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Saturday, 22 April 2017

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

Year Two
Last time on Injustice Superman had split the Justice League by enforcing a world-wide ceasefire after the Joker tricked him into destroying Metropolis and killing Lois Lane (who was carrying his unborn child). A war broke out between Superman's supporters (Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg etc), and those who opposed him led by Batman. The initial battles left Batman paralyzed by Superman, and several heroes including Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter dead at Superman's hands. Now Year Two begins and Superman's reign comes into contact with beings from other worlds...

Ollie's Funeral
At the funeral
The story begins with a flashback. In their civilian gear after defeating a 'planet-core-eating zombie moon' (this is a comic book after all) Dinah Prince (Black Canary) and Green Arrow (Ollie Queen) force Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) to come with them to a bar despite him protesting that he'll be a third wheel. When a biker rudely offering to buy Dinah a drink and insulting Ollie the two beat up the biker gang as Hal reminds them that he is still a third wheel. The scene shifts then to the present with the Justice League holding a temporary truce to attend Ollie's funeral. The League members leave one by one until only Dinah and Hal are at their fallen friend's grave. Hal attempts to talk to her but she refuses to hear what he has to say after finding out that he still stands with Superman. When Hal walks away Clark Kent to try and apologize to Dinah for Ollie's death (stating it was an accident). Enraged that Superman described the brutal beating to death of her partner an 'accident' Dinah releases her Canary Cry; a high-pitched scream which can incapacitate foes. It is so powerful that it causes Superman's ears to bleed. Unlike the old Superman this post-Metropolis Superman takes it badly and grabs Dinah with his eyes glowing red. Dinah demands to see 'the real him' so she can die seeing the same Superman which killed Ollie, and how Superman has deluded himself into thinking that he is human. Superman, however, notices with his super-senses that Dinah is pregnant with Ollie's child. The Man of Steel flies away and we find out that she had been wearing lenses. The entire encounter had been recorded by her friend Oracle, (the former Batgirl Barbara Gordon).

The next chapter cuts between several characters. We first see Kyle Rayner. Kyler is one of several Green Lanterns from the planet Earth, and he became a Green Lantern when Hal Jordan went rouge. We find out that for the last year Kyle had been on a mission for the Guardians of the Universe (who lead the Lanterns) so he has no clue about the destruction of Metropolis, the increasing tyranny of Superman, and how Hal has sided with a tyrant. However, the scene shifts to Gotham where Commissioner Gordon is figuring out who lit the Bat-Signal. He is met with Superman demanding to know where Batman is. After Superman paralyzed Batman Alfred took the Dark Knight somewhere safe and we can assume that it is not in the regular Batcave. Naturally Gordon would be the one to know where Batman is. Superman is dumbfounded to discover that Gordon truly does not know where Batman is (using his supervision to check Gordon's vitals to see if he is lying).
Superman meets Gordon
Gordon also tells Superman that he will happily help Batman as he doesn't see him as a fugitive. Superman informs Gordon that he has spotted several masses on the commissioner's lungs. Years of chainsmoking and fighting in a city full of the world's most dangerous criminals has taken it's toll on Gordon. We finally find out where Batman is when the scene shifts for a third time. Alfred informs Bruce that they are somewhere where Superman can never find them: the Tower of Fate. Zatanna Zatara helped bring Alfred and Bruce to Dr Fate's lair as Superman is weak against magic. We do not stay there long as the scene shifts back to Kyle Rayner in space. Kyle is captured by Sinestro and members of the Sinestro Corps. If the Green Lanterns are Jedi then Sinestro Corps (or Yellow Lanterns) are Sith. Sinestro was once a Green Lantern but went rouge and harnessed the power of fear, instead of willpower, before enslaving his homeworld of Korugar. Sinestro taunts Kyle saying that Earth has changed and that he can see allies for a future war. Before Kyle can message the Lanterns for help Sinestro cuts it off. He then laments that Kyle will be unable to see the upcoming war as he is torn apart by the Sinestro Corps. 
Sinestro kills Kyle
Coming of the Green Lanterns
On the homeworld of the Green Lanterns, Oa, the Guardians of the Universe question their fellow member Ganthet on what is troubling him. He tells them of a shift in power on Earth and how that one planet has been the center of several universe spanning crises. The other Guardians realize that what happens on Earth could throw the fate of the Lanterns into jeopardy, and more worryingly the Earth-bound Lantern Hal Jordan is closely tied to the events. In response they summon one of the other Earth Lanterns, Guy Gardner. Gardner was one of two people to be chosen to be Earth's Lantern (the other being Hal) but as Hal was closer Gardner was made a backup, but he eventually became a Lantern. Guy laughs off the idea that Superman is becoming a tyrant, (after all he is seen as a glorified boy scout by many in the DC universe), until he is informed that Kyle has gone missing and that his ring has been destroyed. On Earth Hal is testing a jet while being observed by Carol Ferris (it is likely in this universe she is not a member of the Star Sapphires; a group like the Lanterns which uses love instead of willpower to create constructs). However, Hal almost crashes the plane with it only surviving thanks to him wearing his Lantern ring. Ferris finds this deeply unsettling; Hal never wears his ring on flights and it seems like he is afraid...

