Tom Taylor is back and he’s looking good on his return to the Injustice universe! While he contributed a little between Buccellato and Sebala’s runs, he’s really been off the title since “Year 3”, back in 2015. Once again, I am staggered to remember that this curious little digital video game tie-in not only managed to sustain itself for so long, but has spawned so much additional material (annuals, the Ground Zero spin-off). And it was really Taylor’s original storyline that catapulted it up there, so having him return is like a sweet homecoming parade.

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Injustice 2’s “Two Speeding Bullets” (Digital Firsts 1 & 2) reintroduces us to the world we left behind without wasting a moment on heavy-handed exposition. Yes, Superman prattles on a bit to orient the new reader as to what has brought us to this state, but really, we’re left with as many questions as answers.

And Batman doesn’t have all the answers

Amanda Waller doesn’t have answers either as she gets her five seconds of Injustice fame capturing Harley to build her Injustice version of Suicide Squad (which pretty much looks like most other versions, though the lineup has some fun and interesting variations). The problem with this, I think, is that we may be all Harley’d out on Injustice at the moment (I know I am). Fortunately this first issue lets us know that Taylor isn’t afraid to shake things up right out of the gate and maybe Harley won’t be too much of the focus going forward.

Because shake it up he does.

Let’s talk a moment about the return of Green Arrow and Black Canary. And is it just me or is Connor way too old to be that baby from three years ago? I’m giving it half a pass because it’s not crucial to the story and I’m bad at math, but I’m pretty sure that kid should be too young to be running around shooting arrows.

I’m also disconcerted that what was written as a somewhat happy ending for these tragic folks, is now about to be upended by a guilty-conscience Dr. Fate who deserves every one of those rubber arrows in the back of his helmet–and the not-so-rubber-one that Ollie puts through his hand.

Dr. Fate: Indian-giver

But while I object to this turn on an emotional level, it’s actually interesting on a story-telling level. Black Canary has had this hard-won peace and she and Green Arrow have a son to consider. The stakes for them are high–and that’s exactly what we need in a book full of over-powered heroes who can slip away from each other through space and time and other dimensions whenever it suits the writer.

Taylor has brought the danger back to this world. Not just for Ollie and Dinah, but for anyone who dares show their face in any panel of this book. Injustice: Ground Zero maybe suffers for a serious lack of serious stakes, but Tom Taylor killed Jimmy and Lois almost immediately in the original Injustice series and the deaths kept compounding after that. Injustice 2 continues that tradition by knocking off some key personnel before the final page turns.

And there’s more.

The person doing the knocking is an unlikely murderer carrying unlikely weapons.

As a stunner conclusion to our introduction, I’d say this is pretty unparalleled. I can see how it might rile some people up. I’m hoping Taylor really challenges us in this book, knocks us out of our complacent expectations. It’s what he did for us in the first series, so here’s hoping we get just as good or better in round two.

Series digital art pioneers Bruno Redondo (pencils), Juan Albarran (inks), and Rex Lokus (colors), make this book look stellar. Batman’s costume strikes me as a little weird (something about the bat insignia on his chest feels too angular, too sharp), but Harley’s expressions are delightful and Dr. Fate is stunning even as he is being mocked and spanked down. This book always looked fabulous under the careful hands of this triumvirate in the past and it looks amazing once again.

I could quibble a little about a slightly lackluster Batmobile, but the action tracks wonderfully, and there are some great visuals that help carry the story where otherwise exposition might have been necessary. Simple things like the contrast of that domestic tranquility on that other Earth, and the silhouette at the end that spares us some gratuitous violence without nonetheless sparing us the horror of what’s occurred.

Recommended If…

  • You want to be challenged: you might not agree with or like what you find here, but dang it makes for thrilling reading.
  • The return of Ollie and Dinah is something you were actually hoping for.
  • Injustice Suicide Squad! Except…maybe not.

Overall

It’s great to have this book back in Tom Taylor’s hands, and nice to have it mine as well. It feels good–right in spite of some very questionable events sandwiched between the pages. I trust Taylor to take us on an interesting journey with this and though I have heard some grumbling and mumbling out there in the land of internet arm-chairing, I have no strong complaints.  Yes, I’m concerned about what we see here. Yes, I wish Dr. Fate would leave Canary and Arrow alone. But I also think Waller and company is not the way to go and I feel ratified by the endpage carnage there. So call is cautious optimism, but I think this could be going places very very interesting.

SCORE: 8.5/10

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