I have probably said this before, but or sheer action entertainment value, sometimes you just can’t do better than Injustice and this week’s issue is a perfect example. Digital Firsts 35 & 36 (“The Plan” and “Suicide Mission”) combine into a single story that’s primarily an excuse to throw Deathstroke into the mix. Like we really need an excuse?
That’s right, straight out of his “retirement” since Superman took power
Batman convinces Slade Wilson to don the suit once again in order to infiltrate the regime’s secret S.T.A.R. Labs base in search of a bit of tech that will help them bring in Justice Leaguers from alternate dimensions.
This all maybe sounds a bit convoluted, but Brian Buccellato has been building the framework for this craziness throughout Year Five (and to some degree really started planting the seeds in Year Four. And even as nutty “comic booky” as it might sound, he’s really managed to sell it; gradually introducing the idea of Flash as the person able to travel between the “zones”, Batman slowly working to convince Flash to rebel against the Regime, Lex Luthor secretly supplying Batman’s Resistance with intel and tech support.
But even though this issue is mostly a montage of Deathstroke doing a lot of crazy-cool stunts as he takes out the army guarding S.T.A.R. Labs single-handedly (and the montages are definitely cool–Mike S. Miller really outdoes himself with poster-worthy pages full of Deathstroke just generally bad-assing his way through a whole legion), there’s some really interesting developments otherwise,
First, there’s the aforementioned plotting between Batman and Lex, which has escalated over the last few issues, and second, we see the conclusion (of sorts) of the Zsasz arc that’s been left dangling since everybody’s favorite cut-up dispatched Alfred in one of the more heinous sequences this alternate universe full of shocking character deaths has had to offer.
And there is a sort of sweet (if not slightly sadistic) justice that occurs here when Zsasz’s cell is conveniently left unguarded and the monitoring cameras are conveniently on the fritz just long enough for one very very angry kid to take his revenge.
Let’s face it: we ALL wanted this to happen
All of which likewise furthers the bad blood between Sinestro and Hal Jordan. Always nice to see moments like this carry double the weight for advancing multiple threads of the plot.
As mentioned before, Miller’s work on Deathstroke is excellent: he clearly loves the character and loves rendering the fight sequences–it’s evident in every digital brush stroke. He still falls a little flat in the more static moments, however, and some of his character expressions suffer. In this issue there are several instances where characters who are smiling (Batman, Lex) look diabolic (or simply loony). There’s something strained in the way their mouths are rendered that looks unnatural.
There are also some proportion problems in terms of consistency; characters stretch and scrunch from panel to panel (particularly Damian in that cellblock sequence). Overall, however, Miller’s battle choreography goes a long way toward making up for these minor (and mostly non-distracting) shortcomings. While I would prefer a little more balance in the art, this is just a fun issue to look at nonetheless.
So. Much. Fun.
While the ending leaves Deathstroke’s fate hanging, and the introduction of Metamorpho may have some people both excited and enraged (excited to see him, but enraged if it turns out he’s been so quickly taken out of the fight), I really enjoyed the experience of just flipping through this book. It also looks like Raven is continuing to step up her part in the fight if that’s an aspect of Injustice that you’re looking forward to.
- You love Deathstroke! This is a showcase of all the qualities that make him an effective assassin, spy, and warrior.
- You want to see Zsasz get his eye-for-an-eye (it’s pretty brutal).
Metamorpho perhaps doesn’t get to do as much as we all might hope in this latest installment of Injustice that emphasizes action without sacrificing story. A certain pleasure read for Deathstroke fans and anyone who’s been waiting to see justice for Alfred, Miller has always excelled at fight sequences and Buccellato gives him ample room to shine as Deathstroke takes on Superman’s army in service to Batman’s upcoming grand scheme to usurp the Kryptonian dictator.