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It's the End of an Era.
"Gotham has fallen silent. The night is no longer broken by the sounds of crime. Children are no longer woken by the sudden crack of a gunshot. There are no more cries in the darkness. No tires screech as wailing sirens chase desperate men and women through narrow streets. In a way, it is the Gotham I always dreamed of. But this is no dream. This is a perversion. This is a nightmare. It is the silence of fear. It is a silence only broken by the sound of marching feet. A sound that echoes around the world. Marching feet. The rhythm of dictators. Our world is now ruled by the iron fist - of a man of steel."

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a digital-first comic book series published by DC Comics and part of the Injustice franchise beginning in 2013 and running until 2016. It is a prequel to the video game of the same name, detailing the five-year time skip between the game's prologue and main story.

In an alternate continuity, The Joker orchestrates an event that claims millions of lives and drives Superman to his breaking point. Hoping to eliminate all crime and violence everywhere and prevent further such tragedies, the Man of Steel forms a worldwide Regime with the aid of several other superheroesnote  and declares himself leader. Batman, however, sees this as a gross abuse of power and forms his own group, the Insurgencynote , to dismantle the Regime. Many people, costumed and civilian alike, die in the process.


The comic is split up into five "Years", each with a different focus note :

  • Year One - The creation of the Regime; 36 issues and an annual
  • Year Two - The Lantern Corps; 24 issues and an annual
  • Year Three - Magic; 24 issues and an annual
  • Year Four - The Greek Gods; 24 issues and an annual
  • Year Five - Villains; 40 issues and an annual

The digital issues of the series were released weekly, while the print issues arrived monthly.

From the start of the series all through its run, it was consistently one of DC's bestselling digital titles.

Years One and Two and half of Year Three were written by Tom Taylor; Brian Buccellato took over writing duties from then on, though Taylor did return for the Year Four Annual.


The series has a quasi-sequel, Injustice: Ground Zero, which retells the events of the game from Harley Quinn's perspective, and an official sequel, Injustice 2. There’s also a prequel webcomic, Injustice: Year Zero, which takes place before the events of the main game.

The Injustice: Gods Among Us comic has the following tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: By Year Five, the Regime is in this position due to its severe authoritarian nature. Some of the Regime's own higher-ranking members (such as The Flash) begin to question its methods, while others (Hal Jordan in particular) begin to dislike Superman personally because of how disrespectfully he treats them.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the game, Superman can fight Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Green Lantern at the same time, in the comic he is no match for Wonder Woman in a one-on-one battle.
  • Alternate Universe: Even before the destruction of Metropolis, this is a DC Universe where Lex Luthor was never a criminal, Superman considered him a friend, Brainiac never came to Earth before Injustice 2, and Brainiac is explicitly responsible for the destruction of Krypton. The Injustice Superman was nowhere near as battle-tested as the mainstream version, which may help to explain how he fell so far so fast. Tom Taylor also implied that Wonder Woman was far less good-aligned in this universe, which was, in his view, the only way of reconciling her portrayal here with her standard take.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Just like in the game, the reason the Insurgents (who are composed mostly of non-powered heroes) are able to go toe-to-toe with the mostly-superpowered Regime without getting instantly stomped is through the use of a pill based on Kryptonian nanotech that increases the user's muscle and bone density by several thousand percent. Lex Luthor originally created the pill to be used by Superman's army, but the Insurgency stole one of them and duplicated it.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Before ODing on Kryptonian durability pills and going out to fight Superman, Renee tearfully confesses her love to Maggie Sawyer over the phone.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: A staple of both Superman and Batman hurling these at each other post-Metropolis.
    • Superman gives one to Batman in Year One #10 regarding his handling of Joker Immunity.
    Superman: And every time you let that madman live, how many more did you condemn?
    • Batman asks Flash one in Year One #13 after Superman and Wonder Woman take down a protesting superhuman named Galaxor.
    Batman: How do you think he felt when his heroes broke him?
    • Ganthet is unable to answer when Superman asks him this question in Year Two #5:
    Superman: You said you have watched civilizations rise and fall — were you watching Krypton in its final moments? Did you choose, in your infinite wisdom, to not use your power that day?
  • Bait-and-Switch: Constantine asks Zatanna to send him to "the world's greatest detective." Naturally, the reader assumes it's Batman, but it turns out to be Detective Chimp.
  • Big Bad Slippage: The comics document how Superman's motives for what he does post-Metropolis go out of control, his acceptance of increasingly brutal methods to solve crime, and the resultant Sanity Slippage. By the end of the five year gap, he is firmly in villain territory and a far cry from what he used to be.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In Year One #11, Superman sends Bruce into a rage by calling him a bad father.
    • Bizarro goes into a murderous rage when Weather Wizard calls him "Fake Superman".
    • The existence of resistance movements in general irritates Superman, but a resistance movement glorifying Joker drives him mad enough to massacre them all with extreme prejudice.
  • Beware the Superman: The comics expand on the the hardline ideology that Superman and his allies adopt after Metropolis, showing what happens when the ideal heroes are pushed to their breaking point and eventually become unhinged monsters far worse than the villains they fought. And worse, all of them are now little more than soldiers for the man who should've been the greatest one of them all, who is now just a petty, hate-filled madman ruling the world with an iron grip, with even the tiniest dissent sending him off.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Ch'p is killed by a bolt of Lantern energy piercing his brain.
  • The Bus Came Back: Black Lightning returns in the Year Five Annual. He'd been missing from the series since the end of Year One, when Batman told the Insurgents to go into hiding.
  • Canon Foreigner: Galaxor, who debuts in Year One and has no main continuity counterpart.
  • Car Fu: At one point, Batman takes out Bane and Killer Frost by ramming the Batmobile into them.
