Injustice – Chapter Three
Though it was only a single word written on a digital page by Wes Abbot, a sound effect at that, I felt the shock-waves of this issue’s final page blow my hair back like the real thing would. The Rise of the Third Army, The Trinity War and Death of a Family have nothing on Injustice; if you want an epic event this is the book to go to. In an industry neutered by the constant need for a next issue, for perpetual nascence we simply don’t get to see storytelling this heavily seasoned: this latest chapter of Injustice doesn’t just spill more blood, it uses it to salt the earth of the DC Universe as we knew it.
When talking about the first issue of this spin-off, prequel series I mentioned detecting subtle traces of the Shakespearean in the hints that we were getting about the future to come; well here we see the first – but surely not the final – tragedy of the story occur and it is as great a gut-punch as you could stomach, especially given what else that first issue did well. To explain that comment anymore may spoil the surprise, and when the shock is this sublime I would hate to do any such thing. You’ve really got to read this book and if you were waiting for the print copies to do so then rejoice for as of tomorrow you will be up to date; the first floppy containing up until the end of this Chapter.
Surprisingly this actually feels like a very fitting place for the story to cut off: not only does it close on an amazing cliffhanger (a tease for us weekly readers, torment for those waiting monthly. There will be a whole host of new readers next week, I imagine.) but it also ties together elements of the previous two chapters, forming a deceptively cohesive story unit. Taylor was obviously writing these for the individual issue, the three-chapter comic collection and, presumably, the trade all at once; an achievement when most writers struggle to sate the one criteria this well.
With that twisted cliffhanger comes a decided change in tone, one that started last chapter and finishes here. This is no longer the sweet and sentimental super-soap that we all went gooey for and the clearest sign of that – besides the brutally devastating ending, which I cannot mention enough – is the fact that this week’s banter buddies are both villains; their speaking taking up nearly the majority of the script, their phrases perverting our perspective. So Joker and Harley are the chapter’s bantery two-hander, but more than that they are also provided the luck of a protagonist, the Joker allowed to win for once. His plan comes together and, well I’ll just say that the death of Jimmy in Chapter One was a pinch compared to the two-punch king-hit combo that he serves Superman with here.
Thankfully the first change of artist for the comic is a much less dramatic one; Mike Miller stepping in for Raapack with relative ease. Generally the shift of styles is a very subtle one, thanks mostly I think to the consistently classy colouring work by Andrew Elder. The small ways that they do differ are actually to the book’s advantage though: Miller seems at his stride during the series’ short action sequences, conveying grandly and inventively the physical conflicts occuring, more than making up for what his figures – flawless as they are – lack in that unique humanity Jheremy brought to his lines. Together this pair seem perfectly suited to switch out through the series depending on time and content, so i hope that they are indeed both booked in to do so.
So in short, wow. Three weeks in and Injustice is already capitalizing better on its bevy of characters than nearly any big book out there. It also serves its purpose well because not only has it begin to justify capes fighting against Clark, but I can also see some villains turning against their own after this. But I’m sick of speaking around the ending of the issue; so stop asking yourself ‘What’s in the Boooox?’ and open it already, either that or be sure that your local store has a physical copy put away for you. This is the book that people are going to be talking about, so this is the book that you want to be reading.