Sunday, March 17, 2013


With the success of the "Injustice: Gods Among Us" digital comic and the impending release of the game, it got me thinking back to a story I pitched over a year ago. I had been working on Arkham Unhinged for a number of months. And I thought of an interesting side story to do. I wanted to expand upon the alternate ending to Arkham City. Gamers know the one. There's a point in the game where you're playing as Catwoman and you go to get an item out of the vault where all the inmate confiscated goods are kept. She picks up a couple briefcases, begins to leave the facility, but then is forced to make a choice which path to take. Does she leave the items and go rescue Batman, who is pinned under some concrete debris before he gets killed by Tyger guards during Protocol 10? Or does she take the money and run; leaving out a side door to exit Arkham City? The former choice continues the game while the latter choice actually ends the game (briefly).

I kinda liked the ballsy concept of that, as you actually see the credits roll and then hear radio reports of what happened. That Joker was triumphant in taking over the city and various heroes died or fell in the battle. We hear all this through a despondent Barbara Gordon on the radio, reaching out to anyone listening that's still alive.

I thought it would prove to be an interesting "Elseworlds" version of Arkham City, that could be run as it's own separate comic mini-series. That we could really go for broke since we weren't hindered or afraid of coming back from this ending (unlike the game which rewound so that you'd make the correct choice and save Batman). It would be it's own separate alternate take, and the regular Arkham City/Unhinged story would continue on its own without fear of being screwed up by this separate take. We might even explain it all away as some fear toxin induced vision by Catwoman if we needed to.

In the end, the pitch was shot down because they felt it was too dark and depressing. Mind you, I was only riffing off of what was already presented in the game itself.

Fast forward to DC's upcoming game, "Injustice: Gods Among Us". The digital prequel comics are helping set up the game where Jimmy Olsen is killed by the Joker and Harley, Superman is fear gassed into believing he's fighting Doomsday when in reality it's Lois (whom he mistakenly takes into space, killing her and her unborn child), the result triggers a bomb the Joker surgically linked to Lois' heart which explodes in Metropolis, destroying the city and everyone living there. And out of revenge, Superman goes after the Joker, and punches a fist through his heart, killing him. This pits heroes against each other on two separate sides as Superman sets up his own dominant my-way-or-the-highway One World Order rule over the planet. With more death and shocking developments to come.

And they thought my story was dark.

That's not a scathing indictment but rather the reality of the ever changing creation of entertainment. You learn to take it with a grain of salt and not take it personally. Not all pitched ideas will take hold or be agreed upon. And just because one story is turned down for one reason, doesn't mean they won't do a complete 180 degree reversal and go forward with a similar one. It's a wild roller coaster of unpredictability. You're trying to serve many masters and ideals, and a "no" to one doesn't prevent a "yes" to another.

Of course, I could tell you how I pitched the backstory to Superman for the Beyond comic universe, that set up how he lost Lois (and his unborn child) and decided to wear black ever since, back when Justice League Beyond was first being worked on almost two years ago. Similarities there as well. But that's a story best left untold, which is becoming a habit.


  1. It mystifies me that the way Superman kills Lois got approved (or that Superman kills Lois at all). The whole prequel comic mystifies me in general.

    1. Different divisions of the company allow for different versions to happen. That's why the Arkham games have their own universe and Injustice now has its own universe, and none have to perfectly relate to DC's New52 universe. The regular DC universe traditionally can't have too much change happening (the illusion of change, yes...but lasting change, hardly). Video Game adaptations don't need those guidelines, leading to some pretty dark and outrageous things without feeling the need to resolve it happily at the end.