"Superman in Chains": After being captured by the military, Superman is taken to a government facility, where he is now strapped to a chair and being electrocuted with more energy than any normal human could withstand. Dr. Lex Luthor h
- Your prisons can't hold me. Your weapons can't hurt me.
- — Superman
Synopsis for "Superman in Chains"
After being captured by the military, Superman is taken to a government facility, where he is now strapped to a chair and being electrocuted with more energy than any normal human could withstand. Dr. Lex Luthor has been conducting this torture on Superman, watching from behind a two-way mirror until Doctor John Henry Irons and Sergeant John Corben of the Steel Soldier project interrupt him.
Corben is astonished that Superman is just a beat-up-looking kid, while Irons is horrified by the torture Superman is being made to endure in the first place, trying to convince Luthor to stop. Luthor refuses, reminding that the laws prohibiting torture apply only to human begins, and that Irons' project will cease to be relevant once the eventual dissection of Superman provides the U.S. Army with the raw materials it needs to create its own warrior-gods. Angrily, Irons tenders his resignation, and Luthor - unfazed - continues the torture.
Meanwhile, in another room, a group of soldiers under General Sam Lane's orders, blasts Superman's cape with all manner of artillery, but the garment appears to be just as invulnerable as its wearer. The tests are put on hold when Lane is informed that his daughter has come to visit him at the compound, promising a Father's Day gift.
Outside the facility's gates, Lois Lane tries to convince the guard to let her in, despite his admonishment that Father's Day is in June. When she spots the General coming, she attempts to show him all the evidence she could find that Superman is a good person, knowing well enough that Sam took him to this facility. General Lane, however, declares that Superman does not officially exist and, as such, is not officially in the base. He assures her that wherever Superman is, he is safe - taking the evidence from her.
Superman survives another five minutes' exposure to lethal Sarin gas. Luthor asks Superman what the word "Krypton" means to him, and Superman replies that it is the 36th noble gas on the periodic table. Unbeknownst to his captors, Superman uses his x-ray vision to glare at Luthor through the mirror, as the man accuses him of bringing an alien rocket into Earth's orbit as a weapon, and wearing a disguise to hide his true appearance as a shape-shifting extra-terrestrial soldier. He gestures toward a crate containing a dead, six-legged creature resembling a calf and, upon looking at it, Superman laughs, explaining that his people look just like humans - but their eyes are different. He then uses his eyes to fries all of the equipment in the control room using microwaves. Despite this victory, Superman is wary of the rocket that Luthor mentioned.
Lois keeps trying to convince her father of Superman's nobility, but the General ignores her, dumping her with Corben instead. Corben obviously has romantic feelings for Lois, but she only attempts to use those feelings as a means of getting inside.
Recovering from Luthor's torture quickly, Superman breaks free from his restraints and begins his escape. The soldiers' bullets are useless against him as he recovers his cape from the other room, but there, he hears the call of a Kryptonian voice. He follows it to a room containing the very rocket that brought him to Earth as a baby. Upon touching it, he hears words in his head, spoken in Kryptonian. He asks it to protect itself, sealing it within a crystal until he can come back for it. He easily fights his way through the approaching soldiers, ducking into an elevator shaft to climb into a nearby elevator car, knocking unconscious all the soldiers inside. Meanwhile, Lois has since stolen Corben's pass key and gained entry into the base, only to discover Superman with the unconscious soldiers inside the elevator. He greets her with a smile before leaping into the sky and escaping.
Afterwards, Corben is so disturbed by what he saw that he presses Dr. Emmett Vale to initiate the Steel Soldier project without Dr. Irons' oversight, and using him as the test subject. The doctor warns that there are still some flaws with the project, but Corben does not care, saying that he has to stop Superman in order to show Lois what she's missing.
Elsewhere, in the privacy of his limousine, Luthor talks on his phone with his apparent benefactor, wondering who he's been talking to. He gets no answer, but as they speak, the otherworldly space station maintains its orbit around the Earth.
Appearing in "Superman in Chains"
- The deformed, dead animal with 6 legs that Luthor claims is Superman's natural state is actually a deformed calf born on the Kent farm and presented to the Army by Johnathan Kent on the night of Kal-El's crash, as shown in Action Comics (Volume 2) #5.
- 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)