The sequel to 2013’s “Injustice: Gods Among Us” is something fans of DC Comics are waiting for with bated breath. They’re looking forward to seeing NetherRealm Studios recapture the reception of 2015’s “Mortal Kombat X,” whose visual aesthetic, game-play engine and overall style was a fresh take for the franchise that was on the heels of an already-successful “Mortal Kombat” reboot four years earlier.
“Injustice” shone through an epic story crafted with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, under the watch of “Mortal Kombat” co-creator, Ed Boon. The story was expanded with writer, Tom Taylor, via a DC comic series that recounted the civil war that tore the universe apart when Superman and Batman gathered teams of heroes and villains to oppose each other after the Kryptonian killed the Joker for murdering Lois Lane, and their unborn child. With the chaos set to continue in 2017, CBR delves into 15 characters we want to see in the sequel!
Darkseid was the only character from Midway’s “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe” in 2008 that didn’t appear in the “Injustice” game for consoles. Instead, he was kept exclusive for the mobile version of the game, although he did appear in stage transitions to push the story along on consoles. This time around, it would be a major travesty not to have one of DC’s most powerful villains playable right off the bat because his intimidation factor is off the charts. Another reason is because the DC movie-verse is heavily revolving around the threat he poses to the galaxy.
With Steppenwolf as the villain in next year’s “Justice League,” it’s still expected that his boss will have a presence, even in a cameo, so why not have Darkseid’s video-game appearance coincide with his debut on-screen. Rather than deploy him as downloadable content when the movie hits, they could simply update the skin or add an alternate version to the game. It’s going to be a Justice League year, so to keep the hype constant, Darkseid should be included. We’ve submitted to the idea of using him in a stage-interactive setting like the fiery pits of Apokolips.
Aqualad’s another character that’s been a big hit with DC fans. A lot of this stems from the “Young Justice” cartoon where Aqualad, the sidekick and protege of King Arthur (Aquaman), leads a team of heroes that can best be described as a junior Justice League in training.
Geoff Johns then brought him to the comics in “Brightest Day” and shifted his origins up a bit as a civilian named Jackson Hyde. He was rescued by Mera, before she became Aquaman’s Queen, from Atlantis’ enemies. While this version was one that was nascent and still in the process of adapting to his powers, the cartoon iteration, known by his Atlantean identity of Kaldur’ahm, was already a brilliant soldier and master in water sorcery. Aqualad can manipulate water into hard constructs, which he channels through his water-bearers for long-range attacks. He can also generate electricity from his eel tattoos for close-range battle showing how diverse he is as a combatant.
13. Black Manta
Apart from a potential brawl with Aquaman, there’s extra incentive if Black Manta gets to kill the son he despises in Aqualad. His existence revolves around the destruction of Atlantis and its people, which was given a lot of exposition in “Young Justice.” Usually, Ocean Master (Aquaman’s envious brother) would be seen as Arthur Curry’s main rival, but there’s something about the relentlessness of Manta that often makes him viewed as Aquaman’s primary antagonist by fans.
In recent DC events, he went from a blood feud with Arthur, who killed Manta’s father, to being solicited by Amanda Waller while in captivity for the Suicide Squad, which he turned down. His reputation did manage to take a surprising twist though when he joined Lex Luthor’s quest to stop the Crime Syndicate in the “Forever Evil” storyline. His battle-suit enhances his strength and endurance, which he uses in tandem with a highly lethal arsenal of weapons. This consists of blades, a hand-held trident, energy beams that he can shoot from his wrists and mini-torpedoes, all topped by being able to emit optic blasts from his helmet. Manta’s already been teased in a transition scene, beating Aquaman with his own trident, but there’s no word if he’s playable yet.
