I've continued to enjoy this series, but I've noticed a lot of complaints about the book's slower pacing. The first volume was one big moment after another, but over the last several issues, writer Tom Taylor has focused on character instead of... well, characters being slaughtered. So, if you think the book has been moving a wee bit too slow for your taste, you'll be happy to know that the series has now picked up the pace and the superhuman action has begun.
Bruno Redondo (pencils), Julien Hugonnard-Bert (inks), and Rex Lokus (colors) create an opening page that pulls you right in. You can almost feel the rush of wind heading in your direction and I love the lighter shades that are used for the blast and the clouds surrounding it. This was absolutely a great way to open the chapter. There's a few other creative layouts and perspectives that really stood out, too. From the one glance we get of Cyborg (with the center of the blast reflecting right on his eye) to a character emerging from the dust, there's more than a few panels that leave an impression. The team does an especially good job giving Sinestro an expression that makes him look so arrogant and devious. There's also three times the creative team uses a pair of panels to deliver a pause and then a strong moment immediately after it. It works really well and avoids feeling familiar because there's enough of a gap between each of them, as well. The first one had me cracking up, the second lured me into the conversation, and the final one made me want to scream. I resisted the urge, but man, it wasn't easy.
The brutal war is now underway, but Taylor makes sure this isn't a chapter that's full of just darkness and violent twists. He's able to scatter some big laughs throughout the issue. Even if you don't laugh out loud they're sure to put a smile on your face. That said, the lighthearted gags don't take away from the serious nature of this chapter, either. The different tones are juggled quite well and the narrative moves forward without a single dull moment. And that cliffhanger? It's sure to make you want the next chapter right now.
There's been some major buildup to this conflict and honestly, this first battle wasn't as gripping as the previous action scenes we've seen in this series. Obviously, it's really enjoyable, but Shazam and Hawkgirl feel totally cast aside. I'll do my best to dance around spoilers with this one, but I was left with the feeling that Superman was a little downplayed. The Green Lantern Corps have an ace up their sleeve which you definitely did not expect. It's a hilarious and joyful twist, but it's a bit of an abrupt development and puts the brakes on the intensity. Considering all of the hype, it would have been nice to see a little more of the fight. Then again, it looks like the war is far from over, so I'm hoping this is just a taste of what's to come.
Minor gripes: as much as I like some of the visuals, there's a few here and there where characters look stiff or it appears a little rushed compared to some of the other pages. Also, I understand there must be a ridiculously tight deadline with this comic, but it would have been great if the double-page spread of the initial clash had a little more going on.
Tom Taylor has been delivering a slow burn in this volume and this latest issue feels like a return to the familiar. What's the familiar for INJUSTICE, you ask? Jaw-dropping shockers, that's what. The first battle wasn't quite as epic as it could have been, but Taylor's solid script, steady laughs and a gripping cliffhanger more than compensate up for that. INJUSTICE: YEAR TWO is a series that knows how to hit all of the right emotions. It'll make you laugh, wow you with spectacle, and even shatter your heart. Now comes the hard part: waiting 2 weeks for the next chapter.