Follow-Up/Analysis On Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Okay, so a little over a week has passed since I wrote about Injustice: Gods Among Us #1. I’m a little calmer now, and some more information has been released since then, plus the full comic is out, so I can better discuss what in the hell happened. Let me first run through the events of the comic that I originally posted, as well as some stuff that happened before and after, and then I can go into more detail about what I personally don’t like about it. I said before that if anyone else wanted to buy the comic that they could, and I stand by that. Likewise, there might be people who dislike this comic for other reasons, and if so, feel free to post it in the comments. I am simply stating what I don’t like about it. And for those who haven’t bought this comic yet and plan to do so, this is your last warning, there will be spoilers here.
Superman wakes up one morning to find that Lois, who has red hair in this comic, not sure why but I’m willing to roll with that, now has two heartbeats coming from her body, meaning that she must be pregnant. Later on, we see that Jimmy Olsen has been murdered, and Lois has been kidnapped by the Joker. At some point during the comic, a fight breaks out between Superman and Doomsday while the Justice League gets ahold of Joker. However, after Batman realises that Superman’s been exposed to a Kryptonite enhanced version of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, it becomes clear that Superman is not fighting Doomsday. Unfortunately, this comes too late as Superman has flown ‘Doomsday’ out of the planet’s atmosphere, just as he realises it to actually be Lois herself. Worse yet, it seems that Joker planted a bomb that’s set to detonate when Lois’ heart stops beating, and within moments, Metropolis is utterly destroyed. This leads Superman to put his fist through the Joker’s chest in revenge, seemingly murdering him, as Batman looks on in horror.
If you didn’t pick out what’s wrong with all that, don’t worry, I’m about to explain it. Let’s start off with something minor and work our way up…
Yeah, I know that the reader is meant to believe that the Joker’s dead, but considering that 1) He’s in the game, and 2) It’s the Joker, I’m willing to go out on a limb and suggest he isn’t really dead. Maybe he used a clone, or a stand-in, or some other trickery like that. I suppose an alternative possibility is that he IS dead but comes back somehow. Black Lantern Ring, Lazarus Pit, or hell, he could pull a Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker on us and come back that way. Either way, this ain’t the last we’ve seen of him.
I guarantee this death was probably in here to try and dissuade people from thinking Lois is getting fridged. She totally is, mind you, but I guarantee that was the thought process. Either that, or because Jimmy Olsen is an annoying twit that people like to see bad things happen to…and don’t get me wrong, I DID get a tiny bit of joy out of seeing that, but that’s just me. I’m sure Jimmy has fans out there, and they probably didn’t care much for seeing him get killed off like this.
Yeah, I don’t really get this choice. I mean yes, Joker is a high profile villain, but he’s more a Batman villain. Why is HE the one to royally screw with Superman in such a manner? Why isn’t it one of Superman’s villains? Like, I dunno, LEX LUTHOR?! In fact, I’m almost positive, even though it looks like Lex might be siding with the good guys in the game, he had SOMETHING to do with all this, because otherwise this doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Okay, this one is admittedly more me being a snarky smartass, but how does Superman know for sure that Lois is pregnant? Just because she has two heartbeats? Now, if he used his x-ray vision, I suppose that would prove it, but I didn’t see that. If he did, please let me know, because otherwise there are other explanations. She could have a parasite, she could have a chest-burster alien, these things DO happen in fiction.
Okay, I gotta level with people on something. I am a bigger fan of Batman than Superman. Maybe I just identify better with Batman. But if there’s one thing that annoys the hell out of me, it’s when DC insists on making Batman better than Superman. That should really be a personal preference type of thing with these two. And how do they do it in this comic? When Batman learns of what Joker did, he gives him a right hook that would probably fracture his jaw, but still refuses to kill him because that’s not what they do. When Superman finds out, he straight up murders the Joker, and Batman just stands there looking terrified. Basically, they’re playing up the Superman vs Batman angle with Batman adhering to the principles they’ve been following and Superman deciding to abandon them, even though we as readers know Superman killing people is bunk. And that leads me to a major issue…
I’m sure an excuse used in this and a lot of other Elseworlds titles when characters act out of…well, character, is that it’s an alternate reality and therefore, anything goes. While it is true that this comic does not exist in the mainstream DC universe, I feel as though that excuse is…well, it’s just that. It’s an excuse. While Elseworlds titles can and should be used to create new scenarios for characters that could never happen in the mainstream universe, since they are ‘What If’ stories, I feel that the characters should still behave in manners you would expect them to. And frankly, I don’t believe that Superman would kill Joker, no matter what he did. It’s such bunk, it’s actually embarrassing. If nothing else, we should see Superman feeling repentant for these actions, and based on what I’ve seen of trailers for the game since, I don’t really think he does. At all.
