The police receive an anonymous tip that the Weather Wizard is preparing to attack Central City's power station. Police forensics scientist, Barry Allen, responds, as the Flash. Wielding a lightning rod he's prepared, for just such an occasion, the Flash races to install it at the power station, before the Weather Wizard's lightning bolt can strike. The lightning bolt, though, is intercepted by Superman. After defeating the Weather Wizard, the Flash demands to know why Superman intervened on his case. Superman replies that he was merely responding to the Flash's emergency signal. The Flash, however, sent no such signal. The next day, Superman, as Daily Planet reporter, Clark Kent, spies a gangland execution about to go down.
Kent changes into his Superman costume, and hurls himself in front of the bullets. The bullets never strike him, though, as the Flash has already caught them all. After defeating the mobsters, Superman demands to know why the Flash has intervened on his case. The Flash replies that he was merely responding to Superman's emergency signal. Superman, however, sent no such signal. The two heroes receive an emergency signal to convene at the headquarters of the Justice League of America. Upon arrival, the entire team is assembled. No member, though, sent any such signal. The culprits are revealed to be Rokk and Sorban, alien gamblers from the planet Ventura. Having drawn on a previous bet to determine who was faster, the Flash or Superman, the Venturans have decided to force the two heroes to race again.
At stake, is the destruction of either Central City or Metropolis, depending on who wins the race. Having heard enough, the Green Lantern lunges at the Venturans, only to be immobilized by bands of yellow energy. J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is imprisoned inside a cage of fire. Wonder Woman is bound by her own lasso. Aquaman is paralyzed by his own shower. The remaining members, including team mascot, Snapper Carr, also find themselves bound by bands of yellow energy. The Venturans provide the Flash with an aura of breathable air, so that he can race against Superman, in outer space. Nearing a solar system surrounding a red star, Superman is forced to veer off, giving up valuable ground to the Flash. On his detour, Superman passes Ventura.
Scanning the planet's surface, Superman spies an enormous erupting volcano. Something else catches the Man of Steel's eye, that changes the nature of the race.The Flash encounters a derelict space craft. Boarding it to offer aid to it's alien crew, the Flash stumbles into a trap. Within moments, the Flash begins to suffocate. All at once, oxygen begins to surround the space around him. Revived, the Flash quickly vibrates out of the craft. The alien vessel turns out to actually be an alien plant, that lures it's victims to it with lifelike illusions, so that it may breathe in expelled carbon dioxide. When Sorban expresses outrage that the Flash has escaped the plant's deathtrap, the Green Lantern grows suspicious of his motivations. Afterall, Sorban is betting on the Flash to win.
Superman catches up with the Flash and signals him to end the race. Believing that Superman is trying to trick him, the Flash refuses. Before Superman can fully state his case, a kryptonite meteor shower drives him away. Using the meteors as stepping stones, the Flash proceeds down the race course. Suddenly, Rokk and Sorban are attacked by Superman. The Venturans quickly expose Superman to Gold Kryptonite, forever removing his super-powers. Superman, though, turns out to be the Martian Manhunter. J'onn J'onzz took on Superman's form to escape the flame cage, only to be revealed, by exposure to the Gold Kryptonite. Though the Martian Manhunter will never be able to assume Superman's form again, he is able to quickly use Martian science to transform the gold kryptonite to lead, before he can be put back into the flame cage.
The last meteor the Flash uses as a stepping stone turns out to have the properties of quicksand. Superman knocks the Flash into the atmosphere of a nearby world, causing the meteor to burn up in re-entry, freeing the Flash. Once more Superman attempts to convince the Flash to end the race, but the Scarlet Speedster, again, refuses. The Flash is suddenly attacked by a pair of alien patrol ships. Superman disables them with his heat vision. The effort to stay ahead of the Man of Steel has exhausted the Flash. Realizing that Superman never tires, the Flash throws in the towel. Taking respite on a nearby planet, the despondent Flash despairs over the inevitable destruction of Central City, when Superman wins the race.
Suddenly, the Flash receives a most amazing message. Superman is caught in a powerful space vortex. Using his heat vision, Superman burns a distress call in front of the Flash. The Scarlet Speedster rescues Superman, then both men finish the race. Depending on the angle of the monitors, it is impossible to tell for certain which man wins the race. Some monitors show Superman. Others indicate the Flash. Returning to Justice League of America headquarters, Superman and the Flash take down Rokk and Sorban, who are revealed to actually be Professor Zoom and Abra Kadabra. Superman realized the Venturans were imposters when he spied the real Rokk and Sorban on Ventura.
The Green Lantern used the full reserve of his power ring, to boost Aquaman's telepathic power to command sea life, to get a message to the Flash, via alien fish, that the race was rigged. With the two villains defeated, the Justice League of America is left to debate just who the victor of the race was, Superman or the Flash.