Could this be the final year of Injustice? We are heading into the events that immediately precede the action of the video game with Batman’s small band somewhat dispersed and dejected and the Resistance building, but failing to counter Superman’s rule.
If you picked up the Year Four Annual (which you should have), you know that Superman’s priority concern for the moment is re-capturing all the villains (including heroes considered enemies to the Superman Regime), after Plastic Man infiltrated the Trench and busted out the lot of them.
We open Year Five with the subsequent round up.
The streets are awash with villains!
A lot of the villains aren’t much trouble for the Supercrew. While we want the story to move forward quickly and this is a good way of infusing some exciting action at the start, I always question the ease with which lower-tier villains are apprehended (whatever made them a threat to begin with, then?). But that’s all right. For now it’s just fun to see some on-the-ground run-of the-mill fisticuffs after two years of lightning bolts and cosmic black holes.
We also get to spend a little more time with characters who haven’t had a chance for much interplay. We get to see Flash after him sitting it out for a solid portion of the latter years, and more of formerly Green, now Yellow Lantern and Cyborg. Wonder Woman makes a brief appearance. She’s still reeling from the events that occurred at Themyscira in Year Four, and is conflicted about what steps to take next.
The rest of the action centers directly on Superman and Batman independently. Superman finds he’s got his hands full with the sudden appearance of Doomsday on a crazed assault, while Batman is trying to recruit new members to his team (which was seriously depleted these last two years). He’s also losing hold of Catwoman (if you know the game, you know where this is leading).
Writer Brian Buccellato does a really nice job of balancing the action and the story here, which was something I think the previous year really lacked. It’s nice to see the characters more focused on strategy again and not just smashing each other up (even if we get plenty of that with Doomsday).
Mike S. Miller does the first half of the art duties, with newcomer to Injustice Iban Coello on the second half. These two artists are really well-matched and Miller does some of his nicest work in Flash’s fight with Hyena and Killer Frost. He also adds lots of detail to the Paris catacombs.
Coello’s work is outstanding and it’s exciting to see a new member on the team. His café chat between Bruce and Selena is full of lovely gestures and character nuances and his fight between Superman and Doomsday (which accounts for most of the second half of the book) is genuinely thrilling!
The fights are full of great human moments and not just smash-ups
Both artists also render Parasite very well. Even though Doomsday is sort of the big-deal villain here I enjoyed the fight between Hal and Parasite even more.
J. Nanjan does colors and Wes Abbott does letters for the book overall, and I have to say Injustice hasn’t looked this great in a while. Everything about it feels refreshed: the story has good energy again, the art is on all points, and I’m happy to say that the break from Year Four’s cosmic interlude seems like it might have refreshed and replenished this team. I’m looking forward to Batman’s inevitable last stand, Superman’s vendetta against Plastic Man, and whatever it is that Bane’s got up his sleeve.
- You want to see a return to good old-fashioned ground fights!
- You love Superman vs. Doomsday and can never get enough.
- Minor and mid-level villain cameos galore!
Injustice feels reborn as Year Five kicks off with plenty of action and intrigue as prelude to what might be the final showdown before Batman’s ultimate defeat. With the reinvigorated energy that this series is displaying now, I’m going to be seriously sorry if we are heading to a conclusion. When Injustice is grounded like this, it feels like it could (and should) go on forever!