INJUSTICE: YEAR TWO #16 sets up so much tension that it leaves me thinking the next issue will have an amount of explosions and action that would make even Michael Bay drop his jaw. And that seems to be the tradition in this volume: produce more and more suspense as the big war seemingly lingers just around the corner.
Yes, we know which side will ultimately win and we know which characters are still around several years after this volume, but we have no idea how it all plays out and who meets a tragic end. It's about the journey, not the destination. That's something writer Tom Taylor has consistently proven and, even though this volume has been noticeably slower and not as impactful as the first volume, it still has a firm grip on my attention week after week and leaves me wanting more. Unsurprisingly, this is yet another chapter that has me anxious to see what'll happen next week and it appears all of the teasing and buildup is about to payoff -- or so I hope. The real war is right around the corner, folks, I can't wait wait to see how it's handled.
This issue does a more than proper job piling on the tension as both sides speak out about what's about to go down and both sides prepare for the seemingly inevitable conflict. If you played the video game, then you know there's quite a few developments this battle could produce and I'm very curious to see if they'll happen here or if many will be reserved for YEAR THREE. Something tells me we'll soon see a big change for Hal, though.
Penciler Xermanico and inker Julien Hugonnard-Bert shine when we're treated to close ups and more intimate shots of the characters. There's a couple of close ups of a heavily shaded Batman which impress and many of the expressions add a proper amount of weight to the situation these characters are in. And it's the opening cosmic scene which allows colorist Rex Lokus to please our eyes. There's plenty of bright panels to enjoy as the Green Lantern Corps make their move and chase down two of Sinestro's goons.
As I said above, YEAR TWO still has a lot of room to surprise us, but so far it has felt like buildup after buildup and honestly, there hasn't really been any major payoff. This continues the trend of setting the stage, but I'm left with mixed feelings about whether the upcoming battle will be worth the wait. That has obviously yet to be seen and I'm hoping for the best, but I'm sure those that aren't a fan of this volume's pacing will continue to feel disappointed. It wouldn't surprise me if Taylor was saving all of the big action and major surprises for what's to come, but it feels like the path getting there has been quite long.
Some of the character work was a little jarring. For example, the first appearance of Batman looks off (cowl and jaw) and there's on panel of Catwoman where she appears to have an oddly masculine facial structure.
Minor gripe: The decision Superman makes is, well, let's just say it's pretty bold and despicable. I know many of you already view him as an evil tyrant, but there's been glimpses here and there that part of him still sincerely believes he's doing this for the greater good and his personality isn't completely gone. Because of that, I would have loved to see a dialogue between Sinestro and Superman about this disgusting decision. It's clear Thaal was pulling his strings for this move, but I would have liked to see Clark have some mixed emotions about the plan before actually believing it's for Earth's benefit.
Okay, you've landed one heck of a hook, INJUSTICE: YEAR TWO #16. Even if you haven't been the biggest fan of this volume, this chapter basically guarantees you'll be interested enough to read the follow-up. Whether or not the upcoming conflict lives up to the hype has yet be determined, but this chapter does a mighty fine job making sure we know it's right around the corner and I definitely want to see how it's executed. Sure, I wish Superman was a little more humanizing as he continues his evil path, but this chapter really got the narrative moving full speed ahead and I can't wait to see what happens next.