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Quote1 But I need being Clark-- I need a private life just like anyone! In the past, I've tried assuming other identities-- But it just didn't work! Clark Kent is as much a part of who I am as Kal-El of Krypton is! Ma and Pa Kent... The way they raised me... My boyhood in Smallville-- They made me what I am-- And I'd sooner die than give it up! Quote2
Superman src
Superman is Earth's premier superhero and the stalwart protector of Metropolis. Born Kal-El on the distant planet Krypton, he was sent to Earth as a child to survive Krypton's destruction. Raised with high moral ideals, he uses his extraordinary superpowers to fight evil and protect the innocent. In his civilian identity he is Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter working for the Daily Planet in Metropolis.

The Last Son of Krypton

Kal-El was born to the highly decorated scientific genius Jor-El and his wife Lara, a former astronaut on their home planet of Krypton. Like all Kryptonians, Kal-El had no superhuman powers or abilities on Krypton due to the rays of its red sun Rao, but was, like his father, a very astute and intelligent boy who learned to speak and read in his native language by the time he was three years old.

About the same time, Jor-El learned that Krypton was doomed to explode, and he brought this to the attention of Krypton's technocratic ruling body, the Kryptonian Science Council. Fearing the worst for his planet, Jor-El advised the Council to build a fleet of space rockets to carry the population farther away from the dying planet.

Disbelieving Jor-El's prediction, the ruling council refused to warn their fellow Kryptonians and forbade Jor-El to do so. Lara pledged to remain with her husband when Jor-El tried to force her to leave along with her son so that the escape rocket would have a better chance of surviving the trip. Knowing that Krypton was soon to explode, Jor-El launched the ship to Earth, knowing that Earth's lower gravity and the yellow sun would give his son incredible powers.

Adopted by the Kents

The rocket crash-landed on Earth in an open field outside of Smallville, Kansas. It was there that the rocket and the young Kal-El were discovered by small land farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent. Upon finding the young boy, Martha became attached to Kal-El while Jonathan elected to have the child's true family found. Martha persuades Jonathan to keep the boy as their adopted child, naming him Clark. [8]

The Kents fashioned a set of clothes for their "Superbaby" from the now-virtually indestructible red, blue and yellow blankets in the rocket. This same Kryptonian fabric was later used to create the costume Kal-El would wear as Superboy and Superman.

Jonathan and Martha instill in him a good sense of right and wrong but also a good appreciation to try to fit into society as a positive being using his talents for the local townspeople's welfare. The young Clark takes the advice to heart and starts helping people out as Superboy, starting at the age of eight years old. It is as the heroic Superboy that Clark begins to find his true calling. Meanwhile, as Clark Kent, Kal-El pretends to be a normal human and forms connections with Lana Lang and Pete Ross while going through the stages of his primary and secondary education. While Lana tries repeatedly to prove that Clark Kent and Superboy are the same person, it is Pete who actually bears witness to Clark's secret with his own eyes, watching in secret as Clark changes into his Superboy costume during a camping trip. Nevertheless, Pete takes it upon himself never to reveal this secret to anyone, and never to give any indication to Clark that he might know it either. Superboy discovers his origins from Krypton for the first time by overtaking light rays reflected off the dead planet prior to its destruction.[9] As he grows older and his powers increase, however, Kal-El develops total recall of his first few years of life on Krypton, as a function of his eidetic memory. This at times leads to some frustrating moments between him and his foster parents such as when Krypto (Kal-El's now-superpowered puppy from Krypton) first arrives in Smallville, having been launched into space by Jor-El to test the prototype of the rocket which later carried Kal-El. Though there are several mishaps in Superboy's life on Earth, they never really lead to the troubles of teenage rebellion. Deciding to support his public actions, Martha unravels Clark's blankets and reweaves them into the familiar costume. Clark continues to use Martha's design throughout all of his costume career.

Superboy

As Clark grows up on Earth, he is mindful to obey the laws of humanity and works directly with Police Chief Parker and other law enforcement agencies, which leads to Superboy's acceptance as a hero by the people of Smallville. In fact, by the time Clark is around 12 or so, the town officially recognizes their most popular citizen with a billboard that publicly announces: "Welcome to Smallville - the home of Superboy". Nonetheless, Superboy's presence attracted all manner of trouble to himself, chiefly in the form of protecting his secret identity and combatting criminals and alien beings. It is during this period that Clark first learns about his vulnerability to Green Kryptonite, when Jonathan Kent accidentally exposes him to it and it has an immediate effect. Even then, Clark managed to keep awareness of this weakness secret as Superboy for a time, until the Smallville municipal government declared the first "Earthday" (the anniversary of baby Kal-El's arrival on Earth) as a local holiday, when a scientist unveiled a sample of Kryptonite in Superboy's honor and inadvertently caused him to collapse during a televised news broadcast. From that day onwards, the whole world knew that Kryptonite could weaken or kill Superboy.[10] Later, Superboy encounters the threat of Red Kryptonite when a Martian traveler exposes him to it and creates an evil duplicate of his Clark Kent persona.[11]

The Legion of Super-Heroes

Superboy is also contacted by a club of adolescent superheroes from the 30th Century, known as the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legionnaires Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy appear to Clark in Smallville and reveal they know his double-life as Superboy. Explaining that they originate from the future, the Legionnaires escort Clark to the 30th century and have him compete against each of them in a battery of tests, in order to evaluate Superboy's worthiness to join the Legion. Superboy technically fails all three tests, albeit because he was distracted by crises popping up elsewhere on the way to his objective. When Clark takes the declaration of his rejection by the Legion like a good sport, not once considering making excuses for himself, the Legionnaires inform Clark that they were truly testing Clark's character with his response and had simulated all the crises that diverted Superboy from his objective all three times. Superboy is thusly made a member of the Legion and sent back to his own time with a Legion medal from the future, in addition to the knowledge that the Legion would return to have many more adventures with him, both in the present and the future.[12] Superboy encounters Ultra Boy for the first time when the youth is dispatched from the 30th century by the Legion to uncover Superboy's secret identity for his initiation test. Succeeding in his mission, Ultra Boy helps Superboy rescue Pete Ross from a booby-trapped bank vault before explaining his intent and returning to the future.[13] Superboy was later present in the Legion's battle against a masked foe who possessed all the Legionnaires' super-powers and participated in the lightning-rod ritual on Korbal to revive Lightning Lad after an encounter with space-pirates left him in a death-approximating state.[14][15] Superboy and the Legion encountered their first major nemesis when the Time Trapper created an Iron Curtain of Time blocking time-travel more than a few months into the Legion's 30th-century future.[16][17] Superboy made several attempts to shatter the Iron Curtain of Time by accelerating to multiple times the speed of light, all to no avail. The Time Trapper then stepped up his game by impersonating the commissioner of the Science Police and subjecting the Legionnaires to grueling psychological torture to uncover the secret of an ultimate weapon called the Concentrator. Although he failed, the Trapper directed a barrage of dark stars at the Legion to finish them off, which even Superboy could not repel in time. The Legion had to construct the Concentrator and draw upon every power source in the universe to repel the onslaught, after which the team decided that capturing the Trapper would have to be their number-one priority going forth.[18]

