Justice League: Cry for Justice #3-4
January 10, 2011
Together, we can BE justice!
The episode opens up with Linkara walking up to Pollo, looking to get a status report on all the data they have currently collected on Vyce's ship.
Linkara: Pollo, report!
Pollo: The ship remains in orbit. Communication attempts from a few nations have been made, but there has been no response.
Linkara picks up his DS and views the footage of Vyce's ship on it, noting something odd as he does so.
Linkara: There are satellites that have come into contact with this thing and have just vanished.
Pollo: Watch the footage slowed down.
Linkara takes Pollo's advice and sees another peculiar piece of evidence.
Linkara: Ahhhhh, now that is very interesting. The satellites aren't vanishing, they're being destroyed, just very quickly!
Pollo: Are you sure this is Vyce's ship? You never saw it from the outside.
Linkara: I think the big "V" on the front of it is a good indicator.
Pollo: So how are they being destroyed so quickly?
Linkara: That ship is emitting some kind of "time shield" around it, keeping it out of sync from our universe's time scale. Days or weeks could pass and it would only be minutes on that ship!
Pollo: Which means that the ship cannot be attacked by conventional weapons?
Linkara: Exactly! Launch a missile at the thing, and until it actually penetrates the shield - which it can't - from their point of view, it looks like it's taking forever! And it gives them ample time to calculate its position and end it before it becomes a threat.
Pollo: For the moment, there is nothing we can do but wait. I'll try to get as much information as I can, but hopefully this will all turn out to be nothing.
Linkara: And if it is Vyce, it looks like he's finally making his move...
The scene ends and cuts to black. The theme song and opening credits play before fading into the title card. Song is the theme song for "The New Justice Team", a fictional show within a show featured in the Futurama Season 4 episode "Less Than Hero". Fade in to Linkara sitting on his couch as usual.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Since we've got some time before we're all killed by the invasion of Lord Vyce, I figure we can continue the review of Justice League: Cry for Justice.
Cut to scans of the pages from last week's issues of Cry for Justice.
Linkara (Voiceover): When we last left our motley band of dumbasses, Hal Jordan decided that he was tired of the Justice League only reacting to crimes as they happened, so he took off with Green Arrow to respond to crimes while they happened. I'd say that would make more sense if you'd seen the last video, but that would be a lie. Meanwhile, several other superheroes have been trying to track down the supervillain Prometheus, whose agents have been stealing several bits of advanced technology all over the world. And all throughout this, supporting characters have been killed off-panel, leading to everyone wanting JUSTIIIIIICE!
Linkara: So let's dig into Justice League: Cry for Justice #3 and #4. For great justice.
Linkara (VO): We open to...Supergirl's boobs next to the four male heroes. Well done, Mauro Cascioli. Way to screw over any respect I might've had for your art.
Hal Jordan: All right, Supergirl, here you are. And you saved my life -- much appreciated, by the way. But I still have to ask... Are you here now as a hero...or as a villain?
Linkara: Wow. Awkward and stupid right out of the starting gate!
Linkara (VO): This once again requires backstory explanation. Supergirl, at least in how her series began, had a tendency to go evil every once in a while for one reason or another. In addition, at the same time this was being published, there was an event going on in the Superman books called New Krypton. It was revealed that an entire city full of Superman's people had survived their planet's destruction, and eventually they left Earth and all Kryptonians were forced into exile, Superman and Supergirl included. I could think of at least five different ways Hal could've said hello to Supergirl given that backstory, but instead we go for confrontational and stilted. Oh, and apparently such dialogue is so painful and hurtful, Supergirl instantly sheds a tear.
Linkara: Dear lord, that opening line was actually so bad that it hurt her emotionally!
Linkara (VO): Green Arrow calls Hal out on being a jackass to the woman who saved them...and proceeds to condescend to Supergirl and treat her like a four year old.
Oliver: Hey. Don't cry. The horrible man didn't mean it. He gets grumpy around this time of day if he doesn't get a candy bar. We know you're on our side.
Linkara: Chronologically, Supergirl's about 17 or 18 or so at the time of this book, so go on, Green Arrow! It's either mistrust or patronizing.
Linkara (VO): Atom says the mistrust is about the whole "no Kryptonians" thing, but Supergirl explains that she's on Earth to look for the people responsible for the murder of her father, and thought the others might be of help to her.
Supergirl: My father's dead. I want justice! Together, we can be justice!
Linkara: (dismayed) ...Oh god. Now I understand why she was crying. She knows what book she's in. And she knows that the stupid has infected her!
Ray: We want Prometheus.
