The Injustice Universe has been one of the most fascinating Elseworlds that we have seen developed by DC Comics. It is also one of the deepest as not only has the Injustice Universe had two video games but also an two ongoing comic book series. The first ongoing was set during the rise of Superman’s Regime while the sequel comic was set right after it fell and the events the led into Injustice 2. To give the Injustice 2 comic a proper ending Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo and Rex Lokus are closing things out with a big extra size Annual. Based on the cover of Injustice 2 Annual #2 it looks like this comic will revisit the relationship of Batman and Superman’s evolving relationship. Given how complicated the World’s Finest relationship became as it deteriorated this Annual should be a fun dive into how the Injustice Universe was shaped by Batman and Superman’s choices. Let’s find out if that is the case with Injustice 2 Annual #2 Review
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We open with a recap Superman cradling a dead Lois Lane as a massive explosion goes off in the background, Superman killing Joker and Batman and Superman turning their backs to each other.
In the present Selina Kyle finds Bruce Wayne working on Brother Eye to distract himself after Alfred Pennyworth left the mansion. Bruce says he needs to fix a glitch he found with Brother Eye. Selina tells Bruce to maybe get some help with the glitch. When Bruce says nothing Selina offers to get Alfred to return. Bruce says he respects Alfred’s choice to leave.
Brother Eye suddenly alerts Bruce to someone trying to break Superman out of his prison. Bruce asks who it is. Brother Eye says it’s an old woman with a pie.
Outside the prison Batman and Catwoman are shocked to find Martha Kent standing there with Jonathan Kent in the car. Martha asks Batman if there is a possibility Superman would harm his mom. Batman says no but that he can’t let Martha in. Martha walks past Batman and says she is the one person that he can stop. Catwoman goes with Martha inside the prison.
Jonathan tells Batman not to feel bad. Batman asks if Jonathan will be going in. Jonathan says he isn’t and offers Batman the chance to go get some drinks. Batman accepts and the Superman robots fly them somewhere.
Eight years earlier at the Wayne Refugee Pathways Fundraiser Bruce asks Alfred how he can wear a tuxedo all the time. Alfred tells Bruce to stop complaining.
As Bruce interacts with the guests at the fundraiser he stops Selina in the crowd. Selina asks Bruce if he would like to dance up on the roof. Before he can answer Bruce is shot on the shoulder.
Selina rushes out to find the shooter. She is able to catch up with him and it turns out to be Deadshot, who she knocks down with a dropkick. Deadshot recovers and electrifies the ground which shocks Selina.
At the Daily Planet Lois Lane calls Clark Kent into her office. In a closed door meeting Lois reveals that Bruce has been shot and doctors are currently doing emergency surgery on him. Lois says she’ll cover for Clark. They kiss and Clark changes into his Superman costume.
At Gotham General Superman finds Dick Grayson at Bruce’s bedside. Bruce jokes that sneaking in through windows is his thing and does not suit Superman. Superman says Bruce gave them a scare. Bruce says he is okay.
As Selina and Alfred walk into the room Superman asks Dick how safe Bruce is. Dick says that Oracle has the surrounding area guarded with Robin, Batwoman, Black Canary, Huntress and Flash keeping watch. Alfred then reveals that Bruce has been receiving many death threats recently for his refugee charity efforts that he kept to himself. Dick says Bruce had a protective vest on. Selina mentions that because it was Deadshot he had to be ready for that because the bullet he used penetrated through the vest.
As they keep talking Selina suggests that Bruce be moved. Bruce says he can protect himself. Superman retorts that Batman can defend himself but Bruce is in mortal danger out in the open. Superman then mentions he knows a place to keep Bruce safe.
At Kent’s Farm in Smallville Superman introduces his Ma and Pa Kent to Bruce, Selina and Alfred. As Jonathan helps move everyone in Martha comments that they only prepared Clark’s room for one though given Clark sneaking in Lana in the past extra people shouldn’t be an issue, much to Superman’s embarrassment.
Martha then asks if Lois is going to be joining them for dinner. Superman says that Lois will not as she is investigating who was behind the hit on Bruce.
At Hopper’s Diner in Gotham City Lois meets up with a guy named Benny. Benny is concerned that he was followed. Lois calms him down long enough for him to show that he got the secret recording she requested. Benny then mentions they are getting more meta-humans involved in taking Bruce out.