The Beginnings of the Rogues Gallery

One day, Superboy was incapacitated by a large Kryptonite meteorite on the property of the Luthor family. By pure happenstance, the boy tending the fields, Lex, happened upon the scene and removed the Kryptonite from the vicinity with his quick thinking. Lex gushed over Superboy's legendary achievements, explaining that he was the Boy of Steel's most devoted fan and that his great interest was in the sciences, despite spending most of his days working the fields on his family property to supplement their income. A flattered Superboy responded by fixing up a makeshift laboratory and stocking it with rare chemical substances for Lex to use. Using the means at his disposal to achieve the impossible and create primitive life, Lex planned to thank Superboy by synthesizing a serum that would remove Superboy's Kryptonite vulnerability, but he knocked over a vial of flammable liquid in his excitement and set his lab ablaze. Superboy arrived and blew out the fire with his super-breath, but he unintentionally blew a vial of strong acid into Lex's protoplasmic lifeform, destroying it. To add insult to injury, the fumes generated from the reaction caused all of Lex's hair to fall out and cauterized his hair follicles so that it could never regrow. In his rage and bewilderment at being denied on the cusp of the ultimate scientific victory, and resentful of his new appearance, Lex accused Superboy of thwarting him deliberately out of envy and spent the next few months trying to surpass Superboy as Smallville's resident hero by boosting the town's commerce and welfare with his inventions. Unfortunately, every last one of Lex's inventions went wrong and caused disaster. This led Lex into a downward spiral towards insane, unreasoning hate, as Lex's failed inventions caused the people of Smallville to resent and distrust him and brand him as an outcast. Lex then took his rivalry with Superboy to the next level, creating machines and unique scenarios to destroy the teenaged hero outright. This was the last straw for the Luthor family, which disowned Lex, left Smallville, changed their surname to "Thorul," and told Lex's little sister Lena when she grew older that her brother died in an accident. His future prospects ruined and his reputation irreparable, Lex had nowhere else to go from there- except for reform school. Lex would continue to challenge Superboy even into their adulthood, and just as in their adolescence, Lex would formulate schemes to eradicate his arch-enemy only to be foiled every time and jailed like a common criminal.[19][20]

While bearing witness to Professor Dalton's exhibition of a Duplicator Ray, which could theoretically materialize perfect copies of existing objects down to the molecular level but actually created imperfect duplicates, Superboy was accidentally hit by the ray. The product of this mishap was the materialization of a malformed copy of Superboy, possessing all of Superboy's powers and vague hints of his memories, but bearing an ugly, chalk-white, chiseled face and a subnormal intelligence. Overhearing Superboy calling it "bizarre," the creature assumed that its name must be "Bizarro" and wandered aimlessly as Superboy and the U.S. Army endeavored, unsuccessfully, to destroy it. Bizarro met only one human who was cordial to it, much less not running in terror from it: a blind girl, who could not perceive Bizarro's appearance and therefore could not be repulsed by it. Superboy ultimately figured out that the irradiated fragments of Dalton's destroyed Duplicator Ray had a similar effect on Bizarro that Kryptonite had on him. Possibly realizing that he did not belong in this world, Bizarro collided directly with Superboy while Superboy was holding an irradiated fragment of Dalton's machine as a shield. As a result, Bizarro disintegrated into the unliving matter from which it was formed. Tragically, Bizarro accomplished its one and only good deed only in death, as the vibrations from its collision with Superboy miraculously restored the blind girl's sight. The girl's final words on the matter - "I never saw Bizarro myself, while blind! But I know, from his gentle voice, that he must have had a kind face!"[21]

It is during his youth that Clark first encounters the juvenile 5th-dimensional imp Mxyzptlk, who breached the third-dimension with a space warp against the wishes of his elders. For no reason other than the sake of mischief-making, Mxyzptlk tries to prank Superboy several times, but Mxyzptlk's parents reveal to Superboy that the imp can be forcibly recalled to the 5th dimension for a 90-day period if he says his name backwards - "Kltpzyxm." Tricking Mxyzptlk into doing as such begins a long rivalry between Clark and Mxyzptlk which would extend well into Clark's adult life.[22]

The Legacy of Krypton

Superboy would encounter remnants of the Kryptonian civilization during his time on Earth, starting with a casket of technological artifacts from Krypton that crashed on Earth and was discovered by Lana Lang's archaeologist father, Professor Lewis Lang. Superboy was summoned by the professor to open the casket and deciphered the note left within, written in Kryptonese by his father Jor-El, which explained that the devices contained were powerful weapons, illegally manufactured on Krypton by Jor-El's cousin Kru-El. Contained along with the arsenal of forbidden weapons was the Phantom Zone Projector, which the Kryptonian penal system used in lieu of prisons and capital punishment to banish Krypton's criminal element to an ethereal twilight dimension: The Phantom Zone. Superboy was transported to the Phantom Zone when a lizard pressed a button on the back of the Projector. However, Superboy realized that he had a limited influence on the physical world, even as a phantom, by focusing his thoughts, and used this method to clue Jonathan Kent in on his predicament and arrange his release from the Zone. Afterwards, Superboy placed the Phantom Zone Projector and other Kryptonian weapons back into the casket and deposited it at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, where only he could locate and access it.[23] Over the years, Superboy would have to contend with the escape of Kryptonian criminals from the Phantom Zone back into the physical world and the havoc they would play with his life. Many of the Phantom Zoners had a personal reason to despise Superman, as his father Jor-El played a role in catching and prosecuting many of them. Although mostly powerless in the form of wraiths, they exerted a low-level psionic influence over the physical world and frequently broadcast their thoughts in sync with one another to facilitate their escape. Nuclear experiments, atom bomb tests, chemical accidents, and scientific mishaps also had the potential to tear a hole in the veil separating the corporeal and incorporeal planes, which the Phantom Zoners exploited whenever possible.

