Injustice – Chapter Two
Injustice, the new DC series set prior to the upcoming game of the same name, is, like all of their digital series, being released weekly; these small instalments will then be bundled together and brought out as a monthly mini-series otherwise not unlike any other on the shelf; those bundled together into a trade. As a reader this is an interesting and rather ideal set-up: one allowing me to regularly consume the story with the rhythm of a great TV serial, the more archaic readers their preferred paper format and me (again) the luxury of a contained collection to keep into the future. As a writer though ( of these rambles, let alone of the book itself) this weekly format is a challenging one; leading to regular reviews that will either end up being too repetitive, too short or too repetitive to read. So while I will be eagerly awaiting each and every Tuesday night for the books release ( Wednesday for you yanks) I will only be reviewing at irregular intervals.
But you don’t care about that, you want to know about the book itself. Last week I wrote a lot about this books beginnings, about my experience reading it and about the craft that made it so compelling; what I didn’t really mention though was the story ( I don’t like to be specific before others have had the chance to experience something for themselves). Inside of the book itself the biggest surprise – for me at least, going in with no information – was the suggestion we got of an Übermensch abandoning the American way and wielding the European tradition of Dictatorship in its place; it was a shock to see superman become the villain, primarily because he was shown as such a sweet protagonist on nearly every other page. This week we get to see just how this future could possibly come to be, even though we are barely scratching the surface of the series’ mystery.
You are also here because you want to know about Tom’s writing and not my own. Thankfully Mr.Taylor is a far stronger writer than I, one much less perturbed by the weekly format i fretted over. Rather than try fighting it he has instead embraced the divided structure of his drama, using the intermittent intermissions to his advantage by closing off both chapters with cliffhangers that would bring back even the most cynical of readers. Then we saw the shocking death of someone close to Superman, here we see… Well I won’t say, but it is shocking in its own way. I have a feeling though that ‘see’ is indeed the right word to use, especially given one of the other Gotham villains that we see appear earlier in the issue. What is most important about this cliffhanger though is the scale of it.
I wrote extensively about Taylor’s terrific text last week and had assumed that I wouldn’t be able to again right away, as I would be repeating myself. Thankfully though the merits of this issue simply aren’t the same as last weeks. Whereas I wrote then about loving the intimate theatricality of Taylor’s script I know want to praise him for the sheer amount of content that he manages to pack into this small issue. Though this is very much a direct continuation of the comic’s central story the cast size doubles – perhaps trebles – as the Justice League and others are called in and yet the characters still feel well served ( not all, but those that need to be are). What we see them do has also changed drastically, Superman alone goes from floating around the city gasbagging to beaching stolen subs in the space of a few pages.
It is a panel on the very first page though that sums up the sharp change in tone that this comic has taken. Jheremy Raapack ( joined here on art duties by Axel Giminez) spent so much of his page space last issue close-up on Superman’s face, establishing him as a cool minded, kindly guy, as loveable, but in the wake of what occurred his face has changed, his expression now a harsh, horrifyingly fearful one. Seeing it on the first page sets up up for the Superman that we see here, one no longer suave but thoroughly shaken, already slipping into the rash insanity that will surely lead him to that future position.
It’s one of many great panels in the issue, Raapack not only able to craft a cool image but to convey a great amount of complex story through even these smaller digital pages. If his depiction of Wonder Woman wasn’t so… Lets say deep ( certain subsections of the fanbase will surely love it) then I would repeat myself in raving about his art, but that troubled me a little. Thankfully though all of the male members of the Justice League that make an appearance here are well handled: Green Arrow looks awesome and the way that the speed of the Flash so shown is strong too. If you were worried that the humour of the first issue was lost along with Jimmy fear not, for Taylor uses The Flash to fill in the funny spot that Superman emptied: his banter with Batman as brilliant as you would expect.
I was worried that Injustice might be mangled by its cross-media roots but i was wrong to. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find enough to write about this book each week but here I am having rambled two-for-two. If Taylor can continue to keep the series this strong and this surprising, if he can manage to keep changing things up, then perhaps you’ll hear from me again next Tuesday. Either way you should consistently be sitting at your computer waiting for the issue to drop, I know I will be.