Movies may be our first love here at Cinefessions, but we are proud dorks in the truest sense of the word. We love not only movies, but video games, books, comics, board games, men and women in spandex, and everything else that goes along with nerd culture. As longtime readers of graphic novels, comics, and trade paperback collections, we are excited to bring you a formal look at this genre in the form of criticism. The Cinefessions team will use Graphic Novel Capsule Reviews to look at a single issue of a comic series, a collected trade paperback, or a stand-alone graphic novel, and review it based on five of the most important aspects of the medium. This allows us to discuss a comic or graphic novel clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Title: Injustice: Gods Among Us Volume 2
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Mike S. Miller, Tom Derenick, Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Rosemary Cheetham
Letterist: Wes Abbott
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Cover Price: $16.99
Publisher: DC Comics
Injustice: Gods Among Us Volume 2 collects issues #7-12 of this comic series, and concludes year one of this impeccable run. After a disaster in Metropolis results in Superman losing someone important to him and his hometown being decimated by The Joker, Superman decides that he can no longer allow bad guys to run the world. He, Wonder Woman, and a number of other superheroes take it upon themselves to police the world, stopping anything they deem inappropriate, and at any cost necessary, even if it means spilling blood. Batman, on the other hand, believes what Superman is doing is wrong, and the result is an impending war, not between nations, but between superheroes. Specifically, between Batman’s army and Superman’s army. Continuing the story laid out in volume one, volume two is just as action-packed and powerful as the first volume. The story never slows down, and always moves forward. Each issue has something interesting and important to help drive the reader to the next issue.
There are times in Injustice Volume 2 where we lose a bit of the wit and charm of the characters themselves in order to focus on some of the larger events taking place. That isn’t a terrible thing, but one of the biggest surprises of the first volume was how well it balanced both of these important elements. This “problem” disappears in the later issues, however, and Taylor is able to deliver on a couple moments that nearly brought me to tears. It’s a beautiful epic that is made that way by Tom Taylor’s mature and detailed writing.
What a shock it was to open this volume and turn to issue #7 to see a different art style. I was entirely disappointed as I read that first issue in the volume as it was a far cry from the realistic, beautiful design of the entire first volume. It looked like poorly drawn, americanized anime, for lack of a better comparison. Fortunately, as I turned to issue #8, the realistic style of the first volume returned, and it stayed for the rest of the book. I am not sure who did the art in that first issue, and why they went in a completely different direction, but it was a short-lived disappointment in an otherwise beautiful book.
As I mentioned in my review of the first volume, this is a superhero tale, but entirely unique to anything I’ve read previously. Instead of the superheroes saving the world by stopping a singular bad guy, or a small group of baddies, we have some of the superheroes taking over the world by getting rid of all the bad guys. It may seem like a small difference reading it here, but it gives an entirely different feel to this story.
The first volume introduced me to some incredible superheroes that I didn’t know that well, and this volume used that new knowledge and love of those heroes to tug at my heartstrings. It really is incredible how fun a ride Tom Taylor is able to take the reader on in only 12 short issues.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Volume 2 requires the reader to have completed the first volume in order to enjoy this one, but both are must-reads that every superhero fan should own. This first year of Superman’s reign has been incredible, and I cannot wait to jump into year two.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.