JLA: Act of God, Part 3
May 3, 2010
The finale to the deus ex massive piece of crap that is this Elseworlds Tale.
Linkara: Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, and I can't believe I'm still talking about this dumbass mini-series!
Previously on the Act of God review...
Linkara (v/o): An unexplained event removed superpowers from every person in the planet along with their brains. Kyle Rayner forgets how showers work, Clark and Lois separate and he goes to Diana who's on Wall Street instead of trying to help people, and four former heroes decide to beg Batman to help them, kissing his ass because Doug Moench doesn't know how any other superhero works except Batman!
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up "Act of God Part 3") "Batman: Act of God - Part 3", starring Batman.
(We go to the theme song; "What If God Was One Of Us" by Joan Osborne plays over the title card)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is the first of the three that I don't care for. Admittedly, I like the book-ending nature of the bright light in the corner roughly where the Black Light Event was on the cover of the first part; but instead of some cool symbolism, we have an assemblage of non-powered heroes... including Catwoman for some reason... and then the Flash, Supergirl, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter in their new superhero costumes. And those costumes would've been fine if they were on other people, but knowing who these characters are, it just pisses me off beyond belief. Transforming heroes in their own right into Doug Moench's little Bat-army!
Linkara (v/o): We open to Zen-Gen Biotech Labs with the dollhouse from the last issue exploding thanks to the "miniature atomic explosion"... which still has me kinda scratching my head at the science there… and the Atom's growing form emerging from the explosion.
Scientist #1: My God, Palmer's gone!
Linkara: Gone? He's right there! If you mean he's dead, maybe you should check his pulse first!
Linkara (v/o): The other two scientists say that they'll need new test subjects, the third scientist angry that their research is going to be used for evil.
Scientist #3: But first things first, that explosion was loud-- We'd best clear out before the police arrive.
Linkara: So, an explosion in a laboratory that's only blown up a small room at best is going to attract the police?
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the Joker, Captain Cold and the Cyborg Superman storming into a penthouse, where Rex Mason, the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are all staying. But how did they find them? Why, it turns out that Booster had called the newspaper and revealed who he was, expecting money-making offers to come in.
Linkara: (irritably closing comic) Oh, for the love of– People, go out and buy (holds up a book of...) "Showcase Presents: Booster Gold"! He is not this stupid and sure as hell is better than this crap! (holds up "Act of God Part 3")
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the villains take the three prisoner, and we cut to the Whiz Radio Station, where Billy Batson is interviewing Guy Gardner. Some of my fans have commented that Guy is wildly out-of-character, too, since he'd be looking for a way to continue superheroing, given his own history of losing powers as well, further proving that Doug Moench knows as much about these characters as I know about Greek line-dances – namely... NOTHING! We cut to the Batcave, where the four heroes have finished their training and are ready to unveil their new costumes and identities. First up, is the form Martian Manhunter wearing a vest and parachute pants.
Martian Manhunter: J'onn J'onzz, formerly the Martian Manhunter, now the Green Man...
Linkara: Took you all day to come up with that one, eh, J'onny?
Martian Manhunter: Detective and martial arts skills, shock-value appearance…
Linkara: Yeah, the MC Hammer look will really put fear in the superstitious criminal mind.
Martian Manhunter: ...and full range of multi-purpose skull grenades.
Linkara: Yes, multi-purpose like blow things up and... blow things up.
Supergirl: Linda Danvers, formerly Supergirl, now Justice--acrobatics, martial arts, double-mace "Scales of Justice"...
Linkara (v/o): Yyyyeah, that's not a double-mace.
(Cut to an image of a double-mace)
Linkara (v/o): A double-mace is where you have both maces on the same end. What you're holding is...
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): I don't know what the hell that is, but it looks you'll take your own head off with it! I'd show Spoony this stupid-ass weapon, and his words exactly: "It looks like a kid's toy!" The weapon idea has merit, but it had needed to be way longer in swinging way more weight on a longer chain.
Linkara: In other words, YOUR WEAPON SUCKS!
Linkara (v/o): The costume itself isn't all that bad-looking, but I'm not calling her "Justice". She's Linda friggin' Danvers or Supergirl. In fact, I'm not calling any of them by their new made-up names. These would be fine if they were original characters, but they're not, so these new identities can promptly go to hell.
(Editor's note: "Me neither.")
