"The powerstaff alone cost over 14 million in research and development. I had to skim it off half a dozen subsidiaries and charity foundations just to keep it off the books.
Do you think it's easy to cram so many features into such a compact space? Electric taser, EM pulse, sonic resonator, anything I could possibly need. You think it was cheap to get my hands on enough kryptonite to edge the blade? You can't just go to the nearest Best Buy and pick up a chunk of radioactive meteorite.
Let's not even talk about the orbital laser. Not even Lexcorp is allowed to legally weaponize space, no matter how hard I beat the national defence drum. It took years to smuggle in the array, piece by piece, tucked away with satellite TV units and food stuffs for the ISS. Assembled in secret, not even the astro-mechanics that worked on it really know what I've got up there – all in preparation for the day when I would finally take HIM on.
But seeing him now, beaten and broken, lying on his back wondering how it all went wrong. It was worth it. Every cent. Every year. Every life."
In my head, Injustice Lex Luthor is pretty damn cool. A genius mind ran feverish with obsession and hate. A vast empire of corporations, government lobbies, trusts, and secret societies all turned to his one singular goal of ridding the earth of it's big blue alien boyscout.
Too bad he kinda actually sucks.
Dear lord have I been trying to find a way to make him work. I really like his character design, I love the idea of fighting super humans and Gods in a big stompy robot suit, it speaks to my childish heart. But damn if it isn't an uphill battle. His slow attacks, the weird hitboxes that miss all kinds of characters, the smattering of odd special moves that work great in concert, but as soon as you lose momentum the wheels come off and everything goes to hell. The poor mad scientist is a mess!
Luckily for me, I'm still at the point where Injustice is a ton of fun even when I'm losing. I'm still seeing new things, crazy stage interactions, and ridiculous combos that make me excited for more. It's been a few weeks now and I'm still shocked at how good a game it is. Mortal Kombat 9 was solid and a nice surprise, but I didn't have anything at stake riding on it. I'm not a huge MK fan with a nostalgic lust for the old days.
But I am a comic fan, and I was really nervous that Injustice was going to be a flop. It's a wonderful thing to be wrong sometimes.
So after having a good go at it with the madman for the past few weeks and watching my win/loss dip more and more perilously, I thought I'd give the lunatic a try the other night.
Joker is a weird character in Injustice and a lot of fun to play. I initially shied away from using him since I figured he'd be pretty popular online and I didn't want to play in a bunch of mirror matches. As ever, I should have remembered that the FGC doesn't so much pick their favourite characters they love, but instead gravitate towards the easiest to win with. The quick-race to the bottom of scummy easy wins. So long as you stay away from the trigger happy Deathstroke and the omni-directional thunder god Black Adam, you won't have to worry about too many mirror matches with any other character, that power pair seem to represent a good 60% of fighters I run into.
True to form, the Joker spins and hops around the stage with a variety of odd moves and tools. He's got a big ol' knife that I can't help but love, years of playing with Cody and Vega I suppose – plus he's got a crowbar, continuing on Cody's fine tradition of whopping fighters with construction yard tools. I thought the canisters of smile-ex gas were a nice touch. They show up as part of his throw, an overhead, and as two different projectiles, one he throws in a lazy arc and the other he rolls on the ground with a sharp kick. Because you know, why not kick the can of compressed gas with your knife boot?
The rolling canister is my go-to combo extender, you can blow it up and bounce Batman all over the stage with it, it's wonderful. But I'm still having trouble figuring out what to do with the slow-pitch toss. It's a great way to get smacked in the nuts by a batarang from what I can tell.
Reaching into his coat, he can toss out a trio of chattering teeth. A classic gag. Of course they explode after a moment, I mean, what else would you expect? They hit low, setting up all kinds of fun high/low mix-up games and even some jerkbag unblockable situations (provided you don't get your jaw broken during the sluggish animation whipping them out).
He also has a gun. But that's boring.
What isn't boring is setting the training dummy to Nightwing and seeing just how many ways I can work his crowbar into a combo. There should be an achievement for finishing off a Robin with the frenzied EX version of his crowbar slam. Death in the family indeed.
I don't think I'll stick with him, but it's been fun to just sit down with the killer clown and see what exactly he can do. The more I play the game, the more I appreciate the work that went into each character. They really feel and act like their comic book counterparts and not like DC skins plastered over Mortal Kombat characters.
It's the little touches. The way Superman can effortlessly flip an opponent into the sky with a quick toss, or the way Batman works all kinds of quick little batarang tosses and gadgets into his regular moveset and combo-strings. It would have been really easy to turn Superman into a dime-store Raiden or Batman into a generic karate dude with a bat shaped fireball. But they didn't, they put some real work into representing all of the characters powers, abilities, and style while still managing to make a fairly well-balanced fighting game. It's quite an accomplishment.
Keeping in line with the comic theme, I finally got around to reading the main storyline series of Blackest Night, the big DC event from a couple of years ago. The basic setup is a mysterious new force known as the Black Lantern is terrorizing earth, slapping a black ring on just about every corpse in the DC universe and raising them up as horrible zombie jerk/Deadite type things. Looking back, I have no idea what the big deal was.
Personally, Blackest Night was a dud. A comic filled to the brim with the kind of shit that makes me not want to read comics anymore. Messy two-page battle scenes that make no kind of spacial or sequential sense. Giant text balloons budging with dramatic text, laughably self-serious dialogue, and necessary but horrendously awkward exposition. It has characters that hop around between schizophrenic alliances from page to page, inconsistent motivations and goals, and a nonsense Deus Ex Machina solution at the end to top it all off. Not to mention the entirely macabre murders and violence sprinkled throughout. I'm not a shrinking violet when it comes to getting messy, but it's still weird to me when a character gets his heart ripped out, or a girl gets folded up and stuff in a fridge in a mainline monthly comic book. Aren't these things supposed to appeal to a wide audience, kids and adults? I have to suspect the target demographic for Blackest Night wears a fedora and talks a lot about men's rights.
So yeah, don't bother reading Blackest Night. Maybe it would have been better if I read all the ancillary bullshit, the dozen or so other titles that had monthly issues devoted to the plot. But I'd be hard pressed to think of a bigger waste of time.
We are at the point where a videogame about super heroes punching each other has an infinitely more enjoyable story than actual comic books. The industry might be in trouble.
- People are upset that Batgirl is one of the DLC characters, but I can't wait. One of my favourite comics is the DC 1st that features Both Batgirl's (classic Barbara and new comer Casandra) first meeting with the Joker. It tells the story with two different art styles and moods that really highlight the fall from the classic silverage into the grimdark of modern comics.