The events of the video game franchise Injustice: Gods Among Us could be said to depict its central characters in ways never-before-seen in the pages of DC Comics - if not for the existence of the accompanying Injustice comic storyline, that is. Whereas most video game tie-in comics live short and insignificant lives, the Injustice series and its various sequels lasted from 2013 until 2018 - and it pushed the tale of a despotic Superman well beyond what fans could experience through their Playstations and X-Boxes.
Like the game that inspired it, the Injustice run of comics is renowned for its violence and brutality, and for the sheer shock-and-awe that comes from seeing traditional caped crusaders placed in situations with permanent - and often fatal - consequences. Typically, when a comic book hero perishes, readers can always count on them eventually returning to life - but not so in the Injustice universe, the grimmest and grittiest of alternate timelines.
When outing Batman’s identity to the world doesn’t dissuade the Dark Knight from opposing his Regime, Superman tries a more direct method in Injustice: Gods Among Us #12: Breaking into the Batcave and then breaking Bruce Wayne’s back in an attempt to stop him from deciphering the formula behind Lex Luthor’s Super-Pills. Kal-El even goes as far as to torture his old friend for the location of the data - and that’s about all Alfred Pennyworth can take.
Batman’s faithful butler takes one of the prototype Super-Pills - which temporarily grants one strength on par with a Kryptonian - and proceeds to lay a whooping on the Man of Steel. Alfred crushes Superman’s nose with a vicious headbutt, buries him under a flurry of punches, and delivers a scathing tongue-lashing before leaving the would-be dictator in a bloody heap and taking Wayne away for medical treatment.
Few comic book storylines - if any - open up as dramatically as Injustice: Gods Among Us #1. That issue features The Joker and Harley Quinn kidnapping a pregnant Lois Lane and fleeing with her in a submarine - but when Superman arrives to save the day, he finds none other than Doomsday threatening his wife and unborn child. Reacting quickly, the Man of Steel flies his opponent into orbit, only to discover all too late that it’s actually Lane, not Doomsday, he’s taken to space, resulting in her demise.
Also coming too late is Batman’s deduction of what has happened: that The Joker has synthesized a combination of Kryptonite and the Scarecrow’s fear toxin and dosed Superman with it, causing his tragic delusion. As the pièce de résistance, Joker reveals that he rigged a nuclear device in the middle of Metropolis to explode as soon as Lois’s heart stops - meaning that Clark Kent loses his wife, his unborn child, and his home city in one horrific moment.
The very nature of the Injustice series means that countless characters meet their demise in grisly fashion, but the end of Dick Grayson - the former Robin now going by Nightwing - in Injustice: Gods Among Us #6 is shocking for its sheer mundanity. Once factions start to form on either side of the newly despotic Superman, Grayson obviously finds himself on Team Batman, whereas Damian Wayne, son of Bruce and the current Robin, sides with the Man of Steel.
The two sidekicks argue over their views, and Damian reacts angrily, hurling an escrima stick that catches Grayson unaware and knocks him unconscious. Grayson then stumbles backward and breaks his neck on an awkwardly placed rock, ending him instantly and unceremoniously. The incident serves to further the divide between Superman’s Regime and Batman’s Insurgency and results in Bruce Wayne disowning his son.
It only takes Superman and his Regime about one year to bring the entirety of Earth under his heel - and to start attracting the attention of other, more cosmic opposition. In Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two the entirety of the Green Lanterns Corps - minus the traitorous Hal Jordan - arrive to shut Superman down, and the ensuing battle is a vicious one.
Superman allies himself with Sinestro and his Sinestro Corps for his war with the Lanterns, and the Man of Steel even goes as far as to don a Yellow Power Ring of his own. Several Lanterns and Guardians perish in the conflict, but none more dramatically than the sentient planet Mogo, who is pushed along with Ganthet into the sun by Kal-El, where both expire in flames.