Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol.1 by Tom Taylor

Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual rating – 4.5 stars and a hell yeah.

I love this. Love this. Loooooooooooove this. It is, as my GR friend Kat likes to say, awesomesauce .

Honestly this book doesn’t need much advertisement. Even for those only slightly acquainted with pop culture and the DC world, the concept is intriguing – what if the superheroes we trusted turned to the dark side? (Or as I like to put it, how to turn Superman from a bland guy in tights to a believable feeling person who makes the wrong choices.)

The story starts with a tragedy, escalates into a bigger tragedy which keeps on blowing into epic proportions and just when you can’t take it any more, for good measure, breaks your heart into itty-bitty pieces, shoves it into an incinerator and feeds the crumbs to sharks in a frenzy. Superman turns into a maniacal might-is-right peacekeeper after the Joker (yes, that Joker) tricks him into killing his wife, the coolest gal ever (move over, Diana) Lois, and their unborn child. Just a few pages after this…

…comes this.

That’s right. Just murder my emotions won’t you. They make me like Lois, they warm my frigid heart with Clark’s love for her and then BAM! She’s gone. True evil doth rest in the hearts of those who worketh in the comic book industry, my dear.

(I don’t review comics in general, so it’s going to be a bit difficult to articulate my thoughts while resisting the urge to put up the entire book here, because each page is awesome.)

Injustice questions everything we know about the idea of right and wrong. Like Catwoman says, do we really know who the bad guy is? Is it the homeless man who steals wallets to save his kids or the superhero rules by fear to keep the peace? Or is it the system, which leaves so much to be desired in the form of healthcare, education and general welfare? Where does the good end and the evil begin?

It is also an interesting, not-so-subtle metaphor for the general institution of a dictatorship. It’s particularly relevant to the times we live in, with its nod to the Arab Spring and Japanese whaling issues. What makes this particularly relatable is that it’s human. We can’t blame Clark for his grief, we can’t blame Aquaman for wanting to protect his people, we can’t blame the government for attempting to put an end to the situation. We can blame the way they chose to do it, but would they be human if they didn’t make mistakes?

I could rave on all day about the ladies in the book. She really is Wonder Woman, people.
Take a look at the following conversation between her and Ares (typed because I can’t find the image):

Ares : Did you just headbutt a tank?

WW: Ares!

Ares : You left Themyscira as an ambassador for peace and now you headbutt tanks?

WW: (After giving some excuse for wrecking the planet and noting Ares’ interest in Superman’s and her alliance) You’re right to fear. You fear Superman because you believe he could succeed. What becomes of the god of war in a world without conflict? Maybe you could become the god of something else? Something less violent.
Say it with me. ‘I am the dreaded Ares, God of Ponies!’

(Ensue scene with WWF type wrestling between Ares and WW, Superman landing on Ares’ head and ending with WW skewering Ares with her sword.)

Superman: Do gods feel pain?

WW: Not as mortals do. But you pin a god to the ground by driving a sword through his spinal column and I imagine it stings a bit.

Tell me that didn’t make you cackle gleefully.

On the downside though, Diana’s far more sadistic than all the characters combined, so…*shrugs*
Lois is equally impressive, considering she’s dead and all, especially with the influence she wields on Clark. As for Harley Quinn, she stole the show. Totally. This Deedee from Dexter’s Laboratory with giant, head smooshing mallets has a special place in my heart labeled pyschos-with-pigtails.

As illustrated above, dialogue is the highlight of this book. The internal monolgues, the witty banter and the unique voices of a ridiculously large cast really sparkle in the writing. I kept turning the pages just to see what Nightwing would say next.

Graphics, sometimes I enjoyed, sometimes detracted from my enjoyment. I didn’t realise until I read the Wiki page, but this was releasing on a weekly basis initially, with a different artist each time. This isn’t obvious in a compilation, so I was shocked when, seemingly mid-chapter, the artwork would take an abrupt left turn.

My only other complaint is that it occasionally seemed didactic, like in the scene where Catwoman(!) explicitly tells the President of the USA that he needs to a better job with a list of things. I don’t mind her being a little goody two shoes once in a while, but that was like a lecture. It clashed terribly with the elegant subtlety of Dick Grayson’s one liners.

But hey, the message is that everyone is flawed, right? So I don’t care.

And finally the bestest thing in the story – Bats. Or to be more precise, Bruce Wayne’s (gasp!) emotions. He haz ’em, and bad. Superman’s friendship with Bats is by far the nicest bromance this side of the fictional world and that’s what makes the whole thing so much sadder. When your principles war with your feelings, and win. When you have to kill the man who wanted you to be the godfather of his unborn child.

So, because I have to end this review somewhere, I’ll end it by saying, “Go forth, my brave minions and read this tumultuous tome. May your hearts and minds remain intact at the end of this journey.”

Quote of the day:

Harley Quinn: “No one should ever have to justify a fake moustache.”


4 thoughts on “Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol.1 by Tom Taylor

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