This is not just the wedding of the year, it’s the wedding of the decade.
No, the century.
Nay, the millennium.
Yes, Killer Croc and Orca, that most unlikely of couples, tie the knot in this issue of Injustice, and it’s about as great as you could imagine.
The long-awaited nuptials take up the bulk of the issue, and compared to most of the run, this is actually a pretty low-key and optimistic affair. There have been quieter chapters before, and not everyone has a fate that’s all doom and gloom, but Tom Taylor actually lets the couple have their day. More than that, they have hope for a peaceful future, which is a welcome change.
Especially when Brainiac is working to muster a gorilla army.
Yes, I mostly wanted to say “muster” and “gorilla army” in the same sentence. You’d do the same, given the chance. Don’t lie.
There are bits and pieces here that move the series toward its endgame, particularly in the bookending sections of the story. There’s a bit about the mustering gorilla army (YOU WOULD DO IT TOO) early on, and a rather shocking scene with Ra’s Al Ghul toward the end. They work in their own ways and carry a bit of dramatic weight, but… yeah, Taylor knows what we’re here for. We want to see the whale-lady and the crocodile man get married and
ride off swim away into the sunset.
The idea of Croc and Orca as a couple is played for laughs, but Taylor wisely keeps the humor centered on other peoples’ reactions and not the pair themselves. It’s not mean-spirited joking about their physical conditions, but instead a mixture of shock and joy that two unlikely characters managed to find love.
In fact, the Suicide Squad are nothing but supportive, giving constant words of encouragement to Croc and Orca. They’re great wingmen/woman/bat-people when Croc needs to a little extra push, and Cheetah, Ivy, Katana, and a bunch of lady gorillas help Orca feel beautiful on her big day.
Is this unabashedly sentimental? Definitely. Is it kind of silly and corny? You know it. Did I love it anyway? Absolutely.
For even in its darkest moments, this series has always had heart. The way Taylor writes these characters just feels real and genuine. You laugh at Lobo getting a power ring, cry when Damian accidentally kills Dick, and become enraged at how much of an overall crapbag Sinestro can be. There’s some shocking stuff that wouldn’t happen in the regular DC Universe, with characters doing things that would normally be seen as out of character. I mean, this entire story starts off with Superman murdering the Joker and then spiraling further and further down a dark path. It works for this story, though, because of the masterful storytelling.
That’s why the union of Croc and Orca works: they may not have had a huge impact on previous stories and arcs, but Taylor knows how to make every page and panel count. What initially seemed like a curious pairing has become one of the sweetest, oddest romances in comics, and that’s all because Taylor made you care about it.
You know who else makes a pretty great impression here? Man-Bat.
That guy is pretty great. I mean, who among us isn’t constantly silently screaming? Man-Bat is all of us, and we’re all Man-Bat.
Funny: three of the most human characters in this book are the three who resemble animals. Man-Bat, Orca and Croc all have constant struggles with their human and animal natures, and the latter two have that put to the test when Ra’s approaches them after their wedding. He comes in peace, he says, and promises to let the pair live out their lives as they see fit. As a measure of good faith, he deactivates both of their brain bombs. They thank him, he blesses their unborn child, and then they leave in peace.
Yeah, just kidding: Orca chews him out for being a jerk and Croc bites his arm off.
There’s some good stuff here, particularly Orca’s dialogue, but the scene goes on just a bit too long and feels a little out of place. Up to this point, most of the “shuffling of the board” to get characters where they need to be heading into the game has been pretty organic, but this was kind of clunky. I can’t quite put my finger on what doesn’t work, other than maybe the visual storytelling. Daniel Sampere illustrated the first half of the book and Bruno Redondo pencils the latter, and some of Redondo’s choices are a little hard to follow. Ra’s is awkwardly placed in a few panels, and the page where Croc lashes out at him feels like it’s missing part of the sequence. I will say that I like the way he draws Croc better than Sampere’s take, with a more expressive brow and better spacing on his teeth. There’s also a great silhouetted shot of Croc and Orca towering over Ra’s that’s really effective, but overall Sampere’s work is a little cleaner and easier to follow.
Final scenes aside, this is a very nice issue. It’s nice seeing two characters find love with one another, and nice seeing them get married and strike off for a better life. You could probably, technically consider this a filler issue, but you know what? Who cares?
She says yes.
- You love Injustice.
- You want to be present at the biggest wedding of the year.
- You love the great character beats that Taylor excels at.
Overall: Solid storytelling with an engaging, emotional core, the penultimate issue of Injustice 2 is a pure pleasure. There are a few clunky bits here and there, but by and large the story is funny and, amazingly enough, heartwarming. Who knew we would root for Killer Croc and Orca to find happiness together? Tom Taylor knew, and he was right for it. It may be seen as “filler” to some, but it has a crocodile man wearing a tuxedo on the cover. How can you not want to buy this?