http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Act_of_God_2_2001_ElseWorld_7939.jpg
[[caption-width:295:Note the naked superheroes in the top right corner.]]

A DCComics {{Elseworlds}} storyline by Doug Moench about heroes everywhere losing their powers and learning to live with it. This story was somewhat different from other DC Elseworlds, which normally recast the heroes in completely different times and places, rather being set in a copy of the then current DC Continuity (similar to the ''What If'' stories at {{Marvel}}).

One day, all the heroes and villains are shown going about their business. Superman is fixing a dam, Green Lantern is battling a supervillain and so forth. Then suddenly a large mysterious purple energy wave sweeps over the planet causing everyone to lose their powers except for normal crimefighters and tech-based heroes (except GreenLantern, who loses his connection to his ring despite it being technological). Nobody can figure out how it happened and the world begins to adapt. Mostly.

Comicbook/{{Superman}} becomes despondent, seemingly traumatized over the last disaster he was unable to prevent as his powers were fading, and is seen doing nothing but moping all day, to the point that Lois leaves him, causing him to go mope with WonderWoman, until she converts to Catholicism and gets a job as a stock broker. Green Lantern can't get over his defeat by Sonar and, after months of rampaging around his apartment, begins channeling his aggression into a boxing bag looking for a rematch. The tech-based heroes, consisting of Steel, BlueBeetle and BoosterGold, each in turn lose their tech or have it stolen. {{Supergirl}} (Linda Danvers) tries joining the police force, but is frustrated with all the paperwork that comes with fighting crime "by the book."

Eventually, Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}, Comicbook/MartianManhunter, ComicBook/TheFlash, and Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} all decide to go to Batman, concluding that the BadassNormal school of crimefighting is the only option they have left. And thus a new generation of heroes is born.

This story has come under criticism for accusations of CharacterDerailment (Superman's endless moping, Franchise/WonderWoman's turn to Catholicism), PlotHoles (like why Green Lantern's ring doesn't work if tech is still functional, or abilities natural to Kryptonians, Martians, and Atlanteans are taken from Superman, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman), and the event itself which is basically a giant AWizardDidIt due to it depowering a large variety of heroes who got their powers for different reasons from different sources.

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!!This story contains examples of

