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Friday, 31 March 2017

Comics Explained: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One (Part 3)

The Final Third of Year One
Last time on Injustice following the death of Lois Lane and the destruction of Metropolis by the Joker Superman unilaterally declared an enforced worldwide ceasefire. However, this has split the Justice League between Superman's supporters and, those who believe that the the ceasefire is unenforceable and that the ceasefire would lead to authoritarianism. After accidentally crippling a wannabe superhero in Australia the Flash has growing doubts over his place in the League, an attempt to move the inmates of Arkham somewhere more secure led to the death of Dick Grayson, and Batman's team has kidnapped Hawkgirl and replaced her with a spy. That is where we start today.

Infiltration and Invasion
The League are stunned about how Hawkgirl managed to escape from Batman. As we all know escaping from Batman's imprisonment is no easy task (unless for some reason you are in his Rouge's Gallery). Hawkgirl says that she didn't escape; Batman let her go with a message for the League. Stop working for the world and start working with the world. During the French Revolution Maximilien Robespierre said 'No one likes armed missionaries' which Batman sees a clear parallel in Superman's actions. Although Superman's and Wonder Woman's attempts to bring peace are noble by enforcing world peace you are just creating new problems, (and not addressing the reasons for the conflicts to begin with). Shazam and Flash agree with the statement stating that since the destruction of Metropolis they've been overreacting to events around the world. Wonder Woman counteracts saying that they're bringing peace and making the world safe. This isn't too different from the mainstream Wonder Woman. Diana leaves Themyscira to help bring peace to 'Man's World', and in the alternate future comic Kingdom Come she is expelled from Themyscira for failing to bring peace. However, in Injustice the destruction of Metropolis and death of Lois has radicalized her. The Flash questions Wonder Woman if the Atlanteans felt safer when the League moved Atlantis from the Mediterranean to put it in the Sahara. The Flash turns on Superman as well stating whether the crippling of the Australian hero Galaxor was bringing safety, which Superman responds by saying it was 'unpleasant' and that they are still, nevertheless, bringing peace. Barry questions at what price this peace comes at and Diana spits back that if he doesn't like it he should leave. Shazam enters the debate backing Barry and saying that the could have killed Black Adam when they depowered him; in response Diana reminds them that Black Adam had destroyed a city. Shazam refuses to bully the world into submission and that Superman is a poor leader for not listening to others.

Robin chips in that he can 'practically see the strings'. He tells the the League that they've fallen for his father's game, and that Hawkgirl isn't really Hawkgirl but an impostor. Lex Luthor sides with Robin as Hawkgirl tries to defend herself. To avoid another argument Lex states that they just need to communicate with people, although Shazam questions whether it would be Superman or the League who communicates. Superman replies that it would be the entire League, and Shazam apologizes and states that he simply doesn't want the League to become what they've been fighting for years. Meanwhile, something is happening on the planet Apokolips...
Deep in the bowels of the hellish planet the Lord of Apokolips, the tyrannical, formidable Darkseid is torturing someone. His son, Kalibak, comes to find Darkseid and says that Superman has become weak. He asks his tyrant of a father for him to allow a war party to attack Earth. However, he notices who Darkseid is torturing: Black Racer. Black Racer is a deity who is an avatar of Death. Darkseid grants Kalibak's request. Back on Earth the Justice League gives a speech in front of the Eiffel Tower in civilian clothing. Superman apologizes for his recent actions and for frightening the world. He explains that although he is an alien he was raised by humans who were compassionate people. He loves Earth and that he just wants the world to be safe. From the Batcave Batman, Catwoman, Alfred and Harley Quinn watch the address. Just then a Boom Tube opens in Paris with thousands of Parademons from Apokolips pouring through the portal to attack the crowd. Kalibak attacks Superman chastising him for going soft but when he sees Superman's face all he can mutter is 'Oh shit'.
Kalibak in Paris
Kalibak tries to negotiate with Superman but he uppercuts Kalibak thousands of meters into the air where he is smashed through the wing of a plane. Wonder Woman goes to prevent the crash of the plane as Superman continues his fight with Kalibak. Both the League and Batman's Insurgency finds that Boom Tubes open in Shanghai, Moscow, Istanbul and Mumbai. Batman realizes that the Parademons are attacking the most populated cities and that Gotham will be next. Black Canary tells Batman that he must work with Superman; of the Insurgency only Captain Atom would be able to properly fight the Parademons. In Paris Superman smashes Kalibak into the ground creating a massive crater. Superman demands that Kalibak call off the attack which the god refuses to do stating that despite Superman's immense power his moral code ensures that no one actually fears him. Using a Mother Box Kalibak summons Parademons to attack Superman. With the Man of Steel incapacitated Kalibak taunts him by saying that he will never win as he lets people live, and proceeds to torture Superman by making him listen to the thousands dyeing thanks to the Parademons. However, this shatters Superman's moral code. After Metropolis he has been toeing the line with him refusing to kill in the issues around Atlantis and Black Adam. With eyes burning red Superman states 'Not again' and incinerates the Parademons. 

