By Ashley Gibbs
Personally, I am a casual fan of DC comics, but when the first Injustice video game came out years ago, I was pretty excited and enjoyed it a lot, so I’m eager for its sequel. To help build up hype for the new game, we’re also getting a new tie-in comic that helps explain the world of Injustice, to bring people up to speed on the story so far, as well as offer more story that might not have fit into the game itself. Injustice 2 #1 is the first issue of this new series and takes place directly after the ending of the first game. While it’s not necessary that readers be familiar with the first game or even the comic series revolving around it, these comics add more meaning to the story.
In this alternate reality, the Joker manipulated Superman into killing Lois Lane, their unborn child and Metropolis has been destroyed. As a result, Superman killed the Joker and became a tyrant trying to make the world a better place via harsh and unforgiving practices. Many joined his side, either out of fear or genuine belief in his ideals but not Batman. He along with several others put a stop to Superman’s Regime and now it’s time to rebuild the world before the wrong power takes control again. This issue gives us a clear look at how fractured the relationship between Superman and Batman is, two men who while always pretty opposite were very close. We also get plenty of Harley Quinn action who, now free of the Joker, is more of her own woman but still crazy and humorous as ever which helps in this dark alternative world. We’re also treated to Black Canary, who I was personally very excited to see in the second game. This prequel story offers background on where she was during the first one and how she enters into the second without needing too much background knowledge.
To match the stellar storytelling, this book has great artwork to match. The characters are realistic while still being clearly a comic book; it’s a dark, gritty story that doesn’t rely solely on depressing colors to convey this message. This stood out especially with Harley Quinn since her outfit has a bright red in it. But the attention to detail is great too, the colors and style clearly show her having the white face paint, but it also looks like real makeup and not caked-on, over-exaggerated white clown makeup. It’s something minor but also shows a lot of care was put into the aesthetics of this issue. The characters have great facial expressions which help tell the story just as much as the text does along with body movements and position that make everything, for the most part, seem organic. While there are a few cases of characters just standing, they’re usually not vital to the scene, or of course, it’s Batman who is forever stoic. Also, the backgrounds are not ignored, which is something I appreciate.
I do admit to reading this with a clear bias since I enjoyed the first game so much and the universe created around it. However, Injustice 2 #1 is a great read for new and old fans of this alternative universe. It is dark and violent, and this will probably only increase as the story goes on, much like the first comic series set in this universe so it might not be suited for everyone.While I’m usually not a fan of violence, I do enjoy when an alternative universe gives writers the chance to take beloved characters and go wild with them, but their core natures are still respected here as well. Overall, if you enjoyed the first game and are looking forward to the second one I fully recommend reading this. If you’re not familiar with the games or previous comics, this comic allows you to dive in since it’s a new story being told, but I do suggest playing catch-up. This first issue had great pacing and throws readers right into the action, a truly solid read; My only complaint is that it had to end at all, I want more the story ended with a major cliffhanger.
Injustice 2 #1
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciller: Bruno Redondo
Inker: Juan Albarran
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Publisher: DC Comics