Superboy briefly believed that he had a brother when a rocket crash-landed in Smallville carrying a strangely-garbed teenager with similar powers as Superboy. Although the youth had retrograde amnesia and could recall nothing of his past, the boy's rocket contained a letter bearing Kryptonese well-wishes from Jor-El and Lara, leading Superboy to assume his Kryptonian ancestry and familial relationship. Because the rocket arrived on Earth on a Monday, Superboy constructed a Kryptonian name for his "brother": Mon-El. Meanwhile, Mon-El would adopt his own "secret identity" as a traveling salesman to obfuscate any relationship with Clark Kent. When Mon-El had no reaction to Green Kryptonite radiations and Krypto failed to recognize him, Superboy began to suspect Mon-El of secret, malicious motives for appearing in his life. To force Mon-El to reveal his presumed treachery, Superboy exposed him to lead coated with phosphorescent green paint to resemble Kryptonite. This caused Mon-El to experience a strong reaction to the metal and had the unintended effect of restoring his memories. Mon-El explained that he came from a planet called Daxam, whose inhabitants have powers approximating those of Kryptonians under the yellow sun, and that he stopped briefly on Krypton prior to the destruction of that planet, having met and befriended Jor-El and Lara in the process. As Daxamites have a similar reaction to lead as Kryptonians do to Green Kryptonite, with the added caveat that the effects are irreversible, Superboy determined that the only way to save his life would be to banish him to the Phantom Zone until such time as a cure for Daxamite lead-poisoning could be devised.[24] In the 30th Century, a temporary salve for Daxamite lead-poisoning would be formulated by the Legion of Super-Heroes, allowing Mon-El to join their adventures for limited periods. After helping to best a hostile android sent to the future by Lex Luthor, Mon-El was unanimously inaugurated into the Legionnaires' ranks.[25] When Brainiac 5 created a permanent cure for his lead poisoning, Mon-El was released from the Phantom Zone for good.[26]

Superboy would later encounter a genuine survivor of Krypton of comparable age to himself: the juvenile delinquent Dev-Em, who tried to ruin his reputation by banishing Superboy to the Phantom Zone and impersonating him to frame him for incorrigible actions, before letting Superboy go free and using his powers to travel into the 30th Century.[27][28] There, Dev-Em would learn the error of his ways and join the Interstellar Counterintelligence Corps of the United Planets, aiding the Legion of Super-Heroes on several notable occasions.[29]

The Death of the Kents

During Clark's teenage years on Earth, the Kents had sold their farm, became shopkeepers in Smallville and settled into a more modern lifestyle supporting Clark's day-to-day life as well as his superhero activities. But they grew elderly and eventually died of a tropical fever, when on a voyage. Even with all his abilities and science, Clark could not save them. Before dying, Jonathan Kent reminded Clark to continue doing good deeds and not lose sight of who he was.[30]

The Secret Years

With the death of his foster parents, Clark left Smallville and resettled in Metropolis, deciding to continue his costumed career as a public hero. Attending university to obtain his degree in journalism for the sake of his future profession, Clark would continue to operate as Superboy in the city for some months. One of Clark's early Metropolis exploits would involve thwarting a scheme by Lex Luthor to manipulate a computerized banking system to make illicit transfers and withdrawals. Later, Clark would meet and fall head over heels for the handicapped foreign student Lori Lemaris, whom he would have informal dates with on multiple occasions. In addition, Clark rapidly made friends with fellow student Billy Cramer. Clark entrusted Billy with the secret of his double-life and bequeathed him a supersonic whistle to summon him in case of emergencies, but unfortunately, Billy was killed in the process of rescuing a child from a burning building while Superboy was preoccupied. Once more, Clark would acutely experience the guilt of failing to protect those important to him. To compound Clark's grief, Lori informed Clark that they would no longer see each other and that she would be returning to her homeland shortly. Clark investigated Lori's background out of concern and arrived at the fantastic conclusion that the woman he loved was a mermaid from Atlantis, dispatched to survey the progress of the surface world under human guise. Lori also revealed that she knew from her concealed telepathic abilities that Clark was Superboy all along. Together, Clark and Lori rescued a valley full of people from the flooding caused by a burst dam, and then shared one last intimate moment together before Lori returned to the ocean. Luthor made his comeback in spectacular fashion, launching a network of satellites into orbit around the Earth which would beam enough energy into Lex to make him into Superboy's physical equivalent. Hijacking every broadcasting frequency the world over, Luthor presented Superboy with an ultimatum: to face him one-on-one or watch as his satellites rained orbital devastation down upon the planet. Even with Luthor's new advantage, Superboy won the day and returned Luthor to prison. This victory would serve as a line of demarcation in Kal-El's costumed career: Feeling he had experienced enough that he no longer ranked as a kid, a seasoned Clark Kent changed his superhero alter ego from Superboy to Superman.[31][32][33][34][35]

The Man of Tomorrow

The Fortress of Solitude

One of the first determinations which Superman made as a fully-fledged costumed hero was to establish a base for himself to work on secret projects, store sensitive equipment and items, and be left to private thoughts. Superman created his first Fortress of Solitude in outer space, believing that he would be more isolated and undisturbed in space than in any Earthly locale. However, a malevolent presence called Urko the Terrible invaded the space-borne Fortress and tried to attack Superman by animating statues of his friends and loved ones, forcing Superman to destroy Urko. Subsequently, Superman scoped out an area in the Earth's core as a potential location for a second Fortress, only to be assaulted by a sentient race of magma-creatures which he had disturbed.[36] For a time, Superman maintained an undersea fortress, but he finally elected to establish his Fortress's permanent location in the Arctic, hidden behind an enormous door capable of being unlocked only by a gigantic key, weighing hundreds of tons and disguised as an airplane marker.[37][38][39] Within the Fortress, Superman created halls dedicated to his greatest friends (i.e. Jimmy Olsen, Batman, Lois Lane, Legion of Super-Heroes) and most pernicious foes (i.e. Lex Luthor), including memorabilia from adventures involving them in some manner. In addition, Superman would store The Bottle City of Kandor and the Phantom Zone Projector in the Fortress, as well as an interplanetary zoo, an arsenal of high-tech and extraterrestrial-designed weaponry, and the incinerator pit called the Atomic Cauldron. While temporarily admitting the public into his Fortress for a charity drive, Superman failed to screen out two members of the Anti-Superman Gang, who combined the two components of a chemical explosive once inside and hid it. Only for the warning of the people of Kandor was Superman able to detect the explosive and dispose of it before nabbing the culprits.[40]

