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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Comics Explained: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One (Part 2)

The War Begins
Last time with Injustice the Joker using a mix of kryptonite and Scarecrow's fear toxin tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child. However, the Joker had a trigger to an atomic bomb connected to Lois's heart so when her heart stopped Metropolis was destroyed. Broken Superman murdered Joker and announced an enforced worldwide ceasefire splitting the Justice League. When Aquaman ignored the ceasefire Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Shazam picked Atlantis up from the bottom of the Mediterranean and placed it in the Sahara. Now this time we shall look at how the war between the heroes began.

Australia and Arkham
Chapter 13 of Injustice begins with Barry Allen, the Flash, running along Nullarbor, Australia which is the longest strip of land in the world and 'nirvana' for a speedster. His inner monologue reveals that the Flash often comes here to run and think but today he's only here to run. Two hours earlier, Barry accompanied Supeman and Wonder Woman to Melbourne, Australia where a protest to Superman's growing rule is happening. As the heroes attempt to get the crowd to peacefully disperse on man comes out of the crowd crying 'I'm sorry but we have the right to protest in our own country'.
A hero in Australia
In a mechanical suit the young man challenges the Justice League members. Realizing he's outmatched Barry just helplessly watches Wonder Woman and Superman smash the prospective hero into the ground shattering his spine. Wonder Woman simply tells the crowd to depart and they acquiesce. Horrified the Flash runs to get an ambulance. As the Flash is running Batman contacts him despite Superman revoking his access to the Justice League's communications after he refused to aid in the fight with Atlantis. As Batman designed the system it was not a difficult task to get back online and he tells Barry to go to the Advanced Science and Genetics Testing Laboratory in Canberra. When he arrives at the lab Batman informs him that he is on the wrong side as the Flash is met by Doctor Norris. Norris revealed that the man who the League fought was Mitchell Davis who had taken some experimental steroids, tampered with his genetics, and took an advanced suit to adopt the identity of Galaxor. Barry is guided to Davis' office full of photos of the League and even a signed photo of the Flash himself. Distraught he ignores Batman's questions about how Mitchell must have felt being crushed by his idols, removes his communicator and starts running. Back at Nullarbor he just runs trying not to think.

The next chapter opens with Batman remembering the night that his parents died and with regret overwhelming him he only can think 'He's gone. I'm abandoned again. My son is dead.' Earlier that night Gotham's news channel was broadcasting a story with twin broadcasters about how the nation was divided over Superman's actions as Nightwing watches on the Batcomputer. Suddenly the news is interrupted by Two-Face who was drawn to the channel. Two-Face is obsessed with the number two so twins and a story about the nation split in two would be perfect for him. As he flipped his coin it is suddenly vaporized by Superman who suddenly arrives on the scene. Angry Two-Face demands to know which side it landed on. Two-Face in comics needs to know how his coin landed with him urinating himself in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth when he can't find the answer. When Superman won't tell him he drawed a gun which Superman easily destroyed, and the Man of Steel subdues him. He quickly saw to the anchors with one remembering meeting him and Lois at the Pulitzers. She asked Superman if Lois would approve of what he was doing to which he replied that he hopes that she would. Superman began a speech declaring that Gotham is sick and that he will remove the dangerous inmates from Arkham Asylum like Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and the Riddler. Batman ordered Nightwing and Robin to prepare the Batwing as Robin questioned why this is a bad thing.
The League and Two-Face at Arkham
As the trio flew off Nightwing asked Batman if he understood Robin's point of view to which Batman simply responded that Dick was never as stubborn as Damien. In turn Batman asked Dick if he could understand where Superman was coming from to which Dick said that he does but Batman has had longer to indoctrinate him. Robin, Damien Wayne, spent his early life with Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins where murder was not frowned upon but, in fact, encouraged. As a result when Damien went to live with his father he has had difficulty adapting to the 'no-kill rule' of Batman. Meanwhile, at Arkham the League tells the head doctor that Arkham has lost the right to oversee the patients. The doctor protested just as Batman arrived standing between the League and the patients. Robin yelled why Batman is siding with monsters instead of the League. Annoyed and wanting attention Calendar Man (yes there is a villain called Calendar Man) gets even more frustrated when Wonder Woman can't remember capturing him on Easter.
I am not making this up
Superman told Batman that he knows that Batman won't stand aside but he won't stop him from removing the inmates. In his cell Victor Zsasz taunts Superman about enjoying his 'release of murder', (Zsasz is obsessed with murder and creates a tally on his body for everyone that he has killed). Wonder Woman got Cyborg to access Arkham's security and suddenly Zsasz's cell opened only for the murderer to immediately vanish. Mad Hatter soon vanished and Batman realized that the Flash was moving the inmates. Batman demanded to know where the inmates were being taken for Superman to respond that they were being taken to a far securer facility. When Cyborg went to release Riddler despite Batman's threat the Dark Knight activated a virus which he had put into Cyborg's system causing him to become incapacitated. Trying to prevent the situation from escalating further Nightwing deactivated the virus to release his former Teen Titan friend. As this is happening Green Arrow arrived with Harley Quinn because she set fire to the Arrowcave so he thought Arkham would be safe for her. However, they were met by an orderly revealing that Superman and Batman were at the asylum. When Arrow raced off to help Harley managed to escape, release all the inmates including a huge figure at the bottom of the asylum. This figure turned out to be Solomon Grundy who burst from the ground and dragged Robin down but before Batman can try and save his son he is tackled by Killer Croc.

