DC One Million: "End Times" #6

Written by Shadowstar, Edited by Marvelite
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of DC Comics
Click here for black&white text version (good for printing!)

DC One Million:


(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: Here's the story so far - the year is 85,273, approximately one million months after the first appearance of Superman Prime in the 20th Century. Superman Prime, Wonder Woman and the spirit of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz have been absorbed by the wizard Faust and the mysterious being named Apoch.)

(Meanwhile, Aquaman has been destroyed by magic and Batman eliminated from time by means of magic. The current Superman has deduced an outside force is eliminating the Justice Legion A one by one and has gone to the prison planet of Pluto.)

(And now for the legal stuff. DC One Million and all characters within were created by Grant Morrison during his run on the JLA title and all are copyright to DC Comics © and are used in this story without profit, but totally for fun!)



Justice Legion A Roll Call:

Superman Prime = Superman Dynasty = Batman =  The Flash

Aquaman = Wonder Woman = Owlwoman = The Atom

Continued from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5

In the center of the star system of Sol lies a Sun, a blaring inferno of nuclear explosions providing heat and light to all life for millions of kilometers all around. Now, in the 853rd century, it is more than the closest star, but it is also considered the symbol of the greatest heroic legacy the universe has even known - the Superman Dynasty. For the past 153 centuries it has been the 'chrysalis' of the first of the Superman - the immortal Kal-El of Krypton.

However, at the current point in time it has been transformed, shaped after the symbol of the Superman Dynasty's destruction and the mark of the evil whom created it - Apoch, the Prophet of the Anti-Sun. Originally of the ancient world of Urgrund, the Second World 'God' has been resurrected for the purposes of fulfilling a lone madman's wish - complete and total oblivion.

That single lunatic is the ancient wizard Felix Faust, the mystical master of chaos. Though since the 666th century his soul has been in dispute, as two rival demons have come to claim it as their own - or else their armies will invade fair Sol System.

The universes only hope lies in the Justice Legion A, the greatest heroes assembled together - each shaped after a member of the legendary 20th Century Justice League of America.

Unfortunately, they are a little indisposed at present . . .

The fourth world out from the great Super-Sun is the legendary planet Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz - the second most prominent plant in Sol System next to the Earth. In times past it was known as Mars, a red desert world where the semi-humanoid Martian race lived until they were wiped out by the mysterious "H'ron'meer's Curse". Only one survived, until such time as he died and was resurrected as the very spirit of his home.

Now, this living world is the setting for the ultimate battle of survival, where good and evil clash in a savage arena of rocky mountains and sandy valleys. They are the Justice Legion A - Superman Dynasty, Batman, the Flash, Aquaman, Owlwoman and the Atom - and the rogue Faust, along with his slave, Apoch. Right now, it seems evil has gained the upper hand . . .

The ground sways violently with pillars of stone penetrating the planet's crust from beneath, making the very ground a death-trap for all of it's inhabitants. It collapses in on itself, revealing the hollow depths below where Apoch has been drawing his power, preparing to accomplish the deathly task presented to him. Though all there is now is an empty black abyss.

Apoch has risen in all of his sinister glory, his savage features promising doom to all those who do, and don't look upon them.

He is shaped after a golden calf, though with the body and limbs of a man. It's somewhat apt that he's taken this form, as in a number of Earth-based religions it is considered the emblem of a false god - though now he is far more real, and far larger, now standing over 83.571 meters in height, with his head up on the tops of the cliffs.

His heavy midnight black armor drapes over his gargantuan physique, covering the vital points of attack upon him and protecting him from the little . . . nuisances that can be posed by any of the 'insects' daring to oppose him. Between his elongated horns is a raging fireball, his own Anti-Sun in miniature, signifying his position as a 'God'.

Superman Dynasty watches helplessly from his perch as the Justice Legion A, being crucified against the cliff wall squirm helplessly. It is extremely disheartening for him to see them this way, his own teammates forced into submission by an insane tyrant. If only there were some way he could help - but the Anti-Sun has left him drained and totally powerless.

How can he hope to win against such impossible odds?

But wait, there is something else he missed before. In the cracks of the stone he saw a streak of light blue race by before he had a chance to see. If he had his x-ray vision he could peer through and identify it now, but much to his dismay he cannot. This is the first time he's been without his powers - do mortals without superpowers feel as . . . naked?

There it is again - the whir of blue moving down the cliff toward Faust, Apoch and the Justice Legion A. This time he had a chance to see, and is almost shocked to see that she of all people had returned, just when the team needs her most.

