The story deals with Fred Bentson, a mild-mannered postal worker living in the city of Dakota in the Milestone Universe. Having been exposed to residue from the Big Bang, the Mass Super-Empowering Event that created the likes of Static, he gained the ability to cross realities, being a mailman in the wonderful city of Metropolis in the DC Universe. However, this causes him to suffer from major insomnia as he doesn't actively sleep and he seeks help. His "help" ends up being worse as various figures seek to gain his increasing powers, only to transform him into the vicious god-like Rift. Can the heroes of two worlds work together to stop this being or is all of reality doomed to be a play-thing for a Reality Warper?
The story kicked off in the beginning of the Superman storyline The Fall of Metropolis and weaved its way through Superman: The Man of Steel, Steel, Superboy and all of Milestone's then-running comic line.
This event provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Rift plays this role once his full powers are unleashed.
- Ascended Fanboy: Fred Bentson reveals his comic fanboy side as he discovers his powers, briefly remaking himself into a classic generic Flying Brick hero before he breaks down into the Physical God who dubs himself "Rift", in the fine tradition of the Dark Age of Supernames.
- Foreshadowing: In the Static comic before the crossover, Virgil's younger brother stops making Batman logos and does a Superman logo for Virgil.
- Heroic BSoD: Rocket suffer one when she, Static and Superboy watch Rift pick up and toss away Paris Island, knowing she's lost everything. Static hits this later on when Metropolis and Dakota merges.
- Let's You and Him Fight:
- Due to either clashing ideologies, being hard-headed numbskulls or just not accepting who they're seeing, the S-Shield Bearers and the Milestone heroes clash early on.
- Rift later forces Icon and Superman to fight each other. They try to pretend to fight, but he proves to be Genre Savvy and gives real stakes for them to fight to.
- Merged Reality: Near the end of the story, Rift fuses DC and Milestone's Earths into one. While the full scope is unknown, the merging between Metropolis and Dakota ravages both cities, Metropolis even worse than it was before.
- Mind Screw: The storyline loves to blur the aspect of what's real and what's not, with both sides uncertain if the other side is real or was created by Rift. Even the ending doesn't give a straight answer.
- Mutually Fictional: In-Universe example: the Milestone characters viewed the Super-family characters as either Refugees From Comic Land or wannabes — Blood Syndicate expresses confusion over Superman's mullet, and asks him why he doesn't have his classic spit curl; Static raised the possibility of this trope when he asked Superboy if he read Static's comic books. ("Do I have comic books?" Kon-El said that he wasn't much of a comic fan, so he couldn't answer either way.) Since Fred continually "dreamt" of waking up in one universe after falling asleep in another, he wasn't sure which universe was real — especially as his reality warping powers grew and he indulged his Ascended Fanboy tendencies. There is tension over which of the universes might be unmade if Rift is defeated, but eventually both sides agree that neither universe can survive unless he is stopped.
- Power Incontinence:
- Fred's powers caused him to suffer insomnia, as when he sleeps in Dakota, he awakens in Metropolis and vice versa.
- Flashback of the Blood Syndicate, who can reverse time by three seconds, suddenly cannot use her powers to save her teammate Aquamaria when she is seemingly boiled alive by Rift suddenly turning a tidal wave into a flame wall.
- Reset Button: At the end of the story, everything is undone, including the deaths and destruction caused by Rift. Nobody save for the heroes who participated the most and survived remember the events of the story, save Superman and Icon, who muse they wish the other universe was real. In post-Infinite Crisis continuity, they both still remember.
- Sanity Slippage: As Fred's powers and insomnia grow out of control, he loses his hold on his sanity to the point where he believes that he created both universes, thus he's okay with destroying everything because he created.
- Shout-Out: Pinky and the Brain figurines are on sale in one comic book store. (Warner Bros. owned the rights to the show.)
- This Loser Is You: Rift ends up being this as a lot of his rage and anger is directed towards Dakota and its heroes, as he sees them as Expies of other heroes (at one point, he changes Icon's uniform into something like Superman's and re-themes the Blood Syndicate into an X-Men pastiche.), just cannot stand the fact that many of them just do not act like heroes, and believes Dakota is a Wretched Hive that needs to be destroyed. In the final chapter, he turns the world into an expy of the Legion of Super-Heroes back during their Silver Age incarnation.