On the Watchtower as Superman looks over a comatose Wonder Woman (still very injured from when Superman was forced to burn Martian Manhunter out of her) Hal informs him that Congress is planning to shutdown the government. Superman is still angry over the US president's interference which lead to his father being injured, Wonder Woman's injury, and, the deaths of Ollie and Captain Atom (both at the hands of Superman). When Hal doesn't want to stop them as it would be him interfering to much Clark chastises him by saying that as the Lantern for Sector 2814 it won't be interfering but protecting. Due to his anger at the United States Superman sent the Flash to Congress with Hal who seals the House of Representatives in informing them that they cannot leave. Desperate the president calls Batman (who is puzzled about how his cellphone can get reception in the Tower of Fate) but it is diverted to Oracle in Gotham who informs her that Superman has taken over Congress. 
Congress Taken Over
As the Flash and Green Lantern force the Senate to resolve their differences on the Watchtower Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons (Wonder Woman's mother) arrives to see her daughter. She informs Superman that although the doctors have failed to heal her the gods of her island should be able to. However, the Watchtower's alarms go off and Robin informs them that Sinestro is here. As Wonder Woman is taken to the teleporters Superman flies to Sinestro and smashes him into the Moon. Before Clark can do to him what he did to Kalibak Sinestro informs him that 'they' are coming who would undo all that he has done. On Earth the Flash and Green Lantern leave the Senate to be faced with armed forces, Guy Gardner, and Ganthet.

