Picture the scene...
A battle rages between two titans, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, former friends driven into conflict, a conflict halted by the arrival of the Amazon Princess bringing the combatants to their senses. Putting aside their differences they head with so many others to face the true threat, Darkseid, ruler of Apokalips.
Colossal and terrifying the New God battles Earth's heroes in a final conflict, It is Supermans blow that staggers the now gigantic foe, followed by J'onn J'onzz,Troia and Power Girl all hitting Darkseid in conjunction with Captain Atoms quantum blasts. As the League, the Teen Titans, the Doom Patrol and so many others bring the despot down and Darkseid is beaten, a cloud of dust rises from the impact on the day that they all died.
In the confusion, one hero amongst the others turns against his fellows, in an act of insanity or calculation he attacks. Cyborg and Blue Beetle are the first to die as the energies unleashed annihilate them, and then everyone else. As the dust settles a shadowy figure stands alone amongst charred skeletons. The only thing left is part of the familiar 'S' on a tattered piece of cloth adorning a corpse that is then crushed beneath the heel of the being who betrayed them all.
The heel of Monarch...
That is basically the opening scene to Armageddon 2001, a DC event story written back in 1991 that has at times been unfairly painted as one of DC's worst event stories, which it isn't by a good margin. The story revolves around a man, Matthew Ryder, who has grown up in a totalitarian world ruled by the only surviving Superhuman, who clad in an identity concealing armoured suit watches over a comparatively peaceful, but soul crushed Earth, his peacekeepers keeping the populace in line.
Gaining the chance to take part in a time traveling experiment that Monarch has become driven to master, Ryder is transformed into a golden metal skinned being within the timestream, becoming Waverider. At last he sees a chance to change things for the better, and travels through the time stream to the point before Monarch rose, to find and end the Superhero who would become a tyrant.
The story was covered in the annuals of that year, rather than the regular titles, with Waverider looking into the possible futures of those he encountered and provided some excellent Elseworld stories ( my personal favourite was one of the the Superman stories involving Maxima, written by Louise Simonson with art by Bryan Hitch ) eventually leading him to the apparently most likely possibility.
Originally it was intended that a future version Captain Atom was in fact Monarch, manipulating Waverider and intent on ensuring his own existence, but in a last moment change ( apparently due to a leak ), the identity was altered to a far less formidable character, Hawk. To be honest they need not have bothered since i suspect the end result was still the same anyway but with altered dialogue, with Captain Atom facing off against Monarch, and being the only hero immune to Monarchs energies, he was able to cancel out the Monarch timeline from ever happening. The only real difference was Hawk and Dove being sacrificed when it wasn't required.
The story as it is, isn't actually bad ( a variation of it could make a decent animated movie ), and it deserves to be published in a collected volume. Most of the annuals that make up the bulk in particular deserve to be read and ideally they could even include the original concluding script/pages as a bonus section, presuming they still have them.