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mygif

Given OSC is writing for them again, you probably aren’t missing much.

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on February 12th, 2013 at 9:18 am

I’m going to disagree strongly with one point: Arkham City was BETTER than Arkham Asylum.

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@MonkeyWithTypewriter

Better gameplay, perhaps. The story was a mess and many of the character designs were atrocious.

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I’ll give Mortal Kombat versus DC this much: it had a (really stupid and silly) in-game explanation for why the Joker could suddenly hurt Superman, and other such examples. I’m not saying it was great, but at least someone went “We should explain why the non-powered pasty clown can take a punch from the World’s Strongest Man, huh?”

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And I feel a little silly posting this, but rather than making a superlong comment, here’s a thought about who DC should partner with to make a fighting game. http://talestoenrage.tumblr.com/post/42925017054/lets-see-terry-do-a-buster-wolf-on-batman

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So, as long as we’re being edgy this morning – what comics DO you consider good enough to pirate but not enough to pay for?

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Cookie McCool said on February 12th, 2013 at 11:01 am

They should’ve gone with my idea of the Barbie Styling Head/DC Comics mash-up, where everybody just brushes each other’s hair and tells everybody how pretty they all are.

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mygif

It’s just as well you’re not reading any DC comics, because from what I’ve seen, the tie-in comic for this game would probably send you into conniptions.

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I’m a little torn between which game I like better: Arkham Asylum or Arkham City. On the one hand I think they absolutely nailed the story, the setting, the characters, and the overall atmosphere so well in Asylum, which Arkham City IMO failed to replicate. On the other hand, Arkham City really expanded upon the combat and stealth, improved the boss battles (seriously, the Mr. Freeze fight is one of the best boss fights of this generation), and added a good deal of engaging side content. I guess the most I can say is that I like both of them a lot but for different reasons.

But as for the actual point of your post MGK, isn’t it a necessary evil for Joker to fight Superman in a DC fighting game? I mean you can’t NOT have one of the most popular villains in pop culture appear in your fighting game, even if he is wildly outclassed. Sure it might not make sense, but people don’t play games about superheros and super villains fighting each other because they make sense, they just want to be able to have Superman punch the Joker into orbit.

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mygif

I think the game looks great. I’ve already pre-ordered it. MK2011 was a hell of a lot of fun, and this game should be fun as well.

The explanation might be terrible, but I’m positive there will be an explanation for the various power levels.

And even if Batman punching Bane through a building is “stupid,” I’m certainly not going to say it won’t be fun.

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mygif

“It’s a stupid game” can sum up every 2D/3D fighter out there. Can Tekken fighters keep fighting after all those broken limbs (King practically knots you). Can a school kid like Sakura go toe to toe against a guy like Bison. Can anyone go against Akuma? A guy supposedly can break an island into half by punching it?

That’s why “It’s stupid” is a meaningless criticism. Important thing is if that game is fun and/or balanced.

ps. I love most 2d/3d fighters.

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mygif

The most awesome DC comics video game released so far is “Lego Batman 2″. I wish it had a bit more story to it, but at least the story it has is coherent and Batman gets some awesome powerup suits in it. Also it has caused my 5 year old to discover that Superman is awesome, because it probably has the single best interpretation of Superman that has been put into anything in the last decade. Also Batman smiles at the end.

Also they openly mock the Arkham City plot at one point in the story that had me laughing and my 5yo asking “what’s so funny”. So there’s that too.

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I’ll second a thought from above -the tie-in comic that gives the backstory of “how this version of the DCU got so fucked up”? You’d probably have an aneurysm.

Spoiler : The Joker kills Jimmy Olsen, abducts Lois, doses Superman so that Superman hallucinates that Lois is Doomsday, whereupon he beats her to death with his own hands. The Joker’s wired a device to her heart, so when it stops, Metropolis gets nuked.

Oh, an in case that hasn’t filled your women in refrigerators bingo card – Lois was also pregnant with his child.

I mean, Jesus Christ.

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Yes, Supes in a fighting game doesn’t make sense, other than he’s one of the iconic characters and if you don’t have him in the game, everyone is going to say “Hey, where’s Supes?”. Nor does Flash for that matter (the game is based off the timing of punches, after all). But I beg to differ about your assessment of Bats, mainly because it’s not Doomsday, but Solomon Grundy. Doomsday has the bone/rock/whatevers sticking out of his skin, whereas those are hatches and knives and he has the fancy noose cravat going on.

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I nominate “Superman Kills an Infant” as the the new descriptor of “dear god NO” moments in comics stories. The essay writers and ranters of the comic fandoms always need more terms to illustrate their justified rages with.

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I’ll second a thought from above -the tie-in comic that gives the backstory of “how this version of the DCU got so fucked up”? You’d probably have an aneurysm.

Jeebus. Is that for real?

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It makes you think the reboot was a good thing. Beyond the looking glass here, people.

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@Dolloch

Some footage in a teaser for the Injustice: Gods Among Us Battle Arena shows the Joker fighting what looks like Doomsday.

http://www.siliconera.com/2013/02/05/is-that-doomsday-in-injustice-gods-among-us/

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That’s why “It’s stupid” is a meaningless criticism.

Many things happen in fighting games which could not realistically occur in the real world. I’m fine with that, because fighting games are fictional.

The problem is when you bring in characters that are already well-established in other fictional contexts. It doesn’t bother me that Sophitia doesn’t get a concussion, because all I know about Sophitia is that she is a fictional character who is really good at fighting. It bothers me when Superman is hurt by being shot with a rifle, because Superman is a fictional character who never has a problem with being shot with hand-held firearms. In my opinion, that’s one of the most core things about What Superman Is – he’s the guy bullets bounce off.

