Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Weight of Another World

--SYSTEM INTERRUPT--BREACH DETECTED--

--ANOMALOUS LIFEFORM--BASELINE HUMAN--ORIGIN--QUARANTINE ZONE--DESIGNATION--EARTH-33/EARTH SUPERPRIME

--MAXIMUM SANCTION AUTHORIZED--

--OVERRIDE MAXIMUM SANCTION--

--APPREHEND AND ISOLATE--

--ACTIVATE OPERATION LAST RESORT--

--EXECUTE--

At an undisclosed location somewhere on Earth-5. 

--Panels One Through Two Hundred Eighteen--Page One Splash--Begin: 

"Mr. Woods Goes to Metropolis!"

The visitor awoke in a daze, blinking at the searing light pointed right into his face, grunting with early-morning incoherence. He reached out for Sylvia, but she wasn't there - in fact, he wasn't even in bed, though he was still wearing the t-shirt and underwear he'd worn to sleep.

"GAH!" he screamed, scrambling backward into the corner of the black leather couch he found himself on, staring wide-eyed at the fierce-looking black woman who was regarding him with something between annoyance and contempt. Her voice was granite.

"Listen closely. You won't be harmed and your wife is fine. My name is Amanda Waller and I need your help. This world needs your help."

The visitor froze. "Oh, this is going to be cool," he said, grinning from ear to ear. His lucid dreams often involved superheroic adventures, though nev--

She slapped him.

"Ow!"

"This isn't a dream, Mr. Woods. You were right; everything happens somewhere, including the stories you read in your world - the ones printed in comic books. From your perspective, you'd think of this place as Earth-5."

The visitor was still pretty sure he was dreaming, but pain in his dreams felt real enough, so he nodded. Might as well play along.

"We've been waiting for someone like you for a long time," Waller said. "We've had accidental visitors from Earth-33 before, but none of them fit the profile we needed. According to the portions of your blog we've been able to scan, you might just be geeky enough to help us."

"The Justice League has been disbanded. The United Nations revoked their charter."

"Gosh, that's terrible," the visitor said. He found it strange that he'd used the word "gosh" in actual conversation.

"It's worse than terrible. It's catastrophic. We don't have enough time to go over all the details, but as a consequence of recent events none of this world's heroes trust each other, nor do the various government agencies and NGOS with JLA oversight trust the heroes. And the Phantom Stranger popped into my bedroom last night to warn me that 'armageddeon is nigh.' Those were his exact words."

"Holey Moley!"

Waller raised an eyebrow.

"Sorry. I'm not sure why I'm talking like a...uh...like a comic book character."

"This world is as real to me as yours is to you," Waller said. "And it's going to need a new Justice League, an organized, united, and most importantly, versatile group of heroes to defend this Earth from the comic threat. The UN has lost its moral authority to choose the team members, and there isn't one hero that's universally trusted to do the job. We need a neutral observer."

The visitor suddenly understood.

"I get it. I'm familiar with all the DC characters and how they interact with each other, their powers, their secret identities...so who better to choose their membership?"

Waller relaxed a little, relieved the visitor understood.

"The Stranger said something else. 'No more than one score.' He wouldn't explain, but these magic types don't lay down rules without good reason. So your JLA is restricted to 20 members or less."

Waller dumped a thick binder in the visitor's lap.

"They're all there in alphabetical order in case you don't remember everyone you have to choose from. I'll leave you to it. When you've prepared your list, press the big orange "Publish" button on the wall and you'll be sent back to your Earth."

The visitor figured he really was dreaming or trapped in a piece of particularly annoying metafiction, but there seemed to be little else to do but compose the list. Well, it was a simple enough task: just imagine the heroes he'd want on the team if it were his world they were defending from an undefined but catastrophic threat.

He contemplated for a while, then scratched down names on the pad of paper Waller had left him:

Superman
Wonder Woman
Batman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Dr. Fate
Zatanna
Firestorm
Green Arrow
Black Canary
Red Tornado
Animal Man
Martian Manhunter
Aquaman
Hawkman
Elongated Man
The Atom
Captain Marvel
Captain Atom
Power Girl

He added a note:

"Without knowing the exact nature of the threat Earth-5 faces, I've been conservative with my choices while trying to includes heroes who are comfortable in a variety of physical environments and who offer different power sets and intellectual and emotional gifts. If I were Maxwell Lord or the Secretary General of the United Nations and I had a guarantee that every person I picked would agree to serve...this would be my list. Good luck."

He pressed Published, and was gone.



3 comments:

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

A whole lot of heavy hitters, >50% of the team an fly, Batman, Atom and Animal Man give you the infiltration/recce angle, science and magic are represented...this looks good to me, although a supernatural element mightn't go astray (Etrigan the Demon, or maybe The Spectre?) and I might trade Green Arrow or Captain Atom for one of them.

"Jeffergence" said...

Earth-5 stinks. If it was any good, it would be Earth-1, the superhero-less Earth we all know and love.

Earth-33 Earl should have picked out all the worst he could find. It wouldn't make any difference, the heroes would win anyways. Even the losers all win *cough*Guardians Of The Galaxy* cough* The heroes always win, up to a point, and the vanquished villains will always find some way to come back. It's not like Superman has ever put anybody permanently out of business. They always come back. It's a Crisis, or a Rebellion, or a Ret-Con, or a Reboot.

So it really matters not at at all which get picked. It just matters which ones would sell - but you know that already.

However, there's a slim probability that you could assemble such a team of misfits that they can't help but lose. In which case, all the rest of the Earths win, since Earth-5 won't be bothering anybody ever again. Yes, a pity for Earth-5, but as previously established, Earth-5 stinks, and they are so needy. If Earth-5 was any good, they wouldn't need the other Earths, like lovely Earth-1 where we all keep our stuff and things.

And now that we Earth-1'ers have figured this out, and since everything we think about gets to happen on the alternate Earths Earth-5 is doomed. Doomed! DOOMED BY MY THOUGHT EMANATIONS!!! What's your precious League of Spandex Exomorphs going to do about that?!

Ooo, I'm sooo scared.

Mwa ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa!

Totty said...

Wrong! Do it again!