Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #1

Admittedly, I am not a gamer. The closest I've gotten to the world of "Injustice: Gods Among Us" is the sampling I've done of the digital first comics. Now, with "Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two" #1 hitting the shelves, those digital first adventures for the second season of the series based on the popular video game are delivered in print.

Although this issue is priced at $2.99 and contains two of the 99¢ digital chapters, the additional cost is undoubtedly covering printing and shipping for a book that reads just as wonderfully in print as it does digitally, just with a more manual, personal version of guided view. Tom Taylor's dystopian Earth under the thumb of Superman is less the subject of this issue than the personalities who inhabit the Earth. Taylor opens this season of "Injustice: Gods Among Us" with a flashback conversation between Dinah Lance (Black Canary), Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) that harkens back to the "Hard-Traveling Heroes" stories of yesteryear. Granted, the end point of the flashback comes back to modern times, with one of that trio in the ground and the other two trying to carry on. Where there once was harmony and friendship there is now distrust and uneasiness. That carries all the way through "Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two" #1, but not in a mournful, depressing way. However, Taylor manages to keep some characters focused on hope.

That doesn't stop the writer from advancing the subplots, as Superman continues to shape the world as he believes it should be. In the shadows of Superman's influence, Taylor writes a telling scene of Bruce Wayne's recovery and determination and Superman's visit with Commissioner Gordon. These pieces all have echoes of the Silver Age and even the brighter moments of the DC Universe prior to the 2011 relaunch, but harsh reality comes ringing in loudly as Sinestro confronts Kyle Rayner outside Earth's orbit.

The art team of penciller Bruno Redondo, inker Julien Hugonnard-Bert with coloring duo of David Lopez and Rex Locus make "Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two" #1 a beautiful-looking, hauntingly detailed comic book story. Hugonnard-Bert keeps Redondo's characters clean and crisp, which enables the familiar characters to be all the more familiar. Redondo furthers that familiarity and comfort by endowing all of the characters with a wide range of emotions and expressions, no matter the page or panel construction. Given that this is a digital-first publication, the images do play to a wider screen, but the scope of the story powers that along.

"Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two" #1 is a gorgeous book that is familiar enough to be welcoming, but twisted enough to be disturbing and unsettling. These are characters longtime DC readers know, but Taylor and Redondo are proving that nothing is off-limits, with shock and surprise waiting behind every page turn. I may not be calling in to work to play the video game any time soon, but I will certainly be spending three bucks per issue to continue reading these Elseworlds-like adventures.

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