Ah, promotional tie-ins. What better way to learn about a movie before it releases than through myriad promotional crossovers? Batman v Superman is no exception, and a new series of prequel comics tied into purchases of Dr Pepper have given us a pretty interesting glimpse into the movie’s world.
Typically, if you wanted to read the comics, you’d have to go out and buy a specially-marked can of Dr Pepper, and scan it into an app. But the internet being the internet, those comics managed to worm their way onto the web for those who can’t—or don’t want to—hunt down soft drinks with pictures of superheroes on them to read.
The thing is, as easy as it is to take the piss out of marketing tie-ins sometimes, the five prequel comics from Christos Gage, Joe Bennet, Sean Parsons, Hi-Fi, and Deron Bennett—focusing on Batman, Lois Lane, Senator Finch (the red-haired woman from the trailers), Superman, and Lex Luthor—actually have some pretty fun little nuggets of information in them, and make for some quick, fun comic reading anyway. We took a look at the chapters, and parsed out the most interesting things we could find.
The big theme of the Batman-focused chapter isn’t really just that the Batman is back in action again, but that the Dark Knight has been changed by his time away from the cowl.
Mostly narrated by two goons swapping stories with each other, the chapter, which sees Batman take out the DC Cinematic Universe’s version of the comics villain Firefly, points out that Batman is no longer the kind of vigilante who strikes precisely from the dark, leaving his foes incapacitated but unharmed. He kinda just prefers to beat the ever-loving crap out of them. His tussle with Firefly is short but brutal, as he breaks bones and shreds Firefly’s suit to pieces. This isn’t your thinking man’s Batman. This is your “punch you in the face until you’ve got no face left” Batman.
Clark Kent, eat your heart out. Lois’ story has little to do with the major events leading up to the film (although there are a few—more on that in a bit), but it’s still pretty fun. While Clark’s covering floods in Bangladesh, she heads out on an investigation into a company that had access to Kryptonian technology in the wake of the Metropolis attack, and sold some of it on the black market.
Lois gets to confront the CEO of the company, and basically tricks him into confessing. Even when he pulls a gun on her, she stays calm, turns the tables on him, and then gets to kick him in the nads for good measure. It’s nothing big going into the movie, but still, it’s nice that she got a spotlight here (even if it’s super weird there isn’t a Wonder Woman comic in this bundle).
The overriding theme of these comics is that everyone is freaked the hell out about the thought of another Metropolis attack happening. The US Army is developing programs that predict the loss of life if a city is attacked, using data from both Zod and Superman. The result of that data: basically everyone would die horribly and quickly.
But Senator Finch—who in the trailers seems to be heavily playing into the fear-mongering hands of Lex Luthor by the time the movie rolls around—seems more interested in finding out what Superman can do rather than sitting around hoping another Kryptonian shows up. She sets up a committee that aims to look at the impact of Superman’s presence in the geopolitical landscape as well as secretly analyze his superheroic capabilities. Presumably, this is a predecessor to that trial Superman is shown attending in the Batman v Superman trailers.
Even while people in high-up places worry about Superman, it actually seems like the average person is okay with him. Superman’s chapter is framed through a TV debate covering his rescuing of a derailing passenger train, apparently one of many recent heroic acts he’s conducted. Not a neck-snap in sight!
Apparently, since Metropolis,Superman has started showing up across the world performing humanitarian acts, staying out of conflicts that could ethically compromise him, and essentially doing the superhuman equivalent of damage control. People are looking to change that image, though, and turn people against the Man of Steel... including a certain head of Lexcorp.
Lex actually has the biggest role in these comic prequel. Besides his own chapter, he basically shows up at the end of every other one for a quick maniacal cackle and to tell you that he’s up to a lot of nefarious stuff going into the movie.
He’s spying on Batman now that the Dark Knight has returned to the streets of Gotham. He buys out the company Lois was investigating, just to get access to the Kryptonian tech they had stored away. There’s even an implication that he’s planting anti-Superman talking heads into the aforementioned TV debates to sow discontent. You know, typical evil villain stuff. It basically culminates in his own chapter, where Lex reveals he’s been researching Kryptonians to find a way to learn Superman’s secrets... including by getting access to Zod’s body, something that’s been in the trailers and is heavily rumored to culminate in Lex transforming the corpse into the movie’s equivalent of Doomsday. But it seems like Lex has been up to no good for ages before the movie starts. Although Batman v Superman is the start of his hatred for the Man of Steel, he’s clearly been planning this showdown for quite a bit.