[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: Daniel Sampere, Bruno Redondo & Juan Albarran
Colors: Rex Lokus
Letters: Wes Abbott
It isn’t often that a single issue can shift tone tenor so quickly and efficiently, but Injustice 2 #35 does just that, and not once, but twice.
Brainiac completes the recruitment of Grodd and the gorilla begins his takeover from Solovar with a sneak attack. After taking out one guard and coercing the cooperation out of another, the scene shifts to the Suicide Squad- Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Man-Bat and Katana. They too are sneaking into the Al Ghul/Solovar citadel. However, their mission is more personal. They find Killer Croc and explain that Solovar can perform a marriage ceremony between him and Orca, who, as we know, is carrying Croc’s child. It’s almost humorous as the Squad follows behind and watches from a distance as Croc pops the question to the ecstatic Orca.
After the ceremony, the couple are surprised to be greeted by Ra’s. In perhaps the greatest expression of Ra’s humanity that has ever been shown in comics, Ra’s disables the bombs in their heads and wishes them well in their life. However, Orca and Croc don’t take it gratefully. Understanding that their friends in the Suicide Squad are still under his control, they lash out at Ra’s, Orca biting part of his arm completely off. Before they can deliver the coup de gras, Grodd and his followers show up. Grodd seizes the opportunity to capture the seemingly helpless Ra’s. With that Orca and Croc head into the sunset as Grodd now has the upper hand and Ra’s attempt at moving forward with Batman now seem doomed.
Taylor masterfully weaves plot thread together organically in this issue as the pieces of the larger puzzle begin to set the stage for what appears to be a reason for the return of Superman. Brainiac has sent Grodd out to find him, in order for Brainac to capture him. And while the plotting gymnastics are remarkable, it is the incredibly touching and human moments in this issue that make it so powerful. The Suicide Squad seem like any other group of friends looking out for the best interest of each other, be it hunting down Croc to offer him the opportunity to wed Orca, or Croc willing to put himself on the line for his friends in the Squad when he turns on Ra’s. And let’s not forget Ra’s. How complex is this character? While his methods can seem quite deplorable, he genuinely seems to care for his family, life on Earth and Orca and Croc’s unborn child.
There are some other small touches that are worthy of mentioning. As Croc thanks Deadshot and calls him a good man, Deadshot corrects him, as he acknowledges all the bad things he’s done and that one kind act doesn’t absolve him of his other deeds. Katana and Man-Bat have a moment where they find common ground and it really says a lot about both characters and their emotional states. It’s subtle, but extremely effective.
There’s even an interesting parallel with last issue as we saw Bruce and Selina seemingly settled into a normal domestic life. While Croc and Orca may not be able to enjoy the same comforts, they are pushing forward into a traditional family paradigm as well.
As this series draws to a close, the only real negative is that it has to go in a certain direction to lead into the Injustice 2 video game. There’s a lot of potential for this series to continue on with any number of disparate developments. It is one of the strengths of utilizing alternate Earths or timelines, the possibilities are endless.
This is quite an emotional issue as Taylor allows the characters to drive the story. Despite, knowing where this story is heading, the characters are not without surprises. This is just a great series for fans of character development and a genuine emotional gravitas. Don’t miss the ending, and you may as well go back and start with issue #1 to enjoy the entire ride.