After growing in prominence in the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon as the girlfriend of Green Lantern, John Stewart, her popularity rose yet again with two versions of the character arriving in a couple superhero shows on the CW. She’s also one of the first and few female African superheroes in comics. Through a mystical totem, the African deity, Anansi, bestowed the power of the entire animal kingdom into her bloodline, that of the Tantu family. The totem is passed down from generation to generation, but only to those family members who want to protect the innocent. This responsibility eventually fell to Mari McCabe, who adopted the Vixen persona.
The Justice Leaguer can mimic the abilities of (and communicate with) any kind of animal alive on Earth, including extinct ones such as dinosaurs, with the totem also providing a healing factor. Her magically-enhanced claws can cut through opponents usually deemed invulnerable and, in the past, she’s even been written as a shapeshifter. With the speed, strength, and durability of any and every animal around, Vixen’s attacks would be impossible to predictable, which would make her an ideal fit for this game. She’s a close-range threat that you’ll be underestimating at your own peril.
If you’re familiar with his appearances on “Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.,” Grant Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers” as well as the recent “Justice League Dark” books, then you know the punch this monster packs. Created by Victor Frankenstein, this immortal creature is composed of body parts from varying sources. He’s more or less undead and unstoppable, so even if you amputate his limbs, he’s likely still still going to come after you. Given that he packs a sword (allegedly that of the archangel, Michael) and a pistol (similar to that of Hellboy), he’s not someone you want to botch a kill around, especially when he goes on the offensive.
His style could end up being similar to Solomon Grundy’s from the prequel game or that of Jason Vorhees and Leatherface: both of whom were downloadable characters in “MKX.” These are apt comparisons given Frankenstein’s superhuman strength. Imagine an interactive stage where he replaces damaged or missing limbs by grafting ones just lying around on the ground to his body. His ability to incorporate those of similar build into his unique physiology makes him one of the most adaptable opponents and a heavy-hitter, to say the least.
10. Star Sapphire
The Carol Ferris version of Star Sapphire would make sense here because not only does she tie into the most popular Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) as a love interest, but she’s also most likely to reappear on-screen once DC Entertainment gets the ball rolling. Chosen by the alien race known as the Zamarons to serve as their champion, Star Sapphire was often pitted against Green Lantern, without knowing he was Hal. Eventually, with their relationship so topsy-turvy, she developed the Predator persona, projected from her subconscious, as an entity who protected and loved her (later retconned as being a cosmic entity that was the incarnation of love itself).
The gem that was initially entrusted to her was used for flight and for generating beams of energy. These gems were later used to create the violet Power Battery, from which a ring was sent to Carol that saw her become leader of the Star Sapphire Corps. She harnesses the power of love using the ring, creating purple constructs akin to a Lantern’s green ones. Whether she’s using this to create an armament of energy-based weapons or unleashing the Predator as a shield, you can expect she’d be a handful of an opponent.
9. Mr. Freeze
Dr. Victor Fries is one of Batman’s most storied rogues, making several appearances in cartoons, television and film. He’s one of those villains that draws sympathy at times because of the reason he built his criminal empire: to raise funds to save his wife, Nora. At other times, he’s downright mean and has an icebox where his heart should be, which made him a great addition to the “Batman: Arkham” video-game franchise as well as “DC Universe Online.” Calling him a fan-fave would be a big understatement, so it was surprising they went with Killer Frost in the prequel game, whose powers were strikingly similar to “MK’s” Sub-Zero.
This could make it a challenge to differentiate Mr. Freeze from her, but he does pack cryogenic weapons instead of the natural abilities used by the aforementioned cold-powered duo, so the creative team could find ways of making him arsenal-oriented a-la Cyber Sub-Zero in “MKX.” Along with Freeze’s genius intellect and his assortment of ice weapons, he possesses a refrigerated exoskeleton. This allows him to permanently survive at a frozen state with extra strength and endurance; impervious to almost anything, except heat. More reason why it’s best to not chill out around him.
8. Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy’s another of Batman’s rogues that has had quite the run in the comics, cartoons, films and, of course, in her new stint on FOX’s “Gotham.” Pamela Isley appeared in the “Arkham” franchise as well as in “Injustice” (non-playable) so she’s no stranger to the video-game arena. In her revamped “New 52” origins, she worked at Wayne Enterprises in its Bio-Chemistry division, developing pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications only to be fired for advocating chemicals intended for brainwashing. In an unceremonious exit, she had chemicals spilled on her, which enabled her to control plant life and offered her immunity to poisons and viruses.
Harnessing these plants, pheromones and toxic secretions constitute a deadly combination which fans of “MK” characters like D’Vorah and Reptile could relate to. However, Ivy’s range could be even bigger given that it’s not just restricted to plants. Imagine her calling up vines from deep beneath the Earth, having trees smash you in an interactive stage, or a Venus flytrap engulf you after you’ve taken a hit. Whipping you with reeds and luring you in for a lethal kiss are more reasons why this controversial siren could make some serious waves.
The Basil Karlo version of Clayface is the best bet here because not only does he link to Poison Ivy, whom he feuded with in the 2013 “Death of the Family” comic event, but he also recently found himself aligned with Batman in “Detective Comics” to serve a greater purpose. Using a chemical injection from his successors, the chemically-altered Clayfaces, Karlo transformed himself into one of the Caped Crusader’s most bitter enemies. He gained super-strength, the ability to shapeshift and also, he was now able to melt the opposition with his corrosive touch.
With this mud-like body, he can transform and project body parts across the room as weapons, change his voice-tone to imitate people and, as of the “New 52,” he can even mimic the DNA of others. Karlo stands out the most from all the versions of Clayface because of his emotionally-tortured mindset and the complexity he plugs into his rivalry with Batman. He was such an interesting character that “Gotham” also decided to bring him to the small screen, which surely helped build an audience eager to see him unleash his wrath in this video game sequel.
The opening banter between him and his father (Darkseid) alone would be worth the price of purchase. Orion’s destiny to kill Darkseid has led to a never-ending vendetta, which has been explored comprehensively in comics and animated series. Despite this, the New God has never had a major video-game appearance. This could easily be rectified after “Injustice” showed a statue of Orion’s head in the Hall of Justice stage.
As one of the more enraged and impulsive New Gods, he has superhuman attributes of strength, supersonic speed, stamina, regeneration and durability akin to Darkseid; making him virtually indestructible. He’s also prone to violent and psychotic outbursts due to his dark lineage, but what he lacks in temperament out in the field, he makes up for in accessories. There’s his Mother Box, which helps sustain his life energies and strengthens him in battle, and his Astro Harness, which grants him teleportation, force-field generation and tractor beams. Orion can also channel inter-dimensional energy called the Astro Force, which is strong enough to deflect Darkseid’s Omega Effect.
With old players returning (such as Harley and Deadshot) and new players spicing up the mix (Grodd and Blue Beetle), one thing pretty clear is that the game doesn’t have to stick to the conventional DC characters. This WildStorm character is a gun-toting badass that hunts aliens and just about anything that crosses his path the wrong way. The “New 52” version of him is a mix of con artist, elite soldier and expert marksmen, abilities that have all enhanced thanks to his augmentations obtained from the alien race known as the Daemonites.
He boasts quick reflexes, telepathy and telekinesis, allowing him to bring the roof down on his enemy and levitate heavy material. He can also use these psychic powers to boost his physical abilities if need be. From this, comparisons could be made to Erron Black and Ermac from “MKX,” so by coupling these parallels with the cult following that Grifter has, there could be a recipe for success here. Grifter would more than likely make for a long-range player that’s as accurate as he is mouthy.