  • Cast Herd: Counting the Regime, the Insurgency, and side roles, the series features upwards of fifty characters with more than one line (counting every on-panel character puts the number well above one hundred). Due to all the deaths, however, there's only a maximum of about thirty introduced characters who are still alive at any one time.
  • Cliffhanger: The end of Year Four. Izaya managed to convince the Olympian gods to leave Earth forever, Superman captured Ares and gives him to Darkseid as a prisoner, and a clone of Superman escaped...
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Literally, when Killer Frost uses extreme low temperatures to get Catwoman to spill info on Batman.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Downplayed in Year Five #5 when Damian slaughters a half-dozen or so League of Assassins members who had been tailing him.
  • The Corrupter: Sinestro, even more so than the Joker. The Joker managed to turn Superman (and by proxy, most of the Justice League) into a Knight Templar, but Sinestro's influence turned Superman and Hal Jordan into raving maniacs, with terrible results for everyone else.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Lex Luthor had a speedster on his payroll, tasked with getting him to safety in case of a catastrophic event hitting Metropolis. This is how he survives the nuclear blast that destroys the city.
    • Batman has lead-based smoke grenades on hand just in case he ever has to escape from Superman (who can't see through lead).
  • Creator Cameo: Tom Taylor appears on the front page of a Daily Planet issue in Year Three.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Superman is on the receiving end of one of these at the end of Year One. From who? Alfred Pennyworth.note 
    • Catwoman gives an off-panel one to Damian in Year Two.
    • Solomon Grundy stomps Hawkgirl in Year Five #11.
    • Batwoman takes out a half-dozen of Jason Todd's mooks with minimal effort in Year Five #16.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion:
    • On separate occasions, Batwoman and Catwoman manage to get a hit or two on Wonder Woman before being decked with a single blow.
    • In Year Three #20, Renee gets in a right hook against Hal and kicks him through a tree before he uppercuts her with a Lantern construct (of a jet engine, for some reason), knocking her out.
    • Hawkgirl smashes Solomon Grundy across the face with her mace before he turns the tables on her.
  • Darker and Edgier: The comic is this compared to the game, as it is bloodier and features far more "onscreen" deaths.
  • Deconstruction: Of several tropes at play in the DCU that get a soft pass in more idealistic comics.
    • Cardboard Prison: Part of Superman's plan to make a better world is to close down Arkham and move its inmates to a more proper detention center. In a TV interview, he finds it baffling that Arkham's still in operation despite its lax security and inmates' unwillingness to reform. It's especially pertinent given that the wide-open nature of Arkham's security is what facilitates the plot. Joker certainly wouldn't have been able to do what he did if he were at a more secure facility.
    • Determinator: Both Superman and Batman are this… and it plays out about as well as could be expected. Each man's unswerving dedication to their respective ideals means that virtually no effort is made to reach a compromise apart from Superman offering Batman a chance to join him early on. Much avoidable conflict ensues because of both being excessively stubborn and their supporters likewise become increasingly radicalized as the conflict escalates from stepping on each other's toes to all-out war, with both sides dragging outside characters into a struggle that is, ultimately, a massive game of chicken between Supes and Bats.
    • Joker Immunity: Like the game, the story plays hardball with this trope, showing exactly how much damage a maniac like the Joker could really do if he instead went after another hero. The point is also made that the Rogues Gallery types should logically be put in more secure facilities if killing them is not an option, as the traditional status quo merely allows them to keep doing their crimes with little or no impunity.
    • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Despite being one of the staples of superhero characterization in the DCU, the comic shows how lousy this really is. As seen above, Superman pulls no punches with his opinion of Batman's handling of the Joker, calling him out on the hypocrisy of getting snotty with him about killing the Joker when countless people have died on his account because he kept giving the clown second chances that he clearly didn't deserve, stopping just short of accusing Bruce of Murder by Inaction and insinuating he holds him partly accountable for what happened to Lois and Metropolis. The Apokoliptian invasion, meanwhile, along with a Villain Has a Point moment from Kalibak, are what convinces Superman to adopt a more lethal Pay Evil unto Evil approach, after Kalibak underlines what little reason villains — especially the likes of Apokoliptians — have to fear superheroes when there are no permanent consequences to face for their crimes, and how they just as often show more concern for the lives of their enemies than the people they're protecting.
      Kalibak: If you're not prepared to take a life — then you can't possibly fight a war!
  • Deliver Us from Evil: In Year Two, Black Canary (who is pregnant at the time) and Harley Quinn have a heart-to-heart where Harley admits that she has a four-year-old daughter named Lucy, who lives with Harley's sister. She stresses that the Joker doesn't know about her and cites his work being too important as the reason why she gave Lucy up, though it's strongly implied that Harley believed he would hurt Lucy and wanted her out of harm's way. Harley still starts out on the side of the bad guys, but this is an early humanizing moment meant to make the audience sympathize, paving the way for Harley eventually admitting to herself that she can do better and leaving the Joker, joining the good guys this time.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Hawkgirl. Despite playing a major role in Years One and Two, she's missing from most of Year Three and is absent from Year Four entirely, except for the Annual. Hal even lampshades this when she reappears in Year Five.
    • Raven probably has the least to do overall, but it really shows after Year Three, in which she is a major component of John Constantine's plan involving her father Trigon, only to disappear from the plot almost entirely until the tail-end of Year Five, when Superman has to talk her into coming back to the Regime.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Superman crosses it in Year One #4 as a combination of guilt and grief over Lois and impotent rage at the Joker drive him to abandon hope in humanity's good nature, setting the stage for his descent into darkness. That Joker pushed Superman to the edge by striking him where he is most vulnerable just For the Evulz speaks for itself.