The Daily Planet

After graduating from college with his journalism degree, Clark rented an apartment and set about looking for a profession in the big city. Ultimately, Clark applied with the Daily Planet newspaper, where Perry White held a position as editor-in-chief and Lois Lane was already employed as a reporter. At first, Perry saw Clark as a pest and tried to stymie Clark into leaving, first by quizzing Clark on historically significant Planet bylines, then by sending Clark on assignments to uneventful, humdrum locations, and finally by tasking Clark with convincing Superman to pose with a confiscated chunk of Kryptonite in front of a camera. To Perry's astonishment, Clark managed everything Perry had requested (with a little help from his super-powers) in spite of the impossibility of it all, so Clark was hired on as an investigative reporter. Over the next few years, Clark and Perry would develop a healthy mutual respect, with Perry never once suspecting that "timid" Clark Kent was in fact the Man of Steel.[41] However, Lois was considerably keener than Perry in that department and harbored unconfirmed suspicions that Clark was secretly the Man of Steel for years. At first, Lois believed that Clark's timid manner made it extremely unlikely that Clark was Superman, but a series of events changed her mind on the matter. She witnessed Clark crushing a telephone in his grip out of frustration and saw Clark change into costume on the night of a Daily Planet masquerade party. Lois tried testing her theory by exposing Clark to a minute quantity of Kryptonite concealed within a pipe. When Clark evidenced no weakness, Lois was prepared to give up until she realized that the pipe she had used was lead and would block the radiations. Although Clark substituted the lead pipe with an aluminum one while Lois was out-of-office to mislead her, Lois held her suspicions that Clark and Superman were the same man from that day forward.[42] Although Lois made numerous attempts to test her theory, she never succeeded in obtaining any concrete evidence. Lois's suspicions would recur upon noticing Clark making surreptitious usage of his Kryptonian abilities, only for Clark to mastermind an alibi or fabricate evidence of baseline human normalcy to put these suspicions to a rest, at least for the moment. Copy boy and staff photographer Jimmy Olsen became Superman's best pal, even being given a watch that could emit a supersonic frequency by Superman, to summon him in case of an emergency. Like Lois, Jimmy also went on his own series of adventures, although many involved bizarre and unusual transformations into superhuman or non-human beings. Once his reputation as "Superman's pal" became widespread, a fan club sprung up in honor of Jimmy, whose members wore bowties, red wigs, and green plaid jackets in ritual imitation of the man. Jimmy himself became the fan club president.

The Thing From 40,000 A.D.

Superman would encounter all manner of nefarious villains and strange monsters in the first couple of years in his career. One notable antagonist was an amorphous creature with intentions of world conquest, known only as The Thing From 40,000 A.D.. After arriving from the distant future of 40,000 A.D., the gelatinous monstrosity duplicated Superman's form and powers and engaged him in a lengthy battle. Only when Superman's and the creature's respective durability levels were tested by an A-bomb test did the monster meet its demise.[43]

Superman vs. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor continued to be the source of innumerable problems for Superman, especially in his early career when few other foes matched Luthor's cunning and intellect. In an era when a dearth of truly powerful enemies caused Superman's indestructibility to go mostly unchallenged, Luthor devised all manner of ingenious gimmicks to circumvent it. On one occasion, Luthor created an armor that would siphon and redirect Superman's power. Luthor set off a series of explosions around Metropolis to trick Superman into expending himself physically attending to them, while Luthor built up that expended energy within his armor and used it to go on a one-man crime spree. Superman defeated Luthor by deliberately exposing himself to Kryptonite, causing the energy in Luthor's armor to dissipate along with his own.[44] On another occasion, Luthor ingested a serum that enabled him to passively emit Kryptonite radiation from his body, briefly rechristening himself the Kryptonite Man, and using a satellite device to transmute all lead on Earth into glass. Forced to flee from Luthor and unable to use lead armor for protection, Superman resorted to trickery to convince Luthor that his serum was inert and manipulate him into ingesting the antidote.[45] After Superman made an alliance with Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, Lex Luthor responded by opening a period of cooperation with the Joker to humiliate their longtime enemies. To accomplish this, Luthor and Joker feigned reformation and entered into a legitimate business enterprise in mass-producing android laborers called "Mechano-Men" for menial jobs. Multiple times, Luthor and the Joker deceived Superman and Batman into believing them to be committing criminal activity, in order to make the legendary heroes appear as impulsive fools to the public. Superman took up impersonating one of Luthor's Mechano-Men to investigate the evil duo for plans of villainy, only to be detected by Luthor and Joker almost immediately. Nevertheless, Luthor and Joker tried to make Superman's cluelessness work to their advantage, conducting a quick heist while Mechano-Men built in their images were busy taking up the heroes' attentions elsewhere. Fortunately, Superman and Batman outsmarted Luthor and Joker and sent them both up the river.[46] Superman and Batman would team up against Lex again when the villain shrunk himself and his gang down to the size of dolls, tricked Superman into smuggling them into the Fortress of Solitude, and invaded Kandor with the intention of establishing their rule in the bottle city, raiding it for Kryptonian technology and weapons, and luring Superman into the city to overpower and capture him. Batman and Robin discovered Luthor's scheme by pursuing leads through the members of his gang and provided the assistance to Superman which ultimately proved pivotal to Luthor's defeat.[47] At a technology expo, a disguised Luthor tried to trick Superman into testing a faulty teleporter, which would disassemble Superman at the atomic scale, but the plot was exposed by Batman, Robin, and Batwoman.[48] Later, Luthor would summon Hercules from the mythical past to help him knock over banks. This time, it was Hercules's own self-image as a hero and distaste for being used which caused Luthor's plan to backfire.[49] In spite of repeated failure, Luthor's boundless ego prevented him from ever stopping to try to best the Man of Steel, with such ingenious devices as a cannon that could absorb and redirect Superman's power at him, an illusion-caster that could make Superman artificially sense the proximity of Kryptonite, and a spherical prison capsule linked by EM wave emissions to a nuclear bomb underneath the foundations of Metropolis.[50][51][52]