Freddy: And justice too, if you get down to it.
Linkara: Well, we can pencil you in for "Justice" at about 5 o'clock or so...
Linkara (VO): While Hal contemplates making this group of ragtag justice seekers into a team, we cut to Mikaal and Congorilla engaged in character development. If this series was about these two, this might actually make for a good sequence! Instead, it really is just padding because they will have little to no impact on the actual story. Congorilla also exposits that among his tribe, there was also a gorilla scientist - yeah, there's a race of hyper-intelligent gorillas who have their own city; that's the kind of thing I like to see in comics, not lots of murder and horribly written lines! - who was the only one whose body he couldn't find. As such, he reasons his tribe was murdered so Prometheus could kidnap him. We cut to Prometheus being tortured by the Justice League of Justice. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen!
Oliver: I gotta say, Hal... Is this right? I mean, isn't this torture?
Linkara: No, it's a brain enema-- YES, IT'S TORTURE, YOU IDIOT!!!
Hal: Prometheus is a villain, Ollie. He's a murderer.
Linkara: He's a human being subject to due process of law. Go to hell! Oh, wait, you've already been there, what with the whole murdering people and trying to take over the universe thing! Go screw yourself, Hal!
Linkara (VO): You don't get to play morally superior after that, asshole! And by the way, Hal is a member of the Green Lantern Corps. The Corps is basically an intergalactic police force and everyone who wields a ring is subject to rules as well. I admit, I'm not one of the brave and fearless members of this little organization, but I'm pretty sure there's a byline somewhere about not torturing criminals! I mean, seriously, the friggin' ring is supposed to be monitoring Hal and no one has contacted him to say "Yeah, Hal, knock it off."
Oliver: Yeah, but aren't we supposed to be the good guys?
Hal: Ask me when the sting of Bruce and J'onn's death and all the others has gone away, if it ever does.
Linkara: So, this book forces us to ask what justice is. ...Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the answer to that is not "violations of civil rights by grieving friends of the victims"!
Linkara (VO): And by the by, Prometheus didn't kill either of them, so what the hell are you pissed at him for exactly? Oh yeah, he supposedly killed all of those people off-panel. Goody-goody gumdrops! That certainly justifies this! The Atom, having been the one rattling around his head, retreats out after Prometheus agrees to talk. They wanna know how Prometheus got all the second-stringers to work for him. Oh yeah, let's talk about that again. In this issue, we saw some more bodies on the ground, including Mister Freeze, Killer Frost and Bizarro. THEY ARE NOT SECOND-STRINGERS. Hell, Bizarro's as strong as Superman, and yet Green Arrow and Green Lantern has no problem taking them down!! Rrrrrrgh... Prometheus explains, in the third person, that he wanted to be like Batman; someone without any powers and yet he still commanded the respect and fear of people with incredible power. And to a degree, that's true, his origin is basically a reverse Batman, with his parents being killed by the police and becoming an expert at everything. But Prometheus' fighting skills and knowledge came from the helmet he wears, which includes data discs about how to fight every potential enemy he could ever face, mostly heroes. Meaning that he's not really like Batman; he cheats for his skills. Batman defeated him by overwriting the software so he'd have the fighting skills of only one person: Stephen Hawking. I'm not even kidding! And that's how you defeat a villain in this kind of story; by being clever! But as this story concludes, we shall see what Prometheus' real weakness is: an ordinary arrow. Dear god, I just wanna slam my face into this book repeatedly in the hopes that some of my own brain will merge with it and make it less dumb. We cut to Mikaal and Congorilla. They're approached by a group of jetpack-wielding robots.
Mikaal: We'll use the plane to counterattack.
Congorilla: If it had any bullets that would be a wonderful notion. No, I'll meet them in the air, one-on-one like you.
Mikaal: But you can't fly.
Congorilla: I've always found it best to worry about one thing at a time.
Linkara: My god. A giant intelligent gorilla and an alien are about to fight robots on jetpacks! ...WHY IS THIS STORY NOT ABOUT THEM?!?
Congorilla: TALLY HO!!!
Massive ass-kicking ensues to the tune of Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". It's every bit as awesome as it sounds, ladies and gents.
Linkara (VO): They defeat the robots and proceed, Congorilla having to swim the rest of the way. Back with Torture for Justice, Prometheus explains that he summoned the other villains there to lure as many heroes as could be attracted as once.
Linkara: What a brilliant plan! ...Except for the fact that nobody knew about the meeting except Jason Bard, who called all of two people to stop them!
Linkara (VO): Prometheus starts mutating, revealing himself to be Clayface in disguise!
