Rage Against La Machine
Written by: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Marco Santucci, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: June 5, 2016
We all knew it was going to happen, but if you haven't yet read last week's issue of Injustice (Chapter #23), then you best turn away fast because here comes a spoiler...Alfred is dead! Like I said, it really isn't a shocker. Superman almost did it himself a couple of issues ago and with Bruce in deep cover, Alfred was an easy target for those wanting to find him. I say "those" and I think you know who I really mean...Superman! I held out hope that there was still some semblance of a heart in the Man of Steel, but it looks like I was wrong. Last chapter's cliffhanger made me want to see more of Damian's reaction, but I'm sure I'm with everyone in really wanting to see how Bruce deals with the death of his butler and friend. Well, Buccellato doesn't leave us hanging for very long because we get just that this week. Was it good? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Superman and the Regime looking at Alfred's dead body on their video screen and at first I wasn't sure how they would get the footage (and worried that more people would yell at Buccellato on Twitter), but it's explained and then we move on to the million dollar question...who put Zsasz up to it? I wonder if Superman is trying to let everyone know it was him! Every question or lead that comes up is deflected by Superman and when it looks like Sinestro might be involved, Superman says he'll take care of it himself. Really?!?! Kind of like what he "took care of" with Sinestro at the beginning of the last chapter, huh?
Cyborg and Flash then go to check up on Damian and he is beating the shit out of the floor. The two promise they will do anything for him, but he only wants one thing...can you guess who or what that is?
We get a Team Batman point of view when Batgirl, Batwoman and Catwoman get together to talk about Alfred and Bruce. It isn't a discussion on "if" or "when" Bruce will go after Zsasz, but what he will do to him once he finds him. They should be reading this book because right after this scene, we find out.
I hope we get to see a little flashback/behind the scenes of Zsasz working this deal out so I can laugh at him. I may even point and laugh some more. He killed the one person on the planet that could possibly make Batman throw his code out the window and didn't ask for any protection afterwards? Not even a ride home? I know that Superman is using Zsasz for bait (and even to prove a point), but the man has to worry about his own safety a little more. He doesn't even have a disguise!!!
Good old, stupid Zsasz is attacked and at this point, I was half expecting it to be Damian dressed as the Bat, but it looks like 100% Dark Knight...and I mean DARK KNIGHT! He takes Zsasz down and starts turning his face into hamburger. I'll give Zsasz some props here, instead of telling Batman who sent him to kill Alfred, he goes so far as to show him Alfred' mark on his neck. That's some cold ass shit right there! The chapter ends with Batman in a bit of a pickle. Will he kill Zsasz or not? It gets a little more "pickley" when a certain angry young man shows up wanting to do the job himself. I don't know about you, but Zsasz will be used to show that no matter what happens, Batman will never stoop to Superman's level. Nice try Supes!
I was expecting a little more of an emotional issue than what we got...or maybe just a different type of emotion because we certainly get a large dose of rage here. Alfred's death feels too much of a means to an end even when the Bat gals are discussing it. It certainly moves the story forward and gets Batman back in the mix, plus it looks like an unlikely (in this story, at least) teamup is about to begin and I'm all for that.
I like Marco Santucci's art in this chapter. It's a pretty basic story without a lot of set pieces so he concentrates on the characters and does a fine job. It's good seeing Batman back on the job and Santucci nails the brutality of the coming back party. Poor Zsasz!
Bits and Pieces:
I don't think I've ever said this about a chapter of Injustice, but I wish that Brian Buccellato would have slowed things down a bit to let everything that has happened sink in a bit. Maybe we will get to the grieving later, but this issue is about retribution and revenge. While Superman tries to find out who is responsible (Maybe he's also writing "If I Did It: Confessions of the Super Killer" as we speak), Batman is back and may just go that extra step for justice. However, that would kind of make Superman right in the grand scheme of things, so don't bet your bottom dollar on it.