With the impending release for “Injustice 2” slated for May, fans of the series will be getting an added bonus: an “Injustice 2” comic. The “Injustice: Gods Among Us” comic launched originally as a video game tie-in, but surprisingly blossomed into one of the best alternate worlds for DC characters on the page yet.
Initially written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Mike S. Miller, the series was full of deep moral conundrums, flashy fights and above all, heart-wrenching deaths. No hero held plot armor in “Injustice,” making everyone (good or bad) fair game in the harsh new world under Superman’s tyrannical rule. We at CBR count down some of the most chilling demises we saw in the first series, as we hold out hope for the remaining character’s fates in the sequel.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALL YEARS OF “INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US”
15. LOIS LANE
This is the one that started it all. The Joker kidnaps a pregnant Lois Lane and, with Harley, surgically implants a trigger to a nuclear bomb within her. Superman arrives on the scene, but breathes in some of Scarecrow’s fear toxin, and suddenly sees Doomsday appear. The Man of Steel panics and tackles the creature, flying him into outer space. Superman notices that there are two heartbeats coming from “Doomsday” and snaps out of it, seeing the lifeless body of his wife floating before him. Lois’ heart stops and triggers the nuclear bomb hidden in Metropolis, killing millions.
Even though her death was dubbed a “fridge” moment by many fans, Lois’ demise still carried a major impact on the series. It was her passing that managed to tip Superman over the edge, snapping his resolve and making him the cold, sympathetic alien many people believed him to be. He severs his friendship with Batman, whom he holds responsible since he never killed the Joker, and begins his brutal rule of forcibly stopping what and whomever he deems a threat. Superman begins his tyranny from the moment of Lois’ death, which has its own horrifying consequences.
Everyone’s favorite Superman clone didn’t arrive until a bit later in “Injustice.” After Lex Luthor creates him in attempts to combat the tyrannical Man of Steel, Bizarro escapes. He befriends Trickster and does his best to emulate the actual hero for a stint before returning to Luthor. Panicked that the creature may remember his lab origin and rat him out to Superman, Lex commands the mind-controlled Doomsday to kill Bizarro. Both Superman and Doomsday thrown down with the clone, but Bizarro is eventually defeated and gets his neck snapped by the villain.
The death of this super clone is upsetting, as he genuinely poses a threat to Superman’s now longstanding regime. Bizarro himself sees Clark as a hero and doesn’t understand why he would be so quick to attack him. Even more chilling is the quickness with which Luthor is willing to have his experiment murdered just to cover his own tracks. Bizarro was one of the few innocent characters in the books, beholden to no side in the conflict between Batman and Superman, and was caught in the crossfire.
13. JESSE QUICK
The fallout (pun intended) of Joker’s plan to blow Metropolis to kingdom come with a nuclear bomb spread across much of the DC Universe in “Injustice.” It is discovered after a month that Lex Luthor was alive in the city, hidden in a fortified bunker. Turns out the billionaire inventor had hired a speedster to run him to his shelter in such an event. The hero delivered Luthor to safety, but went back out to save more people. Unfortunately she couldn’t outrun the blast and is literally incinerated mid-stride.
Even though she is never formally identified by the characters in the comic, the speedster’s identity is largely believed to be that of Jesse Quick. Her death is simply downright chilling to see on the page. Miller’s art feels reminiscent of the “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” scene wherein Sarah Connor similarly gets obliterated by a nuclear blast in a dream sequence. One panel has the hero screaming in fear as she runs away, the next her skeletal form appears, seemingly frozen in step.
When Batman’s squad of rebels do their best to mount a last stand in Year 3 of the series, Huntress and Batwoman team up against Superman in a long overdue punch-up. The two get the drop on the Kryptonian, temporarily knocking him out, but Wonder Woman comes to his defense. She admonishes the duo as they trade blows, saying that they are fighting for a foolish cause. Huntress calls Superman’s regime full of tyrants, to which Diana refutes her claim and attempts to catch her with the Lasso of Truth. The rope wraps around Huntress’ neck, Wonder Woman tugs it taut and unceremoniously snaps the vigilante’s neck.
What’s so unsettling about the death of Huntress is how quickly it comes to pass. One minute she’s denouncing Wonder Woman’s role in Superman’s dictatorship, the next she’s dead on the ground. There’s no forewarning, no tearful goodbyes, she’s simply killed with a literal flick of Diana’s wrist.
11. BEAST BOY
An explanation as to why the Teen Titans were nowhere to be found during the events of “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” the Year 3 annual delves into yet another set of victims from the nuclear blast in Metropolis. Beast Boy and Superboy are flying through the city, discussing lunch plans and Nightwing leaving the team, before they suddenly see a giant blast being detonated below them. Within seconds, the two are enveloped in the explosion, as Superboy attempts to shield Beast Boy with his body. Once the smoke has cleared, Kon-El weeps as he holds the brutalized and burned body of Gar in his arms.
