[SPOILER WARNING: The following review contains SPOILERS for both the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and the tie-in comics.]
The world has suffered mightily in the wake of Superman’s defeat and the collapse of his Regime. Bruce Wayne – now exposed to the world as Batman – seeks to use his wealth and influence to start building a better world. He stands not alone in this effort, joined by others of a like mind – heroes, billionaires and idealists all.
Bruce Wayne is also not opposed in this effort, as Ra’s Al Ghul – Batman’s most powerful enemy – assembled his own team. Some of them were press-ganged super-villains, liberated from Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad. Some of them are fanatics who share Ra’s nihilistic worldview. And still others, like Buddy Baker, are heroes… or would have been counted as such before partnering with a killer and kidnapper of children.
How did the idealistic Animal Man come to serve Ra’s Al Ghul? What perils will Batman and his allies face as they storm The League of Assassins’ secret stronghold in the Amazon rainforest? And what foul plot for reducing the world’s population has Ra’s devised this time?
Injustice 2 #18 would win my affection purely for reviving Ra’s Al Ghul’s secret underground conservatory, from the JLA: Tower of Babel story arc. There is much more to admire about this issue but that one point is perhaps the most demonstrative of how well Tom Taylor draws upon the little details from earlier comics and weaves them into the fabric of his own stories. It also demonstrates how Tom Taylor has made Ra’s Al Ghul a sympathetic antagonist – a man who willingly but reluctantly commits short-term acts of evil in the name of a long-term good.
There is quite a bit of discussion upon that point in this issue and the flaws with Batman’s approach to crime-fighting. It’s a fair analysis, focused upon the simple fact that Bruce, by necessity, is a creature of the moment. For all his reputation as a planner, Batman never truly considers the consequences of his actions beyond saving lives in the ever-present ‘now’. Deep stuff for a comic book tie-in to a fighting game.
The artwork proves equally complex. Daniel Sampere is a master at fitting numerous fine details into a single comic panel and is well-partnered with expert inker Juan Albarran. The color art by Rex Lokus is rich and vibrant, whether depicting a lush outdoor landscape of the gun-metal grey interior of a secret military compound.
Injustice 2 continues to be more than a mere video game tie-in book. In terms of quality, both in art and story, this is as fine a comic as you will find anywhere. It is one of my favorite titles and one I recommend whole-heartedly, even to those who haven’t played the games.