Lois is informed by Oracle that two men are approaching the diner.
The two men enter the diner and demand to know what Benny is doing with Lois. Oracle quickly calls Nightwing and Batwoman to get to the diner immediately to back Lois up.
Before Nightwing and Batwoman can arrive Lois quickly takes out both men on her own. Lois then tells Benny that Batwoman and Detective Montoya are going to protect him while they shut down his former friends operation.
Sometime later Superman meets up with Lois on the roof of the Daily Planet. Superman asks Lois about what she learned. Lois says that a white supremacist cell of Intergang is responsible for the hit on Bruce. Superman doesn’t understand why they are doing this. Lois says it is because they are Nazi’s who don’t want people who look different from them to come to the country. Lois says that she will soon have enough information to take them down.
At Kent Farm Bruce and Jonathan connect by the fact they are both night owls. Jonathan says it is probably because of their respective fathers. Bruce says his father died. Jonathan responds by mentioning that Alfred is Bruce’s father.
They change the subject by talking about animals which Jonathan lets it slip that he knows Bruce is Batman. Bruce asks if Clark revealed his secret. Jonathan says Clark would take that secret to the grave and he just put two and two together since Bruce and Clark are friends. Jonathan then reveals that while he won’t say it Clark sees Bruce as his hero.
Two weeks later while driving through the city El Diablo attacks Bruce’s limo. When Bruce stumbles onto the street Deadshot shoots Bruce in the head. The bullet bounces off Bruce to everyone’s shock.
Batman appears and “Bruce” takes off his suit to reveal that he is actually Superman in disguise. Batman and Superman then take down Deadshot and the other villains.
A little later on the Daily Planet roof Lois tells Batman and Superman that Amanda Waller has taken Intergang into custody and she is writing a story about the entire thing that includes the involvement of several politicians. Batman thanks Superman and Lois.
In the present Martha arrives at Superman’s prison cell and gives him the pie she made him. After a brief awkward moment they end up hugging.
Superman asks how things are going in the world. Martha comments that they are going along okay without him but that when Superman comes to his senses the world will need him. Superman asks where Pa Kent is. Martha says Jonathan is out drinking with Bruce.
At a bar Jonathan buys himself and Bruce some beer. Jonathan mentions that Alfred asked him and Martha to look after Bruce. He then asks Bruce how things are going. Bruce says its been difficult without overstepping his authority like Superman did.
Jonathan asks Bruce if Clark asks Bruce for help after Lois died. Bruce said Clark did in a way. Bruce then says that Clark killed someone in cold blood. Jonathan says that he doesn’t think its a right or wrong argument but one about Bruce having impossible standards when all Clark needed was a friend after Lois’ death.
Jonathan goes on to say that the world is too small to hold grudges. Bruce reminds him that justice must be served. Jonathan retorts that if the world is ever threaten Bruce’s sense of justice is keeping Superman caged. He then asks Bruce if he had the opportunity to kill his parents killer if he would take it. Bruce says he was a child then. Jonathan says they are all children.
Sometime later Batman meets Superman in his prison cell. Superman asks Batman if the world has gotten better. Batman just says the world is free. Superman asks if that freedom has come with less death, war and conflict. When Batman doesn’t respond Superman takes that as a no.
Batman takes off his mask and tells Superman he is sorry about Lois and that he wasn’t a better friend. Batman then says that while he is not sure if the world is better with Superman in prison but he knows if Lois was around it would be a finer world.
Batman then walks away in silence. End of issue.
The Good: Given that the game is a fighting game some may be surprised that Injustice 2 Annual #2 is not the action packed conclusion to this comic book series. Instead Tom Taylor opts for a more character-centric approach to concluding the Injustice 2 comic. With the results that we get from Injustice 2 Annual #2 that was the correct choice to make in lining up with the events of the game’s opening.
While Injustice involved the entire DC Universe at the end of the day Batman and Superman were the center of everything that happened. They were the ones kept everything moving forward, whether for good or bad. So it was only appropriate that the Injustice 2 comic would end by exploring the friendship between Batman and Superman. Seeing how close these two were in the past is a reminder of why their friendship was special.
