24 hours ago, Zauriel died in the nuclear explosion which destroyed the Justice League Watchtower. He did so specifically to return to the Court of Lights and plead his case before the Presence Made Manifest. Instead, he finds the assembled angels preparing their suggestions for a new universe. Zauriel is angry.
With her new digital telepathy, Oracle observes events around the world. Humanity is giving in to despair and war as men and women fight practically everywhere across the globe. She is adamant that the Justice League and the rest of the heroes must stand against Mageddon because, she says, “After us there’s nobody.”
At the Embassy, the heroes are amazed by the giant the Flash brought with him. Named the Glimmer, he escaped the destruction of Wonderworld by running across time, looking for the point in cosmic history which had the best chance of stopping Mageddon dead – Earth. This news brings hope… but there is little of that inside the Embassy. Martian Manhunter has been driven to depression by the news that Mageddon has turned Superman into a powerless drone. Batman attempts to snap him out of it, and asks to be put in contact with Superman. Meanwhile, Green Lantern manages to crack the block Mageddon put on his power ring.
At Easter Island in the South Pacific, Wonder Woman’s heroes are arriving to build her idea. Animal Man explains that his animal abilities come from his power to tap into the morphogenetic field, which, around Earth, influences and is influenced by all living things. His powers let him realise that Mageddon is simply stimulating the reptilian hind-brain which humans inherited from their lizard ancestors. With enough energy, the superhero scientists they have brought with them can rig a Purple Ray to interfere with Mageddon’s signal. To give world a fighting chance, however, they will need help, and for this they need the second function of their rig: to briefly re-tune the human morphogenetic field to a superhuman setting. The best powersource they could find is Black Lightning, and he is ready. They are set to begin.
On Venice Beach, the heroes are losing. The Ray is about to be killed when Aquaman arrives… with the full force of the Atlantean military. The human armed forces surrender.
At the Court of Lights, Zauriel cannot convince his fellows to return to Earth and fight Mageddon. His opponents point out that the Presence is renowned for working in mysterious ways. Zauriel hopes only that whatever the angels convince the Presence to make, that they will not abandon it as they have the current inhabitants of Creation. But as he is walking away, a steady stream of angels break ranks to follow him, until most of the crowd agrees to go to Earth and bring peace between the nations.
In the Embassy, Martian Manhunter is helping Bruce make contact with Superman. However, all Batman can find is a constant field of soul-destroying noise. Batman wonders where Superman’s mind is in all the noise, until Martian Manhunter drops the bomb – the noise is Superman’s mind, operating as part of the whole. The suffocating depression Mageddon generates is so great that as the three heroes minds are linked, an image is formed: the young Bruce Wayne, cowering as a monstrous gunman kills Krypton and Mars… but Batman shouts, breaking the spell. This is enough to break Superman out of his funk.
Outside Mageddon, Aztek has returned. Finding Orion, he uses the energies in his helmet to heal him. Both men break into the great machine, but Orion is captured. Aztek does better – he lands next to Superman. He points out that the dreaded Tezcatlipoca, the Dark God of his ancestral mythology, is now manifest around him… and it’s just an old computer strapped to a bomb. However, his people designed a weapon against it – him. Tapping a button on his helmet, he asks Superman to “tell them I did my duty”, and he is replaced by a blinding flash as his helmet’s uncanny energies flare out destructively, temporarily stopping Mageddon in its tracks. Shocked out of his depression, Superman next sees Green Lantern, operating at full strength and braving Mageddon’s defences to rescue Orion. Meanwhile, the Heavenly Host appears to leaders around the globe, convincing hem to lay down their arms.
In the midst of the peace, people worldwide sense that something is going to happen and head outside. Mageddon is going to explode in half an hour, and Wonder Woman’s device on Easter Island does not have enough power… until the arrival of the Glimmer. With his power, he fuels the machine.
Oracle fills everyone in: the entire population of the Earth now has superpowers comparable to Wonder Woman. Linked by digital telepathy, they team up with the Heavenly Host and make for Mageddon, with the intention to destroy it. With news of ths, Batman tries to inspire Superman – but when this is not enough, he resorts to bullying. Luckily, this is exactly what works, and Superman springs into action with a plan: the Anti-Sun that is Mageddon’s power source will explode shortly, wiping out the galaxy. However, Superman’s power to absorb sunlight should allow him to drain the Anti-Sun of energy. Over protest, he flies into the Anti-Sun and begins absorbing, despite the cold horror of the experience. For a few seconds, it seems that Superman has failed, but when the countdown hits zero, the Anti-Sun’s explosion is reduced to a bright light. Mageddon has been decommissioned. The world is saved.
One week later, the Watchtower has been rebuilt. Metron, Orion and Big Barda are returning to the Fourth World. Thanks to the actions of the Justice League, the future was saved. Metron tells them a secret: when the Fourth World is completed and done away with, the Fifth World is destined to arise from the population of the Earth… and humans will shape the Fifth World with their actions from now on. Bought back to reality by their exhaustion, the team decides to take time off – but Doctor Destiny is threatening to “de-imagine” Detroit if they can’t prove he didn’t dream them up. Once again, the Justice League moves to save the day