Digital Firsts No. 33 & 34, “The Smoking Gun” and “Invisible Truths” have Batman putting his plan to expose the worst of Superman’s disregard for human life and justice is the focus of this issue in which Superman is still largely incapacitated from the synthetic kryptonite blow he took from a now very dead Katar Hol. Shayera isn’t too concerned about her dead husband, but after the way he treated her, you can hardly blame her.
Meanwhile, Batfamily members Batman, Batgirl, and Batwoman race against time to crack Cyborg’s archives to access the truth of what happened with the Joker Gang (Superman basically offered them early cremation services without due process).
Batgirl succeeds in accessing the files and Batwoman prepares a broadcast–and this is where things go a little off the rails for me.
Brian Buccellato has almost always done a good job to motivate events in a way that felt organic–stuff didn’t just happen out of the blue. But here I feel like even though Buccellato set up Raven as a provisional ally (resentful, though, of Superman’s bullying), I’m not entirely convinced that she would serve him to this degree.
And this is also a case of magic intervening to seal a plot venue that felt like it would have been much more exciting a direction than to just have Batman’s clever efforts frustrated by a power he can’t compete with.
There’s some crazy tech going on here, but we all know that’s how comics work!
So what happens?
Batgirl manages to access a convenient recording of the events surrounding Superman’s murder of the Joker Gang, confirming for Batman what he suspected all along. They immediately patch a feed in to all the media all over the world to televise the footage. Batwoman provides a quick intro.
And then the signal goes black. Raven casts a dark net over the whole world so that the signal is snuffed and no one gets to see the video. And to keep them from ever seeing it, she sends a destructive feedback to Batgirl’s system, frying it, and destroying the footage itself.
This is where I have a hard time believing that Batman would have taken the information/file and just going so hot to broadcast that he makes no copies or backups or takes any measures to protect that data. Does that really sound like Batman to you? Especially after all the patience and caution he’s taken to acquire Victor in order to access his memory banks in the first place.
So I’m a wee bit disappointed in how this one works out–but maybe especially because I was so looking forward to the hope of Superman being exposed. Perhaps it would have been fine for Batman to be thwarted if the solution hadn’t been magical or hadn’t been so quick and easy. In a story that has often delved into complex scenarios full of grey morals and politically difficult decisions, this one felt a bit too simplistic.
Even so, as always, Injustice is ever-entertaining. So even though I didn’t care for the outcome, it was great to see the Batfamily working together, to see Batgirl putting her particular skills to use, Lex Luther still playing the loyal servant despite his Machiavellian side-dealing with Batman’s Resistance, and to see Superman struggling in his infirmity and still being an insufferable jerk from where he spends the whole comic slumped on the throne.
Tom Derenick is on art duties for this issue (with the ever-wonderful Rex Lokus on colors). Sometimes Superman on that aforementioned throne looks like a victim of too much foreshortening. Otherwise Batman looks awesome as always, even when he’s in a funky bubble suit (I had to laugh that these suits are built to accommodate all of their tall ears–takes me back to old Super Friends cartoons when the League would end up in outer space and their space suits naturally were perfectly fitted to their costumes.
The issue ends on a high note as we get to see Batman and Lex conspiring again and we revisit the idea of Lex penetrating dimensional walls to seek assistance from alternate realms. We know this is leading up to the breach that kicks off the original game. But even knowing that, I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Batman still has more tricks up his sleeve even if this one didn’t pan out
- You like to see the Batfamily working together.
- You’re a fan of Raven (I’m not, but to each their own, right?).
- You like watching Lex do his thing.
Cyborg gives up his secrets to Batman’s Resistance, but they don’t have a chance to exploit them when Raven invokes her magic to snuff Batman’s plans to expose Superman as a murderer. Cyborg gets rescued and the issue ends with the status quo being restored–perhaps not the most satisfying installment in this series, but still, as always, an entertaining read with solid art, vivid colors, and such a wonderful parade of characters that there is something for everyone in every issue.