In Injustice 2, Even Our Heroes Are Authoritarian Assholes


A battle between Superman and Batman showcases the limit of the superhero allegory.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


It has always bugged me how the Injustice series pretends Batman is the least authoritarian superhero.

I mean, come on. He tortures, conducts mass surveillance without reasonable suspicion, and has secret plans to kill every other Justice League member, implying he only considers himself above corruption. The only thing that makes him seem restrained is his “no killing” rule, so if anyone would be driven over the edge by a murder it would be him.

I don’t buy the argument that most superheroes have fascist tendencies, but given how most people mainly know Batman, I know why they think it. I like the character, but it is unsettling wondering how many people might support overly punitive and aggressive policing policies because they had those stories extolling their effectiveness every Saturday morning.


This is an incredible piece in a week of really great work. The At Play in the Carceral State series has been very informative and I hope we’ll get to see similar such series.


I really liked this article! That quote from the documentary was chilling.


When I saw that this was tied into At Play in the Carceral State, I was a little uncertain at first, but my doubts were clearly misplaced. This article does a great job of intertwining fact, analysis, and information about the world of Injustice (totally lost on a non-comics person like me) into a really compelling piece. Great job, Yussef Cole, this turned out really well.

As I mentioned, I’m not a comics person, but the rub for me is something that Cole identifies really well. While supervillains make for a compelling narrative, they can weight a story such that it becomes very difficult to connect it to reality without becoming a very distorted picture.


This is why I was never wild about Injustice making Superman the heel. it takes the bright center of the DC universe and recasts him as the darker opposite to already one of the darker heroes in their stable (the Injustice version of him certainly) and I get that that’s a valid story to tell, and I can see how there is an interesting angle in subverting an optimistic hero, but I wonder if in this day and age if the more subversive story isn’t to play superman straight, as the man who has the power to rule the world but instead uses it to inspire the downtrodden and speak truth to power.


Really well argued point in the article that made me a tad uncomfortable because of how much I enjoy Batman.

Ultimately, Batman only works as a short (time-wise) story without veering into the selfish pit of authoritarian vigilantism. Obviously DC can’t tell a mainstream Batman story where he only operates for a few years to clean up the city’s crime AND criminal justice system before returning to philanthropy work. Most of the stories we see show Batman continuing his war on crime for decades, which points to a completely broken system in desperate need of reform.

Injustice’s story is definitely fan service. Batman is the most popular, so he’s the “good guy” in this story. The article makes a good point that the villains in Injustice 2 don’t offer compelling parallels to our world, which is a shame.