Last issue, I went through the many reasons why Injustice: Ground Zero didn’t quite the hit the mark and this week I’ll add “timeliness” to that list. Digital Firsts 23 & 24 (“And Justice for All” parts 1 & 2) comes too late to offer us any real tension given we already see the new state of things in Injustice 2, but Christopher Sebela does a great job closing out this story nevertheless.
This issue has its share of both highs and lows, but one thing Sebela does right is to make the action exciting even if we know the outcomes.
Throughout the run, the book has really struggled with the framework of Harley’s narrative–it feels as though it’s been trying to tell two separate stories with each of them being ham-stringed by the fact of having to be attached to Harley’s storytelling–and therefore limited to her field of experience/vision/perspective. Here the two stories are enmeshed enough that it finally works: she’s at the scene and immediately involved in the action.
Doomsday is a total joke in this comic at this point, unfortunately. It was bad enough when Superman made him one of his thralls in the regular series, but having Harley hop herself up on green pills and punch him down like a fly with a swatter was really the final insult. And with no repercussions to Harley herself. I was honestly hoping she’d overdose and be taken out of the action–even knowing that wasn’t going to be the case since she’s in the opening of Injustice 2.
She redeems herself a moment later talking to a confused Supes about how she’s ping-ponged sides throughout the conflict. This was a really nicely written exchange that summed up a lot of what this comic was ultimately about: a moment of concision that I wish we had seen the likes of more often throughout this series.
At least “pancake” Superman puts the big galoot to rest
Tom Derenick does art duties on the first half of the book with Daniel Sampere and Juan Albarran teaming together on pencils and inks respectively to close this story out. J. Nanjan provides colors across the whole issue.
As always, the book looks solid: Harley is appropriately crazy, Superman is appropriately regal (well, good Superman anyway–bad Superman is appropriately evil). We get lots of detail in the battle against Aquaman’s legions. A lot of the final fight feels short-changed (there’s too much to happen in too little time), but the Supermans do their moment in the sun and Sampere in particular makes the most of it.
Joker also looks gloriously malevolent
Speaking of the Joker, Harley final moments with him were both redundant, but also a necessary closure. I liked the way that Batman settles the matter for her and it’s a tidy way to demonstrate that Batman is focused on setting their world order to rights after disrupting it with all these “pancake variation”. We don’t specifically see what happens to pancake Batman, though, so that’s a curiosity of a sort, since we have now two Batman’s running amuck in the sequel series.
The final scene of Harley sitting on the bench was a very nice touch. Was anybody really surprised to find that she was talking to herself this whole time? I feel like that was sort of telegraphed from the beginning, but it still worked well, and visually it was a nice way to close this story.
I have to comment, too, on the cover, which is kind of weird: the two Supermans fighting: that makes sense. Then we have a sort of 70s throwback column on the left full of disembodied heads. Okay, that’s fine, but where are Harley’s lips? And how is it that Diana is behind the Superman panel, but in front of Harley’s hair on one side, and yet Harley’s hair on the other is in front of the Superman panel? It just struck me as a peculiar M.C. Escher-esque arrangement.
Also, even though the two Supermen are fighting, the more prominent one is actually looking off to the right and aiming to punch at something we apparently can’t see. Not sure if artist Matthew Clark was rushed or this was somehow specifically requested in terms of composition, but almost everything about it is just a little bit odd.
- You want to wrap it up and get the deets on where and how we open in Injustice 2.
- You’re in the “Liberate Harley” camp of #JustSayNo the the Joker.
- Man of Steel vs. Man of Steel. Come on, everything else aside, this is a pretty awesome match up and boy did it feel good.
Injustice: Ground Zero has a lot of great and interesting ideas, but the finale execution feels consistently uneven: overwritten and plodding in some aspects of its narrative, and too abrupt in others. It succeeds on the strength of the world that the creators are working in, reliably effective art, and a finale that feels satisfying even if the whole of the journey didn’t.