Injustice 2 combines Digital Firsts 5 & 6 (“Contingency” and “Breakout”) into an issue of Injustice heavy on the intrigue. And if you have been playing the “Who’s FauxBat” game for the last couple of issues, I think we get our answer here even though it’s never explicitly stated. Am I right? And are we all intrigued? I know I am!

Tom Taylor gathers all of his strengths to make this issue absolutely thrum with tension. We’ve got Superman busting out of his red kryptonite cell, we’ve got plenty of action and much melodrama on the battlefront as Green Arrow and Black Canary come face-to-face with Harley Quinn and the other Suicide Squaders. And we’ve got one heck of a family reunion with the introduction of Talia Al Ghul (and her very special sidekick), who have come to rescue Damian from his high-security enclosure (with methods he curiously disapproves of).

I wondered about Damian’s  objection to his mother’s brutality given that he’s shown no quarter to anyone for some time.  Has his imprisonment given him time to cool off? Think things over? Has Batman even tried to talk or reason with him during all this time? They seemed to have cut all ties, but I’m hoping this “year” of Injustice intends to explore this fractured relationship a little bit more.

What do you all think of Talia’s new right hand?

There are great moments throughout this issue. Taylor expertly reveals his bait and switch without making Superman’s bid for freedom an irrelevant side-journey. Instead, we see how Batman has been managing the prison and how he’s built contingencies upon contingencies for dealing with just this inevitability–only to discover that it’s not all about Superman at the moment; Batman may actually have a bigger problem to contend with.

It’s also especially gratifying to see the reunion between Harley and Green Arrow and Dinah: just as she is amazed to find these former pals back in the realm (and from the dead in Ollie’s case), Green Arrow is likewise perplexed to discover that she is (or was) an ally in this world.

Additionally, we get a small (no pun intended), but awesome cameo from the Atom, and a glimpse of some others including–hey: it’s Batgirl! But she…doesn’t ever every say anything. Or…you know, do anything.  Looks good in the background, though. I guess.

Maybe next time.

For now we have to deal with this guy (and ask ourselves how long he’s going to persist in that costume?):

My guess: not long!

Daniel Sampere (pencils) and Juan Albarran (inks) continue to be a strong team for this venture: they handle the splashy action just as well as the lighter, comedic moments. Perhaps most important are all the little expressive nuances throughout: from Not-Bat’s wry smile above to Harley’s open-mouthed guffawing as she teases Ollie and Dinah.

For all the bang-up squabbling and big explosions, Injustice continues to be a character study, and the artists give the characters their due: everyone looks amazing. Well, okay, everyone except Damian, who is weirdly unrecognizable without his costume, and seems to have an inclination for holding his mouth in some kind of Liefeld-like imitation. Not quite sure what’s going on there.

But otherwise, we have some truly awesome moments in this book and Sampere especially handles the Superman stuff with moody aplomb: with Rex Lokus’ red washes to give it all some hellish drama, this confrontation between the two former all-star heroes becomes a sad pantomime of their former glory. Even as Superman is taken out by Batman’s cunning, Batman himself is likewise being played in a way he probably hadn’t even conceived.

Just fun, brilliant stuff!

Recommended If…

  • Batfamily drama is how you like it.
  • You want to see Superman suffer (who doesn’t in this continuity?)
  • Twists are your favorite cup of tea!

Overall

Tom Taylor infuses Injustice with new blood (almost quite literally), as a prison breakout serves up one surprise after another in this re-energized series. Batman isn’t just fighting against himself, he may well be fighting against his whole family. It’s going to be interesting to focus on a villain other that Superman and his dreadful regime for at least a little while. Especially one with such specific ties to Batman. But who knows? We still have much to learn about the ultimate endgame–and whether Superman will figure into it, willingly or not.

SCORE: 9/10