WARNING: This Article Contains Spoilers for Injustice 2 #44
The recent unveiling of a new Superman followed what seemed to be a thinly-veiled attack upon certain elements of the movie Man of Steel. The scene came at the conclusion of the latest issue of the Injustice 2 tie-in comic, as the new Superman donned the classic Superman suit to the approval of Ma and Pa Kent.
Set on an alternate Earth where Superman became the absolute ruler of Earth following a slow descent into tyranny after the death of Lois Lane and their unborn child, the reality of Injustice has proven a surprising cash-cow for DC Comics. The video games set in the Injustice reality have been critical and commercial successes and the graphic novels set in it have gone on to be New York Times Best Sellers. The current Injustice 2 comic is a prequel to the video game Injustice 2, and focuses on Batman and the other superheroes who opposed Superman’s Regime trying to rebuild their world in the face of new threats that seek to capitalize on the chaos that followed Superman’s defeat.
One of these threats is Ra’s Al Ghul, whose partnership with several heroes and villains has fueled much of the conflict of the Injustice 2 comics. His latest plan involves a refurbished Amazo – a robot specifically programmed to replicate and counter any metahuman power to which it is exposed – which Ra’s is using to thin Earth’s population as part of his on-going effort to save the Earth by culling humanity. Detecting the robot’s presence, Batman puts out a call to every member of the new Justice League Task Force, both active and reserve members, to deal with the menace. This includes Conner Kent (a.k.a. Superboy) who is recovering from a recent surgery at the Fortress of Solitude under the watchful eye of Ma and Pa Kent and his girlfriend Cassie Sandsmark (a.k.a. Wonder Girl).
Cassie asks Conner if he’s going to sit this fight out. Conner responds that he isn’t as Jonathan Kent enters the room. Expecting a challenge, Conner asks if Pa Kent plans to tell him to try and stop him from going. While admitting that he’s scared of losing Conner so soon after getting him back, Pa Kent says that he would never stand in the way of anyone trying to help people in need. He also affirms that just as Conner is part Kryptonian, he’s also part Kent and that Kents never hide when they can help, as Martha “Ma” Kent arrives with something for Conner to wear into battle.
This scene seems to be a direct rebuttal of Ma and Pa Kent’s portrayal in The DCEU. Fans famously trashed Man of Steel‘s version of Pa Kent, who warned his son against using his powers to help people and suggested that maybe a young Clark should have let his classmates drown rather than reveal himself. Ma Kent had a similar speech in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, where she told a conflicted Clark that “You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”
Regardless of whether or not this scene was intended as a direct rebuttal of the values of Man of Steel, it is a powerful moment and typical of the skillful writing of Tom Taylor. Many Superman purists avoid the Injustice comics, believing them to be based on a faulty premise – that Superman can be corrupted. While that point is worthy of debate, it cannot be denied that the world of Injustice 2 now has a Superman worthy of the name.
Injustice 2 #44 is available for download now from Comixology.