Flash: Wally West, formerly the Flash, now Red Devil--martial arts, fearless abandon...
Linkara: How in the hell is "fearless abandon" a good trait?! That's like saying, "It's a useful trait that I'm not afraid of diving headfirst into thirty guys wielding machine guns without any kind of protection." But then again, given how moronic everybody is acting...
Aquaman: Arthur, formerly Aquaman, now the Hand...
Linkara: (as Aquaman) As in, (holds up hand) "talk to the".
Aquaman: ...and the new wrist-port accommodates a variety of interchangeable "hands".
Linkara: You are the freaking ruler of all the oceans! You own most of the Earth! You can summons Krakens and all manner of deadly sea creatures... and now, you're "the Hand"?! DOUG MOENCH, READ A FRIGGING BOOK!!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Batman asks them if they're ready, but Oracle interrupts to tell them about Ray Palmer's death.
Martian Manhunter: Wait a minute! I received a phone call last night... a voice I could barely hear... The only words I made out sounded like "a calmer", but the caller could have been-- Ray Palmer... calling for help... but too small to make himself heard.
Linkara: (as Martian Manhunter) So, in retrospect, his death is kind of my fault. Oops.
Linkara (v/o): Batman asks who's behind Zen-Gen, but Oracle says that she can't untangle the web of holding companies that's blocking who really owns it. Linda Danvers suggest that if Palmer was shrunken at the time of his death, he might have written the message smaller than what people would have been looking for, so she'll check with her former friends in the police forensics division to get in and take a look.
Linkara: Yeah, suddenly, regular police work doesn't suck so much, does it, Linda?
Linkara (v/o): We cut to a church in New York where– Oh, no. He... He wouldn't, would he?
Clark: First, the stock market, now the church... but never me.
Diana: We said no promises, Clark.
Clark: We also wondered if being together would cancel or double our loss.
Linkara: And that still doesn't make any friggin' sense to me!
Linkara (v/o): But– Oh, dear God, he did.
Diana: Why? Because I'm praying? We thought we were cut off, Clark, with nothing to turn to. Maybe we were wrong.
Linkara (v/o): Princess Diana of the Amazons is in a Catholic church and praying.
Linkara: That's right, Wonder Woman is praying to the Christian God, despite her ENTIRE FREAKIN' ORIGIN AND the fact that she frequently invokes the Greek pantheon. (shakes head, then slams comic shut) You know, this comic is actually quite the argument that for SATAN's existence!
Clark: And maybe we've already had our judgment day.
Diana: Or a test...a trial...a lesson to be learned.
Clark: Taught by God? Is that what you believe? God stripped our powers so we could learn a "lesson" by not being able to help people?
Diana: Maybe we weren't helping. Maybe we were just drunk on our own power, proving how "superior" we were.
(Linkara glares silently for an extended period of time, then cut to a clip of UHF)
Kuni: STUPID! YOU'RE SO STUPID!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Let's count the ways, shall we? First, there's this stupid idea of Diana praying to the Christian God. Why in the Nine Circles of Hell is she praying to the Christian God?! She has met her gods! She has met other pantheons of gods! If some deity was behind this, why is she doing this now into this particular God? Furthermore, we saw here in the last issue! She was fine! She was idiotically at peace with her not having her powers! What, did she have some sort of internal crisis? Yeah, that might've been nice to see, Doug Moench, instead of just stupidly cutting to this without any explanation of what happened in the intervening time! Next, this story keeps bringing this idea up, that the heroes were somehow "arrogant" or "superior" when they had their superpowers. If that's true, they did a great job of covering it up. At no point in this mess did we ever see them acting smug, superior, arrogant, full of themselves, or otherwise acting in any manner except as superheroes! Oh, well, except for Metamorpho, who was doing archaeological digging. Yeah, what a selfishly blatant thing to do with his powers, uncovering ancient lost civilizations for science and history. What an asshole! So, let's give this comic the benefit of the doubt and say that these superheroes – "superheroes" being the key word here – somehow flaunted their power like gods and deserved to be taken down a peg. Well, then, whoever did this did a craptastic job of it since the tech heroes probably felt smug and superior, too. After all, regular law enforcement probably didn't have force fields and energy blasters or superior strength through robotic limbs. But even that, even after all of that garbage, we have this moronic premise that God is responsible for this, and, as Diana said, "This is all a test." Speaking as a Christian, if this were true, God would have to be the most vindictive, dickish, and self-righteous asshole that has ever existed! Innocent people have DIED because of this supposed "lesson"; millions more will die as time continues to pass!
