DC Comics Writer BRIAN BUCCELLATO on Tipping the Scales of War as INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US: YEAR FIV
Finally! This is one showdown that’s been a long time coming! Gaming enthusiast have reason to rejoice as the adventure series Injustice: Gods Among Us draws to an epic climax. The narrative established by the hit fighting video game experience was first introduced as a DC Comics Digital First Series by Tom Taylor in 2013 and Year One immediately soared to the top of the New York Times list of Bestselling Series following it’s publication as a compilation. In this alter-verse Superman is driven to the brink when the Joker is responsible for the death of his beloved Lois Lane and their unborn child.
In a moment of unrivaled rage, driven to revenge the Man of Steel murders the Clown Prince of Crime, effectively ending the criminal’s reign of chaos, but setting Superman down a path to restore order to the planet under his own rule. What follows are a series of events that pit Batman against his longtime ally, and forces the heroes of the DC universe to choose sides. Every year since the power struggle as escalated, but now in Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five the war will soon come to a crashing end!
Comics legend Brian Buccellato the writer behind the runaway success The Flash during the speedster's “New 52” relaunch is responsible for the closing arc in this iconic battle between Superman and Batman, and the entirety of the DC Comics Universe!
How exactly did the writer come into the pen this project? We asked him: “I think it was because Tom Taylor (Injustice’s original scribe), got really busy,” Buccellato half-joked. “I really loved the series. I think one of the saddest decisions he [Taylor] had to make was giving it up midway through Year Three.” Buccellato took up the reins during the second act of Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three inducting the magical forces of the DC universe, leading to an unlikely alliance against the supernatural might of otherworldly menaces. “My relationship with DC opened the door for me to come onboard.”
When Brian continued on with the series into Year Four the stakes only got higher, and the arc included a showdown between Superman and the actual pantheon of mythic Gods, when Zeus intervenes from Mount Olympus and Batman strikes a deal with Ares, God of War that put Wonder Woman in the middle of it all. “Superheroes obviously resonate with our society; just look at all the superhero films,” Brian offered. “We all love people that have great power and do great things with them. In comics we can dream and live vicariously through our heroes.”
The one-long established unique turn in the Injustice mythology is the advent of Superman as a self-proclaimed protector, a monarch, lording over the planet Earth. It’s a very dramatic portrait of a hero that has long inspired hope in his more than 75 years in popular culture. “Injustice is a very specific world,” Brian insists, “and the choices that Superman makes are driven by the destruction of Metropolis and the death of his child and the murder of his wife.” It’s an all-encompassing grief that consumes Superman. “And that’s the genesis of the this story.”
The story Buccellato has been tasked with telling with Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five is centered around this version of Superman and the events around the “wrong call” that leads him to kill the Joker for the greater good, but at a great personal loss. “His descent into darkness comes from there.” The war between the two sides, now comes spiraling down to this final act! And as if things couldn’t have gotten any more complicated, Tom Taylor returned at the conclusion of Year Four with a story that put all the DC super villains imprisoned by Superman back in play!
As the conflict in Year Five reached a fever pitch, which saw the Flash finally coming to odds with Superman, and a new Nightwing rising in the ranks, Batman and his team of insurgents have all but been depleted leading the Dark Knight and Lex Luthor to make a desperate bid for evening the odds. “It’s always fun to do these ‘elseworld’ versions of these characters,” Buccellato said. “Whenever you get a chance to veer left or right, it opens up an opportunity that perhaps isn’t there if you’re writing the mainstream version of that character.”
In the Injustice storyline Lex Luthor plays both sides of the coin, and has aligned himself with Batman in a plan revealed in this week’s Chapter 39 of Year Five that may finally bring an end to Superman’s tyranny. “Lex Luthor is playing both sides,” Buccellato reveals. It’s a strategy that is lifted right from the game play as devoted gamers well know. “The game did a really great job of putting a unique twist on characters, and all these setups and pay-offs that we can explore [in the comic] more deeply.”
As for the writer’s own favored side in the conflict, Buccellato unabashedly reveals: “Batman is right. You just can’t go around murdering people — it’s just not good.” The way that Buccellato sees it, in Injustice Batman has compromised himself in a lot of ways and admittedly the character may not be proud of some of the things he may have done, but “There’s the one line Batman will not cross, and the one that Superman — in his other versions never crosses,” but as Injustice careens to its finale, hands down Buccellato is on the side of the Dark Knight.
With the final chapter looming, the Injustice: Gods Among Us epic will conclude with Chapter 40 the final episode of Year Five will hit the digital market on 9/20, Brian Buccellato is confident that already “We know how this story ends,” he said. “There’s always room to create more story especially if you devote the creativity to it.”
The anticipation (of course) for the fighting game’s follow-up is also very high! Injustice 2 was recently announced and will continue the battle where Injustice: Gods Among Us left off.
Check out the announcement trailer here:
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five races to a close this month. The next chapters will be available for download Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.