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Brian Buccellato Talks the End of Injustice: Gods Among Us and Writing Video Game Tie-ins

injustice-year-five-39Injustice: Gods Among Us is the hit video game turned comic series that begins to wind down with just a few chapters left. The digital series soon wraps up as we finally get to the moments leading up to the video game (the comic series is a prequel to the game).

With the end on the horizon, I got a chance to talk to writer Brian Buccellato about writing a video game tie-in series and some of the differences between writing for digital first as opposed to print comics.

Also, check out art from chapter 39, the second to last chapter of the series! The final chapter foes on sale September 20th and will be available for download  Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

Graphic Policy: Injustice: Gods Among Us started off as a video game. Does writing a tie-in for that form of entertainment differ than a movie or tv tie-in or just a comic in general? I think of video games as much more action oriented and active participation than passive entertainment like television or movies.

Brian Buccellato: I think it’s different for some of those reasons. I think the biggest reason it’s different, especially with the case of Injustice, we know how the comic book ends. So everything builds to that point, so there’s certainly things you can do because the world is wide open. There’s things you can’t do. You can’t kill Superman at the end of the story. Things have to be where they were at the start of the game, so that’s an interesting and fun challenge. I actually kind of like it, to be able to go ahead and try to make a new story and have interesting things you have seen in a story you already know. It’s really fun, but it is a challenge.

As far as the action element. There’s always fighting inside, so I don’t know if it’s different. Because Injustice is a fighting game, I try to have match-ups where we see different people fighting each other, even one’s you wouldn’t expect because you do get that in the game due to it being a fighting game.

injusty5_39-005_hd112GP: With the battles, in the fighting games characters have their special moves and abilities. Is what each character can do in the game on your mind as you’re writing those battles?

BB: I think I did more of that in Year Four where I thought there was more opportunity for that. Aquaman uses his shark maneuver. I also have Batman in Year Five running down someone with the Batmobile. I do try to find moments where I can put in special moves and what characters are known for. But story needs to come first.

GP: We know where the video game begins and so we know where the comic needs to get to. With the series wrapping up, did you know how long you’d have to get to that point?

BB: Yeah, as the book has done well, we’ve gotten a bunch of extra issues. It seems in the past in Year Four and Year Three it was twelve issues and we were able to tell Year Five in twenty issues, which was great. I was able to explore a lot of characters I wouldn’t have had time to explore and see how they feel about the Injustice universe. I knew it was five years and we were done. I didn’t know we’d be able to get twenty issues.

injusty5_39-006_hd112GP: It’s obviously a different world, as a writer, how does it feel being able to do almost anything you want, as opposed to being limited somewhat if you were to write in the main DC Universe?

BB: It’s really liberating actually. Having worked in the main DC Universe with Flash and Detective Comics, what you do find is most of the decisions you have to make sort of have to be run by the bosses because there’s lots of things at play. There’s events, there’s all of the other titles. You sort of have to play in the playground that wasn’t as quite as clear because all these people are working on things simultaneously. Where with Injustice I know how exactly how it ends. I know exactly what can change. So there’s no last minute audible because there isn’t something going in in another book. It is different and in some ways it’s a lot more fun because you get to use all of the characters. There’s also no last minute changes you have to do.

GP: I’d image that makes things easier as the writer.

BB: That’s just part of the business. That’s part of how it works. It’s a good thing we’ve got a million different comics because that means people are buying them.

injusty5_39-007_hd112GP: Did you have to work with the video game designers at all? There’s a sequel to the game coming up.

BB: Jim Chadwick, he’s the editor, he interacted with anything that goes to the game developer and has feedback. That mostly takes place in the outline stage for the year. They don’t chime in much as I write the comics, they just see the beginning and make sure it doesn’t mess with what their plans are. Also what’s cool about them is that they seem to be using our comic book continuity for their game which is kind of cool. It’s a little bit of back and forth with that respect.

GP: The series came out in digital first and then went to print. I always ask this for folks who are working on that sort of book if that impacts your storytelling at all?

