Injustice: Gods Among Us #23 centers upon the planet Apokolips invading Earth. Having heard of Superman's more proactive policy on fighting evil-doers, the tyrant god Darkseid has decided to test Superman's new-found combativeness. The test arrives in the forms of multiple Boom Tubes, hordes of Parademons and Darkseid's son Kalibak leading the assault.
By sheer luck Tom Taylor has written one of the most timely and culturally relevant comics in recent memory with this week's issue of Injustice: Gods Among Us. It's quite a coincidence that this issue mirrors the basic plot of the movie Man of Steel in several important respects, with an invasion of super-strong aliens and a leader who taunts Superman regarding his moral code and unwillingness to kill. It's also fortunate that this comic arrived as it did at the height of a spirited Internet-wide debate regarding one question - Is it ever acceptable for Superman to kill?
Opinions are divided and passions burning hot on all sides of the issue. Some would argue that as an ideal of heroism Superman should always find a way that doesn't end in death. Others say there is a world of difference between killing and murdering. This later group offers Superman the same benefit of a doubt given to soldiers and police officers, who sometimes must take a life in the line of duty.
Injustice seems to side with the former attitude, as the problems of this world begin with Superman killing The Joker. Yet that act of death is an act of revenge - not a desperate meant to save a life. And Superman's actions in this latest issue seem more in line with the ending of Man of Steel, with Superman turning his heat vision up to a lethal degree on those who would threaten his world.
It's an intense debate and I don't think there's an easy answer. I think we can all agree, however, that the fact that we can have this debate intelligently is a good thing and that anything that gets people talking about Superman is good for the character as a whole. I can't remember hearing so many people actually caring about Superman in recent memory.
Tom Derenick's artwork lends an appropriate sense of gravitas to the proceedings. Denerick's characters are larger than life and seem to jump off the page at the reader. That is entirely appropriate to this high-action issue, where the emotional turmoil packs as many punches as the villains.