Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review - Injustice: Gods Among Us Graphic Novel

Now, I haven't kept up with DC Comics ever since they launched the New 52. I read many of the initial comics that they released and was so unimpressed, I pretty much stopped reading anything DC put out. So, when my wife got me the Injustice: Gods Among Us graphic novel, I was a little hesitant to read it. I knew it based on the video game (and many comics based on games usually are little more than rehashing the plot of a game in hopes to promote it), which gave me even less of a reason to give it a shot.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the comic actually was. Now, I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who hasn't read this yet. So, I am only going to speak of what happens in the very early part of the comic. If you don't even want to know that much, I suggest stop reading now.

The essential plot of the story is, what would happen if Superman went bad. We are so used to seeing Superman as the unfailing, unfaltering, always do the right thing, hero. He shows up. He saves the day. He puts the bad guy behind bars. This story starts off that way, but only for the briefest of moments.

As our story begins, we see Clark and Lois in bed (yes, in this reality he is still married to Lois Lane, which DC erased in the New 52). Clark suddenly perks up as he begins to hear a second heartbeat coming from Lois' body. He is overjoyed as Lois runs off to get an exclusive story down by the docks. Clark flies off as well and even asks Batman to be the godfather. This, is where the happiness ends. Lois is kidnapped by none other than the Joker and Harley and they hide her from Superman, and when he can't find his wife, he goes in search of her, with the rest of the Justice League's help.  They finally locate the Joker with Lois in a submarine which Superman lifts from the water and places on the dock. They break in and find Joker performing some kind of surgery on Lois' body. Supes gets shot in the face with some Scarecrow gas laced with Kryptonite and he believes he sees Doomsday (shown above). He grabs Doomsday and flies him into space, while Batman and the others capture Joker and Harley.

Now, here's the twist and again, if you don't like spoilers, I suggest you stop reading. Doomsday turns out to be Lois, and when Superman flies her into space, he kills her. The Joker had implanted a trigger in her chest, attached to her heart so that when it stopped beating, a bomb would explode, destroying Metropolis. This is the part where you'd expect someone to come up with something clever to save the day. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. Lois dies, as does the population of Metropolis.

Grief stricken, our boy-scout hero undergoes a change. He asks why psychotics like the Joker are allowed again and again to cause terror and death in those around him. Superman isn't content to let this go. He seeks out the Joker in his cell in Gotham and punches a hole in his chest, beginning the downfall of our once great hero.

I'll stop the description there, but essentially the story pits hero against hero in a Marvel: Civil War style war in which the question is simple - Should those with power be able to rule with an iron fist if it's in the best interests of the people?

The series is ongoing and I have since getting the volume 1 graphic novel, gone on to read the other 30 or so issues they have released digitally. The story is compelling, and at times I find myself rooting for one side or the other. I want Superman to win, and sometimes I want him not to win. Not to ruin anything, but many of your favorite heroes do show up at some point in this story, and not all of them survive.

This is a great alternate reality comic set on an Earth we haven't yet met in the 52 worlds set up by the multiverse (if there is even a multiverse in the New 52. Like I said, I still don't read it). It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and I really hope that DC continues this series until it's end - not just when they don't need to promote the video game anymore.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Volume 1 is written by Tom Taylor, and has several artists working on it. Even with various artists, the artwork in this volume is consistent and detailed. Taylor tells an awesome story, and manages to use many characters without the story getting too bogged down. This is a wonderful read for anyone looking for a fresh perspective on classic characters (or anyone tired of the doldrums of the New 52).

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