The advantage of annual issues is they typically have more page time to introduce and tell the story. That means you can pick one up not knowing what is going on and still get an enjoyable story. I take a look at the new Injustice series from DC, but is it good?
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four Annual #1 (DC Comics)
Injustice started with a video game introducing Superman as the big villain. In this version of the DC universe he’s in charge and he rules with an iron grip. Meanwhile the Justice League follow his lead even if they’re not 100% on board with his methods. This issue opens on some terrorists blowing up a Superman statue and one of them just so happens to be related to an old Justice League member.
Why does this book matter?
Elseworld stories are fun as they tell a story of what could be or could have been if certain things happened. Superman is colder and a bit bent in this series, which is intriguing as it deviates from his boy scout nature in the main DC universe. Plus the Justice League member whose son is put in prison is none other than Plastic Man, who hasn’t gotten much time in the pages of DC in quite a while.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The story laid out here by writer Tom Taylor is very easy to get into even if you haven’t been following the series. I’ve only played the game myself, but you quickly see how Superman and the Justice League aren’t as warm and fuzzy as they are in the main universe. From there Plastic Man is introduced and his mission, to free his son, is understandable which makes it easier to root for him. His mission is to infiltrate a maximum security prison for supervillains at the bottom of the ocean. That makes this a heist sort of story which is always fun.
Taylor does a great job with the different surprises Plastic Man has in store in order to get his son out. This jives well with the character’s random and offbeat nature as he’s always throwing a smirk at problems at hand. He’s basically a silly character and he probably knows it, which makes him decidedly different from the very serious Justice League. The JL doesn’t spend too much time on the page in this issue as it’s mostly about Plastic Man, but that’s okay as he holds it up well.
The art duties are shared by Bruno Redondo, Sergio Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona as they put out a very detailed and cinematic experience. Layouts are relatively simple but adequately pop around from close ups to establishing shots. The page below for instance does a great job showing the passage of time and sells the joke of a team member actually caring what they call their organization. Much of the issue is clean with a nice weight to the characters, reminding me of Sandoval’s work on Avengers: The Initiative. That style suits Plastic Man as his pliability and morphing need that weight to give them a realistic feel.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only problem I had was how Plastic Man hatches his plan. It all starts with Flash and it’s surprising Plastic Man can take him down so easily and have the plan continue without himself being detected.
Is It Good?
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found a fun take on a colder, more dictatorship-style Justice League making Plastic Man’s lunacy and heroics all the more easy to root for. A good questionable hero’s journey.