“Injustice: Year Zero” #1-3 Review

Writer: Tom Taylor

Art and Letters: Roge Antonio, Cian Tormey, Rain Beredo, and Wes Abbott

My mom loves watching reruns of Dateline. It’s a running joke in our family, that if there’s nothing to watch on tv, there’s always Dateline (or Big Bang Theory, usually). The premise of Dateline is simple: something terrible happens to someone who doesn’t deserve it, and the show spends an hour (two on Saturdays!) slowly unraveling the terrors of murder and abuse. There are no heroes. Only scars. I hate that show because it’s almost completely devoid of hope, redemption, forgiveness, or kindness, and I feel worse for having participated in making spectacle of such suffering.

I feel the same way about DC’s Injustice comic books. Despite the fact that the books are well-written and well-drawn, I can never escape the feeling that I’ve become a voyeur of tragedy. That feeling continues as I read the first three issues of Injustice: Year Zero.

This series is a prequel to the Injustice comic books (which were on their own a prequel to the Injustice video game) and move to sketch out the world before the rise of Superman’s totalitarian regime. Though details are just alluded to at this point, the appearance of a magical artifact that lets people control others’ minds, and the deaths of the Justice Society of America, appear to be important pieces of the puzzle.

The Injustice books take particular pleasure in tormenting me personally. I am a fan of the JSA second only to my fealty to the Thunderbolts, and don’t get me started on how Injustice II hurt me over Blue Beetle. I don’t claim that writer Tom Taylor has it out for me for some reason, but I have no way of knowing that he doesn’t, either.

Though I don’t need my comic books to be all syrupy sweet, at this point in my life, I appreciate a glimmer of light. Let the heroes struggle, let them fall, but let it not be in vain.

I suspect fans of Injustice will like these issues, and I appreciate how they fit into a much larger story that, at this point, can only be considered impressive. I’ll even keep reading this series so I can learn what happened. I just won’t feel good about it.

VERDICT: Injustice: Year Zero continues its track record of good writing and good art. It’s a BUY, but you might hate yourself in the morning.

Jason Kahler is a writer and scholar who lives in Michigan. His latest work is forthcoming in the book "How to Read and Analyze Comics" from SequArt. His poem, "After National Geographic," will soon appear in an issue of Analog…

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