Kalibak is a stereotypical bully: stupid and a coward. After seeing Superman cross his moral he tries to back away but Superman hoists him up by the neck demanding the god to fight him. Meanwhile, across the world the League and Insurgency are struggling against the Parademons while protecting civilians. In Paris Superman asks how Kalibak dares to invade Earth which Kalibak replies like any bully that Darkseid would never allow him to be harmed. Superman says that he can no longer hide behind his father. He declares that he is tired of letting 'creatures' like Kalibak have mercy and that he is tired of showing mercy to 'men posing as cancers'. Desperately Kalibak declares his godhood for Superman to say 'I. Don't. Care!' Superman kills Kalibak by smashing his skull.
Superman starts to kill Kalibak
In Mumbai the Flash tries to save a woman in Mumbai before Superman arrives to talk to him in superspeed. Superman is tortured by Kalibak's words but Flash tells him to ignore Kalibak's words. When Superman suggests that they kill the Parademons Barry is horrified. Barry realizes that Superman has made up his mind. Quickly Superman flies across the world incinerating the Parademons as Batman is horrified that Superman has dared to cross his moral line. In Paris Luthor declares Superman the planet's savior as the crowd happily cheers his name.

Debating Ideologies
On the Watchtower the League watch the planet where Superman has ascended to a god like status. Superman, however, believes that his actions were not enough with him focusing on all those who died during the Apokolips invasion. Diana says that there aren't enough people like Superman to tackle another crisis to which Luthor replies 'Not yet'. In the Batcave Catwoman and Batman are also watching the populace chant Superman's name. In a mirror image of Superman Batman is focusing on those who died. Unlike Superman he is focused on how many Superman killed. Huntress comments that Superman saved millions of lives through his actions and that he is a hero to everyone bar Batman. She cries 'Being sanctimonious and arrogant doesn't make you right, Bruce'. Huntress then realizes her mistake: most of the Insurgency didn't know that Batman is Bruce Wayne. She also gets mad that he hasn't told his own allies his identity. Batman tries to explain that Superman and Luthor are making a super-soldier army but Huntress questions how anyone can trust him. To build trust he makes the ultimate move: he removes his cowl. Green Arrow and Captain Atom are shocked that Wayne is Batman. However, on the Batcomputer they spot Superman cultists attacking people which the Insurgency goes to stop them. The cultists had first originated after Metropolis but after Apokolips they had grown astronomically in number. In Gotham they had been attacking people to oust them from the city. As they arrive to fight the cultists the League arrives where Diana orders the cultists to leave. It is the first time that Batman has seen Superman since Atlantis. However, Catwoman tells Batman that now is not the time and the two teams depart.

In the Fortress of Solitude Luthor has created a pill which grants those who ingest it superpowers. The Kents are there with it being the safest place in Superman's mind following their kidnapping by Mirror Master. Jonathan questions if Luthor is proud of what he has done which Lex replies that he is proud for using alien tech to improve humanity. Martha states that he doesn't need the pill but someone to talk to; Luthor argues Clark is beyond 'mere mortal compreshension'. The Kents angrily disagree saying that losing Lois, his unborn child and Metropolis Clark is spiraling out of control. Martha relates a story on how as a child Clark lost his favorite blanket, went into a tantrum and tipped over a tractor and that 'Aren't we all?' acting like children. Jonathan says 'You're supposed to be the smartest man on Earth. Are you honestly telling me that you can't see that Clark needs help?'. Luthor states that he only wants to avoid another Metropolis and when asked by the Kents he admits that he feels guilty for surviving. The Kents fear that one day Earth will need to be saved from Superman and asks for Lex to do the right thing. On the Watchtower the Flash states that Luthor's pill is straying into mad scientist territory so Superman asks if he wants a game of chess. During the game Superman states that he wants to get rid of guns. Flash states that it is unfeasible to collect every gun and that they will face resistance, but Superman says that they will be at least alive to resent them. Barry states that the people might resist and Clark replies that they would resist with sticks instead of guns. The Flash states that smoking and speeding kill lots of people, possibly more than guns, so Clark states they'll get rid of cigarettes and arrest those who speed. Barry starts to win more games of chess (played at superspeed) as he says that to maintain peace they'll have to imprison and possibly kill for increasingly petty crimes.

