"Book Three: Decisions": With Adam Strange unconscious, Starfire stays with him at the doomsday device while Lightray continues his search for the elusive Aspect. As soon as he leaves, Kory notices a trail of liquid on
- But even one whose soul is as foul as mine can be used to do good. Fate sometimes plays strange tricks, Etrigan. You, yourself, wear no halo or wings, but have been chosen to save a galaxy from something far worse than death. It is the ultimate jest, is it not? The destiny of the very stars depends on two twisted monsters such as ourselves. Ironic, but the truth.
- — Darkseid
Synopsis for "Book Three: Decisions"
With Adam Strange unconscious, Starfire stays with him at the doomsday device while Lightray continues his search for the elusive Aspect. As soon as he leaves, Kory notices a trail of liquid on the ground. She examines the substance which smells like gasoline, failing to notice the green ooze take form behind her, attacking her with a piece of heavy machinery.
On Thanagar, Orion is discontent with Superman's cautious approach of investigation. Observing a city swarming with mind-controlled soldiers from a distance, Superman instructs Orion to draw attention above ground while he locates the Anti-Life Aspect by boring a tunnel beneath the city.
Back on Rann, Lightray uses his electromagnetic spectrum vision to track the Aspect, returning him to the stellar disruptor where Starfire lies as unconscious as Strange. Lightray flies to her aid but is blindsided by a piece of machinery slamming into his back. He scrambles for the Anti-Life catcher which was knocked loose, but the Aspect, possessing a protoplasmic life form, destroys it.
Superman crashes into a basement below the city and uses his x-ray vision to locate the doomsday device beneath him. He breaks into the chamber housing the device but is ambushed by a towering robot possessed by the Aspect which punches him across the room.
Lightray's photon blasts are too slow for the unbelievable speed the shapeshifter utilises. It escapes into a drainage grate to then creep up behind the New God, launching him into the ceiling. As Lightray falls limp, the Aspect initiates the primer countdown of 120 seconds. Starfire opens her eyes and surreptitiously flies Adam Strange and Lightray to safety before returning to face the Aspect. The shapeshifter evades her starbolts with effortless fluidity before grabbing hold of her, which comes as no surprise to the warrior princess.
In Moosejaw, Arizona, Batman and Forager survey a desert butte from the roadside where they have traced the deliveries addressed to deceased officer Joe Bester. Forager assumes the Aspect has possessed Bester's corpse, but Batman believes the Apokoliptian storm trooper he faced in Gotham City is a more likely candidate.
Superman strikes hard, but the attacking robot is unrelenting. When the automaton is crippled, Superman aims the Anti-Life catcher towards it, containing the Aspect and rendering the machine inert. The Man of Steel destroys the weapon of mass destruction with his heat vision and informs New Genesis of his victory.
Highfather relays the report to Darkseid who in turn insists the risk is too great to not face the Anti-Life Entity head on. Highfather rejects such a hasty decision, and leaves to ponder the matter. His thought is interrupted by an ally sent by Batman who informs Highfather that Darkseid's schemes service only his wants.
Superman bursts upwards, hoping to find that the Thanagarians have been released from the Aspect's influence, but what he faces is sheer horror as the streets are strewn with the dead as Orion hovers over the carnage. Disgusted by Orion's bloodthirsty massacre of innocent victims, Superman punches Orion from his Astro-Harness in a rage. Orion shrugs it off and departs for home alone, leaving Superman to bury the dead.
Lightray recovers in a storage room next to Strange and rushes to find Starfire. He arrives to see her limp body suspended in the grasp of the Aspect as the timer ticks down. With only second until detonation, Lightray prepares a photon blast but Starfire flies into action to get him out of harms way. According to her plan, Kory's fiery flight path ignites the petroleum-based creature the Aspect possessed which explodes violently, destroying the doomsday bomb. Adam Strange emerges from the rubble and joins the others, thanking Starfire for saving Rann, but his gratitude is interrupted by the Aspect, in its true form, escaping into the sky. Lightray and Starfire attempt to chase it, but the entity moves faster than the speed of light and vanishes.
Their success reaches Darkseid, yet the dark tyrant expresses his doubts about the loose Aspect to Etrigan and how the need, more than ever, to face the Anti-Life Entity at the source. The Demon senses the evil in Darkseid but concedes that the universe is in true peril.
A boom tube opens before Highfather and he welcomes back Orion who has also recovered the Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern. Highfather chides Orion for being so hard on their failure, but John agrees with him, wallowing in self-pity after his cocky bullheadedness and reliance on the ring led to the destruction of a solar system. As John walks away in shame, Highfather kindly suggests that J'onn watch over his friend.
Inside the lab, Darkseid straps Etrigan and himself into a dimensional harness, and without consulting the others, flips the switch, distorting reality and displacing them in the dark void where they face the Anti-Life Entity.
Highfather and Orion enter the lab to discover Darkseid has recklessly gone after the Entity. Highfather's consternation is somewhat assuaged as the ally Batman sent addresses the two and offers them a hand, which they take knowing the risk they must face to try and stop it from consuming all. The three vanish in a burst of light. The lab is not empty for long, as the Aspect that escaped Rann arrives and attaches itself to the cable of the dimensional harness.
In Moosejaw, hidden in a cave beneath a butte, the possessed corpses of the Apokoliptian storm trooper and Joe Bester activate the primer charge of the stellar disrupter, leaving Earth and the Milky Way Galaxy 120 seconds of existence.
Appearing in "Book Three: Decisions"
- Anti-Life Entity
- Anti-Life Aspects
- Thangarian Robot (Possessed)
- Rannian Shapeshifter (Possessed)
- Deserted Storm Trooper (As a possessed corpse)
- Joe Bester (As a robot)
- Anti-Life Aspects
- Adam Strange
- Doctor Fate (Behind the scenes)
- Sol system
- New Genesis
- Alpha Centauri
- Peltex 5
- Storage Vault #666
- Peltex 5
- Thalisus Minor
- Pegaron System (Mentioned only)
- Xanshi (Mentioned only)
- Anti-Life Dark Dimension
- Anti-Life Catcher (First appearance)
- Dimensional Harness (First appearance)
- Doomsday Bomb/Stellar Disruptor
- Mother Box
- Nth Metal Wings
- Rannian Jet Pack
- This issue is reprinted in the Cosmic Odyssey trade paperback.
- 48 page, squarebound prestige format.
- Starfire is oddly referred with alternative spellings, both as "Cory" and "Kory" in this issue.
- Starfire's plan only just succeeds, destroying the stellar disruptor literally at the last second.
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World Recommended Reading:
- Forever People (Volume 1)
- Forever People (Volume 2)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 1)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 2)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 3)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 4)
- Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle (Volume 1)
- New Gods (Volume 1)
- New Gods (Volume 2)
- New Gods (Volume 3)
- New Gods (Volume 4)
- Orion (Volume 1)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen (Volume 1): issues #133-#148
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World (Volume 1)
- Death of the New Gods (Volume 1)
- DC Graphic Novel #4
- Genesis (Volume 1)