By Jessica Wright
A new story for the ages!
The latest Batman/Superman revamp, Injustice Gods Among Us, was released in two parts earlier this year as a prequel to the hit video game. Each hardcover volume, of which there are two thus far, contains 6 parts of the series where our favorite comic superheroes and heroines, villains and worlds have been recreated in some very unexpected ways. The amazing artwork and provocative storyline makes this graphic series an addictive page-turner.
Injustice Gods Among Us comes from the mind of the award-winning author and comic book artist, Tom Taylor. Throughout his career, Taylor has been a writer, artist, and contributor for many comic companies, the most notable being DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse.
In volume one, readers begin in the present day and see Batman gaze out over empty streets. We are told that this crimeless version of Gotham City is merely a “perversion,” and that Superman rules over the world as a new form of dictator. Fly to the next page and find yourself in a flashback—a quiet moment at home shared between Clark Kent and Louis Lane. Louis reveals she is pregnant with Kent’s child. Both called away to work, Superman rushes to meet long time friend, Batman, to share the good news. Throughout the course of the first volume readers find themselves on a roller coaster consisting of murder, betrayal, and comedic quips. The Joker puts into motion a string of events that lead to Superman’s accidental murder of Louis and his unborn child, his part in the destruction of Metropolis and its citizens, and ultimately, the Joker’s death and the shift that transforms Superman from the hero we’re familiar with into the dictator of peace. With the encouragement and assistance of Wonder Woman, Superman sets out to eradicate any and all violent and forceful governing systems by removing their weapons and demanding that they treat their people better or be faced with his wrath.
Volume two begins a month after the destruction of Metropolis, and the city is still saturated with nuclear radiation. No people walk the streets, buildings are still in shambles, and all is silent. Suddenly two words begin repeating out of radios around the world, “I’m alive.” Confirmation from Cyborg inside the Justice League Watchtower in space tells Superman that the broadcast is coming from Metropolis, where none other than Lex Luthor is discovered as still alive. This volume is riddled with Lex and Superman’s budding friendship as Lex undergoes the creation of a “super soldier drug” to help in Superman’s quest to enforce worldwide peace. Throughout the volume we watch as Superman and Batman rally superheroes to their causes, Batman’s goal being to stop Superman’s rein as dictator of the world and give people the freedom to live and make their own choices. We are witness as Superman attempts to convince people that Batman and his team are villains. And we laugh as Harley Quinn takes a stab at working with heroes, giving us a break in the tension. The volume ends at the close of the year as Superman, after an extremely violent fight with Batman, addresses the United Nations, saying that Batman and his allies while in hiding will be exposed and that Superman will do “whatever it takes” to “save the world,” as an army of genetically altered super soldiers marches across the stage.
This crimeless version of Gotham city is merely a “perversion.”
While I do favor the first volume over the second, I really enjoy this new Batman/Superman hybrid world. I like that Taylor mashes together the storylines of not only the two heroes, but also the worlds of all Justice League members. The underlying message to be wary of power figures, no matter their intention, was really cleverly demonstrated. Taylor’s perversion of Superman, a beloved comic book hero and overall “good guy,” by having him go through a mental breakdown and transform into someone who wants to dictate the lives and decisions of others, was an excellent way of demonstrating that even the best people have limits to what they can and cannot deal with. I also enjoyed that Taylor included a section with citizen reactions to Superman’s rise to power, some saying that they fully support him and others comparing him to past experiences with terrorists. This device nicely demonstrates the conflicting opinions that many people have whenever they are faced with a similar situation in the real world. That Batman wants to stop Superman so that common people can try to live their lives with the freedom to make their own choices and deal with the consequences of their actions, without super-human interference, I found a refreshing and noble twist though I’m sure I have a little bit of a bias as a Batman fan. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I found these graphic novels, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of this storyline.