Superman defended the world from a Martian invasion.
The last son of the doomed planet Krypton, the infant Kal-El was sent to Earth and found in a rocketship in Kansas by a farming couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, who adopted him as their own son and named Clark. Clark was raised by the Kents, gradually gaining his powers as he grown up. He was wisely told by his foster parents that he should hide his powers as humanity would fear him, but when the time is right, he could use his powers for the good of mankind. By the time Clark was an adult, the elderly Kents passed away, but his grief strengthened his determination and vowed to use his powers to benefit mankind.
In 1938, at the time the Martians were being deployed to Earth, Clark applied for a job at the Daily Star, where he met Lois Lane. Perry White sent Clark and Lois to report on a meteor, which had crashed on the previous night. They arrive just in time to see Professor Ogilvy and Doctor Lex Luthor investigating the "meteor", which is in fact a giant metal cylinder. The lid unscrewed itself and the crowd around the cylinder witnessed a Martian emerging from it. Martian aggression immediately began after an attempt at first contact by Professor Ogilvy caused his and his colleagues' deaths by the Martians' heat-ray. Clark protected Lois and was struck by one of the beams, which burned his civilian clothes and revealing his costume underneath. He then joined alongside the United States Army in battling Martian tripods until joining the fight in Metropolis where he was subdued by the aliens' black smoke and blasted by the heat-rays before being captured.
Clark was unconscious for three weeks and being studied by the Martians while Earth was slowly being conquered by the invaders. He was surprised to discover Lex Luthor working as a collaborator for the Martians, which Luthor saw humanity is inevitably doomed, and finding a cure for the Martians who are becoming sick to Earth's bacteria by studying Clark. Luthor also deduced Clark that he is an alien. At Luthor's request, Lois has been kept alive, mostly to keep Clark in check. Lex deduces that Clark's Kryptonian biology is canceling the deadly effects of Earth's bacteria, which is why the Martians around him are not sick. Upon learning the information, the Martians had no need of Luthor to help study Clark and turned on him. Fortunately, Lois and Luthor freed Clark and he again fighting against the Martians. After leveling the ones inside the ship and the ones tending to their human prisoners, Lois recoiled from Clark, telling him that she can't bear to have an alien touch her after what the Martians have done. Tripods then arrive on the scene and Clark took them down as best he can, leaving the last as it transform to levitate itself. As Clark finally took it down, he lies mortally wounded from exhaustion and from the wounds he received from the heat-rays. Before succumbing to his injuries, Clark laments the fact he and the Martians are not so different from each other as they came from dying worlds and that if the Martians hadn't come, the people of Earth might have feared and despised Clark.
Clark's death made a lasting impact as Luthor, based on Clark's insight, quickly finds a way to destroy the remaining Martians and freeing Earth in the process. As Earth recovered from the invasion, a statue of Clark Kent is erected in front of the new League of Nations as a testament to his bravery, bearing an epitaph: "He was born on one world - grew to manhood on another - and saved his adopted planet from the wrath of a third, during the WAR OF THE WORLDS."
- Clark Kent doesn't refer to himself as Superman, despite wearing his signature "S" emblem which he stated "was on a blanket [he] came wrapped in a long time ago."
- Clark, unlike the contemporary incarnations of Superman, doesn't exhibit his true powers during the onset of the Martian invasion.
- 1 Appearances of Kal-El (Earth-1938)
- 2 Images featuring Kal-El (Earth-1938)
- Quotations by or about Kal-El (Earth-1938)
- Character Gallery: Kal-El (Earth-1938)
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