I don’t expect fictional humans to behave exactly like real-world humans, but I expect fictional Superman to behave exactly like fictional Superman.

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SilverHammerMan said on February 12th, 2013 at 5:34 pm

@candidgamera
Minor correction, Superman doesn’t beat Lois to death while hallucinating, he flies her into orbit whereupon she dies from that. It’s still godawful on so many levels, but the writer (who incidentally, has given the impression that he’s in it for the paycheck and would prefer to be writing a less revolting story in all his interviews) explained in that he took great care to make sure that Lois’ wasn’t physically beaten by Superman, because shitty tie-in story or not, some things you just don’t do with fucking Superman.
Oh, and then Superman tore the Joker’s heart out of his chest, but he’s still around for the game, so…. Clones? Maybe DC’ll have an explanation for why he’s alive that also covers why he can take a punch from Superman.

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I must protest. ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’ is enormously entertaining, given the proper context.* This is exactly the sort of fearlessly High-Concept idea that comic books need more of these days.

*Admittedly its entertainment value is not intentional, but still: they made an actual movie about space aliens fighting Santa Claus, and that has to count for something, dammit.

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@SilverHammerMan

My guess is that they do some sort of multiverse crossover, where the “real” justice league fights what looks like the Justice Lords. At least, that’s what the trailers seem to hint at.

@Chris K

I agree with you, but how else is the Joker, Green Arrow, or anyone else supposed to fight on equal terms with the fictional Superman? They’ll probably give some limp-wrist explanation and nobody should complain because this game is giving us the opportunity to have Superman punch Batman into orbit, only then to get hit from behind with an exploding batarang and run over by the Batmobile.

Stupid? Yeah, but how else are you going to make a DC fighting game?

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Thanks for the correction, I was going from the preview pages where it looked like the aftermath of a fistfight – my bad.

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Patrick C. said on February 12th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Yeah, throw me in with the crowd who’s not buying that this is actually a problem. Hawkeye can take down the Hulk with a bunch of standard arrows in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 if you pound the attack button long enough. That obviously isn’t true to the source material, but really, who cares? It’s a convention of fighting games that I feel like you just have to buy into, just as you accept that in real-life Batman would rip his arm out of his socket swinging around on that grapple line.

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Kristopher A said on February 12th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

So are we going to get a post about how stupid Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom is because Rocket Raccoon can beat a team of Dormammu, Phoenix, and Shuma-Gorath?

I mean, I get how eye-rolling that is for comic book fans, but fighting games aren’t about “power levels” but mechanics. If the mechanics are good, I’ll definitely look into it. If not, then whatever.

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Kristopher A said on February 12th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Whoops!

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Admiral Snackbar said on February 12th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

But isn’t the difference there that Marvel vs. Capcom is a mash-up game like Smash Brothers, and therefore isn’t really bound by story or even logic constraints? We see it as a fighting game above all else. Rule of Cool applies.

Injustice specifically HAS a backstory, meaning that it’s a tie-in game, not a mash-up. This seems like quibbling, I guess, but that makes a difference in my eyes. If it was Street Fighter vs. DC Superheroes, I’d say “whatever,” as long as there wasn’t a convoluted story involved (and MK vs. DC was lame, but at least they went out of their way to explain things to make the story fit).

The easiest way to do a DC fighting game is to just make like the UFC and do weight classes. Tiers based on powers.
Example…
Tier 1: Batman
Catwoman
Cyborg
Green Arrow
Static
Vixen
Zatanna

Bane
Deadshot
Deathstroke
Harley Quinn
The Joker

Tier 2: Batman (Bat-Hyper-Armor)
Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
Dr. Fate
The Flash
Green Lantern Whatshisname
Superman
Wonder Woman

Darkseid
Emerald Empress
Lex Luthor (LexCorp armor)
Sinestro
Solomon Grundy

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This is just my opinion, but a tier system would just over complicate things. Will super moves work differently for the two tiers? How do you justify some characters being in tier 1 or in tier 2? I mean, just because The Flash can do pull off some really wicked attacks with his speed doesn’t mean he is Supes material. Would it just be two tiers, three, four? Would the whole “punch people through buildings/into space” thing only apply to a certain tier? If so, isn’t that kinda relegating the lower tiers into the “kiddy corner”? How are you gonna placate the fans who want to see Superman punch the Joker into orbit?

I know I’m nitpicking at this point, but my point is that other fighting series like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter work without tiers. I mean, it’s pretty unbelievable that Raiden, the God of Thunder, and Goro, a 4-armed super strong giant, can be beaten by Johnny Cage, a Hollywood action star. I don’t mind it, because it is a fighting game!

All the game needs to do is say that a disturbance in the space-time continuum gave the Joker super strength and I’ll get on with punching dudes into orbit.

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Admiral Snackbar said on February 12th, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Two tiers. Heavyweight and Lightweight. Moves and mechanics work the same in both tiers. It’s really not as difficult as you’re making it sound, I don’t think.

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The DBZ fighting games seem to be able to handle massively differing power levels reasonably well, but that’s because they’re not afraid to have Goku versus Hercule be exactly the massive mismatch it would be in canon. Just make base Joker versus Superman be a massive mismatch, and maybe throw in some unlockable Joker variants that are more powerful that you call an Earth-7 variant or whatever.

