Injustice Year One: An Unjust God

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Injustice is one of the darkest earths in the DC Universe taking in the idea of what if Superman turns to the dark side? Injustice consists of 7 different series with Year One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Injustice 2, and Year Zero. We will be discussing Year One today. In Year One we get the full disclosure of how Superman turned when he murdered his pregnant wife Lois after he was induced by Joker’s fear gas to kill her out of fear. Superman later kills Joker out of grief at what he had done and decides that he needs to put an end to the injustice plaguing the world. He forms a dictatorship with the help of several Justice League members, excluding Batman, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary. The story dives deep through the mental and physical damages that inflict the team and the world in the novel. With the many surprising deaths, Injustice Year One is a fantastic start to the franchise and it deserves the New York Times bestseller. The Injustice series is based on the incredible fighting games from Netherrealms Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2. Very similar to the Mortal Kombat franchise, Injustice is the staple fighting game for DC fans giving a detailed story and complex fighting mechanics. The Injustice series is currently working on the Year Zero run, a prequel to the series showing off the universe’s JSA and their downfall. The rest of the series takes place before the first game giving you a quick idea of what happened that led to this universe becoming the way it is in the present. Tom Taylor, Jheremy Raapack, and Mike S. Miller are some of the creators of this run and did an incredible job of going beyond everyone’s expectations with a Comic series based on a video game. 

BEHIND THE AUTHORS

Tom Taylor is one of those writers that just knows how to make a good story. With his splendid work on the DCeased series and his work on all of the runs with Injustice. He started with a work on DC Universe Online Legends (2011) based on the hit RPG, DC: Universe Online. It’s a bit of a trend for Tom to work on several adaptations from video games with his work on Injustice as well. He then did Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (2012) and Injustice Year One (2013). Post Year One he wrote Injustice Year 2 (2014), Earth 2 (2013-2014), Injustice Year 3 (2014-2015), Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas (2015), Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion (2016), Batman/Superman (2016), Injustice 2 (2017-2018), X-Men: Red (2019) and DCeased (2019). His second most popular work is the DCeased franchise, where the anti-life equation turns into a global pandemic that makes anyone looking on something connected to the mainline internet a zombie. The series started in 2019 and hasn’t stopped producing comics even in the present with Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man (2019-2020), DCeased: Hope at World’s End (2020). He is now doing  Deceased: Unkillables (2020), Deceased: Hope at World’s End (2020), Deceased: Dead Planet (2020), Hellblazer: Rise and Fall (2020), The Joker 80th Anniversary (2020), and Immortal Hulk: Great Power (2020). My favorite work that he is doing right now would have to be Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man for just taking it back to basics and making a Spider-man story that gives us that Spider-man charm. Tom Taylor has an Instagram account in the works cited below if you wanna check him out.

Jheremy Raapack is one of the artists on the Injustice franchise taking centerfold with his bold and clear art. His first popular work was Hulk Family (2008), a team up of all the gamma radiated characters in the Marvel franchise. He then did X Men vs. Hulk (2009), Batman Arkham Unhinged #12 (2013), Legends of the Dark Knight (2013), World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn (2013), and Injustice Year One (2013). Jheremy Raapack, similar to Taylor and Miller, has done several video game adaptations to comic books from World of Warcraft to the Injustice series. He worked on some of the other years and the sequel but not as much as the rest of the authors. Post Year One he drew Injustice: Year Two (2013), Indestructible Hulk (2014), Inhumanity (2015), Skar: Son of Hulk (2016), Wonder Woman #83 (2016), and Injustice: Ground Zero (2017). He is currently working on The Hexagon (2019-Present) and Wonder Woman (2016-Present). Jheremy is a very renowned artist in the industry most known however for Bloodsworn and Injustice Gods Among Us.