    • Catwoman already had her doubts about the Insurgency's effectiveness, but her torture at the hands of Killer Frost and Bane pushed her over the edge and made her lose all hope in their success.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Enforced. Almost all of the Insurgency's superpowered members are killed off before the end of the first Year in order to make their struggle more difficult.
  • Dice Roll Death: In Year Five #18, Bizarro is flying while carrying Trickster. All of a sudden, Bizarro sneezes... and uses both hands to cover his mouth, causing him to drop Trickster, who lands on a mountain and dies. If Bizarro hadn't sneezed, the death would've been avoided.
  • Dies Wide Open: Dick Grayson, Huntress, and Renee Montoya.
  • Disposable Woman:
    • Lois Lane, her unborn child, Jimmy Olsen, and the entire population of Metropolis are killed off to justify Superman's fall.
    • Dick Grayson as well, to give grief to Batman and Oracle.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • As a prequel, telling which characters are going to die becomes rather easy; if they're in the comic but not in the game, they're almost certainly toast.
    • There will not be any conclusion or closure to the Superman-turned-evil plotline until the events of the game start happening. Every single plan the heroes try to use to beat back the regime fails, sometimes arguably by way of Diabolus Ex Machinae. By the time the Injustice: Gods Among Us game actually starts, the resistance resorts to interdimensional aid literally because they tried every other possible option.
    • Damian acts as an unrepentant asshole in the game, so an unrepentant asshole he will become.
  • Double Meaning: When Batman said that his son is dead, he is referring to not only Dick Grayson/Nightwing, who was accidentally killed by Damian Wayne/Robin, but also treating Damian as if he is not his son anymore.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Shortly after Superman kills the Joker, Wonder Woman flies to an African refugee camp, where she interrupts the rape of a woman by a soldier who was supposed to keep the peace. Wonder Woman disarms the soldiers, and tells the women that they have nothing to fear from them. One of the women then states that as soon as she flies away, the men will keep doing what they always do, to which Wonder Woman tells the women to pick up the guns and do what they have to do. As she flies away, gunshots sound out in the camp below.
  • Draco in Leather Pants/Ron the Death Eater: In-Universe, both applied to Superman.
    • On one hand, Superman's allies find themselves defending Superman's decisions with variations on I Did What I Had to Do an uncomfortable number of times, and don't ask too many hard questions until Superman has fully turned tyrant and stopped treating them as his friends. Shazam, when asked how he can believe Superman is in the right, is only able to answer with, "He's Superman!" While he does start out with good intentions, generally noble methods, and reasonable points to make, these and Superman's reputation as The Paragon if anything just make it even easier for his supporters to rationalize their doubts away because it starts out making sense and with making small moral compromises, only for those moral compromises to increase in size and number over time.
    • On the other hand, Batman and his more rabid critics come off as determined to paint Superman's actions in the worst possible light, ignoring that plenty of the things he does, while extreme, are actually quite easy to justify. His killing of the Joker is one example, with a few people treating it as a big moral failing despite Superman's very compelling reasons to do so and none of them offering a better solution. Then when Superman saves the world from Darkseid's Parademons by killing them all, Batman treats his actions as crossing the Moral Event Horizoninvoked, despite the fact that he and his teammates were saved because of him. Huntress calls him out on this and comes close to walking out on the Insurgency because of Batman failing to make a case for why Superman is in the wrong. Even once he becomes a Fallen Hero for real, his critics always downplay or outright ignore arguments made about the benefits the Regime has brought to Earth, even when those are the reasons someone has joined Superman in the first place. For example, Damian Wayne turns against Bruce at Arkham because he thinks Superman is right about it being worthless, Swamp Thing joins the Regime out of admiration for its eco-friendly energy plans, and Black Lightning strikes a compromise with Superman to build a new Metropolis to house the homeless people in his neighbourhood.
    • The Joker gets some of the former as well in Year Five, when it transpires that an anti-Regime resistance movement has been borrowing his name and calling him an Icon of Rebellion who stood for freedom and anti-establishment sentiment. This is, if anything, far worse than that given to Superman; at least Superman really was a hero once upon a time, but only a cursory glance at the Joker's history would debunk any notion of him being an admirable figure. In-universe, these people are viewed as morons asking for trouble by the Insurgency and Batwoman calls them out on the stupidity of idolising someone like the Joker — especially when the Joker is the the man responsible for Superman turning tyrant. Even Harley Quinn makes it clear to them that the Joker was a jackass who deserved to die.
  • Dramatic Irony: Clark claims he's nothing like Darkseid in Year Four #22 after seeing him vaporize someone who tried to tell them their fighting was doing more harm than good. Now, remember what he did to Billy in the game?
  • Driven to Suicide: Galaxor, two years after he gets his spine broken by Superman and Wonder Woman.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Quite a few.
    • Dick Grayson gets hit in the head by an escrima stick and falls onto a piece of rubble, snapping his neck.
    • Kyle Rayner gets captured during his very first appearance and gets torn limb-from-limb by the Sinestro Corps.
    • Klarion dies instantly from getting zapped by Sinestro while his back was turned.
    • Jason Blood and Harvey Bullock get vaporized in a sudden burst of magical energy.
    • Huntress gets taken out rather abruptly in a fight.
    • Sinestro is responsible for yet another one: Kilowog, who gets killed by a blast of Lantern energy while he just stands there.
    • Trickster dies when Bizarro drops him while they're flying.
  • Due to the Dead: Played with to illustrate that the Regime isn't 100% evil.
    • Oliver Queen's funeral is respectfully attended by members of both the Insurgency and Superman's Regime, despite the fact that Superman is the one who killed him. Superman wasn't there himself, though.
