“Someone took it all away from you once too, didn’t they, Bats? And look what you became – an all-punching, all-kicking little ball of angst. What do you think Superman will become? He’s a God who has deluded himself into believing he’s a man. What will he turn into?”
The Joker, Injustice: Gods Among Us
The standard view of Superman is this noble, perfect superhero. We hear his name and immediately think of perfection, from the powers, to the style of clothing, to the hair that never, ever, seems out of place. He is what helps us determine who is truly a hero, a villain, or an antihero. Even the word ‘super’ is in the name: Superman. He could do absolutely no wrong.
Well, until that is all challenged in Injustice: Gods Among Us. As I explained in a previous blog post (see here: Rebirth of Harley Quinn), Neartherrealm studios and DC Comics had a lot of freedom when it came to the storyline, as it is based in a completely different universe than the one we are used to. And the Joker is at the centre of it all.
When we think of the Joker, we think insane yet brilliant mastermind. Completely unpredictable (in fact he is also one of the only characters who can break the fourth wall), which is why the only one in the whole DC universe who can really compete with him is Batman, who is also quite the brilliant detective. Netherrealm, also the creators of the Mortal Kombat series, went insane when they thought up who the Joker would cross paths with in this game (please tell me you aren’t entirely surprised; the Mortal Kombat series can be considered pretty over-the-top).
Long story short, the Joker decides to “play the game on easy mode” and attack (and kill) Lois Lane and hers and Superman’s unborn child. If that wasn’t already a war crime in and of itself, the Joker takes it one step further: he drugs Superman into doing the deed himself (you can go and read the comic or play the game if you want to learn more about how).
Despite all of this, the Joker still comes out as insane as always, pulling out this little gem of a quote to Batman when the Dark Knight interrogates him. And he does bring up a great question: What will Superman become now?
And so we learn Superman’s weakness when kryptonite is not in abundance: his mental willpower.
We will watch him take down and destroy full corrupt governments, call for ceasefires by force, blackmail Aquaman and all of Atlantis, eliminate all the criminals in Arkham Asylum, and many other things. All for the “greater good,” or so in his mind. The loss of family brought upon this paranoia that, if he could eradicate all potential threats to the world, he could save everyone.
We as readers, however, know this does not work.
We can’t even say that this is just exclusive to Netherrealm and DC Comic’s new Superman either, as the Superman that we know mentions later that he probably would have done and become the exact same thing as Superman does. They do a great job with this development of Superman, and it makes us really think that even the greatest people in the world can break in the most destructive of ways.