Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One was a tie in graphic novel with the video game of the same name. The game was made by the same guys who brought the world Mortal Kombat and I absolutely love Mortal Kombat – always have done. On top of that I’m a DC girl, not Marvel. Now that’s not to say I don’t like Marvel – I just prefer DC. Although I will concede that a lot of DC’s live action films (bar Nolan’s Batman and the new Wonder Woman) miss the mark – but their animated films are amazing!
So, naturally I played the game and I was loving that there was a graphic novel tie in! But I lost track of it and graphic novels can be expensive –especially when they are huge story lines that go on for multiple volumes! Anyway, I finally got the complete Years 1-5 (so look out for future reviews for other years) and I have to say, I was blown away!
The story far exceeded my expectations! I honestly thought this was going to be a silly, poorly conceived tie in that followed the story of the game exactly. I couldn’t be more wrong! This was amazing!
Now, open and honest time – I knew damn near all of the characters before going into this (DC girl, remember?) but there are a lot of characters in this story, and there were a few unfamiliar faces. But it wasn’t an alienating experience! Did we have time to go into full character backstory? No, of course not. But it didn’t feel like the reader was just thrown in and expected to get on with it. The characters were written in such a way that it didn’t really matter, and in the space of a few pages I felt like I’d know this character for ages.
And that’s what made what happened next (and inevitably) so difficult. Characters I’d known for years – decades even in some cases – split apart, choose sides and oppose each other in such a finite way was as devastating as it was intriguing.
Seeing the heroes from my childhood broken down and re-moulded into something dark and twisted is both uncomfortable and completely enthralling. The best bit is that the destroyed friendships and changes of allegiance are handled in such a masterful way that it doesn’t feel like a total betrayal or make you want to stop reading, especially if you’re a long-time fan of these characters and think you know them! The justifications the characters give (whether or not you agree with them) seem believable for them in this context. Although I do have to say I wasn’t 100% sold on Wonder Woman’s portrayal. But that’s one character out of a whole big bunch!
The writing in this is absolutely stellar. Tom Taylor has done an amazing job at crafting this world and dialogue in such a believable and natural way – which, given the subject at hand, is no easy feat.
The stories throughout the volumes are interconnected and unique and are incredibly well-written throughout – you can Taylor gave a damn all the way through, instead of losing interest half way through as seems to happen with graphic novel epics.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One asks some pretty profound and deep questions of not only the characters, but of its readers too: How far is too far in the name of the ‘greater good’? What makes someone a villain? When are they past the point of redemption? The answers to these questions are naturally going to be different for each reader and each interpretation of the characters.
But it’s not all dark and gloomy (although I do love Dark DC)! The humour hits brilliantly – it’s never jovial for the sake of it, and it’s used in all the right places to bring a little shred of lightness in the dark. Taylor is an absolute master of atmosphere.
Talking of mastery – the illustrations are absolutely incredible. Mike Miller manages to convey each and every complex emotion flawlessly.
I know I’ve praised the story and illustrations, but in all honesty the best thing about Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One is that it doesn’t feel like a cash grab at all! It feels like a fully independent and realised vision brought to life.
Dare I say it’s better than the game? Well, no because I’m an absolute sucker for violence and gore – especially in visual mediums, and the game has much more of it than the graphic novel does. But this graphic novel stands in equal position with the video game.
I’m so happy to say that there is massive potential for the rest of the series and I absolutely will be continuing on with it! I’m so looking forward to years 2-5 (and of course Injustice 2)!
Does Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One (a.ka. superheroes kicking the crap out of each other) sound like your kind of thing? You can get a copy of your very own here!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.
FYI! This particular scene above absolutely broke me. I was nearly in tears and my chest hurt. Remember when I said Mike Miller could capture every emotion? Just look at Batman! He’s is absolutely decimated! And this is without context! Just wait until you know what’s going on!