BB: I think you can’t help to do that. There’s a very practical reason to do that because digitally the artist draws the comic book page in a printed book. Digitally they draw two pages, so there’s that invisible line in every single page going across the middle. So digitally, even though a chapter is only ten pages long you’re really telling a story in twenty pages. In a lot of ways you’ll see a lot more panels digitally first comic than you will in a regular comic. You can’t do the big splash pages as you could in print. So there’s a lot more condensend story telling and a lot more work for the artist.

injusty5_39-008_hd112GP: There’s a lot you can do artwise with digital such as the transitions. Is that anything you’re thinking about? Or is that more for the artist to decide and come up with?

BB: In print comics you think about the page turn, so you keep that in mind when doing digital. But, at the end of the day the writing’s half the battle and we have really good artists. When you have good artists you trust they will take your words and make them way better.

GP: With the series, a lot of the characters have completely changed. Superman is this fascist overlord. What did you do to make sure that things didn’t go too far with that to make it difficult to recognize or like these characters? It has come to me when reading the series that Superman’s motivations are still understandable after everything he’s done, you get his point of view.

BB: One of the great things about this series in particular is that we have had five years and I don’t know how many issues. Tom did two and a half years and I’ve got two and a half years, so Superman’s transition has been a slow descent into darkness. We know the inciting incident of killing Joker, that’s the thing that changed him. Tom didn’t instantly make him a bad guy, he started through a process. I just picked up where he left off and as the series has gone on, he’s gotten worse and comprimised his ethics more and more. In Year Five he’s an evil despot.

GP: Yeah, but even as a despot, you still see his point of view he’s coming from. He never crosses over that line where he totally goes over the top and is completely unlikeable.

BB: In my opinion that’s sort of a diservice to writing. Even the most heinous villain has to be a hero of their own story, right? They have to think that they’re doing what’s right for their reasons. It’s just their reasons don’t line up to morality, or the government, or laws. So, that’s just writing. I don’t see any difference with Superman. Yes, he’s the villain of this story, but he has his reasons, everyone does. Lex Luthor does. Maybe the Joker does. But, the Joker’s an exception, he’s a wacko. But, most bad guys have reasons and they think those reasons are legit. We may not, but they think that. I think in some ways it’s easier as Superman since he has equity as a hero. So when we see him do things evil or bad, we know what’s behind it is some twisted version of good.

GP: Thanks so much and looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up!

Suicide Squad Comes to Injustice: Gods Among Us Mobile

Harley_Quinn_SS_fullThe Suicide Squad is coming to the popular mobile game brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us just in time for the team’s film debut this weekend.

The latest update is the largest to hit the game in over a year, bringing fresh content for both new and returning players. A variety of Suicide Squad-themed playable content are featured in the new update including a new character and skins, special in-game events, rewards and more. Players can now assemble an all-star team of Super-Villains with the first playable debut of the assassin Deadshot and Suicide Squad skins of fan-favorites The Joker and Harley Quinn. Challenge, Multiplayer and Survivor mode have also been updated with exclusive Suicide Squad rewards including new companion cards.

Developed from the ground up by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, the Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game delivers stunning graphics and a completely unique fighting gameplay experience. The game features a collectible card mechanic and engages players in 3-on-3 tag team combat that features many of DC’s most iconic characters.

The Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game and latest Suicide Squad update is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

Exclusive Preview: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Chapter Twenty-Seven

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Chapter Twenty-Seven

Writer: Brian Buccellato
Arty by Tom Derenick
Cover by David Yardin

Flash has to face Superman’s wrath as a result of giving aid to Batman. Is a permanent rift forming in the regime?

The chapter will be available for download Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

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Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five – Chapter 20

INJUSTY5_20_300-001_HDIt’s a battle to the death at the Fortress of Solitude between Bizarro and a mind-controlled Doomsday. Only one will walk away from this battle.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five – Chapter 20 sees Bizarro’s story arc come to a climatic end. I’ve only read a bit of Injustice: Gods Among Us, so haven’t regularly been following the series and this had me coming into this latest story arc in its last chapter. On its own, the issue won’t be all that interesting to new readers, but for those who have been keeping up, I’d guess the issue has a lot they might find interesting.

