I’m afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you’re scared… even when you think no one is looking.
Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. This time, however, I’ve opted to look at two books. Why? Well, because of a certain major event that occurred as part of a crossover between the two. Plus, it saves time. So, let’s look at Action Comics AND Superman. And, as always, SPOILERS AHEAD.
So, to start off, a little background is probably required. During the events of Convergence, we saw the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his wife, Lois, bring their son, Jon, into the world. At the end of that story, the three went back to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths to try and stop it. As a result of that, they somehow wound up on the Earth 0 of the New 52, AKA Prime Earth, AKA the mainstream world where the vast majority of DC books takes place on nowadays. Because there already was a Clark Kent and Lois Lane in this world, and said Clark Kent was this world’s Superman, they decided to lay low and take on new lives as the Smith Family in Hamilton. It was also eventually revealed that, due to his nature as a human/Kryptonian hybrid, Jon had superpowers like his dad. However, eventually, pre-Flashpoint Superman made his presence known during the event wherein the New 52 Superman was dying, ultimately promising him before he died that he’d look after the world in his absence, which is pretty much where we pick up in Superman: Rebirth #1 and Action Comics #957.
Let’s begin with something that is both a positive and a negative: Jon, AKA the new Superboy. Remember what I said about Wonder Woman’s brother Jason apparently going to be the central character of an upcoming arc in her book and how, and I quote, “what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of a thing in the main Superman solo book: A LOT of the story is built around Superboy and his emergence as a young superhero. Now, on the one hand, I actually rather like Jon. I think he’s a sweet kid and a fine addition to the Super Family. And his presence is one of the areas where Peter Tomasi as the writer actually is a huge benefit: The guy knows how to structure a father/son story. But, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t hog some of the spotlight. There is SO much time devoted to building up this character in a book that is supposed to be about Superman. Now, on the one hand, you can argue that it IS still about Superman, since a lot of it also directly relates to how Clark deals with having a super-powered son. But at the same time, there’s even an arc that’s about Jon’s first meeting with Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, and building a partnership with him, even though we knew ahead of time that there were already plans for a book starring those two as a team. Honestly, what I think would’ve worked better was if THIS book was Action Comics, and Action Comics was Superman, since Action Comics focuses more directly on Superman. Plus, it would fit a sort of theme, with Action Comics and Detective Comics being used to not only star Superman and Batman, but also be devoted to building up their supporting casts.
One element of Action Comics that’s a bit on the odd side in terms of whether it’s a positive or a negative is Lex Luthor. As established during the New 52’s Justice League book, Lex is trying his hand at being a superhero nowadays. And unlike past endeavors, wherein it was ultimately all about some evil scheme, here, he actually means it. Granted, he fully admits (while being tied in the Lasso of Truth) that a big part of it is his ego, which is likely why he ultimately attempts to take on the mantle of Superman after the New 52 Clark dies, but the rest of it is also about doing right by his sister. He wants to be a better man than he was. But, with all of that said, given his past track record, plus the fact that the people of Apokolips chose him to be their new leader in the wake of Darkseid’s death and rebirth as a baby, plus the fact that he’s still kind of a dick, the audience is ultimately left just waiting for that moment when he turns evil again. And I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t awaiting it myself. I believe Lex Luthor WANTS to be a better person for the sake of his sister, but I also know that this is Lex frigging Luthor, and that pull is ultimately going to catch up to him at some point or another. Plus, this IS DC Rebirth, where a lot of the emphasis seems to be getting characters back to what makes them who they are, so Lex’s eventual downfall seems pretty much inevitable at this point.
