Conner and his parents (Green Arrow and Black Canary) are reunited! Wildcat may actually survive his encounter with EvilBats! Harley Quinn changes sides (again)! And Damian gets a haircut!
The most exciting thing about this issue for Batfans, however, is that Batman actually takes center stage. And it’s easy to see why writer Tom Taylor is inclined to sideline the Dark Knight: the way he eclipses all of these other heroes is staggering, frankly. Characters like Batgirl and Plastic Man just sort of dissipate into the background, and antagonists like Animal Man are zapped out of play in an almost facile manner once the focus shifts onto the man in the cowl.
“Sanctuary” combines Digital Firsts 21 & 22 and continues the rescue story which has dominated this title for that last few issues: teams infiltrating Ras al Ghul’s home/sanctuary/fortress in an attempt to liberate the hostage children he snatched during Oliver and Dinah’s nuptials (including their own son!). Way to throw a wedding!
All the heavy lifting until now has been accomplished by other characters for the most part: Wildcat and Plastic Man being thrust to the forefront of the operation, along with Batgirl and the newlyweds.
Dinah apparently knows Babs’ question before she asks!
Also with the help of little Conner, of course, who last we saw toppled EvilBats with the force of his own special superpower thanks to great vocal genes from his mother.
Last we saw of Batman, on the other hand, he was being held up (quite literally) by Poison Ivy while the others did all the actual rescuing.
But he’s not held up for long. Of course he’s not! He’s Batman!
It’s fun to see him get the drop on Ivy so quickly and effectively here, and it’s also fun to see Harley’s reaction–to find these two on the opposite sides is a refreshing diversion from their cahoots in all the other Harley books this week. And let’s face it, we’re less interested in Batman and Ivy than we are in Batman and what’s left of his estranged Batfamily, namely Damian Wayne who has cut short his long locks and now looks like red Nightwing more than ever.
Their reunion, of course, is both predictable in its accusation-slinging and violence, and also satisfying for those same reasons:
Nothing quite like family drama!
Overall the artwork is precisely what we’ve come to expect from Injustice and the team of Bruno Redondo and Juan Albarran: crisp lines, bold action, and wonderful character expressions throughout. Taylor writes so many emotional beats into each issue that capturing all that in a visual way is key to the success of this book: like a great line in the mouth of a bad actor, anything can fall flat, but here the smirks and sneers and subtle shifts of the eye continue to bring this world to life in ways that the video game itself could never hope to accomplish.
I can’t close this review without saying at least a little something about the final moment of this issue. Perhaps it’s an expected event and maybe it even works on some levels, but I felt it was weirdly unearned at this point. Once again Taylor seems to be rushing toward the conclusion and this was a story beat that had to happen, but for me it lacked the weight it needed somehow. What do you all think? Are you pleased with the somewhat telegraphed emotional cliffhanger, or did it all feel a little too easy?
- You’re ready to finally see some real Batman action in Injustice 2 again!
- Namely: Batman and Damian together again at last!
- Also: Poison Ivy is no match for the Dark Knight!
Injustice 2 founders now and then for being overpacked with too many characters with too many agendas to keep track of, but Tom Taylor somehow manages to keep things moving and mostly coherent despite the complexity of logistics and basic narrative. Where still issue excels is with finally getting Batman into the action in a meaningful way. Where it struggles is in reminding us why we should care about Natassia or Blue Beetle, or that other al Ghul child whose name is Athanasia, but honestly: do we care? That said, you still can’t beat this book for high emotional content and big-kicking action!