Every week Brian Buccellato has brought his A-game to Year Five of the Injustice series, and every two weeks we get a floppy issue of the Digital First content to have and to hold. In the history of DIgital Firsts, there’s been some huge successes and some not-so-great also-rans. Even though Injustice had a wobbly “Year” with Buccellato’s sophomore effort on the title (he took over from Tom Taylor midway through Year Three), he’s more than somewhat found his footing with this video-game tie-in title that not only refuses to die, but in many ways exceeds the game that spawned it.

Issue No. 9 combines Digital Firsts No.17 & No. 18, “Of Might and Men” and “Unfriended”, which continues the story of Bizarro (and his new pal Trickster), while also touching briefly on the fallout of that last bit of horror we saw in Issue No. 8 (in which real Superman did some things of seriously questionable morality–oh who am I kidding, he just straight up murdered 200+ civilians, no “questionable” about it).

But before we get to that, let’s return to some of the lighter side of Injustice while Trickster tries to teach Bizarro about the wonders of hamburgers.

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Don’t worry animal-lovers, the cow is going to be okay!

Even though I still feel Bizarro is played a bit different in this world, I love what Buccellato’s done with him and I love the relationship he forges with Trickster, who, even though he’s trying to manipulate the big lug into going after the real Superman, still shows a measure of kindness that’s both fun and kind of touching.

Which makes what happens in this issue a tad bit shocking!

Spoiler
I confess, ghoul that I am, that I laughed hard when Trickster fell to his splatting doom on the rocks. I loved that Buccellato payed off the sneeze joke in a really profound way.  I’m also not 100% sure Lex can’t bring him back, but I doubt he will.

Meanwhile, so about that problem with Superman’s deadly rampage in Issue No. 8? Well, it’s Cyborg who gets the news and he definitely wants some answers, in the end he just rolls over because–why?

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Oh look, something on the viewscreen to distract from this awkward moment!

Because the “most powerful man in the universe” is staring him down, apparently. What does anybody do in that situation? Well if you’re Batman, you don’t roll over, but I guess there really is only one Batman. It really is a struggle to watch superheroes stand by and tolerate (or be bullied into supporting) the Evil Superman regime. It’s hard enough watching Superman become a murdering fascist, but watching everyone around him sort of grudgingly assent is disheartening to say the least.

My hope is that this conversation isn’t over–that at some point Victor will voice his concerns to Hal or Diana and that there might be some attempted intervention.

But it’s a wan hope at best.

This whole group has been on a serious downslide for some time now.

Looks like we’re heading for another Superman vs. Bizarro match. The last one was great, so I have no problem with a repeat, though it’ll be interesting to see what Buccellato does to change it up.

Tom Derenick (Art) and Rex Lokus (Colors) lend their talents across the board in this issue and this book definitely has some great stuff in terms of contrasting Bizarro with his environments (I love everything about the burger joint sequence, especially the absurd “costume” Bizarro has on–a duster over his uniform with his cap hanging out the back.

There are also some really great flying moments–Derenick does an especially nice job with angles leading up to Bizarro’s fateful sneeze. And Lokus adds a touch of the nuclear when things get a little…rough…in the burger place (to say the least). I love the gory silhouettes (of course I do), and the whole thing going supernova midway through the book.

I love, too, that we’ve gone global throughout this issue, from Syria, to Israel, and back to Germany where Bizarro’s story originated.

All that and a cover from David Yardin that is beautifully disturbing in the best way possible.  Can you ask for more?

Recommended If…

  • Road trippin’ with Bizarro and Trickster: will a good time be had by all?
  • Just a couple of superheroes having burgers until someone flings a burger wrapper.
  • Superman is a murdering jerk. And you want to see that.
  • Cyborg, Hal, and Lex make brief appearances!

Overall

Even though Cyborg has me seriously questioning the values of some of these “so-called” superheroes, Buccellato delivers another smashing issue (yes, smashing!).  Mostly centered on the fated-to-be-tragic friendship between Trickster and one very confused Bizarro, Injustice brings humor and horror together that proves this books is far from being tapped out in terms of storylines, thrills, and pure pathos.

SCORE: 9.5/10