And now we should probably talk about Superman Reborn, the crossover event told in Action Comics and Superman. First off, again, DC could not resist doing a big crossover event before they were at least a year into these new books. Granted, the current Action Comics book takes up the old numbering and adds in the issues from the New 52 Action Comics to that final sum, so it’s not really a “new” book, but still, it’s a little absurd. But regardless, this is the story where we got resolution on the apparent new Clark Kent who appeared in Action Comics #957, and Lois and Clark’s investigation into him. There were a LOT of theories as to who it could be, from the New 52 Superman being depowered, to Superboy Prime taking over his life. However, it ultimately turned out to be Mr. Mxyzptlk, having escaped imprisonment by Mr. Oz at some point and assumed Clark’s life as revenge for the fact that he never came to save him. This also gave resolution to what was going on in the Superwoman book, but I’ll get to that at another point. The end result of the story is that it was revealed that, by nature of the New 52 Earth 0 being the same as the pre-Flashpoint one, just minus 10 years of history and with elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes imprinted onto it, both the New 52 and pre-Flashpoint Supermen were actually one and the same, just split apart a la Red and Blue Superman…somehow. I think we’re supposed to assume that Convergence allowing for a pre-Flashpoint Superman to exist with his memories of the past timeline is responsible for the split, but it’s still weird and will make your head explode if you give it too much thought. Anyway, the point is, this finally validates once and for all that the New 52 Superman WAS Superman, just different due to how events in his life played out. In the end, Jon is somehow able to unite the red and blue energies of the two versions of Superman and Lois Lane to bring them back and restore the history that had been taken from them at the birth of the New 52.
The end result of Superman Reborn was a soft reboot, reintroducing elements of the pre-Flashpoint timeline, and drastically changing certain events from both timelines (and outright retconning others). Again, I think the implication is that merging the two versions of the characters basically returned the 10 years stolen from them, and that how their lives are now is more or less what would’ve been had Doctor Manhattan not taken their history away from them during Flashpoint. The resolution also gave Superman a new costume…which I thank GOD for. I HATED the original Rebirth costume. I think it was the lack of red boots that did it, which was especially dumb since some artists occasionally either forgot they weren’t there anymore or just outright ignored their absence. Seeing this one, with the red boots back and a yellow pentagon added to the belt, was very refreshing, and I think is a step in the right direction for how a modern Superman should look. And speaking of costumes, the new timeline also makes it clear that Superman DID wear the old school tights for a while, which is good. As for how and in which ways this new timeline was different and the same, that was all gone over in the ensuing issues of Action Comics, with Superman going over the records of his life at the Fortress of Solitude. Which, I totally get. If I found out my entire history was somehow dramatically altered, I’d want a refresher course on it too, just to make sure there’re no holes in my memory or anything like that. Fortunately, DC’s actually gotten a little better at establishing which events in its past are and are not canon, and this is a good example of that. It doesn’t cover EVERYTHING, though, particularly how this new timeline affects characters outside of the Super Family, and I hope they go over all of that in full soon.
Believe it or not, one thing I actually have mixed feelings about in the wake of Superman Reborn is the fact that, apparently, Superman and Wonder Woman never got together in this timeline. Now, I know what you’re gonna say: “Jyger, didn’t you spend like 4 years bitching about the fact that Superman and Wonder Woman were in a relationship?” Well, the thing is, yes, I DID bitch about that, and I DO prefer Lois and Clark together. However, I could still see there being a brief attraction between the two when they were younger and before they got into relationships with Lois Lane and Steve Trevor which would eventually evolve into a close friendship. If that happened, fine, but as far as I know, they were NEVER together. So why does that bother me? Well, it’s like I said when I was talking about Wonder Woman: The events of the New 52 should not be out and out retconned, but rather used in a way that develops her in a more positive manner into a better person. Instead, they went with the easy way out and erased the relationship from existence. I’m not in favour of that, especially because it was completely erasing past relationships and history that got us into the mess that was the New 52 to begin with.
Speaking of, like I said before, the two issues of Action Comics that better explain Superman’s new timeline don’t really go fully into how these changes affect the people outside of his immediate supporting cast. For example, how do these changes affect his relationship with Batman? How does it affect certain Justice League stories he was directly involved in, both pre- and post-Flashpoint? Now, I have a theory on why we haven’t gotten that explanation yet, and it’s actually pretty simple: As far as I can tell, what’s happened with Superman will eventually happen to the other characters in the DCU as well, merging their pre- and post-Flashpoint selves and restoring their histories. As such, how these changes affect them directly is probably going to be saved for when that happens. Hopefully, though, we won’t have to wait TOO long for that to happen, since otherwise, we’re just left with so many questions that it’s mind-boggling.
