Brian Buccellato's first chapter of INJUSTICE: YEAR THREE (which went on sale last week), gave me confidence in his ability to take over Tom Taylor's story. The transition between writers was as smooth as silk (or something else that's very, very smooth) and his second chapter has really won me over. Not only does it have a hilariously entertaining fight, but it also drops one hell of an attention-grabber. The volume's tone remains consistent and that's extremely reassuring.
Wonder Woman vs. Sinestro is a blast. It's just long enough to deliver a satisfying brawl before racing forward with the bigger picture. To top it off, the writer manages to give us a little insight into Superman during this battle instead of focusing on the grunts and screaming that's going on between the two powerful fighters. Who would have expected that? Exactly, it's a welcome approach to what's a pretty straightforward fight. Now, fans of one of these characters might be disappointed because it is
pretty very one-sided, and even though it is a whole lot of spectacle, it's also a nice example of just how far someone will go to protect the person they believe in.
There's a whole lot of punching and the art team (Sergio Davila, Juan Albarran, Rex Lokus) makes sure you can feel the weight behind these insanely powerful strikes and the impact they create as bodies go violently crashing into hard surfaces or vibrant constructs are unleashed. The look on Sinestro's face in one of the double-page spreads is absolutely priceless. Even if you're a big fan of Thaal and you're rooting for him, you can't help but laugh at it. I mean, on one hand, you have Diana unleashing with a determined look on her face. On the other hand, you have Sinestro enduring what appears to be one of the most painful and surprisingly powerful attacks he's ever been struck by. It's great. And while we're talking about the art, I will say I'm very happy Batman's eyes are covered and replaced by a solid lens. There's just something a little odd about the Dark Knight having his eyes exposed. The rest of the costume looks more like his attire from the standard universe, but it's still solid.
Buccellato again proves he can write these characters in a way that may have you thinking Taylor was still working on these chapters. Seriously, casual fans who don't bother to look at the credits (which is something they should change) likely won't be able to notice there's a new person working on the script. It may not have any laugh out loud moments or mind-blowing reveals just yet, but there's still just the right blend of humor, character, and gripping developments.
As much as I enjoyed the issue, Superman and Wonder Woman's reunion kind of felt like a missed opportunity. I mean, I get why it was handled that way and there's only so much space in these chapters. It increased Kal-El's rage and Diana gave him a blunt reminder of the situation they're dealing with. It's effective, but it felt like there was room for more potential. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to have Clark question what he's doing -- especially after seeing people admire him in the dream and recalling what that's like -- and then have Diana steer him back on track or to offer something a little more substantial between them. After all they've been through and the strong reactions they had upon seeing each other incapacitated, it would have been appreciated to have a heavier conversation there and maybe even attempt to show us there's still some good in Clark. Again, what Buccellato did was effective and swiftly moves the narrative forward, but a little more would have been great. Not saying they should hug and get all emotional -- that would be out of character at this point -- but a little more weight to the conversation could have worked very well.
Minor art criticism: Superman isn't looking at Wonder Woman when he catches her punch and he's instead looking above and beyond her. It's a cool double-page spread but that makes it a little odd.
Personal gripe: First and foremost, I totally agree with the big fight's outcome. That said, I can't be the only one who would have loved to see Sinestro provide a little more of a challenge. He's supposed to be one of the greatest ring-slingers ever, after all. I know Diana's sporting some seriously impressive physicals and skill, but to see Thaal put his tactics to use would have been awesome. Part of me was surprised Billy didn't at least try to get involved, but maybe Ares was holding him back?
Taylor left the series with a whole lot of story arcs up in the air and Buccellato's doing a fine job juggling them. He's bringing some awesome fun (yes,"awesome fun" is what I'm going with) to the series while also racing some of the plot points forward. It's unclear when or how he'll get into some of the series' bigger mysteries, but for now, he's certainly keeping me entertained and has yet to disappoint. Welcome to INJUSTICE: BUCCELLATO AMONG US and it's thankfully looking like it has the potential to be just as good as what has come before it. He hasn't delivered any huge moments just yet, but there's still the right mix of heart, jaw-droppers and levity. Sure, this is a dark place that's full of death and terrible stuff is on the horizon, but he's doing a good job working in some lighter beats. Even something as silly as Hal looking like he wants to hit someone back is good fun and doesn't take away from the bigger situation. I'm curious if there will be any follow-up to this vicious fight. Will Sinestro hold a grudge and try to get in the way of Diana's ideas or has he basically been put in his place? I'm assuming the latter since there's already a gazillion arcs going on, but there's definitely some potential there.