This week’s issue of Injustice may feel a little disorienting at first, but don’t forget that the ruling premise from the start for this series has always been that inter-dimensional travel plays a part in heroes coming to the aid of a reality in which Superman has lost his ever-lovin’ marbles after the death of Lois Lane at the hand of the Joker.
“Earth One” and “Funsies” (Digital Firsts 37 & 38) bring Injustice full circle back to a beginning in which things are going to work out much differently.
This is the part where that inter-dimensionality finally comes into play in a big way–so big, in fact, that the action in these pages occurs entirely in one of those other dimensions. It’s a dimension much closer to the status quo of the regular DC universe: Lois is still alive, the Justice League is still a cohesive team, Superman and Batman are still buddies, Sinestro and his ilk are still at war with them, and Joker’s got a nuclear warhead that hasn’t been detonated.
Hero Superman! Remember this guy?
Marco Santucci does a beautiful job in the second half of this issue with some fantastic on the street action as the Joker and Harley rampage around in an ice cream truck smashing things up. The majority of his work is focused on this wicked duo and their volatile dynamic as they set out to set up the Big Blue Boy Scout (who is currently engaged in a battle with Ares and Doomsday alongside other members of the Justice League). There is an enormous convergence at the end in which Batman arrives (from the Injustice dimension) to thwart the plan, wiping everyone up except Harley (who, as we know, will play a big part in the next iteration of this series).
And it’s refreshing to spend some time in this world: to remember how things sort of used to be and might have been. And it’s especially fun to see the Joker alive again and being just as awful as ever. He plots, he cracks wise, he slaps Harley around–you know, the usual.
And Harley loves every bit of it
If you’re reading ahead digitally you know how all of this will end (spoiler hint that shouldn’t actually come as a surprise to anyone: it ends with a launch point for the continuing series aforementioned and forthcoming–but more of that later when we get to the finale issue, No. 20).
It’s definitely exciting to see the full Justice League again like this and to wonder at the possibilities of what’s going to come next. For those of you who are playing the game, you are already a little bit ahead of the curve on this one, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting, which has always been the hallmark of this series: even when we know what’s coming, Buccellato and the artistic team have almost always kept it riveting.
This go-round, in terms of artistic talent, we have Xermanico and Santucci. They are well-matched here–this may be the only issue of all of Year Five that hasn’t had a single artist for the whole issue, but it works very well nonetheless. Art has been consistently good on this series and the artists complement one another; it’s especially pleasing to read in trade because you don’t see a lot of wild variations in style.
Looking forward to closing this one out and also the return of Tom Taylor on the horizon. If you’ve been in it for all these “years” you are probably as confident as I am that it’s going to continue to be great.
In this issue, also look for other intrigues and cameos like a return of an evil Lex Luthor and Barbara Gordon as (probably) Oracle. Fun stuff!
- You want to see Earth One in contrast to the Injustice world (and enjoy a brief look at a Superman who isn’t a horrible fascist!).
- Fun domestic time with the whole undivided Batfamily!
- Joker and Harley together again (and just as awful as ever).
Brian Buccellato has pulled off Year Five with flying colors. He’s managed to make the interdimensional intrusion work in a universe already packed full of wacky improbabilities. Now Batman’s got his “morally intact” Justice League (and more than he probably bargained for). One more issue to see what he does with it and then brace yourselves for the next piece of the Injustice puzzle!