[Editor’s Note: This review may contains spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciller: Daniel Sampere
Inker: Juan Albarran
Colors: Rex Lokus
Many times, Batman has been portrayed as infallible – two steps ahead of everyone. So much so, that it seems a bit unbelievable. Injustice 2 #14 presents a Batman that has miscalculated. A Batman that is a step or two behind. A Batman that is more human than ever. But, there’s a line yet to be crossed, or is this the beginning of this Batman’s descent into madness and fascism?
With the death of the president, president elect and nearly all the congressmen and women in Aqualad’s terrorist attack. Jefferson Pierce ends up being the next in line for the presidency. At the same time he is being sworn in, the rest of Batman’s team is going in different directions. Dinah is at the hospital with Wildcat. Plastic Man tries to help Blue Beetle’s conscience, unknowingly preparing him for Booster Gold’s surprise offer to train him. And, Bruce Wayne himself goes before Congress to answer some questions and defend himself from insinuations of conspiring with Ra’s al Ghul.
At the heart of this trial is an examination of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s character including motivations, personality and effectiveness. The congresswoman overseeing the hearing certainly sees Bruce as a threat, but also less than effective at what she believes he’s trying to accomplish. It’s a bit of a jolting, but refreshingly challenging view of Bruce Wayne.
Afterwards, Batman goes out on the town to crack some skulls, and is met by Catwoman. He takes her back to a secret Batcave beneath the Batcave to show her something he’s been working on – Brother Eye!
The character work in this issue is fantastic. Taylor really gets at the elements of Batman’s character that make him recognizable. It’s particularly entertaining as the congresswoman is calling him out on these recognizable traits that have apparently led him to this moment of failure. Taylor turns the tables on this icon and puts him in an unfamiliar situation. Essentially, this calls into question the Batman-ness of Batman, forcing him to rely on a previously troubling solution.
Additionally, in the previous 13 issues of this series, Taylor has been building this world with things unfamiliar and familiar. So many homages to the post-Crisis DC Universe make it easy for long-time readers to find an avenue into this world so that when it is turned on its side it matters.
It doesn’t look good for Batman’s direction. His choice to utilize Brother Eye is an echo of the world we’ve seen before and could signal Batman sowing discontent amongst his allies.
The character work is outstanding this issue as it drives the story. This sense of familiarity with this alternate universe makes this a unique experience. Things will certainly go sideways with Brother Eye, who will still ally themselves with Batman? How will Batman confront Ra’s?