    • Two years later, while rescuing Insurgency and Regime members from a burning, reality-collapsing battlefield, the Flash (a Regime member) makes an effort to retrieve the body of Huntress (an Insurgent), who was killed earlier in the fighting.
    • Later, Superman forms a temporary truce with Bruce Wayne, his enemy, and allows him to collect the body of Renee Montoya after she dies of a heart attack while fighting Superman.
    • In Year Five, the Flash shows up uninvited to a makeshift wake for Weather Wizard and Heat Wave to pay his respects.
  • Dwindling Party: Each Year features the death of at least one Insurgent. Beginning in Year Four, the remaining Insurgents start to lampshade this.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Just because you're Doomed by Canon doesn't mean you can't go out like a badass.
    • Captain Atom spends his last couple of minutes after his suit is ruptured by Wonder Woman calling Wonder Woman an idiot before grabbing Superman and flying him out to space in an attempt to blow him up with his suit. To top things off, the resulting explosion leaves Wonder Woman in a coma for almost a year.
    • Green Arrow goes down fighting after becoming trapped in the Fortress of Solitude. He knows he doesn't have a chance against Superman, but he keeps shooting at him anyway... which distracts Superman from the fact that one of the arrows sails past him and through a crack in the Fortress walls. This arrow is later revealed to contain the tracking device Batman planted on Green Arrow and a sample of Lex Luthor's super-pill. With that sacrifice, the Insurgency was given a fighting chance of taking on the Regime.
    • After Renee overdoses on super-pills, her final minutes before succumbing to a heart attack consist of going toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel himself in an attempt to kill him, including using the Washington Monument like a baseball bat to knock him through the sky.
    • Sadly Averted by some, prime examples are Nightwing dies from a broken neck because he wasn't paying attention to a thrown escrima stick by Damien, causing him to fall onto a piece of rubble at the wrong angle, killing him instantly and Huntress' gets strangled to death by Wonder Womans lasso.
  • Enemy Mine: Batman recruits various supervillains to help him take down the Regime in Year Five. Superman does the same after hearing of Batman's plan, though the villains he chooses are ones who are actually willing to use lethal force.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: While fighting Sinestro in Year Three #20, Batwoman throws some Batarangs at him, which slice into a tree after Sinestro dodges them. Sinestro calls Batwoman's aim "pathetic"... just before the tree collapses onto him and knocks him out.
    Batwoman: Pathetic, huh?
  • Eye Scream:
    • In the first Annual, Green Arrow shoots arrows into both of Lobo's eyes.
    • During their Trial by Combat in Year Four, Wonder Woman jabs her thumbs into Superman's eyes.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Exaggerated in Year Five #16: Batwoman and Harley somehow don't hear Superman busting in through a glass roof despite leaving the room only seconds earlier.
  • Fanservice Faux Fight: Late into Year Five, a two-part story taking place on the alternate good Earth features a panel of a "chicken fight" in a pool between Renee Montoya and Dinah Lance (riding Kate Kane and Ollie Queen, respectively); both of them are wearing bikinis.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Superman plays this for drama when Batman shows signs of not liking what he's doing, accusing him of actually, genuinely loving the Joker as the reason for why Batman's holed up not mourning the destruction of Metropolis or helping the other heroes out with Superman's global ceasefire effort.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As a prequel, several things are guaranteed: the Insurgency will not win by the end; Batman, Harley, Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Bane, Killer Frost, Solomon Grundy, and Doomsday will live; Catwoman will abandon the Insurgency; and all high-ranking Regime members will survive.
  • A Friend in Need: The reason all the superheroes Wonder Woman assembles to help find Superman's parents agree. As Cyborg explains it, he's Superman, he's saved the whole world countless times, and this is a chance to pay him back.
  • From Bad to Worse: Oh, boy. Metropolis is left in ruins due to a nuclear weapon that Joker detonated, killing millions (including Lois Lane and her unborn child). Superman responds to this by becoming an Unscrupulous Hero and even killing Joker. After this, he decides that he has the ultimate moral authority in the world and dismantles a dictatorship in a less-than-legal manner, demanding a ceasefire in the process. When the U.N. rightfully calls him out for this, he apologizes and reveals his secret identity, unintentionally endangering a number of people. He then forges an alliance with Wonder Woman just after her Start of Darkness (wounding Ares). He then ruins his relationship with Batman with a Motive Rant about how people can only be ruled through fear, and how killing an evil person is necessary to save thousands. Aquaman breaks the ceasefire by attacking whalers, causing much of the Justice League to attack him and fracturing the team when Superman orders them to throw Atlantis into the Sahara Desert. Meanwhile, Damian Wayne kills Dick Grayson. After this, the New Regime forms, with Superman and Wonder Woman taking lead.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In Year Three #17 the Spectre pulls Superman and the rest of his group into the Tower of Fate where the Insurgents are hiding, forcing John Constantine to summon Trigon.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In Year 2, when the remnants of the Justice League confront the Regime and the Yellow Lantern Corps, Superman, who was given a Yellow Ring by Sinestro, uses his heat vision to wound Black Canary. She then tells him that his actions are being broadcast across the world so that everyone can see what he's become. Batman tells her to kill the feed, because after seeing how bad Superman has become, the world has come to fear him and the Regime. And as the Yellow Ring feeds on fear, it becomes more powerful...
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Batman (good angel) and Wonder Woman (bad angel) are this to Superman. Wonder Woman eventually wins.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: During the Arkham riot, Nightwing encourages Superman not to hold back on Grundy since he's a zombie and will just grow back to normal in his own time.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The aftermath of Superman beating Green Arrow to death with his bare hands thankfully isn't shown.