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mygif

Would a Lightweight character be able to fight a Heavyweight character? If yes, then what good do tiers serve? If no, why not? Like I said, plenty of fighting games have power mismatched characters beating each other up. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that almost every fighting game does this in some form or another.

I’m a big fan of the Super Smash Bros. series of fighters, and in tournament level play characters are ranked in tiers. A lot of fans think that they are arbitrary and silly, and to a certain extent they are. No matter how high a character is ranked in the tiers, victory ultimately comes to whoever played better.

And that is really what I’m trying to say: In a fighting game, a sufficiently skilled player should be able to beat any character with any other character. Now, the methods and techniques used by each individual character can differ, but there should be emphasis on mastering the mechanics rather than just picking Superman and obliterating the competition. If I want to fight Superman as the Joker, and if I’m good enough playing as the Joker, I should be able to beat Superman.

Injustice: Gods Among Us should be considered a fighting game First and a story set in the DC Universe second.

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Time Warner bought the MK dev team when they went bankrupt. Whether or not you agree with their decision to use the MK guys to make the game, it certainly makes more sense to have an in-house team make the game.

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Why? I can get a fighting game anywhere. I can’t get a DC simulationist fighting game anywhere, so why would I not want a DC simulationist fighting game?
And yeah, Marvel vs. Capcom has characters of vastly different power levels going up against one another. Of course it does; it’s a game whose only story is that a bunch of random superheroes and a bunch of random videogame characters inexplicably decided to organize into three-man teams and kick the crap out of each other. It doesn’t make a lick of sense from top to bottom, and at that point, it hardly matters that Shuma-Gorath can lose to Chris Redfield.
Injustice is setting itself up to be perfectly in line with that suffocatingly joyless attitude that DC has wrapped itself in completely by now, and as a result, it shows when a supposedly-merciless Superman burns Joker with laser vision and it takes off a fraction of his life bar instead of reducing him to red steam.
If you’re going to put the Joker in the game, you need to fucking justify it. Maybe make him Emperor Joker; now there’s a top threat! Picture a dude who, for every attack, warps space and throws crazy over-the-top shit at you. Heck, he could even be the final boss!

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I think keeping a diverse group of characters in the game is important and worth maintaining. However, to balance it and make it competitive, I suggest equipping the characters with armor/equipment/vehicles/whatever to narrow the gap between power levels. Including items or powerups like weapons, boosts, and traps would add unpredictability and also help to limit the natural advantages of characters like Superman and Darkseid. These could be unique for each character; The Joker could have a banana peel trap item that stuns opponents for instance. To make the game stand out in the crowded fighting game market, the format should be tweaked slightly. Matches would include a larger number of competitors, either player or computer controlled. 1v1 duels would obviously remain an option, but 8 or 16 player free-for-alls would be perfect for epic comic book style battles. Furthermore, people are tired of the old “deplete enemy health meter to win” gameplay. I propose a grand contest in which the characters, each equipped with their own Kryptonian Armored Robotic Transport, battle through a wide variety of dynamic, seamlessly looping stages. The victor will be the combatant who first completes a predetermined number of passes through the stage, having surpassed their foes through strength, speed, and cunning.

I really think this could revolutionize the fighting game genre.

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@Chris K

“Supe never has a problem with being shot with hand-held firearms”

Actually he does when bullets are laced with kryptonite or gun in question is magical or he was dosed with kryptonite/red sun beams or he was magically cursed. Yeah, I read a lot of supes too.

And seriously, if you are to criticize how stupid a Harlequin vs Superman would be due to their power levels; How are you going to defend comic books when the next guy criticize it’s all shit because Superman, a guy who can get infinite number of his copies from time (because he can time travel) won’t stop every criminal or end world hunger or poverty. Or say give 10 of his Superman robots to Batman so that they can keep an eye on Joker, a notorious serial killer.

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mygif

Well, in addition to things already mentioned, Marvel’s tier system has always felt a lot more flexible than DC.

Iron Man can fight The Hulk and Thor. But Hawkeye’s first appearance was spent kicking Stark’s ass, and his power set is, basically “Carny”. Spider-Man can toss cars around, but he has trouble stopping the Punisher, who doesn’t even hit high pulp hero on the power scale.

DC tends to treat regular guy V. godlike as “HOW CAN HE PREVAIL?”, even when it’s guys like Karate Kid, who “don’t have superpowers” in the same way Romney is “a regular working stiff”. Meanwhile, Marvel tends to treat no superpowers as less of a disability than having a bad cold.

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mygif

I really dislike how Injustice pretends that you need a big gritty story to explain why superheroes would beat each other up. They’re superheroes. They tend to do that. You don’t need to come up with any justification.

But if you must, here’s your plot: Joker got Mr. Mxyzptlk’s powers again, and he’s used them to power up a bunch of supervillains and send them en masse. Some of the heroes of the world get protected from Joker’s influence by Dr. Fate/Lex Luthor/Metron, and band together, enhanced by super-technology and going all-out, to beat up a load of villains and save the universe. Occasionally, villains get freed from control or heroes fall under it, and they then fight their former comrades.

That took me five minutes and I didn’t have to kill anybody.

Also, if I were to include Lois Lane in a fighting game, it would be as one of Superman’s hyper moves, where he calls her on the phone and she rams a helicopter into the opponent’s face, jumping out to land in his arms and peck him on the cheek.

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mygif

Yes yes yes yes THANK YOU.

I’ve been saying this for the longest time. The Mortal Kombat people are the worst, even if, from the looks of it, this DC editorial in particular seems designed to work alongside them.