And, what the hell, since it just finished, let’s talk about the most recent story arc of the main Superman book, Black Dawn… … …It blew. HARD. First off, I don’t know if it was always the plan to reveal that Lois and Clark’s neighbours were aliens or not, but it was kinda dumb. Second, the way it ends, with Manchester Black’s consciousness winding up in a cow that gets tipped over by some idiots. I am NEVER going to be able to read What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way, nor watch the animated adaptation of that story, Superman vs The Elite, with a straight face ever again because of that stupid ending. But aside from all that, let’s talk about the part of the story that really, REALLY pissed me and a lot of fans off. And, for the squeamish people who might be reading this, I’m just gonna warn you now, this is where we get a little gruesome, and at the same time, really Goddamn stupid…
… … …So, first off, before I rip this to shreds, let me get one thing out of the way: Lois thinks she just lost her leg. She didn’t, of course, it’s actually some kind of mental illusion created by Manchester Black. However, the point still stands that she thinks she just lost her leg, and what is her immediate reaction? “Clark, cauterize this Goddamn stump and go save our son!” Lois Lane = Possessor of the biggest balls of anyone in the DCU. Now, that said, allow me to go over everything wrong with this in the following bulleted list:
- WHAT THE FUCK is with DC constantly wanting to dismember or even outright murder Lois Lane?! Seriously, I have seen Lois Lane in some kind of mortal peril that can only be described as torture porn 9 Goddamn billion times. At this point, I am honestly of the belief that there is someone in DC with a serious snuff fetish for Lois. If so, I have the following advice to whoever he or she is: GET HELP! IMMEDIATELY!
- Despite the fact that we didn’t have it revealed that this was some sort of illusion until two issues later, most of us kind of gathered that this would result in either a fake-out or a reversal with her coming out of it with her leg intact. That means that the only reason they did it was for the sake of a shock moment for the readers, and ultimately, all it did was piss us off and/or generate mockery of DC for pulling such a stunt.
- Even for those of us that considered for a moment that this wasn’t going to be undone or revealed to not happen at all, we knew this would not result in a story centered around Lois having to deal with phantom pain, or the overall effects such would have on her body, or adapting to a prosthetic, or anything like that. And no, it wasn’t just because we have solicits telling us what future stories will be, it’s because we knew DC had no interest in telling that story. Why? Because they NEVER do. They NEVER want to tell stories about people dealing with massive changes to their bodies. Yes, Barbara Gordon lost the ability to walk for a long time, but other than not being able to walk, where did they ever discuss the other tolls the damage to her spine caused to her body? Paraplegics have to deal with more than just paralysis, you know. It also often causes sexual dysfunction, issues revolving around bladder control, and a bunch of other stuff that is no fun whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, none of that is ever acknowledged with Babs, nor with anyone else who has dealt with paralysis in DC.
- Even if they did eventually tell the above story, the problem is, stories that involve someone losing vital parts of their body have never been told specifically to tell how that affects THAT individual. It’s always about how that event affects EVERYBODY ELSE. The only exception I can think of is Cyborg, with him losing the vast majority of his body and having it replaced with cybernetics, leading to him having to deal with that and whether or not he truly feels human anymore. But still, that’s ONE case I can think of. And more often than not, these events happen specifically to women, and the book in which they occur is never actually ABOUT the incident in question. Superman #23 was not about Lois losing her leg, it was just a thing that happened to motivate Superman and the story. The Killing Joke was not about Joker shooting Babs in the spine, it was just something he did to mess with Jim Gordon. Hell, even though it was revealed that Lois never actually lost her leg, there’s no follow-up with her and her mental state after being put through a scenario where she thought she lost it…Although, that leads to the next point…
- The nature of the illusion is a little…confusing to me. I’m not sure if the idea is that Lois was never actually there and was just a mental projection created by Black, or if she was and she was made to think that’s what happened along with everyone else. And if that WAS Lois, and she never actually lost her leg, then what the hell is actually happening when Superman uses his heat vision to cauterize a wound that does not exist? The implications of that are HORRIFYING, and yet when we see her in Superman #25, she’s fine. So was that really Lois standing there or not?
So yeah, haven’t had to pull this bit out in a while, but in nearly every conceivable way, these two pages absolutely FAIL.
