Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 2 by Tom Taylor – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]
Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, reviews the second Volume of Injustice: Gods Among Us, a tie-in to the fighting game of the same name – written by Tom Taylor with artwork from Mike S. Miller, Tom Derenick and Jeremy Raapack. Published by DC Comics, this book can be read without knowledge of the events of the video game – however reading Volume 1 first is a definite requirement.
“Tom Taylor steps up and knocks the ball out of the park with the second volume of Injustice: Gods Among Us – improving over the first and making it a compelling, unpredictable read where anything can happen and not even your favourite superheroes are safe.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
Story: Tom Taylor | Art: Mike S. Miller, Tom Derenick, Jheremy Raapack | Publisher: DC Comics | Collects: Injustice Gods Among Us #7-12, Injustice Gods Among Us Annual #1
From the ashes of Metropolis come Superman and the JLA’s newest ally: Lex Luthor! Against all odds, he’s not only survived but now embraces Superman’s goals. Of course, Lex has his own ideas for how to create a better world. The Man of Steel trusts him, but can the rest of his allies be so sure?
Whilst Tom Taylor’s first Volume of Injustice: Gods Among Us suffered in places and wasn’t as gripping as I thought it would be given the concept, the second act is a marked improvement as this volume picks up where we left off in the dystopian alternate future of an Earth where Superman is slowly spiraling out of control and creating a new world order – regardless of what any of his fellow Justice Leaguers have to say.
The biggest strength of Injustice: Gods Among Us is that it avoids the factor that many video game tie-ins have – and doesn’t feel cheap, easy and rushed. Instead, the book goes for a gloriously over-the-top feel that pits alternate versions of Batman and Superman against each other with every hero from the video game (and more) caught in the balance. This is a cataclysmic event that affects the entirety of the superheroic world – and even the villains aren’t left unscathed by Superman’s plight, with Lex Luthor now the Justice League of America’s newest ally.
However, despite the focus on Luthor – the main talking point of Injustice: Gods Among Us is the confrontation between Batman and Superman, arguably the two most notable characters in the DC universe. They’re certainly the most famous and the question has long been asked who would win in a fight. Tom Taylor shows what might happen if the two did come to blows at any point – and although this is not the current New 52 Universe, it does highlight some effective ways that the two former friends might use to combat each other. For example, when Superman tries to tell the world Batman’s identity – the Dark Knight sends the watchtower crashing down to Earth. It’s great to watch these titanic A-Listers slug it out in ways outside a direct conflict, and Taylor makes this book worth picking up for all of those who love ‘What if?’ storylines.
The action is as brutal and bloody as one might expect from Taylor writing a story with an out of control Superman. There’s no holds barred and if you haven’t played the video game yet then you’re really in for a treat – because anything can happen. Those of us like myself who have played the game will enjoy seeing how things came to be what they are – and this book provides some much needed backstory in regards to how things are unfolding before our eyes.
The artwork, handled by multiple artists, flows fairly solidly together, and although to be fair, there is better work on DC’s mainstream titles – such as Andrea Sorrentino and Greg Capullo on Green Arrow and Batman for example – it’s far from the worst art that I’ve seen from DC in the past. Despite the fact that it flows well mostly together there are a few sections that are better than the other – but that can easily be brushed aside in favour of a compelling and engaging storyline.
Despite the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Volume 1, Tom Taylor has quickly turned it around – creating a smash hit that will certainly ensure that I’ll pick up Volume 3. It’s not your average video game tie in and as a result this book comes into its own and has now become one of the better books from DC Comics.