REVIEW: ‘Injustice: Year Zero,’ Issues #1-3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Injustice: Year Zero
Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 is published by DC Comics as a digital-first, written by Tom Taylor, art Rogê Antônio and Cian Tormey, with colors by Rain Beredo and letters by Wes Abbott. The Justice League is taking a moment to say thank you to those who came before them. Honoring their fore-bearers in the Justice Society with a celebration at the Justice League space station. Meanwhile, a prisoner at Blackgate penitentiary is denied his parole. Driving him to a desperate choice.

In the comic book world, alternate realities are common things. While most of the time, they are just good enough to create a moment of uniqueness to the well-established lore they provide a twist to, every now and then one comes along that truly breaks the mold. That creates something that actually holds its own with the legends it’s shining an alternate light on. Stories like Age of Apocalypse, Kingdom Come and most relevantly, Injustice.

From the moment I rolled credits on the original video game, I knew this alternate look at the DC Universe was something special. Since then I have further explored this creative, harsh take on the DCU and loved every moment I’ve gotten to spend there. When I saw DC was delivering another foray into this world, I had to jump in. And so far, I’m not disappointed.

As the story for Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 opens the world we are presented with is much more akin to the standard DCU we know. The Justice League is hosting a celebration honoring the Justice Society and Batman is attempting to dodge going. Leave it to Clark however to know what Bruce is doing and not let him slink his way out of the party.

Injustice: Year Zero

Opening this series with this all too familiar interaction between The World’s Finest is a stroke of genius on the part of Taylor. If you have read the previous Injustice stories you are well aware of what lies ahead for these two old friends. Beginning this prequel with this moment is the perfect sort of gut check I’d expect from Taylor’s writing.

The superhero celebration delivers everything one would expect from such an event. There are pictures, laughter, and a friendly cross-generational brawl between heroes. It continues the fun, heartwarming tone the story has thus far designed to treat the reader with. But this is Injustice. The warmth was never going to last long.

While the heroes celebrate, The Joker breaks an inmate out of Blackgate Penitentiary. This inmate is dying and has offered godly power to anyone who breaks him out so he can visit his grandson. I won’t spoil all the details in this, but it doesn’t go great. The Joker’s brutality comes into the full display when he is double-crossed. Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 ends with The Joker learning the origins of the power he’s been promised.

The writing present in Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 is some of Taylor’s best. As the story fluctuates from heartwarming to brutal, Taylor manages to keep the narrative running smoothly. Often times such harsh tonal changes can feel jarring, but they are handled with skill here, allowing each to feel genuine and authentic.

The art here does a solid job presenting the story. The story is easy to follow, and it handles the hard tone shifts of the narrative fairly well. It manages to reinforce Injustice: Year Zero #1-3‘s story but never feels like it truly elevates it. From the linework to the colors, everything is done well but lacks that final push to put it over the top. It feels to willing to stand back and keep the reader feeling too distant from the story. The best comic art puts the reader in the middle of it.  The image itself should feel like it is encompassing the reader’s perspective. While the colors should heighten the story’s tones. Instead, the art here simply delivers what is being told, which it does quite well. I just went that extra mile.

Just as with the rest of Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 visual presentation, the lettering work here does a good job relaying the story. It’s clear, easy to follow, and never hinders the reader’s ability to take in the art.

When all is said and done I think Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 begins it’s narrative incredibly well. The story it delivers is fueled by emotion and freely plays on the knowledge of what is to come. I hope future installments can build on the great foundation it has set.

Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 is available now digitally.


‘Injustice: Year Zero,’ Issues #1-3
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TL;DR

When all is said and done I think Injustice: Year Zero #1-3 begins it’s narrative incredibly well. The story it delivers is fueled by emotion and freely plays on the knowledge of what is to come. I hope future installments can build on the great foundation it has set.