Warning: Minor spoilers for the storyline of both the prequel comic and the game.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a difficult game. As someone who’s used to randomly smashing all the attack buttons when playing Marvel vs Capcom or Street Fighter, the impossibly long list of combo moves, which differs from hero to hero, made me give up playing Injustice properly – it became more of a game for me and my friends to laugh at each other over how Batman can summon his Batmobile to hit the Flash, even though he’s supposed to be the fastest man alive.
But the setting of the game both intrigued and attracted me. Indeed, if the all-powerful (yes, he is) Superman turned over to the dark side, how would the DC universe react? And that’s what the writers of Mortal Kombat attempts to answer with Injustice: Gods Among Us (Prequel Comic), a five-year long comic book leading up to the storyline in the game. And I must say, the prequel comic is. So. Freaking. Awesome.
Without going into too much detail about the storyline, Superman experiences a heart-shattering event, which made him kill, and attempt to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders by initiating a worldwide ceasefire. If that doesn’t sound like good news, it isn’t – through his attempts to prevent more deaths, he only managed to cause them more, and that’s with the help of other fellow superheroes who believe in his crusade. Now this is the type of storyline that the mainstream media probably wouldn’t tackle (just look at how Batman v Superman flopped), but Injustice executed it flawlessly. I sympathize with Superman because of his loss, and can’t even begin to understand how he feels after what happened.
The questionable choices Superman and team has made is a constant reminder to myself about how we don’t make rational choices when we are angry and emotional. I find the parallel between the comic and daily lives daring and refreshing.
At the same time, other characters, who either side with Superman on his regime or with Batman in the insurgency, all have their own reasons for their choices, which is cleverly reflected through the different chapters in the comics. And by other characters, I mean hundreds of different superheroes from all over the DC universe – think Zatanna, Doctor Fate, Swamp Thing, even Zeus. I really have to give credit to the writers, who managed to combine so many characters (each with their own stories) into a single coherent and atypical storyline.
The best part about the comic, is that the behavior of our favorite heroes are in line with their personalities in the “normal” DC universe – and even if there’s a difference, there’ll be a story to explain and make sense of it. It makes you feel as if this could happen anytime, instead of it being a separate, alternate universe or sorts.
The comic also serves as an introduction of sorts to the overarching DC universe and its rich set of superheroes, and made me realize just how amazing the DC writers have constructed the universe and kept its boundaries in check (I’ve always been more of a Marvel fan previously). If only Batman v Superman was this awesome.
If you’ve always wanted to start reading superhero comics but don’t know where to begin because of the insane number of chapters associated with the various superheroes, I highly recommend Injustice Prequel Comic.