50,000 years in the past, a lizard is seen scurrying past three symbols drawn in the sand, represents the Wolf, Bear, and Eagle tribes. As an excerpt from Carter Hall's journal, speaking of a lost story. A story of the Age of Stone, where the three great tribes shar
- Lost to history is a story. A story about how, in these lands, during the Age of Stone, there were three great tribes of man. The tribes of the Wolf, of the Bear, of the Bird. All were nomadic, and shared a grand dream-- a dream of discovery. But soon, a fourth tribe emerged. A dark tribe, unlike the others... one of twisted dreams -- dreams turned inside out. And with its terrible rise, so began The Age of Metal.
Synopsis for the 1st Story
50,000 years in the past, a lizard is seen scurrying past three symbols drawn in the sand, represents the Wolf, Bear, and Eagle tribes. As an excerpt from Carter Hall's journal, speaking of a lost story. A story of the Age of Stone, where the three great tribes shared a dream of discovery. As someone's shadow passes over the drawings, Carter speaks of a fourth, dark tribe, with twisted dreams rose up. The unknown figure covers the sand drawings in blood, and Carter speaks of the start of the Age of Metal.
On the second War World, Mongul has captured the Justice League using armor designed to inhibit their powers and forced into gladiatorial combat against machines built by a captive Toyman. When Mongul dispatches Toyman's Fulcum Abominus, the League is immediately pushed to the brink of defeat. However, Batman notices something inside of one the robots. Testing his hunch, he presses a button inside its mouth, and it begins to wrap around him. The rest of the League thinks he is in trouble, but he tells them to copy his actions. They comply, and as they are consumed, Batman explains that the name of the robots and the buttons were a message from Toyman. The robots then merge into one giant mecha that they use to capture Mongul.
On the way back to Earth, Superman asks if the fact that Mongul's watchdogs lost track of him is related to what he's been investigating. Bruce is preoccupied talking to Alfred, who is telling him about an event happening in Gotham. When the League arrives, they see that a large portion of Gotham has been obliterated by the sudden appearance of a large mountain in the heart of the city. The League finds a large door leading to the heart of the mountain, where they find a laboratory containing five cryogenically frozen people and a dormant Red Tornado. While in the strange laboratory, Lady Blackhawk and her men arrive. After hostilities die down, Kendra reveals that this was the first step in a much larger attack on the world that had been planned for centuries. Lady Blackhawk takes the League with her to Blackhawk Island, the former base of her missing ex-husband Carter Hall (Hawkman), where she told them of their research into Nth Metal. She explains the effect Nth Metal on her and Carter, that its properties defy the rules of magic and science, and that Carter studied extensively to discover the source of its power. His search led only to warnings that the metal came from evil, and leads to evil. He also discovered that it and four other divine metals had their origin in a place of dark matter. A place older than the Multiverse. A black sea in which all of the reality they know floats in. A place unlike any corner of the known Multiverse - the Dark Multiverse.
Flash is skeptical that such a thing exists. Kendra replies that she didn't believe at first until Carter led an expedition into this place, a stunt that pulled Challengers Mountain out of its place in reality. Before contact was lost, they warned Kendra to shut the doorway and keep it shut. Red Tornado's last words warned them of a Great Dragon, Barbatos, that crawled within the dark. Her research of Barbatos led her to find an ancient manuscript telling her that a Wayne would enable this being to come to Earth. Hoping to avert Barbatos' invasion, the Blackhawks move to capture Batman. Before they can, Red Tornado awakes, yelling, "The door! You opened the door!", before going berserk. As the League moves to restrain Red Tornado, Kendra realizes that Batman and her pure Nth Metal sample are gone. It turns out Batman snagged it and used one of the dromaeosaurs on the island to reach his submarine.
Meanwhile, an excerpt from Carter's journal speaks of how the story of the Age of Metal would end. First, a shot in the dark tears a hole in space-time that dark energy seeps through. Then, those connected to the power of Nth metal would experience visions of Barbatos' approaching army. The army would seek out the Son of Wayne in preparation of the end. When the time comes, there will be no escape for anyone, because Barbatos has been planning this since a "final moment of crisis." Carter warns that should the book ever be found, the next key moment has arrived. In the closing, Carter explains that he hid his journal in the home of those who defected from the Bat Tribe so long ago, and made sure it would only reveal itself if the events chronicling Barbatos' coming happen. His purpose for leaving the book is to apologize for being wrong, and for what was to be unleashed due to his quest. He bids farewell as he prepares to enter into the Dark Multiverse himself and follow in the footsteps of the three tribes of the Age of Stone, ending his entry.
In the Batcave, Bruce analyzes the Nth metal, only to hear a humming from within Wayne Manor. Following the noise, he finds the journal of Carter Hall as well as a Bat symbol carved in his floor. After reading it, Batman realizes that the tales of Barbatos and the Dark Multiverse were all true, and that this great evil was set to be unleashed upon the world by his own hands. A man calling himself "Dream of the Endless" then confronts Bruce, telling him that this nightmare has only just begun.
Appearing in the 1st Story
- Lady Blackhawk (Kendra Saunders) (Identity revealed)
- Justice League
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Barbatos (Behind the scenes)
- Red Tornado
- Dream (Daniel Hall) (First appearance)
- Doctor Fate (Cameo)
- Plastic Man (Cameo)
- Steel (Cameo)
- Blackhawk Squadron
- Blackhawk (In a photograph only)
- Lady Blackhawk (Zinda Blake) (In a photograph only)
- Carter Hall (Flashback only)
- Starman (Will Payton) (In a photograph only)
- General Zod (Mentioned only)
- Stheno (Mentioned only)
- Metal Men (In a photograph only)
- Will Magnus (In a photograph only)
- T.O. Morrow (In a photograph only)
- The Prime Earth Barry Allen states he has studied the multiverse for years and says the 52 universes is all there is. How this relates to his knowledge of Hypertime is unknown.
- It is postulated there is a Dark Multiverse beyond the 52 multiverse.
- The cover shows the JLA in the rock hand pose.
- Dream (Daniel Hall)'s appearance in this issue marks the first official confirmation that the events of Sandman (Volume 2) remain intact in Prime Earth canon.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Justice League Recommended Reading
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Justice League of America (Volume 3)
- Justice League of America (Volume 4)
- Justice League of America (Volume 5)
- JLA (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 2)
- Justice League (Volume 3)
- Justice League (Volume 4)
- Justice League International (Volume 1)
- Justice League International (Volume 2)
- Justice League International (Volume 3)
- Justice League Europe (Volume 1)
- Justice League America (Volume 1)
- Justice League Task Force (Volume 1)
- Justice League Quarterly (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 2)
- Extreme Justice (Volume 1)
- Justice League Elite (Volume 1)