Splash Page: INJUSTICE: YEAR ZERO #1-3 Review
Cover: DC Comics/Art by Rain Beredo
The Injustice video games are fun blend of arcade fighter and a reward for experience fighters who like to master character combos. The surprise bonus from the game was the prequel comic series written by Australian comic book writer, Tom Taylor, who wrote Year’s 1-3, and the Injustice 2 comics. Taylor now returns for a prequel, to the prequel.
Injustice: Year Zero is a digital only comic that looks at the events leading up to the Joker tricking Superman into killing his wife, unborn child and destroying Metropolis, which begins Supes’ downward spiral into dictator. Superman and Batman also bond over their concern of their legacy as heroes and as parents. Joker works to discover Superman’s weakness, which is based in the history of the Justice Society, the first super team that fought in World War 2.
Taylor returns to a somehow more hopeful DC universe, after creating the apocalyptic, zombie universe, DCeased. He presents the DC universe that audiences have lacked since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy; hopeful and exciting instead of grim and dreary. As the Justice League and Society celebrate on the Watchtower, Wild Cat challenges Batman to a fight and as Batman takes a hit, Barry Allen’s Flash informs Jay Garrick’s Flash to bring popcorn which is a fun moment with an equally fun Batman punchline to the scene.
Taylor captures the voice and strengths of each character perfectly, just as he did with the previous Injustice series. Batman is reserved and acts the lone wolf but opens up to Clark Kent. Bruce is concerned about the legacy he will have with his ‘children’; the members of the Bat Family he trained. It’s those little moments that make Clark’s ultimate downward spiral all the more bittersweet. Clark himself is the super modest being that he is, oblivious to his legacy of inspiring millions of people when he craves a more direct, personal legacy of a child.
Year Zero #2 is more focused on the Joker and his impatient search for what the mysterious Andre Chavard knows on how to control Superman. While nothing is revealed about Chavard, or his purpose, there are some twisted Joker antics for some morbid humour such as artists, Rogê Antônio’s onomatopoeic hint of Joker casually running down two pedestrians. In the third issue, a better idea of the story’s direction is given as Chavard recounts a story from World War 2 that includes Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
There is nothing narratively to hook the readers like with the main Injustice story, but Taylor’s love for the characters and the world continue to make the series a fun but twisted Elseworlds story.