"Glad to see you back, Wonder Woman," Superman Dynasty says under his breath, anxiously watching the action unfold.

For a moment he queries to himself just how it is he can sit back and watch as his friends become totally annihilated. That is all he needs to swallow his fear and to slide down the rocks, even if somewhat clumsily. He doesn't doubt that Apoch has sighted him by now, though fortunately the Prophet of the Anti-Sun is completely unable to act upon his own will in his master's presence.

"Diana," he calls in a harsh whisper and peering behind the rocks for Wonder Woman. Where is it she has been all this time? No doubt facing one of Neron's deadly gauntlets - though there is time for explanation later.

"Superman," she calls from behind a large orange boulder behind him. "How long have you been here for?"

He kneels beside her, breathing heavily. Not often is it that he fears for his life - though now he seems little competition for Apoch. "I've been here for the duration of Apoch's rising. Though I haven't acted yet as . . . well . . . I've lost my powers . . ."

Pulling back from her casual watch she sees the weakness in his eyes as fearful sweat runs off his strurdy brow. She reaches over to him, running a soothing hand through his dark hair and calming him. She says softly, "Do not worry. It is only the effects of the Anti-Sun being absorbed into your solar cells. It shouldn't be long until we've brought an end to it and healed you."

Perhaps he's being foolish, but he takes comfort in her words, her touch. Dispite all that's happening around he's managed to find an inner comfort and peace, even if only for a short while. "So," he asks calmly, "what do we do now?"

Wonder Woman sits him up, deciding to let her actions speak for her, as in that moment she bolts away in a blur toward the towering beast awaiting its first command. This leaves Superman stunned and confused only for a moment, until he figures out what he can do amongst the comotion - free his teammates from bondage.

A blue streak races by under Apoch's mighty legs blowing the watching wizard off his feet and into a nearby ditch. His slave does not move, instead it is still and as sturdy as the surrounding mountains. That's the problem with mindless drones - they never know when to attack!

"Stop her, Apoch!" Slowly it's head begins to move, like a rusty machine being awakened after a lifetime of unuse. Its wide animal eyes flare, with an evil red light beaming out from the pools of blood which it views the universe. "I want to see her bleed, just like the rest of them!"

"I will end you, human . . ." Apoch's roar resounds off the planet and through the wilderness to be heard by all. As far as mortals go, this is one of the most powerful beings alive, and Diana has it chasing her over the red planet until it brings on her demise.

From between it's horns a blast of anti-sunlight is unleashed, beating down on her like a solid energy whip. She drags her face and arms from the softened dirt, only aware of the aching pounding in the remaining parts of her body with feeling. First blood goes to the Old God - she won't let him have the second.

The wings of Wonder Woman's feet flap as she gains greater speed. All she notices next is the wind under her heals as she rises up from the ground. Apoch continues his barrage of attacks, though she manages to avoid them each time, dodging and skimming through the soil.

It would seem it is not unfamiliar to the arts of battle, as each time she approaches it attacks, breaking her momentum. The fact is, it's strong enough to take some of her toughest blows, and it knows it!

"Charity. Harmony," she calls upon her living bracelets, drawing on the power to defend her. "Please shield me from this monster."

Holding up her arms a semi-transparent sheild forms over her head with the 'WW' symbol carved into it. Wonder Woman charges, only slowed bit by bit by the energies pouring down on her. She can't stop now . . . she won't! To do so would fail not only herself but all those she loves and cherishes.

Finally she leaps forward with all the strength her body would allow, slicing through the beams of anti-sunlight pouring down. Her ferocity, her rage, her desperation push her forward, giving her the power to draw back one fist and throw it into Apoch's sheilded gut with all her strength.

The beast lunges, and she falls to its feet panting and weakened. That was her best shot, and Apoch is only slightly, if not at all phased. Though she struggles not to let go of hope, Diana knows this is going to be one of the toughest battles for the whole team . . .

Meanwhile, Superman Dynasty faces his own perils as he slides down the rock-face, trying not to fall to his own death. Though the further he goes down, the simpler it becomes - as if J'onn J'onzz were watching over him, clearing the path of obstacles. He begins to scale the cliff wall slowly, searching for footing beneath with only touch to aid him.

Though they too are rather easy to find, as if steps were appearing that were not there before.

"Superman . . ." exclaims the Flash, shaking uneasily in his shackles. The pain he must be in, dangling from chains by his arms, crucifixion style, gradually breaking his ribs and constricting his breathing. The same goes with the rest of the Justice Legion A, each of them weak and half-dead, though this time it is frighteningly real.

