Jubilee sits on a rock in the Danger Grotto and writes in her diary. In this informal entry, she explains the recent crossover of the two different universes, and discusses the ramifications it has for all of existence. I’m still not sure I understand what I do know, she admits, referring the ambiguous story of the two Brothers and their recent encounter with one another. She explains that the Brothers have decided to settle their conflict by pitting each universe’s champions against one another. Unfortunately for Jubilee, she is included in this tournament.
And it’s not like we have a choice, because the losing universe…Well, here’s the scary part…when it’s all over, only one universe is going to survive! Like I need that kind of pressure, she writes. With three of the battles already out of the way, Jubilee’s universe is losing two-to-one.
She continues. It’s weird – creepy weird, I mean – how people are reacting, treating this like it’s the Super Bowl or something. Maybe it’s easier to do that than really think about the consequences. Sort of whistling in the dark, she writes. But you want to know the worst thing? I finally find the right guy…I mean Mr. Right…and I’ve gotta fight him for the fate of two universes. Does that stink or what?
Robin, “Mr. Right” himself, approaches Jubilee from behind and places his hand on her shoulder. This startles her out of her writing-induced trance. He tells her the waiting is driving him crazy, and asks if she will accompany him on a walk to relieve some of the tension. “Yeah, sounds great,” she says. “I was just catching up on my diary. Didn’t know when…or if…I’d get the chance again.” She takes just another moment to conclude her entry, admitting that she is trying very hard to be brave. Hope this isn’t the end, diary, she writes. But if it is…well, it’s been fun.
Jubilee and Robin have no time to share their walk, however, as they are immediately whisked away to their battle. They reappear in a large, spacious warehouse that apparently lodges parade balloons. The two share an awkward moment before fighting, as Robin cannot decide whether or not he wants to wish his opponent good luck. Jubilee gently places her hand on his cheek and kisses him softly on the lips. The awkwardness sufficiently dispelled, they begin their contest. “Let’s get this over with,” Robin says, springing off the ground. Jubilee concurs by tossing a few of her signature firecrackers his way.
Despite having the advantage of mutant powers, Jubilee loses the battle almost as quickly as it begins. Robin disappears into the shadows and tricks Jubilee into attacking his hanging cape. After she takes the bait, he lassos her with his grappling hook and completely immobilizes her. She falls to the ground in a heap of frustration. “You didn’t even have to land a punch. That’s so lame,” she says.
“God, no! I was never planning to hit you,” he assures Jubilee. He crouches over his entangled opponent, and the two share yet another awkward romantic moment as they realize they are now free of their cosmic duties…for now.
Silver Surfer and the Green Lantern converse as they pit their powers against each other. Green Lantern admits that he really does not want to be fighting the Silver Surfer, to which the Surfer concurs. He adds that in the past, they teamed up to save their two universes, and now they battle to destroy one instead. However, they agree that they have no choice in the matter, and continue duking it out. After a high-speed collision and a brilliant flash of green light, only the Silver Surfer stands. “The victory is mine,” he says, “…yet never have I more regretted an opponent’s defeat.”
Battling on steel girders in an unfinished skyscraper, Catwoman draws first blood in her battle with the Elektra. The assassin is undeterred by her wound and marches toward Catwoman, brandishing her sais. “I don’t even know what I’m doing here,” Catwoman says to her vicious opponent. “Nobody ever accused me of being a hero, so why was I picked as a champion?” She adds that Elektra does not seem to fit the traditional hero mold, either.
Elektra ignores her attempts at conversation and hurls one of her sais at Catwoman. She dodges it with a graceful arch of her back, and pounces to a higher girder. In one fluid motion, she shifts her momentum into the whip she uses as a weapon and strikes Elektra’s arm. Elektra uses this attack to her advantage. Her arm now lashed to the whip, Elektra jerks Catwoman over her head and off of the building. Catwoman hangs on for dear life, her whip acting as a rope. “Strong little thing, aren’t you,” she says to Elektra, managing to keep her sense of humor even when faced with imminent death.
“I’m an assassin. I kill my opponents gladly,” Elektra responds. “But our combat was not of my choosing. I won’t slay you to merely appease the beings who force this battle…but I will win.” With that, Elektra releases the whip and drops Catwoman off the skyscraper. The terrified woman does not fall to her death, however; her fall is broken by a truckload of sand.
The Daily Planet reports to the world that the battle of the champions now stands at 3-3. Ben Reilly takes to opportunity to compliment Lois Lane on her reporting skills. She accepts his praise, but adds that if he had not saved her from the Scarecrows, she would not have been alive to write her story! “Just one of the services of your friendly neighborhood…um, photojournalist,” Ben says, nearly revealing his secret identity.