* AgeAppropriateAngst: While the rest of the non-powered heroes spend practically the whole story whining, Billy Batson, an actual kid, actually acts his age (and ''still'' has more maturity than several of them).
* AuthorAppeal: Doug Moench apparently really, ''really'' likes Batman, considering that he practically turns into a MarySue and how many characters gush about how great he is, to the point where it feels like an...
* AuthorTract: The slightly-more-subtle-than-D-Day message of this comic is "superpowers bad, [[BadassNormal Badass Normal's]] good."
** Well, as long as they're Franchise/{{Batman}} or one of his personally-trained sidekicks (including the formerly superpowered heroes who go to him for guidance). Because Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and other BadassNormal heroes don't get the same glowing treatment.
* AuthorAvatar: The Martian Manhunter quite blatantly serves as one for Doug Moench. His praising the Batcave as reminding him of something out of pulp fiction (Has he even been there before?) makes this painfully clear, not to mention his rant about how the heroes' loss of their powers was "deserved," even when his own "powers" are natural. Plus he's the most philosophical about what happened.
* BabiesMakeEverythingBetter:
** [[spoiler: The ending, with Superman and Wonder Woman's kid]].
** Which further makes absolutely no sense that it should [[spoiler: have powers, while its parents don't.]]
*** The kid's very existence makes even ''less'' sense, because [[NoBiochemicalBarriers one of its parents is a divinely created golem in the image of a human, and the other is an alien]]. You can't even handwave it with magic because magic would have been lost with all the other superpowers.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Steel, who also fell victim to TheWorfEffect, since right before he dies a reporter [[TemptingFate is explaining how he's the most powerful hero left]]. During the original release of the series, this seems to have been the moment when most readers said "ThisIsGonnaSuck."
* BrokenAesop: There is an underlying implication that the superheroes were being punished for their arrogance. Even though people like Franchise/{{Superman}} and Franchise/WonderWoman are fairly humble in normal continuity (not to mention all the characters who are nothing but humble, such as [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]]), while Franchise/{{Batman}} in this story is ego tripping and denigrating the contributions of his formerly powered friends as they kiss his ass. Apparently the writer thought the superheroes WERE being arrogant because they weren't bowing at Batman's feet and worshiping him as the greatest superhero of them all. This requires the aesop not to apply to Batman, because he's the single most arrogant person in the story.
** Also, there's a comment about Supergirl's actions as a superhero was an abuse of power, acting outside the law, only to disregard this and comment about how inefficient police work is and how much more effective she was as a superpowered vigilante and how she should go back to being a vigilante. Then it breaks that aesop because standard police work (like forensics) did more to uncover what happened to TheAtom than vigilantism.
* BroughtDownToNormal: Every powered character in the DC Universe. Only BadassNormal and PoweredArmor heroes are unaffected and the PoweredArmor heroes all get their tech damaged or stolen eventually.
** Weirdly, this only applies if "normal" strictly means ''human''. Superman and Martian Manhunter don't have any superpowers, technically speaking; their abilities are "normal" for their species. The same goes for Aquaman, except possibly for his ability to breathe ''air'' (which he does not lose).
* CharacterShilling: Clark outright claims that Batman "has always been the best of us" because he never got superpowers. Nevermind that he's not the only BadassNormal and others heroes have abilities besides their powers.
* DerailingLoveInterests:
** Lois Lane. Big time. The story suggests that Lois can't love Superman without powers, even though in this continuity, she fell in love with Clark Kent before learning he was Superman. This suggests that Moench is basing his characterization of Lois off of either the SilverAge comics or the movies. What's worse is, if the story needed Lois to leave Superman, it could have easily been justified [[{{Wangst}} by his behavior]].
** Of course, if you take into account the ending of ''ComicBook/WhatEverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'' (assuming you consider it canonical) and the (however brief) relationship between Lois and [[strike: Superman]] Clark in SupermanII, then this '''still''' doesn't hold water.
* DeusExMachina:
** The story's repeated {{Title Drop}}s is the closest it comes to an explanation of the Black Light Event. In other words, the ''story's friggin' title'' calls its divergence point a DeusExMachina.
** DeusAngstMachina: Mostly for Superman and Green Lantern.
* DrivenToSuicide: Diana was thinking about suicide after a week of praying and nothing happening. She was stopped by Clark. Oh yeah, [[FridgeHorror she was also pregnant]].
* DrowningMySorrows: Superman, of all people, went to the bottle after losing his powers.
* EmptyPilesOfClothing: The cover of Book 2 (pictured above), though it's because everyone took off their costumes rather than the usual InferredHolocaust of this trope.
* EpicFlail: Justice's double sided 'Scales of Justice' has one spiked flail on each side of a foot long pole. It looks... awkward to actually use in battle.
* GooGooGodlike: Superman and Wonder Woman's child was born with superpowers.
* InformedFlaw:
** The superpowered beings' "arrogance." It's frequently brought up that they deserved to lose their powers because they held themselves above everyone else because they had power... which doesn't make any sense because they used their powers to '''save''' people.
** Not to mention, many of these characters lived secretly among normals bearing humiliations that they could have easily addressed in their heroic identities. And, as Linkara pointed out, WonderWoman even once worked as a fast food employee when she needed work, with no shame. Hell, people like Superman and Martian Manhunter don't technically ''have'' superpowers. Their abilities are based entirely around their species, making them essentially [[PunyEarthlings "normals"]] already.
** Depowered Superman praises the group of former League members who join Batman for "risking [their] lives without any powers", implying that the Justice League never faced anything dangerous to them when they ''had'' powers.
* LostAesop: Is the moral of the story that powers leads to arrogance? You're only a real super hero if you don't have super powers? You should work inside the system? It's never really clearly told. (And no, the aesop is not "Never let Doug Moench write an Elseworlds story ever again.")
* MeaninglessMeaningfulWords: The heroes (read: Doug Moench) tried to sound deep but ended up sounding strange and confusing.
-->'''WonderWoman''': Two "Gods" humbled by an act of God... with no one else to turn to. But together will our humbling be canceled or doubled?
** Doug Moench is prone to doing this in all his works.
* OnlySaneMan: AS noticed by Linkara, Billy Batson, of all the other superheroes, is the ONLY ''ONE'' to act realistically and even '''maturely''' over all this situation.
* OutOfCharacterMoment: The whole story is one for ''every single character'' with the debatable exception of Billy Batson.
* ThePlotReaper: The ''real'' reason why the magical superheroes have simply vanished: they'd be able to explain what's going on.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: [[TheFlash Wally West]] does this halfway through his training under Batman. When he comes back, Bruce just tells him to pick up where he left off.
* SuddenHumility: The basis for the plot is this trope, as applied to anyone with superpowers.
* [[TookALevelInJerkass Took a Level in Arrogance]]: Batman.
* VariableLengthChain: ''Very'' noticeable when the "Scales of Justice" has the chain on one side go from about a foot to ''at least'' six feet so Linda can twist and hit a guy.
* AWizardDidIt:
** There is no MetaOrigin that encompasses all or even a majority of the DC Comics superheroes, making it highly unlikely that any phenomena could depower all of them. For example, Superman, Martian Manhunter, Starfire and Aquaman all have innate abilities (caused by how their DNA is made up, no less) that are somehow stripped. This wouldn't be such a bad thing, normally, but there is serious inconsistency; a few characters that have ties to mysticism ([[FridgeLogic and could probably explain the whole thing]]) have conveniently vanished, while characters who get their powers from the gods, like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, or are mystical in nature, like Red Tornado, just lose their powers. It's even inconsistently applied with regards to tech heroes. Booster Gold's future tech keeps working while GreenLantern's ring, which is explicitly a technology made by SufficientlyAdvancedAliens, stops working. Hank Henshaw is somehow still able to use his powers, despite the fact that the only reason he can be Cyborg Superman is the result of a superpower that allows him to inhabit and control machines. The list goes on.
** The story later implies that {{God}} (Yes, that one) caused this whole mess in order to teach the DC heroes a [[LostAesop "lesson of humility"]] or something like that. The same God directly responsible for creating, powering, and directing several of 'em.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** So many characters never have their story arcs resolved, and both the Amazons and the entirety of Atlantis (which includes Aquaman's ''wife'') are never even mentioned in the story.
** All sorcerer types are inexplicably erased from existence.
** Was it limited to Earth? Did the New Gods also lose their powers? Was that why they were never invaded by Darkseid? If so, then if technology still works, he could still conquer the planet.
* WolverinePublicity: Its not really a JLA story but at the time, GrantMorrison's extremely successful revival of the JusticeLeague made anything with JLA in the title sell well.
* WriterOnBoard: It seems the primary purpose of this story is to exalt {{Badass Normal}}s like Batman who don't need powers to take down criminals. Not that any non-powered heroes ''outside'' of Batman's crew ever show up, while tech-based superheroes all screw up or are killed. And apparently "tech-based" heroes are solely the ones that wear PoweredArmor, completely ignoring the vast amount of technology that Batman uses.

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