"I'm here, John," smiles Superman Dynasty confidently while tugging at the bolts of the chains. If only he, or any of the other team had super-strength. "Can you vibrate through these?"

"Yeah, sure," says the Flash. "But if I did I wouldn't survive the fall to the ground!"

"Give me your arm," Superman tells him bravely. It seems amazing that he's still so composed, despite all he's been through next to everyone else. "I won't let you fall."

At lightspeed one of his arms shakes, allowing the molecules to pass through each other, thus freeing him from his torture bed. He slips, now hanging by one arm, and screams in horror at the sight of Batman, Owlwoman, the Atom and Aquaman dying below him. Then, he looks back to Superman Dynasty still with his arm outstretched - still offering him help.

He takes it, and now the two stand confidently on the same ledge. "Come on," he says. "Let's hurry and get the others free."

On the ground in the not too distant battlefeild is Wonder Woman, struggling to stay alive and avoid the savagery of Apoch's power. Her head is light, her body faint and unconsciousness beckons her ever closer. Though if she gives into it now she will never again wake up, and neither will any other living creature.

Where is the rest of the Justice Legion A? Surely Superman Dynasty has managed to free them by now. Then again, maybe not. Time tends to run quickly by when the 833 centuries of your life flash before your eyes.

She skims through the dirt like a pebble off a lake when an unseen blast collides with her, knocking her back with full force. The only thing stopping her is the boulder into which she crashes headfirst. Through the aching and exhaustion she looks out to the world, slowly fading away.

The thick beams of the Anti-Sun bombard her in slow motion, as she realises that what should have been a never ending existing existence is coming to a dramatic close at the mercy of a madman. Though she cannot feel the heat roasting her alive - no. It's the wind stinging her skin as the Flash holds her in his arms, racing her to safety.

"Flash," she exclaims. "You arrived just in time!"

"Better late than never," he jokes, stopping and placing her softly to one side. He looks back as Aquaman and Owlwoman charges at the Prophet of the Anti-Sun in much the same way as Wonder Woman.

"It's funny," Diana realizes suddenly, "how you can be the fastest man in all of Sol System, yet you only seem to arrive on the scene at the very last second . . ."

"Hey, nobody's perfect."

"There are a few perfect people," she reminds him with a playful smile. She may be weak and dying, but humor is good distraction from the pain. "We are, after all, in a utopian Sol System."  

"So sue me for being from the 27th century," John remarks before in a whir of red and gold he's off to aid his two comrades in a fight with the demi-god. It seems hopeless in his mind - Apoch, a god of the Second World against one man who can run really fast. The most he could do is create a distraction, even lay in a few super-charged punches - but not defeat him!

Then again, every second counts . . . right?

"Superman," gasps Wonder Woman, veritably dragging herself to his side where the Batman and the Atom are consulting with him. They look over, and do their best to tend to her wounds and support her on themselves.

"Rest, Diana," the Atom becons while lowering her to a secluded resting place. "You've done more than enough . . ."

"What do I do, Batman?" The desperation in Superman Dynasty's voice is obvious. He's regained hope again, but only barely. It all seems so futile - perhaps it is stubborness that keeps him going? "Without Superman Prime here there is no way for me to restore my powers. Surely, all is lost."

"Only when you resign yourself is all lost, Superman," comes a ghostly voice. Did someone say that, or did they just all think the same thought in unison? These could only be the words of the Martian Manhunter - the very spirit of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz. "You have the power inside you, son of El. All is not lost - Superman Prime lives on in you!"

"But, Superman Prime is . . ."

"NO!" They are all taken back by the Martian spirit's scouling. "He is not dead. No, he lives on, and as we speak he is racing toward his Fortress of Solitude to aid you and the Justice Legion A in this battle. But you already have his power inside you . . . use it!"

"He speaks the truth," states Batman with a tone of impatience, almost frustration. He grabs Superman Dynasty by the shoulders and tells him to his face, "There is a great deal of truth in Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz's cryptic message. You do have all your powers locked deep in your solar cells."

"I can break down and release them," says the Atom, somewhat inspired. "If I break down small enough I can reconfigure myselves and simulate the structre of any sort of molecule or energy - even though it's far more difficult."

"Do it," Superman commands him. "We have no other choice. Apoch must be stopped!"

"Finally, a challenge," muses Apoch in morbid amusement, diverting his attention away from the remaining Justice Legion A. Flash, Aquaman and Owlwoman stop dead in their tracks, completely and totally perplexed. What is the creature talking about? "Come out, Superman! I've been waiting for you for some time now!"

