It looks like Injustice 2 will finally be announced at E3 2016. An image of an Injustice 2 poster has been leaked to Polygon, featuring Batman and the Flash about to go at it. The posters are reportedly to be handed out to the first batch of fans that pre-order the game at GameStop.
Then NetherRealm Studios honcho and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon all but confirmed the news with this funny tweet.
Injustice was easily successful enough to guarantee a sequel lock. That begs the question: who should be in it? Especially since they’ve exhausted just about every DC Comics A-lister and had to delve into lesser-known characters like Ares and Black Adam. Boon previously stirred the rumor mill by asking if Captain Cold should be in the eventual sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us.
As I talk up the 10 names I’d like to see in Injustice 2, I’m going to keep it a little conservative in terms of storyline. What I mean is that I’m going to count the comics as canon to the sequel. Characters like Guy Gardner, Captain Atom, Phantom Stranger, and presumably Swamp Thing (the writing’s on the wall for that guy) are off the table.
Here are the heroes and villains we’d like to see in Injustice 2:
You know, it’s kind of weird that Supergirl’s been quiet all this time. Maybe she doesn’t exist in the Injustice world. Maybe she’s just off to the side, doing her own thing. While on paper you’d think she’d simply play a lot like Superman, they were able to differentiate Batman and his two sidekicks in the last game, as well as Superman and Zod, so have at it.
Supergirl would be an interesting addition to the story due to her New 52 personality. She’s a lot more emotional than her cousin, and that could work with or against him. She doesn’t care for humanity all too much, but still has an innate distrust for Superman. There’s potential in there. Also, you could easily just have Power Girl as an unlockable or downloadable skin since Power Girl is only Supergirl with a more complicated backstory anyway.
Virgil Hawkins is practically a shoe-in for the next game if only because he was in the iOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Although stilted due to the game’s tap-based engine, we got a look at what would be a really cool play style. Static felt like what it would be like if Capcom had put Silver Surfer in one of their fighting games. Static’s always hovering off the ground due to standing on his electro-magnetic saucer platform thing, which he can use to dropkick into enemies when he isn’t outright shooting lightning bolts their way.
I really can’t say what side Static would be on between Superman and Batman. It’s hard because ever since becoming an official DC Universe character a few years ago, all of Static’s appearances have sadly been complete messes buried in editorial mucking. Seriously, the behind-the-scenes goings on of his New 52 solo series was such a headache it’s ridiculous.
8. POISON IVY
Ivy has had a minor presence in the first Injustice. Even though we never saw her, we did fight near her holding cell in Arkham, where we could use a poisonous plant as a weapon. A lot of people want Swamp Thing in the game, and even if it wasn’t for his likely death in the comic, I’m not sure he’d be all that attainable. His attacks and movements would be too based on constant body morphing, and that can be a hurdle for these types of games, considering how much a pain in the ass the animating would be. For instance, that’s why Venom wasn’t in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
With Ivy, you get the best of both worlds. You get the cool plant-based attacks, the inclusion of another female to round out the cast, and someone who’s a little more widely-known and fits into the story better. As an ecoterrorist, Ivy might want things back the way they were with Superman in charge of constant order. On the other hand, it would put her at odds with her best friend Harley, who would need something new to deal with after getting over the Joker in the last game.
7. THE SHADE
Even though he was fairly prominent on the Justice League cartoon, Shade would add a nice touch of obscurity. His unique personality, Lantern-like moveset, and wildcard factor would fit the sequel perfectly. For those unaware, the Shade is a foppish former supervillain who attained immortality and then settled down to spend his days in Opal City, home to the legacy of superheroes named Starman. Though not born there, Shade loves Opal City so much that he’d do practically anything to protect it from evil and destruction. He’s armed with the ability to manipulate shadows as weapons, which he can also use to teleport himself and others.
He acted as a mentor to former Starman Jack Knight, who would also be great in an Injustice game, but that will never, ever happen. DC Comics has been really cool about respecting creator James Robinson and never touching Jack Knight ever again since the end of his lengthy solo series from the ’90s. Whenever they choose to revisit the world of Starman, they always go with Shade as the protagonist. Might as well keep that idea going.
6. RED HOOD
Jason Todd was a prime candidate for DLC in the first game, and outside of the game’s overuse of Batman characters, it was pretty surprising that he was nowhere to be seen. Then again, Damian Wayne Nightwing also filled up the role of “former Robin who is now all about killing people.” Luckily, Todd’s gun-based style would allow him to break off from the rest of the Bat-family and be his own thing. If anything, he would play more like Deathstroke, though I guess with a touch of Kurtis Stryker in there.
It’s Red Hood’s history combined with the backstory of the game that I find intriguing. If anyone should have an opinion on Superman’s moral downfall, it’s him. Todd was murdered by the Joker (coincidentally, Joker wields the crowbar in-game as a nod to that) and came back to life. He was disgusted that Batman never got revenge in his name and killed the Joker. Truth is, Batman tried in the beginning, only to be stopped by, of all people, Superman. Red Hood held that against Batman for years until realizing what horrors vengeance truly leads to. Would he side with Superman or consider him nothing more than a hypocrite?
5. CAPTAIN COLD
Really, Captain Cold should have been in the first game. I know Killer Frost gives us another bare-legged female character, but she’s just so boring. Captain Cold is easily one of the best villains in DC Comics. For one, look at him. He’s an Eskimo who will regularly fight the Flash despite being armed with a freeze gun. That takes balls. Captain Cold gets by as a professional who thinks his capers through. Never overstepping his boundaries. Never killing unless he absolutely has to, especially when it comes to heroes. Keeping a close network with his fellow Rogues and treating them like family.