Anyway, that leads to where the book is headed. Specifically, not only is an upcoming story going to have Mr. Oz’s identity and plans laid out, but in the aftermath of Superman Reborn and the Batman/Flash crossover, The Button, we’re now headed toward an event called Doomsday Clock, wherein we’re apparently going to get a full-on confrontation between Superman and Doctor Manhattan. And, I’ll admit, this is the first time in a long time I’ve ever really thought to myself “…Does Superman even stand a chance in this fight?” And, given that Doomsday is among the prisoners currently being held by Mr. Oz, it’s likely that he’ll have some sort of involvement as well. How this will all play out is anyone’s guess, but I’m assuming this will likely lead into a much bigger event that involves the full scope of the DCU that will result in the ten years taken from them being restored. Either way, though, it is nice to see Superman finally taking center stage again as it pertains to the more major events in DC Comics. Let’s just make sure that future events involve less of Jon hogging the spotlight, and a LOT less of Lois possibly losing body parts.
But anyway, those are my thoughts. Lemme know what you think in the comments below, and next time…Oy. It’s time. I’ve been dreading this moment since I started this project, but next time, we take a look at Tom King’s Batman. Prepare yourselves for utter disappointment. Ja né!
So it’s been a while since I made that video talking about my personal picks for the roster of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Since then, the roster has only managed to increase by A LOT, including some of the people I picked, so let’s look at the fighters that are confirmed to be playable in the game right now, as well as discuss their achievements in the Injustice Battle Arena tournament currently going on.
Man, am I glad this guy got in. As I predicted, Aquaman has some awesometastic and unique moves centring around his trident and control of the sea and all that exist within it, and in the first round, he knocked off Cyborg. Granted, he’s since been defeated by Hal Jordan, but he put up an excellent fight. I suspect him to be one of the more interesting fighters to play as in the game.
Like I said before, there was no way they could possibly NOT include Bane in this game, given that Knightfall was reprinted and he was in The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, he’s also the man who broke that Bat, a move he tried to replicate in the first round of the Battle Arena…only to later find himself getting rammed across the hood of the Batmobile…again. But regardless, I suspect Bane to be one of the biggest powerhouse characters. In fact, there’s only one other I can think of that does brute force better, and we’ll get to him later…
Because he’s BATMAN! XD No, seriously, I’m stuck for a single DC video game since Arkham Asylum, the game famous for breaking the Bad Bat Game Jinx, came out that didn’t include, reference, or in any other way include Batman. Naturally, he’s armed to the teeth with gadgets, he can summon bats to help him in combat, and he can even call his Batmobile to run people down like I mentioned he did to Bane. Also, he uses his grapple gun on airborne opponents while yelling “Get down here!”…Nice, Ed. How’d I KNOW you’d find some way to get Scorpion in there? lol Anyway, I suspect Batman to make it to the finals at least.
Frigging knew she’d make it in. Catwoman seems dedicated to fast, relentless attacks that just cut away at the enemy’s health, as I suspected she’d be. She’s a ravager, no doubt. She’s also highly acrobatic and can keep stronger opponents away with that whip of hers. For some reason, she’s not in the Battle Arena. Not really sure why. However, we have since gotten to see a great fight from her outside the tournament, and I’ll get to that later…
I just got one word for this guy being in, and I know I deserve to get smacked for it, but I’m gonna say it anyway: BOOYAH! Cyborg is packing some serious heat in this game, as I guessed he would be. Unfortunately, he got beat rather soundly by Aquaman, but we got to see some awesome action out of him before losing. And again, SO glad his Teen Titans voice actor is voicing him here. I can’t help it, it’s just the voice I hear when I read stuff with Cyborg in it nowadays.
Again, so glad I predicted this guy getting in. Deathstroke is just one of those DC characters you want to see in a fighting game like this, which is likely why he was in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Anyway, Slade comes packing with his massive sword, plenty of useful gadgets, and lots and lots of guns. Also, like Catwoman, he wasn’t in the tournament, which is disappointing. He likely would’ve kicked all kinds of ass.
