Playable Character List for Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us is the new fighting game released in April 2013 from NetherRealm Studios, makers of the acclaimed Mortal Kombat series. Injustice stars numerous characters from the DC Comics universe, such as Superman or Batman, fighting it out in classic arcade style.
The game follows a storyline written with the help of comic writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Like the recent Mortal Kombat game Injustice has several different game modes, including a story mode that will have the player using different characters to progress.
- Black Adam
- Green Arrow
- Green Lantern
- Harley Quinn
- Killer Frost
- Lex Luthor
- Solomon Grundy
- Wonder Woman
- Martian Manhunter
- Scorpion (from Mortal Kombat)
Real Name: Arthur Curry
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73
In Comics: Aquaman is an odd character who has gone through spurts of popularity -- most notably in the 50s and 60s -- and times of ridicule -- most any other time. He's one of the members of the Justice League who is often overlooked next to his more famous teammates like Superman and Wonder Woman, but he's actually a fairly powerful character in his own right. He's generally portrayed as super strong and can breathe underwater, although his more famous superpower of talking with and controlling aquatic life tends to come and go at the whims of the writers. These days he merely nudges fish in the direction he wants to go, as they're too primitive to really talk with.
Aquaman is also a character who, despite almost always being Arthur Curry, has gone through numerous permutations over the years. Most notably in the early 2000s he went through an extended arc where his story paralleled the famous fables of King Arthur (only in part due to the name -- he's also the on-again, off-again King of Atlantis) wherein he lost his hand and had a claw-like attachment that he could fire like a harpoon. This well received run did fairly well, but eventually he was given his hand back.
Like many other superheroes Aquaman was de-aged in the 2011 reboot of the DC Universe known as the "New 52". He was given his own title again under the reigns of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, who set about to make the character cool again. It's debatable whether or not they succeeded, but they did at least help justify why Aquaman is a major force in the DC Universe when he's out-stripped by characters like Superman. His traditional orange shirt has also turned into a piece of armor made to look like fish scales, which helps a bit, too.
In Other Media: Outside of comics Aquaman is probably best well known for an episode of the Big Bang Theory which featured the cast dressing up as the Justice League for Halloween... and everyone refusing to dress up as Aquaman. One of the straight male characters even wanted to dress up as Wonder Woman as an alternative to Aquaman, but is forced to concede in the end.
He was also featured in an entire season of HBO's Entourage where the plot was focused on making an Aquaman movie with James Cameron directing the movie.
In the late 60s, when he was the height of his popularity, Aquaman starred opposite Superman in the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, where he had some powers he has never shown in the comics. Since then he made appearances on Superfriends and Superman: The Animated Series. He was bumped from the roster of the Justice League in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited in favor of Hawkgirl to add more females to the team, though he did appear in the series from time to time. He appears in this series with his bladed hand.
He went on to be a recurring character on The Brave and the Bold, and was actually one of the more popular guest stars on the show. He was voiced by John Di Maggio, who is probably most famous these days for voicing Bender in Futurama. He also made appearances in the live action Smallville, which frankly highlighted just how absurd his orange shirt design looked. He did retain some of the superpowers he had first shown, and never since, in the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.
In 2006 a pilot for an Aquaman television series was produced, but wasn't picked up for full production. Justin Hartley starred as Aquaman, and after the series wasn't funded he would go on to play Green Arrow in Smallville.
In video games Aquaman has made many appearances, but perhaps none so notable as the Xbox/Gamecube game: Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis. It has been ranked near to Superman 64 as one of the worst games of all time. It faced some pretty stiff competition to reach that achievement.Other games with Aquaman include: Justice League Task Force (SNES/Genesis), Justice League Heroes, and Lego Batman 2.
Real Name: Ares
First Appearance: Wonder Woman #1
In Comics: Ares is the Greek god of war, and thus closely related to Wonder Woman’s mythology. He is a constant foe of the Amazonian women who opposed them since before their very creation, voting against Artemis creating the Amazonians in her image. Through the years he has clashed many times with Wonder Woman and the Amazons, but rarely with any success.
He has spent time living among humans as a mortal, although these days he is back to his immortal form. Ares has gained strength over the years in contrast to many of his fellow Olympians because of the eternal nature of war – Athena and Aprhodite have likewise remained strengthened, but most of the gods are seriously weakened by the lack of active followers of their religion.
Ares was killed by Wonder Woman in a failed attack on Amazon Island as the culmination of his plans involving the super villain Genocide. Death is only an inconvenience to the Greek god, though, and he has still managed to influence events despite never formally being resurrected.
In the DC relaunch Ares again appeared as a teacher of Wonder Woman long before turning against her. He does appear to have more honor now, too, as he helps Wonder Woman save a baby and surprisingly does not betray or trick her in the process.
In Other Media: Ares is not seen often outside of the comics, although he did star in an episode of Justice League Unlimited. Later he appeared as the villain of the Wonder Woman animated video, voiced by Alfred Molina (Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2). Injustice is his first appearance in video games.
Real Name: Unknown
First Appearance: Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (1993)
In Comics: Traditionally Bane is portrayed as a super-strong character who derives his powers from a special serum, called "venom," which he injects into himself through hoses attached to a backpack he carries. Unlike most super-strong villains, he is also extremely smart and uses both brains and brawn in combat.
His most notable achievement to date was the infamous breaking of Batman's back during the Knightfall story arc, but he has been involved with a lot more than that since. For a while he was named the heir to Ra's al Ghul, but they eventually split apart and Bane dedicated his efforts to destroying Ra's and the Lazarus pits keeping him immortal. He has also been a member of Suicide Squad -- a band of criminals used by the government to run high-risk black ops missions -- and, later, the Secret Six -- a crime syndicate controlling things from the shadows. Batman and Bane encounters tend to end in a draw.