There is a clear brotherhood between Batman and Superman that showed throughout Injustice 2 Annual #2. At no point in the flashback scene does neither question the others choices. They trust each other with their lives, as shown how Batman and Superman ended up taking down Intergang and the pre-Suicide Squad team.
Bringing in Jonathan and Martha Kent to drive the exploration of Batman and Superman’s friendship was a great use of the characters. The presentation of both Jonathan and Martha shows how no matter what happens they never lost the Ma and Pa Kent persona fans are accustomed to. That could’ve been easy to lose given what happened with Clark as he created the Superman Regime in the Injustice Universe. But staying true to their character both were shown to still be the strong parental figures they’ve always been.
This was strengthened by how they take on a role as Bruce Wayne’s safehouse in the flashback scenes. Through these scenes we see how their core character never changes. Jonathan revealing that he knew Bruce was Batman also showed how perceptive they are to quickly connect the dots. At the same time Jonathan still protected Clark by showing that him finding out Bruce’s secret was because of being a parent rather than Clark revealing anything to them.
Bruce and Jonathan’s relationship was particularly interesting. As we see with the flashback scene, there is a clear level of respect from Bruce that he takes everything Jonathan says, including defending Clark, as the truth. That strengthened the present day scene at the bar with Jonathan not holding back in his talk about his son with Bruce. Through this we see that while Jonathan can’t face Superman for what he’s done he still loves Clark. That love translated to some great real talk that opened Bruce’s eyes to what went wrong in his friendship with Superman when Joker killed Lois.
Throughout this issue Taylor also did a fantastic job showing how strong of a character Lois Lane was. While her unfortunate death led to the events in Injustice that does not mean she was just a damsel in distress. No matter how dangerous a story Lois is someone that will not hesitate to use all the resources she is able to accumulate in her investigation. Showing that she won’t back down and stand up against anyone, including some Intergang thugs, pushed that idea forward. It also highlighted how while Lois is not a costumed superhero she holds a great deal of respect from the likes of Batman and others.
By doing this fact Taylor further highlighted the impact Lois had on Superman’s life. She was the lightning rod that kept Superman grounded and not lose sight of his own humanity. This all went a long way to show how important Lois was and how her death would impact Superman in such an extreme way.
All of this made the final confrontation that closed Injustice 2 Annual #2 have maximum impact. For all their fighting the one thing that we never saw Batman and Superman talk about was Lois’ death without violence breaking out. Without Superman being able to escape Batman was able to admit he should’ve been a better friend. While he did not say the world was better or worse without Superman’s help he did verify that Lois absence did seriously impact the world. Leaving things like that was a perfect way to segway into how we pick things up in the Injustice 2 game story.
Taylor also does a very good job integrating other elements that become a bigger deal in the Injustice 2 game. Opening things up with Batman trying to fix a glitch in Brother Eye opened the door for the role we see it play in the game. It also further highlighted how Bruce’s own obsessive nature kept him from getting the help with Brother Eye that could’ve kept things from getting as far as they did in the game.
Catwoman serving as supporting character was a nice touch to show how important her relationship with Bruce is. Much like Lois, Selina helps keep Bruce grounded as she sees the world in a way he does not. That becomes more important as the separation between Bruce and Batman does not exist in the Injustice Universe.
Bruno Redondo did a great job with showing how different characters were between the present and flashback scenes throughout Injustice 2 Annual #2. There was small changes that showed the age and experience they went through during Injustice. The tone between the two time periods was clear as things were brighter during the flashback scenes while the present day scenes felt darker.
The Bad: While I can understand why Taylor wanted to make Integang a much more hateable organization the addition of a white supremacist cell felt unneeded. With how Intergang as a whole has been established as agents of chaos who hate everyone there was no need for a group within the organization to be separated out. It should have just been that Intergang as a whole was responsible for the hit on Bruce and were becoming more dangerous because they were adding big name villains to their ranks. So while understand Taylor’s intentions, especially as it gave us a good scene between Lois and Superman, it just did not hit the way it should have.
Overall: Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo and Rex Lokus did a great job closing this series out with Injustice 2 Annual #2. In exploring Batman and Superman’s friendship from where it once was to what it became over the course of Injustice Taylor was able to give greater depth to how the sequel game started. If you are a fan of the Injustice video games I highly recommend checking out Injustice 2 Annual #2.