Tom Taylor’s Injustice 2 continues to pull no punches whatsoever as a new and sort of misaligned Justice League takes on Ra’s al Ghul’s insanely invulnerable Amazo. It’s Wonder Woman and Batman! It’s Green Arrow and Black Adam! And yet somehow it’s still going to take more to put this killing machine down.
Digital Firsts 45 & 46: “City Killer” upends the dynamic of this world by taking our long-standing enemies and pitting them against a new foe: one who has already obliterated a small American city and now has its sights on major world populations. And Amazo isn’t just fast and strong and full of street-leveling powers, he’s been built or modified to specifically counter each of the strengths of the known League, which means they can’t just beat him toe-to-toe.
Now, of course we’ve been down this road before plenty of times in the comic book universe, but Taylor just has a knack for setting things up so that the stakes are real and the character interactions matter (including the humor bits like when Dinah gets in a snit with Oliver for keeping nuclear-armed arrows lying around the house–out of reach of the children, of course, but still!).
Clash of the titans!
And there are other human elements here that have been tracking throughout the series, like a great negotiation with the Flash about using his powers (he’s been forbidden as part of his atonement for siding with the Superfascists). But here they need his help and there’s a lovely moment when he asks to be of service and it granted (reasonably!) permission. A great sequence follows in which we see him rescuing civilians from a falling building just in the nick of time, of course.
And perhaps even more powerful is what’s going on back at Camp Ra’s, where Damian has been muttering about defecting for what seems forever and appears now to be at the breaking point. He can no longer ignore the fact that Ra’s is just a cold-blooded murderer who intends to wipe the planet clean in his program to cleanse the world of the evils of men.
Damian started out really against his father and everything Batman was fighting for–in that virulent reckless way that seemed there could never be any reconciliation. But since Alfred’s death (and subsequent resurrection), he’s mellowed quite a bit, been more thoughtful, considered more points of view. It’s amazing to see a character go through this much growth, but unlike most other books, Injustice is really happening in actual time and the characters are aging year by year. Damian is no longer a boy, but a full grown man, and he’s finally coming to some conclusions about what’s best for everybody.
This leads to an interesting encounter when, one foot out the door, he’s pulled up short by our Bat in black with the red eyes. So how many of you had already guessed the identify of this ultra-violent Batman (without cheating!). It shouldn’t come as any surprise, I don’t think, though the fact that he and Damian manage to have a sane conversation about what’s to come next may be the biggest surprise of them all.
Unfortunately everyone is guilty of something at this point!
We got Daniel Sampere on pencils and Juan Albarran on inks for this issue, and the action couldn’t be tighter and more riveting! You can practically feel every punch. And overall the characters look amazingly sharp. Wonder Woman is especially fierce in her new armor, and all the Bats and various Batchildren shine proudly.
There’s a great moment when Amazo makes a counterattack on Oliver and Dinah after the nuclear warhead is shot right into his face, as it deliberately doesn’t quite track what happens (I think I shared Harley Quinn’s reaction on this one: Nooooo!). It’s perfectly paneled and paced so that the reveal is truly surprising and delightful; it’s one of those moments you can actually see cinematically from the page.
Only the minorest of quibbles: I would have liked to have seen a little more detail or design specificity in Amazo’s nanobots, but they are nano, after all, so perhaps the simplicity was more appropriate. And I will say the ghoul in me perhaps too much enjoyed one particular leg-lopping that was rendered in delightful detail!
Not sure how I feel about the “transporter” system that got everyone to Delhi. Seems like one of those technologies that conveniently only works under certain circumstances or which might be forgotten two books later, but we’ll see.
- Spectacular action bar-none! This is the fight we might have felt cheated of with the Zod storyline and it’s Amazo-ing!
- Teamwork make the dream work: so many allies, so much opportunity for things to go right or wrong here!
- Ra’s is definitely now proving to be a formidable third power in Injustice, but his own family may yet prove his undoing!
If you haven’t read Injustice 2 lately, you should pick this one up! While we’re veered wildly away from the original Batman vs. Superman premise when this series started, what Tom Taylor has developed is far richer and more satisfying: a never-ending war that continues to find new threats and keeps the characters not only physically engaged, but emotionally on their toes as well! As for the art, Injustice is consistently head and shoulders above much of the rest of the DC line, which is pretty impressive for a digital weekly, let alone a bi-monthly floppy!