INJUSTICE 2 #70 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Detective Comics #986 Cover

DETECTIVE COMICS #986/ Story by BRYAN HILL/ Art by PHIL BRIONES/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by SAL CIPRIANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The villain Karma has a bus full of children as hostages and is forcing a confrontation with Batman. Jefferson Pierce is under orders to keep his charges among Batman’s young allies from getting involved but will that stop him from stepping in himself even before Orphan and Batgirl go off on their own?

With this issue, I’m finally convinced that Bryan Hill has gone off the rails and the Bat-Office is ignoring the rest of reality for the sake of the story they want to tell. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when Jefferson Pierce was said to be from Metropolis and not Cleveland (per the latest retelling of Black Lightning’s origin, which I thought might have been set in the early days of the Rebirth universe) because Hill had a good handle on Pierce’s character.

That’s all out the window with this issue, however, as we’re treated to Barbara Gordon – Batman’s most experienced ally outside of maybe Dick Grayson – being treated like a rank amateur and sitting on the sidelines while sending Orphan in as her agent. The weird thing is I’d think Hill wanted her to be Oracle instead of Batgirl, if he didn’t seem to be under the impression Babs is a high-school student rather than a graduate student with her own business!

At least the artwork by Phil Briones and Adriano Lucas is decent enough, but again, Barbara Gordon is drawn to look younger than Casandra Cain in some panels! Throw in the fact that Karma has devolved into another boring invincible mastermind villain whose power is literally knowing what you do before you do it and I’m one issue away from dropping what was once the best Batman book around.

 

Domino #5 Cover

DOMINO #5/ Story by GAIL SIMONE/ Art by MICHAEL SHELFER/ Layouts by DAVID BALDEON/ Colors by JESUS ABURTOV/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

As Domino and Shang Chi (Master of Kung Fu) have a night of dancing ruined by some of his enemies showing up wanting to pick a fight, Diamondback and Outlaw continue their fight against the new mutant villains who have it out for their friend.

If you love action, you’ll love this issue which is full of non-stop fight sequences. And if you don’t love action… well, why are you reading this book?

Unfortunately, guest artist Michael Shelfer isn’t quite as good as blocking a fight as he is at drawing good facial expressions. This means that a lot of the fight scenes feel boxed in due to all the panels. The conversations, with Gail Simone’s usual hysterical dialogue, fare far better. Those who have been enjoying this series so far will find it to be more of the same in spite of the flaws with the art.

 

The Flash #52 Cover

THE FLASH #52/ Story by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by CHRISTIAN DUCE/ Colors by LUIS GUERRERO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With both his proteges running alone, Barry Allen could use the help of a new partner. Yet Barry wants nothing to do with Commander Cold – a time-cop inspired by the legacy of Leonard Snart, whose reality Barry may have accidentally erased from existence. He may not have a choice, however, when the new energies unleashed by the destruction of The Force Barrier start to flare up in Central City and The Trickster mysteriously disappears!

If you haven’t been reading The Flash, this issue marks a good point to start. Joshua Williamson is one of the best writers I know of when it comes to delivering exposition in a smooth and natural fashion and the current storyline has a lot to unpack. Thankfully, Williamson has a perfect partner in Christian Duce, whose animated art style portrays the action appropriately.

The only problem is that the personal drama of the series suffers a bit, with Barry’s work life and his issues with his co-workers placed on the back-burner in favor of cosmic craziness. This is a weakness only in so far Williamson generally makes the personal lives of his characters more compelling than the standard superheroic action. Newcomers won’t know what they are missing, however, and this is still a great read.

 

Injustice 2 #70 Cover

INJUSTICE 2 #70/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Pencils by BRUNO REDONDO / Inks by JUAN ALBARRAN/ Colors by REX LOKUS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Forget Kitty Pryde and Colossus or Batman and Catwoman! The real comic book wedding of the year is here, with Killer Croc and Orca tying the knot with a wedding likes of which Gorilla City has never seen before. But with the two villains still enslaved to the whims of Ra’s Al Ghul and Gorilla Grodd poised to invade the city, will the two get a Happily Ever After?

It is a rare week when I pick up two Gail Simone books and neither of them is the most darkly hysterical comic I read. Yet, thanks to Injustice 2 #70, I can now say that such a thing has happened.

What more can I say beyond that? What description could possibly do justice to this issue beyond that cover art? Mere words are insufficient to describe the power of Tom Taylor’s story and the artwork of Mesers Redondo, Albarran, Lokus and Abbott. This remains one of DC Comics’ hidden treasures and it is a shame that so many ignore it because it is an Elseworlds video-game tie-in.

Great story. Great art.  Great Gotham, why aren’t you reading this?!

 

Plastic Man #3 Cover

PLASTIC MAN #3/ Story by GAIL SIMONE/ Art by ADRIANA MELO/ Colors by KELLY FITZPATRICK/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With his superhero identity now wanted for murder, the cabal of super-criminals he was meant to infiltrate wise to his scam and everyone in his life convinced he’s a murderer and/or a scumbag, things can’t get much worse for Eel O’Brian, right? Wrong. But he can still manage to save one measly street kid, right?  We’ll get back to you on that…

This comic is twisted. This book is hilarious. The visuals are twisted. The art is fantastic. The only bad thing about it is that it is a limited series. In a better world it would be a monthly. There’s also a continuity gag on the final page that had me laughing with delight and marveling that nobody had made a certain connection sooner. Enjoy this book while you can, kids, then send your friendly DC Comics editor a letter demanding more of Simone and Melo’s madness.

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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