On Earth-51 of the 52 Multiverse, the Justice League succeeded in wiping out all super-crime, creating a near-perfect world. The heroes retired, going into other fields. Ralph Dibny became a writer, Libby Lawrence went on to become President of the United States, Zatanna became a psychiatrist, and so on. Barry Allen was the Flash, and he retired along with the rest of the heroes.
Or rather, that’s what they told themselves. A large part of their success was the fact that Batman turned renegade after the Joker killed the second Robin, Jason Todd. He began systematically hunting down and killing super-villains.
This so-called perfect world was destroyed, becoming a three-way battlefield.
A trio of adventurers from “New Earth” (Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner & Jason Todd) pursued their world’s Ray Palmer, the Atom, to Earth-51. They found him and his wife Jean hosting Barry & Iris, Ralph & Sue. The Monitor who had been working with them revealed his true colors, and killed everyone there trying to get at Ray.
Shortly afterward, Monarch’s army (made up of super-powered beings from many worlds) invaded the universe, starting with Earth, which he intended to use as a beachhead to take over the multiverse. The battle wiped out Earth’s conventional military. Even the combined efforts of the world’s heroes and the Monitors were unable to stop the onslaught.
Finally, the genocidally insane Superman-Prime arrived, searching the multiverse for the perfect Earth. The Monitor of Earth-8, Solomon, convinced him this was it...and pointed him toward Monarch. The two immensely powerful beings fought, Superboy eventually breaching Monarch’s armor. The combined quantum energy of 52 versions of Captain Atom flooded the universe, wiping out everything. Only Earth-51’s Monitor, Nix Uotan, survived (Countdown to Final Crisis #19–13, 2008).
The domain containing Earth-51 was reconstituted, duplicating the main universe*—although those who were traveling the multiverse at the time were missing from its history.
The multiversal travelers had by now met up with others, including two time-lost members of the Legion of Super-Heroes: Una (one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies), and Karate Kid, who was in the final stages of a disease called Morticoccus. Before they could return to their own Earth, Solomon transported them all to the new Earth-51.
The virus, adapted to 1,000 years of future medicine, was uncontrollable. It spread rapidly, mixing and matching genetic material from each host it infected. Humans took on animal characteristics, animals took on human characteristics, and all became savage and violent. It devastated the world in a matter of days. In desperation, Green Lantern sought help in outer space, spreading the virus across the galaxy. Amid the chaos, surviving politicians launched nuclear weapons at each other, wiping out what little remained of civilization** (Countdown to Final Crisis #8–5, 2008).
According to Solomon, this disaster would have occurred on New Earth, the focal point of the multiverse, if he hadn’t diverted the travelers to Earth-51. His motivation for doing so is unclear, except that it appears to have been part of a cold war with Darkseid (Countdown to Final Crisis #4, 2008).Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Christmas on Earth-51: Countdown to Final Crisis #18 (December 26, 2007) - Scott Kolins
* The idea behind the 52 Multiverse is that the main universe spontaneously created 51 copies of itself. Those copies were subsequently attacked by the adult “hyperfly” form of Mr. Mind, a creature who feeds on time. The attack altered the past of each universe, transforming 52 identical universes into 52 different ones. So it makes sense that if a universe were to be reset, it would become an exact copy of the original universe.
** Countdown to Final Crisis makes it clear that this is the Great Disaster in the background of the post-apocalyptic Kamandi stories, where Earth is ruled by cruel tribes of anthropomorphic animals, and humans are little better off than they are in Planet of the Apes.