If you have fallen off the Injustice wagon, you might be missing out on Brian Buccellatto’s best work on this series: Digital Firsts No. 5 “Bait” & 6 “Decoy” deepen the intrigue as Catwoman is held hostage, Damian confronts his past, and the newly reassembled Batfamily (sans the aforementioned Damian, of course, because he’s a big traitor) goes toe-to-toe with a Superman-leaning Bane and Killer Frost.

With all the fantastical-leaning stuff of prior years, we’ve had a lot of mythical landscapes and rainbow coloring (appropriate to the setting, but not terribly grounded in the cities where we began. Year Five returns to the street-level ground war where we spend a good deal of time in Gotham and in Blüdhaven.

Dark Book Suitable for the Dark Knight

Bruno Redondo and Juan Albarran handle all the art in this book along with colorist Rex Lokus and I can tell you what a treat it is not to have a book in which midway through you see a style change. Injustice has always been really good about matching artists and the series’ regulars are similar enough in their lineweight and aesthetic that it’s never been a big issue, but any time you have artistic continuity through and entire issue, it feels especially nice.

Some highlights:

  • Batman is just awesome. Maybe I’ve just been missing Batman too much in the regular series, but Redondo renders one of my favorite Batmans these days and having read this series over the years, I can definitely say the art has gotten sharper and Bruce Wayne under the cowl has gotten more grave and scary as the war has progressed.
  • Damian’s fight sequence: it’s wonderfully choreographed and cinematically violent.
  • Bizarro’s costuming-up. It’s a fun, less-fraught sequence and keeps the tone of the book from going total doom and gloom supernova.
  • Barbara Gordon gets to play the dual role of Oracle and Batgirl and she looks great.

You know what else is nice? This is the most Bat-centered book that Injustice has had in a really long time. Most of Year Four was Batman in hiding and his team decimated. Here we see them pulling together again. It’s a pleasure to have Batwoman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn teaming up to fight Bane, Killer Frost, and even Killer Croc as they attempt to rescue Catwoman from the predicament she’s gotten herself into with the rogue villains.

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It’s Birds of Prey meets Gotham Sirens!

On the “Dark” side of the Injustice pond, where Superman reigns supreme, we also get to spend some quality time with Damian and the League of Assassins. Damian has turned out to be quite the monster in Injustice and his treatment of the hangers-on of the League is on par with Superman’s intensifying viciousness. This is wonderfully grim stuff!

We do get some scenes of the Superman camp and all is not well there as Superman and Wonder Woman continue to be divided on methods. And then there’s Lex Luthor, the outlier, who is still technically pretending to support Superman’s regime, but has been working behind the scenes with Batman for some time.

Buccellato brings us back to ground not only by centering this story back in the city and largely focusing on character work instead of big magica things hitting each other, but also by reminding us of what’s keeping this war going: the little green pills that help level the playing field. And we learn there’s a little problem with the pills:

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Bats and Lex conspire even as their resources dwindle

I’m really excited about the direction this book has taken. Buccellato gives us multiple open-ended questions in this book, cliff-hangers, and yet the high-stakes action and forward-motion of the plot is entirely satisfying. This is definitely a leaping-on point if ever there was one.

Recommended If…

  • It’s practically a Bat Family reunion (you know you want that!)
  • A little Batgirl action in the old vein will keep you buoyed through the current stormy weather
  • You think Damian is at his best when he’s at his worst!

Overall

There’s betrayal on the horizon as Bane’s hostage situation starts to boil over. Will Catwoman be the catalyst that destroys Batman’s Resistance? And what’s going on between Superman and Wonder Woman? Their cross-purposes may be coming to a head. This is an exciting time in Injustice and the team of Buccellato, Redondo, Albarran, and Lokus bring to it a wonderfully fast-paced, action-packed adventure that’s returned to the dark roots we saw in Injustice’s early “Years”.

SCORE: 9.5/10