…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.
But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.
So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.
Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.
Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.
Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.
So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!
Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.
Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.
And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.
So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.
The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.
So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.
Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!
Yup, I’m still doing this. lol That said, compared to what I had up, I’ve made quite a few new Captain Ersatzes on Deviant Art, and I owe a lot of that to my readers who voted on who they’d like to see me make expies of. I’m still going through the list, but here’s a look at what I’ve posted since I started taking requests…
…BUT, as anyone who has been to my Twitter knows, I’ve still got maybe one or two left to go. Specifically, I decided to go ahead and make counterparts for the Justice League. And, because you guys went ahead and helped me out with this, here’s an early preview…with appropriate music. lol
Anyway, with that outta way, there’s another poll I’d like to present. Basically, now that I’ve done a few counterparts of Batman’s rogues gallery, I was wondering which group of villains I should do next. So, by all means, vote below on which rogues gallery you’d like to see expies of next, and we’ll see what happens in a week’s time. Ja né!
…Yeah, been a while. lol I kinda got distracted with a Yu-Gi-Oh! one-shot (and yes, I openly admit to being a dork), but I’m back on track. So, with that said, here’s an early look at Chapter 6 of my Justice League fanfic.
Robinson Park is easily the largest park in Gotham City. It covers a huge area, stretching out from central to southern Gotham, and is home to many landmarks, including a memorial site dedicated to many of the city’s policemen, firemen, and medical staff. Aside from a chase between the GCPD and a certain shadowy vigilante years ago, the park has otherwise managed to avoid much of the usual havoc that Gotham City is typically known for, even being seen by some people as a safe haven, to the point where many in Gotham have jokingly been taking bets as to how long this peace can last.
As such, it was only natural that all hell broke loose there first, as a scream in the middle of the night followed by the sound of trees being smashed clear out of their roots made it clear this was no longer a safe haven. And while there were police officers in the park that were quick to respond, they were likewise quick to find themselves in over their heads, as they came face to eye with a massive, starfish-like creature with a single red eye. Starro lashed out with his giant tentacles, managing to hit one officer so hard that he was dead long before he hit the ground. The others took shelter behind the trees, firing at the eye with their guns.
“Dispatch, Robinson Park patrol in need of immediate back-up!” one officer yelled into his walkie-talkie. “Dispatch, do you copy?!”
“Sending officers now, but we’re low on hands!” the dispatch officer replied. “There’s been some kind of break-out at Arkham! Reports of something not human!”
“Ya don’t say?!” the reporting officer demanded, rolling away as Starro tore out the tree he had ducked behind. Just as the star-shaped alien was about to smash said tree down onto the cop, though, a rocket shot through the sky and hit the tree hard, releasing a fast-acting freezing gas over the tree and Starro’s tentacle. As Starro backed off, the small, jet-black airship, the Batwing, flew down out of the night sky, shining a bat-shaped spotlight down on the massive alien.
“The hell was that?” Green Lantern asked as he and the others stood in the ship, Batman sitting in the pilot seat.
“Thermionic gas,” the Dark Knight replied. “Let’s just say that Dr. Fries has a fairly large investment in the development of cryogenics.”
“Think it’ll show him down?!” Flash inquired, just as Starro smashed the frozen tree into the ground, snapping it and the tip of his own tentacle clean off, before regenerating it. “…Nevermind.”
“Yeah, probably freezing something that can fly through the vacuum of space wasn’t a smart move,” Wonder Woman observed before turning to Superman. “…Cal?”
“They’re here,” Calvin replied, using his x-ray vision to look past the trees and spot several figures approaching behind Starro. “There’s at least six of them.”
“Guess we all pick a partner, then?” Ivy suggested.
“Be careful, they’ll all know everything I do about your abilities,” Batman reminded the team.
“Then let’s hope your paranoia didn’t uncover ALL of our strengths and weaknesses,” Doctor Fate retorted as he and the others, sans Batman, exited the Batwing through the side and bottom hatches.
And that’s the preview…Well, save for THIS:
Like what you see? Have any comments/suggestions for me? Leave them here, and I’ll see y’all when I finish Chapter 6. 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)