After reading Supergirl’s solo series to review her team-up with Batgirl, you can probably imagine that I wasn’t too excited about seeing Kara feature so prominently in the latest issue of Injustice 2. But then I remembered Tom Taylor was writing this and everything turned out just fine (but of course!).
Not that great comic writers can’t occasionally write a stinker, but Taylor has always proved marvelously consistent on this title and this issue is a great example of why. First of all, he gets what makes the DCU great. It’s not the flashy costumes or the things that go splody-splode-splode. It’s the relationships of the characters to each other and to their foes.
Digital Firsts 11 & 12 (“When You Wake Up”) takes a timeout in the middle of a global war with Ra’s Al Ghul (now that Superman is imprisoned) to see (once again) the destruction of Krypton. It’s that old familiar tale of baby Kal-El stuffed into an earth-bound rocket to save him from the annihilation that the planet faces.
We also see his older cousin Kara likewise being shoved into a rocket with explicit instructions to stay close to Kal-El and help raise him up in this new world. She’s asked to protect and guide him since he’s only just a baby.
There’s just one problem: Kara’s rocket is damaged in-flight, she’s plunged into a cryostasis, and she doesn’t land on earth until many years later.
There’s some nice bye-bye Krypton stuff along the way!
The present day of the world of Injustice 2, to be precise. And right smack-dab in the Middle-East stand-in homeworld of Black Adam, Kahndaq. Black Adam already has a contentious relationship with his neighbors, but insulates Kara from that–and the harsher state of the globe, meanwhile feeding her his angle on the events which have made Superman a prisoner and Batman a tyrant.
The whole set-up provides us with the delightful upside-down opportunity to see this world from a completely different perspective. I almost wish Injustice 2 had kicked off with this set-up because it’s a brilliant way to get a lot of exposition out in an interesting fashion and through a different character’s eyes. I don’t know how much Black Adam actually believes what he’s saying to Kara, but he certainly sells the whole store to her: evil Batman, victim Superman, the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
What’s also interesting is that so far in this comic we have no idea how Kara is taking all of this. Is she going to go off all half-cocked to try to save her cousin? Is she going to investigate things on her own and come to her own conclusions rather than rely on the words of a total stranger?
We get only a few clues about Kara’s own personality. She’s daring and brave back on Krypton even as a young girl, but also possibly careless. An early scene in which she breaks her arm is sort of strangely placed in the narrative but it also speaks to her risk-taking (brave?) nature, and reminds us that she didn’t grow up with the invulnerability that she now possesses. Will that makes her a different person on Earth? Will that give her a different kind of appreciation for the fragility of humankind?
Of course she’ll trust him, but will it last?
Mike S. Miller covers all the art duties (except coloring, which is ably handled by J. Nanjan). Miller’s work on Injustice has always had high and lows for me and this particular book is squarely in the middle. As always, his action sequences are spot-on, but his conversation moments are a little awkward. His characters all strike the same expressions, which is problematic when they already look similar to one another (which they all kind of do in this story), and some of the talking comes off static as the angles which look like they are meant to convey drama or at least vary the perspective draw too much attention to themselves as a device (to convey drama or vary the perspective). The “camera” should always be invisible to us in the storytelling, but here it’s too often evident.
- You love Supergirl. It’s an origin story, but it’s tied into the world of the Injustice and Tom Taylor is at the helm, so the writing is solid.
- Black Adam fanclub is calling to you: this character has been sidelined for a long while in this world due to his bickering with, well, just about everybody. Is he finally going to get involved?
Supergirl hasn’t even been christened with her “super” moniker on Earth, but Black Adam is already corrupting her to the Superside (which we all know is bad and evil), while poisoning her against the Batside (which is all cake and puppies). It will be interesting to see if Kara susses out any nuances in this war that will give our now black & white world some shades of grey. While this issue feels a bit like a digression and some of it is heavily expository, the writing is still good and the story is moving forward. It will be interesting to see how Batman & Co. may deal with this new Superthreat!