Despite Geoff Johns also helping to oversee things, Boon loves soliciting for fans’ suggestions as to who should be in NetherRealm games. In the past, this has gotten us the Kratos and Freddy Kreuger in the “MK” reboot while “MKX” used characters like Alian and the Predator. “Injustice 2” has been no exception. Clearly, it doesn’t matter if you’re from the pits of Hell or an alien, so Pinhead must surely fit the bill as an out-of-continuity inclusion for the game. Aside from the Hellraiser’s creepy look, he’s always up for gory, sadistic games that match Boon’s vision.
Pinhead is one of the Cenobites: ex-humans who were transformed into creatures residing in an extra-dimensional realm. Often viewed as demonic, they travel to Earth via a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration in order to harvest human souls. What makes Pinhead perfect for the game is that he can summon hooks and chains at will to mutilate victims, which can even change shape to make the dismembering process even bloodier. His magic also allows for creating objects out of thin air, teleportation, explosions, and deceitful illusions. Once unrestrained, he can warp reality to his will, further adding to his bag of scare tactics.
Her appearance in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” opened the doorway to the mystical realm for the DC film-verse, but this note seemed drowned out by the critical panning of the movie. Script aside, the Enchantress was a pretty cool-looking villain with a power set that’s perfect for a game like this. Originally, June Moone was mystically empowered to fight off evil entities in a manner similar to Shazam, only to develop a split personality and become incapable of controlling the darker and more malevolent Enchantress. June later discovered that her fused Enchantress persona was a separate entity from another dimension, as opposed to a manifestation of magic.
This made her quite a live-wire, as seen in the film, but a spectacle to behold nonetheless. This can be chalked up to her abilities as a sorceress, which in the comics even included accessing the powers of other magical beings throughout the DC universe. In the “New 52,” she was able to animate objects like the Sphinx, create duplicates of herself, and raise armies of zombies and other monsters. These make her a bit similar to “MK’s” Quan Chi and would raise the number of magical players on the game’s roster. Tom Taylor would have a field day writing her in his return to the comic!
“Justice League Dark” has evolved from books to an upcoming animated movie to Doug Liman’s film. As part of the team, Constantine played a pivotal role in the comics, which helped build its popularity. While his NBC series got canned, he did go on to guest-star on “Arrow” where he maintained his buzz-worthiness. Adding the DC universe’s favorite occultist to the game’s roster would capitalize on this appeal, especially with Vertigo fans.
Constantine’s intrigue stems from disarming opponents via a barrage of spells and incantations. With all these rituals and curses in his pocket, often used with some reluctance, it’s undisputed how genius he is when it comes to the supernatural and paranormal. When he’s ready to conjure you an ass-kicking, he relies on necromancy, illusions, invisibility, and sometimes even time travel. His protection spells and ability to craft his own luck can’t be downplayed either. In the “New 52” he also wields the ability to perform limited teleportation, elemental magic, telekinesis and immobilization spells, and when need be, he uses magic to reflect damage that’s been done to him onto his enemies.
1. The Comedian
If Boon entertaining the idea of “Watchmen” characters entering the fray is a prank, then that wouldn’t be cool. What would be, though, is if it turned out to the game included The Comedian. Imagine how giddy Taylor would be as a fanboy incorporating the holy grail of comics into another “Injustice” storyline. It’d be even more interesting given that “Watchmen” characters haven’t even crossed over into the mainstream DC continuity yet, despite multiple teases of that being the case with “Rebirth.”
Edward Blake was a mean government agent who enjoyed killing, using knives, guns, grenades and just about anything that inflicted pain, which is sure to be reflected in his arrogant opening dialogue. While many see him as a villain, some would still hold the argument that he’s a patriotic anti-hero who fought for America’s freedom. Nonetheless, this hotly-anticipated sequel could do with another expert marksman using all of his black-ops and CIA tricks of the trade. He was also an incredibly skilled, self-taught, hand-to-hand fighter in superb physical condition, so there’s more to his game than just weapons.
Did our picks for the sequel do you justice? Let us know in the comments and chime in with who you think we left out!
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