In Other Media: Bane recently rose to fame by being the headline villain of Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the most recent Batman trilogy. That version of the character was still super-strong relative to a normal person, but did not have the Hulk-like proportions the character is normally depicted with. Additionally his face mask was designed to feed him pain killers rather than steroids.
Prior to Dark Knight Rises Bane also appeared in Batman & Robin, of which the less said about it the better. He's also been featured in the Batman cartoons, both from the 90s and 2000s. He appears in the video game Arkham Asylum as a boss fight, and then as an uneasy ally in the sequel, Arkham City. Bane likewise makes appearances in Lego Batman 1 & 2, and is a playable character in both after being unlocked.
Further Reading: Batman: Bane (by Nickalooch)
Real Name: Bruce Wayne
First Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (1939)
Alternate Costumes: New 52 (special edition)
In Comics: Batman is the hero of Gotham City and the father figure to a whole range of Bat-related allies that he has picked up over the years. Batman has no actual superpowers, but instead relies on high-tech gadgets and amazing detective skills to wage his war on crime. He is associated with some of the most notable comic stories of the last three decades, having starred in books like The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Batman: Year One also by Frank Miller. More recently he's starred in the extremely well received Night of the Owls story and Death of the Family crossover.
In the current DC comics lineup, the Batman family of books accounts for the biggest segment of comics being published.
In Other Media: Aside from Superman, Batman is probably the best known character in the DC Comics line-up due to his wide-range of highly successful (or notorious, in some cases) movies, tv shows and video games. In recent memory alone he has starred in a trilogy of live action movies starring Christian Bale, the critically and commercially successful video game Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, the two Lego Batman video games (and associated toy line), two animated television shows (The Batman and Brave and the Bold) and numerous animated films, with the most recent adapting the acclaimed Dark Knight Returns graphic novel.
In the 80s and 90s he had four additional live action movies starting with Batman and ending with Batman & Robin and two very successful animated series (Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond). Which is to say nothing of the infamous campy Batman television show of the 60s starring Adam West and Burt Ward, and the associated movie.
He will likely also play a very prominent role in the upcoming Justice League movie since he is considered to be one of the Trinity characters of the DC Universe, along with Superman and Wonder Woman. A sequel to the Arkham video games has also been teased, though nothing announced yet.
Further Reading: Batman: Bruce Wayne (by Nickalooch)
Real Name: Teth-Adam
First Appearance: Marvel Family #1
In Comics: Originally Black Adam was gone to be the successor to the original Shazam in ancient Egypt, but a meddling sorcerer corrupted the spell and so Teth-Adam was born. He started out as a protector of the nation and served for many centuries before he gave in to corruption and fell from grace. His power and personality were captured and imprisoned in a mystical scarab until modern times.
The scarab was hidden away in the tomb of Pharoh Ramses II until Clarence Batson found it on an archeological dig. His assistant, Theo Adam, murdered Clarence and his wife after becoming obsessed with the amulet. The amulet possessed Theo and he became Black Adam, while the son of the Batson's would eventually be bestowed with the powers of Shazam.
In the years that followed Black Adam would alternate between being a villain and a gray-area hero, even joining the Justice Society for a time. He would become the ruler of a reborn Kahndaq -- the nation Teth-Adam originally came from -- and ruled it with an iron fist. When he saved the life of a woman who had been kidnapped and was on her way to becoming a slave he didn't realize he was saving his future wife. The two would go on to have a child, codenamed Osiris, who joined the Teen Titans for a little while.
In the New 52 relaunch Black Adam has been only briefly seen during the new origin story for Billy Batson and Shazam, but has been shown to be taking part in the upcoming "Trinity War" crossover event that will be in the Justice League books this summer.
In Other Media: Black Adam hasn't appeared much outside of comics, but he was most notable for being the headline villain of the animated film Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam. Other than that, however, his only appearance was in an episode of The Brave and the Bold. He did not appear in Smallville, but his name was referenced on the display class of an ancient Egyptian dagger.
Real Name: Selina Kyle
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
In Comics: Catwoman has gone through a number of changes since her debut, most notably shifting from a villain character to a more morally ambiguous almost-hero in the 90s. For a while she was truly a hero -- playing guardian protector to a rundown section of Gotham -- but after the DC relaunch she was reverted to more of a sneak-thief. She and Batman have always had an on-again, off-again relationship strained by his adherence to law and justice, and her love of living life dangerously. In the relaunch the two were shown to have a physical relationship now, instead of the constant teasing and flirting in the past.
In Other Media: Catwoman has been a mainstay of Batman mythology almost since the beginning, so it should come as little surprise that she appears rather frequently alongside Batman. She has been featured in two of the recent movies -- in Batman 2 portrayed by Michelle Pfeifer, and in Dark Knight Rises by Anne Hathaway -- and was a playable character in Arkham City (though was not seen in the original Arkham Asylum). The cartoons tend to bring her in often as the sometimes ally of Batman, and she does show up in both Lego Batman 1 & 2 as a playable character. She was also famously portrayed by Julie Newmar in the Batman show of the 60s, although Eartha Kitt would takeover the roll briefly near the end of the series. Catwoman did headline her own movie in the late 90s with Halle Berry playing the lead role, but that's where anything resembling praise for that movie ends (even Halle Berry won't defend the movie).