INJUSTY5_20_300-013_HDIt’s hard to completely recommend the issue because it’s just not new reader friendly by it’s an entertaining read for those who enjoy superhero smack downs. Almost the entire story is dedicated towards a two way (and at points three way) dance of a fight between Superman, Doomsday, and Bizarro. Writer Brian Buccellato does give us more than just that though. There’s some subtle actions by characters that make the digital comic have a bit more depth than the usual drag out fights. That’s good enough to get me to want to see what’s come before at least and see how we got to this point. But, on its own it’s not quite enough to sell it for new readers.

There is one issue I have and that’s the writing of Bizarro. I find he’s a character that seems to be rather difficult to write for and here we have a stunted speech pattern as opposed to the opposite of everything we should be getting (if that’s this one’s shtick).

INJUSTY5_20_300-016_HDThe art by Mike S. Miller is pretty solid with some dynamic moments that play out nicely on digital devices. None of it is game changing but Miller’s Superman and Doomsday both are solid. I’m not quite sold on Bizarro though with his look not consistent enough for me and at times not looking enough like Superman.

The chapter is entertaining in many ways but definitely not new reader friendly. Not too shocking since it’s the last chapter for the latest arc. It’s enough to make me want to go back though and see if the next chapter and arc might be a bit easier spot to start from.

Story: Brian Buccellato Art: Mike S. Miller
Story: 6.7 Art: 6.1 Overall: 6.65 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Injustice: Gods Among Us Mobile Launches Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Content

Injustice Gods Among Us Mobile_BvS Update_Key Art_FinalTo celebrate the upcoming release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has launched an update to the wildly popular mobile game Injustice: Gods Among Us, adding new content inspired by the highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film. Beginning today, players can unlock new gear and characters from the movie, including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, in Challenge Mode or via Early Access and Booster Packs.

March 3 – April 13, fans can play to unlock the Superman and Wonder Woman characters from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in a series of Challenge Modes. Fans who want to get their hands on these characters immediately can purchase Early Access Packs starting today, which also include character gear and Power Credits.

Also available is the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Gold Booster Pack, which gives players the chance to receive the Batman character in the game. Additionally, players can buy the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Gear Locker containing character accessories inspired by the film, including Batman’s Cowl, Clark Kent’s Glasses and Wonder Woman’s Golden Lariat.

The latest update to Injustice: Gods Among Us also adds NetherRealm Studios’ versions of iconic DC Comics Super-Villains Black Adam and Sinestro. Fans will soon have a chance to unlock both characters in upcoming Challenge Modes and Early Access Packs. The update is available today for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, with an Android update coming soon.

The Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five #1

Injustice Gods Among Us Year Five #1 CoverThis is it: the final year of Injustice: Gods Among Us, leading into the storyline of the hit videogame! Having defeated the Green Lantern Corps, the forces of magic, and now the gods themselves, the Regime seems to have eliminated all threats. Yet uneasy lies the crown on the head of Emperor Superman. Still obsessed with the outlaw Batman and worried about having enough troops to police his world, The Man of Steel begins to recruit some of Earth’s deadliest villains to his side. Does the Dark Knight have any chance of ending the Man of Steel’s rule?

I played the game when it first came out, and vaguely know the general story, but I came in to Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five #1 without really knowing what happened in the previous four years, just the basics of the first.

Writer Brian Buccellato has done a decent job of making it so you don’t need to know much going in. Batman is on one side, Superman is a fascist and on the other. That’s basically it, and the story works well as an Elseworlds type tale mixed with the depth of video game narrative. We’re not talking deep things here, but there’s lots of punching as if you can picture the players off page mashing buttons. And, the comic is split in a way with the first half playing catch up for new readers and the latter half getting to the punching.

That latter half has some entertainment to it thanks to the art by Mike S. Miller and Iban Coello. Compared to the video game (from what I remember) the comic doesn’t quite hold up, but the style is decent and I especially like the design of the various costumes, Superman’s especially. There’s a decent mix of quiet moments and action, but there’s some minor quibbles here and there for me. It’s passable art, not great, and as the series is originally a digital one, maybe it works better there.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five #1 is a fun, though not deep, first issue that’s worthy picking up if you want to see Batman versus Superman where anything can happen. I wasn’t expecting much depth going in, and it doesn’t try to sell itself as. As far as a video game to comic adaptation, it’s actually good, and the first issue has me wanting to see what comes next at least, if nothing else to just see this take on these characters.