Ugh ugh ugh ugh why are you doing this to my heroes DC? Between this, the Orson Scot Card thing and the early, unjustifiable cancellation of both of your best tv shows in years, you’re leaving me with nothing left to love. Nothing at all.

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mygif

MK 2009 was a pretty good fighter from what I hear, so at least the mechanics of the game will be solid.

But yeah, the whole instigation of the plot being Superman killing Lois Lane and her unborn child…well that just feel wrong.

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Also, not to be a killjoy Sumguy, but the last time the Joker got Mr. Mxyzlptlk’s power he ate all of China, repeatedly killed Batman and others in unspeakable ways, and did I mention HE ATE ALL OF CHINA. DC Comics, as you already said, has a way of taking ideas and twisting them to be edgy and dark.

Still…that would be a heck of a special move.

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Yeah, I know. You’d need to find some way to hold him back. Maybe Mxy’s powers aren’t as extensive in the game’s canon, or he only got half the power, or the Thunderbolt/the Spectre/Bat-Mite is keeping him in check, or he got bored with effortlessly winning and wants an interesting fight.

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BTW, just one more thought: this takes place in one of the other Earths, so the Netherworlds team is fairly free to play around with canon. Also, remember that their big deal is story mode, so it’s incredibly likely that during the storyline, Superman will not fight, say, Harley Quinn hand-to-hand. (Without some kind of explanation, like was dosed in Kryptonite immediately before the fight.)

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mygif

These kind of problems arise from DC’s popular characters not necessarily being their most powerful characters.

Look at DC Universe Online – the good ‘leaders’ are Batman (Tech), Superman (Meta) and Wonder Woman (Magic). The ‘bad’ leaders are Joker (Tech), Luthor (Meta) and Circe (Magic). Luthor’s in his battle armour while the Joker is in his normal purple suit.

There are certainly better DC villains to lead up the Tech origin, but Joker is the most popular despite not being at the same power level as anyone else in that list. (Batman arguably isn’t either, but he’s pretty much written these days as Superman’s equivalent in ability.)

It’s canon versus mechanics. Canon loses in a double flawless victory to mechanics.

Regarding the videos, I’ve seen Harley Quinn versus Wonder Woman, then Batman versus Bane. Neither looked particularly interesting.

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Ian Austin said on February 13th, 2013 at 2:49 am

How does The Joker hurt Superman?

Magic bullets, Kryptonite crowbar…

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Ian, now I’m just picturing the time Doctor Strange shot a tentacle horror with Hitler’s gun.

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Heksefatter said on February 13th, 2013 at 7:31 am

Mortal Kombat vs. DC is almost 5 years old. Is there any particular reason why this old wound has reopened?

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on February 13th, 2013 at 8:09 am

@Heksefatter

New DC fighting game. Keep up.

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MarvinAndroid said on February 13th, 2013 at 9:46 am

I’m just glad I’m not the only person who hated Arkham City, because holy shit. That game was awful.

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Heksefatter said on February 13th, 2013 at 10:07 am

You’re right, MonkeyWithTypewriter. That should teach me not to respond to MGK post without having my morning-coffee first.

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@MarvinAndroid

C,mon, you can’t just leave it at that. Why you don’t like it? Personally, I think that mechanically Arkham City improved on a lot from Asylum, but failed to capture that same great atmosphere and character feel. I like both, but for different reasons.

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Admiral Snackbar said on February 13th, 2013 at 11:03 am

@JCHandsom
“Injustice: Gods Among Us should be considered a fighting game First and a story set in the DC Universe second.”

And that’s the basis of the argument – I think Injustice or any other DC fighting game should be a representation of the source material first. MGK seems to be coming from the same place.

If I tiered a DC fighting game, those tiers would never touch – that’s why Batman’s in both tiers in my example, because fans are pretty happy just so long as they get to use Batman or have a Batman/Superman battle. The power levels in DC are way too unbalanced to accurately support in a fighting game. Your tournament tier example is useful, but there’s a much bigger difference between Superman and Joker than any two Smash Brothers characters. And then the choice becomes devaluing Superman vs. devaluing The Joker or Harley Quinn or, hell, I don’t know, Geo-Force. The game designers always pick Devalue Superman and that does a huge disservice to the license.

Because, let’s be realistic, there’s no reason to do a DC fighting game over another Street Fighter game or a game with original characters unless it makes DC look good and lets you experience the DC characters in a way that makes them fun and appealing.

Postscript: I’m adding Poison Ivy to Tier 1 and Swamp Thing to Tier 2 of my example. That would rule.

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MarvinAndroid said on February 13th, 2013 at 11:49 am

@JCHandsom Oh, were do I begin? Sing to me, O Muse, of a really terrible game. First, it’s not “mechanically better.” The game only improved two things: The brawling combat, and giving you all the gadgets at the start of the game. The latter is only possible because Asylum acted as a tutorial for those items.

Now let’s go over what’s worse. First off, the open world doesn’t work. The game isn’t actually any less linear than Arkham Asylum, it’s just more irritating to play. The two-dimension minimap doesn’t work with the three-dimensional game world, and the plethora of arbitrary barriers and glorified invisible walls mean that trying to do any mission is preceded by a long search for the one (or, if we’re lucky, two) magical entrances the developers assigned to whatever building you’re trying to get into. Fun.

Oh, but it’s made up for by the sidequests, right? Well first off, you’re locked out of a fair chunk of them without buying the DLC. Don’t worry, though. You aren’t missing out: you’ll still see reminders of the locked content everywhere. It’s so immersive! But DLC complaints are so 2011, so how about the fact that most of said sidequests are dull and repetitive, and suffer from the same “I can’t find anything” problem as the main game. Where Arkham Asylum was elegant, Arkham City is bloated.

