Starts just a few years in the future, with Superman failing to save Lois from the Joker at the Daily Planet. Superman is frog-marching him into the Metro PD building, when Joker is shot by Magog, essentially a Cable parody, wrapped in some trappings of ancient Egypt/Sumeria. Cut to the future, Clark tending to his farm. Wonder Woman and Batman visit him, trying to get him to rejoin the modern world, that a world without a superman is a lonely place (in the timeline of the story, this is shortly after he first disappears- it’s also a very trailer friendly sequence). This is the superhero movie Zach Snyder always wanted to make, full of epic grandiosity, pretentiousness and a conservative mindset, and would serve as a fitting denouement to his DC Universe, so I’d say let him make it; just give Mark Waid final cut, a cattle prod, and keys to the Snyder residence, to keep some of his worst excesses in check.
A further note: you can get more bang out of your buck with this concept by hiring old Hollywood legends, folks usually thought of as past their prime. Imagine doing what Tarrantino’s been able to do for a handful of older stars for a whole Justice League.
We tweak the story to cut out the preacher man, and instead keep an aged Wesley Dodds around as our viewpoint character. The reason is this: we’re going to have our cake in this movie, and in subsequent JSA movies, older Dodds is going to get a message to his younger self to try and get him to eat this cake before so many people have to die unnecessarily. And here you thought I was pitching a JSA movie just to exploit Power Girl’s cleavage window. We see one of Dodd’s visions, mostly impressionistic but terrifying, before zooming out to see Dodds talks to Norman, who I won’t cut out entirely, who views the superhuman conflict- and the nuclear detonation in Kansas- through a very human lens. But he’s got a sermon to get to, and doesn’t know how he can find the hope he’s supposed to give to his congregation. Norman leaves, and Wesley is confronted by the Spectre. He tells Dodds that the dreams he’s having, of superhuman annihilation, are visions, that there is a coming calamity- that they must bear witness.
Dodds is curmudgeonly about it- his heroic side refusing to accept that there’s nothing to be done to change things. He and the Spectre talk, about the new breed of metahumans, who lack the discipline, care and empathy that made their forebears heroes- they are a collective menace, and their danger grows daily, to the degree that it will boil over in time, burning the world.
Wonder Woman returns to Superman’s ‘farm,’ and we discover it’s a hologram in his Fortress of Solitude. She tells him that Kansas is gone- and he flies through the wall. His parent’s farm is gone, the home flattened by the compression wave, the untended fields scorched by the fire that followed. He picks up a headstone, knocked over by the blast, and repositions it in the earth, and we see that it’s his mother’s headstone. His eyes are full of emotion as Diana lands behind him. “How many?” he asks without turning to face her.
“Early estimates are 2 million dead. There’s another million suffering from severe burns radiation sickness… best guess is half of those die soon, the rest have a greatly increased chance of cancers.”
“Lana?” he asks, this time turning to her.
“Her family were away at the time, staying in Metropolis.”
“How did it happen?”
She shares footage of the fight, as recorded by a news crew. We watch a pitiful, shrunken parasite pleading for mercy. Magog’s team grants none. In his flailing, Parasite manages to tear Captain Atom’s containment suit, then sucks the nuclear energy out of him, growing immensely, unstably. He screams that he can’t contain it, and an explosion tears through the gathered heroes before hitting the camera.
“Magog,” Clark whispers, angrily. We cut back to the Joker’s still smoking corpse. Superman takes Magog’s weapon from him, and marches him into the MPD building instead. Cut to a courtroom, where a judge is summing up. “I concur with the Jury’s verdict, but feel I must go a step further. In light of the Joker’s crimes, the thousands of deaths and the tens of thousands of lives mutilated in his wake, you did not just protect innocents, but you did what our system of justice is designed to be incapable of. We may never be able to fully thank you for what you’ve done today, but I hope your acquittal is a start.” Magog, a free man, stands and smiles.
Cut to the blackness of space, as we watch the Earth spin placidly beneath us. We see a red streak across it, again, and again. Suddenly, there’s a second, criss-crossing in the opposite direction, on a collusion course. We cut in, to see Superman flying, rage and anguish playing across his face. He’s struck by Wonder Woman, the force of her blow knocking him into a mountain. He emerges an instant later. “Clark,” she says.
