Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year One by Tom Taylor

Friday, October 27, 2017
Title: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One: The Complete Collection
Author: Tom Taylor
Genre: fantasy, graphic novels
Series: Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
Pages: 425
Published: March 8, 2016
Source: borrowed library
Rating: 5/5
Inspired by the video game phenomenon, INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US YEAR ONE-THE COMPLETE EDITION collects the initial year of the best-selling series in its entirety for the first time!

Superman is Earth’s greatest hero. But when the Man of Steel can’t protect the thing he holds most dear, he decides to stop trying to save the world-and start ruling it.

Now, the Last Son of Krypton is enforcing peace on Earth by any means necessary. Only one man stands between Superman and absolute power: Batman. And the Dark Knight will use any method at his disposal to stop his former friend from reshaping the world in his shattered image.

Right, ok, so in 2012 it was announced that DC would be getting its own, dedicated fighting game from the studio that made Mortal Kombat. This brought two issues to the table: a) how to get the trademark MK over the top violence into the Teen rated DC Universe and b) how to even out the power levels between characters like Batman and Superman. The decision was made to set the game in an alternate world where Superman is a bad guy and with the help of Lex Luthor, he's invented a pill that turns ordinary humans into superpowered soldiers, and superhumans into gods. Weirdly, the idea that Superman, the boy scout of comics, would go evil caused some problems. The solution was, in addition to the story mode of the game, DC would release several tie-in comics.

Everyone knows media tie-ins suck, especially considering the in-game story is not that strong. So how in the fuck did Tom Taylor end up telling the best Superman story left to tell? 

Because of the Joker, Superman accidentally kills Lois Lane and levels Metropolis with a nuclear bomb. Bats reminds him of their code of not murdering handcuffed people and Supes kills Joker anyway, posing the eternal Batman question, would it be better for Batman to take one life to stop the Joker and save thousands, or does murder always lead down a slippery slope. Superman, with Wonder Woman at his side, embraces his status as homosuperior and sets about to benevolently rule Earth. 

The JLA is divided. Barry and Hal are team Superman, as always. Bats is team "no god emperors" as are, surprisingly, the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. and the Guardians (who are pretty god emperor-y themselves). Villains change allegiances, joining both sides and yes, Lex Luther invents a superhero pill. This story is year one of five, slowly paving the way for Superman's eventual descent into madness and villainy, even as he starts off with the best intentions. 

The slow burn is what makes the story work so well as Superman just desperately wants to protect Ma and Pa Kent, even to the point of killing a previous ally. He's distraught over the death but couldn't they see that he's just trying to keep everyone safe? He doesn't want to rule the world, he just wants all of the government's to stop their wars and if he has to step into leadership to do that...well. Every decision makes sense. Every compromise of his morals for the greater good leads him further down the path. His allies are like frogs in a pot coming up to boil. By the time the death toll rises, they can't see another way. 

Also this book is the best Harley Quinn arc since her original inception.

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