*This review contains spoilers from volume 1*
The stellar franchise is back, friends. Considering how impressive the first volume is, I of course went into YEAR TWO's debut with pretty high expectations. Thankfully, writer Tom Taylor is able to deliver us more of the same -- and that's absolutely a good thing.
Sure, the premise behind this alternate universe is intriguing, but truth be told, it's not exactly the most original one around. We've all seen Superman take more drastic actions (e.g. KINGDOM COME, RED SON), but what makes this series truly standout is the commendable writing and this opening chapter is a terrific reminder of that. Taylor does legitimately impressive work with Green Arrow and has without question turned him (as well as his chemistry with Black Canary) into one of the most charming and lovable elements in this book. With this issue, Taylor makes the understandable decision to open the book with an honestly joyous scene, celebrating the relationship these two once had while also giving us some sharp and smile-inducing lines. Then we're hit with the reminder that he's gone and it's all thanks to Superman's temper tantrum. It's a great example of how this book can offer an organic shift between tones and make the laughs every bit as effective as the emotional hits.
Series regular Bruno Redondo illustrates the franchise's return and does a satisfying job, most noticeably with the opening locations and a certain power which appears later in the issue. Redondo nails the character work with Green Arrow, Black Canary and Hal Jordan. From Oliver's smug face to Hal's dissatisfaction to Dinah's hatred, the characters look exactly how you'd expect them to in the given moments. The coloring (by David Lopez) is able to match the tone of each scene well, but it really shines in creating a vibrant city and when a certain conflict occurs towards the conclusion. Note for longtime fans: Hal's hair is brown!
This issue leaves us with a fine cliffhanger, but the ending does come off as a bit abrupt, especially since we've come to expect absolutely huge moments from this series. It'll be cheerworthy if you're a massive fan of said character, but for everyone else, it'll just come off as a serviceable tease.
There's also one reveal which feels like it's there just for shock value and to give a certain character even more inspiration moving forward. However, this character has plenty as is. We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
It's a tad tough to take Superman seriously when the artwork appears to make him a bit overly emotional with his expressions. It almost feels like he's an upset child instead of a powerful world dictator with a conflicted conscious. I obviously love the reactions and emotions displayed with everyone else, but with Clark, it comes off as a bit overdone (regarding his facial expressions, that is).
Overall, INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US makes a very satisfying return. It may not pack as big of a punch as the first volume when it comes to reveals/shock value (at least not yet), but it's superbly written, filled with heart and a great way to ease us back into this twisted world. Glad to have you back, INJUSTICE.
Yes, this is technically a jumping on spot, although I obviously recommend reading Volume 1 at some point.