In the private journal of Carter Hall, Carter talks about the start of the multiverse. The story of its origin he know best came from Abin Sur. He spoke of Krona, who built a machine that allowed him to see the beginning of creation, and just looking at the source of it all created millions of worlds. From the story, Carter gleaned that the true origin of the multiverse was a drive to find one thing, no matter what it is.
In orbit, Superman looks down on the Earth, searching for Batman. He stops to get a sitrep from the other search parties.
Green Arrow, dispatched to Gorilla City to follow a trace on his heartbeat, found a transmitter and angry ape.
Zatanna and John Constantine, following a lead in the House of Mystery, find only another decoy inside a wall made of ghosts.
Blue Beetle’s search of LexCorp turned up nothing. As he flees Luthor’s security drones, he asks why they are hunting Batman at all. Superman explains why across the comms. One, their friend needs help. Two, he has stolen the deadliest weapon in the universe. When he asks Cyborg for a status update, he tells him that his group tracked Batman to the Amazon Rain Forest.
However, Bruce has several decoy Batmen and Robin driving the Bat-Hog, all backing him up. Wonder Woman demands he pull over, but Damian cockily refuses. The Batman decoys split up, but Aquaman manages to catch one. When Batman makes a fish joke, Arthur sees that he bagged a fake.
Flash easily subdues a decoy, but the next one he targets is prepared. This Batman lures Barry into the path of a freeze ray, but he quickly recovers and take out all the decoys, leaving only one Batman left.
However, Cyborg has already hacked their holographic disguises and exposes them all as the Batman Family. Green Lantern asks the last decoy, Nightwing, to give up the weapon in his bag. Before they can subdue him, an enraged Swamp Thing, attacks everyone, revealing that they were standing on the location of the Parliament of Trees. The melee allows Nightwing to drive off unabated.
Meanwhile, Robin and the real Batman are able to travel smoothly, until Superman arrives. Pulling Bruce out of the Hog, he tells him that he has gone too far, and that he needs to let his friends in. Batman explains that he is the only one who can stop Barbatos, and that this monster and his agents have been watching him and preparing him since he was sent to the past years ago. He confuses Clark when he starts talking about the Judas Tribe, the Mantling, and heavy metal. He explains that the special metals he has been exposed to over the years have been deliberate events to prepares him for this time. Now that he has exposed himself to Nth Metal, there in only one metal left before he will swap places with Barbatos and whatever he brings with him. The worst part of it is that Bruce has no idea how to stop any of it. Meanwhile, metal structures around the world are emitting dark energy in response to Barbatos’ arrival drawing near.
Superman is convinced that there is a way, but Wonder Woman arrives and reveals that he is still stalling. Seeing through the deception, a frustrated Clark shoves his hand through Bruce’s chest, exposing Clayface. Wonder Woman tries to calm him down, but his anger is actually concern for Bruce. The traces of his heartbeat he’s heard tell him the Bruce is more scared than he has ever been before, and that in turn scares him. Diana assures him that they will solve this problem, no matter what.
Meanwhile, Lady Blackhawk attends a meeting of The Immortal Men that convened to decide how to handle the increasing number of signs of Barbatos’ arrival. Before Kendra got there, they already decide to use their nuclear option: kill Barbatos and destroy the entire Dark Multiverse by firing the Anti-Monitor’s astral brain at the Rock of Eternity at the core of the Multiverse. Kendra advises against it, citing Carter’s warning against mixing dark matter and antimatter, but the Immortals stand their ground. Kendra and Vandal Savage argue, until the youngest of the Immortals suggests they use Batman’s drive to fight Barbatos head-on to anticipate where he’ll go. Kendra explains that it would only be possible to do so if he could go back to where it all started, then realises what is about to happen.
Batman arrives at the Tomb of Khufu, when Batman senses the presence of Dream. Bruce asks if what he is doing is right, but Dream refuses to give a clear answer. He wishes Bruce luck and leaves as Superman and Wonder Woman arrive to retrieve the weapon he stole; baby Darkseid. Bruce explains that he plans to use the Darksied’s powers to send him back in time and use Carter Hall’s mace to defeat Barbatos before he can ever use him. His friends try to talk him out of it, but he asks them to watch over his family and prepares to make the leap. Before he can, Kendra contacts them on their comms and warns them that they are not in Khufu’s tomb, because she destroyed it years ago!
It is revealed to be a trap at the Tomb of Hath-Set. Before they can leave, they are subdued by the Court of Owls’s “Strygidae”, who use dark energy to bind them. The Court of Owls then reveals that they have been planning this since the first became the Judas Tribe. They explain that everything Bruce has been through as to lead him to that place so that Barbatos could be summoned. The last Heavy Metal they needed to finish the job didn’t exist on Earth, until it was created using Powers Collider in Gotham City. Dousing him with liquid Batmanium, it infects Bruce’s body. His body becomes a portal from which three ravenous demonic creatures resembling Batman’s Robins emerged, and tear the Court of Owls and the Strygidae to shreds. These Robins were followed by the seven Dark Knights, twisted versions of Bruce Wayne from different corners of the Dark Multiverse, along with their master, the giant demonic creature Barbatos.
Superman tells Barbatos that they can stop him, with Wonder Woman adding that they have beaten gods before.
Barbatos responds that it was only because he let them, before touching them with his fingers. As he drains them of their life force he tells them, “WELCOME TO THE DARK.” Watching Superman and Wonder Woman scream in agony as their bodies shrivel and decay, one of the Dark Knights, the “Batman Who Laughs” smiled sadistically and declared, “This is gonna be fun.”