"World Without Heroes": As Earth celebrates its victory over the defeated Alien Alliance, the Dominators fire off a parting shot. One of their scientists gone rogue detonates a device called the Gene Bomb. This causes all of the metahumans to go crazy, attacking their
- This is war, and I say -- take no prisoners.
- -- Guy Gardner
Appearing in "World Without Heroes"
Synopsis for "World Without Heroes"
As Earth celebrates its victory over the defeated Alien Alliance, the Dominators fire off a parting shot. One of their scientists gone rogue detonates a device called the Gene Bomb. This causes all of the metahumans to go crazy, attacking their nervous systems and making their powers completely uncontrollable. This very quickly leads to a world-wide panic, as the havoc wreaked by the superheroes threatens to destroy the planet they fought so hard to save.
Captain Atom and Major Force begin unleashing nuclear energy in Manhattan, bordering on a complete meltdown. The Power Elite begin writhing in pain. Firestorm loses control of the primal energies he contains, and the Rocket Red Brigade can barely handle him and Soyuz. The Doom Patrol's funeral for Celsius is interrupted by their own exploding powers. All across the world, heroes like the Flash, Elongated Man, Fire, Ice, and Black Lightning go berserk. Maxwell Lord is forced to accept the help of Lex Luthor in putting together a massive impromptu mediplex for all of the self-destructing metahumans.
Doctor Megala and General Eiling discuss how best to deal with this new crisis. Although the President has ordered that the military be brought in to put the heroes down, the General feels that this is wrong. Ignoring a direct order, he contacts Justice League International and allows them six hours to coordinate and bring their own problems under control before he'll be forced to intervene. Non-affected capes across the world gather at the embassies to more effectively deal with the threat.
It's hero against hero as the Leaguers fight to contain their comrades. Green Lanterns neutralize Captain Atom. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold neutralize Animal Man. Kilowog leads a task force against the New Guardians. Belle Reve, the supervillain prison, is completely overrun by its own inmates, and the Suicide Squad has to put down a riot from within. Manhunter has to take down the Flash singlehandedly. The Spectre fights Doctor Fate. Batman is called in to deal with Major Force. Martian Manhunter handles the Doom Patrol. Across the country, as stress levels run higher and the action heats up the media has difficulty providing coverage of the event. Criminals and supervillains take advantage of the power vacuum to rob and loot as much as they are able to, creating a nation-wide riot. Interestingly, Metamorpho, deceased at the time, was resurrected by the gene bomb.
Having recently escaped from Starlag, the Omega Men and the Blasters are rocketing back towards Earth. Tigorr wants a piece of the action. He bickers with Snapper Carr, who seems to have become the leader of his group.
At the Mediplex, all patients are gathered and treated with medical care, heroes and villains alike. Amanda Waller, Heinrich Megala, Maxwell Lord and Wade Eiling are completely running the operation. The number of victims is absurdly large, and increasing by the minute. If they can't find a cure for the metahuman virus, it could mean death for all of the infected. Scott Fischer succumbs to complications from his cancer. Top scientists are working around the clock to find a solution, but there is no end in sight. Their only hope is to find the creator of the virus and take the antidote from him.
Earth Command launches a mission to the Dominion World composed of Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Robotman, Rocket Red, Starman and Superman. They are to perform a covert operation, ascertain the whereabouts of the alien scientists responsible for the bombings, and come home with an answer. Along the way, they pick up help from the Blasters and the Omega Men.
It's a daring counter-invasion into enemy territory. The ship remains cloaked, but they are in danger of being caught by the Dominators at any time. Martian Manhunter and Robotman are teleported down in disguise by Snapper Carr. On the planet, they discover that the scientist responsible for the Gene Bomb is considered a renegade, and is being imprisoned for disobeying the higher caste. They believe he has destroyed the metas forever, making them useless to further exploitation and experimentation. Sneaking into the holding cell where the scientist is being tortured, Martian Manhunter simply steals the secrets of the antidote from his mind. He is able to bypass security by shapeshifting into a higher caste member and anticipating responses using telepathy. They are not so lucky in escaping. As soon as the ship begins to leave, they are spotted, and retaliatory spacecrafts are sent out to destroy them. These are thwarted by the heroes onboard.
There's only one way to put the ingredients together, unfortunately. A Dominator laboratory is needed, and the only available one is on Starlag, right where everybody recently broke out of. It is still heavily guarded by the Citadel warriors, and the team must fight their way through swarms of them to get through. J'onn and Doc operate the machinery. Now that the heavy hitters are in charge, crowds of Citadellians go down in the battle. They finish, racing against the clock, and leave as they see Khunds approaching in warships. As the heroes blast away, the Khunds obliterate the Starlag with their weaponry.
Back on Earth, General Eiling and Doctor Megala lament their current situation. After all the heroes did to save humanity, humanity couldn't save them. There are mere hours left, and this is surely the death of hundreds of the world's greatest champions, shot down from glory in their finest hour. Knowing that he will have to give the press release telling everyone the government failed, Eiling is getting himself drunk. In space, the returning heroes arrive just in time. In the same manner the virus was distributed, they spread the antidote through the atmosphere. Superman ignites it like a bomb and lets it rain down over the planet. As Eiling is grimly delivering the news to the media, word of the cure reaches him, and he smiles before dismissing everyone hurriedly.
The next day, Perry White is proud to publish a new edition of the Daily Planet, with a headline that everyone can rejoice to. It is a new morning, and humanity's protectors are there to safeguard them into tomorrow. The papers read Rebirth! Earth's Heroes Cured!
- This issue takes place immediately after the Invasion! Aftermath crossovers, most of which ended with the detonation of the Gene Bomb. It is the conclusion of the whole series.
- This issue is reprinted in the Invasion! trade paperback.
- Metamorpho is resurrected in this issue. He perished back in Outsiders #27 during the Millennium event.
- It is established that Outlaw was another of the villains brought into the mediplex after the Gene Bomb attack in Manhunter #16.
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