"Time And Time Again" - - *Thousands of years ago on Earth-1, in cavemen times, Anthro leaps atop the neck of a great woolly mammoth, the leader of a rampaging herd, charging toward the village Bear People, and Anthro's family, including his father Ne-Ahn, his pregnant wife Embra, and his little brother Lart. Anthro turns the herd away in time by jabbing his spear into the mammoth's neck, but he is knocked off the beast by a tree branch. When he gets to his feet, he finds that the herd has vanished, and on the horizon is a strange futuristic city.
In the 30th century, just as Phantom Girl, Lightning Lass, Chameleon Boy, and Colossal Boy begin to deal with the problem of controlling a herd of wild woolly mammoths, the beasts inexplicably vanish. The befuddled Legionnaires report these proceedings to Brainiac 5, who in turn reports that his computers have detected a mass of anti-matter moving toward Earth, enough to destroy the entire universe.
In July of 1985, the Joker stands over the corpse of millionaire Harold J. Standish III, whom he has murdered to gain ownership of the copyrights to many silent films the tycoon owned. The Batman smashes through a window to confront his nemesis. He had successfully deduced who the Joker's target was to be, although too late to save him. Batman knocks the Clown Prince of Crime down, but the Joker splatters Batman with a spray of thick super-glue from a flower-pump on his lapel, and then stands over the gummed-up Masked Manhunter with a .45. Suddenly, both are distracted by an apparition, as the Flash, materializing before their eyes, ravaged by fiery energy, begs for help. The Joker, shaken, fires at the ghostly Flash. Batman, having had time to melt off the glue with solvent from his utility belt, stands before the Joker, but his attention is drawn to the Flash, who seems to be literally dissolving before his eyes. The Flash-image babbles about his wife, Iris, and then, while Batman watches, Flash's body dissolves to bone within his costume, and then both skeleton and costume vanish. Oblivious to the Joker, who has made his getaway, Batman wonders what can be happening.
In his satellite, the Monitor is addressing the super-beings assembled by Harbinger. He explains that over one thousand universes have already perished, and that now their homeworlds stand threatened by the tide of anti-matter. Firestorm angrily protests that they have heard of him before, when he was selling weaponry to super-villains over the past couple of years. Wearily, the Monitor promises to explain everything to them. Psimon, still angry that the Monitor wouldn't sell him weapons before, attacks with a mental bolt, but the Monitor easily shields himself and explains that Psimon's scheme would have endangered some of the very beings he required. Lyla confers with him in whispers, and wonders why she now feels hate for her mentor. Meanwhile, Superman of Earth-2 convinces his fellows to hear the Monitor out.
The Monitor explains that he is linked with all positive matter and thus derives his power. As each positive matter universe perishes, it saps some of his strength. If the super-beings before him fall, he cannot prevent his adversary from destroying all that exists. The others are divided in their response. He demonstrates that they have all been picked because of certain powers and abilities he needed from each of them, and afterwards others may be summoned as required. At stake now, he says, is more than good or evil; all life will depend upon their response and actions. So saying, the Monitor almost collapses in weariness. Dr. Polaris is in favor of rushing him, but Arion insists that he be heard out, if Atlantis is truly in endangered.
The Psycho-Pirate confesses his faith in the Monitor, and Harbinger, reappearing, demands that they all pledge to aid her mentor. He has, she says, placed five devices in crucial eras to stem the flow of anti-matter. Each era is populated by heroes like themselves, creating a focal point, and these devices must be protected to save them from being destroyed by their enemy. Arion senses corruption within Harbinger, but says nothing. When she asks for their answer, Superman of Earth-2 answers for them all; they will help, and they will soon know if they had been told the truth.
With that, Harbinger divides the heroes into five groups, and teleports them to their respective destinations. Then, while the Monitor rests, she contacts his adversary, referred to only as "the Other."
On the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe have detected the onrush of anti-matter and, standing before the great Primal Power Battery, prepare to alert the entire Green Lantern Corps; but before they can, an eerie voice calls from the depths of the Battery, and a green bolt of force blasts out at them, knocking all unconscious.
