"Stars in Their Courses": Day 1:
- It's coming! 52! 52!
Synopsis for "Stars in Their Courses"
Ellen Baker is taking down a banner that was put up to welcome home her husband, Animal Man. Green Lantern arrives and gives her the news that her husband is still missing in space. She still holds onto the hope that he will come back.
Steel goes to St. Camillus Hospital to help the heroes who have returned from space, and meets there with Green Lantern and Doctor Pieter Cross. Steel is taken to a room in which he sees Mal Duncan, who is in a coma with a part of Red Tornado fused to his chest, and the fused figure of Cyborg and Firestorm.
Green Lantern reveals what happened to the heroes who went into space during Infinite Crisis, and talks about those still unaccounted for: Red Tornado was destroyed, Supergirl disappeared, and Animal Man, Adam Strange and Starfire are presumed dead. Mal Duncan suddenly goes into cardiac arrest.
Maggie Sawyer pays a visit to Renée Montoya to get some answers regarding what happened at 520 Kane Street. Renée won't reveal much, so all Maggie can do is warn her to stay out of trouble. After Maggie leaves, Renée pulls out the strange gun she picked up at the warehouse and says, "Don't worry about that."
At the hospital, one medical team is attempting to subdue the now-25-feet-tall and convulsing Hawkgirl while Steel attempts to revive Mal Duncan, who wakes briefly, but only to utter two phrases:
"It's coming! 52! 52!" These, Alan Scott notes, were Red Tornado's last words.
On an unnamed planet, three of the missing heroes are revealed to be alive and living in paradise -- at least for the moment, since their spaceship is in disrepair. Adam Strange has lost both of his eyes. Starfire takes time to relax. And Animal Man begins to worry as he starts to sense something on the planet that isn't quite right...
Appearing in "Stars in Their Courses"
- Adam Strange (Flashback and main story)
- Animal Man (Flashback and main story)
- Pieter Cross
- Green Lantern (Flashback and main story)
- Starfire (Flashback and main story)
- Lex Luthor (On a TV or computer screen)
- Clark Kent (Cameo)
- Cyborg (Cameo) (Flashback and main story)
- Devilance the Pursuer (Cameo)
- Firestorm (Cameo) (Flashback and main story)
- Hawkgirl (Cameo) (Flashback and main story)
- Lois Lane (Cameo)
- Renée Montoya
- Shining Knight (Cameo)
- Bumblebee (Cameo) (Flashback only)
- Red Tornado (Cameo) (Flashback only)
- Supergirl (Cameo) (Flashback only)
- Ali-Ka Zoom (Cameo)
- Unidentified metahuman/medical worker (Single appearance) (see Notes)
Synopsis for "The History of the DCU, Part IV of X"
Donna Troy recalls the final events and legacy of the Crisis on Infinite Earths: The deaths of Supergirl and Barry Allen; the intervention of the Spectre; the collapse of the Multiverse; the self-exile of Superman and Lois Lane of Earth-Two, Superboy of Earth-Prime, and Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three; and Wally West becoming the Flash.
Appearing in "The History of the DCU, Part IV of X"
- The following characters appear in flashbacks
- Alexander Luthor
- Blue Beetle
- Captain Marvel
- Kid Flash
- Lois Lane (Earth-Two)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Pre-Zero Hour)
- The Spectre (James Corrigan)
- Supergirl (Deceased)
- Superman of Earth-One
- Superman of Earth-Two
- Weaponer of Qward
- Wonder Woman
- "Stars in Their Courses" is reprinted in 52 Vol. 1 of the 2007 4-volume edition, 52 Volume One of the 2016 2-volume edition, and 52 Omnibus.
- This issue features the first mention of "52" as a plot element and not just the title of the series. Its true significance will not be revealed until the final issue of the series.
- This issue features the returns of Animal Man, Starfire, and Adam Strange.
- The ticker-tape at the bottom of the cover reads, "Return of the Space Heroes... Starfire, Animal Man, Adam Strange - Dead?"