Granted, Kid Flash also gets vaporized during the blast, but there’s literally nothing left of him to witness afterwards. Beast Boy’s death hits hard because Superboy’s attempt to save him failed. The hero’s body is left in shambles, and the rest of his team are absolutely devastated. Even more upsetting is that, despite their loss, the Titans still uphold their ideals of justice; the same that Superman abandoned in his reign. Beast Boy’s demise is just another example that, no matter what powers you have, sometimes they’re not enough to save a person.
Another character that bites the dust rather early in the conflict, Nightwing sees his end at the hands of Damian Wayne. As Superman plans to move Arkham Asylum patients into a much less hospitable secret prison, Batman and his team jump into action to prevent it. Robin gives up the Dark Knight’s strategy to undermine Clark’s scheme, thus leading to a huge battle between Team Superman, Team Bats and the Arkham inmates. During the chaotic fight, Damian angrily chucks an escrima stick at Nightwing, who is too preoccupied to see it coming. The baton knocks Grayson out and he falls onto a stray piece of rubble, tragically breaking his neck.
This death is another sudden one and affects Batman in a heart-wrenching way. All of the heroes on either side are horrified at the turn of events, while Robin panics at the realization of what he’s done. Batman carried a lot of guilt over Nightwing’s death, shattered by the loss and despising his biological son for causing it. It just goes to show that no matter what universe or timeline, Damian will always be an intolerable little turd.
9. JIMMY OLSEN
Even though Lois’ death was the symbolic kickoff to the “Injustice” conflict, Jimmy Olsen was actually the first to get offed in the series. The reporter and her trusty photographer get a tip on a juicy story and go to investigate, but something’s off. Jimmy readies his camera to snap a few photos, but his lens is met with the barrel of a gun. The revolver is being held by the Joker and he fires straight through, putting a bullet right between the eyes of The Daily Planet’s finest photographer.
Jimmy is only the first in the pile of bodies that would amass during “Injustice’s” run, but his loss is an upsetting one. Blindsided by the Joker, Olsen literally saw his death coming. It was sad when Superman later finds his body, with a shattered camera and bloodied Joker card beside him. Olsen was one of hero’s fondest friends and arguably the start of Clark’s downward spiral into despair before he finally snapped. Poor Jimmy, though, died the way he lived: looking through the lens of his camera.
8. GUY GARDNER
Guy was never in the business of making friends, and that certainly didn’t change in the alternate universe of “Injustice.” After John Stewart is killed in battle, Hal Jordan (now a member of the Sinestro Corps) demands to know who was responsible. Sinestro predictably misdirects him into thinking that Guy Gardner accidentally did it during the fracas. Jordan confronts Gardner, whom tells him that he is being deceived (which is true), but Hal is hearing none of it and rips Gardner’s arm off. Without his powers in the aerial fight, Guy plummets to his death.
Perhaps most unsettling about Guy’s death is the absolute vitriol Hal has behind it. Yes, Sinestro essentially plays an Iago and whispers falsehoods in Jordan’s ear, but nonetheless, Hal easily eats it up. The yellow ring amplifies previous distrust and irritation with his former comrade as a quick excuse for explaining Guy’s actions as intentionally diabolic. Even worse, Jordan doesn’t end Gardner quickly, opting for him to suffer a terrifying fall before finally meeting his end.
7. CAPTAIN ATOM
Captain Atom was one of the few characters in “Injustice” that actually had Superman on the ropes and died valiantly instead of tragically. Atom puts the beat down on the Man of Steel as an order from his superiors in the Pentagon. The Captain attempts to give Superman an opportunity to surrender, but when the Kryptonian refuses, he lays down the law. Atom punches Superman into submission, but Wonder Woman breaches his neck with her sword. Now threatening to go nuclear, the hero takes the red-caped crusader with him to explode in outer space as a last stand. Atom dies, Superman lives.
This hero’s death comes with a mixture of emotions. As he fights Superman, he admonishes the Kryptonian, calling him out on his selfishness. Atom describes his understanding of sacrifice and seeing the bigger picture, something that Superman has clearly gone blind to. Perhaps most upsetting is the genuine chance Atom had at killing the tyrant, but the world of “Injustice” is cruel and sees Superman not only live, but ignore the captain’s last words entirely in favor of ruling another day.
6. JOHN STEWART
Remember our earlier entry talking about Guy Gardner getting wrongly accused of killing John Stewart? Well, there’s another story to that. John is on Superman’s side, but as a protector, doesn’t want anyone to fight. When the Green Lanterns wage war as part of Batman’s resistance, the Sinestro Corps answer in kind on behalf of Superman. Stewart dives into the fray, trying to put a stop to it for either side, but to no avail. Sinestro stops him and attempts to sway him permanently to Superman’s side, stating that the Green Lanterns don’t care about his world. As John struggles with his choice, the rogue suddenly stabs him in the back, killing him almost instantly.
