Chapter One – Countdown to Chaos!
This issue opens inside the Teen Titan’s Tower on New York’s East River. The heroine known as Raven has begun screaming in pain and her colleagues Kory, also known as Starfire and Donna, also known as Wonder Girl, rush over to her. Raven begins to collapse and begs for their help.
Starfire asks Wonder Girl if Raven has ever done anything like this before and the young Amazon replies that they know so little about her and what strange illnesses may effect an Empath such as Raven. Starfire then tries to speak with the distraught Raven who tells them that there is nothing they can do. Finally the pain becomes too much and she blacks out.
Starfire wonders where they can possibly find medical help for an Empath but Wonder Girl has an idea. The young heroines set off with the unconscious Raven to Paradise Island. They swoop down towards the nearby Science Island where Hippolyta and Paula are waiting for them having been contacted in advance by Donna. As the Amazon queen greets her foster daughter, she asks what has become of Raven? Donna tells her that the Empath had been in great pain and may die unless they can treat her.
A little later inside the laboratory of Paula, the results of tests indicate that Raven is experiencing the pain of another world, another Earth in fact. The only cure is to stop the pain at its source. Starfire replies that they will travel anywhere and do anything to save their friend. Hippolyta had anticipated their response and has already prepared a cosmic portal which will take them to the world that they seek based on Raven’s mental emanations.
Quickly, Starfire and Wonder Girl dive through the doorway into a spinning maelstrom which is neither time nor space. As they make their way, Starfire wishes they had Diana with them but Donna reminds her that there is no way to put a call out to her, or anybody in fact. And they have only an hour to cut off the source of the pain before Raven dies…
Meanwhile the Adjudicator stares into his orb, watching Wonder Woman converse with the reporter Lois Lane. He is puzzled by the fact that this world is hell bent on its own self destruction and yet it has produced creatures such as the Amazon. She has not only battled one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to a standstill but has set other forces in motion against his remaining minions. However, although three of the Earth’s have survived his tests, this next Earth he has in mind looks more promising. He makes a gesture with his hand and creates a massive starship in which he settles himself. He also unleashes his final Horseman – Death itself!
Below him, this strange version of Earth comes into view. This world has never been visited by the gaudily clad Amazon who has thus far thwarted his judgments. Called Earth I, for “Immortality”, it is a crowded world where men and women are kept alive and healthy by advanced science and a climate of tranquility and peace. It is a world where death has been largely banished for hundreds of years…until today!
The Horseman known as Death rides through the busy streets, slaying citizens with his scythe as he goes. As the people panic and flee, the Mayor of the Mega City tells them that he believes in the power of human reason and orders the Horseman to stop in the name of intellect. He asks Death what it is he wants in exchange for their lives? But the skeletal figure on horseback simply replies that he wants nothing but the lives they so pitifully covet. With that, Death strikes down the Mayor, adding to the toll of thousands who have already befallen this world since his arrival.
Suddenly though, two women wearing colourful costumes materialise before his eyes. Starfire and Wonder Girl quickly assess the situation and realise they are confronting one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, just as Wonder Woman had warned them about. As Death makes a lunge with his scythe, Starfire parries the blow with a bolt from her hands. Death turns and gallops down the street, yelling that he has no time to waste on a pair of ‘witless females’. He chases after a couple more innocents but Wonder Girl quickly uses her lasso to drag them out of harm’s way. Death tells her that she is a fool as she cannot save an entire planet with her lasso, but Starfire replies that Donna will not have to as she is going directly to the source! She grabs Death by the scruff of his neck and lifts him into the air. As this is happening though, another passerby topples from the building above and Wonder Girl dives to save him. Once safe, she inquires what sort of world this is and the man explains. When she hears that death here is all but unheard of, she understands why there is so much psychic trauma emanating from it and overloading Raven’s mind.
As she looks high above to see how she can assist Starfire in her battle though, she sees to her horror that Death manages to get through the beautiful alien’s guard and strikes her. She begins to plummet from the sky and Wonder Girl races to the spot just in time to catch her before she hits the ground. As they collapse to the ground together Donna is relieved to hear Kory say “Thank you” which at least means she is still alive. The two weakened heroines try to gather their senses but Death is already moving towards them to finish them for good. But suddenly the citizens of the city surge forward and block his path. He orders them to stand aside as their turn will come soon enough. But they reply as one that they deserve death if they let these strangers die fighting for their world. To slay the heroines he will have to slay them all first!
