Thursday, April 30, 2015

Injustice: Year Three Annual #1 Review

Written by: Brian Buccellato and Ray Fawkes
Art by: Xermanico, Sergio Davilla, Juan Albarran and Alejandro Sanchez
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 29, 2015

Reelin' in the Years

I am a huge Injustice fan (comic not game) and have been waiting with anticipation for Year Four to begin.  I enjoyed the magical Year Three more than most and when I found out this Annual was coming out I was confused and excited.  Confused that DC didn't push it more, but excited to get a little more Year Three action.  The Annual itself is split into two stories with the first being a prelude to Year Three and the second taking place during Year One.  While that may seem odd to some, I have no problem at all with it.  In fact, it was a nice way to close the book on Year Three and also remind us all of what's at stake.  In other words, I liked it.  How much?  Let's find out...

The first story is written by Ray Fawkes with art by my man, Xermanico.  Why is he my man? Because I said so, that's why!  Anyway, this story is the one that recent readers will likely be more interested in as it's a prelude to Year Three.  The story begins by showing that like always, Batman is the man with a plan.  Things are about to get real so Batman takes steps to get Raven and Wonder Woman out of the game.

If you have read Year Three you will know that Batman's plan succeeded.  However, Fawkes shows us the price and the ultimate cost.  Batman goes to Dr. Occult/Rose Psychic for help and through various locations and characters we soon see that what Batman wants involves so much more than I ever imagined.  Favors and mystical items change hands and I loved seeing it.  Unfortunately, someone else is watching...John Constantine.

If you are in my camp, you hoped that Constantine would get his at the end of Year Three.  After reading this story, I hate the son of a bitch even more.  Fawkes shows us that Batman isn't the only one with a plan, but unlike the Dark Knight, Constantine's is a bit more selfish and has a body count. You know what else?  Everything that happens is true to Constantine's character and makes sense with everything that happened in the Year Three of Injustice.

I liked this story because of how much I hated it.  Ray Fawkes shows us everything that lead up to Year Three and I really can't imagine any fan not appreciating it.  I also liked the touch of adding Dr. Occult/Rose Psychic as Batman's go to mystics.  They are old school and I can believe that Batman would trust them and not want to lose them for the upcoming fight.

Xermanico's art is really good this issue.  He gets to flex his muscles with the various (and often more obscure) characters.  The highlights were Raven and the infuriating last page.  Alejandro Sanchez's color work is outstanding as well and really makes the pages pop.

The second story is by regular series writer, Brian Buccellato, with art by Sergio Davila.  I'm guessing that some will question why a story from Year One would be in this Annual, but like I said above, I have no problem whatsoever with it.  In fact, I loved it.  It doesn't hurt that it features the Titans, but that's not the only reason.

If you have been reading this series from the beginning, played the game or both, you know how this all began.  Superman, Lois Lane, Joker...well, this story shows the aftermath of those event from the ground level...or should I say, Ground Zero.  We find out that a few superheroes were caught in that atomic explosion that ripped apart Metropolis and while Superman lost a lot, he wasn't the only one.

Brian Buccellato gives us the Titans as a living, breathing entity.  They are not just here as a prop, they are a Team with believable, well written characters who just had their world ripped apart. Buccellato does a good job showing a young team of superheroes trying to figure out what to do in the face of such a disaster.  Superboy decides quickly what he needs to do.

Hey flies off to confront Superman for killing the Joker and even though we know he won't change his mind, it's cool to see that Batman wasn't the only one against Supes from the beginning.  It's also great to see that the Titans were and always will be a team.  They fight Superman and while the tension isn't based on what will happen to him, it is on what he will do to Superboy and the rest of the Titans.  The answer to that is devastating, but also reminds fans of one thing...Superman must be stopped!  I can't wait for Year Four.

This story was a nice reminder of what lead us to this point, but also of what Superman is willing to do for what he believes is right.  Buccellato is dealing with a story with a set beginning and end and these little peeks at the in-between are what have made Injustice the great book it is.  In fact, I think that both stories do that and it's why I really enjoyed this Annual so much.

Sergio Davila and Juan Albarran do a really good job with the Titans and everything else in this story.  This was more of an action packed story than the first and Davila handles it well.  I hope we see more him and Xermanico in Year Four.

Bits and Pieces:

Brian Buccellato and Ray Fawkes get fans ready for Year Four of Injustice by showing us new stories from the past.  Year Three fans will love (and hate) Ray Fawkes' story of what Constantine did to start the Year of Magic and Brian Buccellato shows us the lengths Superman will go to get his way.  Xermanico and Sergio Davila do a really good job on art and in the end, this Annual has me pumped up for Year Four to start.


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