Review: INJUSTICE: YEAR ZERO #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Cian Tormey
Colours: Rain Beredo
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Injustice: Year Zero #4: We all know Hitler shot himself, but what many don’t know…is why. Discover the morally ambiguous secret safely kept by the JSA about how they ended WWII by using an amulet that was found in the hands of the enemy.
In Injustice: Year Zero #4, Andre Chavard relates a story to Joker and Harley Quinn set during World War II. Chavard tells the Clown Prince of Crime of how the Justice Society’s encounter with an extremely powerful artifact. Green Lantern Alan Scott had disposed of this amulet, but Chavard had overheard him tell Dr. Mid-Nite where he had hidden it.
While it’s always a pleasure to see the Justice Society in action, it’s especially great to see them in their prime. I would really love to see a new JSA or All-Star Squadron title set in the Golden Age. Or at the very least a modern day JSA series. With the JSA finally having returned to the DCU canon, the time is ripe for a new title.
It is interesting to see how Tom Taylor’s JSA history deviates from the official DCU account. Considering that most of the JSA never appeared in the previous Injustice comics or games, Taylor has a remarkable amount of leeway in what he can do with these characters. And as his Injustice and DCeased comics have shown us, Taylor is not afraid of letting his stories follow dark paths.
The most notable example in this issue is the death of Johnny Thunder. In the main DCU, Johnny has lived to be a centenarian, but not in the Injustice universe. Taylor makes it clear that none of the JSA is guaranteed to come out of this series unscathed. Well, Wonder Woman is probably safe, considering she’s been shown alive and healthy in the modern era.
I find it interesting that Amazing Man seems to be a prominent member of the JSA in this world’s history. As far as I recall, he never was in the Justice Society at all. I do approve of his addition to the team however. It gives the team some diversity it never had in the Golden Age. Plus, since this is an alternate timeline, this doesn’t really count as a retcon.
I also am quite intrigued by the fact that Doctor Fate is not Kent Nelson, but his wife Inza. I am sure there is an fascinating story behind this. Also, I wonder if there is some significance to the fact that Inza was going by her married name (Nelson) during WWII, but has reverted to her maiden name (Cramer), as shown in issue #1. I hope that Taylor is able to devote some time in the issues ahead to go more into her story.
There are a couple notable instances of humour, courtesy of the Joker. The first is the Joker’s response to Chavard having been a member of the Boy Commandos. “Kids with guns fighting in a war?… Ooh. That sounds recklessly irresponsible. That’s a level of child endangerment even Batman would raise an eyebrow at”, he states, mocking Batman having a succession of child sidekicks.
Also, when Chavard expresses that he thought the Joker would feel an affinity with Nazis, the villain takes offence. He declares, “I’m American. I @#$%#$@ hate Nazi! I’m a homicidal maniac, not a traitorous bigot”. As evil as the Joker it, at least he’s a patriot. I have to wonder if Taylor wrote this outburst as an intentional dig at a certain notable public figure who has been criticized for being unwilling to criticize those who espouse Nazi ideals.
I’m finding Taylor’s story fascinating so far, and I have yet to see any indication that it’s going off the rails. And there’s little point looking for continuity errors, considering the freedom that Taylor has to write whatever fate he pleases for the majority of the characters.
Injustice: Year Zero is an exciting and fun story of an alternate DC. But it also has a darker edge to it. It seems unlikely that this story is going to have a happy ending. Reading this and getting caught up on the earlier books makes me wish I had discovered the Injustice comics earlier.