    • Kyle Rayner getting ripped apart by the Sinestro Corps is shown silhouetted by the sun, obscured by light bloom, and further blocked by Sinestro's head.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Early in Year Four, Kate Kane visits the graves of Ollie, Dinah, Renee, and (presumably, it's not made explicit) Helena, promising she will avenge them.
  • Happily Married: Kate and Renee are married in this continuity and from all indications it's been a success. Though they admittedly have bigger problems on hand than any marriage difficulties that might be present.
  • Hate Sink: The Joker gets saddled with this posthumously, and everyone is actively happy to be rid of him, as he was the one responsible for causing Superman's Start of Darkness. Even Harley has come to despise him for this reason.
  • Heel Realization: Invoked with Wonder Woman's killing of Huntress, whose Sedgwick Speech makes her question how far the Regime is willing to go, and causes her to caution Superman against becoming a full-blown tyrant. Subverted or averted by the time of the game, however, since Wonder Woman is shown to be much more ruthless by then.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Lex's speedster gets caught in the nuclear blast that destroys Metropolis while attempting to save others.
    • Having beaten down Superman, Captain Atom is about to finish him off when Wonder Woman arrives and nicks his containment suit with her sword. Knowing he'll not only die but kill the entire North Pole if he stays on Earth, he pulls a Taking You with Me on Superman, hauling him far into the atmosphere. He saves the rest of the Insurgency, critically injures Wonder Woman (who chased him), but fails to kill Superman.
    • Green Arrow deliberately fires an arrow containing a super-pill at Superman, knowing he'll dodge it and be distracted enough that the other Insurgents will have time to retrieve the pill, ultimately allowing Batman to replicate it. The distraction costs him his life, as Superman beats him to death.
    • Artemis shoves Hippolyta out of the way of a blast from Hera, saving her but getting incinerated in the process.
    • Alfred Pennyworth dies rather than reveal info about Bruce.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Superman does this to Batman at the end of Year One, before taking a card out of Bane's book and breaking his back.
  • Hot-Blooded: Superman's chief failing is that he's too passionate, easily enraged, and acts before he thinks. It doesn't take a great deal to push his buttons as Sinestro finds out to his advantage.
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Batman and the President.
    President: They said it couldn't be traced back to me.
    Batman: It couldn't. I was playing a hunch. It's not a hunch anymore, though.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Year Four involves a Trial by Combat between Superman and Wonder Woman, the exact setup for which is a bit too lengthy to put here. The important part is that they beat seven shades of hell out of each other until they're both bloody wrecks.
  • Hurl It into the Sun:
    • How Superman defeats Ganthet and Mogo in Year Two #24.
    • Superman does this again in Year Five, to Parasite.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Said by Regime members so often in the comic that it's a dark Running Gag.
    • Superman says it to Black Canary after he beats Green Arrow to death.
    • Damian's reaction to killing Dick Grayson.
    • Wonder Woman after she snaps Huntress's neck.
    • The Flash says it after he kills King Shark.
  • Idiot Ball: Superman revealing his identity to the public. Sure, everyone in Metropolis is dead, but his Smallville friends and family are still around. Predictably, his parents immediately get kidnapped by mercenaries and a supervillain working for the US government. To make things worse, he does it literally the day after his wife got killed because a villain knew too much about him.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In Year Three #22, while beating the absolute stuffing out of Wonder Woman for killing Huntress, Batwoman mentions this is the reason why she won't finish the job.
  • Ignored Epiphany: The Regime members generally quash any doubts they have regarding their hardline stance on crime and move on.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The Flash throws a mop so hard that the handle goes clean through King Shark.
    • Just like in the game, Superman's Start of Darkness begins with stabbing his hand through the Joker's torso.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Superman rants to Batman about how killing the Joker sooner would have prevented the destruction of Metropolis.
  • Kick the Dog: For all his claims of not wanting to resort to involving the Olympians in the Regime-Insurgency conflict and not wanting to see Wonder Woman and Superman kill each other, Batman takes a little too much sadistic glee in profiting from Hippolyta's deal with Hera and is a little too quick to make Wonder Woman fight Superman in Trial by Combat for his actions to come off as anything but a dick move.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: In Year Four, as Wonder Woman recovers from a beatdown at the hands of Hercules, Batwoman takes the opportunity to strangle her with the Lasso of Truth, as payback for Huntress's murder the previous year. Batwoman releases her before killing her, though.
  • Killed Off for Real: A lot of people die over the course of the series, and as it takes place in a separate universe from DC's main canon, all deaths are final unless otherwise indicated.
    • In Year One Jimmy Olsen, Scarecrow, Lois Lane, Joker, Dick Grayson, Kalibak, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, and a majority of Metropolis's citizens are all killed. An unnamed female speedster (heavily implied to be Jesse Chambers) is incinerated during the destruction of Metropolis.
    • Year Two sees the deaths of Kyle Rayner, Jim Gordon, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Ganthet, Mogo, Despero, Ch'p, and a quarter of the Sinestro Corps. Also, Black Canary is killed, but revived and sent to an alternate universe, so for all practical purposes she is dead as well.
    • In Year Three, Jason Blood, Harvey Bullock, Ragman, Deadman, Phantom Stranger, Klarion, Detective Chimp, Huntress, and Swamp Thing all die. Doctor Fate, Trigon, and Mr. Mxyzptlk are all "sent to the void," which according to John Constantine is about as dead as something can get. Beast Boy and Kid Flash die in the Year Three Annual, but chronologically their deaths occurred in Year One. Rose Psychic and Doctor Occult also die in the Annual, though they die just before the start of Year Three.
    • Year Four: Renee Montoya, Hercules, Artemis, Kilowog.
    • Year Five: Parasite, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, Jason Bard, Trickster, Bizarro, Alfred, King Shark, Hawkman, Victor Zsasz.
