Did I mention last issue that Injustice feels like the good old days? Because it bears repeating. Whatever plot points took us far afield in Year Three, we’ve returned to (literal) solid ground here in Year Four and it’s great to feel the thrill of picking up each new Digital First issue again. This time we’re looking at Digital Firsts 5 & 6 “Choices” and “Family” with the consistent art team of Bruno Redondo on pencils and Juan Albarran on inks. I’ve got to give a nod up front to editors David Piña and Jim Chadwick if keeping the creative teams together for each combined issue was a deliberate choice.
Year Three was kind of all over the map with the art and even seemed to have a bit of a breakdown toward the end. And while the other series regular Mike S. Miller can mesh well with Redondo, sometimes their different interpretations of the characters and varying environment styles can be jarring when the physical copy gets spliced together. Rex Lokus often helps bring the two together on colors, but occasionally the split has been distracting and even there, Lokus and J. Nanjan trading off in the middle of issues added to the overall shaky feeling of Year Three. So a big thank you to all the members of the creative team for helping the book look more consistent out of the gate for the new year!
Redondo also makes great use of the occasional silhouette
May the Gods Give Praise
Batman’s entire remaining team are a bunch of badass women and that’s awesome. Seeing them in the lineup is pretty cool. And you know what’s even cooler? These women are serious business harkening back to a more rosy age: Batwoman has just the right severity, Catwoman’s loyalties are slinky and uncertain, Harley’s a loose cannon, and Barbara Gordon has returned to the cowl (and she ain’t wearing no Doc Martens). Let’s face it, these women have gone through some serious shifts in the last few years in mainstream continuity (and out of it) with some mixed results. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I’m enjoying seeing them back in action this way.
No less awesome is the way Brian Buccellato is building the action. The Resistance has been put down, but it’s not out and with Babs jumping back in, we’ve had a chance to enjoy her skills as Oracle, but will now also get to see her join the front line. And the army that the gods have brewed up at the Hall of Justice from Themyscira are just the right foe to bring fresh challenge to Superman’s fascist regime.
We’re also seeing more face time with other members of Superman’s camp (namely Cyborg, Flash, and Damian). Love the characterization of these three and their exchange in their scene together: Damian all het up to bust heads, Flash cracking wise, and Cyborg trying to talk reason and then giving in to the jibes. I love that Damian has aged (and not well) throughout this series, and I look forward to more potential clashes with his father in the future.
And how about that Hippolyta, folks? I totally did not see that coming. It’s been a while since Injustice surprised me, so paint me tickled that this title continues to have the ability to shock and awe–at least a little.
Batman’s awesome (mostly) armored lineup.
The Gods Frown
Last issue Harley Quinn went in search of Shazzy, ostensibly out of boredom and the desire to have a playmate. So now she’s got him in the Arrow Cave and we still have no idea what her plan is (and it doesn’t seem like another else knows about this). I’m enjoying the mystery, but admit it makes me nervous. I hope it’s not just a convenient way to keep Shazam out of the heat of the impending fight (the way Zatanna was conveniently left out of Year Three). We’ll have to watch and see.
And speaking of Harley, she’s back in her skimpy Injustice duds (sigh). I guess this is Injustice after all, though, so it’ll have to do.
On another personal note: Aquaman makes a brief appearance as Batman tries to rally allies and….noooooooo Arthur don’t do it!!!
What do you guys think? Is Batman going to align himself with the gods against his old pal Clark? Was it too soon for him to put on the cowl so blatantly after making his promise last issue? Is Lex just going to hide out in the shadows or does he have an awesome secret weapon in the works (aside from putting Babs back together, I mean)?
- You can never get enough of Damian being a brat.
- You need a good place to jump in if you’ve been waffling after the unsteady legs of Year Three.
- The awesome team up of Batwoman, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn is more than you can resist.
It’s like falling in love all over again. Buccellato has risen to the occasion and focused Injustice back on the things that made it great: solid, well-written characters, rising stakes, and genuine surprises. I’m also super-pleased at how the book feels more stable in terms of its artwork with the Digital Firsts no longer splitting art teams (let’s hope that continues!). The reintroduction of Batgirl freshens up Batman’s supporting crew and the arrival of Wonder Woman’s army challenging Superman (without her authority) throws all kinds of interesting possibilities on the table. Let the games begin!