By Matt Johnson
Injustice Gods Among Us tells the backstory of the recent video game of the same name. The gist of the series is: Superman has gone power mad. His former allies are splintering into two factions, those with him and those against him. Set out of main continuity, writer Tom Taylor has a lot of freedom to really push the boundaries of what we’re used to seeing in a regular monthly DC book. Thankfully, that’s exactly what he does.
Issue 5 eases us back into the story with a chapter focusing on Flash as he struggles to accept what’s been happening. Via flashback (no pun intended) we’re shown a recent event that’s shaken his faith in Superman. Meanwhile Batman has something he wants Flash to see. It’s a strong story and Taylor really gets us inside Flash’s head. Tom Dernick handles this chapter’s art. His rendition of Flash looks great when alone but when it comes to crowd scenes the level of detail drops quite noticeably.
The latter two chapters both focus on the emerging conflict, where Batman is finally pushed into directly opposing Superman. The opening page cryptically teases that somebody close to Batman is about to die before jumping back to modern day. Jheremy Raapack takes over on art for this chapter, his style is more sketchy and stylised than Dernick’s which may not be to everyone’s tastes. That said, even with his dark cartoonish art he does a great job of capturing the character’s emotion. The final chapter of the book, which makes up the second half of this story, returns to being pencilled by Dernick. The change back in art is a little jarring as it’s very noticeable. Usually when the next chapter in a collected issue is a new story it’s a natural change, but this time it comes across as very forced. However it’s not a major problem as it’s obvious you’re still reading the same storyline. The strength of the writing is enough to mostly offset the strange shift. Speaking of the writing, the two chapters make up some of the tensest story we’ve had yet as Superman really starts to slip into the role of villain.
Comic book tie-ins are usually very hit and miss but Injustice is consistently well worth reading. Even if you have no interest in the video game it’s still telling a very dark engrossing story about the DC universe spiralling into chaos. We’re so used to reading about a DC Universe that’s very safe that reading a story where major players can, and often do, get murdered by another is incredibly refreshing. Issue 5 again proves that just about anything can happen while keeping all the familiar faces relatively in character. Although the video game has now been out for weeks there’s still plenty of steam left in the series, if you’re interested in the cast of the Justice League at all then this is worth checking out.