The potpourri of characters and situations in this week’s Injustice 2 is a testament to Tom Taylor’s ability to juggle his sizable (and ever-growing) cast and their many intricate motivations, actions, and plans over the course of this thus-far long haul for video-game tie-in (which I think we can pretty much stop referencing at this point since this book truly does stand on its own in terms of narrative and scope).

Digital Firsts 41 & 42: “Rapunzel” sports a title that alludes both to the metaphorical towers in which people are imprisoned by oppressive forces, but also the ones in which we imprison ourselves–through weakness, ignorance, cowardice, and self-delusion. Wonder Woman and Kara take center stage with this theme, relegating Black Adam into the background despite the fact that they are in Khandaq, which is strange for the moment, but I’m sure we’ll get back to him eventually. What goes around, comes around in Injustice!

She talks a good talk, but that walk is mighty crooked!

Kara Zor-El is really shaping up to be an interesting character: introduced late to the drama unfolding on this Earth, she’s fallen under the machinations of Black Adam, first, and now Wonder Woman (who for all intents and purposes is far worse!). The secondary influence of Damian in her journey suggests some hope for a bit of non-partisan perspective, but that hope dwindle mightily given Diana’s authority in this world (which is considerable–she really is Superman’s right hand in Injustice).

Meanwhile, the Bat-clan continues to put together the events occurring in Arizona, while we also see some mild unrest among the lower echelon of their adversaries. Rising up as another potential thread-within-the-threat layers that Taylor is slowly beginning to peel away is also the fact that Ras doesn’t have as much control over the situation as he might like others to believe. In fact, Gorilla Gross looks to be ready to build his own junta against the soft pink humans he so detests. Whereas in early Injustice we really have the factions dividing right down the pro- and anti-Superman lines, now it looks like a multitude of armies are rising to fill the void left by the Man of Steel.

And it’s especially nice to see Booster trying to train Jaime Reyes back into the fold; it’s humanizing moments such as this that make sense of all the violence and deception swirling around otherwise. The Ted Kord holographic Galen Erso-to-Jyn a la Rogue One moment was maybe a little much, but it’s nice to remember how interconnected these characters are, and the emotional investment they make in one another.

Same is true for the “bad” guys.  I mean, moments like this are pure gold:

Greatest non-sequitur comic book moment of the year (so far)

The mix of artists Daniel Sampere and Mike S. Miller is a bit jarring in this issue. Especially with regards to Damian’s appearance. The change in the hairstyle is too extreme to be dismissed. I prefer Sampere’s take on the haircut, frankly–Miller’s is just too short, especially for a character who has consistently worn it on the long side for the duration of the series. It seems like, especially in a book this big, with so many characters, making sure they are on-model from artist to artist really matters. Likewise because the Injustice versions of these characters are necessarily distinct from their regular in-Universe counterparts.

That said, there are a lot of great sequential moments in this book due to some of the more humorous and bizarre aspects of the storyline (like the three-panel gag above involving Grace Balin/Orca, and the immediate follow-up scene in which Croc is pursued with questions. How exactly this bit of business is going to play out, is sure to be interesting! Sampere’s work on the gorillas is also a particular standout: Salovar and Grodd are full of menace and power.

Recommended If…

  • You’re excited to return to the Ras Al Ghul storyline and see more of his tenuous alliance with the gorilla armies (Grodd is less pleased, to say the least).
  • You think Damian might be shaping up to be a turning point/lynch-pin in this series (interesting development afoot!)
  • You like to see Amazon women beating the snot out of people (because, seriously, who doesn’t?)

Overall

Tom Taylor, master plotter churns out another book that manages to gather many threads across the world he’s built in Injustice: everything from Ras Al Ghul’s overlording plot to Wonder Woman’s growing army (with the new addition of Superman’s still-naive cousin), and the unsettling events of Williams, Arizona, where an entire population was wiped out–just because. Injustice 2 proves it still has many surprises up its sleeve and is still one of the best bargains on the rack: it packs more action, more humor, and enough edge-of-your-seat suspense to rival any long-running flagship title DC is putting out. If you’re not reading Injustice 2, you’re missing out on everything a massive multiplayer comic can really be.

SCORE: 8/10