A streak of red and blues blurs up from the clearing, then coming down. Superman Dynasty slows suddenly, then placing his feet on the ground softly. Once more he is in full control of the vast powers bestowed on him. You can see the golden aura of light illuminating off him as he fixastes himself upon the tyrant presented before him.

"Yes, Apoch. I have come," he says with restored confidence. "I will end you once and for all, and the universe will never see you or your brand of villainy ever again!"

"Stop," commands Tamor Hoj waving his energy staff about. "Stop, or we'll shoot!" 

Usually such an order from him would be a dramatic issue in the life of whoever it is he's been assigned to hunt down - but against a violent mob consisting of thousands of angry Metropolitans it has little bearing. Hundreds of icons light up, empowering the mad populace with the abilities of the heroes whose abilities they have adopted.

The leader of the Hawkman Guard spreads his wings, soaring down through the crowd firing disabling blasts left and right. They scatter as he cuts through them ferociously, sending them all running like cockroaches when a light is turned on.

After a few passes he perches on top of one of the hundreds of surrounding skyscrapers, looking down upon the rabble beneath. They all scream for blood, some even for that of the proud Hawkman. He knows they don't mean it - some way, somehow, all their collective rage has been unleashed only to be vented in the city streets.

He watches as the other Hawkmen race about through the skies, trying in vain to keep them multitudes in order. Though it seems hopeless as even his own enforcers too are caught up in the bloodbath.

A long time ago, the people of Thanagar were a proud warrior race and sometimes even intergalactic conquerors. In recent times, however, after joining their planet of Thanagar to the outer worlds of Sol System they placed their services on the open market, when they were then hired by the 853rd century Lexcorp to watch over the Metropolis Tesseract.

Their leader, the mighty hero Tamor Hoj stands boldly on his ledge with his silver metallic wings spread wide. He takes of his golden helmet, shaped after the head of the magnificent head of a hawk - the symbol of his entire race.

He is somewhat humbled by the war below. He knows, above everything else how one man can make a difference. After what he has seen his people through, after what he's lived through during his time in Metropolis alongside the Superman Dynasty - indeed, one man can make a difference. Though now, he's been left powerless . . .

He struggles with his soul to hold onto any hope there is left. Where is Superman when Sol System needs him the most?

Where am I? Who am I? What is real? Where is here? Who are we?  

Universes are constructs, born from ideas, given shape by answers and form by the absolutes declared. There are literally endless worlds made by the answers of limitless possible questions drifting around the infinite void, each able to be mixed and matched, creating a palette of alternate universes to choose from.

However this world is different. It is, for lack of a better term, the womb of all creation, constructed entirely of concepts and ideas that meet and together bring universes into fruition . . . and where eventually they face imminent death.

This is Felix Faust's escape from the terrors of one such place, where heroes and noblemen reign supreme and the forces of order hunt and destroy his chaotic kind every day. Though here none of that has any bearing, in a dreamscape existing between up and down, light and darkness . . . good and evil.

His human mind cannot comprehend what is really happening before his eyes, so his brain mixes it about to make it seem as though he's hallucinating of familiar scenes. One moment there is Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz, the next there is the ravaged planet Darsonis in the early 21st century, the birth of the immortal Guardians of the Galaxy - it never ends.

He is lost in this dimension, and so are his pursuers. At last, he is safe from their reach.

"Peek-a-boo," grins a Hell-spawn appearing suddenly on the stones of the Great Wall of China. He lifts a finger, then with it summoning Faust to his side.

"No, Neron," growls Faust, resisting the magic of the demon mark with little success. "I . . . resist you . . . demon . . ."

"Alas, you cannot," he muses, sending the wizard painfully to his feet in a show of humiliation and exercising his true power over the immortal mystic. "You lost your sense of self along with your soul in the 666th century, Felix. You are my property!"

"No," he spits defiantly. "NEVER . . .!"

"With Etrigan dead, for lack of a better term, then you are, as the Firelords have no more claim to your soul! You know the dark lord appointed me as the new master - after all, it was you who filled Etrigan's head with the lies of his 'rightful place on the throne of Hell'."

A smooth blade passes through his chest with a sharp sting, then emerging from out of his heart erupting with fire. Only a divine weapon could inflict upon him so much pain - and not in a sadistic, masochistic way which he often enjoys either. Standing behind him, with his sword stuck through the High Shadowlord is the angel Zauriel with a serious frown on his face. "Release him, Neron. I will end you . . ."

He forces himself away from the guardian angel, holding his wound painfully as black blood spills from his pierced flesh. Ignoring it, Neron stands tall as if he was never scathed in the first place, summoning jade flames into his palms as he prepares to do battle. "You? A lowly hawk host angel? You cannot possibly hope to win . . ."