Luthor announces to the League his pills which increases the strength and durability of the user. Superman, however, states that they can only hand the pills out to a select few. Green Lantern doesn't like the plan and Hawkgirl isn't too sure if Earth's governments would be too happy for handing out pills to make their own version of the Green Lantern Corps. That night Hawkgirl spots Damien (Robin) stealing a pill and heading to the teleporter. Damien arrives in the Batcave looking at Nightwing's costume apologizing for his culpability in Dick's death. Suddenly Alfred arrives and is pleased to see Damien asking if he received his letter. Damien says that he did and a relieved Alfred says 'it was so hard to find a zip code for outer space'. Ashamed Damien said it was too hard for him to write a response. The Batmobile arrives and Batman gives Damien the cold shoulder, so Alfred explains that Damien is in grief over Dick and urges Bruce 'Not to be you'. However, the talk between father and son break down as each are still traumatized over Dick's death. Alfred times to calm them but Damien accidentally knocks Alfred into the Batcomputer, injuring him. He then knocks Bruce into the Batcave's giant penny but suddenly Hawkgirl prevents the coin from crushing him. Damien throws an incendiary grenade at Hawkgirl and his suspicions are confirmed: Hawkgirl was secretly Martian Manhunter. Damien escapes the Batcave...

The League are informed that Batman replaced Shiera with Martian Manhunter with the Flash being in disbelief that Batman would do such a thing. Cyborg sets up a message to Earth where Superman will give a massive revelation: Batman's identity. Batman initiates the 'Icarus Protocol' knocking off the broadcast. However, Superman merely goes on Twitter writing four words: Batman is Bruce Wayne.
Yes, Twitter beat Batman
Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Green Lantern proceed through Gotham's underground with Clark assuring them that they'll just talk to Batman to secure Hawkgirl's release. Arriving at the Waterfall Entrance Batman steps out to meet them saying 'You took my life'. Diana spits back that he can buy a new one and demands to see Shiera. Over their communications Cyborg informs them that Hawkgirl's arrived and it is not Martian Manhunter this time. Batman begins to walk away as the League says this isn't something he can walk away from. However, this isn't Bruce. He flies into the air revealing himself to be Martian Manhunter. Superman questions J'onn why he sided with Batman and he replies 'because of what you could become'. Martian Manhunter is a Green Martian whose kind were oppressed by the White Martians, (J'onn was powerless to stop his daughter being taken away), and he saw Superman going down the same route. As Superman remembers the helplessness he felt holding Lois Wonder Woman grabs J'onn demanding him to leave Clark alone. J'onn quickly shapeshifts and enters Diana's body screaming that he's always been distrusted and how Clark chose to become close to the humans whom he resembled, rather than his fellow alien. J'onn threatens to the oxygen going to Diana's brain so she begs Clark to burn her despite the risk to her own life. He does incinerating J'onn as Batman watches knowing his friend has truly fallen. 
Superman burns Martian Manhunter out of Wonder Woman
The War Begins
The U.S. President is woken at night by Batman ringing his personal cell phone wanting a distraction. As this is happening Black Canary and Green Arrow are in a bathroom where Arrow is disgruntled that Batman gave Canary the entire address whereas he only got the number for the stall. Suddenly their retinas are scanned and they get access to Batman's new hideout. An argument between Black Lightning and Batman over his holding of Hawkgirl is cut short when Batman reveals that J'onn has been killed. He informs them of the super-soldier pill currently being held in the Fortress of Solitude which he wants to break into. If the Insurgency has hold of the pills it could tip the balance of power back into their favor. Batman receives then a text from the president informing him that U.S. warships are currently heading to the Korean peninsula, the perfect distraction. He, Captain Atom, Catwoman, Black Canary and Green Arrow are teleported to the North Pole where Atom immediately flies Catwoman to the Fortress to get them inside. However, unbeknownst to Batman Superman hasn't gone to Korea instead going straight to the White House...Catwoman got the Insurgents in but upon seeing the Kents inside Batman calls off the mission realizing that if Superman thought that his parents were endangered in his current state then he would respond with extreme violence. Suddenly Batman got a text from the president: Superman is coming. Just as they are about to leave Superman appears holding Atom by his throat.
Atom vs. Superman
Despite his parents trying to calm him Clark is furious. Desperate Atom unleashes a nuclear blast sending Superman flying as well as causing the front of the Fortress to cave in leaving Arrow trapped in the Fortress. Ollie manages to convince Canary to leave him and get to safety. In the battle Atom manages to bring Clark to his knees informing him that the Pentagon always believed that he could take him. As he prepares to take down Superman Wonder Woman arrives on the scene and cuts his neck with her sword causing nuclear radiation to pour out of him. Knowing it's his only shot Atom flies into the air to kill Superman with the nuclear blast. In space he detonated next to Superman sending Diana hurtling towards the Earth. Despite the blast being seven megatons Superman survived and flew back to Earth. Cyborg sends the Flash to get Diana some medical aid and to help Superman. Clark informs Barry that 'they' (Batman and the U.S. government) got Atom to try and kill him. The Flash is horrified not wanting to believe that Batman was willing to kill. As Flash takes Diana away Superman easily punches his way into the Fortress demanding that Ollie move away from his parents (who are concerned about his burns). Clark informs them that the president tried to have him killed demanding to know if Ollie had any knowledge about it. Arrow jokes that he didn't know while trying to secretly snatch a pill. Suddenly Clark spots this and with his heat vision cuts the table in two. With no other choice he decides to distract Superman by firing his arrow at the Man of Steel's chest. However, it ricocheted off of his chest and impales Jonathan Kent in the shoulder. Furious Superman backhands Ollie through a crystal. Knowing this is the end Ollie fired an arrow over Superman's shoulder and out of the Fortress. The rest of the Insurgency pick up Ollie's tracker only to be dismayed with it solely being his arrow with a pill attached to it. Ollie's last thoughts are of Black Canary as Superman punches him to death.
Superman kills Green Arrow
Martha took a pill in order to grab her son's arm to stop him from continuing to pulverize Ollie's corpse. He then realizes that two are missing: Ollie managed to smuggle out a pill. At the Insurgent base Batman informs them that the Superman they once knew has gone forever. Batman goes to the teleporter so he can scan the pill at the Batcave despite protests from Catwoman as the Cave would be the first place Superman would look for him. He argues it is easier if he went alone but she continues to argue until Batman unexpectedly kisses her. However, as he does so Selina is knocked out by an inhalant. Handing the unconscious Catwoman to Batwoman he tells the Insurgents to go into hiding. In the Fortress Jonathan chastises Clark for beating to death Ollie and the program of his biological father Jor-el materializes saying how disgusted he was that Clark murdered in the Fortress. When Clark says that he had no choice Jor-el replied that 'There is always a choice'. Speaking to Jonathan Clark agrees that it wasn't Ollie's fault. However, we now see Superman's fall into tyranny. Like any tyrant he doesn't blame himself but rather Batman. If Batman had ended the Joker's life years ago then Metropolis would still be standing and, Lois and his child would still be alive. Batman was the one trying to end his enforced peace. With revenge in mind he flies off to get Batman despite pleas from the Kents. Martha apologizes to Jor-el for not raising Clark properly as Jor-el apologizes for unleashing his son onto the world.

