Few expected the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic-book tie-in to be any good. I don’t think anybody expected it to be the success that it became. The general rule of thumb is that comic books based on video-games tend to be of poor quality and – up until the Batman: Arkham series – the same was generally true of video games based on comic books.
There were exceptions, of course, and Injustice proved to be that. The original series detailed the five years that passed between the prologue and first mission of the Injustice game, showcasing the fall of Superman and how one bad day led to a series of bad decisions that culminated in Batman seeking allies from another universe to save his world.
Year Five ended recently, bringing us to this series – Ground Zero. Focused upon Harley Quinn – whose transformation from the Joker’s accomplice into an honest-to-goodness hero without losing any of her sense of fun was one of the high-points of the original Injustice series – the first issue recaps the original comic-book series and the opening of the video game. The second issue details Harley’s first mission as Batman’s secret weapon – raiding the factory that is producing the “green pill” medication that temporarily gives ordinary humans the strength and endurance to trade blows with a Kryptonian or Amazon.
The artwork on these two issues is distinctive different but perfectly suited towards each tale. In the first issue, Pop Mhan varies his style from panel to panel as a visual representation of Harley’s madness. We see a more traditional American comic style used in the serious scenes – such as when Harley is accepted by Batman as a follower – and cute Chibi graphics depicting happier times, such as Harley befriending Green Arrow and Black Canary. Tom Derenick – a regular artist on the original Injustice books – returns to do his usual stellar job for issue two. Also returning – and working on both issues – are the always excellent colorist Rex Lokus and letterer extraordinaire Wes Abbott.
The series’ second writer Brian Buccellato continues to provide the plots, with writer Christopher Sebela producing the finished scripts. A former writer on Ghost and Captain Marvel, Sebela has ample experience writing female protagonists and his take on Harley Quinn is reminiscent of Karl Kesel’s version of the character in her original solo series. This is sure to please fans of the classic Harley, who have felt ill-served since the New 52 reboot. The story itself finds the perfect balance between comedy and drama, with some wonderful action sequences and a lot of laughs throughout.
If you have yet to visit the world of Injustice, these two comics are a perfect entry point. The first issue neatly summarizes the story thus far for new readers (but you really should read the original series!) and the second one is filled with Harley Quinn’s special brand of madcap hilarity. The artwork looks astonishing and perfectly captures the spirit of the writing. This is a fun comic, plain and simple.