Real Name: Victor Stone
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)
In Comics: Victor Stone was a smart kid who decided he'd rather play football than follow his father into the sciences. He was severely injured in an accident at his father's lab, and his father saves him by enhancing his body with cybernetic implants. He has historically been a young character and is most often associated with the Teen Titans, but after the DC relaunch it was decided he would be a founding member of the Justice League (taking Martian Manhunter's spot on the team, who would instead be a member of Stormwatch) and never had any connection to the Teen Titans (who didn't exist yet). He's a strong character and since his transformation has given himself over to studying science and technology, and to better understand his own systems. Victor has come to terms with his transformation, though, and is at peace with his current state of being.
In Other Media: Cyborg rose to general fame as part of the Teen Titans television show in the mid-2000s, though he had previously also appeared in the Super Power Team television show in the 80s. More recently Cyborg played a major role in the animated film Justice League: Doom, which also served as his first appearance on the Justice League outside of comics. On the television show Smallville he made a few appearances, portrayed by Lee Young, although he is not very cyborg-like (his modifications are sub-dermal, rather than his traditional appearance). Cyborg is also a playable character in Lego Batman 2.
Real Name: Slade Wilson
First Appearance: The New Teen Titans #2 (1980)
In Comics: Deathstroke is perhaps the best mercenary on the planet, and well known for always getting the job done. He is best known as the nemesis for the Teen Titans, although originally he had no quarrel with team and even declined a contract to kill them. In the famous Judas Contract story arc, his son instead took the contract (not knowing his father was Deathstroke) and began attacking the Titans. He died when a process that gave him superpowers backfired and caused his cells to destroy themselves. Deathstroke vows vengeance on the Titans, and the rest is history.
After the DC relaunch Deathstroke was given his own comic series which is primarily about him defending his claim to being the greatest mercenary on the planet. As part of this he ends up fighting his own son -- hired to kill Deathstroke by the family of someone Deathstroke had killed.
In Other Media: Deathstroke has appeared in a lot of recent television shows, as well as the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated movie. He was one of the main antagonists of the Teen Titans animated show, and is scheduled to appear in the current Young Justice series in season 2. In live action television he was played by Michael Hogan in Smallville and has made appearances as a masked villain in the current show Arrow, where he will apparently be a recurring villain.
Real Name: Unknown/None
First Appearance: Superman: Man of Steel #17 (1992)
In Comics: Doomsday was created by DC for the express purpose of being the centerpiece in the infamous "Death of Superman" storyline that so defined mid-90s comics. At the time he was a fairly generic character who was super strong and virtually unstoppable. He left a bloody path across the DC universe taking down some of DC's heaviest hitters before finally being killed by Superman, but taking Superman down with him. His body was later flung into space.
Since then he has become an occasional recurring villain, but is used rather sparingly. His first opponent after Superman was the villain Darkseid, and he made short work of the super powerful, almost-godlike ruler of Apokolips. He later encountered Braniac who took over Doomsday's body and led it on a path of destruction in the "Doomsday Wars" crossover event. Once free of Braniac's influence Doomsday continued where he'd left off before the combined might of Superman and entire Justice League were finally able to stop him.
Doomsday himself was later killed by Imperiex, but that did not last long and he was revived. This time, however, he was not just a mindless killing machine and could reason. His intelligence didn't last long, though, as he gave it up in a bid to save Superman's life.
Since then Doomsday has been part of several more crossovers, but none have had the lasting impact that the original "Death of Superman" storyline had. He has been referenced in the New 52, but has not yet (at the time of this writing) made an appearance.
In Other Media: Doomsday has been used sparingly outside of comics, though he did star in the Superman: Doomsday animated film which is based on the original "Death of Superman" storyline. He also appears in Smallville as a recurring villain through some of the later seasons. He's more of a Jekyll and Hyde character in that show, though, having both a human side and monstrous side.
In video games Doomsday again starred in the SNES/Genesis adaptation of the "Death of Superman" storyline in Death and Return of Superman. He also appeared in Justice League Heroes and DC Universe Online.
Real Name: Barry Allen(?)
First Appearance: Showcase #4 (1956)
In Comics: Like a number of DC heroes and villains, Flash is considered a legacy hero with several different characters taking on the role over the years. Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen have carried the Flash mantle at one time or another, plus about a half-dozen others who have had temporary custodianship. It's a toss up whether Barry Allen or Wally West is the most famous Flash, with Allen holding the mantle from 1956 to 1985 and West being Flash from 1985 to around 2006.
After the DC relaunch in 2011 Barry Allen took up the name again, with Wally West not even making a cameo appearance yet. Jay Garrick eventually showed up as a hero on Earth-2 (an alternate reality), but otherwise Barry Allen seems to be the only Flash these days (Bart Allen is Kid Flash in Teen Titans).
In Other Media: Unlike the other major heroes of the DCU, the Flash has yet to successfully headline his own movie or television show, though he has appeared as an ensemble member many times. He did have a short-lived show in the early 90s, but it didn't garner good ratings and was cancelled rather quickly. Instead he makes appearances whenever the Justice League is around. In the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated shows of the 90s the Wally West is the Flash. Though never named, it's hinted that the Flash in The Batman is Barry Allen. In the current Young Justice show Barry Allen is the mentor to Kid Flash and makes frequent appearances. Bart Allen made a rare appearance as Flash in the television show Smallville, with fake IDs bearing the other famous Flash names.
As a member of the Justice League it is assumed that Flash will be a key player in the 2015 movie, although nothing has been officially announced about that. A movie starring just Flash may also spin-off from that deal, but again nothing official is known. He has appeared in many of the Justice League animated movies, either as Wally West or Barry Allen with not much continuity between the two. Even in video games Flash appears only rarely, though he is in Lego Batman 2.