He follows this awkward comment with the proposition of taking Lois on a date. Unfortunately, this too turns awkward, as Lois is compelled to let Ben know about her engagement to Clark Kent. Too make the situation even more uncomfortable, Clark himself appears right behind Ben and indicates that he overheard the entire exchange. Ben profusely apologizes to both Clark and Lois, and slinks away in embarrassment. “I’ll just be going now. To the dark room. To roll some film. Or develop some. Or die of embarrassment,” he sheepishly says as he leaves the room. As soon as he gets out of an earshot, Ben berates himself for his clumsy interaction with Lois. He is spared in his humiliation, however, as he is soon summoned by the Brothers to do battle.
Clark and Lois are busy discussing Ben’s awkward crush when J. Jonah Jameson bursts into the office with urgent news. He tells his reporters that the Hulk is in the middle of a cataclysmic fight with “some freak named Metallo.” Because they are fighting downtown, innocent lives and property are at risk, and it should make for a great story. Before he finishes his announcement, Clark sneaks out of the office and heads to the fight.
Axel Asher has trouble processing all the new information given to him by the mysterious vagrant. While the news about the two Brothers and their respective universes is certainly shocking, Axel finds himself struggling with the concept that he is a residual shard from their last confrontation. Refusing to believe that this is the cause of his wandering tendencies, he calls the vagrant a “crazy, homeless guy”.
“Am I? And that’s just a cardboard box?” the man says, pointing at the mystical object. He reassures Axel that everything he has said is true, and to prove it, he grabs Axel by the wrist. This physical contact triggers an instantaneous transformation. Axel looks down and sees that his body now glows with light, and he wears an unfamiliar, futuristic outfit. Completely astonished, he asks what the man did to him. “Unleashed what’s inside of you,” he responds. “Each of us chooses the guise best suited to who we are. This is mine; that’s yours.” The grubby vagrant reveals that he, too, is a shard, and his role is that of gateway keeper. His time is coming to an end, and now he needs to pass the role of keeper to the next successor. “You have to take up the mantle,” he tells Axel, “…you have to become the Access.”
Axel copes with his transformation rather well and immediately gets into character. The grubby man informs Axel that it now falls on him to preserve the balance between the universes. “Yeah, but, how do I do that?” Access asks.
Far, far away…
Lobo and Wolverine are in the midst of their cosmically ordained battle. The chosen location is one of Lobo’s favorite bars, presumably somewhere in space. Several aliens sit nervously in their seats and watch the two feral men claw at each other. Dodging Lobo’s hook-ended chain, Wolverine takes a running leap at his opponent off of the bar, but Lobo grabs him by his clothes and holds him at arm’s length. As Wolverine begins to throw insults at his opponent, Lobo jams his hook into Wolverine’s chest. Logan gasps, but then informs Lobo that the injury poses no real danger. “Got this healing factor that lets me take a lot of punishment,” Logan says, ripping the hook out of his chest, “…almost as much as I dish out!”
He slashes furiously at Lobo and forces him back behind the bar, completely out of the line of sight of the alien observers. The two men grapple, taunt, and slice each other seemingly without end. Eventually, the sounds of them fighting fade away. The pub patrons stare at the bar in anticipation as a hand reaches up from behind the bar. Wolverine pulls himself up, grabs a smoldering cigar out of an ashtray, and enjoys a victory smoke.
Outside Fawcett City…
Having retrieved Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, Wonder Woman now possesses the powers of the Norse god. When Storm arrives for their battle, she immediately realizes she may have to face the combined powers of Thor and Wonder Woman. She gracefully accepts the challenge anyway.
“I fear you’ve no hope of winning such a contest while I wield this weapon,” Wonder Woman tells her. Storm agrees, but insists that she will not yield. Wonder Woman decides that such a battle would not be fair, and willingly drops Mjolnir to the ground. She reverts back to her default form and soars up into the sky. “We face one another as was intended,” she says. “I may have given up an advantage, but the victory’s still going to be mine!” Lightning strikes and a storm sets in as Ororo hoists herself into the air to meet her foe.
Storm directs a powerful gale at Wonder Woman, but she slips behind the X-Man and grabs her by the ankle. Using Storm’s leg for leverage, Wonder Woman pulls her own body around and delivers a powerful kick to the back of Ororo’s head. Storm frees herself from the grip and electrocutes Wonder Woman with a surge of lightning. She refuses to give up, but Storm has no choice but to finish the battle. “Forgive me, sister,” she says, delivering one final current of electricity into Wonder Woman’s body. Defeated, she begins to fall to the ground. Storm swoops in and catches her motionless body before she gets injured any further.