Here’s one that people kind of knew about being in the game for a while, but it’s still an awesome addition. As I alluded to before, Doomsday is probably the only character with more brute power than Bane, and his place in DC history was cemented in The Death of Superman, where he and Superman both struck each other so hard they both died from the blows. As it turns out, however, even death isn’t enough to put either one of them down forever. Since he was just recently confirmed, he wasn’t involved in the tournament, but he was shown off in a battle against Shazam, who he literally pummelled through the Earth itself.
Red streak speeds by, too fast for the naked eye…Oh, sorry, wrong speedster. 😛 The Flash is another of those fighters you completely expect to be in a game like this. Naturally, his incredible speed has made him a force to be reckoned with, blowing past both Shazam and The Joker to make it to the semi-finals, though something tells me he isn’t getting past Batman. Still, I suspect it to be a great fight, though not as great as the OTHER semi-final match…
Tally ho, mother frakkers! XD Okay, I’m not exactly a big Green Arrow fan, but I’d be an idiot if I didn’t acknowledge his place in this game. His swiftness, trickery, and wide arsenal allowed him to beat Hawkgirl in the first round, but then he lost to Superman in the quarter finals, and I’ll get to THAT later. Still, Arrow proves why he deserves to be here, and I would imagine he’s likely a character a lot of people will be playing as.
Well, I said this would be a no brainer, and I was right: Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern. His attacks seem to be based largely around the constructs he creates with his ring, and if his bouts in the tournament are any indication, he seems to be able to take TERRIBLE beatings and keep going. Thus far, he’s managed to beat both Solomon Grundy and Aquaman, but on both occasions (in particular against Grundy), he took severe amounts of damage before finally managing to come out on top, though his next opponent in the semi-finals could be the most dangerous in the entire tournament…
Well, this should make Linkara happy. lol Harley Quinn seems to be going it alone in this game with the Joker’s apparent death…although considering Joker is also playable, I somehow doubt he’s really dead. She lost in the first round to Wonder Woman, but she did manage to hold her own against the Amazonian warrior princess for quite some time. I suspect her wacky arsenal will give her an edge over opponents who foolishly choose to underestimate her.
Dammit, I wish I’d thought to predict this one. Hawkgirl is admittedly really only one of my favourites due to her presence in the Justice League cartoon, but her Earth 2 counterpart is pretty cool too. Her strategy is pretty simple: Fly fast and hit hard with that frakking mace of hers. Seems simple, anyway, but it works more often than not. Unfortunately, Shiera lost in the first round against Arrow, but she showed off enough of herself to demonstrate why she deserves to be here.
Yeah, dead my ass. Joker either used some kind of duplicate or got put in a Lazarus Pit. Either way, I knew damned well Superman didn’t finish him off in the comics. Joker is so hard to predict that he managed to get past Lex Luthor in the first round, though he unsurprisingly got beat by Flash in the second. I suspect the truth of his continued existence to be a plot point in the story mode.
Speaking of Lex Luthor, the runner up for Colin Mochrie’s title as Captain Hair has shown up with another of his mech suits, and I swear these things just keep getting more and more insane with every one he débuts. He also recently had his own trailer, hinting at his role in the story, though it remains ambiguous as to which side he’s taking this time around. Normally I’d say “the bad guys”, but perhaps not now since the villain for this story appears to be Superman.
Thank God, they remembered to put Nightwing in BLUE (except for the alternate costume which I’m not counting since it’s just that, an alternate costume). Again, not sure why Dick wasn’t in the tournament. I get the feeling like they just didn’t have enough slots for everyone and simply HAD to cut some people, but still, Nightwing would’ve been great. I would’ve LOVED to see him go head to head with Batman. He seems to be able to switch between his escrima sticks and his staff as his primary weapons, both of which he can send electrical currents through. He can also use electrified blades on his gauntlets while riding past on his motorcycle…Huh. So he uses electricity…he has a bird-like emblem on his chest…*imagines him green instead of blue, with red hair and a green cape*… … …Aww, dammit…lol
Once again, Azarath Metrion ZINTHO-WTF is up with her voice?! o.O Okay, voice aside, VERY glad Raven is in. Not really sure why she’s blue skinned, but hey, her skin turned lots of different colours in the comics, so no biggie. Her telekinesis and teleportation are both key components to her fighting style, but she also has the ability to go dark and pound the shiitake mushrooms out of opponents, like she did with Catwoman as I alluded to earlier, even able to summon FRAKKING TRIGON! She’s probably gonna be one of the more awesome fighters to play as… … …Seriously though, NetherRealm Studios, why that voice? You HAD Tara Strong IN THE STUDIO to voice Harley Quinn, why couldn’t you get her to voice Raven too?
