Saturday, October 4, 2014

There is no Injustice in basing a Comic Book on a Video Game

At first though you probably wouldn't believe that a comic book series based off of a video game would be very good but rather just consider it another marketing ploy to pull some money out of your pocket as part of a product tie-in campaign.  In the case of the comic that is the topic of this review it is a comic book based upon a video game that is based upon comic book characters and I have to say the thought I just expressed is absolutely not the case.  DC Comic's INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US comic book series, which is now in its second year as a monthly comic book serial, is probably the BEST product that this publisher is printing.  If you haven't read any of its issues I encourage you to do so!

Injustice: Gods Among us is based on the hit video game of the same name.  The story arc for this series serves as a prequel for the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game plot.  It features all of the popular characters from the DC Universe but in an alternate dimension where just one different act sets it apart from the mainstream New 52 timeline that most of the publishers other comic book titles are set in.  This is a BIG event that sets these universes apart though!  You see the Joker bored with his confrontations with Batman decides to go after some bigger prey for some fun and games .... Superman.  The series starts off with the Joker ambushing and murdering Lois Lane (who is pregnant with Superman's child) and than destroying all of  Superman's adopted hometown of Metropolis in a nuclear explosion.

So how will Superman react?  Well not in the do no harm manner people may expect of him ... Superman literally hunts down the Joker and rips his heart out!!!!

Superman than determines it is his job to save humanity from itself and makes himself a global dictator utilizing the Justice League to serve as his enforcers.  This doesn't go well with law and order Batman who believes in not killing villains leading an insurgency against Superman's regime.  The primary plot conflict is Superman blaming Batman for the Joker's actions believing that if the caped crusader had killed the clown in earlier confrontations Lois & Metropolis would have been saved thus embracing violence to respond to crime versus Batman believing all life is too valuable for anyone to take and that democracy should always rule over dictatorship.  This results in an epic battle pitting Superman's allies versus Batman's.  Year One of the series ends with Superman prevailing in this conflict leaving the Martian Man Hunter and Green Arrow dead and Batman is seriously injured and on the run.

You'd think the second year of this series wouldn't be able to keep the momentum up but Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 is just as good as the first year which says a lot!  I caught up on the Year 2 action by reading the compilation of the first five monthly issues titled INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US YEAR 2 VOLUME 1 and can honestly say I was very impressed by the work done by writer Tom Taylor and a team of artists that includes Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo and Tom Derenick.  The graphic novel picks up right where Year One left off and is a great read!  It is filled with crisp eye-catching artwork that enhances the enjoyment of reading a story that you don't want to put down.

Injustice: Gods Among Us has some mature themes and I'm not just referring to violent action and death scenes but also a plot filled with philosophical debates on morality?  Is it alright to do evil things for the "better good"?  Can good people believe they are acting appropriately but for the wrong reasons?  Should people give up freedom for security?  Who really defines what ethics are?  How do you know for sure the "good guy" isn't really the "villain" and the "bad guy" isn't really a "hero?"  Some weighty topics that expand this comic book beyond just action sequences and really makes the story and its script stand out beyond its imagery. 

So what happens in Year 2?  Batman and his allies are out of the picture now (for the time being) but Superman's behavior has troubled the Green Lantern Corps which comes to arrest him and place him on trial for his actions.  Lots of action and intrigue ensues.  I'm not going to provide any spoilers rather just encourage you to read Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two.  It is well worth the read!

DISCLAIMER:  I received a complimentary digital copy of the graphic novel Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 Volume 1 that I had access to for 30 days to utilize for this review.

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