Luthor created his own answer to Superman's Fortress of Solitude in the form of "Luthor's Lair," a concealed hideout within a museum building whose construction Luthor had funded under a false identity. The main defining feature of Luthor's Lair was a Hall of Heroes containing statues of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Captain Kidd, Al Capone, and other infamous marauders and outlaws. Luthor vowed to add his own statue to the gallery once he had contented himself with Superman's humiliation and destruction.[53] The police eventually became privy to knowledge of the lair's location and surrounded him, forcing Luthor to blast off in a rocket for another world populated by sentient androids. Held prisoner there for the destruction of one of the ruling robot-caste, Superman had to outwit the robots so Luthor could complete his sentence on Earth. Afterwards, Luthor forced Superman to let him go, pointing out that the robot planet was outside the jurisdiction of Earth law, although it also meant he would be marooned on the planet as a consequence.[54] Winning the robot ruling-caste's trust by providing them with a defense against a swarm of belligerent giant insects, Luthor contrived to release three rebels of the planet's underclass from cryogenic suspension and transformed them with his machines into creatures made of diamond, lead, and Green Kryptonite. Luthor used these beings to attack interplanetary shipping lanes as a space-pirate to provoke another confrontation with Superman, but the android henchmen rebelled against their evil master, sacrificing themselves so that Luthor could be stopped.[55] Back on Earth, Luthor tried to use a device on Superman to turn him into an incorporeal wraith, but wound up creating a "negative" duplicate of Superman instead.[56] After perfecting the device (or a similar machine), Luthor teamed up with the Joker once again to confound Superman and Batman and rob a rare gem exhibit in Metropolis.[57] Luthor formed an alliance with a duo of greedy aliens to draw Superman off-world and use an android duplicate to impersonate him on Earth. By making the Superman robot perform crimes such as looting silver, Luthor could make Superman's name anathema to the people of Metropolis and recompense the aliens with the stolen silver, which was the most valuable specie on their home-planet. Fortunately, the real Superman untangled Luthor's scheme with Batman and Robin's help and cleared his name.[58]

Superman vs. Brainiac

Superman's greatest enemy (Lex Luthor excluded) was not destined to come from the Earth but rather from the stars, as Brainiac, self-proclaimed Master of Super-Scientific Forces, descended upon the blue planet to miniaturize several of the world's major cities, including Metropolis, and teleport them into oxygenated bottles simulating the environments and gravity of the captive cities' world of origin. Reduced in size to that of an insect, Superman set about contriving a way to free the captive Earth cities from Brainiac's grip, only to make the unexpected find of a preserved Kryptonian city in miniature, Kandor. Brainiac captured the city prior to Krypton's destruction, which Superman learned about during his sojourn in the bottle city. Superman then waited for Brainiac to believe he had won, whereupon he entered suspended animation, and used the machinery in Brainiac's ship to restore the Earth cities to their proper sizes and locations upon the planet. With only enough charge left to enlarge himself or Kandor, Superman was prepared to sacrifice for the welfare of his people, only for the decision to be taken out of his hands when a Kandorian scientist pressed the button to enlarge Superman instead. Superman then kept Kandor under safekeeping in his Fortress of Solitude, vowing to its citizens that he would see to its enlargement and freedom by any means necessary.[59] Later, Brainiac returned to Earth to expose Superman to a blast containing radiations of Green Kryptonite and Red Kryptonite. To divert suspicions about his true identity and keep Brainiac guessing, Superman convinced everyone that the effect of the blast was to compel Superman to carry out rescues and solve crimes while wearing unusual hats, though the truth was that Superman manifested a third eye on the back of his head which his activities were intended to obfuscate. Beating Brainiac with a concentrated burst of heat vision, Superman sent the villain into the distant past.[60] Brainiac remained in a state of suspended animation within his space-craft from the Mesozoic Era through the invention of the first wheel by prehistoric man. Awakened when said wheel smashed into the protective glass of his space-pod, Brainiac returned through a time-warp to the present and challenged Superman while he, as Clark Kent, was accompanying Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White to investigate a native uprising in the Congo. Neutralizing Superman with a Kryptonite-gas grenade, Brainiac reduced the Man of Tomorrow and his Daily Planet friends to the size of ants and encapsulated them in a bottle. Brainiac was undone when Congorilla, controlled by the intelligence of big-game hunter Congo Bill, helped Superman and friends out of their captivity while Brainiac was distracted by the unusual behavior of Congo Bill, whose body in turn fell under the control of the gorilla's intelligence.[61]

The Menace of Metallo

John Corben, a reporter by profession and racketeer/murderer on the side, ran off the road in his automobile one rainy night and was reconstructed by the benevolent Professor Emmett Vale as a cyborg dependent upon uranium capsules to survive on a day-to-day basis. Although Vale did mention that one other substance had the potential to sustain Corben in his new body indefinitely, he collapsed from a stroke before divulging that detail, even as his house became buried under a rockslide. Corben soon discovered his superior strength and invulnerability, going on a rampage in the pursuit of uranium stockpiles held at military and research facilities. Branded by the press as Metallo, Corben took advantage of the fact that his identity remained unknown to the authorities, seeking a job at the Daily Planet as an excuse to get close to Lois Lane and even letting her believe that he was Superman. Meanwhile, Corben returned to a revived Professor Vale and learned from Vale that Kryptonite was the substance that could power him indefinitely. Metallo then seized the Kryptonite in Vale's house safe and implanted it in his chest like a "heart" to grant him a permanent charge. Guessing at Metallo's M.O., Superman arranged to have a fake Kryptonite rock put on display in a museum, hoping to trap Metallo. The trap worked almost too well, as Metallo removed his Kryptonite heart to hold Superman at bay while substituting it for the fake Kryptonite on display. As a result, Metallo died for his error, whereas Superman melted the real Kryptonite with his heat vision just in time to save his life.[62]