If you buy that DLC, though, you’re rewarded with… a very brief playable Catwoman segment that features everyone’s favorite comic book element: threats of rape against women characters. Good thing we always sexualize depictions of violence against women, or else this might not be dark and edgy enough.

But then let’s get into the plot. Remember how Batman doesn’t kill people? He has no qualms about letting them die around him by the dozens. This is a shooting gallery of major characters. They are all going to die, and it’s all Batman’s fault. Way to go, Bats.

But, of course, tons of depictions of Batman have failed to understand Batman. For example, most of them. So let’s ignore that and look at the plot objectively. It’s terrible. Holy shit, is it every terrible. It’s a giant mish-mash of cameo appearances, weird immortality nonsense, and just straight-up magic. Batman, of course, has little to no impact on the plot. He’s mostly here to get lost in a colorless snowscape (remember how interesting and colorful and filled with flavor and little tidbits Arkham Asylum was? Well, now it’s grey. Realism!) and watch people die. It’s always nice to play a heroic, proactive protagonist.

Remember mystery-solving detective Batman from Arkham Aslyum? He’s on vacation. Instead, we get ineffectual stumble-upon-the-plot Batman. The plot, of course, consists almost entirely of deus ex machina and Clayface. Yeah, Batman didn’t bother to consider that maybe the reason the villain appeared to be in two places at once was because he was. Thanks to Clayface, a villain Batman has put away many times now. Detective Batman might have seen it coming. Blind idiot Batman, the protagonist of Arkham City, missed it. But that’s okay, because so did the player. Because there are no clues.

Arkham City has its moments. Unfortunately, they’re the same moments from Arkham Asylum. All of Arkham Aslyum’s good stuff, like the stalking missions and solve-them-how-you-want stealth sections are here. They’re just padded with some of the worst “why wasn’t this cut” bullshit I’ve ever seen in a game. Arkham City is the Assassin’s Creed III of Batman games.

It’s bad.

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@Admiral Snackbar

Alright, but even with your tier system don’t we still run into the problem of devaluing Superman? Superman has withstood Supernovas, is capable of moving the Earth, and can move several times faster than the speed of light…so I can totally beat him with Lex Luthor in his armor right?

“Aha!” You might say. “Lex’s suit is powered by kryptonite, so that weakens Superman enough so that they are evenly matched.” Ok, so why can’t I just give the Joker a magic wand that strengthens him/weakens Superman?

You’re absolutely right in saying that the DC Universe is wildly mismatched in power. In fact it’s so mismatched characters like Superman will inevitably be depowered. I don’t see why someone would get upset over the Joker beating Superman because of some plot device but be ok with Superman losing to Lex Luthor because he’s wearing power armor.

There will always be some mandatory power re-balancing, because it’s a fighting game, and a good fighting game determines victory by the skill of the player. The use of DC characters, in my opinion, is meant to allow players to play with iconic power mechanics (The Flash’s speed, Batman’s gadgets, Superman’s strength)in a controlled and balanced environment. It isn’t so much a matter of “Batman vs. Superman” as it is “Gadgets vs. Super Strength”. DC characters are often closely related to their powers (The Flash moves fast), and are relatively well known (The Flash is well known for moving fast), so it makes more sense to use them rather than make up some new hero (Speed Man!).

All the story needs to do is say that some disturbance in the 5th dimension is shifting power levels between the characters and the player can get on with the game.

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@MarvinAndroid

Alright then, let’s start with the mechanics.

First, boss battles. Major improvement right there. I love Arkham Asylum, but I hate it when a game forces you to fight the same boss multiple times. I hate it even more when it doesn’t even let you fight the boss and instead gives you rooms full of the same enemies to beat up. Arkham City improved this drastically, by having the boss’es weakness be exploited by a gadget you obtained (ala Zelda), ramping up the visuals of each fight, and by emphasizing different mechanical aspects(The Solomon Grundy fight is all about movement and dodging, Ra’s Al Ghul is all mastering those special combo and beatdown moves, Mr. Freeze is all about stealth and smart gadget use, and Clayface combines movement/combat/gadget mechanics together), all of which make each fight distinct and unique.

Second, brawling mechanics. I’m glad that you mentioned this as an improvement, because that saves me the time of going into just how much they added to it. I do think though that you are undervaluing the importance of that improvement. Most of the time spent playing Arkham City is spent flying/exploring, and fighting bad guys.

Speaking of flying/exploration, that’s something I think Arkham City also did very well. I think you’re frustrations with finding objectives may be subjective to you, as I’ve never had difficulty finding an objective and I’ve never heard people complain about it (then again I could be totally wrong on that). Even then, Arkham City still has some fine movement controls. Let’s use Assassins Creed for comparison, since you brought it up. If you fall off a building in Assassins Creed, it can take from anywhere from 10-30 seconds to get back to the top, and that’s frustrating. In Arkham City, it takes less than 2 seconds to get back on top. In Assassins Creed, if you’re not using fast travel, it can take a very long time to get to where you’re going, and is you do use fast travel, it breaks immersion. In Arkham City, you can get from one part of the map to another in a very short amount of time thanks to the gliding mechanics and grapling(which is drastically improved from Asylum in terms of elevation control and speed).