Mike S. Miller is a relic compared to the other authors having some of his earlier work spanning all the way to 1994 with Freak Force (1994). He’s done plenty of works but his most popular ones would have to be Hedge Knight (2003-04, 2007), Imagineers (2005), Deal with the Devil (2008), Starcraft (2009), End of Nations (2011), DC Universe Online Legends (2011), Injustice Gods Among Us (2013), Batman Arkham Unhinged (2013), and Injustice 2 (2018). Very similar to the other authors, Miller worked on the StarCraft series, Injustice, and DC Universe Online adaptations to comic media. Batman Arkham Unhinged was an incredible storyline taking place before the events of Batman Arkham City. It is my favorite work from him with its detailed lore filed to the brim with the novel. Mike, in my eyes, is the definitive artist for video game adaptations due to his experience with so much of them starting all the way back to the early 2000s’.All of these authors play key roles in the creation of this book, without Taylor’s writing the story would feel hollow and bland and without Miller and Rhaapack’s art the story wouldn’t be as vibrant and full of emotion as it is. Their experience with video games and comics play a key role in this book with all of their skill sets lined up and used to their fullest potential. Without these authors we wouldn’t have the Injustice we have today.

SYNOPSIS

If you want the full experience of this book I suggest you buy the graphic novel and read it, If however, you don’t have the time for that this is an alternate option.

Injustice Year One takes place 5 years before the first game. Superman wakes up in the middle of the night detecting two heartbeats from Lois. From this discovery Superman ponders out loud what they should do with the baby with thoughts like moving into Smallville or putting him/her into Metropolis High. Lois interrupts him as she gets a call that a government official is taking a pay off at Metropolis Docks. Superman informs Batman of his recent discovery and offers him the role of the baby’s Godfather. Lois goes with Jimmy to the docks where they are surprised by a bang, Joker shoots Jimmy in the head and abducts Lois. The next morning Superman finds this out and in a shocked manner alerts Batman that he cant see Lois. Batman calls out the Justice League to look for Lois when Flash shows Batman that Joker paralyzed Scarecrow and took his fear gas. Wonder Woman finds that Joker was spotted in a submarine. Superman pursues the submarine and enters to see The Clown Prince of Crime and Harley Quinn operating on Lois. He tries to stop them but is alerted by Doomsday in the submarine. Terrified and determined to protect Lois, he grabs Doomsday and flies into space. The Justice League capture Joker and Quinn where Joker subtly nudges Batman into the idea that Joker used Scarecrow’s fear gas laced with kryptonite to disguise Lois as Doomsday, Batman also learns in this encounter that the Joker planted a trigger in Lois so when her heart stops, a warhead will blow up Metropolis, killing thousands. Batman tries to inform Superman of this but is too late, the two heartbeats stopped beating.

Superman in a time of grief and pain felt hopeless. His wife and his city is gone, and its all the clown’s fault. In a fury of anger he does what he only thinks is right, he’s going to kill the clown. The League tried to stop him but Superman already made his mind. While Batman is interrogating Joker, The clown gives a threatening monologue explaining how he broke the Man of Tomorrow while Batman tries to push it away. Superman goes straight through a brick wall like a bullet, grabs Joker by the collar, and shoves his hand through the Joker’s stomach killing him. Green Arrow abducts Harley Quinn from orders of Batman to protect her from Superman. Superman goes around the world looking at the horrible lifestyles some citizens have adopted to cope with terrorists and violence plaguing their countries. Superman at a press conference demands a world wide cease fire and that any hostiles will need to stop immediately or he will see to it that they stopped. This was the first step to Superman’s reign.

Due to Superman’s world wide demand, The American government plan to kidnap his parents with the help of Mirror Master and hold them hostage in hopes that Superman will stop his authoritarian actions. Sadly, Superman saves his parents with the help of the Justice League and continues his plan with even more anger that the U.S. government will go after his parents. Batman talks to the president in hopes of finding a way to calm down the situation. The President explains how Superman’s ideas and power could ultimately lead to his corruption, Batman pushes this away still believing that Superman will do the right thing. After Batman’s encounter, Aries engages Wonder Woman and battles her in hopes that somehow he will still live on as the god of war; Aries believes that if Superman does indeed succeed in his plan of peace he will no longer be the God of War if there is no war. Superman and Wonder Woman defeat Aries and mock him calling him “The God of Ponies”.