In the Batcave via the Batcomputer someone warns Bruce that Superman is coming and that he should get out. Batman refuses to do so until the analysis of the pill is finished. Superman then arrives saying that he's removed all of Gotham's madmen but 'left the original'. Clark says that just like Joker, Two-Face or Penguin he just wants to see the world burn. After exchanging harsh words Clark says that he is here to end this which Bruce replies that if he wanted to he would have already done it. He then asks if the blood on his hands is Ollie's and asks Clark to justify Ollie's death. He goes on to say why he thinks Superman is here: he thinks Batman is the only one able to stop him and that he wants him too. Enraged he throws Batman across the cave but unperturbed he continues to taunt Clark stating that it would be easy for Clark if he exposed him to kyrptonite or put on a metal suit to continuously beat him. He says 'And I'm not like you, I'm not a murderer' as he plays a video on the computer of Clark and Lois getting married. Superman claims that all he's doing is to honor Lois's memory while Bruce disagrees saying that he's lost his one attachment to humanity. Just as the pill is analyzed Batman has a sonic wave released causing bats to attack Clark. Just as he's about to grab the pill Clark vaporizes the bats, grabs Batman's arm, lifts him up and shatters his spine across his knee.
Just like how Bane broke Batman
Looking down on the broken Batman he states that he's too dangerous and will be locked away with the 'other monsters from Gotham'. Bruce simply reveals that this is a Pyrrhic victory for Clark; too late Clark realized that Batman has scanned the pill. Angry, Clark stands on Bruce's back to get him to reveal where the information has been sent to. Suddenly Clark feels a tap on his shoulder and he turned around to see Alfred there...and the pill missing. Alfred headbutts Clark breaking his nose.
Alfred vs. Superman
Alfred starts pulverizing Superman yelling in rage 'You Don't Get To Hurt My Family Any More!'. After dealing with Superman Alfred picks up his broken master and carried him to the teleporter. The next day standing before the United Nations Superman and the League announce that Batman is a terrorist who stole the pill to use against the planet. As his army marches into the U.N. he announces that the League will forever watch over the populace and keep them safe from Batman. Lois's last words to him was to save the world. Now he plans to do it with an iron fist.

Thus ends Injustice: Year One. In Year Two the war between the heroes continues as the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps come to Earth...

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