Damian just continues to cross lines that are frankly quite appalling, all the while looking more conflicted than ever, even as he’s doing it. I’m expecting Tom Taylor is setting us up for quite the interesting Father & Son reunion with plenty of other Batfamily in the wings to keep it more than somewhat interesting. Will Damian betray his mother (and grandfather)?  Will Batman be forced to do the unthinkable to his own son?

And poor Alfred! It’s just to hideous to be tolerated–in the most delicious way.

Digital Firsts 15 & 16 (“The Search”) pits Batman against the world (as usual), as he has to deal with a justifiably angry passel of parents whose children were abducted during last issue’s disaster of a wedding between Ollie and Dinah.

For now the kids are safe (if being in the hands of Harley Quinn could ever be considered “safe”). But Harley’s got her own daughter and we know she would never intentionally hurt a child, so I expect they’ll be protected from any serious harm–at least for the short term. This is Injustice after all, and terrible things have happened, which means they are likely to happen again.

Green Arrow stands up to Batman–he’s totally awesome here

Batman’s alliances are getting a bit frayed due to his secretive and thoughtless behavior. Not that I think anyone will be ditching Team Bat any time soon. Nevertheless, he’s off to recruit new members to help rescue the kids and deal with the problem that is Ras Al Ghul and his world-crushing ambitions.

Fans of Patrick O’Brien will be happy to know that he and his son Luke are on Batman’s favored list. Unfortunately the O’Briens themselves are not keen on the honor. Last we saw of Plastic Man and his son, Plas was rescuing Luke from Superman’s super-prison, and everybody’s favorite stretchy guy was not the least bit interested in helping the antiSupers with their cause.

Now Batman runs Luke down in a seedy apartment, and in one of the funniest Injustice sequences ever, chases him from room to room while he tries to hide as various banal objects.

Batman uses his Bat-Sense to flush Luke out

Luke even steals the spotlight from his more famous father, who turns up also in an unexpected place before both father and son agree to accompany Batman in the Batwing. They are joined by yet another under-used and underappreciated superhero: Jaime Reyes as the new Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle was set up earlier in this Injustice run when his mentor, original Beetle Ted Kord met a harrowing (i.e. typical Injustice) end.

Beetle wants revenge, of course, and Batman isn’t going to say no this time.

Bruno Redondo and Juan Albarran continue as penciler and inker (with Rex Lokus on colors). This is always my favorite team for Injustice. Redondo is a marvel–he handles so many characters and juggles so many tones throughout the series. Injustice goes from heart-breaking to action-packed to slapstick and never feels the least bit inorganic. Part of that is Taylor’s deft writing, but Redondo’s art helps the book feel absolutely seamless. You go from laughing one minute at Plastic Man’s quips, to empathizing completely and seriously with Blue Beetle’s vendetta without any distraction.

Albarran’s inks help too: the consistency of his use of heavy blacks on Batman, for example, without muddying the rest of the page, keeps the mystery and severity of Batman’s persona intact, even when Plastic Man leaps forward in his ludicrous red and white body suit. It would be so easy to tonally ruin such an interaction, but Albarran keeps a light touch where needed and Lokus’ colors make the scene feel grounded, no matter how silly.

It’s a perfect marriage for the suspension of disbelief required in comic books!

All that said, half a point off for a cover that’s not terribly inspired and doesn’t begin to convey the awesomeness of what’s inside the book. Once again, I suspect these covers are being made too far in advance of fully knowing what the really pertinent content will be.

Recommended If…

  • You love Plastic Man (and who doesn’t)??? Prior to now we’ve only seen him in a single special issue of Injustice, but finally he takes his place among the Resistance.
  • Blue Beetle is also someone you’re excited to see back on the page; I have a bad feeling about his desire to avenge Ted Kord, but I know however it turns out, Tom Taylor is going to let this kid shine.
  • Batman’s family dynamic at its worst gets you excited. Seriously. The worst.

Overall

This is one of those exciting comic books that doesn’t need to rely on big splashy fight sequences to make it sing. We had a big splashy fight last go-round, and here’s the aftermath, which easily could have been dull exposition and moving people around on the story chess board to set up the next big splashy fight. But Tom Taylor is an expert storyteller as always, predictably satisfying and tossing out a few surprises in the mix of it. He also remembers to lighten the mood a little. Too much grim can sink a comic book–it takes a careful balance to keep the stakes high but the sense of humor intact. Injustice is better than merely balanced, though. It excels in so many ways that other books fail.

SCORE: 9.5/10