Print issue No. 6 collects Digital Firsts 11 & 12, “Raise the Demon” and “Secret Weapon”. Interestingly, the title of No. 11 telegraphs the weapon referred to in No. 12. The solicits have been totally goofy so we don’t have an actual image for the cover. If DC ever posts one, I’ll be sure to swap it out. In the meantime, forgive this redux of issue no. 4.

* Edit: Fixed the cover, thanks to colorist Rex Lokus providing a clean complete image.

We’re halfway through Year Three and there’s been a big shake up both within the story and without. If you haven’t seen the news, Tom Taylor is leaving the series after Digital First No. 14 (a mere two weeks away). While this is very sad news, we can be confident that the remainder of Year Three has been outlined and that a top-notch writer is being brought in to replace Taylor: Brian Buccellato (currently writing Anarky into the New 52 in Detective Comics) is taking the reigns. My only concern at this point is that Buccellato stay with the title and that Taylor’s departure does not spark off a chain of massive creative changes or team turnover that might undermine the integrity of the world that Taylor built. But there’s no point in conjecture. Let’s enjoy this brief time we have left with Taylor.

The prophecies of Madame Xanadu continue to come to light. In this issue, the king sleeps indeed as Constantine puts risky Plan B into action to take Superman out of commission. That’s right: this is the book where Superman is finally going to be neutralized (at least temporarily, since we all know he’s going to triumph before Year Five). Also in this issue we get no closer to learning the identity of the entity controlling Spectre, but we do see Spectre and Phantom Stranger have a tet-a-tet that results in some good-old fashioned Injustice outrage.

The Good

Though we had a great closing in issue no. 5, we don’t pick up that thread in this book which was almost disappointing except that this book is so great it’s easy to be patient to see Nightwing/Deadman’s return. Finally Year Three feels like a true Injustice series again with multiple plots fomenting and a serious increase in the stakes as we see much of the early set-up begin to bear fruit. There remain a lot of questions unanswered, however, so it definitely feels like this book hasn’t given up all its secrets and that’s exciting.

Bruno Redondo and Xermanico produce the first half of the book with their usual panache, Mike S. Miller, Redondo and Juan Albarran following in the second half. And since last go-round I was a bit critical about Miller, I have to say that though I don’t know exactly where and how Redondo contributed to the second half, I especially appreciate what appears to be Miller’s art in the improvements he made in the look of the Spectre; the character is more consistent with Redondo’s model and his eyes are more menacing. Also, the conflagration that happens in this half of the book is powerfully rendered: full of bright energy. Fire can be one of the hardest things for an artist to capture effectively, but the team makes the most of the moment.

After seeing what Spectre does to Phantom Stranger, I have some thoughts about what’s coming next, but I’ll pop them under a cut for those of you not thinking ahead too much:

Spoiler
I think it’s Trigon lurking under there. Part of this is because we know already from the solicits that Trigon is playing a big part in the series this year and now that we’re at the halfway mark, he’s got to show his hand soon. No idea what he might have done with Jim Corrigan, however. Or how other parts of the prophecy are going to work out yet.

But while we’re under the spoiler tag: what exactly does it mean for Batman that he’s entered into this hellish (literally) agreement with Etrigan?

This issue also has a nice cover by Miller and Rex Lokus, though it’s a bit of a spoiler itself–even if it’s one I think most people saw coming. But given the way the series left off last issue, it was a bit of a surprise to see Etrigan right there front and center before his actual return in the story.

Injustice_Y3_06_01

Who’s got thoughts on Spectre’s true identity?

The Bad

No real bad to speak of here (yes, it’s probably about time I changed this format–look for something new in 2015). Story-wise, I’m ready for Spectre to reveal himself and I’m also eager to see how the new Deadman will play into the fight now (two developments that are lacking in this issue despite a lot of teasing in issue no. 5). Drawing-wise I could nit-pick some panels of Superman’s physique or lament that there’s a bit too much melodrama at the round table when Constantine is discussing the Resistance’s next move, but that would really be nit-picky.

The Ugly

With no real bad, there’s even less chance of there being ugly in this book. I will say, however (as a joke), that despite this:

Injustice_Y3_06_02

Burn, baby, burn!

….Sinestro is undoubtedly going to be just fine (and more cranky and conniving than ever). So there might be some serious ugly in the near future!

Recommended If…

  • You want to watch Superman get taken down (and just guess who does the taking!)
  • You must pay your respects to Phantom Stranger.
  • You have anxiously been awaiting the return of Detective Chimp (I wasn’t, but there he is).

Overall

This book marks the midway point of Year Three for Injustice and Tom Taylor ratchets up the volume a notch as the Resistance makes its first successful strike since (briefly) taking the Hall of Justice in Year Two. I have a feeling from here on out this is going to be quite the ride to the bitter end–who’s with me?

SCORE: 8/10