SHAZAM!!! Yep, they decided to include Mr. Don’t-Call-Me-Captain-Marvel in the roster. He seems to be the game’s answer to Raiden, blasting opponents with magical lightning, though sadly without the random screaming. Unfortunately, Shazam got his arse beat by Flash in the first round of the tournament, and then Doomsday made an example of his strength by pummelling him straight down to the core of the planet and then back up to the surface again. Still, Shazam showed why he’s not exactly a pushover, and should be a good fighter to play as in the game.
There’s only one man in the DC universe who can claim he is the lord of fear above Scarecrow, and that man is Sinestro. He can use his Yellow Lantern Ring to create sharp claws, bindings, and power cannons. His super move is that he grabs hold of two meteors and sandwiches the opponent in between them, something no ordinary man can survive. Unfortunately for him, his first opponent in the tournament was no ordinary man, he was Superman, who crushed Sinestro afterwards. Nonetheless, Sinestro showed serious power and intimidation in that fight. My only question is, why the hell wasn’t he scheduled to fight Hal Jordan instead? o.O
Born on a Monday. Christened on Tuesday. Married on Wednesday. Sexual harassment charges on Thursday. Divorced on Friday. Restraining order broken on Saturday. Alimony on Sunday…Wait, that’s not right…Ah, whatever. One of the first fighters shown in action after the game’s announcement, Solomon Grundy was considered to be the powerhouse of the game…Then Bane showed up…and then Doomsday…and while I don’t think he’s playable, it wouldn’t surprise me if Darkseid’s in…Well, whatever. Grundy is interesting in that he’s not JUST blunt force used excessively. He uses the various cutlery stuck in his back to slash at opponents, proving that if you’ve got it, you should flaunt it…This is a WEIRD frakking paragraph. lol
Okay, I’m just gonna say this right now: I’m not bringing up the comics here. The game’s story wisely seems to be downplaying the certain stupid move involving Superman that makes me wish the comic would rot in hell, so I’m not going there. Anyway, most of Superman’s more famous powers are intact here, giving him enough power to first defeat Sinestro in the first round, then defeat Arrow in the quarter-finals in 52 SECONDS! Why do I get the feeling that’s revenge for the cheap shot in The Dark Knight Returns? lol Anyway, a lot of people have predicted that Superman will probably meet Batman in the finals, though for that to happen, Supes has gotta beat Green Lantern, and the Dark Knight has to get past Flash.
Because again, how can you have a DC fighting game without Wonder Woman? Her fighting style centres around her incredible strength, her sword and shield, and the Lasso of Truth. All of these things made her more than a match for Harley Quinn, but sadly couldn’t get her past Batman, which a lot of people are calling foul on since they’ve made it clear in various comics that Batman is no match for Wonder Woman. Still, I suspect her to be one of the best fighters in the game, and wouldn’t be surprised if she shows up a lot in tournaments.
So yeah, of the fifteen characters on my wanted list for the game, seven have made it in. Not bad, considering. I’m kinda hoping there’ll be a sequel and we can get some of the other characters I suggested in, plus some others I didn’t think of. There probably won’t be one any time soon, if at all, since obviously the priority for NetherRealm Studios HAS to be Mortal Kombat. Still, something to think about.
As for the Battle Arena, my prediction is that Batman will face Superman in the finals. Naturally, if this were a real fight, Superman would win (unless Batman used Kryptonite or the like), but since the battles are determined by votes from the fans and we all know how Bat crazy fans are, for better or for worse, whether it makes any sense or not, I suspect that Batman will win the tournament. Either way, be sure to keep checking out the new battles as they come out, and I will let’cha know what the game’s like when I manage to get ahold of a copy. Ja né!
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)