Real Name: Oliver Queen
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
In Comics: Green Arrow has traditionally been depicted as an older man, grizzled and hardened with age, with a lot of life experiences under his belt -- which is the version of the character that seems to be on display in Injustice. However, when DC relaunched their entire line in 2011 Oliver Queen was considerably younger than his usual portrayal -- probably to get it in sync with the Arrow television show which launched around the same time.
This younger Green Arrow is the brash owner of Queen Corps, which is something of a DC Universe version of Apple Computers. Featuring devices like the QPad and QPhone, Queen Corps is one of DC's primary technology providers, which has made the Queen family exceedingly rich. Oliver uses those riches to fight corruption and evil around his hometown of Star City. He has thus far been unsuccessful in his attempts to join the Justice League.
In Other Media: Green Arrow didn't make many appearances outside of comics until recent years. He was a recurring character on Smallville, which made him a bit of a rising star. After Smallville ended he got his own television show called Arrow, which, despite being developed for the same network as Smallville, does not exist in the same continuity. Arrow proved to be extremely popular and has made Green Arrow a well known DC character.
In Young Justice Green Arrow makes a few appearances alongside his sidekick, Speedy. He was also a member of the Justice League in Justice League Unlimited in the 90s.
Real Name: Hal Jordan
First Appearance: Showcase #22 (1959)
In Comics: There have been many Green Lanterns over the years, but Hal Jordan is the most famous of the bunch. His saga has spanned decades and has seen him make a spectacular fall from grace during the Parallax saga and an amazing turn-around following a short stint as the supernatural Spectre. The Green Lantern comics have been embroiled in a seemingly endless amount of events since the early 2000s, which are actually all one big event spanning multiple titles and years.
There are presently four men in the mainstream DC Universe bearing the name Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Simon Baz. In an alternate reality called "Earth-2" Alan Scott bears the Green Lantern powers (though his powers are mystical, whereas the other Lanterns are powered by advanced technology). Interestingly enough, Hal Jordan is not (at the time of this writing) a true Green Lantern anymore, having lost the ring at the end of the "War of the Green Lanterns" story. He has been granted an unofficial replacement ring by Sinestro, but it's not as powerful as the real thing and could be taken away at any time.
In Other Media: Green Lantern was the star of his own live-action movie in 2011 with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. It didn't do particularly well at the box office, but raised awareness of the character. Two animated movies were created in the lead-up to the live action movie: First Flight and Emerald Knights, with Nathan Fillion (of Firefly and Castle fame) voicing Hal Jordan in the latter. After the movie a computer-animated television show was created to follow the Young Justice cartoon. Hal Jordan was again tapped as the Green Lantern for that show. Green Lantern will likely be one of the main heroes of the upcoming Justice League movie, though it's unknown whether Ryan Reynolds will come back to reprise the role.
As a DC mainstay Green Lantern has been a part of many television shows and animated movies. Hal Jordan is the most common of the Lanterns to appear, but John Stewart famously took on the role in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited in the 90s. He was so identified with the role after that that people were angry when Hal Jordan was announced as the Green Lantern in the live-action movie, not realizing he was the older of the characters. Green Lantern had appearances in The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold (both Hal Jordan), and in almost all of the Justice League animated movies. Kyle Rayner has only appeared in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series and a few cameo roles in Justice League Unlimited. Guy Gardner has appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and a brief cameo in Young Justice. He also may be a recurring character in the Green Lantern animates series.
Real Name: Harleen Quinzel
First Appearance: The Batman Adventures #12 (1993), Batman: Harley Quinn (1999)*
In Comics: Interestingly enough Harley originally came from the Batman: The Animated Show and was only added into the comics much later. Since then, however, she's been a mainstay of the Bat-books and tends to alternate between being Joker's top henchman/girlfriend (though it's been recently suggested that she's actually just the most recent version of Harley Quinn, much like Damien Wayne is the current Robin) and being somewhat of a gray-area occasional do-gooder. In the latter role she is often teamed up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, each of whom is also a gray-area style character, such as in their recent comic series Gotham City Sirens. Since the DC relaunch, however, Harley has been a member of Suicide Squad, until she was confronted by the Joker following his return in Death of the Family.
In Other Media: Harley Quinn was introduced in the Batman: The Animated Show in the 90s, and has become a staple character ever since. She has appeared, in some form or another, in just about every animated television show that DC produced since her creation, including shows like Superman and Justice League.
Outside of animation Harley was the primary nemesis of the Birds of Prey in their short-lived television show. She has also been featured in many video games, including the highly successful Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games, the latter of which has an entire set of epilogue missions starring Quinn. She also appears in Lego Batman 1 & 2.
*Harley Quinn appears in many comics which are an adaptation of the DC Animated Universe, but these are not considered canon in the primary DC Universe. Her first appearance in the "true" DC Universe was in Batman: Harley Quinn, several years after her creation.
Real Name: Kendra Munoz-Saunders
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (1940)
In Comics: As a companion of Hawkman, Hawkgirl is the reincarnated avatar of the ancient Egyptian princess Chay-Ara. Different woman have been the host of Hawkgirl over the years, with Kendra Saunders being the most recent reincarnation before being supplanted by the original human host, Shiera Sanders, following the events of the Blackest Night crossover. She has also been Shayera Hol, an alien police officer from Thanagar who came to Earth to find the villain Byth with her husband Katar Hol (Hawkman). The alien version of Hawkgirl is no longer considered to have occurred.
Unlike other heroes who share a similar codename with a male counterpart (i.e. Batman and Batwoman/Batgirl, Superman and Supergirl, etc) Hawkgirl and Hawkman are commonly romantically involved and tend to be viewed as either husband and wife, or destined to be husband and wife. In the New 52, however, Hawkman and Hawkgirl exist in different realities (Hawkgirl is part of Earth-2), and so any connection between them is unknown. Her origin also seems to now involve secret government experimentation, but the full details have not yet been revealed.