Part 4 kicks off with Nightwing and Damian sparring in the batcave when Superman interrupts the match. Damian thanks Superman for killing Joker as him and Nightwing leave so Bruce and Clark can talk. Batman discusses to Superman why he can’t do what he’s doing and needs to stop. Superman however, forms the rebuttal that what happened needed to happen and if he didnt do what he did millions of more lives will be lost. During the discussion Aquaman battles the Justice League after seeing one of his sea creatures being slaughtered on a boat. Aquaman unleashes the kraken and keeps the Justice League at bay. Superman gets word of Aquaman’s acts of treachery and asks Bruce if he wants to come, Bruce politely denies. As Superman leaves he tells Alfred that he doesn’t need to call him”Master Kent” where Alfred then says in response, “Good, let’s remember that”. Superman defeats Aquaman and leaves him to the Justice League. Aquaman tells Wonder Woman that he will stop what he’s doing and that he is sorry about Lois Lane. Wonder Woman notifies Superman of Aquaman’s agreement but not of his apology for Lois’s death, this leads to the belief that Wonder Woman is pushing Superman into this idea of a dictatorship as many people theorize that she is actually the main villain of the story.

Flash gains a new perspective when he sees a boy get paralyzed by Superman and Wonder Woman in a protest for simply doing the right thing. He goes out to the longest road in the country and tries to run away from his problems. In the next panel we see Batman in a sense of distraught as he says, “My son is dead” foreshadowing what happens later in the book. Superman intervenes Two-Face trying to assassinate two talk show hosts on camera. One of the hosts interviews Superman where he reveals his plan that he will take the prisoners of Arkham and move them “away, far from Gotham.” Batman, Robin, and Night-wing head to Arkham to make sure that the League doesn’t harm the prisoners. Robin goes against Batman’s plan to save the “psychopathic murderers” and stays at the cave. The problem with Superman’s plans to execute the prisoners is that morally it’s horrible. It begs the same question as the death penalty, should we have it? Is it morally wrong to take someones life? I have to take Batman’s side with this topic as we should never decide whether someone should live or die no matter what they’ve done; that’s a Spiderman 3 reference by the way. Batman and Night-wing get to Arkham where they see Robin on the League’s side. They debate on the matter at hand when Cyborg opens each of the doors to the prison cells as Flash evacuates them to a prison facility far away from Gotham. Batman stops this by activating a virus in Cyborg that he put the first week they met. Green Arrow and Harley Quinn enter the asylum to administer her into Arkham. Arrow sees the fight and rushes to keep it from getting out of hand leaving Harley Quinn supervised by Kenneth. Harley Quinn escapes and lets out all the prisoners including Solomon Grundy, the prison fight has begun.

The prison fight unfolds with Superman literally going through Solomon Grundy and Batman using dampeners to shock him unconscious. The fight ultimately leads to Nightwing’s death as Robin in frustration throws one of his batons at Dick’s head knocking him out. As Dick is falling he hits his neck on a rock, killing him, Nightwing is dead. Even though it was an accident Batman couldn’t forgive Robin for what he had done and leaves the asylum holding his dead son, this was the foreshadowing that was set in the beginning of part 5. Catwoman goes throughout Gotham on a thieving spree. Superman goes to talk to her about the death of Nightwing and how Batman needs someone to be there for him. She agrees and heads to Wayne Manor where she sees Alfred with a bottle of alcohol frightened. She heads down to the batcave to comfort Bruce. As she comes in to take care of him he breaks down crying. We get sent to a couple of hours after this scenario where the bat signal is lit by the President who forms a plan to take down Superman asking Batman for his help. Batman assembles a team of heroes consisting of Huntress, Black Canary. Green Arrow, Black Lightning, Batwoman, Captain Atom, and Aquaman.