On Earth-1, Superman meets Batman on the roof of the Daily Planet. After Batman tells him of the strange image of the Flash, the two startled heroes are confronted by Pariah. The newcomer explains that their legends had reached his world before his exile, and now he needs their help. He reveals that the Earth-1 universe is dying, as other Earths before it have died, but before he can say more, he is drawn away, and vanishes before their eyes.
At the time of the Great Disaster, one of the Monitor's devices - actually a huge super-complex "tuning fork," many stories high - has materialized in New York within sight of the Statue of Liberty. Kamandi is scaling its height to investigate. Suddenly, the youth notices a shadow demon emerge from the machine, which severs his line and sends him plummetting. His fall is halted by Superman of Earth-2, who is accompanied by Dawnstar and Solovar. The foursome is assaulted by the shadow demons, whose touch burns human flesh. The heroes succeed in repulsing the demons for the moment, but they agree that the shadow-shapes are only the prelude to a greater menace. Harbinger, watching from nearby, says that their efforts are in vain.
Back in 1985, in the Monitor's satellite, another Harbinger-self approaches the bubble containing Alex Luthor, who she has brought back from the Justice League satellite, to take him to the Monitor. She halts, astonished, when she sees him, for Alex, in the time of less than one day, has grown to the size of a 6-year old!
In Atlantis of Earth-1, 43,000 BC., Arion, Psycho-Pirate, and Obsidian stand on a hillside overlooking the Monitor's giant machine, which has materialized inside the city gates. Arion warns Psycho-Pirate against manipulating the emotions of any of his subjects, and the Pirate agrees...for now. Arion and Obsidian are greeted by Lady Chian and other Atlanteans, but soon discover that the Psycho-Pirate is no longer with them. The Master of Moods is sitting alone outside the city, when he suddenly senses terror, and turns to behold Pariah.
The Pirate bedevils Pariah with a fit of laughing, and Pariah begs him to stop. The Pirate is smashed off his feet by a bolt from Arion. The villain snarls that he has become stronger absoring Pariah's emotions, and proceeds to terrorize the Atlanteans. Abruptly, the Pirate is caught in a tube of yellow light from above, and vanishes.
The Psycho-Pirate materializes in a chamber of utter darkness. An icy voice tells him his services are needed. The Pirate refuses, daring his host to face him. The mysterious speaker transforms the Pirate's face into a featureless mask, trapping his emotion-power within him. If the Psycho-Pirate doesn't swear allegiance to his host, he will die. His features restored, so he swears.
Back at the satellite, the Monitor tells Harbinger that he regrets the loss of the Pirate. She answers that the loss wasn't that great, but he replies that the Pirate was more necessary than Arion or Obsidian, as the menace they face is "one of emotion." Since the Teen Titan, Raven, is not detectable on Earth-1 at that moment, he must seek another way, so he orders Harbinger to bring the file of the new Dr. Light. It is time to create her.
Meanwhile in Atlantis, Arion and Obsidian confer with Pariah, who reveals that he is from the first Earth to be destroyed by the anti-matter which now threatens all other universes, but that long before that, he was cursed for a misdeed that has caused him to witness the deaths of a thousand universes. His presence here is evidence that tragedy is soon to strike. Sure enough, they behold a wave of utter whiteness approaching from above, and Arion shouts that the Monitor must have lied to them.
In the satellite, the Monitor himself notes that the anti-matter destruction has begun anew, that he has not yet completed the creation of the new Dr. Light, and that soon, he will be killed.
In the utter darkness of the lair of the Monitor's adversary, another Harbinger-self reveals the plans of the Monitor to his enemy. The villain says that his opponent is doomed to failure, for his strength is stolen as his enemy's increases, and his champions are pitted against each other. He dispatches her to her next task, declaring that all the Monitor's universes shall soon be destroyed, and his own will rule supreme. Harbinger finds that she is torn by two impulses - the compulsion to obey the adversary, and her love for the Monitor. *Source: The Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Index #1 - Published by ICG.