah’s apparent death in the first series of “Injustice” comics, and I love the scene where she hugs Batman while saying “come here, you emotionally stunted freak.” The fact that Batman actually returns the hug in the next panel makes it even better.Continued below
Of course, Oliver Queen is the goatee’d hero we all know and love, never afraid to talk truth to power and money (which he conveniently ends up getting a good amount of, too). Tom Taylor has got the voices and personalities of all the characters down pat. I can easily hear Kin Shriner (who voiced Green Arrow in “Justice League Unlimited”) speaking his lines, just as every other character is equally distinct.
Not to mention an adorable scene where Dinah proposes to Oliver to get them properly married, followed by a perfectly-timed “ew” from their son. Tom, please don’t kill them off again, I don’t think my heart could take it.
The setup for “Injustice 2” isn’t nearly finished, so there’s plenty more to see from the comic, but as far as tie-in comics meant to introduce a game goes, this is a great issue. Between Tom Taylor’s grasp of timing, characters, and drama, the great art and framing from Bruno Redondo, and the stellar choice of colors from Rex Lokus, it’s a comic that reads well and looks great. Most importantly, it gets me psyched for the “Injustice 2” game (if only I had a console for it).
Final Verdict: 7.9 – More than just a tie-in, this comic is a great read all on its own.