Story: Brian Buccellato Art: Mike S. Miller, Iban Coello
Story: 6.8 Art: 6.8 Overall: 6.8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Injustice: Gods Among Us Mobile Launches New Content Update

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have launched a massive content update to Injustice: Gods Among Us, the wildly popular mobile game brawler featuring iconic DC Comics Super Heroes and Super-Villains. The update is the largest to hit the game in well over a year and features seven new playable characters, including those from the critically-acclaimed Batman: Arkham video game trilogy from Rocksteady Studios and The CW/Warner Bros. Television series The Flash; a brand new Survivor Mode and Gear Sets that enable characters to unlock powerful bonus effects; and brand new challenges!  The update is available now for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and will be available soon for Android devices.

In the newly introduced Survivor Mode, even the most experienced player’s skills will be put to the test. Players will choose a team from the huge roster of characters including several brand new additions, such as The Flash and Reverse Flash from the hit show on The CW and Batman and Harley Quinn as they appear in Batman: Arkham Knight, and fight through as many battles as possible for powerful rewards. Not only are these battles fierce, but characters will have almost no health regeneration between matches, and will be fighting against the clock with a shorter match time. After each battle, players can choose to cash out for their prizes, or press their luck for the chance to win even greater rewards. This new mode also introduces Gear Sets, wherein players can earn themed sets of Gear for an unrivaled advantage!

And that’s not all, new challenges will also be added, including:

  • Blackest Night Martian Manhunter
  • Red Lantern Hal Jordan
  • Arkham Knight
  • Arkham Knight Harley Quinn
  • Justice League Wonder Woman

The Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

 

Exclusive Preview: Injustice: The Gods Among Us: Year Four Chapter #17

INJUSTICE: THE GODS AMONG US: YEAR FOUR CHAPTER 17

Written by: Brian Buccellato
Pencils: Xermanico and Bruno Redondo

Chapter #17 is a wild ride, not only is Poseidon’s temper rising but a ragtag team consisting of Queen Hippolyta, Harley Quinn, and Billy Badson are trying to escape from the clutches of Hell!

Battle rages on Themyscira, where Poseidon is about to sink the entire island!

The digital first comic hits digital shelves this Tuesday and will be available for download via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

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DC Entertainment is Offering Digital Bundles

DCE-Bundles_CX_500x277_webLGExclusively on Readdcentertainment.com and Comixology.com, DC Entertainment has launched their FIRST EVER digital comic bundles. DC Entertainment is bundling together its dynamic digital titles, allowing subscribers to buy in bulk for up to 27% off of the original cost!

Launching with 10 discounted bundles, newcomers and veterans alike can catch up on old favorites or new adventures, from the very beginning of their stories! If you missed out on an essential  arc or wanted to test the waters with a new title, NOW is the time to do it:

You can get these titles for just a fraction of the cost!

Hungry for more? These are just the first of many bundles offering plenty of opportunities to catch up on all the titles you love.

No. TITLE % off bundle price
1 The Complete Fables 15% $237.99
2 DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels Pt. 1 24% $75.99
3 DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels Pt. 2 24% $88.99
4 DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels Pt. 3 24% $85.99
5 Essential Batman Pt. 1 14% $75.99
6 Essential Superman Pt. 1 18% $59.99
7 Essential Wonder Woman Pt. 1 16% $45.99
8 Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One 27% $28.99
9 Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two 17% $22.99
10 Injustice: Gods Among Us Year three 17% $22.99

Exclusive Preview: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four #10

DC Comics has provided us an exclusive preview of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four. Written by Brian Buccellato with art by Xermanico, chapter 10 is chocked full of action as the battle between the Army of Zeus and Superheroes continues. This chapter debuts new Greek Gods never seen in this series before!

Just when it looks like there might be a winner between Superman and Wonder Woman, all hell breaks loose, and the Amazons get into a full-scale war against The Man of Steel’s army of Super Soldiers.

The chapter will be available for download on Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

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