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Read the first eight pages of the official new DC Injustice: Year Zero series by Tom Taylor

(Image credit: DC)

Four days after the story broke online and was then removed, DC removed all doubt Tuesday by officially announcing (this time to the Hollywood Reporter) the immediate launch of Injustice: Year Zero, a twice-monthly, 14-chapter digital-first comic book return to the alternate DC reality based on the popular video game franchise. 

The first three chapters will reportedly be available Tuesday on DC digital services individually for $0.99 or as a bundle for $2.49 at comiXology and readDC exclusively. 

The publisher also made the first eight story pages of the first chapter available online and free to read. Check them out here:

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Written by Taylor with art by Rogê Antônio, Cian Tormey, Rain Beredo, and Wes Abbott, and covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, Injustice: Year Zero "returns fans to the world of DC's bestselling Injustice: Gods Among Us; back to a time before Superman punched the Joker through the heart and became the fascist ruler of Injustice!" according to DC. 

(Image credit: Julian Totino Tedesco (DC))

Subtitled 'Fall of the Old Gods,' the prequel story "focuses the action around the Justice League and the discovery of how their predecessors covertly fought within World War II to bring down a tyrant," reads DC's description. "When the Joker finds a way to control DC's Super Heroes, he uses his leverage to sabotage the Justice League—and the JSA—from the inside!"

The official announcement follows a series of teases and clues posted to Taylor's social media accounts since the beginning of last week. 

Why a prequel, and why now? Taylor tells THR that its a story for current times with the pandemic, and it's also about "hope" and "genuine heroics."

"This one isn't as morally grey as what comes after," the writer says. "This is Superman and Batman at the peak of their friendship. Lois and Clark as a team. The Justice League united, and the Justice Society as a shining example for all. Of course, by its very nature, there's going to be tragedy and shocks and deaths, but there will be hope, there will be triumph, there will be love with the loss and heart alongside the hurt."

Taylor went on to say that Injustice: Year Zero fits "the biggest hole" in the franchise's continuity since he began and answers two nagging questions he and fans have had since day 1.

"There were two Injustice questions that have been hanging over me for years. Why did Joker target Superman? And where did the Justice Society go?" Taylor explains. "We actually sowed the seeds of this in the Injustice 2 comics, when both Doctor Midnite and Wildcat hinted at a traumatic past in our universe."

Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 were two digital-first DC series Taylor created based on the two popular and critically-acclaimed video games developed by NeatherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The world of Injustice is based on an alternate DC reality in which the Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child and detonating a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. His subsequent murder of the Joker and other supervillains eventually leads to the Man of Steel becoming a totalitarian ruler. Batman and other heroes' efforts to end his regime drove the gameplay of the original game.

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The original Gods Among Us comic book series was a prequel published digitally-first from 2013 to 2016 that began five years prior to the timeline of the original game. Split up in five chapters each representing one year, Taylor wrote the first three 'years.' Brian Buccellato concluded the first series through Year 5.

Injustice: Year Zero will apparently be a prequel to the prequel, and/or a rewriting of the prequel timeline. 

Injustice: Year Zero Chapter Four will publish on Tuesday, August 18.

Check out our recent look back at the Injustice comic book franchise with Taylor