Ultimate Crisis

Day of Judgement
by Bob Young and Chip Caroon

Captain America
Iron Man
Giant Man
Captain Britain
Captain Marvel
Martian Manhunter
Wonder Woman
The Spectre
Silver Surfer
Black Adam
Dr. Doom

The massive ship descended to Earth above Great Britain. The JLA, who had been monitoring and waiting, rushed to the area, prepared for the fight of their lives . . . which it would be!

The huge, rectangular alien ship was five miles long, two miles wide, and a mile high. It cruised along, as if it were seeking a suitable place for the hideous occasion. Its momentum finally stopped and it hovered over the city of London. More specifically, it was centered above Big Ben. A shadow covered part of the city.

Captain America and his JLA partners gathered around Big Ben and looked up at the massive machine. They didn't know what to expect next. Would a bolt of energy come down and eliminate all life on Earth? Or some sort of bomb? Would this 'Galactus' actually start chewing bits off the planet? How big was he?

"What's our next move, Cap?" Iron Man asked.

Cap was stuck for an answer. He needed to utilize the knowledge of his teammates. "Thor, do you know anything about how this 'Galactus' operates?"

"Nothing more than what I have told thee in days past, my friend," the thunder god said. "We on Asgard have heard of his named in hushed whispers. The Royal Astronomer has seen the remains of worlds that the space god has devoured. Those worlds are now naught but emaciated husks now. The villain is power beyond ken, of that, I am most sure."

"Maybe," Henry Pym began, "we could--"

They all stopped speaking when a massive hatch opened beneath the monstrous alien ship. From out of this hatch descended the levitation figure of a giant.

Or at least, that was what the Earth people saw . . . a humanoid giant. Actually, Galactus was an indescribable force of nature, powerful and immortal. His true form was beyond the comprehension of most beings. So every race saw him a bit differently, their confused brains struggling to make sense of the impossible creature before them.

As for what the people of Earth saw . . . He was about eighty feet tall, clad in a complicated suit of body armor. His face was mostly hid by a helmet, with served partly as ceremonial headpiece, marking him has king of all that he surveyed in the universe. He reeked of immense power. He was the most intimidating sight anyone present had ever seen.

He was Galactus, the space god. Devourer of worlds!

Galactus descended to the top of Big Ben. He looked around at the city, as if he were seeing the whole word. He was not impressed, nor even particularly interested. There was no expression on his face. These puny creatures held no meaning for him. They existed simply as food. He would devour them and move on to the next world.

He spoke with a voice that was louder than thunder. "I am Galactus. And I hunger!"

Harbinger had managed to trace the Silver Surfer to the small Balkan kingdom of Latveria. The heralds of Galactus could normally detect each other's energy signature quite easily. Harbinger didn't know why she was having so much trouble, but now that she had come closer, her sense of him was getting stronger.

When she reached Latveria, she was shocked to discover a cosmic energy shield surrounding the country. Could the Surfer have done this? And why? Surely he wasn't afraid of these humans. There were too many questions for Harbinger's liking. She needed answers.

With a surge of her own formidable power, Harbinger managed to force a whole in the cosmic shield. She entered and was drawn, more by instinct than by her special senses, to Castle Doom.

She landed on the battlements, surrounded by guards.

"Do not move, woman!" the chief guard said.

"Where is my friend, the silver traveler," she asked. "Where is the Silver Surfer?"

"You will surrender, or you will be--"

Harbinger couldn't be bothered with this. With a gesture, she easily dispatched the guards. She continued into the castle. More guards came and met with equally simple defeat.

Dr. Doom's lumbering mechanical sentries - known as the Doombots - made an attempt to stop her. They were a tougher impediment to Harbinger's search than the human guards were, and Harbinger used her ability to split herself into multiple versions of herself to battle their superior number. While most of the Harbingers fought the Doombots, one Harbinger continued to seek out the Silver Surfer.

She found him in the dungeons, sitting on the ground, sulking with rage. "So, Norrin Radd," she said. "Of all places to find the great Silver Surfer."

The Surfer looked up. When he saw Harbinger, he was surprised, pleased and embarrassed. Still, if any of the other heralds had to find him like this, he was glad it was her. "Harbinger! My sould is lifted by the sight of you."

"I dare say so," she replied. "But I sense no power from you? What has happened?"