But ultimately, all of these pale in comparison to one major issue, and that is the following…
This right here is the hot button. This is what has gotten people pissed off most about this comic. It’s like when Lian Harper died in Cry For Justice: The comic had been stupid leading up to that point, but when that happened, that was what got people enraged. But it’s not enough to simply say that we hate this. To quote someone far smarter than I when it comes to comic books, “A major change like killing off a character should not happen unless there are more potential stories that can be told with the change in place than without it”. So to that end, we have to ask the question of WHY Lois was murdered. And if you will allow me to play Devil’s Advocate for just a moment, I would like to explain why I think Lois was killed off.
Lois Lane was murdered because it was the only way to justify Superman’s heel turn. For those who don’t know, in Injustice: Gods Among Us, a major part of the story will centre around two factions of heroes and villains, one led by Batman, the other by Superman. As far as I can tell, Superman is basically out to eliminate crime by eliminating the criminals. Now obviously, something TERRIBLE must have happened to Superman to get him to act in such a manner. This is the most likely reason for the deaths of Lois, Jimmy Olsen, and what appears to be the majority of Metropolis’ population. Suddenly, Superman is justified in doing all this…at least in theory, and that’s where we have a problem.
Superman has lost people close to him before. Superman has witnessed deaths on a grand scale. And with the possible exception of Darkseid, I don’t believe that Superman has ever been put in a position where he would willingly kill and feel justified for it with no remorse for his actions. And it’s not because it would be impossible for him to do such an act as killing the Joker. Much like with what Batman told Jason Todd once, it would be too damned easy to put him out of the entire world’s misery, but if either of them were to cross that line, there would be no way to come back from that.
This is one of the major reasons I get pissed when I see Superman and Batman fighting it out over a matter of principles, be it in comic books or otherwise: When you get down to the core of the characters, what they stand for, and what they will and will not do in the line of duty, there’s not as much difference between the two as you might think. Oh sure, there’s the occasional time Batman pulled some stunt that pissed Superman off, but the one thing that makes them the same is that they would never cross THAT line as heroes, and when I see that image of Superman punching Joker through the chest with Batman looking on in terror, it tells me that the writers don’t believe that.
But let’s move to a FAR more controversial issue raised by this comic. You heard me mention that Lois Lane was getting ‘fridged’ earlier. What I mean by that is that Lois is now one of those women who have suffered Women In The Refrigerators Syndrome. If I may, I’d like to explain what that means for those that aren’t familiar with it…
“Women in Refrigerators Syndrome describes the use of the death or injury of a female comic book character as a plot device in a story starring a male comic book character. It is also used to note the depowerment or elimination of a female comic book character within a comic book universe. Cases of ‘Women in Refrigerators Syndrome’ deal with a gruesome injury or murder of a female character at the hands of a supervillain, usually as a motivating personal tragedy for a male superhero to whom the victim is connected. The death or injury of the female character then helps cement the hatred between the hero and the villain responsible. Kyle Rayner is a particularly cited example of this case, due to the common tragedies that befall women in his life.”
Now, here’s the thing: This is not the first time that Lois has been murdered in an Elseworlds comic to serve as a plot device. In fact, it’s actually become a disturbing trend. Moreso, Lois has kinda had a rough time in the DCnU, to the point where it honestly almost feels like the only reason they haven’t killed her off is because most of the writers would up and quit. This honestly offends me, if for no other reason but because I am a comic book fan and Lois Lane has been around since Action Comics #1, which is credited as the very start of the superhero genre. In a lot of ways, she’s every bit as important to the genre as Superman, and I just don’t feel like she’s treated as such.
But yeah, that pretty much covers my thoughts on it. So, does this mean that I won’t be getting the game? Honestly, I don’t know yet. The game still has a chance with me at this point, albeit a slim one. Plus, I should note that I actually don’t have the systems it plays on, so until I get one of them (likely the Wii U, since I am planning to eventually get it anyway), I won’t be buying it anyway. And that probably works out for the best, as there may yet be some way that the game can turn this around, like maybe Superman’s not actually in control of his actions somehow or the like, or it turns out the Lois that was murdered was a duplicate to mess with him. Ultimately though, I am standing firm on my decision to not buy the comic book Injustice: Gods Among Us. And again, if you want to, that’s fine. If you want to comment below telling me why you think I’m wrong on something, that’s fine. All I ask is that you don’t get into arguments in the comments. Discuss opinions in a positive manner, but please don’t argue. Ja né!
Oh, and just to get more people’s opinions on this, here are some links to other people discussing this comic.
- Review: Injustice – Gods Among Us #1 (comicbooked.com)
- Moulded By Pain: ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us #4′ Review (forbes.com)
- The Cliffs of Insanity: Omigod, They Killed Lois! Those Bastards! (wired.com)
- Injustice Comic Prequel Explains Why Superman And Batman Are Fighting Again (kotaku.com.au)