Review: INJUSTICE: YEAR ZERO #6
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colours: Rain Beredo
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Injustice: Year Zero #6: Someone in the JSA has been murdered, and it’s up to Batman and the Justice League to investigate who did it. Meanwhile, Joker uses his amulet on his first victim to break into the JSA retrieving important information…
Between Injustice and DCeased, Tom Taylor has killed off a lot of DC characters. In Injustice: Year Zero #6, he starts off the kill count with some of the most beloved heroes in the DCU: the Justice Society. Luckily for fans, this isn’t the actual DCU, but it’s still a shocking experience.
The issue opens with Batman investigating two deaths. The first is Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman. The identity of the second body is left unspoken for the moment. Taylor then jumps back in time four hours to show what led to this bloody scene.
I have to admit, that Taylor surprised me. Given the ending of the previous chapter, I thought that Green Lantern Alan Scott would be the first victim of the Joker’s murder spree. Instead, the Joker possesses Alan, using him as a weapon against other members of the JSA.
Taylor brilliantly plays on the Joker’s lack of knowledge causing him difficulty in infiltrating the Justice Society. For example, he has Alan greet Wesley with a over-the-top, “Hello, fellow hero”. Also, when the Sandman utters the name “Alan” with his last breath, the Joker demands, “Who’s Alan? Are you Alan or am I?”.
But the darkest moment comes as the result of the Joker not being aware of the time limit on Alan’s ring. As the murderous clown has Alan take flight, the charge on the ring expires, dropping Alan to his death.
However, the Joker was able to get the secret identities and addresses of at least three more members of the JSA, which doesn’t bode well for them. Any or all of the Justice Society might meet their ends before Taylor is done with them.
The real genius of this series is that Taylor centres the story around characters who didn’t appear in the earlier Injustice titles. Despite this being a prequel series, we have no assurances that any of the JSA will survive the Joker’s attack. Sure, we know Superman and Batman are safe, but what about Jay Garrick?
If this were in the canon DCU, I would be quite angry with Taylor for giving these two classic heroes such ignominious deaths. Even with it being an alternate history, I still felt an initial burst of shock and outrage. Taylor really knows how to manipulate the readers’ emotions to give his story weight.
Injustice: Year Zero #6 is a great example of how a skilled writer can keep readers guessing, even within the constraints of a prequel story. Having read Taylors other Injustice books will not help you predict what happens next. I can’t wait to see what other surprises Taylor has in store in future chapters.