Print issue No. 6 collects the Digital Firsts 11 & 12, “Power Shift” and “Casualties of War”.  Hal Jordan and John Stewart race to Utah in a desperate attempt to prevent a massacre and it looks like Superman’s newly minted relationship with Sinestro might already be going sour.

Meanwhile word of the start of all-out war will soon be getting back to the Batman camp via Guy Gardner and Black Canary’s reconnaissance, and Gordon continues small steps toward taking back Gotham in a really big way. Batwoman and Catwoman also make an appearance (albeit briefly).

The Good

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Don’t do it, Harvey!

One of the things I really love about Rex Lokus’ palette for this series is the tones he uses for demarcating the various locations/scenes. Gotham is consistently muted in the average panels (lots of greys and browns), and then explodes with oranges and reds whenever something really dramatic happens. Also, the battle scene in Utah (slowly turning to dusk throughout the action) takes on somber deep blues by the end of the book. I absolutely love that the attention to detail in terms of the time of day has been observed here: you literally see the sun set on any hope of a peaceful resolution (how’s that for a metaphor?).

As for the story, you could teach a great class in writing for maximum tension and suspense using this series as the primary text. Seriously: did you see the preview? Watching Harvey Bullock stand up to Superman’s curfew stormtrooper was a nail-biter. Because this is Injustice, by God, and anyone can die. And even though I don’t even personally like Harvey, knowing the impact his death could have on Gordon and Batman is kind of a big deal.

Can’t stand it? Want to turn the page?

Spoiler

Okay, so he’s a little beat up but he’ll be fine (for now). And even though I am a little cruelly disappointed (clearly I have a yen for blood), it was all kinds of worth it to see him hobbling out of the hospital trying to keep his butt from hanging out of the back of his gown. As usual, this series’ comedic timing is impeccable. Even as the world is falling apart around everyone’s shoulders, Taylor finds an appropriate moment to let the audience feel a little safe and take a breath.

And the Harvey Bullock scene isn’t the only edge-of-your-seat moment in this. Tom Taylor threads peril everywhere as the battle in Utah comes to an oh-so-tenuous cease fire only to see flaring tempers and Sinestro’s call for executions. And even though I knew what was coming in the final moments of the book, I still felt my stomach lurch as I turned the page.

Spoiler

Gordon takes the super-strength pill and Harvey unloads his piece right at Gordon’s head. Dang this book is good. Are you reading it? Why aren’t you reading it? Go get it. Now!

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Just. Awesome.

The Bad

Some might find Jordan and Stewart’s intervention to be a little bit of a thrill kill, but it’s really just there to throw some shoes in the machinery so that the creative team can crank up the tension. This book is intense. As an impressionable child, I would have been deeply affected by the events thus far. Heck, as an adult, I get emotional when reading this book!

But back to the bad: So, Gotham has no money problems because the Batman camp is filthy rich. This is a little disappointing, but not that big of deal, I guess. I mean, Batman is filthy rich, so of course resources aren’t going to be a problem. It just seemed a wee bit easy and quickly dismissive to assure the former GCPD that things like salaries (and presumably benefits?) won’t be a problem for their anti-Superman rebellion.

The Ugly

Guy Gardner’s on the cover again. Fighting Superman. Which doesn’t happen. Again. Nice cover though. Redondo, Huggonard-Bert, and Lokus sure put together a stunning eye-catcher. I just find it curious and frustrating that with ALL the cool stuff going on in this comic they couldn’t depict something actually in the book?

Of course, if this is the worst of my complaints, you gotta know this is still my favorite Batman book right now (and he hasn’t even made an appearance in the last two issues).

Recommended If…

  • You perversely want to watch Sinestro play Superman like a cheap violin (oh the humanity!)
  • Harvey Bullock is on your list of favorite Gothamites.
  • Seeing Hal Jordan and John Stewart being the (momentary) voices of reason gets you where you live.
  • You’re ready to see the Batman camp start to assemble!

Overall

With this series, every time you think things can’t get any more complicated and awful, they do. Even the most delicate alliance between the likes of greedy Sinestro and rogue Superman spells the worst kind of trouble for the Green Lantern forces and Earth. Meanwhile civil disobedience ramps up in Gotham with an unlikely alliance forming up around outstanding leadership.

SCORE: 9.5/10