In Other Media: Hawkgirl replaced Aquaman in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons as a core member of the Justice League. She also becomes romantically involved with Green Lantern in the series, and Hawkman isn’t introduced until near the end of the cartoon’s run. She also appears in a brief scene in Smallville, but without any armor or weapons.
In video games Hawkgirl has been a part of Justice League Heroes, DC Universe Online and Lego Batman 2.
Real Name: Unknown
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
In Comics: The Joker has been Batman's nemesis for a very long time, and is probably the villain who has gone through the most changes over time while still remaining a villain. These days the Joker isn't much of a comedian at all and is instead portrayed as a scheming, highly intelligent sociopath whose only goal in life is screw with Batman's head. While there are the occasional throwbacks to his older, goofier days, these days Joker is about as deadly as they come, and he always makes life more than difficult for Batman.
Joker is the primary villain of the most recent Batman crossover, Death in the Family, in which Joker returns to the spotlight after hiding out for a year. During his time away he had a man cut the flesh off his face, and then turned it into a mask to wear. He also has hinted that he knows who Batman is, and his actions certainly suggest he isn't lying.
In Other Media: If Batman is in a television show, video game or movie, there's a very good chance that Joker has been a part of it, too. Cesar Romero played Joker in the 1960s Batman serial adventures, while Jack Nicholson would famously take on the role in the 90s movie. Heath Ledger took on the role in The Dark Knight, and likely would have reprised the role in The Dark Knight Rises if not for his tragic death.
While he has been portrayed by some of Hollywood's most famous actors, it is actually probable that Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker of Star Wars fame) who has most defined the character, whether people realize it or not. Starting with Batman: The Animated Series Hamill provided the voice for Joker in all sorts of media. He voiced the character in every animated feature from 1992 until 2004, and he even over-dubbed the live action version of the character for the Birds of Prey television show. In 2004 The Batman was aired with a new voice for the Joker (Kevin Michael), but Hamill wasn't done with the character yet. He voiced the Joker in both the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City video games, both times saying it would be his last time as the Joker (it seems to be true following Arkham City). Multiple voice actors have taken on the role since 2004, but none have had the lasting impact that Hamill has.
Real Name: Louise Lincoln
First Appearance: Flash #290 (1980)
In Comics: Louise Lincoln is actually the second woman to carry the Killer Frost mantle, with the first being Crystal Frost who died in combat with Firestorm. Louise was the friend of Crystal and spent a number of years trying to avenge her by fighting Firestorm frequently, but never with much success. She also notably joined up with other ice-styled villains like Mr. Freeze to try to catch Superman and Batman as part of the bounty that Lex Luthor had on their heads for a while, but met with little success. In the years following Killer Frost met with the Secret Six a handful of times, often hunting them, but never achieved much acclaim.
In the New 52 Killer Frost is now a woman named Loren Fontier who is, once again, after Firestorm. However, it is their power she is after, not revenge.
In Other Media: Killer Frost has been a recurring villain in both Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, though not a particularly memorable one. She is set to appear in the Young Justice video game due out sometime later this year, but otherwise Injustice is her only other video game appearance.
Real Name: Lex Luthor
First Appearance: Action Comics #23 (1940)
In Comics: Although Lex is a regular human being -- albeit an incredibly smart one -- he is generally considered to be Superman's nemesis. Like many of the long running DC characters he's seen a number of permutations over the years and has gone from his beginnings as a European villain -- his original name was Alexi Luthor -- intent on world domination to a battlesuit wearing psycho with a grudge against Superman and on to the diabolical genius he is today who loathes all aliens. There was even a time when he was the President of the United State.
However much of that changed when DC relaunched their comic line in 2011. Luthor, who had traditionally been a middle-aged man, was barely older than a teenager (if not actually a teenager) with hyper-intelligence who cuts a deal with the Collector to try to save Metropolis from what he sees as inevitable annihilation at the hands of aliens. He is currently imprisoned in a cell that he designed, but is still able to manipulate the world through unknown means.
In Other Media: Lex Luthor is probably best known outside of comics as a main character on the long-running television show Smallville, played by Michael Rosenbaum. In truth, though, virtually anytime there has been a Superman television show Lex has been a part of it. He was featured not just in Superman: The Animated Series, but also the subsequent Justice League and Justice League Unlimited pseudo-sequels. He appeared in the late-80s, early-90s Superboy television series by two different actors, and appeared in the first season of the popular Lois & Clark series. He has a recurring role in the current Young Justice series as an antagonist of Superboy.
In movies he was famously portrayed by Gene Hackman in Superman, Superman 2, and Superman 4, with Kevin Spacey taking the role in Superman Returns. He is suspiciously absent from the upcoming Man of Steel movie, however.
Real Name: Richard "Dick" Grayson
First Appearance: Detective Comics #38 (1940) (as Robin), Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (1984) (as Nightwing)
In Comics: Richard Grayson was the original Robin of Batman & Robin fame, a role he would hold for almost 45 years before taking up the mantle of Nightwing. As Robin he worked not just as Batman's sidekick, but also as a member of the Teen Titans, and he would continue in the Titans as Nightwing. While Bruce Wayne was dead he also took up the role of Batman, but is now back to his Nightwing persona.
There are actually very few significant stories of Grayson as Robin, and most of his fame as a hero came after he made his own identity. He is perhaps best known as the defender of Bludhaven, a city not far from Gotham whose crime syndicates were never held in check the way they were in Gotham by Batman. He did his best to cleanup the city, and was well on his way towards doing so before the city was sadly destroyed in one of DC's many crossover events.
