Released in 2013, Injustice: Gods Among Us is what happens when you give Netherrealm Studios, the creators of Mortal Kombat, full reign to make a fighting game starring DC's intellectual properties. While on the surface Injustice: Gods Among Us may sound like someone just banging action figures together, in reality Injustice is a lovingly crafted series that pays proper respect to the DC Universe. For instance, there truly are no "minor characters" in Injustice, as every DC character is someone's favorite character, somewhere. While the two Injustice fighting games achieved critical success – like, the exact opposite of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite in every aspect – the companion Injustice comic series is what made us fall in love with this alternate take on the DC Universe. Over the course of seven separate series (not including one crossover miniseries with He-Man), Injustice writer Tom Taylor provided a surprisingly in-depth back story to a fighting game where you can make The God of Apokolips fight a Ninja Turtle.
With Mortal Kombat 11 having just been recently announced, we figured now would be the most tangentially appropriate time as ever to explore what Injustice does better than the mainstream DC comics. We've found 20 things in the both the Injustice comics and video games that are either superior to their mainstream DC counterparts, or simply the dopest of events and storylines that can only found within the Injustice Universe.
20 MORTAL KOMBAT
The cover of every Injustice comic establishes what sets the series apart from their mainstream counterparts: "From the makers of Mortal Kombat." Fighting is literally Neatherrrealm Studios' game, so of course their Injustice companion comic series will be overloaded with some glorious fight scenes. Injustice isn't just mindless fights however, but a lovingly crafted series that pays tribute to their favorite heroes.
While most works focus on leveling out Superman by weakening him, Injustice instead introduces "super pills" that grant the user Superman-tier strength and durability for a limited time. Despite sounding corny, these pills grant Injustice fights between characters that would otherwise be completely one-sided in the mainstream DC universe.
19 FLASH'S SUPER MOVE
While Mortal Kombat is infamous for their brutalities, fatalities and babalities, you can't have superheroes pulling out spines or turning people into babies. Instead, Netherrealm Studios replaces all of the over the top gore with over the top super moves. Though they are all impressive, our favorite super move is "Time Changer", Flash's super move from Injustice 2.
After grabbing you, Flash sprints backwards through time to toss you into the freshly constructed Sphinx, breaking off its nose. Dashing to Jurassic times, Flash then tosses you into a T-Rex. Finally, Flash runs right back to before the super move even started just to throw you into your past self. You think mainstream Flash would ever do that? Of course not. Flash has seen Timecop.
18 JOKER GETS THE LAST LAUGH
Bored with Batman, Joker hits Superman with kryptonite-laced fear gas, causing Superman to believe Lois is Doomsday as he unwittingly flies his pregnant wife into space. Here's the kicker: Joker also surgically attached a deceased man's trigger to Lois' heart, wiping out Metropolis with a nuclear warhead as Lois suffocates. On his first try, the Joker made Superman destroy his own life.
While being detained by Batman, Joker gloats at how easy it was to corrupt the supposedly best and purest hero in the DC universe. A despondent Superman literally delivers the punchline straight through Joker's chest, as Joker uses his final breath to get the last laugh.
17 THE LONGEST BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN FIGHT EVER
Though it was the Joker who abducted Lois, Superman finds Batman partially to blame. After all, if Batman had just "handled" the Joker years ago, countless lives would've been spared. By slaying the Joker in custody however, Superman breaks the one rule at the core of Batman's being, sparking DC's equivalent of Marvel's Civil War.
Injustice isn't a fist fight filled with kryptonite lances and Marthas however, but a calculated war between Batman's insurgency and Superman's regime. Though the two heroes are at opposite ends, Injustice as a whole ramps up to that inevitable Batman vs Superman fight that we are denied at every turn. Sure, we eventually get that Superman vs. Batman fight, but also Batman vs. Batman and Superman vs. Superman.
16 SUPERMAN AS A VILLAIN
Granted, Superman being a villain isn't an idea unique to Injustice. What Injustice does better than others however is that this isn't a story of Superman as a villain, rather Superman becoming a villain. The greatest superhero of all time isn't going to just go from zero to dictator. Instead, we see each agonizing step that leads Superman down the path of villainy. Over the course of Injustice, Superman goes from trying to protect humanity's best interests to dismantling the world's governments.
What's significant about Injustice's Superman is that he still retains the characteristics of the mainstream Superman. Injustice Superman isn't a government lackey, victim of some technicolor kryptonite nor Poison Ivy's kiss, but the world's best hero reduced to its greatest villain.
15 SENSE OF SCALE
Every year of the Injustice steadily expands the scope of the story, resulting in a well-paced epic centered on a fighting game. Injustice: Gods Among Us for instance focuses on Superman taking over the Earth and the birth of Batman's insurgency. Since Superman totally conquered a planet, the fight spreads to space in Injustice: Year Two as the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps join in over the fate of the Earth.
Injustice: Year Three focuses on magic – one of the few things that can hurt Superman – while Injustice: Year Four focuses on Gods, beings that can naturally fight Superman. Having covered everything in their universe, Injustice: Year Five expands to parallel universes, ending right at the start of the first game.
