Injustice: Gods Among Us will be released on November 19, 2013
Batman: "There are some things even you can't corrupt, Joker".
Joker: "Ha! Oh, Batsy. You're so cute!"
Can Superman, the purest of superheroes be corrupted? How far is too far for justice?
Injustice: Gods Among Us starts off in a setting exactly like the regular DC universe we all know and love and then spins off in a horrible and epic new direction from there. In an alternate reality DC Universe the heroes are struggling with disturbing questions that they have never really faced in the normal DC universe, and as they fumble their way through those questions I found myself being challenged in my own stances. At times while reading this book I would root for Superman, then at other times think twice about rooting for him. It is always a pleasure to read a story that works at my views of society or justice and does it with such an entertaining flair.
Superman is really the ideal choice to be placed in the center of such upheaval. His heightened position, both morally and in terms of almost unlimited power, really allows for all of the pushing, turning and twisting that unfolds. Green Arrow, Cyborg, Green Lantern, the Flash –all the members of the Justice League are drawn into the vortex as it spins them faster and faster.
Wonder Woman seems a bit like a barbarian at times. One minute she advises Superman on public relations and the next she is pushing to take the world by the throat and stabbing friends or enemies with nearly berserk abandon. There is always room for interpretation with characters but I felt like the one prominent female character was really running a number of shallow stereotypes of women –erratic mood swings, a singleminded obsession with Superman, demanding and unrelenting.
Although Injustice: Gods Among Us is tied into the video game this is a piece of work that stands up on its own. You don't need to know the game in order to dive into this world that is so like the DC universe we know but with a serious twist that alters the entire setting. There is one requirement, however, in order to immerse ourselves in the odyssey:.for some of us the character of Superman is simply above question or doubt. If you allow yourself to test the idea that even the Man of Steel can be pushed to the breaking point the experience will be intensely rewarding.
At the outset a shadow of the impending future is hinted at. Batman relates the marching rhythm of soldiers' feet to the new society brought about by Superman. That theme of society marching towards an horrible inevitability is a feeling constantly reoccurring as the various players, and the world itself, seems to be rapidly hurtling forward when slowing down would be the safe thing to do.
In the artwork the nuances in color, composition, and sense of stillness versus motion really kept me inside the story through its shifts in tempo. I don't remember a single time stopping to understand a bizarre form or an incoherent blur even in the most packed action. The glory and horror shots are beautiful and work well within the story arc, supported by plenty of development. There were a couple of scenes of dialogue that seemed to drag on or served little point (though they may have more importance after the release of volume 2) but that was rare and, really, these details actually help build and cement the state of the character and group evolution. As loyalties change and values are questioned, it is the slow build of the story that allows for big dramatic payoffs without discounting the themes that keep carrying us through.
And while the artist changes between chapters, you won't notice that fact unless you're really looking for changes.Raapack and Miller's styles are similar and complementary enough that it transitions near seamlessly. With a close look you can see that Raapack uses thicker line work while Miller's is cleaner with more detail but both serve the story well. Both artists capture an epic feel to the action and capture deep emotions in the characters' faces.
I can't finish without a special mention of our favorite psychotic clown! There is no one better to throw us all over the cliff and spiraling down, screaming all the way, than the Joker. is the scenes with the Joker are brilliant and disturbed. His appearance in this book is everything I've come to love about Mr J. Chaos with a smile.
If you enjoy simple, thoughtless joy rides then this is probably not for you. Injustice will make you think, and then think twice. Whenever you try to relax there is still that faint rhythm pushing you on. Like the marching of boots, pushing you closer to that terrible place this intense story seems to be heading.