Yikes! Josh perhaps said it with the most honesty in his round-up of the week’s comics: “I don’t think anyone cares anymore now that Injustice 2 has arrived.” The sad thing is Injustice: Ground Zero is generally a fun book with some interesting match-ups, mostly in-character exchanges, and consistently strong artwork. If we had nothing to compare it to, we probably would be rolling along and enjoying the heck out of it.
Unfortunately, we’ve been through some extreme highs with the Injustice series overall, so we know how epic it can be. Here are my theories as to why Ground Zero just didn’t resonate:
- Using Harley as the narrative eye seems like a good idea, but it traps us in her sand-shifting perspective at a point where experiencing these crucial events between Superman and Batman might have been better told from the point of view of a character with a little less crazy in their general make-up.
- Harley’s ongoing battle with the Joker turned out to be not terrible interesting or have any real stakes. Weighing even more heavily on the narrative, this street war had very little impact/cross-over with the war going on above their heads. Had the two events been a little more integrated, perhaps it could have worked.
- While I love the idea of side stories or supplemental pieces in this universe, this doesn’t feel like it can stand alone at the end of the day. There’s tons of exposition here for people who didn’t read the original “Years”, and nothing is going to actually get resolved. While I understand that this was best not defined as a “Year” given the game timing, it could also have been more self-contained if it hadn’t tried to do too much.
So what about this issue? What has it got to offer for us? Digital Firsts 21 & 22 (“Apocalypse Now-ish” parts 1 & 2). Actually, plenty, but unfortunately it’s crammed into the pages like a horse racing back to the stable at the end of a too-long day at the grist mill. And it’s all being filtered through Harley’s narrative. I mean, we do get to see some fisticuffs between Batman and Batman and Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman, but you can’t help but feel like if the story had been delivered a different way, we could have savored the drama of watching matched fights between these principal characters against themselves.
Batman arguing with himself is definitely a highlight
Harley also makes some good points about the nature of heroism as she and her Harley Horde liberate lots of Lex-tech (including some Liefeld-worthy hand-cannons) and go about saving citizens all over the city from Superman and Doomsday.
Yeah, by the way, Doomsday is running around destroying stuff for no discernible objective, but on Superman’s “authority”. I stopped trying to make sense of it and focus on other things.
Like Flash racing all over the world to find out where the Insurgents are hiding, finally breaking once and for all with the Superman regime. That was pretty cool.
Though he could have just…done this before?
Also cool was new!Diana kicking old!Diana’s butt and taking over her Amazonian army.
Marco Santucci and Tom Derenick tag-team the art (front and back respectively) on this issue and it looks good all around. It’s especially pleasing to see the two Batmans and their subtle costume differences. J. Nanjan’s colors are worth a mention too as he juggles a lot of locations and effects throughout. Injustice looks great, so there’s no slouching on the art here. When new!Superman pops up at the end to set up the final battle (which you all knew what coming, so that’s hardly a spoiler), he looks heroic and glorious. It’s a nice and very effective moment.
Just wish the rest of the book could have been as immediate. Being told the story all the way through is just real different from experiencing it first-hand through the action–being there to see it unfold and have a sense of the emotional impact and, once again, the actual stakes involved.
- Batman vs. Batman (sort of!)
- The Harley Horde in full action sounds like rampaging fun (also Harley kissing Ivy for those of you who are into that).
Sebela is running out of time and pages to get everything in at this point. With scarcely a moment to mourn some major death in the last installment, Superman is mindlessly tearing up the world and Harley’s out to do her part to stop it. There’s a lot of narrative in this book, and a lot of nonsense, but the art is great and there are a few genuinely fun moments. If you’ve been reading this far, you might as well finish it off.