"I will explain," he said. "I'll tell you of the vile genius who is master of this tiny realm. But first, I pray you, help me! My power will return. I am drawing cosmic energy even as we speak. But you can facilitate my renewal."

Harbinger put her hands through the bars. "I gladly offer you rebirth in the cosmic brotherhood!"

The Surfer took her hand. There was a flash of blinding light and the Surfer shuttered. And then he felt a familiar stirring. Power was firing up within him. "I am born again!"

The Surfer pointed at the door and incinerated it. Harbinger applauded. "Bravo, my dear friend."

The Surfer raised his hand. A moment later, his space-traveling surfboard came crashing through the wall and landed by his feet. He stepped aboard. "And now, the sky is mine again. It is time to act!"

"Be patient, Norrin," Harbinger said. "Your full powers have not yet returned. It will be a few hours before you are back to your former level of cosmic power is restored."

The Surfer frowned. "I will wait. I suppose I may be vulnerable to the super-beings of this world now. I shall be patient. But soon…Soon I will have revenge!"

"Against the man who imprisoned you?"

"Against this whole planet of malicious cretins!" the Surfer yelled. "I've been attacked, ambushed, had my powers stolen and locked up in merely a few short hours! These pathetic humans deserve my wrath!"

Harbinger hated to hear this. She was - once upon a time - human herself. She was born on this planet. She was reluctant to see it destroyed. She was hoping to get the Surfer as an ally to dissuade Galactus. But his anger was clouding the issue.

"Be understanding, Norrin," she said. "We have come to destroy their world. We made no secret of our intentions. Did you expect flowers and welcoming ceremonies?"

"Maybe not, Lyla," the Surfer said. "But this 'Dr. Doom' is not motivated by the preservation of his planet. He is evil, and I fear that he is far from alone on this obscure rock!"

Harbinger thought about how she could calm the Surfer. "Come, my friend. Let us take to the air. Travel always made you relax."

The Surfer agreed and the cosmic duo left. Harbinger hoped there was a way to save the Earth.

Black Bolt arrived in India, at the Buddhist temple, guided by Dubbilex's psychic ability. He heard the conflict and took a closer look. He saw Excalibur fighting Terrax.

Terrax was enjoying himself, holding Colossus and Rahne at bay with his ax. He also used his soil and rock controlling powers to bury Captain Britain. Some of the others tried to dig him out. Nightcrawler attempted to distract the herald with his transporting abilities.

Black Bolt was a wise king and he knew better than to jump in without knowing the score. He landed near the fight, and used a crackling burst of energy from his antenna to get everyone's attention. No one knew who he was and so there was a pause.

The pause didn't last long. Terrax launched some rocks at the Inhuman and charged him with the battle ax. Black Bolt now knew who his enemy was. He blasted the alien with an energy burst. Terrax was not stopped. Colossus attacked him from behind, tackling him to the ground. They wrestled. Black Bolt joined him. They hoped to pin the herald down but Terrax forced himself free of their grasp.

Terrax felt he needed some room to fight. He was used to the freedom of space. It would be better in the air. The rocks obeyed his command. A boulder floated to the sky with Terrax atop it.

"I will not be stopped!" Terrax cried. "The master will feed!"

Black Bolt gestured to the others to wait where they were. He flew up into the air and closed in on Terrax.

"Do your worst, Earth creature," Terrax said. "I laugh at your pathetic efforts to -- "

And then Black Bolt spoke. He opened his mouth and sound came out. A tremendous, ear-shattering, sonic explosion engulfed Terrax. The herald had become too used to the silent void of space. The attack was devastating.

Terrax screamed.

The 'Big Island' of Hawaii:

Captain Marvel squared off with Black Adam. They both knew that there was something hauntingly familiar about their opponent. They both gave off a similar mystic aura. They both had identical powers. And they both had the same Thunderbolt symbol on their chest.

"Your blow was well struck, Captain Marvel!" Black Adam said. "Now, you'll see how well I can reciprocate!"

"And you'll see how well I can take it!"

Captain Marvel and Black Adam crashed into each other, causing a shockwave that rocked the area. They both backed off, shaking off the effects of the collision. Captain Marvel paused cautiously, but the angry Black Adam attacked again immediately. Captain Marvel blocked his powerful punch, and retaliated with one of his own, which was also blocked. They exchanged mighty blows, neither gaining an advantage. After a few minutes, they both backed off. They had taken the measure of the other and found him a challenge. They were very evenly matched.

