If Injustice: Ground Zero was a drinking game in which we all took a shot every time someone on team Harley or team Joker flipped allegiances, we’d all be under the table well before we got to the very cool Bernie Wrightson memoriam at the end of the book. And you don’t want to do that because it’s cool and deserves your respectful attention: so, don’t drink and read kids.
But Christopher Sebela pretty much tortures us through this issue not only through Harley’s angst-filled narrative about her own loyalties, but the bizarrely divided loyalties of her crew–some of whom maintain their identity as the Joker Gang, and some who splinter off with Harley herself and manage to find the time to go shopping for rad spiky leathers and domino masks in order to form the Harley Horde.
If eyes can stutter, mine certainly did at this.
There’s not much I can add to the picture. It’s worth at least the obligatory thousand words all by itself.
Digital Firsts 19 & 20 are aptly titled “Such Sweet Sorrow” (parts 1 & 2), a reference to that old tired Shakespearean paean to the parting of lovers from Romeo and Juliet. Well, Joker is no Romeo and Harley is hardly any better a Juliet, but I say it’s about time Harley decided to either poop or get off the pot. I feel like we’ve been mired in this question of her loyalty for 10 issues, which is a lot if you think about it. And yes, it was kinda fun at first, but boy am I glad to see it come to some kind of…well, it’s not a conclusion, but at least Harley has drawn a line in the sand.
I think Sebela tries too hard to draw parallels between Harley and Lex Luthor (with the latter’s relationship with Superman). And I found it strangely anti-climactic to see Lex and Supes come to terms with that particular betrayal through the filter of Harley’s narcissism. Which is a real shame because this business with Lex has been literally building since Injustice began.
We do get a little bit of a shift in narrative perspective with Superman and his moment with Lex is isolated between them, but it feels like it lacks the operatic quality of early Injustice. Maybe especially since Superman deals with Lex decisively practically right out of the box.
And afterward we’re left with the icky feeling that everyone following Superman is just a diaper-pooping coward because there’s no moral ground to stand on at all anymore with this regime. It’s just straight up an evil empire with the blue boy executing others at his whims.
But most of the book is about this:
I love you, Mistah J, but you’re starting to bore even me!
Despite all my kvetching, this was still an entertaining read, mostly because the art is so consistently strong. Jheremy Raapack (with J. Nanjan on colors) does the front half of the book, and the second half looks like a penciling team-up with Daniel Sampere, Miguel Mendonca, and inks by Juan Albarran (colors also by J. Nanjan). For so many fingers in the mix, it flowed quite nicely. Could maybe quibble about some of the action not quite tracking (it’s a little hard to tell in some panels between the Joker and Harley what precisely he’s doing), but the characters are not only on point, but on fire! In a good way, of course.
Injustice has always had good art, but considering the challenge of putting this out digitally every couple of weeks and yet never falls below the standards that launched it (and, in fact, has actually improved through the years) is a testament to the artists. And let’s face it: a book with this much continuous mayhem must be fun to draw!
Props especially to Stephen Segovia and Elmer Santos for a stunning cover! Which unfortunately depicts a scene that, well, doesn’t actually quite happen in the book. Close though! Very close!
- You want to see Lex fly around in a silly suit and get what’s coming to him for doing so.
- You like it when Harley get the upper hand on the Joker.
- Fascist Superman is your jam.
Christopher Sebela’s Injustice may be unraveling narratively, but it’s still a kick in the pants to read. Those of you reading ahead digitally already know whether it’s been worth the journey, and I know people are already leaving this in the dust for Injustice 2, but I’m still interested to see how this plays out even if it’s not blowing my mind or making me feel the emotional investment I had with the original series.