Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Injustice: Gods Among Us, Vol. 1 (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year One Series)

Published:  November 19th, 2013
Injustice: Gods Among Us, Vol. 1 (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year One Series)
By: Tom Taylor, Jheremy Raapack (Illustrations), Various (Illustrations)
DC Comics
ISBN-13:  9781401245009

From the makers of Mortal Kombat comes the critically acclaimed prequel comic to the smash hit fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us!

Things in the DC Universe have changed after Superman is tricked into destroying the one thing he loves the most.  Now unwilling to let crime go unpunished, the heroes of our world must choose if they are with Superman or against him.  But not every country will submit to his new world order and neither will Superman's greatest threat -- Batman!

Collects #s 1-6 of Injustice.


       So, I am more of a casual comic nerd than anything else.  I have my favorites, just like anyone who gets drawn in by comics.  In general, I make it a point to read off the wall rando stuff like Panthaa or Vampirella just for the hell of it.  But my must-reads are Hellboy (Dark Horse comics) and Green Arrow (DC Comics), usually.  The rest of the DC Comics characters I could usually do without, although I have a casual interest in them.  I had been curious about the game (I'm a fan of the original Sega Genesis Mortal Kombat games - yes, I'm old!) and finally played some single-battle mode with my brother.  I'll stick to my Genesis gaming-wise, as there are too many damn buttons for an X-Box 360 fighting game.  The story still intrigued me though as a fan of anything to do with alternate universes, so when I was in Comic City the other day I bought this Volume to see what the hype is about.  I definitely understand now!
       God, what can I say about the artwork and the story that hasn't already been said?  It starts with Superman finding out he's going to be a father and asking Batman to be the baby's Godfather.  Than the Joker targets Superman (wanting to win for a change, instead of losing to Bats again) and basically tricks him into killing Lois (and the unborn baby) and blowing up the entire city of Metropolis.  So Supes loses his city, his wife and his child all in one fell swoop.  Mad with grief, he decides that the superheroes in the world should use their powers to force the humans to stop their wars - an enforcement of peace on earth and all that jazz.  So he goes out and starts enforcing.  Batman is against Superman's tactics (which veer into "violence for the greater good").  He manages to convince some of the other heroes to join with him and oppose Superman.  But who can really oppose a man with godlike powers, with others that are the same backing him up?
       It's got questions of morality, and focuses a lot on making the right decisions, i.e. when to interfere and when not to.  Batman understands that even without the fighting/weapons, the conflicts still exist and aren't truly resolved.  It surprised me to see Wonder Woman (aka Diana) as Superman's right-hand man and top enforcer.  The Amazons sent her there as an emissary of peace and she's fighting bloody battles.  I particularly like the interactions between her and Ares, God of War, who she impales and taunts harshly.  The scenes with Aquaman and Arkham Asylum reiterate the fact that no one is safe from Superman's self-imposed reign of peace/terror (depending on your views).  Batman protecting the villains wasn't surprising in and of itself, as he doesn't believe in being judge/jury/executioner like Supes does.  It creates some scenes of comic gold, especially between Harley Quinn and Green Arrow, who are thrown together when he agrees to protect her from death via Superman.  The artwork is absolutely gorgeous, with every one of the characters coming across as flawed and human.  I especially liked the sequence with The Flash, where he's running on that Australian road, thinking about a kid that was playing superhero that got paralyzed because of Superman's tactics/orders - and his compliance.  It's an amazing moment of self-introspection and probably one the things that stayed with me most after I finished reading.
       There are three main character deaths in this (four if you count Jimmy Olsen) and they definitely won't be the last if it continues the way it started.  And I really hope that it does.  It's a brave new world, with Superman as the antagonist (which doesn't necessarily translate to "bad guy") and Batman as the protagonist.  There is particularly interesting, if albeit a little preachy, scene with Catwoman and Batman visitng the President and telling him that he has to do better, for the people that voted him in.  I think that's something that speaks to the general feelings of the American public, in our actual world we live in right now.  The cliffhanger left me reeling, but hopeful for another truly interesting comic volume.  One that makes me think, gives my eyes beautiful artwork to feast upon, has beautiful and funny dialogue and it just plain fun.  I highly recommend this to people who love comics, a good story, and just long for something different! :D

VERDICT:  5/5 Stars

One Of My Favorite Scenes

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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