These days Nightwing is back in Gotham City and, as Richard Grayson, owns Haly's Circus, which was the circus he worked for as a child before joining Batman. He is attempting to ground the circus in Gotham and make it the central attraction to a theme park he is renovating. As the first Robin he is probably the closest thing to a confidant that Batman has aside from Alfred.
Although he has had his share of girlfriends, he is most commonly associated with Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl.
In Other Media: In television the Robin-to-Nightwing story arc is normally followed, but in the movies he only appears as Robin (though he does suggest the name "Nightwing" as an alternative). In Batman: The Animated Series from the 90s he started as Robin, but eventually went off on his own to become Nightwing in the follow-up series The New Batman Adventures. Similarly in The Batman and The Brave and the Bold he starts as Robin and later becomes Nightwing. The current Young Justice series has the same transition. In Teen Titans he stays as Robin throughout, but a glimpse into the future shows him as Nightwing.
Although there have been numerous Batman movies over the years, Dick Grayson has only appeared in a handful of them, and always as Robin. In the 1966 movie he was played by Burt Ward, who also played him in the live action television series alongside Adam West. In the four-movie Batman series from the 80s and 90s Robin appears in only the latter two movies, played by Chris O'Donnell (though his costume in the final movie of the set is more akin to his Nightwing costume than Robin). There is no Dick Grayson character in the recently completed Batman trilogy with Christian Bale as Batman.
Although not a part of the story, Nightwing is playable as a character in the challenge mode in Arkham City. He also is playable in Lego Batman 1 & 2.
Real Name: Raven
First Appearance: Batman Family #19 (1978)
In Comics: As the daughter of a demon and a human Raven has always been at odds with her own heritage. She was raised with the intention of being her father’s vessel on Earth, and he would conquer it through her, but she learned of this plan and was able to rebel against it. She went on to be one of the longest serving members of the Teen Titans, and is commonly associated with that group.
Raven isn’t known much for her solo adventures, but she was the focus of several Teen Titans arcs, including one where she was replaced by an Evil version of herself that disrupted the wedding on Nightwing and Starfire. She doesn’t tend to stand out much within the Titans, but is a constant fixture and is more noticeable by her absence from Titan stories rather than for her contributions. Despite that, she has a large number of fans and is well liked.
She did not appear for a long time after the DC relaunch, but she did finally appear in an issue of Phantom Stranger and will hopefully be joining the Teen Titans again soon.
In Other Media: Raven rose to prominence as a star of the Teen Titans animated series that ran from 2003 to 2005 and was one of the most popular members of the team. Her powers are more mental in nature rather than mystical, though she still is considered a mystical hero. She is returning as a member of the team in the more humorous Teen Titans Go! animated series in 2013.
Real Name: Billy Batson
First Appearance: Thrill Comics #1 (1940)
In Comics: Shazam is a boy transposed into a man's body -- a man with superhuman powers and abilities. Billy Batson was an orphan boy whose parents were killed by their assistant -- who would later become Black Adam -- shuffled into the foster home system until the power of Shazam was granted to him by an aging wizard. The power turns him into a man with powers that are derived from Elders who guard the world from the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. He is an idealist at heart, but his young, untrained mind can get him into trouble and has caused him to clash with heroes, most notably Superman, on several occasions.
Shazam is actually part of a family of characters, including his sister Mary Marvel and friend Captain Marvel, Jr., called the Marvel family. It is rarely called that these days due to confusion with DC's primary comics competitor being Marvel comics. Shazam himself is also known as Captain Marvel, but is no longer officially called that.
In the New 52 Billy Batson is now a troubled young foster kid who stumbles upon the power of Shazam by accident. He initially uses the powers for self-gain and profit, but is called to heroic action as time presses on and the imminent arrival of Black Adam forces him to protect his foster family.
The name "Shazam" is actually an acronym, with each letter representing one of the Elders who power him: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.
In Other Media: Shazam was the star of his own television series in the 70s with Billy Batson aged a bit to a teenager who wandered California in his van alongside his mentor. It was part live-action and part animation, with the live action Billy giving advice to the animated Shazam. It lasted for three seasons and was considered a moderate success.
In 1941 Shazam became the first comic book character to be make the jump to the movies with The Adventures of Captain Marvel starring Tom Tyler as Shazam and Frank Coghlan as Billy Batson. Although quaint by modern standards, it is considered one of the finer examples of its style from the period (Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are of a similar style). It wouldn't be until 2009 before Shazam would be in a movie, this time an animated direct-to-video adventures called Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in which Shazam had a confrontation with Superman after being manipulated by Lex Luthor. A year later Shazam would share the headline in Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam.
Shazam has been a key player in recent animates DC television series, most notably in Young Justice, though he did also participate in Justice League and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In video games Shazam was a member of the DC faction in DC Versus Mortal Kombat and was a downloadable character in Lego Batman 2.
Real Name: Thaal Sinestro
First Appearance: Green Lantern #7 (July 1961)
In Comics: With a name like “Sinestro” you’d have to assume that evil was in his blood, but in fact Sinestro started as one of the heroes of the Green Lantern Corps and was the mentor to Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern as a member of the Corps (Alan Scott, who was Green Lantern earlier, was not a member of the Corps). Hal Jordan uncovered Sinestro’s secret that he had enslaved his own planet for its own protection and turned against him.