  • Killer Rabbit: Ch'p, a Green Lantern Corpsman who resembles a small squirrel-like creature, almost manages to kill Superman and arguably comes closer to doing so than anyone else in the entire series.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • Harley rips Lobo's head off with her bare hands in the first Annual.
    • Superman tears off Solomon Grundy's head in Year Five to subdue him.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: In Year Three, Superman is trapped in a magic-based version that begins with him saving Lois from death, Batman killing the Joker to prevent him coming after Supes again and turning himself in for it and Supes and Lois getting to raise their daughter, named Lara after her grandmother, who inherits her father's powers, becomes a superhero in her own right and is able to get started on solving the world's problems through a Rousing Speech and some diplomacy. Of course, he ends up creating the same regime he created in reality, the difference is that he gets the world's governments to cede their power to him willingly.
  • Mask of Sanity: Superman makes an attempt to hide how far gone he is. Occasionally he'll play a Big Brother Mentor to Shazam! and he'll act all nice with Lex Luthor around, but it doesn't take long for the mask to crack.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-Universe, a group of Superman-worshipping cultists crop up and start killing petty criminals in Gotham, believing they're doing things Superman would approve of now that his standards for killing his foes are more relaxed. What they evidently missed is that Superman killed people who were far worse than that in the heat of the moment — first the Joker, who was close to evil incarnate and had just wronged him in a deeply cruel and personal way, and then Kalibak and his Parademon army, who were deliberately killing innocent people just because they could and after Kalibak pointed out that his mercy towards them only encouraged them to come back — or that he did so reluctantly and not as an endorsement of killing low-level crooks. Also the Joker Underground, who completely misinterpreted everything about the Joker.
  • Mission Control: Cyborg's primary role in the Regime is providing operational support and intel to the other Regime members while they're in the field.
  • Moe Greene Special: The Joker shoots and kills Jimmy Olsen through the lens of his camera.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Damian Wayne's reaction to accidentally killing Dick Grayson.
    • Wonder Woman's immediate reaction to killing Huntress in Year Three #21.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Year One #36, Superman breaks Batman's spinal column Bane-style.
    • In Year Two, the playing card Harley wears as a pendant has the BTAS Joker's face on it.
    • When Green Arrow has Harley in the Arrow Cave, he mentions Joker's old fake hand gag.
    • In the Year Four Annual, Cyborg claims Plastic Man won't break into the League's prison because he couldn't "survive the pressures of the deepest part of the ocean". In Justice League Obsidian Age, Plastic Man did just that, for thousands of years no less.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: When Guy Gardner attempts to persuade Superman to abandon working with Sinestro, he mentions that most of the Sinestro Corps is made up of scary-looking monsters, eventually lampshading this trope by specifically pointing out Arkillo, who "literally has the word 'kill' in his name."
  • Neck Snap:
    • Dick Grayson dies by hitting his neck against a piece of rubble after getting knocked down by Damian.
    • Sinestro performs one on Despero.
    • Wonder Woman kills Huntress this way. With the Lasso of Truth, no less.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Batman chews out the president of the United States for his government pulling an I Have Your Wife gambit on Superman, pointing out that they have not only strengthened Superman's resolve, but given him a platform to rally his fellow Justice Leaguers — namely, that he tried to do the right thing and make a difference in the world and was thanked for it by having his parents abducted.
    • At the end of Year Two, Superman accepts a Sinestro Corps ring and murders Black Canary. That's bad, but Dinah made sure Superman's actions were broadcast worldwide. That's good, right? Not when the collective fear of billions of people turns Superman utterly invincible, allowing him to hurl Ganthet and Mogo into the sun.
  • No Badass to His Valet: As ever, Alfred to Batman.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • How Superman kills Green Arrow.
    • Wonder Woman gives one to Sinestro after finding out Superman is part of the Yellow Lantern Corps.
    • A few issues later, Wonder Woman gets one herself after killing Huntress, courtesy of Batwoman.
    • Wonder Woman gets yet another one in Year Four from Hercules.
    • In Year Five, Batman gives one to Victor Zsasz after he murders Alfred. Superman arrives on the scene, and Batman gives him one as well after a brief fight.note 
    • Superman kills Hawkman this way, even while sick from kryptonite exposure.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: The Insurgency have a bad tendency to assume victory is assured way ahead of actually winning. Cue them losing due to underestimating the Regime or getting blindsided by a new development, every single time. Notable examples include:
    • Black Canary shooting Superman with a kryptonite bullet non-fatally, gloating over the Insurgency's would-be impending victory... and then turning her back on him just as Superman is approached by a Sinestro Corps Ring, allowing him to remove the bullet and shoot her with his Eye Beams. Then, she starts gloating about exposing his dark side to the world, but doesn't realise she just handed Supes victory on a silver platter.
    • In Year Three Batman and his team have got Superman and his allies on the ropes... but Bats, without finding a way to restrain Supes, asks him to surrender and predictably loses control of the situation.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Batman reacts angrily to Superman calling him a bad father.
    • After Wonder Woman kills Huntress, Batwoman flies into a rage and beats the crap out of her, and is later seen crying over her friend's corpse.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Invoked by Harley Quinn, referring to Doctor Fate, when Detective Chimp brings it up.
  • Off-Model: The Year One series uses several different artists with different styles and varying quality. This can be a bit jarring in some of the lower quality art.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Batman's look of horror when Superman puts his hand right through the Joker's chest.
    • Kalibak has this exact reaction (with a little Symbol Swearing) when he fails to kill Superman after attacking the world with a legion of parademons and blasting Supes in the chest.
    • "Kal-El of the planet Krypton. You have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps."
