Spoilers within. You’ve been warned.
A few weeks back, we gave you the first look at DC Comics’ Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book prequel that sets up the events of the game. Last week, Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 landed in comic shops (collecting the first three digital chapters of the series) and hit readers with a severe blow — the death of Lois Lane. And Superman’s true love didn’t just die; Superman appeared to be the cause. And she was pregnant with their child.
Obviously, this is pretty dark territory with a very strong and passionate reaction from Lois Lane fans, myself included. We talked with the comic’s scribe, Tom Taylor, once more to get his take on the events and explain his point of view.
The fourth digital-first chapter of the Injustice prequel — which you can see preview pages of in the article below — goes on sale today on the DC Comics app.
IGN Comics: So, let’s get right to it. You’ve caught some flak from some fans for the conclusion to the digital Chapter 3 of Injustice: Gods Among Us, which sees the death of Lois Lane at the apparent hands of Superman, who is delusional thanks to the Joker and thinks that it’s Doomsday. Can you talk about your intent with the events and what the fan reaction has been like?
Tom Taylor: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. The reviews have been incredible and the digital versions of Injustice have topped the comiXology, iBooks and Amazon kindle sales charts. I’ve actually had more messages, emails and tweets from people who loved this comic than I’ve ever had before. I’ve even had grown women and men tell me the comic moved them to tears.
However, the death of Lois, and her unborn child, at the hands of the man who loves her, has understandably been met with some strong reactions. When we last spoke, I told you that this was the hardest thing I’d ever written. This was the moment I was talking about. When I was told that I had to write a comic where my hero was tricked into killing his wife and unborn child, I was horrified. All I’ve ever wanted to do in licensed comics is write Superman. To have to do this to him and to have to do this to Lois, was a task that, frankly, I didn’t relish.
I am the only son of a feminist single mother who worked in a women’s refuge, where I spent a lot of time in my younger years. I have stood beside her on stage at rallies for women’s rights and protests against domestic violence. I am also a husband and father. My creator-owned series, The Deep, which has just been optioned to become an animated TV series, has no violence in its pages. I dislike violence as a rule, and I abhor violence towards women. And so, I made it my mission to find a way where Superman has absolutely no idea of what he was doing. I engineered a situation where, in actuality, he thinks he’s protecting the woman he loves and his unborn child.
I also made it clear to Mike Miller, the artist who drew those incredibly powerful and emotional pages so well, that at no point does Superman strike Lois. Editor Jim Chadwick and I even made sure we tore a hole in the submarine in the previous issue so that Lois wouldn’t be pushed through anything. Superman, severely weakened, drugged and believing Lois is Doomsday, grabs Lois and pushes her into space, where she tragically dies. For some, despite the fact that Superman is drugged and thinks he’s carrying Doomsday, all they could see was a husband killing his wife. I completely understand, and I am sorry for this.
IGN: With the next chapter hitting today, what kind of follow-up to that event will we see? Do you think it will put fans at ease?
Taylor: Honestly, I’m not sure this is the one that will put fans at ease. We will most definitely be seeing a reaction to these recent events and it’s not all pretty. That said, for those who were touched by the first chapter, there are some moments of tenderness and humor coming up. Next week, we step aside from it all for a moment to tell a single story of Harley Quinn and Green Arrow. It’s an oddly sweet story and, again, it’s the Harley and Ollie I know and love. A very funny, if mad, Harley Quinn, and an Ollie who always wants to do the right thing.
IGN: If you can, can you talk about why Lois’ death is key for the universe of Injustice and the story of the game? If Metropolis was going to be nuked anyway, why the need to single Lois out?
Taylor: That’s a very good question. I think the game’s writers felt that Superman needed a personal tragedy to fundamentally change the way he sees the world. I understand this. It always bugs me when heroes suddenly begin acting completely unlike themselves simply because the plot demands it. A lot of people are suggesting online that this is the moment that Superman will “turn evil.” Will things be done in a moment of pain? Yes. Will he “turn evil” overnight? I think the world is a bit more complicated than that.
I don’t think one event, no matter how traumatic, changes the son Martha and Jonathan Kent raised. I don’t think one awful moment changes the man that Lois Lane fell in love with. For those who think they know where this is going, stick with us.
IGN: Some would argue that Lois, as of late, has been stripped of many characteristics that made her an icon for women in comics and has instead been reverted to another plot point to help Superman’s story. What’re your thoughts on that?
Taylor: I really can’t talk about other people’s stories. I wrote this Lois within the very specific parameters of the world created in Injustice. I will say that I think Lois is a wonderful character. I had the black and white Australian reprints of the Lois Lane series when I was a kid, and I’d love to see her appear in her own series again. When I met my wife she was a newspaper crime reporter, so the link is probably even stronger for me. I’m really looking forward to seeing her in the spotlight when she appears in the upcoming movie.
IGN: I’m not sure things can get any darker than they are right now in Injustice, but are there any other events on this scale that fans should brace themselves for?
Taylor: This is a dark comic. There’s no doubt about it. I think I said in our last chat that nothing and no one is sacred in this comic. I think you now see what I mean. There are going to be more shocks. There is going to be more pain. More beloved characters have hard times coming.
However, I’m a Superman fan more than a Batman fan. I believe, for a writer, angst is easy and hope is hard. I don’t look for easy. I don’t believe a story is worth telling without humor, heart and hope, so there will be plenty of this as well. With Injustice, fans are getting to see an author who loves to write in the light, struggling along in a very dark place. It’s a challenge but I think it makes for some pretty good writing!
I would also like to add that on February 14, right across the world, an incredible event called One Billion Rising is happening. One billion women, and those who love them, are being invited to walk out, dance, rise up, and DEMAND an end to violence against women. There are public spaces near YOU where this will be happening. I will be in Melbourne’s Fed Square with my wife and children, where thousands will be dancing. I have many talents but dancing is not one of them. I will be awkwardly, self-consciously, and badly dancing against violence. You should too. You’ll probably look far better doing it than I will.
Joey is a Senior Editor at IGN and a comic book creator. Follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyEsposito, or find him on IGN at Joey-IGN. He will love Star Wars until he becomes one with the Force, and then he will continue loving it as a blue ghost.