Billy Batson goes around asking questions whether or not what the superheroes are doing is right where he gets plenty of mixed answers. Black Adam is defeated by the League, almost killing him. Billy converses with Shazam whether or not what they are doing is right, where he comes to the conclusion that what they are doing is wrong and not justified in any way. Lex Luthor is saved from the ashes of Metropolis after one year of staying in a bunker. He joins the League persuading them to let him in due to his superior intelligence. The resistance, Batman’s team, apprehends Hawk Woman and decides to hold her captive for future plans. Wonder Woman saves a group of women from armed forces in camps. She gives them the ability to execute their tormentors in which they oblige to. 

In the Watchtower, Hawkwoman has strangely escaped from the resistance and discusses with the Justice League what Batman is doing. Meanwhile in Apokolips, Darkseid’s son, Kalibak, plans to lead a army to Earth to defeat Superman as he claims that the Man of Steel has “softened”. The invasion starts as both the Justice League and the Resistance try to defend the world from the aliens, but soon fail at their goal. Superman fights Kalibak and breaks when he tries to apprehend Kalibak the right way. Superman savagely destroys the entire army and takes down Kalibak. The invasion however is still continuing and Superman can only think of one way to save the world. He flies through the atmosphere exploding all of the aliens to dust, killing millions of the aliens but ultimately saving Earth. Superman is hailed as the hero of the people.

Superman ponders if what he did was right as Wonder Woman comforts him into the idea that he did the right thing. Superman explains how he needs people like him to truly maintain peace where Luthor comes out of nowhere saying, Not yet, but there will be.” The resistance during this defeat a group of zealots in a religious group worshipping Superman and rioting the streets. Lex Luthor constructs a pill that can give an ordinary person the abilities of a god for a temporary time. Superman and Flash play several games of chess and discuss Superman’s idea of taking away all guns. Lex Luthor is encountered by the kents who say that Clark is simply having a super tantrum and needs someone to take care and comfort him. Flash explains to Superman that taking away guns will work as a domino effect in some way. First guns, then they imprison anyone who speeds in a car, lock up anyone who leaves a dangerous dog unchained, and then kill anyone who doesn’t recycle. Martha and Jonathan persuade Luthor that he needs to save Superman from himself before he does something that he would regret for the rest of his life. Hawk Woman notices that Robin used the boom tube to teleport to the Batcave, she follows. Damian gets frustrated as Batman and Alfred talk to him seeking forgiveness and hope that he will gain redemption. Damian throws Alfred and Batman knocking them out. Hawkwoman quickly calms Damian down in which he figures out that it wasn’t Hawk Woman but Martian Manhunter disguised to infiltrate the Watchtower and gain their secrets. Damian escapes and heads to the Watchtower to inform the Justice league.

Damian informs the Justice League of his recent discovery. Superman uses this to his advantage by revealing Batman’s identity to the world. Batman and Alfred leave the Batcave and plan on doing what they can to survive. Martian Manhunter fights Wonder Woman and SUperman and explains to them what happened in his home world and how their hope for peace will only lead to chaos. Superman burns Martian Manhunter, making him the second death in the book. We flash back to a couple years before this where Superman helps a boy fix his bicycle. We flash forward to the present where the boy is now an adult watching his idol lose himself. Lobo is hired by Superman to take out Harley Quinn, he fails. This was a very unnecessary chapter in my opinion.

