"The Living Double of a Single Fiction": Superman stands deep in S.T.A.R. Labs, surrounded by glass globes. Dr. Welbourne appears in the doorway and introduces himself. Superman asks what happened to the people contained in the globes, and Welbourne tells him about the Anti-Chromatic Syndrome th
Appearing in "The Living Double of a Single Fiction"
- Superman (Flashback and main story)
- Kid Scout (First appearance)
- Doctor Camel
- Elongated Man (Cameo)
- Major Victory (Cameo)
- Ray (Cameo)
- Ben Conrad (Flashback only)
- Christopher Camel
- Dr. Welbourne
- Mr. Davidson (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "The Living Double of a Single Fiction"
Superman stands deep in S.T.A.R. Labs, surrounded by glass globes. Dr. Welbourne appears in the doorway and introduces himself. Superman asks what happened to the people contained in the globes, and Welbourne tells him about the Anti-Chromatic Syndrome that has been striking metahumans down. Before Superman can say another word, a team bursts though the door bearing yet another black-and-white hero. Superman looks at the small boy for a moment, and then remembers where he knew the boy from. Heroville.
Inside the formerly idyllic town, citizens lie everywhere, struck down with the mysterious condition. Superman arrives suddenly, with four S.T.A.R. Labs technicians in tow. As the scientists begin to study the victims, Superman takes off into the sky. Superman streaks to Dr. Camel's house. Inside, he finds the house torn apart. A lone woman lies on the ground, devoid of any pigment. He suddenly hears someone yelling not far away.
In the middle of a street Dr. Camel, clad in a jumpsuit and sporting an energy weapon, threatens the three men approaching him. Superman darts down to join the Doctor, but the Doctor screams for him to leave. The eyes of the attackers glow and suddenly Superman finds himself inside of a prism. He moans that there is no hope, when the three attackers are knocked aside by a blast from Dr. Camel's weapon. Gathering up Superman, Dr. Camel hoists him on his shoulder and blasts off into the sky with his jetpack.
Landing across town, the S.T.A.R. techs check Superman out while Dr. Camel explains the source of the problem. The three men surround their victim and siphon the life out of them. Dr. Camel says that there are still survivors in Heroville. Taking off into the sky, Superman tells the Doctor to help the techs out while he searches for anyone else.
Across town, Superman finds a boy hiding in a tree house. The boy comes out and introduces himself as Kid Scout, but then points to the yard where the three attackers are standing. Superman and Kid Scout are in the air as their eyes start glowing. Among the clouds, Kid Scout asks who they were, and Clark thinks back to the past.
In the 1950's author Ben Conrad tries to convince his editor that he can write a book about a group of men trying to preserve a world without passion or heroes. He gets the go ahead, but after it is published "The Hollow Men" just sits on the shelves. Years later young Clark Kent is reading another book by Ben Conrad when one of his teachers sees him. He tells Clark of another book by the author, and heading to a shelf he pulls out a copy of the book.
n the present, Superman suddenly realizes what is happening. Touching down near everyone else, he tells them that the attackers are known as the Hollow Men and that they are from a 1950's fictional story. He knows the author, and the last time the author tried writing fiction the character came to life. Clearly the same thing has happened with this book too. However, that book was only a manuscript and could be deleted easily. The Hollow Men exist everywhere.
Dr. Camel says that they will need to find Conrad, but Superman says he can't leave them alone in Heroville. Just then Kid Scout pipes up and volunteers for the task. With his powers he can find anyone, anywhere. Superman considers for a moment, and then tells the boy to be careful and wishes him luck. After Dr. Camel points him toward the tesseract exit, Kid Scout takes off running.
Hours later, Kid Scout still has not returned. Looking over the city they can see a glow coming from another part of town. Superman tells them all that the Hollow Men are burning books. These men can do more than inflict the disease; they can steal their ability to dream of a better world. If they aren't stopped they will remove all sense of hope from the world.
- This book was first published on April 9, 2003.
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