"It appears that we have identical strength," Black Adam said.

"A strange coincidence," Captain Marvel said. "An alien having the same powers as a defender of the Earth."

"Perhaps not so strange," Black Adam said. "For I was born on this forsaken mudball as well."

Captain Marvel was surprised. And yet, somehow, part of him expected it. Maybe the wisdom of Solomon had been whispering to him. "Were you?"

"I was indeed," Black Adam said. "Pray tell, is the source of your impressive power…A Wizard? One who offered you the power of the gods?"

Captain Marvel was taken aback, but also knew it was coming.

Black Adam could tell by his Marvel's expression that he'd scored a point. "I thought as much. We have the same creator!"


Galactus' words had chilled the hearts of everyone who heard. Something in his voice was terrifying. The assembled heroes hesitated.

"Should we try a frontal attack?" Cap asked Thor, feeling the Asgardian Prince was the closest thing they had to an expert.

"I fear it may come to that," Thor said. "It seems that mercy is unknown to Galactus. Nor does he seem inclined to speak to us."

Cap looked at the Martian Manhunter. "J'Onn?"

The Manhunter tried to use his telepathy to pry into the thoughts of the space giant. But a psychic backlash knocked him off his feet. He cried out, in a moment of pain.

"J'Onn! Are you all right?" Cap asked, as the Martian's teammates rushed to his side. "What happened?"

"I . . . I am well, Captain," the Manhunter said. "But the power of his mind . . . So overwhelming! So ancient! He is like a universal force! I've never felt anything like it."

Galactus looked up at his ship, as if he were expecting something. Or, perhaps, silently summoning something. It made some of the watching heroes feel more uneasy than ever.

Wonder Woman looked up at Galactus. "Someone must make an attempt to communicate with him. It may be fruitless, but we must try. It could avoid a battle that will devastate London. As an ambassador of peace, I volunteer to make contact."

Cap nodded. "Good. Thor, Icon, you two back her up, but let Diana make the contact."

The trio of powerful heroes headed to the top of Big Ben. If Galactus noticed them coming, if made no sign of it. Apparently, they were no threat to him.

Galactus raised a hand, and the hatch of his ship started to open again. The observation was over. He was ready to move on with the next step of his intended agenda…To devour all life on the planet Earth!

The Silver Surfer and Harbinger floated above the Earth, riding atop the Surfer's Board. At Harbinger's urging, she asked the Silver Surfer to take them down. He did so, and they came to a stop in a small Midwestern town.

Harbinger looked around, with a melancholy smile. "This is where I was born. Until I was four years old, I lived here. My parents loved this place. I have . . . fond memories of it."

The Surfer looked around. "Very . . . quaint."

"The last time I saw my parents was in the 1920's, when they took me on that cruise," Harbinger said. "The ship was damaged in a storm, when it hit a reef. It sank. I was floating on a piece of driftwood when the UFO came. Those aliens, the slave traders. They took me and raised me to be a serving wench on Theta Sigma. When Galactus came, they offered me as a sacrifice to him. He took me and devoured the planet anyway. I've spent the years since in space, serving the Master. I have not seen my home since. I didn't realize how much I missed it."

The Surfer looked sad. "I, too miss my home. I miss Zenn-La."

"You sacrificed yourself to save your home," Harbinger said. "You offered yourself as a herald to Galactus if he spared Zenn-La. You were desperate to save you planet. You didn't want your race to die. So, perhaps, you can understand how I feel. I don't want Earth to die!"

"You have my sympathy, Lyla" the Surfer said. "But the Master must feed. I do not believe that he will be moved to mercy by your pleas."

"But isn't there any hope?" Harbinger said.

Suddenly, an eerie voice surprised them with its closeness, "There is always hope, Lyla. It is the one thing in the universe that knows no limits."

The two heralds turned, alarmed. The Silver Surfer was prepared for an attack - having been jaded by his experience with Dr. Doom - and hoped his power had returned enough to fend off any enemies. And as for Harbinger, she wondered who knew her real name was Lyla.

A ghostly white figure floated before them. He wore a cloak and stared with otherworldly intensity. He oozed with eldritch power.

The Surfer recognized this being, "I . . . I know you, do I not?"

The ghost shook his head. "Perhaps you knew my predecessor."

"Who are you?" Harbinger asked.

"I am the Spectre! I am here because I am needed. The Earth must be saved!"

To be continued!