“No,” he answers. “Everything that Clark was is gone. The world he lived in is dead. I’m not him anymore.”
“Wait,” she puts up her hand, but he’s gone.
Cut back to the present, the pair of them standing in the ruins of his family’s farm. “Cla-” she stops herself, “Kal.”
“I could have stopped this,” he says. Her eyes are full of empathy; inasmuch as you can get across the words “this wasn’t your fault” with a look, she does. “I should have tried.”
“That doesn’t matter. It’s too late to stop what happened here. But there are more fights like this one coming. The world has been too long without a Superman.” His eyes flash, filled with anger, or purpose, we don’t quite know.
We cut to the Statue of Liberty, where a group of fascist ‘heroes’ have decided that there isn’t enough space in America for immigrants, and are attacking boatloads of them. Superman’s new league, including most of our key players, like Diana, Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, Power Woman, descend and save the day.
“They look familiar,” Dodds says, scratching his head. Spectre tells him he knows some of them, but they have all changed profoundly since he was last active, and we do the montage of character introductions from the book, that Green Lantern has a floating emerald satellite where he monitors for extraterrestrial threats, that Flash isn’t so much a person as an unseen force righting even minor wrongs in his city. Dodds asks about Batman, and we find out Bruce has a swarm of robotic Bat sentries that keep Gotham safe. Superman flies over the ruins of Wayne Manor, and finds the Batcave beneath. Superman asks what happened, and he says that when he was outed as Batman, Two Face and Bane destroyed the mansion. Batman wears an exoskeleton over his suits that lets him move about despite years of injuries. Bruce is stand-offish, though I’m not thrilled with how that works in the book. See, I think Batman needs a better reason for it- that he’s seen the statistics, that metahuman accidents are on the rise, even though they’ve ostensibly eliminated all of the villains. That they’re on this path, where eventually either humanity or metahumanity is going to go extinct- likely the one at the hands of the other.
“I don’t believe that,” Superman says.
“Doesn’t change the math one bit. Right now you’re asking me to side with the few at the cost to the many, Clark.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Isn’t that what Martha named you?”
“Don’t say her name.”
“Isn’t that who Lois married?”
“Don’t say her name!” he booms.
“Or what, Clark? Either you’re Jonathan Kent’s boy, or your Magog’s father.”
“I had nothing to do with-”
“I’m not interested in your denial. You had as much of a hand in creating him, as the Kents had in creating you. I notice you haven’t tracked him down, yet. Would it help if I told you where he is?” He turns, and Superman is gone.
Superman arrives in front of the UN, where Wonder Woman is standing at the podium. She smiles graciously, before stepping down. “You’re late,” she says. “And Bruce?”
“Playing his own games.” Superman gives a speech, about how the superhumans were wrong to step away, to leave the newer generation unheeled, that it’s their job to correct them- that these are but the first.
Cut to Superman’s Fortress. They set up their captured fascists in cells, but it’s already a problem, with alien animals from his menagerie displaced. Superman is perturbed. “I hadn’t wanted to be anyone’s jailer,” he says.
“This never occurred to you?” Wonder Woman asks, wielding the second largest lantern in this story, after Alan Scott. “We’re fighting a war, Kal. There are going to be prisoners- unless we decide to give no further quarer.”
“Don’t even joke-”
“I wasn’t. Paradise Island didn’t become a paradise because we spared the rod. Our justice is firm, and severe. Very few people infract, and none infract again.”
“No,” he says, and she shrugs.
“That’s what I thought,” she says. “I’ve also thought about some possibilities. I want you to go to Apokalips. I’ll see if we can make a deal with Arthur in Atlantis.”
Cut to Atlantis, an aging Arthur and Mera on the thrones. “The answer’s ‘No,’ Diana.”
“But it wouldn’t even need to be near your subjects.”
“The ocean is already home to far too much of the surface’s refuse.”
“Then at least lend us your strength.”
He chuckles at that. “You have 30% of the planet, and 99% of its metahumans. I rule the other 70%, just myself and Mera beside me. You even have my children fighting in your war, Diana. Atlantis has already given enough.”