Linkara: And for what?! So they could be more like Batman, a man who only managed to maintain his crime-fighting skills because he's RICH?!?
Linkara (v/o): Let's ignore even the idiotic plot points. This comic is just badly written. Any potential symbolism or subtlety's lost, because the goddamn writer apparently thinks the reader is too stupid to figure it out themselves. Instead, we have painfully pretentious lines where they flat-out state the frickin' obvious!
Diana: Two "gods" humbled by an act of God...
Martian Manhunter: --reduced to the human level, but still appearing nonhuman.
Supergirl: Like angels cast from heaven... fallen to ignorance.
(Editor's note: "What the hell does that even mean!?")
Linkara (v/o): (mockingly) But not innocence.
Flash: (thinking) Nothing but a snail's pace tour of lost glory... the fast life slowed to a crawl...screeched to a halt.
Linkara: PEOPLE DO NOT TALK LIKE THAT. Hate to break it to you, Doug Moench, but this is NOT "Richard, III", and you sure as hell are not Shakespeare!
Linkara (v/o): Like I said, the only scene so far that actually seemed to capture this situation perfectly was Billy Batson. It was short, there weren't many lines, and the one thing that was kind of pretentious was...
Billy: Nothing but little Billy Batson... hollow voice on the radio. With nobody listening.
Linkara (v/o): But it captured his feelings of loneliness and loss more powerfully than...
Diana: ...reduced to the level of those over whom we once towered.
Linkara (v/o): No, let me say that again...
Diana: (Superboy-Prime's whiny voice) ...reduced to the level of those over whom we once towered.
Linkara: SHOW, DON'T TELL, DUDE! I can't believe I have to be the one playing editor here!
Linkara (v/o): So, to sum up...
(Cut to a clip of Billy Madison)
Principal: I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): (sighs) It can only go uphill from here, right?
Diana: It's not the level of our abilities, but what we do with what we have.
Linkara: Yeah, when you had powers, you served as an ambassador, enriched people's lives, and saved the world! Without powers, you went on Wall Street! I really hate this comic!
Diana: Maybe the powers were a crutch.
(Cut to a clip of Dr. Cox from Scrubs)
Dr. Cox: (singing to the Westminster chimes) Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong... Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong... You're wrong!
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Clark's had it up to here with her bullcrap and walks away, deciding to start drinking booze – I know the feeling well – while Diana continues praying. I can't believe we're only ten pages in! Linda Danvers goes through the evidence and finds the dollhouse table and the words scratched into it: "Lab bad Luthor Can't Contact". My god, actual intelligence! A brief message that gets right to the point! With the knowledge of Luthor's involvement, Oracle is able to trace the funding of the lab. However, they have no idea where the researchers for Zen-Gen went and that the labs themselves have been cleared out. We cut to STAR Labs, one of the science institutions of the DC Universe. In any normal story, they would have been working on the black light event. In this story, it's where the researchers have gone to, even though that doesn't make any sense since they're an independent research group and couldn't be bought by Luthor, but whatever. Flash's rogues, along with the Joker, are guarding the institution while the scientists continue their work. The one scientist with a conscience is still complaining, but the other jerk-wad of a mad scientist just tells him to shut up, because he's... uh... okay, he has no motivation to be evil; he's just evil.
Linkara: Hey, I'll run with it. The villains are the only ones in this comic that are making any sense!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, they're experimenting on Rex Mason, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, despite none of them actually having the meta-gene, while Luthor's other division works on the tech stolen last issue. One week later... Seriously, stop telling us the time periods, it just makes everything look that much more ridiculous! ...Diana contemplates the idea that there may have been no reason for this.
Diana: All my prayers have gone unanswered...and any "lesson" to be learned feels more and more like a cruel joke...
Linkara: If there is a joke here, it's on me.
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Clark stumbles around in an alleyway, drinking. He comes upon a homeless shelter run by a priest, who gives him some money and says he should head back to New York after Clark tells an abridged version of his story. On the way to just use the money for more booze, he comes across a burning building where some fire fighters rescue a kid. He remembers Diana's cliched and moronic speech about people doing good things with what they have. Oh, and by the way, despite sleeping in alleyways for over a week and drinking himself silly, Clark is still sporting a pretty thick muscular structure. Speaking of exercise, we cut to Kyle Rayner deciding to train himself to just fight Sonar hand-to-hand... Is he still on about this? ...while we see a letter indicating that Jade left him. I'm just shocked that it took her that long to do it! Oracle discovers that Luthor purchased STAR Labs and has made all the connections, telling the others that Luthor plans to corner the market on superpowers, both tech and bio.