Fourth, side content. What did you think of the Riddler Challenges (the ones where you compete to get high scores in combat/stealth missions)? That makes up a good chunk of game content and are a good holdover from Asylum. As for your remark that the side quests are “dull and repetitive”, I disagree. The Riddler side missions are pretty creative in their construction and I thought were cool in the ways it made you use gadgets creatively. The Zsasz phone missions/AR training missions emphasized mastering the new flight mechanics, the Madhatter side mission gave us a little of that Scarecrow trippiness, and the Deadpool and Hush side missions had more of an emphasis on using the detective scanner to find clues. There were some duds, looking at you Watcher in the Wings aka “Pointless Easter Egg Hunt”, but they stuck out at least for me. Catwoman, while questionable in terms of sexual exploitation, fought and moved differently from Batman, so there is some incentive to get her if you want to try going through the world with a different set of skills. You also forgot to mention Robin, Nightwing, and Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC (although that last one was a bit of a letdown personally). Also, what “reminders of locked content” are you referring to?

Fifth, the level up system. In Arkham Asylum, you got xp for fighting bad guys, collecting collectibles, completing story elements, and exploring the world. Arkham City retains all of that and expands it. Now there are more Riddler trophies, riddles, and gadget puzzles scattered throughout the world, more enemies (and more types of them) to fight, there are side missions to complete, and there are a ton of little collectibles to get for xp (Joker’s balloons for example). Not only there are a lot of ways to get xp, there are several new ways to spend it. You can now better customize the Batman you want to play as. You can focus on combat (special moves, combo extenders), gadgets (new gadgets, new abilities for gadgets), armor (melee/ballistic for brawling/stealth respectively). Simply put, more xp + more options = a more diverse play experience and an incentive to play new game+ in order to get everything.

I think I’ll save my thoughts on the story for another post. And don’t worry, it’ll be much shorter :)

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Actually he does when bullets are laced with kryptonite or gun in question is magical or he was dosed with kryptonite/red sun beams or he was magically cursed. Yeah, I read a lot of supes too.

And when it happens, it’s a subversion of an iconic aspect of the character. How many times has that happened, compared to the number of times he’s been shot and nothing at all happened? When someone shoots Superman, he doesn’t cower in fear because what if kryptonite, he thrusts his fucking chest out because bullets don’t hurt Superman. It’s what he is.

And that’s exactly my response to your hypothetical supercritic – “There are thousands of Superman at once, all the time” is not an iconic feature of the character. There’s a lot of room to play with Superman’s power level, but turning him into a dude who loses a little health every time he’s hit by a bullet is stupid in a way that turning him into a dude who doesn’t travel back in time hundreds of times to film a Burly Man sequence is not.

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Admiral Snackbar said on February 13th, 2013 at 10:46 pm

@JCHansom

The difference with Superman vs. Luthor as opposed to Superman vs. Joker is that we accept, canonically, that Luthor plays in Superman’s league. It’s the same with Batman. They’re the two smartest, best-equipped men on the planet, and we’ve had tons of stories where they’ve gone head-to-head with Superman. Joker’s more specialized; he just doesn’t have that cachet.

We’re still coming from two different places. You say, “The use of DC characters, in my opinion, is meant to allow players to play with iconic power mechanics,” but to me, the characters are the iconic part. I play a DC fighting game to use Superman, not super-strength, just like I play a WWE game to use CM Punk, not the Go to Sleep. The powers are part of the experience, of course, but I can get super-strength anywhere. Superheroes may be synonymous with their powers in many cases, but people want to play Batman vs. Superman, not gadgets vs. super-strength. You might be an outlier here, because you’re clearly a big fighting game guy, but was the attraction to Smash Brothers that you could play boomerang vs. lightning, or Link vs. Pikachu? I think most people would say Link vs. Pikachu.

This conversation is actually echoing MGK’s post about Ameritrash vs. Euro board games, ie, thematic experience vs. rich mechanics. To me, the value of a DC fighting game is in how deeply it puts you in the DC Universe. I have no interest in Injustice because it doesn’t feel like the DC Universe to me – part of that is the grim aesthetic, and part of that is the story’s all Elseworldly, and part of that is that the power levels are wildly off the mark. It could be as good as Marvel vs. Capcom and I’d still have no interest, because the liberties taken with the setting are too great. I’m cool with having a DC game where Joker CAN’T fight Superman, as long as it feels like a proper DC game to me.

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And again: Smash Bros and MvC’s situation != Injustice’s situation. Those two games are insane right out of the gate. Sure, an immortal and divinely-empowered sorcerer, a bounty hunter with a kill count including four planets, and a swordsman who routinely wipes out entire armies singlehandedly should logically be able to beat up a couple of mountaineers, but it hardly matters that it’s not an even fight, because the other fighters include a stick figure and an NES peripheral.

And it’s not just crossover fighters that can do their own thing. Street Fighter’s power levels are all over the place, but Street Fighter has always been silly. Who cares if being electrocuted should logically kill Ryu? The lightning came from a green-skinned Brazilian who learned to generate it from electric eels!

But Injustice can’t get that excuse, because it’s a game that’s clearly trying to focus on its story, and trying to cultivate an atmosphere of oppressive darkness. It’s got rampant deaths, bone-breaking, gritty costumes, and a tie-in comic where Superman kills a baby. Why all the realism, when everything else plainly runs on fighting game logic? If it ran on a Brave-and-Bold-style tone, I could totally deal with it, but as is, it just feels dumb.

Also, second a more in-depth look at the tie-in comic. When we look back on this decade like we do on the 90s, that’s going to be one of the comics we hold up to say, “So here’s everything wrong with the early 2010s…”

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@AdmiralSnackbar

I totally see where you’re coming from. In fact, most of my favorite games of all time are primarily thematic experiences. However, I still think that Injustice is a fighter with DC characters and not a DC story framed within a fighting game setup, and that is mostly due to the mechanics inherent in fighting games.