Superman Boom Tubes to Apokalips. He floats overhead, his senses drinking in the hellscape of the world. Then he flies into the throne room, where a dark figure sits, mostly in shadow. Menace radiates off of him, and those who know should be permitted a moment to quake at the thought that this is Darkseid. He leans forward, and we see that he is Orion, looking more like his father every day.
Superman starts, “I came to ask-”
“I know what you would ask-”
“What happened to you?”
“We won. Overthrew Darkseid. Freed Apokalips- only to find there was no true way to do either. The people, if you would stretch the term to cover these wretches, refuse freedom- refuse anything but the yolk of Darkseid. Even dead, this world remains his slave. I may look its ruler, but I am just another prisoner here.”
“Then why not leave?”
“Because the only thing crueler than leaving this Hell in place, would be abandoning it. So yes, if you ask me to house your wretched refuse- what, I would ask, are a few more damned souls in Hell? But I would ask, as a friend, if your soul could handle damning them so… and I suspect we both know the answer. But if you are interested in constructing a better, more humane mouse trap, the best possible engineer is nearby.”
Superman arrives at Barda and Mr. Miracle’s place. “I need your help,” he says.
The smile conspiratorially to each other, before saying in unison, “We’re in.”
“Don’t you want to know what I need?”
“In due time. But we know you. We trust you. We’re in.”
We cut to a board room, where an older, bald Luthor sits at the head of the table. Luthor is attended at all times by a body man he calls Bill. “We’ve all worked together before, on various enterprises. We’ve called them various silly things, like an Injustice League, or a Legion of Doom. But I believe, at our core, that we have always operated on the same core value, that humanity was not meant to bow and scrape at the heels of gods, but to be master of his own fate. Allow me to make introductions. To my left is Damian Al Ghul, perhaps better known as Ibn Al Xu’Ffasch, head of the League of Assassins as well as the rest of The Demon’s vast empire. To his left is Lord Naga, head of Kobra. To my right is the King of the Royal Flush Gang- now King of… well, some island nation in the Atlantic. His companion is Vandal Savage, who makes up for his lack of tact with millenia of experience. The return of a certain Kryptonian has accelerated our plans- though not significantly altered them. Metahuman events continue to escalate- even before our… encouragement. Through various channels, we have warned them that they’re playing with explosives. Their response has been to gather them together in a single powder keg. It’s not surprising that self-styled heroes are victims of their own hubris. It might surprise some of you, then, the newest member of our enclave. Some of you know him; other perhaps fear him. Bruce, would you like to introduce yourself?”
Bruce Wayne clears his throat before dramatically stating, “I’m Batman.” We pull back, and can see that Batman has his own entourage of heroes, mostly second-generation leaguers.
We cut back to the superhuman prison. Superman and Wonder Woman are on a platform that lets them look down at the gathered inmates. Its designed to look as little like a prison as possible. She tells him, “Nearly every metahuman is accounted for, either joined our side, or housed below. Nearly.”
“It’s time, Clark- Kal. He began this. You’ve known where he is; you had to. He’s practically living in the shadow of this place. It’s past time you deal with him.”
Clark flies to a hovel, assembled from materials clearly scavenged from the fallout. It’s dark inside, lit by candles. There’s simple furniture, three chair, a coffee table, and a cot. Magog is sitting farthest away from the door, watching as Superman enters. We circle around the room as he talks. “I grew up here. Did you ever know that? Kansas, born and raised. Like you- except you not being born here. Maybe that’s why, when I got word Parasite was in Kansas I thought, ‘Not in my backyard,’ and formed a posse. We weren’t even all that green; between us we had fifty years under our belts. I ever introduce you to my folks? This is my dad; he don’t say much; and opposite him is mom. She never shuts up.” We finish panning over the occupants of the two chairs, skeletons, burnt badly in the explosion, tattered rags and baked flesh all that keeps them upright in their chairs. “I grew up thinking you were a pussy. That if you just took things seriously, put a hand through the Joker and every other psycho, that the world would be a Norman Rockwell painting. I thought I was doing what you didn’t have the strength to do. I learned it’s easier to break things, than it is to fix them, with maybe one exception.” Magog holds out his gun. “Can you fix me?”
