10 years ago, Injustice: Gods Among Us told the definitive ‘evil Superman’ story

The question “What if someone with Superman powers was evil?” it has become something of a cliché in the last decade. From a horror movie Brightburn homeland in Boysand even DC’s cinematic universe and the upcoming (and recently delayed) game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, many stories have asked that question. However, it is the video game that perhaps tackles the subject most definitively. A decade after its release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U, Injustice: Gods Among Us it still stands as the definitive evil Superman story.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a mechanically solid fighting game that’s still enjoyable to play today, but a decade later, its story is what I remember most. It features a compelling heel turn on Superman, giving us a better understanding of what makes the caped benefactor a compelling character, while also telling the tragic DC Elseworlds story of how trauma can affect a person.

What makes an evil Superman story successful

NetherRealm Studios’ Injustice: Gods Among Us takes place in a world where the Joker tricks Superman into killing a pregnant Lois Lane with poisonous fear gas, which in turn causes a nuclear bomb to destroy Metropolis. This causes Superman to snap, kill the Joker, and become a dictator ruling a world that grows more and more insane over time. One particularly touching scene that stuck with me is when Batman tries to sympathize with Superman for also losing loved ones, only to have Superman’s response be, “But you weren’t a gun.”

Image used with permission of the copyright holder

Superman is awe-inspiring with his powers, but many stories in which he or a being like him is corrupted mostly deal with the threat of those weapons being pointed in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, many media outlets with an evil take on Superman seem to stop the thought process there, choosing to make him mind-controlled or an inherently evil force from birth. Injustice: Gods Among Us he admits and plays into it, but goes even deeper with the idea.

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That, InjusticeSuperman is terrifying because of the physical threat he poses, but there is also a chilling tragedy in the story of trauma that can even corrupt one of fiction’s most whole heroes. It’s terrifying to see Superman go bad of his own volition, something the game fully commits to (like when he mercilessly kills Shazam). To BoysTo its credit, Homelander was similarly shaped by abuse and trauma. Still, there’s something even more powerful about seeing this happen to Superman himself, and then seeing that damaged version come up against a version of Superman that’s still good.

Antony Starr as Homelander stands in the room looking worried.Image used with permission of the copyright holder

The plot of the game is primarily about Batman from the world of Injustice bringing in heroes from the ultimate DC universe to help the resistance take down Superman once and for all. Eventually, good guy Superman from an alternate universe is called in to stop Injustice Superman (at least until the events of the sequel). Although I was a little disappointed with this revelation when I first played the game, I figured out how over time Injustice positions this fall as a cautionary tale from other worlds rather than something that happens in the main universe.

I like Superman best when he is a symbol of hope, not fear, but stories like Injustice remind us how pure Superman is. By directly mirroring the two versions of Kal-El together, fans can appreciate the ideal version of Superman even more because they can see what the character refuses to do when he’s at his lowest.

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The good version of Superman wins, and that’s for the best. The ending with an evil Superman in control might sound more believable, but it’s not nearly as respectful or satisfying. This fallen version of Superman’s defeat shows the strength of the ideals that Superman stands for, as well as respect for the character himself while still delivering the gritty, intense action that people want on a surface level from a story where Superman no longer holds back.

Injustice-Superman-fighting.jpg?fit=720%2C404&p=1Image used with permission of the copyright holder

Stories with evil Superman characters that are solely focused on spectacle and power don’t work as well for me as gravity Injustice. The fighting game checks all the right boxes, offering a definitive take on the subject, and that’s probably one of the reasons why so much mainstream media has latched onto the idea in the decade since.

Come back and give it Injustice: Gods Among Us shot on PC, PS3, PS Vita, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One or Wii U on its tenth anniversary if you want a reminder of what makes evil Superman stories so compelling and what this type of narrative looks like at its best.

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Categories: GAMING
Source: newstars.edu.vn

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