High above, the Adjudicator surveys the scene and at last understands why this Earth, and the others before it, have not yet perished due to their own failings. The answer is so simple and so obvious that a star-spawned being whose mind has comprehended vast universes and obliterated them with a shrug could not see it until now. Once more his polychromatic beams emit from his eyes and the Horseman known as Death fades into nothingness.
Back on Science Island Raven comes to and a thankful Hippolyta asks if she is all right. Raven replies that she is fine now that the killing has ceased. As there is no need for Kory and Donna to remain on the other Earth the Amazon Queen asks for Raven’s help to bring them back, but suddenly beams appear from nowhere and Raven vanishes before her eyes!
Elsewhere, heroines from other Earth’s begin to disappear in a similar fashion…
Chapter Two – A Judgement Rendered!
On board the Adjudicator’s ship, Wonder Woman is the first to recover. As the other heroines slowly begin to come to she recognises some as old acquaintances and others only from the files of the Justice League; Supergirl, Black Canary, The Huntress, Raven, Madame Xanadu, Starfire, Power Girl, Wonder Girl, Zatanna and Phantom Lady. Somehow she senses that this time they too can also hear the Adjudicator’s thoughts just as she is able to. The powerful being announces that he knows what must be done about the Earth he has come to judge, as well as all the others with whom it seems to be inextricably linked. It is fitting that those few who most effectively opposed him should be the sole survivors of the holocaust to come.
He tells them that he will take them with him as time frozen specimens for all eternity, in order to remind himself never to underestimate a world he judges again. A horrified Wonder Woman cannot believe her ears and knows that when he destroys her Earth it will set off a chain reaction that will decimate all the others. In a few seconds there will no longer be any place called “Earth” anywhere in the cosmos! And not all her Amazon strength, nor Supergirl’s or Power Girl’s, nor even the magic of Zatanna or Raven can smash a way out of the strange energy diamonds they find themselves encased within. The Amazon Princess pounds her fists furiously on the diamond in frustration.
Meanwhile the Adjudicator surveys the infinite Earths before him. He now realises that it is the attribute of self sacrifice that has saved the Earth thus far, a trait exhibited by lesser humans as well as by these so called super heroines. He can sense that many humans believe it is this spirit of ‘self sacrifice’ which separates them from other animal species on their world. In truth, it is precisely that animal side of their nature which causes creatures to sacrifice themselves for others of their species. However, only in the ‘human’ race does this built-in instinct seem to survive on an intellectual basis, translated into an act of will. It is a puzzle to him indeed and he begins to ponder whether there is merit in perhaps sparing these Earths to study them further.
On hearing this, Wonder Woman’s eyes widen in hope but this is quickly dashed as the Adjudicator continues to add that study is not his true purpose and that at heart he is an executioner, not a scholar. If he paused too long to weigh up the worthiness of the world’s he judged he would never get the task done. Therefore, to assure the ultimate worthiness of an infinity of universes cleansed of all impure, undeserving elements, Earth must die!
As the beams in the Adjudicators eyes grow in intensity the heroines watch powerless, knowing what will come next. Most continue to rage against their prisons even knowing their struggles must end in failure. Others, like Madame Xanadu, are merely resigned to their fate. As for Wonder Woman, she has an inspiration and realises that they have all being trying to break out – but what about trying to break in? She begins to spin her magic lasso at super speed so that it vibrates through the inside of the diamond. Once the noose of her golden rope is outside, she twirls it at just the right speed to make it solid, even harder than the exterior of the crystal prison. She manages to shatter it and leaps out, cheered on by the others. Supergirl pounds on the wall of her own cage, desperate to break free and assist the Amazon Princess but Raven tells her not to waste her strength. Their future and the future of their Earths lie in the hands of Wonder Woman now.