Batman: ...and once the authorities put it together, they'll probably respond with all-out force.
Linkara: How the hell will they put it together? It took you guys this long to put it together!
Martian Manhunter: The worst kind of response--given all the hazardous materials in those labs.
Linkara: (as Martian Manhunter) Police officers are klutzy, stupid people who don't know how to be careful when entering an area with hazardous materials.
Linkara (v/o): The group suggests infiltrating it themselves as their first mission... What, they haven't even been out on patrol yet? ...but Batman is reluctant. They argue that they'll never be ready in his eyes, and after some talk, they convince him that they can go, but only with an escort. As such, he says to bring Nightwing along.
Linda: Why not? Black and blue goes with anything...
Linkara: Superhero and fashion expert Linda Danvers, everyone!
Linkara (v/o): When they learn of the other three heroes who were abducted, they go in through the sewers to try to get into STAR Labs.
Nightwing: Ten feet of concrete? How do we--
Martian Manhunter: Skull bomb, Nightwing. Explosive type.
Linkara: Someone want to explain the whole "exploding skull thing" and how that relates to J'onn J'onzz? (takes a wrapped bottle of alcohol) Oh, alcohol, I still drink to your health.
Martian Manhunter: Back off! Ten seconds to cover! Nine... eight... seven... si-- (gets cut off by an explosion)
(Cut to a clip of Doctor Who)
Doctor Who: You said ten seconds.
Ace: No one's perfect, Professor.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): They head in, beat up some guards, and find the three captured heroes. The scientists come in, the one with the conscience saying he'll testify against the others for their morally bankrupt operation. (in the comic, another scientist pulls a gun, but Linda knocks it out of his hand with a rather small mace weapon she had) The jackass one pulls a gun and– Oh, what the hell?! We saw that stupid little mace thing before! It doesn't have enough reach to knock the gun out of his hand! And why the hell are you twisting your body like that, Linda? Anyway, the one scientist tells them that their experiments on the meta-gene are a failure, but that the tech department is mass-producing power suits. The scientist works to wake up the three captured heroes, while the others go to the tech section. Doug Moench, deciding once again that the reader is stupid, reminds us that it was Luthor that stole Steel's tech. He also breaks down exactly what parts of the stolen suits came from what person instead of, you know, ASSUMING WE HAVE A BRAIN!! The Joker, souped up with some of the stolen tech, runs in with the other tech criminals. After a few pages of fight sequences, Wally runs after the Joker and beats him up, saying that this somehow puts resolution to that goofy-looking cop who was killed. They also catch Luthor, who decided to hang around instead of fleeing when trouble began for some reason.
(Cut to a clip of "Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3")
Emperor Yoshiro: You are made of stupid.
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Two weeks later, we find the Brawny Man– I mean, Clark Kent out in the woods. Well, so much for that whole "do good things even without powers" thing; Clark has learned nothing. The Martian Manhunter goes to see him, and Clark congratulates the Phoenix Group's exploits.
Clark: Doing what you did, J'onn, without your powers...you risked your lives, all of you.
Linkara: THEY RISKED THEIR LIVES EVEN WITH POWERS!!
Martian Manhunter: And gained a new respect for what the Batman does.
Clark: What he's always done, J'onn, which is why he's always been the best of us.
Linkara: (looking at comic) Up yours, comic!
Linkara (v/o): Kyle Rayner, upon hearing about a burglary committed by Sonar... What, he's still robbing banks?! It's been like a year now! He must have stolen half the U.S. treasury by now! ...runs off to confront him. We see Diana contemplating suicide since God's "not answering her prayers"! At this point, I'm contemplating it, too. However, Clark arrives and they reunite, getting into a relationship, because for some ungodly reason, dumb writers think that these two should be paired up whenever Lois gets separated from Clark. Kyle Rayner, having stolen a fire truck, somehow, bursts through a wall and uses a fire extinguisher to short-circuit Sonar's tech. The two fight, ending with Sonar knocked out and Kyle impaled on a stick! I really hate this comic. Clark returns to work as a reporter, Lois telling him there's no hard feelings, and if it seems like I'm rushing through this lame-ass ending, it's only because I am. Two years later, Diana and Clark are married and have a kid. And just in case you thought this couldn't get any stupider, our comic ends with their baby displaying superpowers!