"I have the power of the Source on my side," says Zauriel confidently. "If anything, I have the advantage, dark one."

Neron laughs, passing off the angel's bravado as nothing but words. Not only is he going to take on a futile battle, but also he would do something as stupid as allowing Faust to run free. Little does he realize Zauriel has that area of the plan well covered.

The wizard flees as fast as his feet will carry him. He passes through the Sahara Desert in mere moments, swims the Pacific Ocean in the next, next scaling Mount Everest in a single bound. These would be spectacular feats if they were happening in the physical realm - but there, he does not have the cover of dreams to hide him.

"Felix Faust," comes the voice of the reawakened Doctor Fate. "For your grievous crimes against humanity I have come. Now, Master of Chaos - you will be punished."

He descends from on high, his golden cape flapping about in the winds of the Himalayan Alps. He throws it back, revealing underneath his tight blue costume with trims of yellow around, decorated with golden dressings of ancient Egyptian origins. On his sturdy brow he wears the helmet of the Nabu, allowing him the mystical powers of the age-old sorcerer.

As a boy, Kent Nelson traveled with his father, a great archaeologist of his time. During a dig in an Egyptian temple a poisonous gas killed his father, and the revived spirit of the Nabu arrived, transformed him into an adult and trained him as an apprentice. After discovering the truth once more, after having his mind wiped of his father's death, Kent went on to kill the Nabu, then becoming the legendary Dr. Fate.

During World War II he joined the famed Justice Society of America, where he and his teammates fought the vicious Axis Powers, thus becoming heroes.

However, as time went by Kent was forced to resign his mantle, then passing on the Dr. Fate legacy to his children, who then passed it on to other Fates to which he became an advisor. Though it all came to an end when a tragedy called him back to reclaim his title in various physical reincarnations.

His latest is the body of Seth Jordan, a child stolen away from his family from the age of seven by Faust, not yet realizing his true identity. A spell was cast over him, sending him into a life of dreams away from his family and friends, never to realize his true self - until now.

The two conjurers face off atop of the Statue of Liberty, staring each other down, both anticipating the other's first move. It may be days before either draw first blood, for the two draw on the same power and are equally capable of harnessing it. Then again, it makes no real difference - time has no stance in Limbo.

"You return only to face your death, Nabu," Faust calls from the tops of the Pyramids. "For so long order has had it's reign. Now, chaos must reign supreme. It's all in the laws of balance."

"Those times have long finished," Dr. Fate reminds him. "Your ways are of the Dark Ages, when humans had only just moved on from the animal kingdom."

From the royal chambers of Atlantis, Faust gathers a ball of fire in his open fist, then launches them at his despised nemesis. Fate raises his arms, forming a force field around him, which bounces the barrage of flames to one side. Over the centuries his strength has grown - so much so that he obviously doesn't need a spellbook to execute some rather complex magic.

If Fate is to regain his power so soon, then he has to take down Faust quickly - though not with brute mysticism. It would seem that for once he is the underdog, the weaker of the two. Somewhat strange that he should become second string, even temporarily, to one like Felix Faust.

Then again, immortality does strange thing to men.

Faust clasps his wrists together, summoning a pair of psi-blades to take shape. He thrusts them forward from across the arena of a Greek colluseum, peircing Dr. Fate's shield and pinning his shoulders to the wall. He's almost amazed by how easily the great mystic is falling.

As Fate writhes in pain, he finds himself actually praying for some form of divine intervention. It came in an unusual form when he notices a number of imps stalking the corners. They are the Ph'age, a race of grey spider-like creatures, pets of the Shadowlords whom are always hungry for magic.

He knows they hunger for Felix's power, but in his current state he would be able to disperse them with great ease. However, they just might prove to be the distraction he needs to regain his true strength.

According to the magical texts, either the master of either order of chaos can gain ultimate power, with the might of both their combined energies when the other is trapped in a world between life and death - the Dreaming. Faust managed to succeed in this, and in doing so accomplished the resurrection of Apoch, the Prophet of the Anti-Sun.

A creature projects itself onto Faust's shoulder, sinking its teeth into his neck and drawing off his power. "You little bastard . . ." With a single blast he knocks it away, not realising that using magic will make this one multiply, as well as attract the others.

The psi-blades dissolve, letting Dr. Fate fall into the soft, green grassy ground around Stonehenge. After a moment of ravenous feeding the Ph'age disperse, leaving a rather disorientated Felix Faust to figure out how exactly it is he got to where he is in such a brief time.