“Not like that I can’t,” Superman says, and pushes the gun towards the ground. “But I’d like a chance to try me way.”
“We need to talk, Luthor.”
“Lex, please. Bruce.”
“You got your coup. Now we need to talk strategy.”
“And you don’t want to share with the rest of the class?”
“The rest of your board might have organizations behind them, wealth, power, but no vision. Without a plan to deal with Superman, none of our plans will come to fruition.”
“I have a Marvelous anti-Superman strategy.”
“So you’ve said. But he can tear through my robobats like tissue. He’ll make short work of all of our countermeasures, unless we neutralize him.”
“I’m sure your stock of kryptonite has decayed just like mine; doesn’t have the same punch as it used to. Meanwhile, Kent has spent years soaking up solar radiation. I tinkered with a kryptonite atomic weapon; all the test device did was give Power Woman bronchitis.”
“Stop telling me things I already know.”
“No. You’ll forgive me, if your convenient last-minute conversion isn’t entirely taken on faith. Or you won’t. I don’t see as you have an alternative.”
“Alfred, my coat.”
“My god. Pennyworth is still alive? Did you drop him in a Lazarus Pit? There really is no escaping the Batman, is there? Not even in death.” He leans into Bruce, eyeing him, before menacing, “I’m afraid you’ll find me equally inescapable,” before he exits.
“John?” Bruce asks ‘Alfred.’ Alfred transforms into a feeble-looking version of the Martian Manhunter. He is all but completely broken, and stammers out his replies.
“I know what you want, but I can’t,” John says. “I can’t stand the thoughts. I can’t let anyone in. You don’t understand what it was like.”
“I know what it did to you,” Bruce soothes. “And I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important. I need to know if Bill is Marvel.”
“There’s so much noise. So many voices. Too much.” He gasps, collapsing into Bruce’s arms. “Too much,” he whimpers.
“Is Bill Marvel?” Bruce asks. John nods.
“Now you rest. This was already almost too much.”
“I can help.”
“You have. Every time you’re asked. I’m trying not to ask too much. Rest now. If it comes to the worst, I’ll call you again. But only as a last resort.”
Cut to Green Lantern’s satellite base, which has become the headquarters of the new Justice League. We’re following Red Robin as he runs through the various halls to get to the main hall, where Superman is watching earth below through a window. “It’s happened!” Dick yells. “The prisoners are rioting.”
Superman hesitates, and Wonder Woman leaps to fill the void. “Flash, Green Lantern, Power Woman, subdue the rioters.”
“With reasonable force,” Superman tries to assert.
“By whatever means necessary,” Wonder Woman barks over him.
“Everyone else, form up in your battle groups, and prepare in case you’re called to join the fray.” Everyone scrambles, quickly clearing the room. Wonder Woman and Superman retreat to a side chamber. “You undermined my authority.”
“I acted when you hesitated,” she corrects him. “Now control yourself. We’re overdue at the UN. I’m sure by now they know about our prison.”
His eyes narrow. Match cut, to a room at the UN. Superman and Wonder Woman are being upbraided by the US Ambassador to the UN, furious that they’ve built a superhuman prison in the middle of a US state. “We tried to find another way- another place,” Superman says.
“Most of these prisoners are Americans,” Wonder Woman says. “Americans you let run roughshod for years.”
“To be clear, Princess,” the US Ambassador starts, “am I talking with the Ambassador from the Amazons, a woman whose dedication to peace and diplomacy most at this table have admired for years, or am I listening to the general of an alien warlord whose set up his own Gitmo in the ruins of the state of Kansas without so much as asking Uncle Sam what he thinks about it?”
“We’re trying to solve a problem,” Superman says. “I hear you; we should have spoken with you about this sooner.”
“You mean before your little prison had its inaugural riot?”
“You two are hanging by a thread,” the UN Secretary says, stepping in. “If you want to work with us, first you’ll put down that riot. Then you’ll come back here and we’ll figure out next steps, as equals. But know this: both of you are subject to justice at the International Criminal Court, both of you on a trajectory for a long stay at the Hague. Measure your next steps accordingly.”
Superman and Wonder Woman fly away. He’s angry. “You didn’t think they’d wait forever for us to solve this, did you? Like it or not, you’re a public figure- a world leader. They need you to take decisive action- we need you to. Before things get so bad there’s no coming back from them.”