Batman breaks the news to the team that Martian Manhunter died. Luckily, he sent an encrypted message through a traitor in the Justice League that they finished their superhuman pill and will start dispersing them to their army. The resistance form a plan to infiltrate the Fortress of SOlitude and take one to reconstruct it to their own use. They reach the fortress when Batman is startled that SUperman’s parents are there. Terrified at the thought that Superman would suspect that they were going after his parents, Batman tries to evacuate the team out of the fortress but is too late, Superman is here. Captain Atom gives the team time to find the pill by battling the league. Atom sacrifices himself in hopes of kamikazing Superman killing him as well, this plan fails however and Superman heads to the fortress. Green Arrow gets trapped in the fortress and stays behind the others are safe. Superman brutally murders Green Arrow. It was a noble sacrifice however, as Arrow got the pill to the team, giving them a fighting chance.

Superman realizes that the resistance took the pill and heads to the batcave to kill Bruce Wayne and take back the pill. Batman, using his detective skills, knows this and forces the resistance including Catwoman to hide until further instructions. Superman confronts Batman and breaks his back, temporarily paralyzing him. Batman used himself as a distraction to make sure that he can fully copy the pill and disperse it out to his team. Superman realizes what he did breaking his best friend and tries to apologize before Alfred completely decimates him, yes Alfred fights Superman and wins. Alfred picks up Batman and leaves the batcave without the broken Superman, who has become the tyrant he is in the videogame. One day later in the U.N. Superman gives a speech announcing that he will do whatever it takes to keep the world at peace. He announces his army and says that Lois would tell him to save the world, whatever it takes.

MY THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSION

Injustice Year One is one of the most intriguing origins to one of the most bizzare worlds in the DC Universe. With great character development and the ability to keep the reader intrigued til the end of the book. The concept of playing with the super heroes ideals and morals is executed flawlessly in this book giving us not a black and white viewpoint but a gray one. Superman’s rise to dictator of the world is a very interesting one as Tom Taylor gives us a very natural and good reason for SUperman’s turn. The art in this book while sometimes looks very good is probably the worst part of this book with very strange facial expressions of many characters. The art feels very bland as well with some panels not giving off the impact that the reader would get from several other books. Another thing I noticed with the art is how certain character’s looks will change in each issue with Nightwing changing from a dark and death metal looking outfit to his classic suit with a buzz cut? It doesn’t feel right and takes you out of the story sometimes. However, even though the art isn’t the best, the writing is phenomenal with plenty of key points in the comic that really stand out. This is the first of 5 different books centering around being a prequel to the fighting game Injustice. When I first read this book I honestly couldn’t wait to get my hands on year 2 and hopefully that one does not disappoint. Batman and SUperman’s relationship throughout the book shows how their long lasting friendship has shattered the cataclysmic event of Metropolis. WIth one key event like the bombing throwing off an entire universe is mind blowing and plays well with the idea of parallel universes. The Injustice universe was very similar to the other earths and even Earth-1 in its simple telling of Super heroes being good people, until the death of Lois Lane and Metropolis. After the event the world was flipped upside down throwing our heroes into a moal imbalance of chaos and destruction that Superman causes to have total peace.

For a comic book it is very phenomenal and completely deserves the title of a New York Times Best Seller, I believe Injustice Year one deserves a 8/10 for its writing being a huge reason for this. I’m taking a point off however for the art not being consistent and lacks that impact so many other graphic novels have. The tone of Injustice is a unique one and is extremely underrated.

WORKS CITED

“Biography.” Tom Taylor, Nov. 2018, http://www.tomtaylormade.com/bio/. Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

“Tom Taylor.” Tom Taylor, 2020, http://www.tomtaylormade.com/. Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

‌“Jheremy Raapack.” DC, 4 Mar. 2012, http://www.dccomics.com/talent/jheremy-raapack. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

‌“JHEREMY RAAPACK.” Marvel.Com, 2012, http://www.marvel.com/comics/creators/7707/jheremy_raapack. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

‌“Mike S. Miller.” DC, 4 Mar. 2012, http://www.dccomics.com/talent/mike-s-miller. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

“Mike S. Miller.” Marvel.Com, 2011, http://www.marvel.com/comics/creators/1411/mike_s._miller. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

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