Disgraced from the corps Sinestro forged a new power ring, this time one imbued with yellow energy which was, at the time, the great weakness of the Green Lanterns. Against Green Lanterns he was virtually invincible, but that didn’t stop Hal Jordan from continually defeating him in combat. Years and years later Sinestro would copy his ring many times over to form the Sinestro Corps, which went to war with the Green Lanterns and kickstarted a series of events culminating in the creation or discovery of multiple types of power rings, including the dreaded Black ring that swept the entire DC Universe in Blackest Night.
At the end of all the major fighting between the various Lantern corps Sinestro was granted a new green ring – Hal’s – and returned to the Green Lantern corps as a full member, despite everyone’s protests – including his own. When the DC relaunch occurred this story was continued and Sinestro continues to be a Green Lantern, although he did spend a short time as a brainwashed member of the enigmatic Indigo tribe before being rescued by Hal Jordan.
In Other Media: Sinestro has been a recurring villain in most of DC’s television shows over the years, including Challenge of the Superfriends in the 70s and Legends of the Superheroes in the early 80s. He’s also appeared in various crossover capacities, such as in Daffy Duck’s Duck Dodgers. More recently he appeared as a villain in The Batman and Brave and the Bold cartoon series.
He was one of the main Green Lanterns who taught Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern live action movie, and although he helps forge the yellow ring in that movie he only becomes a yellow lantern during a post-movie end credits sequence and has not yet become a villain.
Real Name: Cyrus Gold
First Appearance: All-American Comics #61 (1944)
Alternate Costumes: Red Son (Gamestop pre-order)
In Comics: Solomon Grundy is an interesting villain of the DC Universe in that he has tangled many times with some of the strongest hitters, and come out none the worse for wear. He is often portrayed as massively strong -- perhaps stronger than Superman -- pretty much invulnerable, and rapidly healing in the event that he does somehow get injured. If he is somehow killed he is reborn with a new personality. On rare occasion this brings him close to being a hero.
While originally a villain of the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, Grundy is probably more associated with Batman than any other, though in truth he doesn't have any single set sparring partner like most villains do. In the relaunch of the DCU Grundy has only appeared thus far on Earth-2 in an alternate dimension, where he fought Hawkgirl, Flash, and the Atom.
In Other Media: As a lesser known character Grundy doesn't appear very often outside the comics. He has made appearances in Justice League Unlimited, The Batman and Batman: Brave and the Bold, the latter of which is the only one where he appears multiple times.
He also appears as a boss fight in the video game Arkham City, but the character is only briefly in the game and not given much of an introduction or explanation.
Real Name: Kal'el (Kryptonian), Clark Kent (Human)
First Appearace: Action Comics #1 (1938)
Alternate Costumes: New 52 (Special Edition), Red Son (Gamestop pre-order)
In Comics: Superman is one of the most, if not the most, well known figures in American comics. The story of his flight from the dying planet Krypton only to be saved by the loving Kent family has permeated popular culture and is well known by many people, even if they've never read comics or seen the various Superman movies. He's so well known that there really isn't much to write about him, or far, far too much, depending on your perspective.
Over the years he has gone through many changes, but almost always returns to his core characterization of being a morally upstanding hero intent on preserving freedom and equality. Even though he's technically an alien he has become just as symbolic of the "American Way" as has Marvel Comics' Captain America. This was seen in equal measures when he was killed in the 90s (though he returned to life a year later) to much public outcry, and again in 2011 when he publicly distanced himself from America over what he saw as a poor treatment of aliens (the immigrant kind). The latter of these was reversed rather rapidly due to public backlash, and has not been mentioned in the DC Universe since the relaunch.
In 2003 an Elseworlds story (meaning a story not set in the regular DC continuity) was released called "Red Son". This story, written by Mark Miller and drawn by Dave Johnson, was a three-issue comic series that posed the question of what would have happened had Superman landed in the middle of Soviet-era Russia, instead of America's heartland? The series has received considerable praise over the years, and is considered among the best of the Elseworld stories. The Red Son version of Superman will make an appearance in Injustice as a bonus costume for Superman, and a series of 20 missions set in the Red Son storyline. At this time this set of missions and costumes appears to be exclusive to people who pre-order the game at Gamestop in the US (for other countries please check with your local games dealer for availability), but as is common these days it will likely be available for a price sometime after the game launches, as well (five dollars would be my guess, but that's hardly official).
In Other Media: Superman has been a stalwart on television and in the movie theaters over the years. George Reeves played him for six years in the fifties on Adventures of Superman, which would be the last time a live-action Superman was on television until the 90s with the hugely popular Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman with Dean Cain as Superman and Terri Hatcher as Lois Lane (while Superman was absent from television, a young Clark Kent as Superboy had a successful series in the 80s and early 90s). Perhaps most famously the series Smallville ran for ten years starring a young, pre-Superman Clark Kent trying to make his way in the world.
In animation Superman can be traced all the way back to the early 1940s with a two year run on television, and this series is credited with being the first to introduce true flight to the character (previously he merely "leaped tall buildings", as the famous saying goes). The comics gave him true flight soon after. He was also part of the Super Friends show and all of its assorted spin-offs. In the 90s following the success of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman was given his own series in the same style which ran for four years before giving way to Justice League Unlimited, which starred both Superman and Batman. He also has made cameos in almost all of the DC Universe animated television shows in one form or another.
In movies Superman has appeared in five live action films, with a sixth (Man of Steel) due to air later in 2013. He also has been the star of many animated films, including all of the recent Justice League movies. He will certainly star as a major character in the live-action Justice League movie due in 2015, though no word has yet come out as to who will play him.
Superman has had less than a glorious reputation in video games, and is the star of the notoriously bad Superman 64 for the Nintendo 64. He does, thankfully, appear as a main character in Lego Batman 2, which redeems him to a degree, but the fact remains that no one has yet struck gold with a Superman based video game in the same way Batman has with the Arkham Asylum line of games.
