Can Harley Quinn save the world from Superman?
DC’s Injustice universe is trapped in a sort of limbo right now. The prequel comic recently wrapped up after devoting years to exploring the lead-up to the video game in painstaking detail. And while there’s a sequel comic on the way, that series won’t be debuting until closer to the release of the Injustice 2 game. So how to fill that gap? DC’s solution is to introduce a new Injustice comic that directly adapts the events of the original game. It’s not necessarily the most exciting angle, though the fact that Harley Quinn is the main protagonist promises that this series won’t be a straightforward rehash.
That’s the hope anyway. It’s tough to get a good sense of how Ground Zero will adapt the game based on this first issue (which, as per usual, reprints the first two digital chapters). The first chapter boils down to Harley recounting the events of Injustice Years One through Five, ranging from Superman’s ll-fated clash with the Joker to his ultimate rise to power as a global tyrant. The fact that all of this is filtered through Harley’s whimsical worldview does help give it a little added flavor, but at the end of the day this chapter is still more recap than real story. But things do pick up in the second chapter, when Batman dispatches Harley (mostly to get her out of his hair) to attack a factory producing more super-pills for the Regime.
That second chapter does a better job of showcasing the interplay between plotter Brian Buccellato and writer Christopher Sebela. Tonally and stylistically, the new series falls pretty much in line with Buccellato’s prior work on the franchise. Sebela displays a solid take on Harley, casting her as the hero of her own story, even if no one else on either side necessarily views her that way. Sebela’s portrayal of Harley doesn’t stand out quite as much as original Injustice writer Tom Taylor’s, but as the conflict opens up hopefully there will be more room to grow in that regard.
Unfortunately, the new series doesn’t quite live up to the standard of its predecessors. No doubt many of the core Injustice artists like Bruno Redondo and Mike S. Miller are busy working on Injustice 2. This issue instead features Pop Mhan on the first chapter and Tom Derenick on the second. Neither artist is able to replicate the clean, cinematic look that Redondo and Miller tend to bring to the table. Mhan’s chapter especially is overly murky and scratchy. So many panels are devoted to recreating iconic scenes from past Injustice comics, and none really measure up to the originals.