When I said that “The use of DC characters, in my opinion, is meant to allow players to play with iconic power mechanics,” what I was trying to get at is that the player’s main method of interacting with the characters is by playing with their iconic power mechanics. I didn’t mean to suggest that someone is going to get excited to use “Gadgets” to fight “Super Strength”, I was merely laying bare the primary mechanical appeal.

Because let’s be honest, you’re not interacting with the characters beyond making them hit each other. There won’t be a section of the game where the player has to worry about whether or not Clark Kent’s secret identity will be revealed, and there won’t be a scene where you get to investigate a crime scene as Batman, so those aspects of those characters (double life/Batman as detective) will at best be relegated to cut scene and at worst be left out entirely. What the player does get to play with are their powers and abilities, like Superman’s heat vision and super strength. In a DC fighter,the player should feel a connection to Superman because they get to know what it feels like to punch a guy into orbit, and because they probably won’t get a chance to dive into Superman’s alienation and moral dilemmas.

This is where balance and power distribution comes in. A sufficiently skilled player should be able to use any character to beat any other character in a good fighter, and more importantly each character should feel good to play as. That is, each character should be able to use their respective power set in a way that feels satisfying to the player. It’s hard to feel good playing as Superman knowing that nobody can touch you, so level the playing field and make player skill the deciding factor. Not all fighters can do this, and even the best have tiers and some balance issues, but in general it can be done. I still want to feel awesome punching dudes into orbit as Superman but fear being taken out by an opponent, even of that opponent is the Joker. It wouldn’t be hard, just say 5th dimension stuff is causing it. It would certainly be easier than trying to build a fighter around a built-in tier system.

At some point you have to make a commitment on whether or not you’re OK with forcing some balance into the DC universe for a fighting game. Personally I’m OK with it, because I know what a good fighter generally needs and I want to punch dudes into orbit (in case you couldn’t tell). I consider Injustice to be a capital-F Fighter not because I don’t value the more thematic elements, but because I know that trying to stay true to the power imbalance inherent in the source material would be less fun to play, even if it was more faithful. There are plenty other sources where I can get DC stories that are faithful to the power mismatch. Games are meant to be played however, and balanced mechanics are the core of a Fighter.

In other words if devalue/overvalue character powers you only weaken the narrative, but weaken the mechanics and you weaken the whole game.

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Also, @Sumguy

I agree with you there on the story. I doubt there would be any problem if this was done in the style of Brave and the Bold, because the tone of the story would fit the nature of the game play.

But no, we get infanticide and grim dystopias. I’d chalk this up more with DC editorial then anything else, since they started with the whole “Dark Age of Comics 2: Dark Harder” thing.

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Chris K

You claimed that bullets never hurt Superman. Bolded that claim for emphasis. It’s still there I am not imagining it. And I reminded you how reality begs to differ.

“…There are thousands of Superman at once, all the time” is not an iconic feature of the character…”

So it doesn’t count as monumentally stupid when you close your ears and sing lalala when outsiders criticize stupid parts of your holy book you ignore(I may have mixing up my discussions).

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Ian Austin said on February 14th, 2013 at 3:06 am

Kyle – someone should write a time-travel story where Bonnie and Clyde are revealed to be Hitler and Harley Quinn!

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Ian Austin said on February 14th, 2013 at 3:11 am

Yeah, the Freeze fight in Arkham City is better than any fight in Arkham Asylum and is one of the best boss battles ever.

It forces you out of your comfort zone. Instead of relying on your usual attacks, you have to use action moves and time it just right. Can’t use the same action move twice, so you have to be exceptionally creative.

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I wish they’d just do a fighting game utilising Batman family vs Gotham villains already. Lots of popular characters, most of them are martial artists or fist fighters, no need for wildly inaccurate power levels and plenty of setting material for level design.

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I like the idea of Batman in both tiers. In superhero theoretical fighting terms, Batman arena rules Tier 1, Batman with prep time tier 2.

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zob, you’re interested in winning an argument. Fine, you win. You are much more skilled at arguing than I am. You found the place where I said something never happens, you found at least one time when it has happened because you have read a ton more Superman than I have, and therefore my whole argument falls apart. Flawless victory.

Bear in mind that you are having an argument about how to precisely measure how stupid a particular use of a character in a fighting game is.

So let’s back up, and allow me to rephrase my argument such that it will withstand your assault:

Superman is well-known as a character who is not affected by being shot by hand-held firearms. In every decade, we can find multiple examples of Superman brazenly ignoring hand-held firearms as their projectiles bounce off his chest. It is true that some types of hand-held firearms could affect Superman, and there are all sorts of arguments we could have about whether the kryptonite would actually have time to affect him before it hit him and what kind of magic the bullet needs to be ensorcelled with in order for it to kill Superman. But Superman is well-known as the dude who stands there, arms akimbo, and smiles while bullets bounce off his chest. It is easily one of the three most iconic images of the character ever. It is fundamental to the character of Superman in a way that “loses consciousness when punched in the head” is not fundamental to the character of “random fictional character who exists only in a fighting game.” It is also fundamental to the character of Superman in a way that “Thousands of Supermen appear, drawn from all corners of the chronoverse, and punch Deathstroke in the head simultaneously” is not. I concede that the latter obviously could happen, but it baffles me that you think “why aren’t there thousands of Supermen all at once” is a criticism of the same character as “why make a game about Superman being shot to death?”

