Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe, by Tim Seeley and Freddie E. Williams II, is a crossover that's basically pure fan service for fans of both franchises. The action-packed series is a ton of fun as the battles get bigger and bigger, but within Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe #2 - which features an entertaining brawl between He-Man and Bane -- is a surprisingly touching moment.
Superman, who was once the symbol of hope, has become the symbol of fear and oppression in the Injustice Universe. After being tricked into killing Lois Lane, his moral code became distorted and he set on a path that led him to becoming a dictator. The murderous Man of Steel thinks he's saving humanity by controlling it with an iron fist, and thanks to new abilities, his methods have become even more severe. If people simply think about something that goes against his reign, they're deemed guilty of "thought crimes" and Wonder Woman's Suicide Squad will go after them.
One person, Regina Taylor, couldn't stand living in such a bleak world. Instead of potentially putting other people in danger, she tried to take her own life by jumping off a roof. He-Man was able to physically save her from falling to her death, but it was his words that saved her spirit. He-Man spoke to Regina about his mother, saying he learned from her life that humans have a "great strength inside them, unequaled in the entire universe." He-Man went on to tell Regina that she is "valuable" and there is nothing she cannot face. He concluded by saying, "I will save this world, Regina. You must live to see it." Who would've expected such an emotional moment from a limited series that's basically a clash between action figures?
While discussing the scene with CBR at New York Comic Con, Tim Seeley said the inclusion of the emotional beat was because the tale needed "human stakes." "Why you need He-Man in this storyline is, it's a story about dictators. In this story, instead of Superman saving you, he's trying to stop you from hurting yourself or anybody but he's taken away your freedom and in a very severe way. He's made the thought of hurting yourself the biggest crime." Seeley elaborated on just how far the Big Blue Boy Scout has fallen in this alternate dimension, saying "he punishes you for wanting to kill yourself, which is the opposite of the real Superman in the regular DC Universe. I thought that was important to drive home. This is how different Superman has become in the story. This is why he's the bad guy."
Seeley promises there's more to the poignant scene than you might expect. "That does come back later. It's a very important part of the story. This Superman is so afraid of losing people that he punishes you for wanting to die."
Though a scene as moving as this may seem out of place in a crossover like this, Seeley said it's all about making sure people can relate to the story, no matter how insane the overall narrative may be. "The one thing I've kind of learned in doing superhero comics and this kind of story is, even though the veneer of this is always big and bombastic, it really works and lands when it's human, when it's true and honest. Having people feel real emotions in these things sets the stakes that justifies the big punching match. Especially now, there's a cruelty in the world about people who are different. It's important for superhero books to stand up for people. That moment is He-Man standing up for all of us."
Injustice vs Masters of the Universe #4 goes on sale Oct. 31.