The Injustice franchise is one of the most successful DC Comics properties. Both Injustice: Gods Among Us and its sequel game, Injustice 2, have sold extremely well and have a strong online competitive scene. Complementing the games, DC Comics has also been publishing some excellent comic books that have been led by writer Tom Taylor. Each of the comic books in the franchise have taken what the two Injustice games created and given the universe even further depth by exploring the iconic characters in this new setting.
Now after several comics have taken a look at the years during the events of the two Injustice games DC and Taylor have gone back in time to show us some of the history of this world before the events of the first game took place. To do that DC Comics released three chapters of the new Injustice: Year Zero series this past week to celebrate the launch of this new series. Since reviewing only one of the chapters would be unfair to the way DC Comics decided to release the series we are going to take a look at all three issues together.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Roge Antonio (Injustice: Year Zero Chapter 1 & 2); Cian Tormey (Injustice: Year Zero Chapter 3)
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Superman helps the Batman Family take down Black Mask’s gang so that Batman can join the party that the Justice League is throwing to honor the Justice Society of America. During the party, much to the glee of the others, Batman and Wildcat get into a sparring match with Wildcat getting in the final shot that ends the match.
Afterward, as the Justice League and Justice Society all bond during the party Batman and Superman go off on their own. The pair talk about the legacy they are leaving and how things have changed since they originally became superheroes. Green Lantern Alan Scott and Amazing-Man join Batman and Superman to back-up the fact they are all leaving a strong legacy as an inspiration for all future generations of superheroes.
At the same time, Joker and his gang break into Blackgate Penitentiary to take Andre Chavard from prison. Back at Joker’s hideout, Joker gets Andre Chavard to start talking about the real reason Adolf Hitler killed himself in 1945 by threatening to kill Andre’s family.
Back at Blackgate Penitentiary Batman joins Commissioner Gordon, Nightwing, and Huntress in investigating Joker’s jailbreak. While there he learns that Andre Chavard was the only prisoner Joker broke out and that Andre was about to be let out on parole after 55 years in prison because he was dying.
Back at Joker’s hideout, Andre says that Hitler’s death started with an expedition Carter and Shiera Hall were on in Egypt to explore the tomb of Apophis, the Egyptian God of Chaos. When Shiera finds the remains of Apophis the amulet on the corpse takes her over.
Carter transforms into Hawkman to try to stop the possessed Shiera. During the fight, Hawkman is seriously injured but is able to get the amulet and helmet possessing Shiera off of her. Once she regains her senses Shiera can’t do anything as Carter gives her his final words.
Sometime later during a battle in World War II, a soldier named Dirk Strasser finds the Amulet of Apophis and becomes possessed by it. The possessed Dirk Strasser uses the power of Amulet of Apophis to cause countless deaths. End of the first three chapters.
The Good: With how developed the Injustice Universe has been from the moment Superman snapped Joker’s neck and began his Regime it is easy to forget the history of this DC Universe. Before that Superman/Joker moment, the Injustice Universe was based on the main DC Universe for the most part. The first three chapters of Injustice: Year Zero immediately reminds the reader of that fact as we get to see the universe before everyone was forced to choose sides.
To Tom Taylor’s credit, he once again delivers a story that is both respectful for the character of the DC Universe and perfectly fits things into the Injustice Universe. There is a classic feel to the first three chapters of Injustice: Year Zero as we get to see the Justice League celebrating everything the Justice Society of America did to create the foundation of the DCU. Seeing that celebration makes you realize that there is an immense history to the Injustice Universe that predates everything that happened once the Superman Regime took over. This was a universe of heroes and villains.
What made these first three chapters work so well is how they examine the meaning of the hero’s legacy. This was an underlying theme of the Injustice Universe as we saw it become a battle of the legacy that Superman and Batman’s respective forces were creating. Going back to how Batman and Superman were already discussing the legacies they were each creating before things took a turn was fascinating to see. You get the idea that both of them were at a stage in their lives that it was about the next generation is ready to take over. What that meant for each of them gives greater context into why we saw them both so driven when the events of Injustice went down.
Taylor did an excellent job using the Justice Society to elevate this particular story. Taylor clearly has a love for these characters. That is something we see through Superman’s speech that truly pays respect for everything the members of the Justice Society have done. They are the foundation that the entire DC Universe has been built on. Seeing the current and past generations of iconic Justice League and Justice Society members interacting was pure joy.
It was particularly fun to see even during a party that Wildcat could not help but push Batman’s buttons. A sparring match breaking out between them and it ending with Wildcat knocking Batman down was already fun to watch. What made it even better was Barry Allen running to get Jay Garrick so they could eat popcorn and watch the fight together. That sealed the deal on how this was just a joy to see go down.
Joker’s sudden obsession with learning about why Hitler killed himself was an unexpected storyline. Given that Joker kicked off the events of Injustice it is not surprising that he is a big part of Injustice: Year Zero. What was surprising was this desire to learn about Hitler. It does make you wonder if there was more to Joker’s plan that caused Superman’s turn than we previously knew.
Tying all of this back to World War II also implies that we’ll be seeing the Justice Society of America play a bigger role in the story. Given that Hawkman and Hawkwoman are alive in the present but at least Hawkman was killed during the whole adventure with Amulet of Apophis they’ll likely play a key role in this story. Where exactly Taylor will be driving with this story and how it ties into the present will be interesting to see given the fact Joker is possibly after the Amulet of Apophis.
Roge Antonio and Cian Tormey delivered solid, consistent artwork. Even though they worked on separate chapters their styles were similar enough that you couldn’t tell unless you read the credit. The moments of action we get were handled well with the impact in the punches between Batman and Wildcat, and how things broke down with Hawkman and Hawkwoman.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: The first three chapters of Injustice: Year Zero did a very good job setting the stage for the rest of the series. The interaction between the Justice League and Justice Society of America is going to standout for many DC Comics fans. The way Tom Taylor used the DCU history that many DC Comics fans helped in getting immediately invested in how Injustice: Year Zero sets up the events of the game. If you are an Injustice Universe fan this is definitely a comic book you should read.
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