Not a conflict worthy of the gods.
Injustice: Year Four turned out to be a fairly bumpy ride. It started off as just the return to form this saga needed, but then suffered through some bouts of poor pacing as the conflict between Superman’s forces and the Greek gods escalated. Unfortunately, the series doesn’t race across the finish line so much as sputter and die a few yards short. While this year had its moments, it features by far the weakest conclusion of all four volumes.
The sudden addition of the New Gods to this conflict in the previous issue was cause for concern, and that concern was more than warranted. Describing the resolution to Year Four as anticlimactic would be an understatement. The resolution basically boils down to a conversation between Zeus and Highfather. Superman and his allies have no impact on the outcome of this conflict. It would be easy to say that this issue is more concerned with setting up Year Five than properly wrapping up Year Four, but it’s not even clear what the conflict of the next series is intended to be. Only an earlier scene where Wonder Woman makes a heroic sacrifice to save her friends from nuclear annihilation saves this issue from feeling like a complete waste of time.
The rush to the finish line seems to take its toll on the book’s visual quality as well. Though generally one of the stronger artists working on Injustice, Mike S. Miller’s art in the first chapter is noticeably looser and less detailed than usual. Luckily, Bruno Redondo wraps up the series in the final chapter, and his work maintains its sleek, cinematic quality. It’s just a shame the events of that chapter don’t put his storytelling skills to great use.
The aforementioned Wonder Woman scene, combined with a bit of epilogue material focused on Superman and Batman, suggests that the best thing that can happen for Injustice in its fifth and final year is a “back to basics” approach. Forget about all the massive, external threats like the Greek gods or supernatural entities like Trigon. The focus needs to return to the core rivalry between Batman and Superman. There’s nothing wrong with the characterization in this book. Brian Buccellato’s Superman in particular is an vastly better and more nuanced character than the one in the game. The series has simply spent too much time in Years Three and Four dealing with outside DC characters and not enough on the core Injustice conflict.