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Friday, 3 February 2017

Comics Explained: Injustice Gods Among Us: Year One (Part 1)

Year One
Several years ago the video game Injustice Gods Among Us was released and, has become one of the most popular and influential DC comics video games. There are even several scenes in 2016's Batman v Superman referencing, or possibly foreshadowing, Injustice. A comic book series was released showing the five years before the events of the video game take place. With the new game being released in May I thought it would be a good idea to go over each year until the game is released. Now let's see how Superman took over the world...

Fall of a Hero
Clark Kent wakes up in the middle of the night and hears two heartbeats coming from his wife Lois Lane. He smiles as he realizes that he is going to become a father. Lois soon gets a text concerning a tip-off about a corrupt Senator taking bribes which the Daily Planet is currently covering as a story. Clark starts acting worried but Lois jokes that he's more worried about the baby. He looks out over Metropolis and Lois says 'Go save the world'. We soon cut to Batman easily beating a gang of thugs as Superman watches wondering why his friend is in Metropolis instead of Gotham.
Superman meets Batman
Batman explains that someone has stolen something from S.T.A.R Labs and that the thugs have some relation to it. After he beats the thugs he meets Superman on the roof. Just as Superman is about to tell Batman that Lois is pregnant he already deduces that they are going to be parents. Superman catches Batman off guard by asking him to be godfather causing the Dark Knight to give a small smile. Meanwhile, at the docks Lois and Jimmy Olson to see the corrupt Senator. Jimmy manages to spot someone but it turns out not to be the Senator. Jimmy is killed by the unknown figure who turns out to be the Joker and Harley Quinn... The next day Superman finds Jimmy's body next to a joker card as Batman is interviewing the scientists at S.T.A.R Labs. The scientists confess that the reason why they didn't go to Superman about the robber was because they were experimenting with kryptonite. Several of the corpses in the labs have demonic grins on their faces from the Joker's toxins. Suddenly Superman bursts in begging Batman for help in finding Lois. Batman contacts the Justice League to enlist them in finding the Joker and Lois. Barry Allen, the Flash, informs Batman that he's found the body of Scarecrow (a Batman villain who uses fear toxin to send people mad) in S.T.A.R Labs. As this is happening Wonder Woman manages to find a witness to the kidnapping/murder and using the Lasso of Truth she finds out that the Joker has hijacked a submarine. Immediately Superman scans Metropolis Harbor and finds the submarine. Enraged he takes it onto the land before tearing through the hull to find, to his horror, that Joker and Harley are operating on Lois. The Joker gasses him and suddenly from nowhere the monster Doomsday appears. Fearful that the beast would kill Lois and his unborn child he tackles Doomsday and flies into space with the beast. Harley and Joker are captured by the Justice League just as they leave the submarine (nicknamed 'Gunter' by Harley). However, as Batman searches the sub for Lois he finds evidence of Scarecrow's fear toxin. The Joker starts taunting the Justice League saying that when Lois's heart stops so will Metropolis. Desperately Batman tries to contact Superman who has taken Doomsday into space. However, Doomsday turns into Lois...
Superman kills Lois
Joker had used Scarecrow's fear toxin laced with kryptonite so he would see his wife as Doomsday. He also had the detonator to a nuclear bomb linked to Lois's heart so when her heart stopped the bomb would detonate. Within a day Lois, his unborn child, and Metropolis had been taken from him and he has to know that he was the one who did it. Batman begins interrogating Joker in Gotham asking why he did this to which Joker replies that he was tired of losing to Batman and wanted to 'Try it on easy'. Cradling his wife in the ruins of Metropolis Superman has been broken. As Wonder Woman tries to console him by saying it was really the Joker's fault Superman heads off to Gotham (even defeating Green Lantern on the way to get to the Joker). In Gotham Joker says to Batman that because someone took something away from him he became what he is today and questions what will happen to Superman seeing as he was already a god he deluded himself into thinking he was a man. Suddenly Superman bursts in as the Joker starts taunting Superman that he destroyed Metropolis, and killed his unborn child and Lois. Enraged Superman grabs Joker by the throat and swats Batman out of the way as he tries to stop the Man of Steel. The Joker continues to taunt Superman saying things like 'First Krypton, the Metropolis. Things you love tend to blow up' and 'I know it's soon but do you ever think you'll love again? Maybe, next time you won't kill your family'. Superman, angered, punches through the Joker's body as the Clown Prince of Crime laughs.
The Joker's Final Laugh
Dawn of the New Regime
A despondent Harley broken after Superman's murder of the Joker kills the guards escorting her to Arkham Asylum. Green Arrow arrives on the scene to recapture her laughing gleefully as he fires an arrow into the barrel of her gun causing it to discharge. He ensnares her with a net arrow and takes her to the Arrowcar as Harley questions him if he's going to take her to Superman. Arrow responds by saying that he's doing what he's doing to save Superman from himself. With a trick arrow he knocks Harley out after being annoyed by her incessant questions. Harley wakes up in the Arrowcave which she makes fun of saying it is not as good as the Batcave, and says that 'the Quiver' would be a better name (which Arrow agrees with). Harley uses a fake mustache to make Arrow laugh after he questions her about using a fake hand to escape.