It’s upsetting to see Stewart die because of his stance within the “Injustice” conflict. He wanted to avoid what he felt was unnecessary bloodshed and protect whomever he could. He saw the points of both Superman and Batman’s positions, but also the ugly truths that lay behind either of them. Maybe he was a bit naive, or simply too afraid to commit to one side, but John only wanted what was best for Earth until his dying breath.
5. KYLE RAYNER
Poor Kyle never stood a chance in the harsh world of “Injustice.” After being deployed to a mission out in deep space, effectively missing the first year of conflict between heroes on Earth, Rayner is happy to be going back home. He flies through space, intent on finally asking a cute girl on a date upon arriving, when he is set upon by Sinestro and his comrades. Rayner is subdued by their powers as the rogue cuts off his ring. Kyle is de-powered in the middle of space, literally drawn and quartered by the villains.
Rayner was the first of many Green Lanterns to bite the dust in “Injustice,” but his death is so quietly brutal it’s disarming. He was so hopeful for new chances after being away, only to be dispatched in the crossfire of a fight he didn’t even know was happening. Coupled with the manner in which he is killed, Kyle’s demise in the comic is just downright unsettling. Rayner was one of the many collateral pieces that piled up as Superman built his regime.
4. J’ONN J’ONZZ
There were many voices of reason that attempted to stop Superman before it was too late, and J’onn J’onnz was chief among them. The martian attempts to “show” Clark the feelings of helplessness he suffered when his planet was overrun by tyrants; the same emotions that Superman is on track to inflict upon others should he continue his selfish ways. Wonder Woman steps in and J’onn shapeshifts into a substance that can enter her eyes an ears, suffocating her from within. Superman uses his heat vision on Diana, effectively burning the martian alive, while Wonder Woman remains intact.
J’onn’s demise is chilling in a number of ways, from his terrifying end (being flambéed), to his heartfelt last stand in an attempt to bring Superman back from the brink. The martian knew just what was in store for the people of Earth should the red-caped crusader continue on his bloody path, and didn’t wish the helplessness he suffered on anyone else. J’onn’s reasoning seems to start getting through before Diana stepped in, so the martian might have even stopped Superman if he had had more time.
3. JAMES GORDON
The Commissioner of Gotham’s police department certainly wanted to do his best in attempting to stop Superman; the best chance he thought he had was taking pills that gave him super strength and resistance. In this world, however,Gordon was suffering from lung cancer, and the pills were accelerating its spread. James mounts a solo assault on the Watchtower in order to avoid Oracle and Batman’s location being traced by Cyborg. He manages to knock the hero offline using the last of his strength. Gordon contacts Oracle and reveals he’s always known it was really Barbara. He says a tearful goodbye before falling silent on his comms.
Gordon’s death may have been less brutal than some others, but it was a sincere gut-punch on the page. Ever the protective father, he sacrifices his last vestiges of life to prolong Batman’s fight and hide his daughter from Superman’s grasp. It was a battle he desperately wanted to see through, but could only manage to play a small role in what would turn into a five-year war.
2. ALFRED PENNYWORTH
As Superman’s brutality and iron rule gained strength, Alfred only became stronger in his resolve. He took care of Wayne Manor after Bruce is forced to go underground in order to avoid detection. Victor Zsasz infiltrates the Batcave one day, demanding Pennyworth call Batman to reveal his location. Alfred refuses, throwing down with the psychopath in hand-to-hand combat. After trading a few blows, the inmate reveals that he was sent by Superman and slices the poor butler across the stomach. Alfred is left to bleed out on the floor of the Batcave alone.
Alfred’s role in the series was more than just the doting servant. He played a strong father figure to Bruce throughout the early years of the conflict, literally beating the snot out of Superman (thanks, super pills!) and helping Batman through rehab for his injuries. Alfred was unwavering in his belief in the cause, knowing that the road to defying a tyrant was easily tread. Nevertheless, Pennyworth walked the line with his head held high until his last breath.
1. GREEN ARROW
For all those heroes using super pills to even the playing field against Superman’s more powerful allies, Batman’s team of rebels had to procure the prototype capsules first. The group broke into the Fortress of Solitude, where Green Arrow located the pills and, not-so-coincidentally, the Kents. Superman warns him to leave, and Oliver fires an arrow that gets deflected off the Kryptonian and into dear old Pa Kent’s shoulder. Clark snaps, zeroing in on Green Arrow and beating him to death with his bare hands.
Before his demise, Oliver fires his last arrow throw the roof of the fortress with a super pill attached to it. Green Arrow’s death is so chilling because he is murdered at the literal hands of Superman. The Kryptonian brutalizes poor Oliver, holding nothing back in his fit of rage. Green Arrow knew his death was inevitable and made his last act count for the rest of the resistance. Of all the heroes to die in “Injustice,” Oliver certainly was one of the hardest to see go.
Which death do you think was the most shocking in “Injustice?” Are you looking forward to the new game? Let us know in the comments!
“Injustice 2” will be released for the PS4 and Xbox One on May 16, 2017.
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