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How about use the tier-style fight, but make it so the Tier-Ones can fight the Tier-Twos? A Green Arrow player CAN beat a Captain Marvel player, but they’re going to have to spam Rocket Arrow, exploit the hell out of their range, and avoid getting hit more than twice. Just like how in the DBZ games mentioned earlier, Videl can fight (and defeat) Goku, but the Videl player has to be unbelievably good.

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AJ from GA said on February 14th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Arkham City was awesome. Haters gunna…well, you know it goes.

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I gotta agree with JCHandsom. The Arkham and Spider-Man games are super-hero focused games. This is a fighter with super-hero theme and I think that can fine. A game that really tried to model the powers of the DC heroes would be a very different game and its unfair to criticize the MK team for not choosing to make that game. It would be like criticizing Mario Kart for failing to be a detailed kart racing simulation.
If you are interested in DC charterers but not in fighters this game may not be for you, and its unlikely that making it less balanced in the name of accuracy would really change your mind.

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@MarvinAndroid

I’ve thought for a bit on what you’ve said about the story, and I have to say that while I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, its just that I didn’t feel as strongly as you did. That may just come down to our individual natures; I for one am pretty forgiving when it comes to a story as long as it doesn’t go to far with obvious inconsistencies or license betrayal. It may just be a matter of where our breaking points lie.

That said, there are some things I can comment on about the story. I liked the little background stories you could get for solving Riddler riddles/challenges. Making the story a collectible is something I really like in a game when its does it right (see Metroid Prime). I really liked the section where Batman starts to feel the effects of the poison blood. Having Batman’s max health drop, his movement slowed, and giving him hallucinations of his dead parents were good ways to “show, don’t tell” the player Batman’s decline on health. I thought that the depictions of most of the new villains (Two-Face, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange) worked well.

I also didn’t mind the look of the environment as much as you did. Gray though it was, I would never confuse the Museum with Wonder City, as the overall level design and aesthetic of each area was distinct from each other (mostly). I loved all the little changes the city goes through over the course of the story (the Riddler’s graffiti on the Church steeple, the ice bridge Mr. Freeze makes when you complete his side mission, the damage from the missile strikes at the end of the game) and how they mirror the damage you take to your suit over the course of the game. Probably the biggest thing I liked about the city was the way it felt alive with activity. Flying over the rooftops and picking up bits of conversation from prisoners about the state of the city, seeing a prisoner doing push ups, and using your decrypter to tune into the GCPD frequency or Vicki Vale are all little details that made Arkham City feel real to me.

As for the more troubling matter of the threats of sexual violence made against Catwoman and the lack of coherency in the story, that’s a little more difficult for me to talk about. I know how bad this makes me seem, but given how much sexism and bad logic there is in modern comics, I saw that stuff in Arkham City and thought it was just par for the course. You yourself said that threats of sexual violence was something brought over from comics. That doesn’t excuse it of course and I realize how bad it is, it just didn’t affect me as much as it affected you.

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@Matt_M: It is entirely fair, however, to criticize them for making the tacky, infantile, oversexualized, childishly overviolent game they’re making. The MK team is crap not because they don’t know how to make a game work, they’re crap because they don’t know how to make a game that isn’t catered to the teenagers that bought Bloodstryke and Liefeld’s X-Force in the 90s AS IF WE WERE STILL IN THE 90s.

Excusing and enabling their retrograde sensibilities is damaging to the DC brand. The fact that whoever is in charge of getting these things made fails to see this is astonishing, even WITH the terrible history Warner has at managing what should be their most successful brands.

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Sometime after Mortal Kombat 2 or possibly 3, the series started taking its bad-metal-album-cover aesthetic seriously and forgot that it was supposed to be a fun parody of bad metal album covers and bad martial arts movies, all mashed together by the people who made Smash TV and Total Carnage. Neither of which took themselves or anything else seriously in the LEAST.

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Chris K

You still don’t get it. It’s not a pissing contest about which media is the most moronic one. What I am trying to convey here is, If you are going to criticize this game (or something else) for something power related (in your example guns vs. Supe) and deem it “stupid” be ready to throw down the towel on whole comic book continuum.

I gave the most ludicrous example I can think of to underline that point. You are trying to ignore that for frequency. Fine let’s scale back. How can anybody without super speed can ever punch Superman? We know that Luthor’s power armor doesn’t give him super speed(except for flying) yet we saw hundreds of fights between them. Super speed is one of Supe’s “iconic” powers. Yet he never uses it when he needs it. (yes you can handwave it, but if you are going to handwave one stupidity why aren’t you handwaving another?)

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. When you start using the word stupid, gloves comes off.

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socraticsilence said on February 16th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

@zob- Superman can’t be written to fully utilize even his modern non-Earth lifting power set- it severely limits the number of stories you can tell if Supes is Batman level intelligent along with everything else.

A more interesting question I think is why is Batman always the one who sides against a fascist order- is it the legacy of DKR or what?

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@socraticlicense:
I think it’s only to be expected for bats to become the one against fascism in every iteration. His ethics have always been the most clean-cut so, unlike with other heroes, where there’s wiggle room on the matter, his deontological tendencies are just taken to their logical conclusion when fascism shows up.

It’s an interesting discussion nonetheless.

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Is Batman punching out Superman really that much further away from Captain America punching out Shuma-Gorath in the MvC series?

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Its hilarious that people think there’s something in dkr somewhere that was *against* fascism.

Like maybe that page is hidden somewhere in the other hundred and fifty where that book is busy being Birth of a Superheroic Nation.

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