We cut back to Luthor’s shindig. He’s popping champagne, thrilled at his good fortune. “The riot is bubbling over. The UN has been made aware, and are furious. Our moment of maximal leverage is at hand. One little push- and we can rid the world of these tyrannical Ubermensch once and for all. And for that, it’s time we finally loose or secret weapon.” Luthor strokes Captain Marvel’s cheek. “Tear the walls of their prison down. Start the last battle of this war, so we can finally finish it.” He says he’s scared, and Luthor tells him that he has faith in him- that he’s humanity’s last hope for peace- but that he’s secure in that fact.
Suddenly, Batman punches Marvel. “Hello, Billy.” He tries to speak, but Batman crushes down on his windpipe with his shoe. “Billy Batson’s been missing for ten years- as has Captain Marvel. You’ve kept him that entire time, twisting his young mind, terrifying the hell out of him. I suspected it, and John confirmed it.”
“But our goals,” Luthor stammers.
“My goal was figuring out your secret weapon. Marvel was a wild card- and I hate wild cards. So I’m taking him off the table.” Green Arrow asks if that’s the signal? Bruce smiles, and says, “Strike,” and the members of his second generation Justice League attack Luthor’s goons.
Billy manages to twist out from under Bruce’s foot, and he gives chase. “Billy, wait! I understand better than most what happened. This dark, new reality, it’s been hard to adjust to. Captain Marvel was the best of us; fools saw it as naivete, but he was an inspiration, and an aspiration. But all the death, all the pain, and horror, and hate… one day it gets to be too much. I hid in my cave. He hid inside a scared little boy. But it’s time we both stopped running.”
He runs down a different hall. “I know Luthor found you. Took fear and turned it into something worse, guilt, paranoia, and paralysis. And it only got worse, because with each passing day, you felt more responsible for not doing more- and more terrified of what the other part of you would do if you let him out. Luthor’s lost. We can still fix things. We just have to-” Billy crashes into a tank filled with mind controlling caterpillars. He’s buried under a wriggling pile of them, more traumatized than we’ve seen.
“The worms secrete chemicals that eat away at you. What Luthor did to you was torture. And I know you’re scared. But if you stay calm, we can-” Stuttering, Billy eventually gets out the magic word, “Shazam,” and is gone, leaving Batman alone with a hole in the wall. Green Arrow catches up to Batman. “Marvel’s no longer a wild card,” he says, as they both stare out of the hole in the wall. “God help us.”
Cut to the orbital HQ, where Wonder Woman, dressed in her metal bird armor, unsheaths a sword. “I can’t sanction lethal force,” Superman protests.
“We don’t all have heat vision.”
“We’re better than this. We have lines we don’t cross- because human life is too precious.”
“No,” she says. “You have lines. And because you’re invulnerable, you can afford to. But your rules won’t save our friends here. And they won’t prevent the next Kansas if we fail. You’re welcome to join us, and save as many as you can. But I’m don’t fighting with an arm behind my back, and I’m through asking anyone else to.”
The silence for an instant is deafening, before we hear a transmission from Green Lantern, pleading for help. He tells them the walls are breached, that Captain Comet is dead. Wonder Woman smashes the table they’re gathered around, and walks out. The rest of the League follow her, leaving Superman alone.
He flies down to Earth, smashing through the Earth’s crust and emerging in the Batcave. He pleads for help, which Batman refuses. He explains that the League has the prison surrounded, ready to bring it down on the prisoners’ heads.
“Did you ever consider this might be the optimal outcome?” Batman asks. “That perhaps humanity’s only chance is for the superhumans to swallow each other up?”
“I know you don’t believe that. We don’t always see eye to eye, Bruce, but when you scratch everything else away from Batman, you’re left with someone who doesn’t want to see anybody die. Please, tell me you’ll help me.”
“I don’t know that I can. Captain Marvel’s back. Luthor had him, spent ten years turning him inside out. He’s header for the prison, to break it wide open. You don’t need Batman, you need a m-” he turns, realizing Superman’s gone. “So that’s what that feels like,” he says with a smile on his face.
