"Superman's Mission To Mars": The Mars colony on Acheron Base has recently come under attack by the Metaleks, who have been tearing down their construction work, and rebuilding it for themselves. Struggling into Dome 2, the ten colonists run for their lives. On his way out
- What do you do when faced by the impossible? You do the impossible. And that's what we're going to do.
- — Superman
Synopsis for "Superman's Mission To Mars"
The Mars colony on Acheron Base has recently come under attack by the Metaleks, who have been tearing down their construction work, and rebuilding it for themselves. Struggling into Dome 2, the ten colonists run for their lives. On his way out of Dome 3, Professor Chandra spots a stranger nearby, and tries to convince him to escape. His friend Sam remains behind to help the stragglers, but the three of them end up locked out of Dome 2 where their families are safely inside. The other survivors desperately call for help, but no one is there to save them.
Someone has heard their cries, though. Clark Kent sneaks into a broom closet, and transforms into Superman, launching himself into outer space without hesitation. With a crash, he smashes down onto the planet, flattening a Metalek constructor. Eagerly, the survivors welcome him into their sanctuary. The colonists fill Superman in on the attack, with the Metaleks using the remains of Acheron base as the raw material for their own constructions. Superman explains that the Metaleks are Xenoformers. They have been programmed to recreate their home planet on alien worlds, in order to make a home for a race that no longer even exists. Noah, the son of two colonists suggests that they and the Metaleks could cooperate, and share Mars, learning from each other, and Superman takes his suggestion into consideration.
While Superman faces the Metaleks, responding to their resistance with severe punishments, one colonist spots a strange sound being broadcast at 800MHz - like singing. She tries to get the others to pay attention but they are too excited by Superman's apparent success at both stopping the Metaleks and rescuing Prof. Chandra and Sam. Superman admits that he couldn't find the third person they'd told him about, though. Superman warns that while he has stopped the Metaleks, they are there in the first place because they are running from something else: The Multitude. Earth happens to be next on the Multitude's flight path. Superman has heard their singing, and knows they will be there soon.
He recalls that his own father Jor-El is the only man known to have stopped the Multitude, and he hopes that with the help of the others, he can do as his father did: the impossible. He steps outside to face them, and is surprised to find that the Multitude bears the appearance of a horde of angels. They swarm him, and he is further surprised when the Metaleks come to his aid, at least allowing him the chance to retreat back into the Dome.
Despite being beaten back by the horde, Superman is still determined to find a way to do the impossible and fight them off. He believes that his father realized something that no one else ever did: the multitude cannot be fought singly. They exist in five dimensions as one entity; it is merely their interaction with this four-dimensional plane that allows them to appear as many beings. Rather than fight off each of the points one at a time, the weapon that is the multitude must be fought all at once.
He urges the colonists to help use their terraforming array against the multitude, but the device's power cord has been severed. Altruistically, Superman offers to be the conduit through which the current flows. The blast of 10 Gigawatts is devastating, but Superman survives it, and the Multitude itself is crippled by the electric shock. As he leads the others out of the Dome, Superman is reminded of the man whom Dr. Chandra spotted, and looks through the wreckage until he finds the his legs sticking out of a pile of debris.
Superman pulls him free, and immediately recognizes his face as that of Vyndktvx, whose left hand has been burnt up. The multitude - apparently - is merely his hand. The Fifth Dimensional criminal reveals that he has been on Earth for some time, preparing for his eventual confrontation with Superman. His first act in that business is to cause all of the surviving colonists to die horrible, painful deaths. He turns on Superman, complaining that he started their conflict. Vyndktvx assumes a devilish guise, and claims to have been around for a long time, laying traps and setting Superman up for the fall of a lifetime.
Appearing in "Superman's Mission To Mars"
- Noah D. Random (Dies)
- Professor Chandra
- Sam (Dies)
- Donna (Dies)
- Mitch (Dies)
- Ellie (Dies)
Synopsis for "Star Light, Star Bright..."
Despite the Justice League's occupation with fighting an alien army armed with extra-dimensional weapons with intent to dominate the world, Superman has somewhere to be. The others urge him to go, knowing it is important to him.
To the surprise and amazement of the scientists at work at the Hayden Planetarium in the American Museum of Natural History, Superman arrives there, as agreed. Eagerly, one of them - Lisa - shows him a set of images they took from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, capturing his arrival on Mars and his fight with the Metaleks. As interested as Superman is, he has come for a different reason. With the arrival of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, things can begin
Through massive coordination of efforts, they have routed data from telescopes all over the world to this planetarium, all in an attempt to help Superman in his effort to find any remaining glimpses of his home planet of Krypton. In this effort, they have already determined that the orbital period they need to best view the star Rao, once Krypton's sun. By combining all of the world's telescopes, the result is essentially one massive telescope - if only any of Earth's supercomputers could process all of that data in the way required. Fortunately, Superman's own brain is such a computer.
Even though Krypton was destroyed, its distance of 27 light years from earth allows them to see that 27-year-old light from earth now; a ghost on the screen. Dr. Tyson explains that Superman, being nearly 27 years old himself, left the planet as a days old baby. As such, their view of Krypton in the present - the light from 27 years ago - has a great significance.
They watch their screens as the planet Krypton is frozen in time at the moment of its destruction. While the planet itself has been gone for years, the story its light tells is that of the night that Krypton died, and as far as Superman is concerned, that night is tonight.
Appearing in "Star Light, Star Bright..."
- This issue features a special thanks to Neil deGrasse Tyson, a real-life astrophysicist.
- Possible continuity error. In the backup story, a scientist explains that Superman visits the Planetarium once every 382 days, implying that Superman has visited at least once before, and quite possibly more than once. However, the stories from this period are set roughly six months after Superman becomes public knowledge, and so he would not have visited 382 days ago. It is possible that more time has passed since Superman's first appearance by this issue, roughly a year, and Superman has only visited the Planetarium on one other occasion, 382 days ago, though it seems a stretch for the scientist to be able to claim that Superman visits every 382 days even if this is the case.