‘Injustice 2’

It seems Warner Brothers games is about to release another smash before “Shadow of War,” and it’s something I never thought I’d see, but now want more than ever. “Injustice 2” is due to come out on May 16, and if the numerous gameplay clips and teasers that have been released so far are anything off of which to base an opinion, I think we’re all in for a blast through this dimension and beyond. “Injustice 2” is the sequel to 2013’s phenomenally successful video game “Injustice: Gods Among Us.” The idea of the game was initially ridiculed for being a fighting game with DC Comics characters made by the same company who made “Mortal Kombat” using approximately the same fighting moves of the “Mortal Kombat” characters. And no finishing moves; where’s the fun in that? Taken at face value, this might make the game seem unattractive at best, but the story made it so much more. “Injustice” finds the beloved heroes of DC on an alternate version of Earth where Batman’s worst nightmare is realized: Superman has become an all-powerful dictator hell-bent on ensuring the world’s complete obedience to him. Tragically, Superman lost his mind after the Joker tricked him into killing his wife, Lois Lane and their unborn child with Lois’ final heartbeat activating a nuke that destroyed Metropolis. Superman’s reign of terror only ends when Batman and the Justice League of the proper Earth were able to bring their Superman to defeat and imprison him.

The game inspired a popular graphic novel spinoff series that illustrated the events of the five-year war, seeing the deaths of such beloved icons as Alfred Pennyworth, Green Arrow and Huntress. The game was widely praised for its immersive storytelling, wonderful graphics, engaging gameplay and usage of the DC label.

“Injustice 2” picks up a while after the first game left off, where the Insurgency, a sort of anti-Justice League offshoot, is trying to rebuild Earth and save it from the machinations of the Society, a group of villains who wish to take the shattered Earth for themselves. With this new threat comes the new playable (and presumably fightable) characters of Gorilla Grodd, an intelligent ape who wants to claim the world for his species; Captain Cold, one of the Flash’s chief enemies and, in essence, a poor man’s Mister Freeze; Scarecrow, a mad scientist who uses his fear toxin to conjure his enemies’ worst fears; and Cheetah, a former archaeologist and treasure hunter granted powers through a curse. Catwoman also returns from the first game to join the Society, though possibly as a double agent. During all this madness, Superman escapes, seeking revenge for his humiliation in the war with the Insurgency. However, a larger threat looms as the android supervillain Brainiac, who in this continuity is responsible for the destruction of Superman’s home of Krypton and is obsessed as always with collecting shrunken worlds, comes to the embattled Earth to finish off the Kryptonians once and for all.

“Injustice 2” seems to be taking a page out of DC Rebirth: introducing beloved concepts and characters as new again. The gameplay and fighting styles of the characters look to be much the same as the first game, but there is much greater room for character customization and multiplayer options that can be unlocked more rapidly as the game progresses. Also, there are many new characters from whom to choose to play, particularly as Batman tries to recruit them to the reinvigorated Insurgency.

Some new characters are still yet to be revealed, but the more notable ones include Supergirl, Black Canary, Atrocitus, Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy, Firestorm, Doctor Fate and Batman’s son Damian Wayne returning to his role as Robin, as opposed to Nightwing in the previous game.

If these names and ideas mean nothing to the reader, there is still plenty of time to research them before “Injustice 2” is released. In the meantime, I will be watching for even more updates to find out more about yet another gem in the crown of comics that rightfully belongs to DC.