We cut back and forth between Wonder Woman, as the horror of Marvel’s intervention dawns on her, and Superman, flying faster than he ever has in an attempt to stop what he knows he can’t. From over Superman’s shoulder we see the prison, but also a red and gold streak that’s going to get there faster, and it does, blasting the prison open.
From here on out it’s a lot of punching. Superman vs. Shazam (he’s pretty vulnerable to magic so Superman doesn’t really stand a chance), the League vs. the new breed of heroes.
Cut to the Oval Office. The US Ambassador to the UN delivers the news, that the General Secretary agrees with his assessment- that if they let the Superhuman threat outside of Kansas, the human race is lost. The Defense Secretary tells him that the bombs and bombers are hardened against superhuman powers- that one ought to do the trick, but three guarantees success. The President is tentative, and wants to be sure the world will stand with him, and aren’t going to leave America holding the bag. “They’re behind us, 100%. It’s the only way for the human race to survive.” The President asks for his speech, says he needs to be talking at the UN when it happens. They need as united a front as they can have.
Fight fight fight, going badly for Superman and the League. In fact, they’re losing, perhaps definitively. Until Batman and his young league arrive, him in his mechanical Batsuit. This might be harder to get across on film, but Batman’s forces in particular try to stem the loss of life, intervening to stop both Leaguers and bad guys from killing.
Batman stops Wonder Woman from running through Von Bach, subduing him instead, and then they get into it. He pokes at her over the inconsistencies in the Amazonian philosophy (peace through strength); she’s mostly just got her blood up and angry, perhaps fighting more with Superman than with Bruce when she screams that she won’t be judged by him (it’s subtle, but in the fight she damages his communications). Their fight takes them above the fray, above the clouds- and they see the incoming bombers, and realize what’s about to happen. They break off the fight immediately to deal with the bombers.
We cut to the ground, Superman pleading with Captain Marvel to remember that they’re friends, to remember their shared goals of helping people. When that doesn’t work, he asks him to say something, to which he says, “Shazam,” hitting him with magic lightning. We pan around and see the rest of the fighting as we hear the thunder again, again, and again.
Batman and Wonder Woman each take out one of the bombers, (Batman trying but failing to raise help via his comms), but one remains, dropping its payload.
Back to Superman and Marvel, but this time Superman springs forward, picking him up and putting him in front of the lightning while covering his mouth, and Marvel is transformed back into Billy. Superman sees the bomb, and tries to use heat vision on it, but it glances off. Superman is full of rage, but he catches sight of Billy’s eyes, full of fear, tears welling up. “I don’t know what to do, Billy,” he tells him. He holds Billy so he can see the fight raging around them. “Every decision I’ve made, everything I’ve done, has been wrong, has brought us here. Bruce says if we survive this fight, we’ll unleash this Hell on every corner of the globe. If the bomb drops, almost every good person I’ve ever known dies in an instant. I can stop the bomb- but I don’t know if I should be allowed to. Lois used to say I too often put the man before the super; I know lately I’ve put the super over the man. But of all of us, you were always the best of both. I’m sorry to put the weight of this whole world on your shoulders- especially given how many times I’ve buckled under the same. But I’m not fit to choose. You have to.” Superman lets him go, and flies up towards the bomb.
We close in on Billy’s face, a tear sliding down his cheek as he says, “Shazam.” Marvel rockets out of a cloud of smoke and lightning, grabbing Superman by the ankle and hurling him at the ground. Marvel continues upward, grabbing the bomb and screams, “Shazam!” and both he and the bomb disappear in a cloud of smoke and lightning, that becomes a blinding white light.
Superman, kneeling in the fallout, screams silently. We pan over the battlefield, covered in bleached skeletons. Superman struggles to his feet, his eyes glowing, a being of pure, incandescent rage. He flies off.
We linger on the smoke and stillness a moment, and start to see signs of life. Green Lantern has preserved a small bubble of people, and there are others who survived, as well.
We cut to the UN, with the President speaking at the front. “It was with a heavy heart that humanity severed the bonds between our community and superhumanity.”
Superman bursts through the wall, spraying chunks of rock into the assembly. He flies to the ceiling, and presses against it, spiderweb cracks forming out away from him as diplomats scatter. We see Wesley Dodds and the Spectre, witnessing the scene as Wonder Woman flies in through the hole Superman made. “Clark,” she says, “Don’t.”