The Amazing Amazon drops down to the feet of the massive being as he tells her through his thoughts that she must be destroyed as she is obviously too dangerous to spare as a souvenir. She replies telepathically that he has been used to getting his own way for so long that he has forgotten the possibilities of dialogue. He responds that he needs no such reminders from a member of a lesser species. He adds that his powers vanquished her easily before and this time they will utterly annihilate her before she has a chance to free her friends. With that, he unleashes his beams at her but she deflects them with her bracelets, telling him that this time she is ready for him. And although she knows she cannot fend them off forever, she has a plan…
But the Adjudicator raises the ante and summons the Four Horseman again. Wonder Woman knows she does not stand a chance against all four and the beams. But suddenly she hears an explosion and she prays it is what she has been hoping for. As the Amazon Princess confronts Death, War, Plague and Famine, the deflected beams shatter the other diamonds and Supergirl, Power Girl, Starfire and Wonder Girl break free to join the battle! Donna frees Huntress and the remaining heroines as they know that it will take all of them to stop the Adjudicator. But first they must stop the Four Horseman from taking out Wonder Woman.
>Meanwhile the Adjudicator has become tired of these ‘gnats’ and unleashes his beams on them. As the stunned heroines fall to the ground, he tells them that the people of all the Earth’s are beginning to fade away into oblivion and they will soon follow. But once again he is surprised by their demonstration for self sacrifice. They had the chance to live forever, all be it imprisoned, yet chose to throw it away for a moment of ‘heroism’. So be it.
Wonder Woman tries to get to her feet, already feeling herself becoming more and more insubstantial with each passing second. There must be something she can do? And then she remembers her lasso again. Just as she did before, she can vibrate it into solidity even though she herself is fading away fast and use it to loop around the being. As the Adjudicator concentrates on wiping out the Earth he is oblivious to Wonder Woman, who he no longer sees as a threat. She is therefore able to creep up and launch her golden rope around his neck.
Taken by surprise, he wonders what is happening as she addresses him. She says that he has been serving as judge and jury, weighing Earth by his standards and finding it wanting. But she asks him what makes him think he is worthy? Who appointed him to judge worlds? The Adjudicator tells her that her foolish attempts to stop him have failed as her lariat has no more effect on him than a piece of string! Undaunted, she commands him to think back and remember how he came to have this mission of his. Who gave it to him? Humans are not insects and he cannot destroy billions and billions of them without at least telling them why. He responds that he could destroy them without any reason quite easily and yet her question intrigues him. It has indeed been a long time he has been roving through space and as he tries to recall what exactly sparked his mission he begins to remember that it was someone else who gave it to him. As he becomes lost in thought Wonder Woman stops fading due to her connection with him through the lasso. She hopes that the other heroines can grab the other end before it is too late and indeed they do.
The Adjudicator finally pinpoints the moment, exclaiming that it was eons ago. He was given the mission to serve as judge to unimportant planets by an Overseer who said he hoped it would keep him out of mischief! On hearing this, the heroines ask the Adjudicator to tell them about this Overseer. He replies that there are many of them and that they were nice to him. They gave him pretty worlds to play with as long as he did not bother them with his thoughts. However, these Overseers will now come and find him again because they can sense when he thinks about them. And it is all the fault of the heroines!
As he tells them that they will not live to see the arrival of the Overseers, nor will their Earths, Wonder Woman realises that he is totally insane. She guesses that the ‘Overseers’ are some kind of cosmic keepers, assigned to keep him from hurting himself. He tells her not to continue with her line of thought as he does not like it but she does, deducing that the Overseers do not care about worlds like Earth so they let him obliterate them, like a dangerous lunatic playing with expendable toys. He is no judge of worlds – he is simply a madman left to his own devices!
With that, the Adjudicator disappears in a blast of light, flooring Wonder Woman and the others. As they begin to solidify once more, the starship around them starts to fade away. They realise that his keepers, the Overseers, must be calling him back to their intergalactic asylum and they are going with him! But Zatanna steps forward and casts a spell which zaps them back to their respective Earths. Wonder Woman tells her Earth One colleagues that the Overseers obviously did not want them, only the Adjudicator before he did anymore harm. Donna gives her foster sister a big hug and Diana smiles, jokingly saying “I didn’t know you cared!”. Donna tells her that she has never been prouder of Diana in her whole life!