Now is his chance, when Faust is just as drained as he. Though not used to fighting without the aid of his practiced art, Kent Nelson dashes forward, pushing himself up in the air only with the force of his own two feet, until such time as he tackles over his enemy painfully. Quickly he rises to his feet, lifting up Faust by his hair, then knocking him out with a single hard blow.

"Your days are numbered, Fate," hisses Faust. Dr. Fate laughs, much to his rivals shock and dismay - that is, until he points out that he is standing beside himself. The image of Felix Faust is but a projection, just a figment of his imagination created by his body, which is now trapped within the dreaming, like Kent Nelson was just days ago.

He rises up, wallowing in ultimate power, beholding the war between Zauriel and Neron's army below. The angel looks up to Fate, realizing what has just happened. He smiles knowingly, as the demons back away and the Master of Order unleashes his power onto the evil forces below.

The Super-Sun flares angrily across Sol System, spreading hate and anger to the stars instead of symbolizing the power of the Superman Dynasty as it once used to with its bright golden rays. Now, it is the tool of Apoch, after having been converted into an evil Anti-Sun, the central power source for the sinister Second World destroyer.  

It effects are felt all the way from Mercury to the outer Rimworlds, causing a release of hatred and anger through a bizarre means of cerebral stimulation. Now, all living beings, anyone with any speck of emotion has been plunged into a gruesome war with his or her brother's, sisters, friends, family . . . even total strangers. Life, once more, seems to have turned on itself.

Rivalry whether between siblings, enemies or worse has been multiplied by around one million times, and is tearing up the face of this utopian galaxy. Their only hope to save themselves is Superman Prime - who, fortunately, has returned to his post as Sol's ultimate protector.

The red star reflects off his gleaming golden visage. Its rays do not affect him, as they would have long ago - no, since then he's evolved somewhat. Now his whole body is a construct of those energies, which burned at the heart of the Super-Sun.

He slices through its first layer smoothly, like, as they would say in his own day - a hot knife through butter. He's anxious to find what's at the core of the Sun, knowing that it will be extremely unpleasant and very much deadly . . . but that if it need be he would give his own life to put a stop to it.

For the greater good.

He plummets deeper until he reaches its molten core. He almost didn't recognize the strange energy anomaly to be the center of the Anti-Sun's power, somewhat similar in structure to the late New God Darkseid's 'Omega Beams', though in the form of a giant ball. He calculates that a sure-fire means of defeating it would be to absorb it, like he did the battery of Mageddon.

"Welcome, Superman," speaks the molten heart, quickly taking the form of Apoch's hideous face. "No doubt you realize you have reached the source of my power. However, if you were to assimilate these energies like you did with my master creation, you would find yourself to be one of my own personal slaves. Your squire is learning this lesson the hard way . . ."

Squire? Could he mean Superman Dynasty? For a moment he is set to race back to Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz to aid his protégé, but he has business to attend to here first. The lives of human kind depend on it.

The fact is that the ball he is faced with has accumulated enough power to wipe clean the entire face of the universe. With every second it festers and grows, until such time as it will explode, spreading silent death all through the stars.

Having little time to work with he charges forth into its center. He can feel it - the pain, the anguish, the despair, the hatred . . . it all seems so hopeless, but only for that one moment. Now, he lives in a world where dreams come true, where all that he and his comrades have fought for have come to pass.

All that surrounds him is a shroud of lies and deception. He cannot allow it to blind his people any longer, and pours out his energies with a burning passion. He remembers an old proverb from long ago - it takes only but a flicker of light to send darkness fleeing. Now, he is watching it come into fruition before his very eyes and the creeping death dies away.

Rolled up in a ball, he summons all of his strength into the palms of his hands, preparing to restore the Super-Sun quickly before it dies away. Throwing his arms open, energy rains out, starting a chain reaction of explosions all around, re-igniting the Sun with a roaring shockwave.

"You may have defeated my Omega-Bomb, Superman," taunts Apoch from afar, "but the soul of your squire is now in my possession. It takes the light of your Super-Sun 12.661 minutes to reach Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz . . . though I doubt he has that long before he gives out . . ."  

"Hold on, Dynasty," prays Superman Prime, launching himself back into the stars in the direction of the Martian battlefield.

The war in Metropolis continues, with hundreds of icon-wearing 'heroes' beating on each other with maximum prejudice, and animalistic fury. The only representatives of order, Lexcorp's own Wingmen of Thanagar, seem useless in their efforts to restore some sort of calm, with a few of them too becoming caught in the line of fanatical actions.  