    • Right after Superman gets a Yellow Ring and becomes a Sinestro Corpsman, Batman realizes that, by streaming pictures of him murdering Black Canary, the heroes just gave him the power of the fear of billions of people. Superman then proceeds to destroy both Ganthet and Mogo, a freaking living planet, with ease.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Subverted with Luthor's hired speedster, who tries to save others from the nuclear blast that destroys Metropolis but ends up getting incinerated.
  • Papa Wolf: The entire third season was John Constantine's Xanatos Gambit to protect Eose. He didn't care one whit about Superman's Regime or Batman's Resistance. He just wanted to kill Trigon so his daughter would be safe from him.
  • Percussive Therapy:
    • After Dick Grayson's death, Batman punches up a training dummy for hours until he tears holes in the knuckles of his suit.
    • Midway through Year Five, Harley gets it in her head that the best way to sort out her emotional issues is to go "smoosh" Shazam for a while with her mallet.
  • Phlebotinum Overdose:
    • Jim Gordon's use of the durability pill accelerates his lung cancer, ultimately killing him in Year Two.
    • Early in Year Four, Renee Montoya overdoses on Kryptonian durability pills, hoping she can defeat Superman this way and avenge Huntress. After a brief fight she ends up dead of a heart attack due to the massive strain on her body.
  • Pistol-Whipping: In Year Five #16, Batwoman uses a disarmed mook's assault rifle to smack him and several others.
  • Police Brutality: In Year Two, the men Superman stationed in Gotham did this to the actual police officer Bullock.
  • Pregnant Badass: Black Canary, as revealed at Ollie's funeral.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Documents the rise of the Regime, including:
    • How Superman's motives for what he does warp all out of shape and his methods get increasingly extreme and brutal.
    • How Hal Jordan winds up becoming disillusioned with the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps and what exactly happened to make him trust Sinestro again and ultimately join his corps.
    • How Damian Wayne ends up joining Superman, and the cause for the breakdown in his and Batman's relationship.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Year Five shows both Superman and Batman doing this, providing an explanation for how Bane, Killer Frost and Doomsday end up serving the Regime.
  • Running Gag: The exchange between any two people discussing the matter of Green Arrow's secret lair, roughly follows the same pattern :
    Person 1: "Arrow Cave" ? That's just dumb.
    Person 2 (usually Harley Quinn): He should call it "The Quiver".
    Person 1: That is a better name.
  • Saved by Canon: Any Regime members present in the game are all but certain to survive the prequel comic, and the writers don't hesitate to take advantage of that fact. Wonder Woman in particular has taken a tremendous amount of punishment as of Year Four's end.
  • Screw Destiny: At the very end of Year Two, Doctor Fate says "*** fate" and brings Black Canary back to life and takes her and her newborn son to a dimension where Green Arrow had lost his version of Dinah.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Frustrated with the Insurgency's lack of progress in defeating the Regime, disturbed by how many of their number have been killed trying to do so, and profoundly shaken from recently being tortured, Catwoman abandons the group early in Year Five.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Jim Gordon knew who the Bat-family was from the moment Barbara put on the costume.
  • Sedgwick Speech: In the midst of a battle, Huntress declares to Wonder Woman that the Insurgents would rather die than live under Superman's tyranny. Seconds later, Wonder Woman snaps her neck.
  • Self-Serving Memory: When the captive Sinestro tells his story to Superman, his narration makes him out to be the victim. However, what's shown on panel is that he's anything but the misunderstood little lamb he makes himself out to be, having brutally subjugated his own world and savagely attacking his own Green Lantern companions the minute they confront him.
  • Serendipitous Survival: In Year Five #16, Batwoman and Harley Quinn exit a warehouse used as a meeting place for a pro-Joker resistance group mere seconds before Superman arrives and slaughters the entire building.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In Year Five, Damian interrupts a meeting of supervillians, one of whom is Scarecrow. The only problem is, Scarecrow was killed way back in Year One. Brian Buccellato confirmed on Twitter that this was just an oversight.
    • In Year Five #29, Bruce has a short conversation with Kate, but due to a production error, she's wearing Barbara's Batsuit and has her hair colored more orange. Again, Brian Buccellato confirmed this was just a production error and that it's supposed to be Kate.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ironically, for all Wonder Woman's attempts to intimate herself as Superman's mistress, the Lotus-Eater Machine Supes is trapped in during Year Three has her get married to Batman, implying Superman thinks they make a good couple.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Trigon shows up in Year Three, Harley gets excited because she thinks it's "the guy from Legend".
    • When Billy Batson is asking random civilians what they think about the heroes more extreme actions, two punk-goth people say that what Superman did to Joker was awesome and hardcore, and say they heard he ripped the Joker's still-beating heart out of his chest. The guy of the pair then yells "Fatality!".
    • Harley again, when trapped in Tartarus in Year Four:
    • When Detective Chimp appears in issue #10 of Year Four, he's wearing a t-shirt that says "Talking Raccoon? Bitch Please".
    • In Year Five #13, Damian and Alfred talk about why each of them joined the side they did. Eventually, Alfred asks Damian if he really came all the way to the Batcave to "argue about Batman versus Superman."
    • The black uniforms and helmet-masks of the Regime troops are closely similar to the soldiers of a renegade splinter faction army. And what's shown of them in action, they appear equally as effective.
  • Slashed Throat: How Wonder Woman uses her sword to breach Captain Atom's containment suit.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: The comic does a good job taking a step-by-step approach to emphasize Superman's increasing comfort with violence and extreme methods. Superman genuinely does believe and tries to be heroic, but without Lois and his estrangement from Bruce, his conscience and kindness gets hardened. He slowly drifts from humanity and his reactions towards evil actions and crime become more and more extreme and disproportionate. He never consciously enacts evil actions but always in reaction, where his only method is extreme.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Averted by Superman in Year One #14.
