Content tagged Tom Taylor
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DC FanDome Panel Revisits Injustice With Ed Boon & More

Over the weekend Geoff Keighley entered the DC FanDome to host a virtual panel revisiting the world of Injustice. The all-star creator lineup included NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon & Dominic Cianciolo, and DC Publisher Jim Lee, to look back on the genesis of the fighting franchise and its ever expanding legacy. Catch up on the archived stream right here:

Injustice Returns With Year Zero Comic Series

The world of Injustice: Gods Among Us has made its anticipated return, but it isn't as the latest NetherRealm Studios fighting game. The franchise is back for another go around with a 14-part prequel comic called Injustice: Year Zero. Read on for details:

Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us #2

When it comes to the Injusice: Gods Among Us tie-in series from DC Comics, there are a few inescapable truths.

For one; this is a tie-in product for a video game, which invariably means there's some consideration given to the new audience it will hopefully attract. By extension, it's impossible to ignore the word-of-mouth success the series has already claimed in just a few short months. Gamers are flocking to digital chapters to learn more about the playable characters; while comics readers are intrigued by a corporate comic dwelling on the fall of its greatest hero.

Injustice: God Among Us #2 [released February 27] is written by Tom Taylor, with shared art chores by Mike S. Miller & Bruno Redondo. Mortal Kombat Online is reviewing the digital version of this issue, which encompasses weekly Chapters 4 through 6 [read more]. Much moreso than #1, this is an episodic collection, each chapter much more readily isolated as a stand-alone read.

The issue picks up immediately where the last issue ended -- following the fall-out of a bombshell twist that saw Superman - acting under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin - inadvertently kill Lois Lane and trigger a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. Anyone who has been following promotion for the game knows that this is the pivotal moment that sets up the Gods Among Us beat 'em up universe.

The murder plot is the work of The Joker: not traditionally a Superman opponent, but certainly no more partial to The Man of Steel than he is The Dark Knight Detective.

You get a sense that there is - or should be - more to this story than we know. Joker's reasons for being in Metropolis -- a trip that includes the casual, quickly forgotten murder of Superman's pal, Jimmy Olsen [see; Issue #1] -- aren't explained. To think a comic focused on backstory would gloss over this catalytic detail seems like a discredit to the creators involved. Joker may have a reputation for being a wildcard, but his actions are rarely so incongruous or shallow, particularly in a story that derives from them. There are enough masterminds in play to suspect manipulations by someone more motivated, like Lex Luthor, but doubt lingers. Depth, detail, and causality certainly weren't strengths of the first issue.

Even with the benefit of a grander conspiracy, there are those inescapable truths about the series. It's difficult to ignore the sense of reverse-engineering that is the plot of a tie-in. The high concept of the lead product is a world where Superman has turned tyrant, leading to superhero civil war. Without the fundamental alterations of a story like Red Son, it takes the death of Lois Lane (and Metropolis) to turn Superman heel and no more than that. It's the ends that are most important here, not the means. It feels that way throughout.

If obligations to a conclusion have robbed the story of any of its own complexity, then it becomes troublesome that there is an obvious eye for a new reader, as well.

Rather than sell the virtues of enduring characters and their developed history, the popular wisdom of the day is to pitch lobbed soft balls. Deft writers can weave layers that satisfy new and old readers with the right sense of familiarity beneath a scene, but that isn't the case in Injustice #1 or #2.

At times, the script rings untrue, offering shadow versions of scenes you'll recognize from other stories, without any real sense of referencial wisdom. They depict characters as slightly unfamiliar with each other, presumably to the expectation of an unfamiliar reader. This is evident in a bizarrely restrained interrogation scene between Batman and arch-nemesis Joker. Set immediately after the total annihilation of one of DCU America's biggest and brightest cities - Metropolis - it's all a bit shallow.

Joker, like the first issue, meanders through frustratingly uncomplicated observations of what is about to occur. Batman is surly, but accomodating and ineffective. They'd be cartoon versions of themselves, if the cartoons hadn't already set that bar higher.

The counter-culture appeal of both characters makes them easy targets for a gaming audience, but these heavyhitters usually demand more on their home turf. With a structure built around bombastic reveals, it all becomes killing time, rather than Killing Joke. It must be said that this is undeniably valid and successful for attracting unfamiliar eyes, but even they will notice everything feels a little inconsequential as things develop and the game arrives.

Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us #1

When you consider the instant success Injustice: Gods Among Us has had through digital-first release [full story], you have to think this is a comic already fulfilling its primary objective(s).

Print copies of #1 (released January 30) contain the first three chapters of the digital counterpart. Mortal Kombat Online is reviewing based on both, but if you asked for preference, the paper copy takes it. The printed page -- which is cut roughly in half for digital release -- is not only more forgiving to the empty space of panels and the quality of linework, but also the overall pacing of the read.

The natural format of a modern comic lends itself to page-to-page scene breaks, but it could be speculated writer Tom Taylor is more aware of his obligations to digital chapters than is normal. Important story beats segment well, but this doesn't entirely playout in the artwork, which feels hyper-extended in the digital version.

Jheremy Raapack in particular seems much more at home in a traditional 7x11 comic page, with layouts a little less obviously accounting for a page split. When Mike S. Miller and Axel Gimenez take over, the equator becomes more obvious. These panels feel better filled in digital chunks, but compound the unexpected interruption of mid-story style changes. There's a lot to like about Raapack's stylized chunkiness; Miller is crisp and clean.

External forces weighing on the series make it an unusual comic to review, but also speaks to the varied audiences it will inevitably reach. If you aren't looking for the metatext, you won't be too distracted. There are a lot of ways to enjoy this comic, and if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by, plenty of people already are! This is the tie-in's tie-in -- perfect for introducing an interested new audience to the DC superhero medium.