SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Injustice 2 #47 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott, on sale now.
The Injustice comics have a fine line to walk; they have to tell interesting and captivating stories while also sticking to the canon of the games and making sure nothing contradicts those events. Sometimes, what we know from the games can somewhat spoil what’s going on in the comic, but that’s not always a bad thing.
For months, a gun-toting Batman has been running around with Ra’s Al Ghul’s team of eco-warriors. Longtime readers, and even some newcomers with a familiarity with DC Comics history, won’t be particularly surprised to learn that in a recent installment of the digital-first series, it was revealed that this was, of course, Jason Todd.
But while everyone and their mothers saw this twist coming, it doesn’t mean it's reveal lacks impact. In fact, it perfectly illustrates the effect dramatic irony and reader awareness can have on a story.
Ra’s Al Ghul has unleashed his Amazo robot on the population of Dehli, and while Batman’s team of heroes are on the ground doing what they can to save lives, several of Ra’s Al Ghul’s followers are questioning their allegiance to The Demon’s Head. Vixen, Animal Man and Nightwing — who in Injustice is Damian Wayne — can’t stand by while Amazo kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people to further Ra’s Al Ghul’s cause, so they turn to their trigger-happy Batman for help with Damian imploring that this isn’t the kind of thing he stands for. The imposter Batman reveals himself as Jason Todd, which we all saw coming, but the moment is actually more effective for being aware of that.
Batman: Arkham Knight did a similar thing, where the titular Arkham Knight was revealed to be Jason Todd and eventually took the name of Red Hood. There, it felt cheap and predictable; however, thanks to the Injustice games having Red Hood as a playable character, we knew this was coming, so instead of being a twist, it’s just part of Jason’s journey. Not everything in comics needs to be a big world-changing cliffhanger and in this case the story is better for it. Jason’s time as an imposter Batman isn’t presented as a puzzle box to be unlocked, it’s just part of the character’s story.
It’s important to remember that Bruce Wayne still thinks Jason Todd is dead, so he can’t exactly just walk into panel and say, “Wassup?” Instead, the Injustice team created stakes and a connection between the two characters that can be furthered when Jason and his team eventually join the fight against Amazo.
Speaking of the Amazo battle, it isn’t going super well. Batman has been knocked unconscious, forcing Green Arrow and Black Canary out of the fight to tend to him. Ray Palmer/the Atom is still inside Amazo having been cornered by nanites, losing a leg in the process. Jason’s team attempts to convince Professor Ivo to shut down the machine to no avail, while Booster Gold and his new protege Blue Beetle enter the fray and immediately get murked. People throughout the city are dying, forcing Kara Zor-El to abandon her seclusion on Themyscira and join the fight against the rampaging android.
As interesting and exciting as the fight against Amazo is, the aftermath is going to be even more explosive. The people of Earth don’t currently have the best opinion of people bearing the crest of the House of El and now two super strong teenagers — Superboy and Supergirl — have shown up wearing it proudly. With Superman in prison, the intentions of both characters will likely be called into question by the public at large, as well as Batman’s role in working with them. Injustice is great at the all-out brawls the video game series is known for, but where the comic shines is within interpersonal drama and geopolitical stakes and by seemingly saving Dehli from Amazo, Supergirl just raised the stakes considerably.