Last go-round I talked about Ground Zero suffering from some very uneven storytelling and this book is a perfect example of the counter-swing to the last issue. Whereas that one felt sort of flabby and not well grounded, this one feels ten times more cohesive, more full integrates the Justice League and provides a fight that actually feels less like a mere recap of video game action.
Also, that cover by Renato Guedes, while quite nice, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what happens in this book.
That said, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the action that does happen in this book is certainly compelling and the stakes seems a lot higher (or at least more legitimate) than they did before.
Issue No. 6 combines Digital Firsts 11 & 12 (“Black Hearts” parts 1 & 2) and picks up where we left off in Issue No. 5: Harley’s got the Batmobile, and she’s trying to broker a meeting with Batman through Batgirl over the Batphone. After some uncharacteristically clunky dialogue, it’s clear that Batman isn’t going to meet Harley and that Batgirl isn’t interested in helping.
Cue the big thunder from above.
Harley’s been tearing around on the streets with Billy in the passenger seat, well-gagged against saying that magic word that will help him escape, but when Black Adam puts a stop to Harley’s joyride, we get some tables turned over to be certain.
Meanwhile, Batman and his “new” Justice League have ironically arrived at the Batcave, where they would have met Harley had she just stayed put. Batman’s brought them there to activate a weapon that will help them combat Superman. He explains to them what the audience already knows: that the failsafe can only be activated by the DNA signatures of the other Justice League members.
This seems like a great idea!
There’s some basic problems with this, I’ll admit, which you would think Batman would have planned for (such as, you know, Superman losing his mind and taking the whole team with him). Batman even specifically mentions the death of “his” Green Arrow as sufficient to stymie the whole process.
But whatever. Comics, right?
The other problem is that Batman assumes they’re alone in the Batcave. Why would he assume this? Doesn’t he know it’s been under guard since Alfred died? Doesn’t he know Damian is lurking in the shadows? I’m kind of hoping he does and is just playing along, but moreso I think it’s just a bit of convenient failure on Batman’s part, which is unfortunate.
All that aside, this is an entertaining read with a big splashy fight between Harley and Black Adam. She’s still got her little green pills, but even so she can barely hold up against Black Adams lightning, and when he turns it on her Joker pals as well, interesting things happen–Billy refuses to take the back seat any longer.
Seriously: Black Adam is huge jerk–he doesn’t care who he kills!
Christopher Sebala takes some missteps with the early dialogue as the two women try to outdo each other in slango, but everything shores up for and Brian Buccellato’s story here and the conclusion is kind of bittersweet. This turns out to be a solid chapter in the Injustice: Ground Zero saga.
Marco Santucci and Juan Albarran tie this book together with solid artwork throughout. Black Adam is nicely menacing and J. Nanjan as colorist does some interesting things with contrast on his character (and the reflective glow of various lights/fires on his all-black suit). I wish the DNA lock looked less like a game of pop-o-matic Trouble, but I guess we needed something dramatic to emphasize the collaborative requisites of the system.
They can’t all be gems, right?
I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to become to Harley’s relationship with Shazam (if we even revisit it again within Ground Zero or if we won’t see them together again until the new series). I’m also looking forward to this stand they’re trying to make against Superman. Presumably Damian has already called in the cavalry because by the end of the book they’ve got big trouble. And not the Solomon Grundy kind, either!
- You’re a fan of the Black Adam/Shazam rivalry.
- You like Harley’s weird affection for baby-faced “Shazzie”.
- It’s very nearly a Justice League adventure again, except, you know, without Superman.
I get the feeling sometimes that having a writer tell someone else’s story means stuff gets lost in the collaboration. For the most part Christopher Sebala and Brian Buccellatto seem to make it work, but it also feels like it’s resulted in an uneven work where the characterizations are just slightly off and the action is sometimes a bit wooden/formulaic/and dull. Fortunately this book is none of those things even though it has a few glitches of its own. Hands down, art and story-wise Injustice is still a pleaser, even when it feels like it could use one of its own little green pills.