"Book Four: Death": Hidden within a cave beneath a butte in Moosejaw, Arizona, the timer on a the last remaining stellar disruptor counts down to the destruction of the universe. The Apokoliptian storm trooper possessed by the fourth Anti-Life Aspect
- I'm like a babe in the giant's hands... Helpless. His hands tighten around my throat. He takes his time finishing me, wanting to savor my end. There is ceremony in this death. The monster dispatches me with reverence. He's freeing me from this vale of tears. Sending me over to the other side. Dispatching me to the realm of... Anti-life.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Book Four: Death"
Hidden within a cave beneath a butte in Moosejaw, Arizona, the timer on a the last remaining stellar disruptor counts down to the destruction of the universe. The Apokoliptian storm trooper possessed by the fourth Anti-Life Aspect fails to notice busy hands removing wires from the circuitry. The trooper an his accomplice, the deceased officer Joe Bester, stand in confusion as the timer reaches 0 with no result. Part of the heavy machinery suddenly topples over on top of the storm trooper, pushed by Batman and Forager. The pair run at Bester but the formerly departed cop swats Batman away like he's nothing, whereas Forager decapitates the man from behind with his shield to discover he's really a robot duplicate. They have no time to reflect on the machine as the inhumanly strong trooper frees himself from the two ton weight. The brute fractures the Caped Crusader's leg with ease and wraps his hands around Batman's throat until he starts to black out.
In a dark pocket dimension, Darkseid and Etrigan stand before the imposing Anti-Life Entity. The ruler of Apokolips activates the switch on his dimensional harness, funnelling enormous cosmic energy through the demonic conduit into himself and onward to ensnare the Entity. In mere moments Darkseid realises the power of Anti-Life is unparalleled, and the Entity reaches out for them. Darkseid is wise enough to know when to retreat and calmly attempts the dimensional recall, but to his aggravation, one of the four Aspects has corrupted the harness from the other side. The Aspect destroys the only tether to their dimension and the two are left suspended in aether at the mercy of the Entity.
On New Genesis, the returned heroes scour the laboratory for the missing others, all worried about betrayal from Darkseid. Only Green Lantern has deeper concerns, and skulks away from the others consumed by guilt over the destruction of Xanshi.
Before Batman loses all consciousness, he falls to the ground, saved by Forager whose shield is embedded in the trooper's back. The victory is small as he, too, is brushed aside with one hit, breaking his ribs. With his adversaries lying broken on the ground, the Aspect repairs the stellar disruptor.
Incredulous that he faces his end at the hands of Anti-Life itself, Darkseid stands motionless as the Entity tries to envelope him, but within the darkness a light rescues both he and Etrigan from nothingness. They find themselves before their saviour, Doctor Fate, who has brought Highfather and Orion with him. Fate gathers the five of them together to form a cinque of cosmic power, pooling all of their mystic energies to hold back the relentless Entity, but even Fate knows this near omnipotent power can't hold back Anti-Life. With no other options, Doctor Fate is forced to resort to a mystic firebreak, destroying the bridging dimension entirely, stopping the Entity's advance into their own.
Back on New Genesis, the heroes are surprised by the sudden appearance of Doctor Fate and company. Furious at what Fate has done, Darkseid threatens the mage for ruining his ambitions, but quickly humbles himself when he assesses how outnumbered he is. With one tension defused, Highfather reminds everyone that the fate of the galaxy still rests in the hands of Batman and Forager.
The doomsday clock creeps down as Batman crawls desperately across the ground towards the device only to be kicked away by the Aspect's hulking pawn. With precious 23 seconds left, Forager wills himself up and charges the enemy. He distracts the thug by throwing his shield between its legs before diving through the gaping cavity in its chest. He fends off the beast with no time to spare and smashes the control panel with his shield the device explodes. Batman is astounded to be alive and quickly mobilises to locate Forager in the debris, only to be shocked by what he uncovers. Batman reports back to New Genesis requesting a new aspect catcher.
Lightray and Superman leave to aid Batman, whereas J'onn J'onzz slips away to find the absent Green Lantern. Sitting alone, wallowing in regret, John Stewart takes an alien firearm from a display cabinet. He removes his ring and gives it strict instructions to travel twenty light years away and wait for him to call it back. If he doesn't contact it within an hour he orders it to locate Hal Jordan. The ring departs, and with it too far away to instinctively protect him, John raises the gun to his temple. From behind the corner, J'onn morbidly watches the Green Lantern struggle with his conscience. When John lowers the weapon, the Martian enters the room and seemingly goads the wretched man into committing suicide, but J'onn knows exactly what Steward needs to hear. The belittling only fuels the Green Lantern's defiant will and he summons his ring back before storming out of the room, leaving a content J'onn behind him.
A thunderous BOOM announces the return of Batman, Superman, and Lightray, carrying the body of Forager. Everyone gathers around the corpse as Batman explains how Forager gave his life to save Earth and the universe. Orion makes a snide, backhanded complement to the "bug" and Batman angrily lashes out and punches him in the face, causing a moody Orion to turn his back on them all. As the heroes prepare to return home Lightray notices Darkseid has sneaked away, with Highfather adding that the Aspect catchers are also missing.
On Apokolips, Darkseid makes peace with his failures, congratulating himself on the smaller victory of obtaining a fragment of pure Anti-Life.
On New Genesis, Highfather approaches Orion, asking him to accompany Forager's remains back to the Insect Empire. Upon inquiring why, Highfather quite plainly explains that it may teach him some tolerance.
Appearing in "Book Four: Death"
- Doctor Fate
- Green Lantern (John Stewart)
- Martian Manhunter
- Anti-Life Entity
- Anti-Life Aspect
- Deserted Storm Trooper (Final appearance; as a possessed corpse)
- Joe Bester (Final appearance; as a robot; destroyed)
- Anti-Life Aspect
- DeSaad (Cameo)
- Hal Jordan (Mentioned only)
- Insect Empire (Mentioned only)
- Jason Blood (Mentioned only)
- Katma Tui (Mentioned only)
- Sol system
- New Genesis
- Anti-Life Dark Dimension
- Xanshi (Mentioned only)
- Anti-Life Catcher (Final appearance)
- Dimensional Harness (Final appearance)
- Doomsday Bomb/Stellar Disruptor (Final appearance)
- Green Lantern Ring
- Helmet of Fate
- Mother Box
- This issue is reprinted in the Cosmic Odyssey trade paperback.
- 48 page, squarebound prestige format.
- The Apokoliptian storm trooper fractures Batman's tibia and fibula.
- Doctor Fate creates a "cinque of cosmic power" by harnessing the combined energy of himself (intellectual magics), Highfather and Orion (their connection to The Source), Etrigan (primal mystical forces) and Darkseid (an acolyte of Anti-Life.)
- 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)