Tamor Hoj, their glorious leader, sits back on a shadowy rooftop, having long given up on fighting the good fight in vain. All he feels he can do is to relax, and watch as all of Sol System dies away in a pool of blood mingled with fire.

With a deafening roar the sickly red tinge of the transformed Super-Sun melts away as it explodes on a giant nuclear ball of flame, restoring it back to it's former glory. Every person, every man, woman and child of all walks of life, from many different worlds are left awestruck as this spectacular celestial event takes place before them.

As they watch all the fear, frustration and hopelessness is stripped away. Tamor Hoj looks down upon the disorientated people below, stunned at the extremities to which they have just committed. How could they possibly have let matters get this far out of hand?

The utopian society, which they had once built, is now destroyed, and as punishment the Superman Dynasty has left them forever.

"People of Sol System," speaks a ghostly voice to the entirety of the planets. "This is the voice of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz, the spirit of the fourth planet. Superman Dynasty is in desperate need of your help . . ."

Every last living and sentient being is bombarded with images of the sandy red Martian world on which Superman and the Prophet of the Anti-Sun do battle. Things do not look well, as the hero is severely beaten, possibly only barely hanging onto his consciousness and his sanity. How possibly can the people hope to help him against such an absolute force?

"He is barely able to hold onto who he is," the telepathic voice of the planet continues. "He needs to draw on your strength in order to survive as he has spent all of his own. He needs to know you are all here for him, as he is for you all."

The sound of hundreds of thousands of voices draws Tamor Hoj from his perch, to peer down on the happenings on the ground beneath his feet. Together Metropolis cries out, sending their hopes and prayers out to their falling hero. They cannot give up hope now, or else so will the Man of Steel and his legacy - forever . . .

In unison they chant, echoing out over the lands and the seas. As one, they chant his name - "SU-PER-MAN! SU-PER-MAN! SU-PER-MAN!"

There is a dead air of awkward silence as Superman Dynasty and Apoch stare at each other, filling the general mood with a number of mixed tensions. For so long Superman has stood for truth and justice, always convincing himself that in such perfect times there are no evil men, just misguided people who, as fate would have it, are walking the path of villainy.

He was born to uphold this belief, thus it was his duty to hold back any frustration or convictions that he might have. Though now for the first time he has a channel for his hate and anger, as before him he faces the beast that embodies all the wrongs and evils that have existed. It is a pure product of chaos - it must be destroyed.

Apoch stands alert under the glowing red Anti-Sun in all of its 'glory'. Its time of power has long passed, literally millions of years ago when the universe was in its respective primordial phases. What it stands for is a system long passed, in the dark days when only the fittest were deemed worthy of survival.

Above any other creature of the time it was most powerful - and now it's come to put Sol System through the ultimate test.

Superman Dynasty asks himself, what gives Apoch the gall to come and impose destruction on everything like this? Is its ego so large that it cannot allow any other opinion or belief stand in its way? Who or what is it to decide the fate of everything? For though it may be a semi-divine being it is still far from being a god, and it's only power is stolen from Superman Prime in the former Super-Sun.

"You are but a humble follower, Dynasty," speaks Apoch bluntly, echoing its decree all through the barren lands. The Justice Legion A are rocked off of their feet, though Superman manages to stand his ground without hesitation. "You are a disciple shaped after Sol System's New God - though soon you will bow at my feet!"

"Not very likely, Apoch," says Superman seriously with a heavy frown. Though Apoch is a being of great power he is not very impressed. "Your time has passed."

"Attack me," commands Apoch with a wicked grin. "Show me your power, 'Superman'!"

"With pleasure," he spits. With a single bound he rockets toward Apoch with fists outstretched. There's no sense in conserving his strength as there's no knowing how much time he has left before it's depleted. One blow from him and the Prophet of the Anti-Sun would be blown off his feet.

A pity Superman Dynasty never made it that far . . .

"You are a Sun-child, son of El," continues Apoch in its rambling. "Whether that Sun be good or evil, you are still it's child - and now, you are mine!"

"Never!" When will this torment end? Superman cries as the tragedy of the past few days overwhelms him, pulling his soul down to the dark side within. The Justice Legion A seem to already be mourning, not knowing what to do to free him. Despite all of his efforts he would never have left them . . . but now they have betrayed him, and left him to die.

"Submit, son of El." He has no response for Apoch. No, the darkness within has business with the Justice Legion A before oblivion takes over. No force, no god, will take this unresolved need for vengeance away from him - he won't let it.