Cold is also a guy who refuses to be strong-armed and pushed around by fear. There have been times when nearly all the DC villains have been forced to work together as one under a threatening higher power (including an evil Superman in one instance), and Cold has gone against the grain. He’s even a current member of the Justice League because of it. If you want to have an ice character in your game, and you aren’t going to just toss in Sub-Zero like the last game tossed in Scorpion, Leonard Snart is the man to go with.
The Red Lanterns sat out Injustice the first time around, save for a Green Lantern vs. Red Lantern battle going on in the background of the Metropolis stage. Red Lanterns really should be in this because it’s NetherRealm, and those guys would be in love with the concept of characters whose main style of offense is vomiting acid blood. But which Red Lantern? Guy Gardner is kind of dead. Atrocitus is the main Red Lantern, but all he does is sulk. Dex-Starr is pretty rad, but at most would work as an assist for Atrocitus, who like I said, is kind of lame.
Bleez works out just fine. Not only is she a high-ranking representative of the Red Lanterns (she was the token Red Lantern in the Lantern team-up series New Guardians) and constant main character to the Red Lanterns comic series, but she is such perfect character for a NetherRealm game. Look at her! She’s a sultry, scary bat lady with bone wings, no pants, and, once again, the ability to vomit acid blood! How did Ed Boon NOT create her in the first place?!
If anyone’s a lock for Injustice 2, it’s Darkseid. Hell, he’s the only DC character from Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe not to show up in the first Injustice. Or, to be more specific, to not be playable in the main game. Like Static, Darkseid was playable in the iOS version of the game, where his idle stance always had him keep his hands behind his back, as it should be. At least the main game put him in that sweet stage transition in the Hall of Justice level, where he beat the hell out of whoever ended up thrown into his throne room.
Darkseid’s received enough lip service in the Injustice comic without writing him off. The last we saw of him was when Lobo came to pick a fight, and I don’t really think that’s Lobo’s fight to win. Darkseid could possibly work alongside Superman. They both want their own twisted version of order, and by the end of Injustice, Superman might just be far gone enough to be a step or two away from seeing eye-to-eye with Darkseid. Of course, the real question is what happens when they inevitably turn on each other? Does Superman have his moment of redemption or does he simply usurp Darkseid and become just as bad?
Amazo is like the most underutilized villain in DC Comics gaming media. As far as I can tell, the only major video game appearance he’s made is in a random title for Game Boy Advance, and that seems so wrong. Who is Amazo? An android built to destroy the Justice League. What are his powers? EVERYTHING! Amazo has the powers of everyone in the Justice League. How has he not been in a fighting game?! “Guy who can do everyone’s moves” is the most basic fighting game boss concept.
Really, just make him the Taskmaster of Injustice. Give him moves of heroes and villains who aren’t even in the game if you want. Sure, he looks like somebody screwed up drawing Namor from memory, but he’d be such a great addition to the game.
1. BOOSTER GOLD (AND MAYBE BLUE BEETLE?)
To put it plainly, Booster Gold needs to be in Injustice 2 because he would be the Johnny Cage of the game. In fact, to this day, it bugs me that we never got Johnny Cage vs. Booster Gold in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. He’s a charismatic character with enough unique aspects to his fighting style (time travel, force fields, and football robot buddy) who could mean all kinds of things for a story like this. I mean, I get the dude is the worst history student of the 25th century, but you’d think he’d have known enough about Superman’s rise to power and the destruction of Metropolis to have done something about it! Then again, maybe he’s trying to stop something even worse? Maybe he’s trying to find a way to go back further to make sure this never happens in the first place?
Much like Noob-Smoke in Mortal Kombat: Deception, you could always make Booster a tag-team character with Blue Beetle. Whether it’s Ted Kord as Blue Beetle or Jaime Reyes, I’m easy. Just as long as NetherRealm Studios finally gives DC Comics’ most underutilized hero his due.
BONUS ENTRY: EVIL BATMAN
This one’s a little too fanfic-y for me to put on the main list, but bear with me. So obviously, the sequel would have Superman escape prison, but then what? Where do you go from there? You can go bigger, like if he were to start working alongside Darkseid, or you can go outward. The first game already opened the Pandora’s box to the multiverse. In the end, Superman was so deluded that he would gladly just go to the mainstream DC Universe and force that world’s Lois to replace his dead Lois. If he keeps trying to journey into other universes like that, it could lead to a lot of possibilities.
So I was thinking, what about a world where Batman was the one who went evil and became a fascist overlord? What if Injustice Superman found himself in that world? Imagine those two hooking up and becoming a dark version of the World’s Finest, threatening the entire multiverse. Plus it would be a Batman who doesn’t take pride in sticking to his humanity and wouldn’t hold back. Someone who would gladly replace bodyparts with cybernetic attachments. A Batman who would proudly wear a yellow ring and master it in a way that not even Sinestro ever could. Always planked by robot bat drones. Now that would be an awesome boss character.
Or just go with Owl Man. Either way.
So who have I missed? What characters would you like to see show up in the eventual sequel and why? Sound off in the comments!
A version of this article originally ran on March 6, 2015.
Gavin Jasper probably should have included Frankenstein on the list, but what’s done is done. Follow him on Twitter!