“No fair!” Superboy screams as Spider-Man shoots webbing onto his sunglasses. Superboy rips off his shades and searches around frantically for his opponent. Spider-Man, who clings to a nearby water-tower, taunts Superboy from a distance. Using his tactile telekinesis, Superboy turns and demolishes the water tower with a mere wave of his hand. This distance attack completely surprises the web-slinger. “Neat trick,” he says. “So what’s your story, kid?”
“I’m a clone,” the snarky Superboy says. “Try to grasp the concept.”
This remark unintentionally elicits sympathy from Spider-Man. Ben Reilly is, after all, a clone of Peter Parker. Superboy interprets his reaction as mockery, however, and springs forward to give Spidey a beating. Spider-Man parries the attack and delivers a flying kick to Superboy’s chin. He then pushes off of the wall and flips into the standing water. However, Superboy is nowhere to be seen.
Spider-Man looks around, confusedly, for his opponent. “This sneaky stuff is supposed to be my gag,” Ben says. Suddenly, Superboy emerges from the water directly beneath Spider-Man and knocks him off of his feet. While Spider-Man regains his senses, Superboy swoops around and flies headlong toward his bewildered opponent. Ben senses the incoming attack, spins around, and fires a shot of impact webbing right at Superboy. He then steps out of the way, revealing a high-voltage electrical box immediately behind him. Superboy careens out of control and crashes into the circuitry, sending a powerful electrical shock through his entire body. Spider-Man offers a sarcastic apology as Superboy collapses to the ground.
Superman arrives downtown and witnesses the Hulk clobbering Metallo with a giant, golden statue. Superman’s reputation precedes him; the Hulk immediately recognizes the infamous super-hero and introduces himself as Dr. Bruce Banner. Metallo attempts to interrupt their cordial exchange with threats of destruction, but the two super-heroes turn in unison and deliver a pair of punches to his face. Suddenly, Bruce and Clark are pulled from Metropolis, and they reappear in the middle of the Grand Canyon.
Superman begins to resume their conversation, but the Hulk sucker-punches him and sends him flying into the canyon walls. Superman immediately picks himself back up and flies toward the Hulk. They exchange a series of heavy blows, until Superman remembers what is at stake. Empowered by his goal of saving his world, he delivers a final punch to the Hulk’s and sends him soaring into the canyon wall. Upon impact, the sides of the canyon collapse and bury the Hulk in a mountain of rubble.
The final battle, this one between Batman and Captain America, has reached a stand-still. In the sewers under Manhattan, Captain America searches desperately for his stealthy opponent. He looks down into the sewer water, and surmising that Batman is probably hiding beneath the surface, drops a brick into the water. As the reflection reforms, Captain America spots Batman sneaking up behind him.
He tries to react, but is too slow. Batman delivers a flying kick to his head. Cap turns and slams Batman into a wall with his shield. “I’ve never fought against someone with whom I’m so evenly matched!” Captain America says as he fights. Batman swings around on a sewer pipe and lunges back toward his opponent. He strikes Captain America, but then finds his momentum turned against him as he is hurled into the water.
“We’ve been at this for hours. We could battle for days,” Batman says during a reprieve. “We should be looking for some other option.” While Cap agrees, he sees no alternative. Batman reminds him that either way, billions of people will lose their lives, but Captain America reminds him that if they do not fight, it may mean the end of both universes. They each assert that it is their duty to protect innocent lives, and as such, they cannot concede defeat. They agree to keep fighting until someone goes down.
Batman and Captain America hurl their projectile weapons at one another just as a deluge of water pours into the sewer. Batman dodges Cap’s shield, but his Battarang hits Captain America square in the head. He loses his balance and falls into the surging water, instantly disappearing beneath the surface. Batman is not about to let his noble opponent drown, however. He dives into the current himself, finds Captain America, and drags his limp body to the surface. With the battle over, Batman carries his fallen adversary out of the sewer and into the streets above.
Batman asks Cap how he is doing as they emerge from the sewer system. Captain America says he feels okay physically, but is understandably disappointed. “I lost, and maybe doomed an entire universe.” However, as they pick themselves up, they look around and realize that nothing has changed. “We’re both still here, so this isn’t over yet,” Captain America says. “What now?”
Coincidentally, the two heroes happen upon Access and the homeless man. The former gatekeeper greets them excitedly and states that they may be the universes’ last hope. Access begins feeling power coursing through his body, and suddenly knows what to do. He places a hand on the chest of each displaced super-hero and begins transferring some unknown power into them.
The box flares up right in the middle of this process, and the keeper screams that time has finally run out. With the battles over, the one of the universes must cease to exist.
However, the losing universe is not eliminated, nor is the winning universe spared. The worlds, as well as the Brothers, begin to merge into one.
Instead of two Brothers, there now exists just one singular being. And instead of two universes, there now only exists one amalgam universe.