Doom Comes to Pisa
by Geraldine Frank, Contributing Reporter
PISA, ITALY, APRIL 20 —
We knew we were next. Reporters paced the lobbies of hotels as photographers took “before” shots of the cityscape. It wasn’t the calm before the storm. It was a moment of silence for a place that might soon be only a memory. Just like Biayla. Just like Sidney. After all, Black Adam was coming.
Myself, I had spent the waiting period trying to get interviews with the Doom Patrol, who had positioned themselves on the lawn in front of Pisa’s magnificent leaning tower, appearing like British guards sternly protecting their palace. Receiving only a “no comment” from Robotman, and a rather awkward silent stare from the hero calling himself Vox, I decided to call it a morning, and grab a quick bite to eat at a local café. It wasn’t until I was washing my hands in the ladies’ room that I felt the ground shake.
Stepping out of the restroom, it took me a few moments to actually comprehend what I was seeing. The main room of the café was now gone. What was once a small dining area littered with oval tables and uncomfortable metal stools, was reduced to little more than a smoldering hole in the ground lined by only the merest fractions of crumbling walls. But it was what was lying in the center of the rubble that I couldn’t quite comprehend. I mistook it for a boulder at first. A flesh-colored mountain of earth somehow dislodged during the explosion. But then it dawned on me that this thing wasn’t merely flesh-colored. I was looking at flesh itself. What was lying before me was a gigantic woman’s hand.
I made my way through the dust cloud to outside where the rest of the giant woman lie. She was of course Elasti-Girl, the Doom Patrol’s resident size-changer. Unconscious, and with a fountain of blood erupting from the giant part in her hair, Elasti-girl’s face bore an expression of surprise. Whatever struck her had been fast and deliberate. She’d barely seen it coming. She’d fallen, and taken an entire city block with her.
Moving against the crowd of frenzied people in the opposite direction like some sort of foolish salmon, too stubborn to obey the current, I noticed the ladder of a nearby fire escape. The shock of Elasti-Girl’s fall must have loosened it from its latch, and the ladder had lowered so much so that I could grip it fairly easily. Wanting to gain more perspective on the situation, I took the opportunity to climb the ladder, not stopping until I was about five stories up. From there I could finally see him.
It was like watching the first murder in a horror movie. You knew it was coming, but you didn’t quite know what it would look like. From my vantage point, he appeared to be just a man struggling with the fantastic creatures of the Doom Patrol. But his actions clearly told a different story. I watched as he struck Robotman, effortlessly knocking the head clean off the hero, and then raising the metal carcass over his body with both hands. Black Adam was yelling something, but his voice didn’t carry quite as well as his intent. I watched as he hurdled Robotman’s limp form with as much power as a jet fighter would release a missile. And I watched as Robotman’s body struck the base of the leaning tower.
It had been an age old dispute. Had the earth beneath its base shifted and given way? Had it been built off-balance in order to attract more attention? Or had the architect designing the tower simply made a mistake? These questions wouldn’t matter any longer. Just like that, the leaning tower had fallen and was no more.
It was over then. Black Adam left as quickly as he had come. And now Pisa was burning. But there was nothing that could be done. All that was left was to prepare whoever was next.