"Path of Doom, Part One": Superman is dead, and yet the world spins on.
Synopsis for "Path of Doom, Part One"
Superman is dead, and yet the world spins on.
In downtown Metropolis, Captain Maggie Sawyer has come back from the Gotham Major Crimes Task Force to head the Metro S.C.U. As Jimmy Olsen tries to play on their old friendship to let him past a police cordon, she simply repeats the information he already knows - four gunmen have taken hostages in the foyer of the offices of Geneticron, but have issued no demands.
Inside, the gunmen insist that the hostages can go when their plan is done. Per standard procedure, the police cut the power to the building, which the gunmen were expecting for their plan, but in the gloom, a glowing S-shield can be seen, whose wearer vows that they will not succeed. Swiftly he engages them in a fight, which worries Sawyer enough that she runs to intervene - only for Lex Luthor to hover out of the building, wearing a modified version of his armor which bears the S-shield, and declare the day saved.
Meanwhile, in a semi-rural area of... the state which contains Metropolis, the White family - parents Lois & Clark, and son Jon - are unpacking their belongings as they move into their new home. Jon begs his father to use his super-powers to achieve the task so he can start playing video games, but his parents insist that their gifts are to be used for good, and not to cheat at everyday life.
This discussion is interrupted when the television shows a live feed outside Geneticron, where Lex Luthor is giving a speech. He explains that the death of Superman has led him to appoint himself the new defender of Metropolis, and encourages them to think of him as their superman. Clark White, whose history on an alternate Earth was defined by combatting the wickedness and ego of a man named Lex Luthor, decides immediately to go and confront Luthor. Running upstairs, he uses laser-vision to shave off his beard, then grabs a red-and-blue costume from a nearby drawer. Despite the protestations of his wife, he cannot let the legacy of this world's protector be hijacked by Lex Luthor. This is a job for Superman.
At the Geneticron building, Captain Sawyer has just been informed that the gunmen say they were ordered to hold the lobby as a distraction for some allies, but have no idea why. Worse, the police have found a vault on the top floor, which has been cracked open. Sawyer grimly predicts that this is not over, while a figure watches her via camera and agrees with her.
Outside, Lex Luthor continues his speech to the crowd, where Jimmy Olsen is learning for the first time that Superman - his friend Clark Kent - is dead. At the climax of the speech, Clark White appears above Lex Luthor in the costume, and declares that he is Superman.
Across town, whatever was stolen from Geneticron wakes up in the container the gunmen's allies stole and starts trying to break free, while in front of the offices, as the crowd reacts to the uncertainty - Superman had gone missing, then Luthor insisted he was dead, but then he apparently just shows up - by muttering against the superhumans, a verbal chessmatch is developing between Luthor and Superman. Jimmy, feeling out of his depth, phones the Daily Planet, and says the situation needs a reporter.
Jon and Lois watch the meeting between Superman and Lex Luthor, with Lois explaining that, though Clark wanted to keep his gifts secret, sometimes morality makes demands, and then you have to act. And accept the outcomes, good and bad.
The verbal chessmatch reaches a climax when Luthor refuses to remove the shield, causing Superman to touch him, activating defenses. A fistfight seems imminent. Meanwhile, Perry asks the bullpen for a volunteer to cover the Geneticron story... which causes one mild-mannered staffer with a familiar voice to rush out the door, promising to do the job.
Luthor and Superman fight in the sky, with Luthor gaining the upper hand by unloading most of his armor's arsenal into his opponent. On the ground, Jimmy is greeted by the reporter he requested - a black-haired man in glasses and a checkered shirt, who claims that he is Clark Kent.
The fight between Luthor and Superman crashes back to earth nearby, and the two newsmen run there. On the scene, Luthor sees them, and immediately and publicly doubts the truth of Kent's claims, since the whole world knew Clark Kent was Superman, who just died.
While they argue, the mysterious Mister Oz is the figure watching events at Geneticron. On his screens, he watches the gunmen's allies lose control of the Genetricron payload, which falls from their escape craft onto Metropolis. This accident halts the Superman/Luthor fight. Superman gets horrified as the payload stands up, revealing itself a hulking humanoid in a green-brown body suit with bright orange eye lenses - to all appearances, the double of Doomsday.
Appearing in "Path of Doom, Part One"
- "Clark Kent"
- Jimmy Olsen
- Jon Kent
- Lois Lane-Kent
- Metropolis Special Crimes Unit
- Mister Oz
- This issue marks the return to Action Comics Vol 1's numbering counting all the issues of Action Comics Vol 2 as if they had been numbered as volume 1 issues. This means there is no Action Comics Vol 1 #905-#956.
- Lex Luthor speech contains several references to the original Death and Return of Superman, which was partly written by Dan Jurgens.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)