If you’ve been keeping up with the video game prequel series Injustice: Gods Among Us then you’re going to love this issue. Despite a good bit of animosity from fans over some of the events of the first two issues, I have thoroughly enjoyed it all so far. In order to read a stand-alone series like this, you have to be willing to set aside your expectations for certain characters to behave like they would normally behave. If you can approach this series from “what if?” perspective then you’re free to appreciate the story for what it is.
That being said, I was shocked to see Superman brutally murder the Joker in issue 2, but I honestly can’t blame the guy. Joker committed one of his most evil acts of all time by shooting Jimmy Olsen in the eye and then fooling Superman into murdering Lois who was with child right before setting off a nuclear explosion that wiped out all of Metropolis. I mean, my God, that’s horrible. I literally stopped in my tracks in order to let the moment sink in. Superman’s horrific murder of the Joker was moment #2 for me. I couldn’t believe what I had just read. A part of me was mortified by Superman’s actions, but another part of me thought it was about damn time!
Issue #3, however, never caused me to have to stop and take a breather, but it did show me something I never really see. In most stories where Superman or a fellow superhero begins to take on too much power, other heroes actively oppose him from the start, especially Batman. Much to my surprise, that is not the case here. The government, naturally, does not respond well to Superman declaring martial law and acting on his own accord to end any and all conflict where innocents are murdered. Their plan? Make it personal, go after Superman’s parents and use them as leverage. This doesn’t go well for the government, however, as Wonder Woman recruits their fellow heroes for help.
My shock came at the lack of opposition from the rest of the Justice League as Wonder Woman pleads for their help. I expected somebody to object and claim that what Superman was wrong, but everyone almost immediately jumps on board. It honestly showed a realness to these characters that hasn’t really ever existed. They were each affected by the destruction of Metropolis, they all lose people they knew and loved, and they all feel for Superman. No one can blame the Man of Steel for his actions against the Joker. It seemed justified to them, and to me, that seems like what their honest reaction would be. Their reaction adds a significant amount of depth to these characters. It grounds them in a sense. Think about how many lives will be spared now that the Joker is gone?
Batman’s reaction is what truly shocked and pleased me. He usually acts as the moral opposite of Superman in situations such as these. Here, though, Batman defends Superman and even threatens the President to leave Superman alone. Batman’s confrontation with President proved to be the most powerful scene for me because it was what I expected the least.
The last section of this issue serves as an insight into Wonder Woman’s role in Superman’s new world order. As the Amazon princess handles a Middle Eastern conflict, she is approached by Ares, the God of War, who fears his importance will diminish in a world without chaos. Her conversation with Ares actually reveals a certain dimension to Diana’s character that has thoroughly intrigued me, but I won’t spoil that one for you!
Each of these books has been a thrilling read because I am reading them for what they are. I accept that they take place out of the current DC timeline and I can appreciate seeing a new perspective on these beloved characters. Although the artwork is nothing magnificent, it still serves its purpose in the confines of the story and yields some interesting illustrations. Injustice: Gods Among Us provides a mentally stimulating and heart-wrenchingly honest look at how heroes with such great power react when they have finally had enough of all the chaos in the world. If you’ve been up in the air about this series, I recommend you suck it up and give it a go. Try and appreciate it for what it is and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it like I have.
I give Injustice: Gods Among Us a 7.5 for a well-executed progression of a story that is evolving into something incredibly memorable.