  • Supernormal Bindings: How John Constantine kept Raven bound. He has Ragman try to do the same with Superman, but failed.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Unlike, say, the DC Animated Universe, which is very Badass Normal-friendly, the actual power discrepancy between those who have powers and those who don't is played realistically for dramatic effect. The Insurgency have to fall back on stolen super pills just to stay in the game, with Batman outright stating they won't be able to stop Superman without them. And since the Regime heroes comprise most of those with powers, when the Insurgency does get a score or temporary victory, they only do so with cheap shots, surprise attacks and/or calling in help from more powerful figures. Indeed, during the Apokoliptian invasion, the most Batman's crew can do is hold the parademons off until Superman stops holding back and just zaps them.
      • And even then, the pills are merely strength/durability enhancers. That alone simply doesn't match up against Superman's Combo Platter Powers or Wonder Woman's weapons and Lasso.
    • Commissioner Gordon reveals he has always known Barbara was Batgirl and who the people she spent time with were. He's been in the business of investigating crime long enough that there was no way he couldn't figure it out.
    Barbara: How?
    Gordon: How? I'm a detective!
    • Batman tries to use the Greek Gods to get Superman and co to go away. But they're past his ability to control, don't share his ideology in any way, and only got involved because of Zeus' ego being hurt that nobody worships him anymore. An Enemy Mine situation only works if you can maintain the advantage or have at least some fondness for each other. Without either, Batman still walks away the loser.
  • Taking You with Me: Attempted by Captain Atom, who drags Superman into orbit after Wonder Woman damages his suit. He fails to kill Supes or Wondy, but the latter is critically injured and left out of action for quite some time.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Batwoman strangles Wonder Woman with the Lasso of Truth in Year Four and asks her how it feels, since Wonder Woman killed Huntress the same way. However, she quickly releases her, declaring her not worth it.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself:
    • Batman says he has to face Superman alone in Year One #34, even gassing Catwoman unconscious to prevent her from following him.
    • A dark one in Year Five #16. Cyborg offers to send some of the other Regime members to the location of a pro-Joker resistance group, but Superman declines and heads there himself, quoting the trope name almost verbatim. When he gets there he slaughters the entire building, two-hundred fifty people, by burning them to death with his heat vision.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Batwoman, during her beatdown of Wonder Woman:
    Batwoman: What you have done is unforgivable, Diana. I wish I could give you what you deserve... and the justice Helena deserves. But I will never stoop to your level.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: One Atlantean in Year One #10 decides to shoot Wonder Woman when she is reaching out for Aquaman. Cue a battle between Aquaman and his forces, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted for Jason Blood in Year Three #3.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Alfred, naturally. He's Bruce's Battle Butler, after all.
    • Batwoman pledges she'll stick with Batman, no matter the cost, in order to stop the Regime.
    • Also deconstructed: many Regime members follow Superman out of loyalty, but as he becomes more and more evil, they (mostly) too, despite their doubts.
  • The Unmasking: Superman outs Batman via Twitter in Year One #28.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Sinestro's highly biased account of his history is contrasted against what actually happened as shown in the panels.
  • Use Your Head:
    • Alfred smashes Superman's face in with a rather vicious one after taking one of the strength pills.
    • In their Trial by Combat Superman himself does it to Wonder Woman and breaks her nose.
    • Hawkman does this to Hawkgirl during their fight in Year Five.
  • War Is Hell: The comic doesn't shy away from showing the toll that Superman's Regime takes in its attempt to create world peace. Heroes who were once friends are pitted against each other, millions of innocent people die in the crossfire, and quite a few costumed characters are killed in brutal, often senseless, ways.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In Year One #2, Jimmy Olsen is murdered by The Joker.
    • In Year One #3, The Joker tricks Superman, using Kryptonite-laced fear gas, into murdering Lois Lane and their unborn child. Then, The Joker reveals that when Lois' heart stops, a nuclear bomb is set to go off... in Metropolis. The Justice League fails to stop Metropolis being reduced to wreckage and all of its citizens dying.
    • Year One #16 features Batman losing two sons, as Damian Wayne kills Dick Grayson by accident.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The very last page of Year Three #3. The Spectre arrives.
    • An entire page is dedicated to Huntress's death.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Batgirl reacts with shock when Batwoman starts strangling a defenseless Wonder Woman.
    • Two from Year Five #18. First, Trickster says this to Bizarro after he burns an entire restaurant to death. Later, Cyborg calls out Superman for doing the exact same thing two issues prior, which Superman justifies by saying he felt threatened. Cyborg drops the issue before things escalate, though.
  • What the Romans Have Done for Us: The Regime have ended crime, national conflict, rebuilt infrastructure and kept supervillainy in check at the price of loss of civil liberties. Swamp Thing also states that Superman's Regime has also made good attempts to preserve the environment and halt climate change, and eventually Batman confesses to Alfred in a moment of doubt that even he has never known the world to be as peaceful as it has been under Superman's rule.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: With magic being one of Superman's weaknesses, why didn't any spell-caster stop his ascension? Because, according to John Constantine, a powerful magical being is protecting him - eventually revealed to be Mr. Mxyzptlk.
  • The Worf Effect: Superman. Despite how powerful he is supposed to be, he gets his butt kicked many times.
  • You Talk Too Much!:
    • Catwoman decides to trash-talk Wonder Woman during a fight in Year Three. Wonder Woman responds with this after knocking her out with a Shield Bash to the face.
    • Deathstroke says it to Metamorpho after defeating him.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Averted. The Insurgency will have nothing to do with those who claim to admire Joker. When Batwoman arrives to talk some sense into the group, she mocks them for trying to claim a madman as a reasonable anti-establishment figure.