Real Name: Diana
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #8 (1941)
Alternate Costumes: New 52 (Collector's Edition), Red Son (Gamestop pre-order)
In Comics: Wonder Woman is considered to be the third member of the DC Trinity, alongside Superman and Batman. She is probably the most recognizable female superhero in either the Marvel or DC comic universes. Like Superman she is closely associated with the American way despite not being natively American herself. Instead she comes from the island of Themyscira, which is home to the Amazons of lore (a female warrior society from ancient Greece). As the representative of the Amazons in the outside world she uses her superpowers to help humanity and save the world on a regular basis.
In the past Wonder Woman has proven to be a tricky character to write and often has radical changes made to her when new writers take over. Her most popular era appears to be from the 80s-90s when she was written and drawn by the highly acclaimed artist, George Perez. A run in the early 2000s by Gail Simone is also generally well regarded, but for the most part writers are remembered for failing rather than succeeding with Wonder Woman stories.
In the relaunch of the DC Universe in 2011 Wonder Woman starred in a new series which rewrote her origin story so that she was a direct child of Zeus, king of the Greek gods (previously she had just been a particularly skilled Amazon). In addition she soon developed a relationship with Superman (who is not married to Lois Lane, in the current continuity), which has met with mixed fan reactions.
In Other Media: Outside of comics Wonder Woman is best known for her the 1970s television show Wonder Woman starring Linda Carter in the title role. Since then numerous attempts have been made to make a new Wonder Woman television show, or movie, but none have made it past the early development stages. The network behind Smallville and Arrow is working on a show called "Amazon," but we don't yet know if they'll succeed where others have failed. She was probably the most high-profile character to not appear in Smallville (due to a conflict with media ownership rights at the time), though her character was referenced many times and Lois Lane dressed up as her for one episode (or rather as a generic Amazon princess... but it's clearly meant to be Wonder Woman, she even has the lasso).
In animation Wonder Woman has been a bit more successful, playing a major role in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series, and has appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice since then. A direct-to-video animated film also was made to showcase her origin, and following that she has appeared in the Justice League animated films. She will be one of the major players in the live-action Justice League movie, but hasn't been cast yet.
Further Reading: Wonder Woman Costume History (by Geekdom)
Downloadable Characters (DLC)
The following characters have been announced as post-launch Downloadable Characters. They can either be bought individually for $5, or as a whole set for $15 under the "Season Pass".
Real Name: Barbara Gordon
First Appearance: Detective Comics #359 (1967)
In Comics: Barbara Gordon is not the first young lady to wear the Batgirl costume, and certainly not the last. The first Batgirl was Betty Kane, but her appearance as such is no longer in continuity and she instead has been remade as Bette Kane, a sidekick to Batwoman known as Firebird. After Barbara Gordon was removed from the Batgirl position by Joker (more on that in a bit) she was followed, briefly, by Helena Bertinelli (better known as Huntress) before Batman stripped her of the title and granted it to Cassandra Cain, a young assassin he had taken under his wing to rehabilitate. Cain is now Black Bat, the Batman Inc. representative in Japan. Lastly the position was held by Stephanie Brown, but since that character has been completely wiped from DC continuity by the New 52 relaunch her run is no longer considered canon. Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe took the name Batgirl for a short while before Barbara Gordon convinced her to drop it.
Barbara Gordon is the daughter of James Gordon, commissioner of the Gotham Police Department and has always been an intelligent crime-fighter, using her brain as often as her brawn to solve problems. In 1988 Alan Moore wrote the comic The Killing Joke which saw Joker paralyzing Barbara Gordon (out of her costume) as a way to get at Commissioner Gordon. Barbara would spend the next 23 real-world years in a wheelchair, unable to fight crime directly. In the late 90s Barbara put her intellect to good use to become Oracle, a sort of 411 service for heroes (mostly Batman) in need of assistance. Eventually she took a more proactive role and teamed with Black Canary to form the Birds of Prey.
With the relaunch of the New 52 Barbara Gordon regained the ability to use her legs -- though she was still paralyzed for a time -- and has retaken the Batgirl mantle. She does not appear to have ever been Oracle in the New 52 timeline. Out of all the changes made in the New 52 the ones made to Barbara seem to have sparked the most controversy, and it is generally considered that if it was not fan-favorite writer Gail Simone (who wrote Birds of Prey for several years) at the helm of the new Batgirl comic it would have failed. Instead it is considered one of the stronger New 52 titles.
In Other Media: Batgirl has been a staple of the Batman television and movie universe for almost as long as there has been Batman shows. Yvonne Craig portrayed Batgirl in the 1960s television serial starring Adam West and Burt Ward, and she was actually created as a joint effort between the comics staff and television staff to have her take over the Batgirl role in both at around the same time.
In the early 2000s Dina Meyers played Barbara Gordon as Oracle in the short-lived Birds of Prey television series, though she did suit up as Batgirl for flashbacks here and there. She has been a part of every Batman animated show since the 90s -- even Batman: Beyond where she is now the commissioner of the Gotham Police.
In movies Batgirl was played by Alicia Silverstone in Batman and Robin, although she is known as Barbara Wilson and is related to Alfred, not James Gordon, in this continuity. A young Barbara Gordon appears in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, but there is no Batgirl in that trilogy of movies.
In the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City video games Barbara is again Oracle, and she helps guide Batman to his objectives and offers commentary on the villains he fights.
Real Name: Lobo
First Appearance: Omega Men #3(June 1983)
In Other Media:
Real Name: Hanzo Hasashi
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat video game(1992)
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