Over the intercom Harley asked the inmates to leave Arrow alone citing Stockholm Syndrome. Croc and Calendar Man held down Batman as Riddler grabbed a rock to cave in Batman's skull, but Riddler is knocked out by Arrow giving Batman a chance to escape. In the basement Grundy held Robin with one hand as he fought Wonder Woman with another. Easily he backhanded Diana through a wall leaving Nightwing and Superman to fight Grundy. Grundy is a zombie and cannot die so Nightwing informed Superman of this. Not holding back Superman used his heat vision to slice off Grundy's hand and burst through the zombie's body. Batman soon descended down the hole wanting help from the two to recapture the inmates. However, Robin refuses to do so. Batman ordered him to help catch the inmates as he planned to personally use explosives to deal with Grundy before he can regenerate. Just as the zombie starts getting up Batman planted the explosives in Grundy's head which exploded. Superman actually complimented Batman on this and they began planning on how to move Grundy to his cell where his dampeners can keep the zombie under control. Up top Robin started to brutally beat Riddler and Nightwing chastised him for being so vicious. As Dick turned around an angry Robin threw his kali stick at the other's head. However, this time the stick hit Dick on the head causing him to fall over and break his neck on a piece of rubble. The rest of the League arrived and Batman shoved a crying Robin off of Dick's body. Surrounded by inmates and the League Batman cradled Dick's body saying 'My son is dead'.
Death of Nightwing
Sides Align
Catwoman is in Gotham after seeing the corpse of a purse-snatcher called Joey Gutton. Through her inner monologue we find out that Joey became a purse-snatcher when his family fell on hard times, and she believed that Joey was killed by a vigilante. However, Joey was not killed by a traditional masked vigilante but by a regular member of the public. After Superman killed Joker without any repercussions many had started killing common criminals as well. Catwoman then broke into a rich apartment thinking that the owner was the true criminal as when the owner's company was failing he bailed out making himself much more money as his employees became jobless. As she found his jewels she realized that she was not alone and that Superman was with her. The owner soon arrived but Catwoman jumped out of the window with Superman following and grabbing hold of her. However, he soon became dizzy allowing Catwoman to escape into the sewer. We find out that during one of her trips to the Batcave she stole some kryptonite and made an earring out of it. Despite escaping Superman he soon caught up where he forced her to remove the earring with his heat vision. Selina accused Superman of wanting to kill her but he revealed that he only wanted to talk; he told her about Nightwing's death causing her to become upset. When he said that he couldn't talk to Bruce she told him that both he and Bruce are too stubborn. She agreed to go see Bruce but asked Superman to punish the heads of greedy corporations as well as the traditional evil. Upon arriving at Wayne Manor she found Alfred in a drunken stupor thanks to his grief over Nightwing's death. Despite being drunk Alfred tried to look after Selina but she responded that tonight she would look after him. Down in the Batcave Selina finds Bruce punching a training pole until his hands were bloody. She made him hug her.
Batman and Catwoman
Batman and Catwoman are summoned to the GCPD via the Bat Symbol (something which Catwoman is reluctant to do) but instead of being greeted by Commissioner Gordon they are met by the president. The president took them to a room impervious to Superman's senses and told them that currently Green Lantern and Superman were downing Russian satellites. Also, he revealed that in the week after the events at Arkham the League had been forcibly bringing peace to the world: Superman forced a peace between Israel and Palestine, Wonder Woman repelled an invasion of Myanmar, Green Lantern and Shazam had protected Syria from a missile barrage, and Raven (of the Teen Titans) used an image of her demonic father Trigon to scare Sudan into peace. Catwoman questions why this is a bad thing but both the president and Batman inform her that what the League is doing is only temporary. The reasons why they have fought have not been addressed so the peace will have to be continuously enforced. Giving a few real life examples the Troubles in Northern Ireland started in the 1960s and ended around 2004, the Sri Lankan Civil War lasted for over twenty years, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has existed in its current form since 1948. The president was worried if Superman is capable of world conquest and if Batman can prevent this. Batman responded that he could but he would need a team. The two of them condemn the president as well saying that if he was a better leader people would not be turning to Superman. Batman and Catwoman begin recruiting heroes not aligned to Superman. The two recruit Black Canary, Captain Atom, Aquaman, Huntress, Black Lightning, Batwoman, and Green Arrow (although he stated that he is only there to listen at the moment).