14 CAPTAIN ATOM FIGHTS SUPERMAN
Tasked with taking out the tyrannical Superman, Captain Atom fights Superman outside of The Fortress of Solitude in Injustice #32. Wonder Woman swoops in to save her tyrannical super-boyfriend, swinging into Atom's neck with her sword. Captain Atom keeps his head, but stops fighting. Captain Atom lowers Diana's weapon, stating "I can't hold it in."
Revealing a slit on his containment suit, Atom elaborates: "Do you understand? I have more power in me than ten nuclear bombs, and you and your stupid magic sword have just breached the thing that contains it." Seeing this as his last opportunity to fulfill his mission, Captain Atom flies Superman out in space. Captain Atom self-detonates, giving Superman mere pause, but incapacitating Wonder Woman.
13 BATMAN LOSES NIGHTWING
Batman dispatches Robin and Nightwing to Arkham Asylum to protect Batman's Rogues Gallery from being harmed by Superman's regime in Injustice #16. Arguing with Nightwing over protecting super-villains, Damian chucks an escrima stick at Nightwing's head in frustration. While this isn't the first Damian pulled this move on Nightwing, this is the first time it connects. Wordlessly, Nightwing falls over, fatally striking his head on some rubble.
That's Nightwing, the original Robin, dying in the superhero equivalent of an accident by the hands of another Robin. Nightwing's demise is a triple-point of tragedy that absolutely wrecks Batman. Batman drops his collected demeanor, howling at Damian in grief. With his relationship with Damian shattered, Batman loses two sons in one day.
12 BATMAN FIGHTS GENERAL ZOD
After being stuck in the Phantom Zone for years, Tim Drake is finally reunited with Batman, only to get heat-visioned in the heart by General Zod in Injustice 2 #37. Now having lost three Robins, Batman jumps into an appropriately over-the-top Bat-mech, specifically designed to fight Superman.
Though he would never stoop to Joker's level, Batman is presented with a unique opportunity to utilize Joker's kyptonite-laced version of Scarecrow's fear gas, causing Zod to hallucinate. Appearing as flaming Bat-Demon-Thing before Zod, Batman explains: "I could never use [the gas] on Clark. Not after...what it made him do. But you... you [decimated] one of my boys. You should be afraid of me. Because I'm going to **** you up."
11 MISTAH JAY
After explaining why Green Arrow's Arrow Cave really should be called "The Quiver" in Injustice #5, Harley reflects on her recently departed ex: "Have you ever loved someone you knew was wrong for you? Someone who hurt you over and over again and hurt those around you but you could forgive them because losing them would hurt even more?"
When an alternate-Earth Joker shows up however, Harley finds herself reverting to old habits. Harley seeks mystical help from Dr. Fate, who explains that the only thing that can save her is a magic word: "No." Though it would be easier to call Harley insane for loving the Joker, Injustice instead weaves a thoughtful allegory of being in an abusive relationship.
10 HARLEY'S HORDE
After Superman literally punched a hole into her relationship with the Joker, Harley Quinn considers giving up the super-villain lifestyle in Injustice: Ground Zero #10. When she is abducted by a Joker-inspired gang however, Harley realizes that she has more potential leading these saps still hung up on the Joker.
As a former henchwoman herself, Harley knows that most super-villains treat their employees as expendable resources. Serving as a mastermind villain now, Harley cares for her gang as no other villain has before, dubbing them "Barry, Jerry, Larry, Perry and Terry." Inspired by their boss, The Joker Clan ditch their clown duds to take on a harlequin motif, rebranding themselves as Harley's Horde.
9 FOR THE MAN WHO'S LOST EVERYTHING
Exploiting Superman's vulnerability to magic, Batman uses an arcane dust to put Superman to sleep in Injustice: Year Three #13-14, or "For The Man Who's Lost Everything." Serving as Injustice's rendition of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's "For The Man Who Has Everything," we see the tyrannical kryptonian's dreams come true.
This time around, Superman manages to save Lois and his unborn child in time. Batman finally "takes care of" the Joker, immediately handing himself over to the GCPD to serve his time. Clark and Lois get to raise their daughter . Instead of taking over the world like "B-grade super villains," Kara works in conjunction with the world's leaders to actually rebuild the Earth, right as Superman's dream ends.
8 SUPERMAN FIGHTS A SPACE SQUIRREL
Since taking over the Earth is super-illegal, the Green Lantern Corp send everyone wearing a ring to arrest Superman for his space-crimes. Though the Lanterns have superior numbers, Superman is untouchable: "You can't touch me with a thought-based weapon. I can move faster than thought." Fortunately, the Lanterns thought of that, so they called in a Lantern that can move faster than thought, Ch'p, the Green Lantern who looks like exactly a squirrel in Injustice: Year Two #10.
Ch'p is basically a magic space bullet, having enough strength and precise construct control to actually shut down Superman's brain. You're never going to see Superman have to fight a sentient alien that just happens to look like a squirrel outside of Injustice.