Narrator: There was indeed a reason for this, a purpose behind it all, and the reason is both simple and glorious.
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching I Accuse My Parents)
Joel and the Bots: (chanting) LIAR! LIAR! LIAR!
(Cut back to the comic again)
Narrator: While the power of heroes may fade... it can never die.
Linkara: (as narrator) Except for, you know, when Superman became a drunk, and Wonder Woman became a Catholic, and Guy Gardner became a shill, and Billy Batson became a radio announcer, and Blue Beetle and Booster Gold sold their tech, and Green Lantern became an obsessed freak. You know, besides for all of that. (suddenly becomes enraged as he holds up the "Act of God" series) THESE... COMICS... SUCK!!!
Linkara (v/o): All three issues are pure, concentrated suckitude! The plot is idiotic, the characters are idiotic, and Doug Moench deserves the most scorn of all, not doing his fricking research on these iconic characters, instead deciding to start the First Church of Batman!
Linkara: Not since "Superman At Earth's End" have I been so ENRAGED BY OUT-OF-CHARACTER BEHAVIOR!! And that means that it's time (pulls out his magic gun) TO BURN, BABY, BURN!!!
(Linkara aims his gun at the comics and is about to fire, when suddenly, there is a bright flash. When it ends, the gun disappears)
Linkara: (stunned) What the– Oh-ho-ho-ho, I get it. (laughs) Trying to pull a black light event on me? (laughs again, then becomes infuriated again) GO TO HELL! (takes out a lighter) I've still got a lighter!
(But before Linkara can light up the lighter, there is another flash which makes the lighter disappear)
Linkara: (aggravated) DAAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNNNN IIIIIIITTTTTTTT!!!!!!!
(Meanwhile, down the hall, Dr. Linksano is seen holding up a small remote control device; he giggles crazily)
Dr. Linksano: Yes, that's right, Linkara! Scream and suffer for me! (giggles) The more you suffer, the more you go insane, the more likely it will that I WILL RULE THE WORLD! (cackles)
Pollo: Excuse me.
Dr. Linksano: Huh? (looks to see Pollo approaching) Oh, it's you, the little robot friend. (laughs) I suggest that you start running, little robot, and you run as far as you can on your little hover skirt. (giggles)
Pollo: Oh, really?
Dr. Linksano: Oh, yes. You see, what I've got here is a black light event generator. I'd like to see Dr. Insano invent one of those! (giggles) Oh, it's very simple, you see. It can warp reality as I wish, either transferring to different dimensions or simply removing a power. (giggles) Maybe I could even remove you from existence!
(Dr. Linksano cackles while Pollo's eyepiece lights up a bright red. Dr. Linksano pushes the button on his device, but to his surprise, nothing happens. He becomes worried as he feverishly presses the button, to no avail)
Dr. Linksano: Um, little technical difficulty... Oh, dear...
Pollo: I think you should start running.
Dr. Linksano: (cowering against the door) Stay back!
Pollo: Run. Run for your life.
(Dr. Linksano whimpers, then screams as he opens the door and runs off. Cut back to Linkara, still seething at the comics with no weapons to destroy it. Suddenly, however, there is a flash and his magic gun appears in his hand again. He smiles)
Linkara: (aiming his gun at the comics) TIME TO DIE NOW!! (fires his gun at the comics, burning them up)
Seriously, I could write a book on just how many character inconsistencies there are in this thing.
Take a shot every time Linda Danver's little club says "phoenix" or makes an awkward reference to "rising from the ashes." Yes, Doug Moench, WE GET IT.
(Stinger: Dr. Linksano runs into a room full of garbage bags. He gasps for breath)
Dr. Linksano: Okay, I think I've gotten away from it. Oh, that accursed robot! Linkara has so many friends and allies. I need some friends and allies of my own. Who could I trust with helping me take over the universe? What would my counterpart in this universe do? (suddenly, an idea comes to him and tries to snap his fingers, but can't, to his annoyance) Oh, I can't snap fingers! (looks at black light generator) Anyway, (giggles) this is the key to it. I just need the help... of a warrior! (cackles)