Meanwhile, in the Fortress of Solitude Superman grieves over his family and the destruction of Metropolis surrounded by monitors reporting on the city's destruction. One monitor starts reporting on a communications blackout and bombing in a war-torn country called Biayla. Standing up he cries 'No more!'. He flies to the a city and protects a boy from being killed by a shell before destroying several more with his heat vision and apologizes to the civilians for not acting sooner. Easily he flies to the capital, ignores the presidential guard, and kidnaps the president declaring his presidency over. Wonder Woman arrives at the same time as the press and asks Superman not to announce his aims here. He agrees and calls a press conference outside the UN (taking the Biayla president with him). With Wonder Woman at his side he announces to the world that he is actually Clark Kent, that he is sorry for not acting before and that an event like Metropolis would never happen again. No matter who challenged him, no matter how politically powerful they are he would not allow any more innocent blood to be shed. Superman declares a worldwide ceasefire and if people don't do it voluntarily he will make them. A U.S. drone is going to bomb a village which a terrorist leader is hiding in until Superman destroys it. He has now made an enemy of the United States...
Mirror Master
A leading general gives the U.S. president a plan to counteract Superman. The plan isn't to go after Superman though but instead his parents. Armed mercenaries led by Mirror Master (a Flash villain able to take people into another dimension via mirrors) arrive at the Kent farm to kidnap the Kents. Jonathan is injured trying to defend Martha but both are taken into a mirror shard just as Clark arrives. Mirror Master taunts Superman that Jonathan has been injured in the safety of a mirror shard. At the Justice League Watchtower Wonder Woman gives a speech reaffirming her solidarity with Superman's course of actions and how they would prevent further tragedies like Metropolis. After Cyborg steps forward to volunteer to help find the Kents other members of the Justice League follow with the Flash suggesting that they should track down his Rogue's Gallery in the hope that they find Mirror Master. The Flash and Wonder Woman track Mirror Master to a bar in Keystone City where he is captured by Raven, and after being beaten by Wonder Woman he reveals that the Kents are being held at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia (home to the world's largest mirror). As Superman rescues his parents the President is worrying about how to deal with an even angrier Superman. Batman has sneakily entered the Oval Office and informs him that his plan to kidnap the Kents was the most foolish thing that he could have done. Batman vows not to tell the League that the U.S. government was actually behind the kidnapping but if he did almost the entire League (now united behind Superman thanks to the kidnapping) would go after him. When the President responds that the League wouldn't go after him Batman simply replies that no one would find his body on Saturn.
Wonder Woman ending wars
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is in Qurac easily battling armed forces there, (including destroying a tank with one headbutt). After the battle the Greek God of War Ares arrives to question if she is really devoted to Superman's cause (he remains strong if there is war so has a reason to destabilize Superman's enforced peace project). As Wonder Woman refuses to kill the soldiers that she is fighting Ares chastises her for being too merciful, and then uses Wonder Woman's secret affections for Superman to undermine her by asking if she will 'Take her place? Will you lie in his bed?'. Wonder Woman replies by saying she will let him grieve and that Superman is the greatest man that she has ever known. When Wonder Woman mocks Ares about losing his power when war has been eradicated he attacks her, but Superman arrives knocking him over easily with one punch. Wonder Woman cuts off his hand and leaves him bleeding (much to Superman's shock) in the Qurac desert. Ares has to ponder if Diana will strip away Superman's restraints.

