Injustice Gods Among Us: Year One: Volume One Review By Deffinition
Video games rarely have success when crossing over into other mediums. Their storylines work well within the context of a game. However, when used solely as a narrative, their flaws begin to appear. We’ve seen it countless times to the point of cliche. Games just don’t seem to translate too well to other forms of media. Perhaps we realise how shallow they are when we are no longer personally invested. Perhaps we begin to see that these story structures are used solely to push the player in a certain direction and when that purpose is taken away, they are lacking. Perhaps we realise that they just don’t stack up next to the media written solely with the intent of telling a story. Either way, there seems to always be something missing.
Injustice: Gods Among Us changes everything.
Throughout my review, I will be discussing just how much of a revelation Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One: Volume one is. So follow me as I journey through the plot, discussing all of its intricacies and highlights. You won’t be disappointed.
The Joke That Went Too Far
Opening five years before the events of the game, the introduction sure packs a punch. After kidnapping a pregnant Lois Lane, The Joker begins one of his most dastardly plots. He wires the woman’s heart to a nuclear bomb, gasses Superman with fear toxin and let’s confusion and fear do the rest. Under the illusion that he is fighting Doomsday, Superman has no problem in killing Lois and thus detonating the bomb that destroys the entirety of his beloved city, Metropolis. It’s a hell of an introductory chapter that allows you to see exactly why Superman would become twisted and evil antagonist that so many feared in the game’s plot.
In a fit of rage, Superman murders the Joker. Seeing the Man of Steel put his hand through the Clown Prince Of Crime’s chest is a breathtaking moment. Leaping off the page the panel is sure to stick with you. I absolutely loved how balls to the wall this book was from the outset. Freed from the shackles of continuity, Tom Taylor (the writer) is able to craft a world where any eventuality is a possibility and seeing these potentials play out on the page elevates the book towards brilliance.
“Arrow Cave is a stupid name…why don’t you call it…The Quiver.”
Another aspect that I love about the book is its sense of humour. Having full access to every DC character, Taylor is able to provide a dynamic of comedy and drama. Watching Harley Quinn smile with glee when Green Arrow blocks her gun with an arrow is hilarious. Seeing her suggest superior names for their hideouts is even better and moments like this really help to enrich the pages. It’s an ensemble class that has someone here for everyone and we get a whole host of rogues gallery members from the beginning and throughout.
“My name…is Clark Kent”
Revealing his true name, Superman calls for a worldwide cease-fire. It’s clear something has changed within him and when he begins removing dictators from war-torn countries, his motives seem like they are for the greater good. Even if they are extremely questionable.
What I love about this story is that it questions whether the positives of freedom and human rights are worth the negatives that come with them. It’s really difficult to provide an answer as to who is in the right and this book will make you question your own moral standing and integrity. Something that very few comics do.
Realising that Superman is going against the wishes of the United States, the President orders for his parents to be kidnapped. However, instead of making him stand down this merely spurs him on, uniting the other Members of the Justice League to his cause.
It’s great to see a world ran by Superheroes. Idealistic versions of our better selves, I’ve always wondered what would happen if the world leaders followed their example. In the past, most Superheroes were politically impotent so it’s gripping to see them suddenly receive positions of power, able to affect the world beyond simply saving people. It adds real depth to the book and will make you question why our own world leaders can’t be greater pillars of good. Which few books in the comic book genre do, making this a clear standout.
“They should be scared”
Batman, of course, disagrees with the new serial killer Superman and the two begin to argue over the rights and wrongs of ridding the Earth of criminals. I love the way that Batman explains murder. He theorises that if we murder once and are able to justify it then we can do it again with the same justification. It becomes easier and leads down a darker path. It sums up the entire run and is a breathtaking analysis that can be transferred to all aspects of life.
Batman and Superman decide to part ways in a mutual agreement but the rest of the league aren’t so peaceful.
As Deadly As The Sea
Waging war on the land, Aquaman makes a stance against the Man Of Steel. Showing that his kingdom isn’t something that can be bullied into submission he is the first character to make a real stance against the newly formed regime.
Showcasing brute strength, Superman displaces Atlantis from the sea. Holding it to ransom until Aquaman retreats. It’s a bold move that really makes you question what the implications of holding hostages to avert war really mean in terms of human rights.
Other characters on the team to grapple with the implications of this too. Barry Allen struggles with the new force that Superman exerts but ultimately does nothing. The other members of the team seem to shadow this apathetic attitude too and it speaks to society as a whole.
In the recent Hollywood sexual harassment scandals, we have seen many come forward and state that they were aware of the problem but did nothing. It speaks volumes to just how cowardly humans can be in order to keep positions of powers and The Flash, as always, is a good portrayal of the Everyman perspective on things. Hammering home the point that evil triumphs when good men fail to act, the story certainly puts itself on a pedestal and I absolutely loved it takes on dictatorships and how power ultimately corrupts.
“My son is dead”
Deciding that Arkham is no longer fit to house criminals, Superman begins to transport the prisoners to a more ‘secure’ location. Meeting at a stalemate Batman makes it clear that he and the blue Boy Scout are now enemies.
Believing Batman is wrong, Damien in a show of aggression accidentally kills Nightwing, making a reprehensible mistake that divides the two sides forever.
It’s gripping to see Nightwing die and Bruce completely disowns Damien, leaving him in the care of The Regime. Knowing that one of his sons is now dead and the other with the enemy, he forges an allegiance to take down the totalitarian regime once and for all.
“You need to be better”
The book ends on Batman organising a team and meeting with the President to offer a few, choice words. Informing him that he needs to be better to avoid people siding with Superman, it really feels like a comment that can be aimed at all politicians. Corrupt and often more interested in lining their own pockets, I have a great dislike for Politicians, so this really connected with me. That’s why the final chapter, whilst sombre, still packs the punch of those dramatic scenes.
The elected officials we have should be better and it’s refreshing to see someone finally take a stance and tell them.
Injustice Gods Among us gets off to a brilliant start. Destroying the cliche of games making terrible stories, this book cements itself as one of the best offerings that DC have put out in the past decade and it deserves its place on many of the ‘essential’ lists that it appears on.
Starting off a brilliant saga I thought that Injustice Volume 1 was phenomenal and can’t wait to see what comes next. If you haven’t read this yet, I urge you to pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.
That’s why it gets a…