Apoch rolls its head laughing maniacally. How delicious it is to see the high and mighty fall in such a way - showing then exactly how imperfect they really are. Maybe it was right all along and evil is the universe only absolute. The universe was born from chaos, and now is the time to die by chaos!

Dynasty turns to his teammates with a sinister glance. Dark rings form under his peircing blue eyes. The evil inside festers and bubbles, preparing to take over his heart, soul and mind. He reaches over his shoulder, tearing away the top half of his sleek red and blue costume, cape and all. The reign of the Superman is now at an end.

"Truly your are the carrier of a dynasty, son of El," says Apoch proudly. It raises its monstrous hand and sparkling weaving beams of light swirl around its new follower, changing the remains of his costume black with trims of gold, as well as marking the symbol of the Anti-Sun upon his bold chest. "Now, Dynasty, the legacy you carry is mine!"

"Justice shall be done, master," he says with a deathly stare at the Justice Legion A. He uses his control of magnetism of manipulate Aquaman's anchor, then turning it into a noose against the cliff wall. A psionic blast of his super-ESP and the Atom is disabled, and a laser blast into Owlwoman's goggles blinds her. Truly, the mighty have fallen.

"Superman," calls Batman. He runs into the open, distancing himself from Apoch and the betrayer he single handedly faces. "What are you doing?"

"No longer am I a Superman," scowls Dynasty viciously. "I am now a true bringer of justice, ruled by a real truth. The universe is an evil place, filled with evil people who deserve no less than total oblivion!"

"Apoch has filled your head with lies," the Dark Knight continues calmly. "You know deep down that the twisted perception just revealed to you is not the truth . . ."

"I am the most powerful beings in the universe," he hisses back. "I can follow any truth I care to choose! And the one I have chosen spells death for you, my 'friend' . . ."

"No!" Wonder Woman, beaten, bruised and battered throws herself to Dynasty's mercy, pulling down on his mighty arm. Though he just slaps her away, and prepares to execute her by releasing his Anti-Sun energies upon her much like his master was about to. "Don't do this, Superman. You know this isn't the truth . . ."

He looks down on her sorry face, as she bravely swallows her tears and prepares to face death like a true Amazon. Though somehow her words reach through to him . . . perhaps it is due to her former incarnation as the goddess of truth having a profound affect on his new philosophy. All he can remember is that he's faced this dark side long ago, and he locked it away for a reason.

Up above the Super-Sun turns gold once more, and the glory of the past centuries is restored to Sol System. He basks in it, once more feeling right and pure. Then comes the voice of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz, beckoning to listen as hundreds of billions of voices call out in time his name -  "SU-PER-MAN! SU-PER-MAN! SU-PER-MAN!"

The reason he became Superman Dynasty was to uphold truth and justice - not the mad beliefs of a self-professed prophet from the stars. He knows it in his heart, and again he is freed.

"Batman," says Superman with an anxious smile. "Open a Boom Tube to the Super-Sun. We're sending Apoch back to where he came from."

"With pleasure," says the Batman programming his suit to open a vortex into Sol System's heart. It tears upon some 21.735 meters behind Apoch with a deafening roar, with dimensional energies being thrown out as bolts of lightning, hungry to draw something in.

"You see, Apoch," proclaims Superman Dynasty walking toward the beast. The Prophet of the dead Anti-Sun is still, knowing what is about to come. "I am a living being, just like everyone else, and like them I have the power of choice. Yes, we came from dark times where we knew no better, but since then we have grown and learned."

"Their crimes should not go unavenged . . ." it begs in desperation.

"No, they shouldn't," he finishes, stopping in the dirt. "But it is not for us to pay - not while there is still hope. It is up to you to take responsibility for your own crimes - starting now!"

He leaps, propelling his body at amazing speed to life's nemesis, then colliding with its wide chest and pushing it back into the awaiting Boom Tube. The dimensional lightning reaches for them both, pulling them through space and time and to the other end in a mere moment.

Superman Dynasty stops and watches as Apoch rolls helplessly into the awaiting Super-Sun, cursing all the while. Though just to make sure he gives one extra blast of his force-vision to make sure he is eliminated within the mighty heart of Sol System. Once again, he has triumphed over evil - not only in reality, but within himself.

"I'm proud of you, Dynasty," says Superman Prime, resting a golden hand on His shoulder. "You did the right thing in the end."

He laughs, and watches the tyrant burn. "And I feel so much better for it . . ."

DC One Million - "End Times" comes to a close in a special Epilogue chapter, telling of the aftermath of Superman Prime, the Justice Legion A, Dr. Fate and Zauriel.  Click here top check it out!

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