War with Atlantis
In the Batcave Dick Grayson (Nightwing and the first Robin) and Damien Wayne (Robin) are sparring with Dick chiding Damien for going for the killing blow. Angry Damien throws a kali stick at Dick's head only to be caught by Superman. Damien tells Superman that Bruce Wayne has been 'broodier than usual' and secretly thanks him for murdering Joker. At the Batcomputer Superman asks why Batman did not help him find his parents or for not supporting his toppling of dictators. Batman replies that Superman is going too far and that people no longer feel that he is a symbol of hope, he's turned into a symbol of fear. Angry Superman rips off Batman's cowl yelling 'GOOD!'. He wants people to be scared so they will never hurt the innocent again and that by letting the Joker live Batman caused the deaths of everyone who Joker killed. Superman questions him if he ever felt guilty every time the Joker killed someone and Batman says that he did every time. When Superman justifies his actions by saying that by killing one person he can save the lives of thousands which Batman says just blurs the lines between right and wrong as he tries to justify his actions. Meanwhile, off the coast of Japan Aquaman is consoling a dying whale which sends him into a rage and he tips over a whaling ship. A distress call from the ship is sent to the Justice League who realizes that the attack is not simply a country ignoring Superman's ceasefire. Aquaman rises out of the ocean with his army to attack the whaling ship so Wonder Woman tries to reason with him. Aquaman simply says that the oceans are his domain and he shall defend the oceans. Unexpectedly Wonder Woman is shot in the face by one of Aquaman's soldiers as she approaches Aquaman. Angrily Aquaman reprimands his soldier and goes to see if his friend is alright, but Diana blames Aquaman for the attack and backhands him while saying she is tired of words. 
Justice League vs. the Ocean
Despite being bloodied and falling into unconsciousness Aquaman is reawakened by whales to lead the Atlanteans against the Justice League. Back in the Batcave Superman accuses Batman of not killing Joker as he would have lost his arch-nemesis and that he is mourning the Joker over Metropolis. Batman furiously denies this only for Superman's eyes to glow red demanding why he didn't end the Joker sooner, and why he let the Joker do this to him. He yells that Batman would never understand what the Joker took away from him, that he was now truly the Last Son of Krypton, and that Bruce is a poor excuse of a father for not consoling Dick and Damien over the death of their friends in Metropolis (we later find out that Beast Boy and Kid Flash were killed in Metropolis). Furious Batman punches Superman in the jaw but the Man of Steel is unfazed by this. Superman uses his x-ray vision to see that Batman has a hairline fracture and advises him not to punch anything for a week. This would be the last time Batman and Superman had anything friendly to say between the two of them. The alarms in the Batcave go off as a giant tidal wave created by Aquaman is threatening the ships. Superman asks Batman to come with him but Bruce refuses stating that Superman is better than this. On his way out Alfred offers 'Master Kent' some tea. Superman tells Alfred that he doesn't have to call him 'master' but Alfred dryly responds 'Good. Let's remember that.' In the Pacific Shazam and Wonder Woman find out that Aquaman has brought the kraken to battle.
Superman and Aquaman
Batman accesses the communications to the Justice League and the Atlanteans warning them that Superman is coming. In an instant Superman flies through the kraken's tentacles and grabs him by the throat demanding that Aquaman calls off the kraken. He obliges but starts criticizing Superman (despite Batman's warnings) that Superman is becoming a dictator, that the rule of Superman is coming but he will never rule the seas. Wonder Woman informs Superman that Atlantean forces have invaded major ports across the world as Aquaman states that he is not a simple land government easily bullied. Superman vows to show Aquaman his strength and orders for Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Shazam to follow him. They fly to the Mediterranean where they lift Atlantis from the sea and place it in the Sahara.
Atlantis in the Sahara
Batman tries to contact Superman but he kicks Batman from the Justice League. Wonder Woman goes to meet Aquaman on the shore of Algeria to talk. Aquaman says that he will call his forces back terrified not realizing that Superman was capable of his actions. He tells Diana to keep Superman on the right course of action, that he is scaring millions of people, and that he should seek his council. He also asks her to asks her to tell Clark that he is sorry about Lois. Later, Wonder Woman informs Superman of Aquaman's surrender and, pleased Superman asks Shazam and Green Lantern to return Atlantis to the sea. In private he informs Wonder Woman that Shazam and Green Lantern did not like moving Atlantis to the Sahara but Diana reassures him that it was the right thing to do. When Superman asks Diana if Aquaman had anything else to say after a brief hesitation she replies no.

That's the end of the first section of Injustice: Year One. In part two we will see the rift between Batman and Superman widening, war with Black Adam, and a death close to Batman's heart...

Year One Part 1
Year One Part 2:

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