Director Howard Hawks described a good movie as having “three great scenes and no bad ones.” This issue of Injustice: Gods Among Us has such incredible, standout moments that I was immediately reminded of that quote upon finishing this satisfying read. Yes, there are a few blemishes here and there, but on the whole, Injustice: Gods Among Us #10 is one of the best books I read this month.
While Injustice: Gods Among Us is released weekly, the transition between chapters is usually quite seamless when it comes time for the collected print edition that binds a month’s worth of episodes together. However, issue #10 featured some of the most jarring transitions between chapters not just in terms of artistic duties changing between pencillers but in the overall tone of the story. Honestly, I think the issue would’ve benefited by dividing these sections up with different title/credit pages because otherwise there isn’t a great flow between each 1/3 of the comic. Everything here is good, but its parts didn’t feel like they belonged together as a complete picture.
The issue picks up where we left off when Superman and his team discovered that Martian Manhunter had infiltrated their base disguised as Hawkgirl. In these opening pages Superman, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, and all the others discuss the best course of action to take while Damian offers insight into his father’s mind. Rather than go on the defensive, Superman decides it’s time to strip Batman of his anonymity and make a live broadcast declaring that Bruce Wayne is indeed the Dark Knight. The chess game being played between Batman and Superman is genius, often bad ass, and even funny at times. It’s so incredibly refreshing to see a hero vs. hero confrontation that doesn’t immediately resort to hand-to-hand combat. Watching their strategies unfold is far more entertaining in my opinion as we’ve seen Batman use kryptonite or don a mech-suit in these situations way too many times in the past. This segment featured one of my favorite moments of not only the entire issue but from the entire month in general: Project Icarus. Read the book to find out what I’m talking about.
The next portion, which arises somewhat abruptly, deals with the aftermath of Project Icarus but more importantly it’s about the fate of Martian Manhunter. This was a terrific showcase of just how formidable J’onn is and it answers the question of why we never saw him in the video game. Watching Martian Manhunter out maneuver the Justice League at every turn is a real thrill and it reminds me of how unfortunate it’s been to see this character so under used in the New 52– that does seem to be changing though.
For the finale, the comic shifts gears dramatically by giving us a flashback to a time when the Superman of Injustice was more like the Christopher Reeve Superman that fans all know and love (he’s even wearing a suit similar to the one seen in the Donner films). This is probably the first time in the game or the comic based on the game that Superman has actually felt 100% true to character and writer Tom Taylor proves that he is perfectly capable of delivering a classic Superman tale that’s heartwarming and inspiring. But since we all know that this Superman is doomed to lose everything important to him and break bad, these touching scenes come off as bittersweet. Still, watching Superman help a young boy fix his bicycle? That was a charming albeit very unexpected way to top off this comic.
As for the presentation of these stories, we do have a number of mistakes. For one, the cover reads that Jheremy Raapack illustrated a portion of the book when he didn’t. Artist Bruno Redondo is the one who actually deserved credit. Then there’s moment during the Superman/bicycle story in which speech bubbles are wrongly assigned. And there was a scene in which Batman steps through a waterfall (or I assume that’s what happened because there was quite the jump between the comic gutters) and yet is completely dry.
Each artist is quite unique from the other and the visuals aren’t quite so cohesive, but that’s forgivable since the comic really does feel like 3 stories in one. Derenick’s segment, with it’s denser linework, close-ups, and emphasis on shadows brought a great deal of intensity to Project Icarus. Miller’s finer lines and detailed, kinetic imagery made for an emotional and compelling fight scene but I particularly liked the juxtaposition of J’onn’s world ending alongside Superman’s loss of Lois. Then, lastly, there’s Redondo whose pages are practically glowing thanks to some lovely color work that makes the pleasant imagery all the more nostalgic. I wish that the New 52 Superman looked more like this.
- You loved the video game
- You want to see the most devastating tweet ever tweeted
- Martian Manhunter manhandling the Justice League is always a good show
- You want to see a really great, lighthearted Superman short (Truly one of the best Superman moments I’ve seen in a while and it’s VERY surprising that it happened in this series, which is known for its out-of-character Superman)
- You want to know why I think “Project Icarus” is one of the most bad ass things Batman has done this year
Tom Taylor’s Injustice: Gods Among Us continues to outshine the video game it was based.