Shazam and Luthor
Shazam is actually a child called Billy Batson but he becomes the hero Shazam when he yells the word 'Shazam!'. As Batson and the guise of doing a school project he asked people how they felt about the League's actions with some being afraid and others glad that Superman killed Joker. We then cut to the day before. In a destroyed city Wonder Woman finds Green Lantern unconscious and finds out from Cyborg that the Flash is evacuating civilians. Wonder Woman tried to contact Superman only to find out that he's gone down as well. Suddenly Cyborg picked up a signal coming towards them for us to find out that the destroyer of the city was Black Adam. Adam is a Shazam villain and has the exact same powers as Shazam. Adam ripped off Cyborg's arm. Back in the present, Billy asked two people about the League. The first, an American, wanted Superman to sort out the corrupt politicians in America, whereas the other person, a foreign woman, said that she had seen good people take power to do good but became corrupted, and that she came to the USA to escape that. Back in the past, Adam taunted Cyborg for interfering in his 'retribution'. Shazam soon arrived ordering Adam to stop, however, Adam said that someone fired missiles into the state which he ruled, Kahndaq, killing innocents and that as Kahndaq's protector he would not rest until they were safe. Superman and Shazam held Adam down as Wonder Woman prepared to use the Lasso of Truth, wrapping it around his neck. However, Shazam warned if Adam spoke the magic word, ('Shazam') and returned to mortal form they could accidentally break his neck. Billy asked Adam if there was anyway to not kill him to which Adam said that he would happily slaughter entire countries if he could protect Kahndaq, and that the League is going down the same route that he went down. Although they will bring peace they will be feared.
Interrogating Black Adam
Adam asked Shazam to protect Kahndaq to which Billy promised to do so. After Wonder Woman got Adam to say 'Shazam!' and he transformed into a decrepit old man. Shazam saw a man and his sons huddling so Shazam told them that they were safe now. However, the man said that they were surrounded by angry gods and that they should return to the skies instead of trying to understand mortals. Back in the present, Billy decides to talk to Shazam himself (he can talk to the Shazam part of him) to see what Shazam thought. They debate concluding that the League can bring peace but were becoming violent with Black Adam and Atlantis. Billy decides that the events will deeply affect someone as young as he is.

A month after the destruction of Metropolis from the ruins a signal is detected saying 'I'm alive'. On the Watchtower Cyborg, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman try to deter Superman from going seen as how he has made many enemies and that it could be a trap. However, Superman ignores them. This is quite a turning point in Superman's character as he is now ignoring the advise of his friends. We're seeing Superman becoming increasingly distant from the people he's supposed to care about. In Metropolis they find a bunker and inside is Lex Luthor... Upon seeing Luthor Clark hugs him declaring it a miracle. In contrast to the mainstream comic reality in this reality Superman and Luthor are friends rather than foe. Somewhere, Batman questioned his unknown ally about how Luthor got to his bunker before the blast. We find out that Luthor had hired a speedster to rescue him but she had died trying to save civilians. This is an interesting part as we do know now that Luthor has the same cunning streak as his mainstream self. However, we do not know who that speedster was. Quite possibly she was Lady Flash or Jessie Quick. Before his ally could leave Batman warned them about Wonder Woman. On the Watchtower Luthor announced that he wanted to join them and that he supported them but Diana is suspicious. To prove himself he listed off all their secret identities and announced how he had secretly been protecting them for years.
Luthor and the League
In Somalia Hawkgirl abducted the Somalian president as he was touring through Mogadishu. However, Batman had expected this. Immediately, Captain Atom grabbed the president, Black Lighting knocked Hawkgirl from the sky, and Huntress knocked her out with a knockout arrow. Dryly Catwoman laughed 'Well we're in it now'. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Somalia Wonder Woman arrived at a refugee camp frustrated that war and famine had displaced these refugees, and that the soldiers had been taking advantage of the refugee women. At the camp she prevented a general from attacking a woman promising them that she will have him replaced. However, they replied that someone just as bad would replace him. Diana agreed and crushed the general's head in her hands. She gave the women the guns of the soldiers and she left to the sound of gunfire.
Diana in the Camp
This is perhaps my personal favorite part of Year One. This one scene shows how much Wonder Woman has been pushed to the edge by not interfering for years on end. It also plays with the idea discussed earlier about the League not solving the issues, and ideas of 'an eye for an eye'. Arriving back at the Watchtower Diana discovered that Hawkgirl had been captured by Captain Atom, Huntress, and Black Lightning with Diana immediately blaming the US thanks to Atom's involvement. Luthor, however, responds with 'It's Batman'. When Green Lantern said that Batman had not been seen Luthor replied that it proved his point. Lex advised that he needs to recruit some more people so the League cannot be picked off by being spread too thinly. In Batman's lair, Batman and Catwoman are looking over the unconscious Hawkgirl with Selina wondering how Batman knew that Hawkgirl would be in Mogadishu. Catwoman also stated that they would come looking for Hawkgirl. However, on the Watchtower when the League are debating Lex's offer Hawkgirl came in...

That is the end of part two of Year One. Our third part of Year One will see a civil war between the Justice League...

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