A dramatic music sting plays as Linkara looks up from the comic in shock...only to cut his surprise short when he realizes this digs up ANOTHER plothole.
Linkara: Hey, wait a second! If he was Clayface this entire time, what the hell was the Atom doing inside of his skull? He's made of mud! How would that torture him?!
Linkara (VO): Green Lantern's ring suddenly warns him of a bomb being primed inside of Clayface that explodes immediately! Oh, fantastic, the most powerful weapon in the universe and it can't detect a homemade bomb inside of a person made out of mud that's pretending to be someone else. And yeah, the bomb explodes, hopefully killing them all so we can end this nonesense. We now go to a flashback where the real Prometheus starts monologuing to Ira Quimby, a.k.a the mad scientist I.Q. I.Q. wants more intelligence as a reward for his assisting Prometheus, and Prometheus proceeds to give his backstory, but with some new details. Remember how I told you about that battle he had with Batman? Well, it turns out that he's been in an asylum since then and the Prometheus who has been running around since then has been an impostor. In one way, this is good. You see, Prometheus only had two significant appearances since that point. One was in the dreadful storyline Hush Returns, the sort-of sequel to the excellent Batman storyline Hush. Since that story sucked: yay, that wasn't really him! ...The problem is the other story he was in! Yet again, it's Gail Simone's series Birds of Prey, where Prometheus was a hell of a lot more dignified and managed to take down one of the DC Universe's deadliest assassins in seconds. That did not need to be retconned. In fact, this, along with the dialogue about the Birds of Prey from Issue 2 make me wonder if James Robinson has some sort of problem with Gail Simone or that book. Yeah, I know, paranoia, but it does make you wonder...
Linkara: Furthermore, the exact details of what happened are thankfully included in the trade collection I have here... Except it makes what happened even more implausible.
Linkara (VO): The Martian Manhunter and Batman basically mindwipe him temporarily so he won't be a threat anymore to the League. Yeah... The problem is that DC had several events all leading around the idea of superheroes mindwiping criminals being a bad thing! All of which were published five years ago! Especially when it was revealed they had mindwiped Batman for ten minutes of his memory too! So after all of that moral ambiguity that the creators raised about whether or not it's okay to do that, the two people who were really against mindwiping, Batman and the Martian Manhunter, are the first in line to shove a problem away with a mind wipe and put it in a mental institution. What. A. Load. Anyway, Prometheus explains that after everything that happened, he wants revenge on the heroes for what they did to him.
Prometheus: I want revenge on the superhero community as a whole.
Linkara: (dryly) Why? (beat) It's a simple question. Batman and the Martian Manhunter were the ones who took away several years of your life, not the entire superhero community. Why do you wanna do it?
Prometheus: I want them to feel pain; true pain. But once you've killed a few, the thrill and satisfaction you might imagine, fades. And death... can mean nothing.
Linkara: (matter-of-factly) Go after their families and loved ones. You're smart; you can figure out their secret identities.
Linkara (VO): Blah blah blah, he can't kill them, he has to hit their hearts. No, instead, he has a convoluted, nonsensical plan for revenge rather than simply hurting their loved ones.
Prometheus: I began by gathering the science, having others do my bidding in America, to hide my goals for the time being.
Linkara: You suck at this! Pretty much every person you sent out squealed your name immediately!
Linkara: Oh, but he says Europe was different. He went there directly and killed a superhero team known as the Global Guardians. Yes, more people killed off-panel without even a grand final stand. Oh, and in case you're wondering, that tie-in book where Prometheus wakes up and all had him kill off more people too. I'm beginning to see why James Robinson referenced Countdown in Issue 2; clearly it was an inspiration for him! Oh, and it turns out that I.Q.'s drink, instead of granting him more intelligence, has regressed his mental age to an infant, since he knows too much of Prometheus' plans. He could have just killed him, of course, but that wouldn't be evil enough! And so our comic ends with Prometheus throwing his wine glass to the floor with a map of the United States behind him, with several cities on it circled in red. Issue 4 begins with the heroes crawling out of the wreckage of the blown-up building. Our villain, who apparently can't even blow up a few heroes without screwing it up.
Linkara: (acting as one of the heroes rising from the rubble) Oh man, I'm sore. I need to take some Justice-- er, I mean Tylenol! ...Tylenol of Justice.
Linkara (VO): Captain Marvel explains that he protected them all from the blast with his lightning, an idea so stupid that it's actually a plot point for later. The group contemplates that Prometheus may have a hold on more villains the same way he had on Clayface, who mentioned before he exploded that his kid was being threatened. Supergirl reasons that he's not too clever since the explosion wouldn't have hurt her or Captain Marvel.
