Based on a popular 1996 DC Comics series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and now novelized by Maggin, author of two previous Superman novels: a sort of Twilight of the Superheroes, with the expected action painstakingly, and painfully, eked out with psychologizing, religion, and meaningless flourishes. In 21 st-century Metropolis, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are dead, Superman has been missing for ten years, and the city streets are cluttered with young troublemaking ""metahumans,"" some with genuine superpowers, led by the superpowered Magog and his sidekick, Alloy (the result when the Metal Men were all melted together). The Spectre, here a sort of guardian angel, appears to the Rev. Norman McCoy and takes him whirling through time and space to observe the state of the world; somehow, you see, the Spectre needs Rev. McCay to help avert doomsday. After a big battle, Magog nukes Kansas, so Wonder Woman persuades Superman to come out of retirement and re-form the Justice League of America. Batman, Green Arrow, and various others, however, have their own agenda and refuse to sign up. The bad hats, including Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage (""he was Cro-Magnon, not Homo sapiens,"" which is sad news for the rest of us), Catwoman, and the Riddler, prepare to rule the world once the superheroes blow each other away. . . . Do you really need to know more? A great sizzling turkey, unpalatably stuffed. Still, if it induces even a handful of readers to switch from comics to books with lots of words, it will have done its job.