Tom Taylor's INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US has been an explosive and intense journey, but this third chapter of YEAR TWO applies the brakes and feels like the calm before the storm. Instead of shoving these characters back into yet even more violent scenarios (unless your name is Kyle, that is), Taylor's jumping into the significance behind Superman's drastic actions. If one of the most powerful men on the planet suddenly starts acting like a dictator, you can bet this is going to stem a few debates among the powers that be here in the United States and even The Guardians. Sure, the blue aliens have a whole universe to worry about, but seeing as so much trouble seems to be traced back to our little rock, it's worth keeping an eye on.
Taylor doesn't dive into what these discussions will generate just yet. Instead, he simply does the work to establish each one and hits us with the feeling that big things are more certainly on the way. This is a book known for its ability to shock readers, but this issue doesn't exist to drop our jaws -- it exists to build our intrigue. It has a pretty unique cliffhanger and will definitely have you curious to see where the conversation goes next. It's not one that'll evoke strong emotions or anything -- something the book does quite often -- but it's likely to hook your curiosity.
Seeing as Hal Jordan's on the cover, it's not a spoiler to point out this issue revolves mostly around him. If you've played the game, you know he's going to undergo a big change and Taylor absolutely teases that eventual development. An entire scene is here to essentially convey how much Hal's mindset is changing. What's brewing on the Guardians' side of things is sure to make the upcoming plot with Hal even more interesting, too. Will this new character see eye to eye with Jordan? It's unlikely, and given the book's handling of conflict, expectations are certainly high.
Bruno Redondo, Rex Lokus and Julien Huggonard-Bert are able to lure us into each new scene with some great establishing shots. Oa's devoid of emotion yet eerily beautiful and alien, Hal's sequence opens with burst of energy, and the cut to Clark matches the tone of the scene -- distant, cold and calculating. The character work remains consistent, providing clearly defined emotions and it prevents these fictional, two-dimensional characters from feeling static. There's one great moment with Clark where the panel tells you everything you need to know about how he's feeling. With his eyes shrouded in darkness and a focus on his clenched fist, it's crystal clear the Man of Steel is doing everything he can to keep composed.
The update on Wonder Woman's status is sure to be a driving force for Superman, but, as a reader and a fan of the game, there's no real sense of danger or suspense regarding her outcome since we know she'll endure.
INJUSTICE: YEAR TWO #3 is all about showing subtle changes in Hal Jordan while also setting the stage for some very promising new plot points. Nothing here is going to stun you, but it's absorbing and certain to leave you anxious to see how the next chapter will unfold. After the last issue's cliffhanger, I can't help but wonder what'll happen with the new character. I'm sure we all have our theories -- especially if you know the development Hal will eventually undergo -- but only time will reveal what Taylor has in store for us. It's just too bad need to wait two weeks until the next chapter. Thankfully, this series is worth the wait.