“I know anger, Clark,” Batman says, flying in. “And you have every right to be. But you’re forgetting what it feels like to be a human in the presence of a Superman.” Bruce nods towards the people below, continuing to scatter, or staring up at him in awe.
“You’re not real. You’re not here. You both died.”
“Not all of us,” Green Lantern says, as a whole slew of those who survived, filing in.
Wonder Woman strokes his cheek. “This won’t solve anything. Because you aren’t angry with them. You’re angry with yourself. You’re angry it came to this. But you have to let that go. Right now, the world doesn’t need a Superman, it needs Clark Kent.” He lets go of the roof.
Clark lands, collapsing even under his own weight. “How?”
Wonder Woman: “Marvel detonated the bomb above ground zero. Green Lantern and others were able to shield some of us.”
Batman: “Enough that we have the same problem as before. The same impasse. The same dangers. Distrust. Everything.”
“Then it’s time we tried a new solution.” Superman walks towards the President and the UN General Secretary. “Years ago, we let those we protected drive us away. We saw ourselves as… superior, above it all. We were wrong. But I’m tired of dwelling on past wrongs. What we need- what we all– human and superhuman- need, is to come together, to build a better tomorrow. So many of our mistakes come from trying to solve problems for you. I realize now, we need to solve them with you. As partners. As equals.”
Superman hands Captain Marvel’s cape to the General Secretary. “I asked Captain Marvel to choose between humanity and superhumanity. It was the wrong question, but still he found the right answer. Which is life. We’d like to join you, formally, with his cape as our flag.”
Cut to Superman, in Kansas, building a memorial with rows of tombstones spanning as far as the eye can see (remember, we’re talking 3 million dead in Kansas). Superman is putting the finishing touches on the nearest one. Wonder Woman flies in. “Quite the memorial.”
“As it should be. Not just to those who lost their lives to the bomb, or to Magog, but in memory of all those who lost their lives to our mistakes.”
“I hope it helps you let them rest in piece, Clark. Remember what they taught you, but don’t let their loss haunt you. Speaking of which…” she hands him a hand-carved wooden box. “A gift,” she tells him, handing it to him. “To help you see more clearly.” They’re a pair a spectacles. He puts them on, and smiles. His hand brushes hers, and he pulls her in for a kiss.
It’s the present day, and a younger Wesley Dodds wakes up, a little freaked out. “That was a messed up dream,” he says, yawning. Then he sees the reflection of the Spectre in a portrait, and nearly jumps out of his skin. “Oh, crap,” he says, and we cut to black, and roll credits.
Mid-credits scene. At the Planet Krypton restaurant. Clark and Diana are seated, Clark rolling his eyes at the cheesiness, and Diana soaking in the adoration, as she puts it, “accustomed to seeing mortals pay tribute to the gods.” They speak conspiratorially. Bruce sneaks up on them, surprising Clark. Clark asks him about his kids, and Bruce asks how much time he has, mentioning Dick is making a swift recovery Damian just might clear the fog of his brainwashing, Tim’s well, Barbara’s still not speaking to him but otherwise healthy…
A man at the table behind taps Bruce, and asks if he… is using the ketchup, because they’re out. Bruce smiles and hands it to him. Depending on how much epilogue we want we can get into lots of the little world-building, but the important point is this. Diana’s about to make an announcement, but Bruce, not bothering to even look up from his steak, says, “You’re pregnant.”
“Always the detective,” she says. “So I’ll test your escape artistry. I want a commitment from you. I want you to be the godfather.”
“My record as a parent is hardly spotless,” he replies.
“There are things Batman can teach our child that Clark or I couldn’t. Some we would never even think of.”
“Our child more than any other will need the leavening influence of a mortal man,” Clark offers, “a moral man. One we can count on. And despite our differences, I’ve always counted on you.”
“So have I,” Diana says. Bruce is touched. And shocked. And shocked he’s touched. “So it’s settled, then?”
Bruce rubs his chin. “The child of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Almost makes you pity the villains of the future.”
“Really?” Clark asks.
“No. Not really.”
And resume credits.