Batman and Batgirl suit up in arctic Bat-tle gear to infiltrate Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.  Everyone else just has on their regular day-wear.  It’s a strange choice that Xermanico executes in an otherwise triumphant artistic return to Injustice 2. I tried to justify it by saying they would have “stealth” white batsuits for camouflage, but given that they’re not exactly sneaking up here, what’s the point. It winds up being weirdly distracting.

But let’s talk about the good stuff in Digital Firsts 35 & 36: “Arctic Assault”. Tom Taylor continues to do some nice character layering by opening things up in Green Arrow’s “hideout”, the Quiver (Harley’s right, it’s a silly name). Batman has come to deliver the news of this cataclysmic event that’s taken place in Arizona (compliments of Ras Al Ghul’s desire to lay waste to humanity).

We’ve got friction in this faction, however, not only because Batman used Dinah and Oliver’s son as bait in their attempt to get at Ras, but now Catwoman has changed allegiances (yet again), and Batman has brought her along as well.

Fortunately they manage to put aside their disagreements in pursuit of the larger goal–rescuing the Teen Titans from the Phantom Zone–but we know these tenuous relationships are not going to be able to withstand much strain.

Love how Plastic Man is squooshed in the corner of the top panel!

And speaking of strain, did anybody think it was going to be easy to break into the Fortress of Solitude? Or that it wouldn’t be well guarded by some careful mechanism put into place by Superman? Plastic Man and his son Luke are able to bypass the door system and get the entrance open, but the crazy superman death bots that come pouring out are another matter altogether.

Now, to me, it seems like these things should have been able to completely neutralize our intrepid heroes within moments of being unleashed. In the time it takes for them to express how dangerous and at odds they are, the fight probably should have been over. But I’m going to allow Taylor to play the “fuzzy comic book time card” and get away with monologuing mid-battle because this is just fun stuff. Not just the improbable fight with humans vs. scary SuperBots, but the way in which Plastic Man and Luke interact with the other characters and the battle itself. Lots of great details throughout the action sequences. It’s kind of a fluff battle with no consequences, but it’s entertaining and keep the adrenalin up.

Because they are ultimately saved by some unlikely…allies?

Ma and Pa Kent have been hanging out in the Fortress of Solitude since Superman went crazy dictator and angry locals burned down the farm.  How do they feel about Batman and what’s left of his ever-dwindling Resistance showing up on their doorstep now?

Read it and enjoy it for yourself. Taylor always managed to crank out something unexpected and this was definitely an interaction I did not see coming. And I am likewise really looking forward to where they go from here.

What are we dealing with that isn’t killing us while we chat about it?

Xermanico’s lines are clean and his composition captures all of the action with fluidity and clarity that I often find lacking in other books. I also like his use of tall corner panels for making dramatic up-angles. Some other choices, however, like the weird Bat-suits, are kind of distracting.

A lovely moment between Alfred and Bruce is undercut by the fact that Alfred appears to be prostrated in bed, but Bruce leaves him–and to care for a shaggy puppy, no less. Is Alfred even going to manage? He jokes about getting a butler for the butler, but seriously: should Alfred really be left alone in his condition? I found my mind wandering with concern about this; it’s the kind of odd loose-end “improbable” action that typically Taylor avoids. It’s a minor thing, but if you love Alfred and you love these kinds of intimate moments, it’s impactful when something feels “off” about it.

Recommended If…

  • You enjoy acrimonious allies: Batman and the Arrow/Canary team make for an interesting conflict. Especially when you consider this is Green Arrow No. 2 after the original one was killed in the first Injustice series.
  • Big action sequences are your comic book lifeblood.
  • You like Ma and Pa Kent and then that maybe….just maybe there’s a way to still reconcile all this anger and carnage?

Overall

Taking the fight to Superman once again (though the Man of Steel remains in custody at this point). Nevertheless, Wonder Woman is soon to be a threat again and Ras is looming with his cohorts to obliterate humanity. Batman and his crew are looking to expand their team and the Teen Titans might fit the bill–if they can be rescued from the Phantom Zone. Not sure how I feel about Bats bringing more kids into the mix (it worked so well with Jaime Reyes, didn’t it?). And our Dark Knight is likewise in hot water for putting Oliver and Dinah’s kid at risk. But by all means, let’s see if they can sae the Titans. They’ve got quite the SuperDefences to get through first!

SCORE: 7.5/10