The Supergirl From Krypton

A few months after finding Kandor, Superman witnessed a Kryptonian rocket crashing near the outskirts of Metropolis. When Superman went to check out the place, he found his cousin Kara. Evidently, a metropolitan district on Krypton named Argo City was not destroyed with the planet itself, but rather propelled into deep space with an atmosphere-retaining protective dome around it. When the soil upon which Argo City was built turned to Kryptonite due to irradiation, Jor-El's brother Zor-El had the ground plated with lead to protect the Kryptonian survivors from succumbing. Over time, Zor-El affixed a jet drive to the base of Argo City to allow it to blast through space into a system with a yellow sun. Religious fanatic Jer-Em opposed this decision, believing that Rao created the Kryptonian race to live under the rays of a red sun and never to manifest super-powers, so he tampered with the jet drive to propel Argo City back into Krypton's solar system. For his counterproductive interference, Zor-El banished Jer-Em to the Phantom Zone. As a result of Jer-Em's actions, Argo City collided with a shower of meteoroids that punctured its lead plating, consigning its inhabitants to slowly die of Kryptonite poisoning. Like Jor-El before him, Zor-El only had sufficient time to construct a one-person space vessel and sent his daughter Kara to Earth to reunite with her cousin Kal-El. Overjoyed to find his long-lost relative but being unable to take care of her at the time, Superman sent his teen cousin to Midvale Orphanage under the human alias "Linda Lee," even as he trained her to control her vast powers.[63][64] During this time, Kara embarked on her own series of independent adventures separate from those of her famous cousin. The first time that Supergirl directly involved herself in one of Superman's adventures was when the Kandorian scientist Kull-Ex framed Superman for causing catastrophes on Earth.[65] The Legion of Super-Heroes would appear to Supergirl with an offer of membership, but sadly, she flunked their entry test for new applicants on a technicality and was told to try again some other time.[66] Next year, the Legion returned for Supergirl to try again. This time, she and Brainiac 5 were chosen for membership. Supergirl and Brainiac 5 felt an attraction to each other starting from their first meeting, though for several years Supergirl's "official" boyfriend was Jerro, an Atlantean merman. As Linda Lee, Supergirl also grew attracted to a boy named Dick Malverne, whom she first met in the orphanage. Supergirl's final test of fortitude began when the wicked Kandorian scientist and Kara Zor-El look-alike, Lesla-Lar, used a teleportation/size-reduction ray on Kara while she slept at night to switch places with Kara in Midvale. To perfect the involuntary swap, Lesla-Lar brainwashed the sleeping Kara upon arrival in Kandor, so that Kara would in fact believe herself to be Lesla-Lar until returned to her proper place outside the bottle city. Impersonating Supergirl, Lesla-Lar hatched a scheme to assist Lex Luthor in creating a Kryptonite-ray weapon, with the intention of killing Lex in a staged accident after Lex killed Superman. From there, Lesla-Lar would indulge in the fame and attention that she knew Kara would receive had Superman ever allowed her to go public, in addition to plotting the takeover of the Earth at her leisure. However, Lesla-Lar's plan was repeatedly disrupted by Kara's activities in Kandor while brainwashed into her false identity, the interference of Krypto, who could smell the difference between Lesla-Lar and Kara, and the need for the plan to accommodate both Lesla-Lar's and Kara's Circadian rhythms. During the periods when Lesla-Lar was restricted to Kandor, she robbed Kara of her powers artificially using an energy siphon. Fortunately, the convoluted scheme was put on ice before it could reach fruition by the Kandorian police, who discovered that Lesla-Lar was experimenting with forbidden materials and arrested her. Meanwhile, Kara learned from Superman's vain efforts to restore her powers that she could manifest them in past and future time periods, but not in the present. Then, suddenly, Kara did appear to regain her powers, plus an immunity to Kryptonite radiation, but unbeknowst to her, these were powers bestowed on her by Mr. Mxyzptlk with magic as part of an intended prank on Superman. As these events were occurring, there was a shake-up of the status quo in Kara's personal life, as she was adopted by the caring suburbanite Danvers family and began to take her relationship with Dick Malverne to the next level. Confident in her newfound immunity to Kryptonite, Supergirl tried to gather up Red Kryptonite meteoroid and destroy them for the benefit of her cousin, only to realize too late that she was only made specifically immune to Green Kryptonite. After suffering through 6 Red K-induced mutations, Supergirl was introduced by Superman before the entire world and officially deputized as an enforcer of the law by all the United Nations, complete with an international passport. Superman also helped Linda reveal her identity as Supergirl to her new adoptive parents, after Linda was forced to use her powers to save their car from a bridge collapse. Linda and Superman made sure to swear the Danvers family into secrecy about Linda's double-life, for the sake of their own protection. Not long after, Supergirl had one of her first true independent victories, defeating the Infinite Monster by replicating Brainiac 5's shrink-ray with blueprints sent from the future. Afterwards, Superman declared Supergirl coequal with him in their shared mission and placed trust in her to substitute for him during periods of absence.[67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74] Supergirl was tested once again when Lex Luthor launched another crime-spree, believing her very existence to be a hoax conjured by Superman to discourage criminals while off-world (and apparently having dismissed or forgotten about Lesla-Lar's impersonation). Luthor made his move by trying a duplicate of Brainiac's shrink-ray on a bank franchise and stealing it away. When Supergirl intervened, Luthor fled and accidentally killed himself. Resolute that Luthor should serve out his sentence in full, Supergirl found a way to revive Luthor from clinical death and returned him to prison.[75] Supergirl would continue to operate on an independent basis, amassing her own cast of friends, such as Lex Luthor's sister Lena and the centaur Biron, who was transformed by a mystical enchantment into Comet the Super-Horse. Then came the day that Supergirl discovered that her biological parents did not truly die with the rest of Argo City but in fact beamed themselves into an other-dimensional "Survival Zone" parallel to the Phantom Zone. Because of the proximity of the Survival Zone to Earth, Zor-El and Allura made telepathic contact with Kara and instructed her to release them. Upon their escape, Zor-El and Allura realized that their daughter had formed a legitimate connection with her human foster-parents and that they did not fit into Earth society, so they entered the bottle-city of Kandor to resume the relationships they had once formed on Krypton, while allowing Kara to have two sets of parents for the two different "worlds" she inhabited: Krypton and Earth.[76]

Superman vs. Bizarro

A menace from Superman's past would be restored, as Lex Luthor recreated the imperfect Duplicator Ray of Professor Dalton and tricked Superman into letting Luthor use it on him. As a result, Luthor produced a Bizarro Superman that retained the memories of his predecessor but had an overwhelming compulsion to prove its worth to Lois Lane. Obsessed with winning Lois's hand in marriage, Bizarro whisked the lady reporter to a tropical island and created an imperfect duplicate of himself with the Duplicator Ray. The result was a new Bizarro that had the unblemished, unaltered appearance of the real Superman but the corrupted, childlike mind of the original Bizarro. While Lois may not have been more impressed by the new Bizarro than the old one, the two flawed entities found much to despise about the other and were soon embroiled in a duel to the death. With Superman's help, the original Bizarro destroyed the new Bizarro, and Lois used the Duplicator Ray on herself to create a perfect mate for Bizarro: a Bizarro Lois Lane. Together, the two took off for the depths of space, to find an imperfect world that they could call their own.[77][78]

