"Superman and Batman: "The Pantheon, Part 2 (of 4): The Cosmic Tree!"": The Pantheon stand over Batman in Africa, having recently defeated him. Superman surveys the rapidly growing Cosmic Tree nearby, which
- Superior beings don't slaughter innocents!
- — Batman
Synopsis for Superman and Batman: "The Pantheon, Part 2 (of 4): The Cosmic Tree!"
The Pantheon stand over Batman in Africa, having recently defeated him. Superman surveys the rapidly growing Cosmic Tree nearby, which he believes is responsible for the recent earthquakes. Superman determines that the tree is of alien origin, but Omicron of the Pantheon attacks him before he can investigate further. Omicron flies to Cairo and vaporizes the largest mosque at prayer time, slaughtering thousands to distract Superman. Batman wakes up and attempts to escape, but Delta and Epsilon bind him tighter. His captor Rho explains that she is an empath who can read emotions, and will gladly answer his questions about their origins.
The man who would become Mu was a C.I.A. agent who came across the Living Diamond during an assignment. The diamond had an effect on him, and he murdered its owner so he could steal it. Feeling guilty, he went to a confessional, but ran away from the priest before he could confess. When he tried to dispose of the man he killed, he found the corpse horribly mutated. Returning to the priest, he showed the diamond and it had an effect on the priest also. They showed the diamond to a jeweler, who determined that it was alive and trying to communicate with them somehow. The jeweler suggested they show it to a husband and wife research team, who also became obsessed. They exposed a cat to the diamond and it evolved so quickly that it died. The group realized that if they could counteract these side-effects, they could harness the benefits of accelerated evolution. The priest volunteered to be exposed first, and the others observed him to learn about the process. They added a financier to their group to fund the experiments. This research allowed them to withstand the effects of the diamond. It also revealed that the diamond was only a seed belonging to a cosmic tree that had spawned it. The priest began to advance past their science and die, so they resolved to find the tree. To help them find the tree, they enlisted an archaeology professor. To conceal their identities, they took codenames based on the letters of the Greek alphabet. Eventually the professor was able to pinpoint the tree's location by using the vase they took. Batman asks Rho how she can justify their slaughter of innocents, and she replies that gods do not need to justify their actions. They believe the cosmic tree will complete their evolution and they can remake the world in their own image.
Superman battles Omicron, who seems to be almost as powerful as he is. Omicron also demonstrates the ability to shape-shift and grow in size. Omicron realizes that Superman will defeat him, and leads Superman back to Rho. Elsewhere, Mu pilots the plane they stole to Florida and crashes it. Mu sneaks into Cape Canaveral and stows away on a manned space launch.
Omicron and Rho disappear into Mount Ossa, then seal the passage behind them. Batman and Superman reunite and discuss strategy. They conclude that Batman must leave to warn the Justice League, and Superman should pursue the Pantheon. Superman burrows inside the mountain, where the entire Pantheon is waiting to ambush him. Sigma has the Cosmic Tree bind Superman with its roots. The Pantheon gathers around the tree as their most powerful member, Zeta, is reborn out of it.
Appearing in Superman and Batman: "The Pantheon, Part 2 (of 4): The Cosmic Tree!"
- Florida State Police
- Bill (Single appearance)
- Dave (Single appearance)
- C.I.A. (Flashback only)
- Gotham City (Flashback only)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (Flashback only)
- Cosmic Tree
- Living Diamond (Flashback only)
- Batplane (Flashback only)
- This issue is reprinted in Tales of the Batman: Gene Colan Vol. 2.
- This issue makes reference to the conflict between the heroes, which started when Batman quit the Justice League.
- World's Finest Recommended Reading