We’re barrelling headlong toward the conclusion of Injustice 2 and what should be quite the cataclysmic confrontation between Batman and his “in-laws”–so say nothing of his estranged son and his zombie butler. “Scorched Earth” combines Digital Firsts 19 & 20 to get us into Ras al Ghul’s compound.

I will confess the opening scenes are a bit confusing here. Lots of people suddenly appear to be in position who weren’t quite there yet, so we’ve made some minor leaps. I felt somewhat disoriented by that, but recovered quickly with a sort of shrug that assumed everything was working according to Batman’s mysterious and unexplained plan.

Even still. I couldn’t help feeling like they had all infiltrated rather easily, that the children were so quickly found–and under very little guard, and that Plastic Man and his son (Plastic Men?) we not as effectual as I would have hoped. Seriously: once their “cover” was blown they didn’t readopt the ploy on their way out? Like they can only use the trick once? That part didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Still, it was a great trick coming in with a pretty funny payoff, so there is that.

And there are other surprises here that more than made up for a little temporary temporal confusion and bad planning on the Resistance’s part. Surprises, for example, that involved the children.

They aren’t just ordinary kids, after all!

And also surprises regarding characters like Harley Quinn (again), and perhaps more importantly, Wildcat. I really love what Tom Taylor has done with introducing Wildcat, though I simultaneously wish he had been along for the ride sooner.  He’s an interesting “old timer” with a “no guts, no glory” mentality that really juxtaposes nicely with some of our cleaner, more polished heroes in this series.

Of all the characters he seems to take the sacrifice most seriously–and here is where Taylor actually finally raises the stakes on a throughline that feels like it’s been lacking a little in this particular department. The scene between Wildcat and anti-Batman is a little problematic for how sort of dull-headed the Batman imposter comes off (especially when he was so vicious in the opening salvo of Injustice 2, and even seemed a little bit sharper when he was threatening Harley only several pages before. Against Wildcat, he just strikes me as less adept, and that kind of robs a little glory from our buddy Ted, I think.

But the spirit is there. We get that this is old blood against young blood, right vs, might. And we can see that Wildcat is just buying time for the others to escape–he knows he’s doomed and that’s the most heroic part of all.

He’s a punching bag, but an impressive one!

Ultimately we don’t know his fate because this issue ends on one of those infamous Taylor cliff-hangers that reminds you exactly why you’re excited to pick up this book time and again.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Daniel Sampere and Juan Albarran on pencils and inks respectively once again and they do make a heck of a team. I do have to say Batman looked weirdly off throughout–the heavy black indication of his ears was strangely distracting–not only on fake!Bats, but real!Bats as well. We get some delightful moments with Ras, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc.  Orca looks a little too blubbery and not scary at all, but that’s a minor point. Harley and our Plastic family, on the other hand look stellar in their sequences.

Recommended If…

  • You enjoy watching Batman be the bad guy.
  • You want to see the clever trick that disarms Harley’s head bomb.
  • You are ready to be primed for the showdown between Ras and Bats.

Overall

Tom Taylor always keeps it lively even when he’s killing off the cast of Injustice 2. I’m not saying anybody dies here, but you know the likelihood of soldiers falling in the battle of these pages is always going to be very high.  Now that Batman’s Resistance has established all it’s latest members and stolen into the stronghold of the League of Shadows, you know we’re going to start seeing a body count soon. For now Batgirl and Blue Beetle (and Batman himself) are sidelined while Wildcat, Harley, the Plastic Men, and the kids themselves take center stage. The coming fight is definitely going to be a doozy as only the world of Injustice can provide.

SCORE: 8/10