Hal: My ring says different.
Hal's Ring: Analysis of explosive compound: laced with molecular nanobytes, re-configuring substance of blast every .000034 milliseconds.
Linkara: (not buying it at all) Nope. Uh-uh. I don't buy it for one minute. Explosions do not work that way.
Hal's Ring: At moment of explosion, trace elements of kryptonite. Also active ingredient Jordan DNA, making possibility ring would override protective screen.
Linkara: (clearly annoyed) There's not a damn bit of sense with that. The DNA would've been fried! The nanobots are too quick for believability! Explosions cannot simply change the elements within them on a whim!
Linkara (VO): This is like something out of a bad fanfic a nine year old wrote!
Linkara: (acting like said nine year old) And then, the evil Prometheus made a super-duper bomb that could kill anybody because it had magic nanites that could make the explosion out of kryptonite too!
Linkara (VO): We cut to San Francisco where we see a scene of actual superheroing happen. Wow, heroes defeating villains! Ain't that a twist? But of course we can't have a scene in this book without something stupid about it. Here we have Miss Martian, a fairly new superheroine and member of the Teen Titans. She stops a supervillain named Brick from kidnapping a little girl. Here are the two problems with this. First: upskirt shot of a teenaged superheroine's ass. Classy. Second: while I wasn't a fan of Judd Winick's run on Green Arrow, I do own a few trades of it featuring this guy; Brick. This kind of kidnapping especially done by himself in the wrong city is out of character. Anyway, she's met by Jay Garrick. Next, we cut to Paris where Congorilla and Mikaal have now encountered the supervillains working for Prometheus, and responsible for their respective loved ones' deaths. Congorilla is about to kill them, yelling out for them to die, but then Mikaal stops him.
Mikaal: It came to me in a moment of... I don't know. It's like Tony is here with me suddenly. He wouldn't want this, blood spilled in his name.
Linkara: It came to me in a moment of story contrivance!
Mikaal: Vengeance isn't justice, Bill! Blood isn't justice!
Linkara: Together, we can be justice!!
Linkara (VO): Anyway, with such a convincing argument, Congorilla stays his paw and instead interrogates the villains for information. One tells them about Prometheus, but before he can give away Prometheus' location, another villain kills him and Mikaal is forced to kill her to save Congorilla. Yeah, you're really honoring Tony's memory now, blue boy. We see a series of scenes where Jay Garrick is talking to dozens of heroes for no adequately explained reason, mostly members of the Justice Society before we suddenly return to Green Arrow and Green Lantern. Once again, Ray Palmer is doing his best to pretend to be intimidating and breaking forty years of character development by torturing a villain. Hal just keeps up his "they're villains and it's okay to torture them" while Green Arrow has decided "You know, maybe having someone step on your brain isn't exactly a ethical thing to do!" Atom and Green Lantern try to convince him that it's okay to do it, but Green Arrow's had enough, unleashing a sonic arrow that knocks them back.
Supergirl: Stop it, all of you!
Freddy: You heard her! Stop this insanity!
Linkara: So screamed the thousands of people who paid money for this abomination!
Linkara (VO): Anyway, it gets them to stop for a second and Captain Marvel suggests that maybe Prometheus is getting into their heads and is planning something big, and that they'll need help to stop him. They fly off to the Justice League satellite to seek help. Oh yeah, and here we see Batwoman running around. Yeah, she was supposed to be in the line-up for James Robinson's little Justice Pals, but after all the editorial changes in the book, it never amounted to jack diddly. Thus, every sequence we've seen of her has been entirely pointless. Meanwhile, Jay Garrick talks with the Shade, former villain and anti-hero from James Robinson's Starman series. His appearance in this book is, yet again, completely and utterly pointless, and, as we'll see in the next few issues, rather insulting. And so Issue 4 ends with the New Justice Team arriving back in the purple skies of the Justice League satellite, where a group of heroes say they have some explaining to do. Oh, and looky! These are Vixen and Firestorm, both of whom are supposed to be black and yet their coloring makes them as white as everyone else on the satellite. Well done! Oh, this issue was apparently called "The Fix". I have no idea what the hell that's supposed to refer to, so I'll just sigh and end by saying...
Linkara: THESE COMICS SUCK! Dear lord, it's just getting worse and worse! But the crowning achievement of despicable moments and just plain bad writing is yet to come!
Episode ends, cut to credits. The post-credits message has changed to "V-Minus 32". Vyce continues to draw closer...