Next chapter we get a flashback to the destruction of Kypton. Jor-el places his infant son in a rocket as his wife, Lara, asks about if 'outsiders' could help. He tells her that Kypton has been abandoned. Lara gives her son a pendant and the rocket is sent off before the planet explodes. In the present Superman sitting in the Hall of Justice clutching his pendant he asks Ganthet what he can do for the Guardian. Flanked by Hal and Guy the Guardian tells Superman that he has come to Earth as an ambassador and a friend. His advice is: stop what he is doing. When Superman says he is protecting Earth Ganthet interjects that Clark is controlling, not protecting Earth. He tries to explain that he is of Earth but Ganthet reminds him that Clark is Kyptonian, not human. Begrudgingly he agrees but says that he cannot allow the ignorance of leaders not acting to take Earth down the same route as Krypton. Sadly Ganthet reveals that the hardest part of being a Guardian was not interfering and that he has seen civilizations rise and fall. Earth must chose it's own path. However, like a devil on his shoulder through an earpiece someone says 'Ask him the question'. Superman asks if the Guardians allowed Krypton to be destroyed. Ganthet doesn't reply shocking Hal and infuriating Clark. Superman berates Ganthet for lecturing him when it was the Guardians who doomed his homeworld as Ganthet claims that Krypton doomed itself. Gardner steps in between them telling him to tone down their 'ominous power levels' and that they're in danger of losing a continent. During the argument Ganthet is ordered to leave Earth and, the Guardian tells Gardner and Hal to return to Oa (something which Hal reluctantly does). When they leave Sinestro comes out from the shadows where Superman tells him that the Guardians are Guardians in name only. He also tells Sinestro that he doesn't trust him to which Sinestro responds that he will need his help.
John Stewart
Upon returning to Oa Ganthet orders several Lanterns to return such as Kilowog and Tomar-Re. One other is Earth's final Lantern (in the Injustice universe that is) John Stewart. When Guy Gardner was badly injured John Stewart was chosen to temporarily replace him but he became a full time Lantern. John had been fighting an undead horde threatening to take over Ryut in Sector 666 and reluctantly returns stating that leaving a planet full of undead would never come back to bite them (literally). On Earth Superman's new army walks into Gotham as the Man of Steel and Lex Luthor talk to the mayor. Although the mayor is in favor of it he doubts that Gordon would be to which Superman spits that Gotham's staggeringly high crime rate is a testament to Gordon's failure (although Gordon's belligerent support of Batman is hinted to factor into Superman's disdain and occupation of Gotham). The GCPD has no other choice but to let the army enter. Gordon later standing in the rain yells at a CCTV camera announcing to Barbara that he knows that she is in there. Meanwhile, at the Ferris Airfield Hal has to tell Carol that he has to return to Oa where Ganthet informs them that Guy will remain on Earth in Hal's place. Back at Gotham Gordon snaps that he's always known that she was Batgirl and Bruce Wayne was Batman (it really should be obvious to be honest), and that he knew it was pointless to stop her from being a vigilante. Barbara admits that she can't contact Bruce and has no idea where he went after the confrontation with Superman: they are alone. Gordon reveals that Superman's army has entered Gotham...and that he has cancer. Silently the pair hug as Gordon cries that he soon won't be there to protect her and Gotham. However, Barbara does have a plan. She reveals that she has made a new Birds of Prey consisting of Catwoman, Batwoman, Huntress, and Black Canary.
The New Birds of Prey
The New Axis
In the Hall of Justice the Flash tells Superman that creating an alliance with Sinestro 'is pretty much the worst idea ever'. Lex Luthor agrees with the Flash that allying themselves with a tyrant like Sinestro cannot be good but Superman insists that Sinestro came to warn them. When Luthor calls him dangerous from a special holding cell Sinestro agrees stating that Superman's 'pets' are wise to fear him. He says that he is very much like Superman and that is why he told him the truth about the Guardians allowing for Krypton to be destroyed. Sinestro says that like Superman he had brought justice to an injust world after the death of his family but the Lanterns undid everything that he had worked hard to achieve. He relates a story of how he had once been the most respected Lantern (even training Hal Jordan) he decided to oust the corrupt government of his homeworld of Korugar from power to install himself as a benevolent ruler. Then the Lanterns and Hal betrayed him and ended his rule. The audience gets the true account though. After ousting the government Sinestro quickly descended into tyranny upsetting all of Korugar. His wife, Arin Sur, hid their daughter Soranik before killing herself which Sinestro refused to accept. Blaming the old regime he murdered the surviving council members and firmly created a dictatorship. The Lanterns arrived finding that Sinestro had become mad like a rabid dog with Hal distraught on how far his mentor had fallen. 
Sinestro on Korugar
Sinestro states that he doesn't blame Hal but rather the Guardians who tricked him. Lex and Flash are, however, unconvinced. When Luthor says that Sinestro can't be trusted the Yellow Lantern agrees but insists that if Earth is to be free from the Guardians then they will need his help. He also states that he simply wants revenge (which the Flash admits that at least he is being honest). To alleviate their fear Sinestro hands his ring to them (after using his powers to escape from the cell). 

On Oa Hal desperately tries to plead Superman's case in front of the Guardians stating that the only reason that he acted the way he did before Ganthet was because he had found out that the Guardians were complicit in Krypton's destruction. Ganthet reminds Hal that it is Superman, not the Guardians, who are on trial, but Hal responds that Superman is doing good by channeling the pain over Lois' death to help bring peace to Earth. Hal tries to show the Guardians of the wars that Superman has ended and the dictatorships toppled by the League, but the Guardians also question him about the legitimate governments toppled by the League and how Superman has made an army. He claims that the army in unaligned and necessary as the League cannot be everywhere which the Guardians retort that Superman is creating an enhanced army. Hal points the hypocrisy in this as what are the Green Lanterns if they aren't an enhanced army? However, the Guardians then end the conversation. After leaving the Guardians' Spire he meets Kilowog and John where Kilowog jovially hugs his friend. As Kilowog goes to meet the Guardians Hal starts informing John about what is happening on Earth as they see thousands of Green Lanterns. Soon after a glum Kilowog returns to tell Hal that he has to lead a group of Lanterns to arrest Superman, and that Jordan has to hand over his ring. After being warned not to do anything stupid Hal tries to fight the Lanterns in order to get to Earth to warn Superman. However, he is soon knocked out by Kilowog and John. As Hal is taken to a cell Kilowog leads a small group of Lanterns to arrest Superman...

Thus ends the first part of Injustice: Year Two. Next time the Justice League will face the Green Lanterns as Sinestro's plans fall into place...

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