7 DEX-STARR THE RED LANTERN
After his town is destroyed by Amazo, a cat emerges from the wreckage of his former home. The Red Lantern Corp recognize the rage within this feline, issuing Dex-Starr the cat a Red Lantern Ring in Injustice 2 #34. With a power ring, Dex-Starr is essentially Grumpy Cat wielding a thought-powered space gun that lets him rage-vomit the physical embodiment of pure anger.
Alternatively in mainstream DC comics, Dex-Starr is an alien who just looks like a cat. This may seem insignificant, but Guy Gardner explains: "Hal. That's clearly a talking evil kitty. Like, not some kind of alien feline creature, just a malevolent, talky house cat in a little suit. That's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen."
6 GREEN LANTERN LOBO
Desperate times call for desperate measures. So, when the Guardians find themselves lacking in Green Lanterns, they do the unthinkable by designating a ring to Lobo in Injustice 2 #63, or "Lobo shouldn't have a power ring." To recap: you have Lobo, one of the baddest dudes in the DC universe, wielding a space-gun capable of constructing literally anything one can think of.
What sort of construct does Green Lantern Lobo make to combat Atrocitus? Well, we can't say what Lobo constructs, nor do we see all of it, but when Lobo makes it, it gives the entire space-battlefield pause. Guy comments: "If [Lobo] keeps fighting, they're gonna need another Green Lantern to fly alongside him to just construct big 'censored' signs."
5 STARRO THE RED CONQUEROR
Seeking recruits for his vengeance-powered Red Lantern Corps, Atrocitus enlists the saltiest of Justice League villains, Starro The Conqueror in Injustice 2 #59. Starro's spores turn his victims into mind-controlled soldiers, swelling the Red Lantern's ranks. With a red power ring however, Starro becomes more of a "death star" than the actual Death Star, as Starro's five legs all converge to fire a gigantic laser out of his eye, wrecking the Green Lantern Corps' main power battery.
While Starro reemerged in 2018's Dark Knights: Metal, this nightmare-starfish with teeth for eyelashes is probably the most under-utilized DC villain, despite being the first villain the Justice League ever fought way back in 1960's Brave and The Bold #28.
4 WHAT IS THIS, A CROSSOVER EPISODE?
Considering that it's a fighting game, Injustice has mainstream DC beat when it comes to crossover cameos. Of course there's the obligatory Mortal Kombat cameos (kameos?) like Sub-Zero and Raiden. While Raiden summons the Mortal Kombat logo for his super move, Sub-Zero pulls off his infamous "Head Rip" fatality through clever camera work. Hellboy even appears – having been collected by Brainiac – bearing his classic Mike Mignola design.
Our favorite Injustice cameo however are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While you can only fight as one turtle at a time, all four team up for their combined super move, referencing their impromptu fight at a Vanilla Ice concert from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of The Ooze.
3 I'LL BE THERE. AT THE END
The OG Blue Beetle Ted Kord is visited by his time-traveling bff Booster Gold in Injustice 2 #5. Booster claims that he's tried to stop what is about to happen – winding up in time-jail – but he can't change the timeline. Before Ted is ambushed by ninjas, Booster promises "I'll be there. At the end." As Teddy bleeds out, Booster returns, ensuring that Teddy isn't alone at the end.
Staring down starry oblivion, Booster Gold later finds himself alone in space, sans oxygen mask before an exploding Starro. Suddenly, Booster is visited by a time-traveling Teddy and Booster. Ted explains: "He said... You said, we can't change this. I'm sorry... But you said I'm allowed... That I should be here... At the end."
2 THE WEDDING OF ORCA AND CROC
Approaching her Suicide Squad-mates at dinner, Orca – the killer whale lady – addresses Killer Croc – the dude who looks like a crocodile – to drop a whale-crocodile sized bomb: "Waylon. I'm pregnant." Killer Croc decides to make an honest whale-woman out of Orca, marrying her in Injustice 2 #X. As a wedding gift, Ra's al Ghul deactivates the newlyweds' head-bombs, only to immediately lose a hand.
Injustice has given Killer Croc and Orca something no other comic has before: a happy ending. Actually, Orca and Croc are the only characters that get a "good" ending in Injustice. While Batman and Superman lose everything, Croc and Orca don't comprise their ideals, start a family and eat sentient gorillas in the name of love.
1 ALFRED VS. SUPERMAN
In Injustice: Gods Among Us #36, Superman has tracked Batman to the Bat Cave. Before he can escape, Batman has to wait for the Bat-Computer to finish analyzing the super-pill's schematics. So, instead of taking the pill to give us the fight the first year had been building up to, Batman has a debate on ethics with Superman. Batman successfully uploads the schematics, however Superman pulls a Bane by breaking Batman's back.
Though we are denied a Batman versus Superman fight, what we get instead is infinitely better: Alfred touches Superman's shoulder, before delivering a nose-snapping gentleman's head-butt. Having taken the super-pill, Alfred proceeds to thrash Superman, declaring: "You don't get to hurt my family anymore!"