Today in As the Injustice 2 World Turns: will the family drama between Batman and his children be resolved? Can Alfred negotiate between father and son? And what shocking revelations will be unearthed as the world literally burns down around our gathered heroes?

Digital Firsts 23 & 24 bring us “Endangered Species” in which Tom Taylor assures us that many endangered animals will take one more step toward the doomsday clock of extinction, perishing before our eyes in vivid fire for the sake of eliciting extreme pathos. Oh, and there’s superheroes. And they can’t stop punching each other in the face or shooting at one another long enough to do anything about it.

Okay, I admit I’m a little frustrated with this series. There’s a lot of stuff here I like, but it feels like we’re just barrelling to a conclusion without capitalizing on a lot of things Taylor started out with. Worse still, some of the revelations here fall completely flat (looking at you, Athanasia–who nobody ever cared about to begin with–did we?). And I’m tired of mindless unthinking violence, which I guess has always been a theme of Injustice from the start–I mean this is, ultimately in some ways, a morality fable about power and stubbornness, and the failure to communicate and negotiate on civil terms. So I don’t necessarily begrudge it that.

But when it’s a character like Blue Beetle who just barges in and trashes everything for his own agenda, literally tipping the scales of the apocalypse, I genuinely feel like throwing up my hands and saying: you all deserve to burn–can we please just get it over with?

Alfred hands out a predictable but not wholly believable Bat-spanking

The credibility of the characters is stretched impossibly thin at this point. Taylor has saddled his scene with so much traffic that you almost don’t care who’s doing what anymore. There are some tidy little moments that delight the eye (as only Taylor is capable of).  Plastic Man and his son ballooning out to create impromptu fallout shelters is probably one of my favorite moments in this entire run. But it’s not enough to forgive just how stupid the other characters behave.

And it’s even rougher-going when the whole point is that those characters are being completely stupid. These aren’t heroes. They’re a bunch of overpowered thugs in silly theme suits whaling on one another like it’s a schoolyard scrap. There’s no sense of consequence, no appreciation for collateral damage, and it’s very clear that Taylor has done this deliberately.

So what does that leave us with? Just a sense of disgust? I don’t even feel like there’s a lesson learned and the pathetic images of characters lamenting the loss of Ras Al Ghul’s sanctuary don’t really convey for me that anyone learned anything from this or that anything will change in the aftermath.  It’s also extremely problematic to me that Ras takes his family, goes inside, and just shuts the door.

Uh…what? He took his marbles and went home? And they let him? And now they’re going to do what? Stand around in the yard and kick at the ashes? And does anybody care about where those other missing children are? This was just such a bizarre turn of events and I hate to challenge the logic of it so hard because I feel like typically Taylor has a plan and things work out, but I can’t make heads or tails of this one.

We’re destroying the world? Okay, hold on, I’m almost done

Bruno Redondo and Daniel Sampere split pencilling duties on this one, with reliable Juan Albarran covering all the inks. This helps give the book uniformity, though I have to say I kinda of think Sampere outdid himself in the first half of the book with nice sharp lines and strong character faces throughout. Redondo’s action is great as always, and a series of reveals toward the end are stunning and impressive (finally Ras looks menacing!).

I didn’t mention the secondary plot of this which involves a lot of drowning, but probably because, again, it’s hard to drum up any empathy for characters we haven’t spent much time with and don’t feel a significant connection to.  And are we at that point where the betrayals and switchbacks aren’t all that shocking anymore?  Sadly, I fear I am becoming jaded.

Recommended If…

  • “Zoo Immolation” has always been on your bucket list of things to see.
  • Batman, Damian, and Alfred: together again!  Well, sort of.
  • Plas & Son are the only ones who get hero awards out of this bunch of misfits and you would enjoy that being the case.

Overall

No matter how crazy and cluttered Injustice 2 gets, it’s still a good read. Not sure everyone will love this somewhat predictable pre-climax to the problem of infiltrating Ras Al Ghul’s sanctuary, but it does deliver on the visuals as these artists always do. While I don’t feel very sanguine about the appalling behavior of our “heroes”, it’s clear that this is the dark path Tom Taylor wishes to take us. I just hope ultimately there might be a bit more pot of gold hope at the end of this rainbow rather than mere sackcloth and ashes for a doomed world.

SCORE: 7/10