Bizarro and his bride settled upon an uninhabited Earth-like world and stumbled upon the ruins of an extinct civilization, reusing the materials of its abandoned cities to create a distorted replica of Metropolis. When Bizarro Lois grew lonely, Bizarro used the Duplicator Ray to create an entire population of Bizarro Supermen and Bizarro Lois Lanes. The originals were enshrined as rulers of the planet and distinguished themselves from their subjects by wearing necklaces bearing stone engravings proclaiming them both #1. By chance, Superman stumbled upon the Bizarro World and committed one faux pas too many in working to make things "more perfect" for the benefit of its people. Little did Superman know that this was a grave violation of the Bizarro Code, which enforced a reverence for ugliness and adherence to the opposite of normal Earthly conduct as laws, causing Bizarro #1 to have Superman jailed along with a select population of Bizarros which lacked the backwards insanity characteristic of their kind. As punishment, Superman was sentenced to transformation into a Bizarro, whereas a Bizarro Lois that unsuccessfully tried to free Superman disguised as Bizarro Lois #1 was sentenced to death. Fortunately, Superman stymied Bizarro #1 by pointing out that the shape of their planet (Htrae) was not wildly deviant from Earth's shape, forcing him to let Superman and the other prisoners go on principle of making up for hypocrisy. Once free, Superman terraformed Htrae into a cube-shaped planetary mass, granting the Bizarros' wish to have a truly imperfect world at last.[79][80] Bizarro #1 and Bizarro Lois #1 went on to have a baby, which appeared as a normal human and wound up on Earth due to his father's negligence. Superman and Supergirl took custody of the baby, unaware of its origins until it eventually took upon the appearance of a Bizarro as part of its natural metamorphosis. The baby Bizarro was detected on Earth by Bizarro #1, and when the complication of a Bizarro Supergirl on Earth who was possessive of the baby presented itself, Earth and Htrae entered into interplanetary war. Superman thankfully defused the situation by using the Duplicator Ray on Green Kryptonite to create Blue Kryptonite, a variant exclusively lethal to Bizarros, and returning the baby to his father. Meanwhile, Bizarro Supergirl was killed by the Blue K.[81]

The Mischief of Mr. Mxyzptlk

Superman continued to be bedeviled by the imp from the 5th-dimensional land of Zrfff, Mr. Mxyzptlk, although the nature of Mxyzptlk's pranks remained more annoying than malicious. Every time Superman would contrive some way to make the magical being say his name backwards and return to his own dimension, and upon every return Mxyzptlk would think of some new way to "cover his blind spots" from previous defeats, such as by using hypnotism on Superman, submerging himself in water, or installing an alarm into his derby hat.[82][83][84] On occasion, Mxyzptlk would change his name to make Superman's task of making him say it backwards more difficult, but Superman always found a way to manage and leave Mxy in the dust.[85] Uncharacteristically, Mr. Mxyzptlk once tried to outdo Superman by becoming a Metropolis-based super-hero and performing good deeds instead of irritating pranks, but Bizarro accidentally sent Mxy back to Zrfff during a brief sojourn on Earth by dedicating a statue with commemorative plaque to the imp in Bizarro-form, startling Mxy such that he read his backwards-spelled name off the plaque in disbelief. Mxy irrationally blamed Superman for his downfall as a hero and reverted back to his old modus operandi on his next outing.[86]

Titano the Super-Ape

When the extraordinarily intelligent chimpanzee Toto was launched into space by NASA, his space pod was bathed in the radioactive energies of colliding plutonium and Kryptonite meteoroids. Upon returning to Earth, Toto grew to a gigantic size and manifested the ability to emit Kryptonite-radiation eye-beams, making him a formidable threat to Superman. While the U.S. Army sought to put the beast down, Lois Lane sympathized with the Super-Ape, knowing that its actions were not the product of malice so much as confusion, and with Superman's help, Lois managed to stop the overgrown chimp's rampage. To spare it from being euthanized by the army, Superman breached the time-barrier and deposited the creature now called Titano in the Mesozoic Era, from where it was assumed never to be capable of returning.[87] A year later, Titano returned to modern-day Metropolis because of a technological fluke and went on a rampage until Superman stopped him again and returned him to the distant past.[88] Titano was befriended by Krypto during one of the Superdog's romps through the timestream.[89]

The Superman Emergency Squad

Superman was almost done in when billionaire philanthropist John Kiley, who had good relations with Clark Kent for years, faked being on his deathbed in order to press Clark to admit to being Superman. As the secret leader of the Anti-Superman Gang, Kiley used that knowledge to lure Clark into a Kryptonite deathtrap at one of his mines, forcing the city of Kandor to assemble an ad hoc taskforce, the Superman Emergency Squad, to save his life. Kiley and his gang were arrested and taken to jail, but not before the appearance of Supergirl and the Emergency Squad (neither of whose existences were public knowledge at the time) was used by Superman to convince Kiley that Clark Kent's confession to being Superman was a drug-induced hallucination.[90] The Superman Emergency Squad would be of immense help to the Man of Steel on a number of further occasions, spawning ideas of similar Kandorian auxiliary teams such as the Supergirl Emergency Squad.

