DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Villain War, Prologue: Prime Directive

by Martin Maenza, partially adapted and expanded from Crisis on Infinite Earths #3 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez

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The antimatter waves swept across the infinite universes, destroying each one by one. Already fallen were Earth-Three — the home of the Crime Syndicate — and countless other parallel universes with planets called Earth. The Monitor had gathered an initial group of allies from the myriad of heroes and villains he had observed over the previous years, and together they were able to hold back the threat on the universes that housed Earth-One and Earth-Two — the latter world under attack at the same time — even as Earth-Six fell.

But upon the death of the Monitor’s body, he was able to leave one final gift. The Monitor’s released energies created a netherverse, one which temporarily absorbed the universes containing Earths One and Two.

That day, the heroes and villains of Earths One and Two were called together to the Monitor’s satellite. His assistant Lyla (now going by the name of Harbinger), along with Pariah (who had witnessed countless universes already destroyed) and Alexander Luthor, Jr. (the sole survivor of Earth-Three), addressed this large group. The trio pleaded to the assembled beings, insisting that old enemies would have to put aside their differences and work together. Only then could their worlds have a chance of surviving.

The heroes and villains were given time to mull over their decision, but the trio was hardly able to wait for the answer, which came the next day. The antimatter clouds were moving once more, this time with the final three universes in their path. A small band of heroes were sent to Earth-X, Earth-S, and Earth-Four to warn the inhabitants of the coming doom and to enlist the aid of the champions of those worlds. The goal, ultimately, was to pull these three worlds into the netherverse with Earth-One and Earth-Two in hopes of saving them all.

But while all this was occurring, another individual had made plans of his own.

The living computer known as Brainiac had witnessed the destruction caused by the antimatter firsthand. It swept through the universe much swifter than his incredible brain had calculated. And as it moved, it destroyed everything it touched.

“I cannot remain here or this entity will be eliminated,” Brainiac concluded. “To save myself is my prime directive.” This was the closest that the living computer ever came to feeling a true emotion, as he feared for his very existence. “But to do that, I must also save the universe. I need assistance — on Earth. Only the one who calls himself Luthor can help me now.”

The giant silver spaceship, shaped in the exact visage of its owner’s skull, charted a new course for Earth-One. Brainiac sought the assistance of the one human whose intellect he acknowledged worthy. He required the help of Lex Luthor, and the two soon made plans of their own.

All of this happened within half a month.

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