Some ideas are just so honest, so pure that we see them and wonder “how has this never been done before?” They make us examine ourselves, our places in the world, and humanity as a whole. Oftentimes they can make us have a new perspective, a new outlook on life, one that is more hopeful and optimistic.
Injustice 2 #31 has such a moment, such an idea. An idea that is so beautiful that it does nothing less than remind me why I love comics.
Lobo has become a fraggin’ Green Lantern.
Some comics allow for deep analysis. They make us look at the world in a new way, or they take established conventions and redefine how stories can be told.
Some comics are pure entertainments, transporting us to exciting new worlds full of memorable characters, giving us a momentary respite from our problems to allow our imaginations to run wild.
Injustice 2 is firmly in the latter category. Granted, they’re not mutually exclusive motives, as headier fare can still entertain and “popcorn entertainment” can have some serious depth. Tom Taylor has managed to balance the two nicely, delivering a narrative that is first and foremost a blast to read while still having an engaging story.
But, yeah, it is a blast to read.
That’s due in large part to how much care is put into the characters, of course. I’m all about reading a comic book where Lobo drives his space cycle head first into the fray, taking out as many Red Lanterns as he can. On a completely visceral level, this series is just exciting to read, and this issue is no exception. There are big battles in outer space, and plenty of genuinely hilarious moments. If the fight scenes weren’t engaging and well-staged, then the humor would more than make up for it.
Great care has been taken in making the characters sympathetic, though, and that’s what elevates the story to the next level. I’m no fan of Hal Jordan, for instance, but even I find his struggles with guilt to be incredibly moving. Having him be haunted by Guy Gardner (who still takes any excuse to needle and agitate Hal) is a fairly funny concept, but it also provides an insight into Hal’s psyche that another writer may have deemed unnecessary.
That extends to the other members of the cast, too, with some small but touching scenes all around. Conner and Cassie have a nice moment together, with Cassie playfully promising she’ll take care of Conner if he ever goes down the same path as Superman. Booster and Jaime prove to be an effective team as well, with a great mentor/student chemistry that belies both of their reluctance to fill their respective roles. Booster may be a bit of a mess, as he himself is quick to acknowledge, but his loyalty to his fallen friend supersedes his own self-doubt. Because of that, he becomes a better man and hero by helping Jaime achieve the same.
The issue’s visuals are equally impressive, as the artistic team balances great comedic timing with epic space action. Sampere, Albarran, Kalisz, and Lokus keep the action clear in the battle scenes, which could have easily become a confusing morass of color and fury. Instead, they utilize full page spreads to get the scope of the scene and keep the action focused on recognizable groups of characters. It helps everything flow really well, and makes the more showstopping moments stand out all the more.
Like the script, there are some funny visual beats too, as Sampere exercises a great sense of comedic timing to make the visual gags land as they should. I’m still laughing at Lobo’s realization that his legs are still attached to his bike, which is now long gone from his presence. It’s funny stuff that never feels forced, just as the more emotional material never feels too heavy.
In the best way, this book is popcorn entertainment. It’s a quick read, and the recognizable characters provide an emotional tether during the unfamiliar scenarios. Some comics just want to be fun, and Injustice 2 achieves that in spades.
- You want to see Lobo become a Green Lantern, so if you’re breathing I assume that’s you.
Overall: Pure entertainment from beginning to end, Injustice 2 continues to be an absolute blast to read. Besides a bit of strong emotional depth, the story is just so insane that it can’t help but be entertaining. This is a book where Starro has become a Red Lantern, something that would have been the craziest thing to happen in any other story, but no. This book has one-upped itself by making Lobo a Green Lantern, proving that no idea is bad if the storytelling potential is there.