In New York, Frankenstein is leading a SHADE strike team in a raid on the Dark Side Club. Inside, they find nothing but the desiccated corpse of Boss Dark Side – and the Question, who is also in the middle of a raid. She asks them to look into the fate of Dan Turpin and escapes in a cloud of binary gas. The team is about to follow her, but a digital picture of a hand appears in the air and spells out ‘know evil’. Frankenstein suspects prophecy, but Father Time has other worries – top Checkmate agent Taleb Beni Khalid has just informed him that the Command-D Bunker in Blüdhaven has been taken over by a local crime lord.
Outside, Renee Montoya walks out of an alleyway and continues down the street. A flash in the sky heralds the arrival of a woman who survives falling through a building. The woman refers to herself as “Überfraulein”, and starts babbling in German that “the sky is bleeding”. However, SHADE agents arrive to take her away for questioning.
At the Big Belly Burger, Nix Uotan has been fired; he kept asking the customers bizarre questions. As he walks home, he sees a television in a shop window, which shows Cave Carson and his team, who have discovered a Paleolithic carving which echoes the design on Metron’s chest. A similar design was also found in a crop circle in England. As Nix Uotan watches the monitor, he in turn is watched by Zillo Valla.
In Keystone City, Jay Garrick, Joan Garrick and Iris West-Allen are at Wally West’s house. Jay tells the women that at the strip club, they saw the bullet break into reality and travel back through time. He says they ran, “three generations of the Flash,” but they could not catch up with the bullet before it killed Orion. However, in trying to change history, they incurred the ire of the Black Racer. Running back along the same path, Jay’s knee gave out and he was dropped in the present day, while the Black Racer charged past. Iris and Linda don’t understand, and Joan fears time-travel or parallel Earths, but Jay is adamant – Barry Allen is back from the dead.
At the Hall of Doom, Libra is giving the Human Flame modified equipment, in honour of his new position in something “greater than himself”. Human Flame is uneasy of Libra’s intentions, but accepts the equipment. He hears a voice in the helmet, but Libra holds the helmet down before he can ask anymore questions. Within seconds, the Anti-Life equation broadcast to the helmet has erased his free will. Lex Luthor then arrives, and delivers the news – the Daily Planet building was bombed, and Superman hasn’t been seen in 18 hours. This convinces Lex Luthor that Libra is too dangerous to live. However, Human Flame levels a flamethrower on Lex Luthor, and Libra gives a counter-offer: put on the helmet, or renounce his former life and swear his allegiance on the Crime Bible.
At Metropolis Memorial Hospital, Lois Lane is in a coma. Clark Kent has not left her side for 18 hours: his heat vision is the only thing keeping her heart beating. The bombing resulted in at least one death, and between hospital visits and injuries, Jimmy Olsen is the only active member of the journalist staff. As Clark is left alone, he remarks that he would give anything to save Lois. At this moment, Zillo Valla appears in the doorway: she knows he is secretly Superman, and she offers him “one ultimate chance” to save Lois. In the process, they must leave Earth immediately.
At the Hall of Justice, the Alpha Lanterns are departing with Hal Jordan in chains. Wonder Woman insists that he did nothing, but ‘Kraken’ is dismissive. Hal is confident of his own innocence, and the shield around the Earth means nothing can get in or out until the Alpha Lanterns come back. As they leave, Wonder Woman remarks that Superman is occupied, Batman and Flash are missing, and now both Green Lantern are taken out of commission. She believes it is the work of the New Gods of Apokolips. Alan Scott remarks that, in the past, they have always relied on the heroes of New Genesis to help them; without them, and with the loss of so many heroes, they will have to rely on the article Franklin D. Roosevelt passed to help him form the All-Star Squadron – Article X, which allows for the drafting of superheroes.
With the help of Oracle, now ensconsed in the Hall of Justice with full access to the Justice League’s communication gear in addition to her own rig, who is acting as the team’s communications officer, they are able to contact Aquaman, Freddy Freeman and Tawky Tawny, Supergirl and Green Arrow… in addition to the Justice Society, the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, the Shadowpact, and several other others. Alan Scott prepares to lead into what may their biggest fight since the Crisis.
In Tokyo, Mister Miracle must leave. Sonny Sumo is still unconvinced that the forces of Evil are truly gaining control. Mister Miracle remarks that, in a fight of such a scale, everyone must fight eventually. They are suddenly attacked by a gang of armed men wearing helmets similar to the one Libra gave the Human Flame. Although both heroes fight, they cannot win – until the Super Young Team arrives to drive them to safety. Sonny Sumo admits the danger of the situation.
In Blüdhaven, Wonder Woman is investigating the incident at the Command-D Bunker. With the Atomic Knights, she travels into the wrecked city, where she discovers the corpses of Replika, Agent of SHADE. They were apparently killed by Mary Marvel, who now wears a revealing leather catsuit and has been turned evil. She kills one of the Knights before Wonder Woman breaks her arms. Mary reveals that Darkseid’s New Gods have been hiding in mortal bodies, and that is why they have passed undetected. In five minutes, the Anti-Life Equation will go global, and no-one has a clue. In addition, Mary reveals her trump card – Wonder Woman has been selected by Darkseid to serve as an infection vector… for the plague in the test tube Mary just broke in her hand.
In the Command-D Bunker, Mokkari prepares to spread the Anti-Life Equation. In Switzerland, Mister Terrific has spotted something unusual happening. In the Hall of Justice, Oracle sees that someone in Blüdhaven is sending an e-mail to every address in the world… an e-mail which is opening itself. Oracle shouts that they have to unplug the internet. Her last message, before the Anti-Life Equation becomes active, is “Pull the plugs before it – !”
Wally West and Barry Allen slow down. They have run a month into the future. Barry remarks that it was impossible to save Orion, and he doesn’t know why he was brought back. Then he looks up – the sky is red, and Wonder Woman is leading a group of murderous superwomen to kill both Flashes.