Tales of the Phantom Zone

When a rift began to open between the Phantom Zone and the physical world, which would grow wide enough for its imprisoned criminals to escape, Mon-El warned Superman of the peril at hand, in spite of his incorporeal state. After technologically reducing himself to the size of a child to fit through the rift and consult with Mon-El about the problem, Superman eventually determined that the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis was responsible for the rift and closed it by focusing his heat vision upon it with Supergirl and Krypto.[91] Kryptonian mad scientist Jax-Ur later escaped the Phantom Zone by influencing the mind of Fred Danvers into concocting a serum that breached the veil between dimensions, but Supergirl drove him back with the help of Mon-El.[92] Several criminals from the Phantom Zone were released by a space-warp caused by a 50-megaton atom bomb test and took up residence in a Southwestern ghost town. Anonymously tipping Lois Lane on to the town's existence, the Phantom Zoners spun a false tale of how they arrived on Earth from Krypton to draw Superman to them, in order so they could banish Superman to the Zone in their place. Superman deduced their intentions and beat the Phantom Zoners in a traditional Wild West showdown, with miniaturized Phantom Zone Projectors in place of pistols.[93] For the first time, Superman was compelled by his sense of righteousness into releasing a Phantom Zoner upon completion of his sentence. Quex-Ul, who was sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 25 years for poaching Rondors back on Krypton, tried to depower Superman with Gold Kryptonite upon release. Meanwhile, Superman and Supergirl learned that Quex-Ul was not a true criminal, but was rather hypnotized by the real poacher into taking the fall for his misdeeds. Upon being told this, Quex-Ul sacrificed himself to prevent Superman from being exposed to Gold K, not only permanently losing all his powers but also losing all his memories as well. With Superman's endorsement, Quex-Ul was given the new identity of "Charlie Kweskill" and given a job as a reporter for the Daily Planet, none the wiser about his Kryptonian origins.[94] Fresh upon release from captivity in Kandor, Lesla-Lar, Supergirl's nemesis and one-time impersonator, switched places with Lena Thorul to release 3 criminals from the Phantom Zone-- Kru-El, General Zod, and Jax-Ur-- and plot their takeover of the Earth. Unearthing the casket of forbidden weapons that Kal-El had deposited into the ocean years ago as Superboy, the Phantom Zoners used one of their weapons upon Lesla-Lar, killing her, and another on Supergirl when she arrived to respond to the disturbance. Supergirl had to call upon the assistance of Superman and Lex Luthor (whose motivation was to rescue his sister) to turn the tables on the villains and put them back where they belong. In the aftermath, Lena was extricated from the bottle-city of Kandor and her brother Lex was returned to his prison cell.[95][96] Jax-Ur later leveraged an appeal to the Phantom Zone parole board in Kandor to engineer Jewel Kryptonite from shards of Krypton's Jewel Mountains. The previously unknown variety of Kryptonite enhanced Phantom Zoners' psionic abilities as wraiths to the point of having a palpable effect on the physical plane, allowing Jax-Ur to cause mass destruction on Earth with telekinetically-induced spontaneous combustion. Only by the telepathic warning of Lori Lemaris was Superman able to discover the source of Jewel K in orbit around the Earth and neutralize it.[97]

The Loved and Lost

Lois Lane was Superman's most frequent romantic interest after making his debut in Metropolis, though their relationship could often seem one-sided. Though Superman always cared for Lois and came to her rescue when the situation called for it, he felt that his immense powers and responsibility to the world to preserve freedom and fight crime made the maintenance of a love-life unnecessarily burdensome. On top of that, Superman suspected on many an occasion that Lois was more fascinated by his popularity and might than actually attracted to his personal qualities. Additionally, Lois's reporter's instinct led her on a quest to uncover Superman's secret identity, which she always suspected was Clark Kent. Although Lois's suspicions were on the mark, of course, she was never able to conclusively prove anything, thanks to Superman's own quick-wittedness and talent for misdirection. Nevertheless, having his prospective girlfriend poke around in an area best left unexplored did not endear him to the notion of a long-term commitment at any rate. Lana Lang, who was infatuated with Superboy during Clark Kent's adolescence, also returned as an important figure in Superman's adult life, having become a TV-news reporter in her maturity. Often Lana would compete with Lois for Superman's hand in marriage, though at some level both women knew that the Last Son of Krypton would never have either of them so long as he retained his duty to humanity. Lori Lemaris would also return to Superman's life as an adult. Clark Kent's first suspicion that Lori was back was while overhearing an urban legend about a mermaid that stops illegal fishing in the spawning waters. Clark and Lori reunited and thought of rekindling their relationship, but Lori's informal nemesis, a disgruntled fisherman, attacked her with a harpoon, forcing Superman to search the stars for an alien surgeon from an aquatic planet, who might have insight into the physiology of mer-people. Superman was successful, but Lori quickly fell in love with the alien merman that Superman brought back, Ronal. Soon, the two were married, but that didn't stop Lori and Clark from frequently interacting, typically in some capacity having to do with Superman's love life vis-a-vis Lois Lane.[98][99][100] On an accidental trip through time to Krypton, several years before its destruction, Superman fell in love with the actress Lyla Lerrol. Tragically, any permanent romance between the two was not to be, as the circumstance of Krypton's looming death and the necessity of Superman's departure prior to the cataclysm cut their relationship short. Like everyone else on Krypton at the time of its destruction, Lyla Lerrol perished, to be mourned by her erstwhile lover decades into the future and light years away.[101]

The Superman Revenge Squad

A consortium of would-be universal conquerors from the planet Wexr II banded together as the Superman Revenge Squad to retaliate against the Man of Tomorrow for crushing their ambitions back when he was Superboy. Their revenge would repeatedly revolve around orchestrating some improbable series of catastrophes with alien technology to derail Superman's life and impair his ability to function as a crime-fighter. In their first appearance, the Revenge Squad exposed Superman to Red Kryptonite without his knowing to cause him to lapse into bizarre dreams of strange futuristic scenarios and launching an invasion of Earth once Superman realized he could no longer trust in his own senses to guide him. Superman prevailed when he recognized a pattern in his Red K-induced dreams that was not present in the Revenge Squad's invasion scenario and stopped them.[102][103] The Revenge Squad returned with a psionic weapon that would cause Superman to go mad and lash out at everyone in his vicinity, with the aim of ruining his reputation with the people of Earth. After several destructive incidents, Superman turned the tables by executing a plan with the assistance of Perry White and the Superman Emergency Squad.[104] The Revenge Squad struck again and tricked Superman into following their ships through a time-warp into a far-flung future. In this period, the Sun had become a red giant and boiled the Earth's oceans away, and humanity had abandoned the planet to colonize distant worlds millennia ago. Under the red Sun's rays, Superman lost all his powers and trekked across the barren landscape, accompanied only by an ancient robot of Perry White, until he reached the Fortress of Solitude, where Superman found the machinery required to return to his own time.[105] The Revenge Squad's next attempt on Superman's life involved transferring the intelligence of a Superman robot to a chemically-augmented quasi-human body and sending him to Earth as Wonder-Man to compete with and ultimately destroy Superman. The Revenge Squad was done in this time when Wonder-Man turned on his "handlers" and united with Superman to drive the alien menace off-planet.[106] The Revenge Squad next created android duplicates of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Supergirl, Batman, and Lori Lemaris, kidnapping the real versions and holding them in suspended animation in a cave, to convince Superman that his Daily Planet friends had discovered his secret identity from his super-friends and were using the knowledge as leverage to enforce blackmail demands. Superman deduced the villains' plan when he noticed certain abnormalities giving his "friends" away as non-human replicas and freed their likenesses from captivity.[107]

The Legion of Super-Villains

Cobbling together a communication device capable of penetrating the time-barrier in search of allies, Lex Luthor came upon the 30th Century rogues called the Legion of Super-Villains, consisting of Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen. Together, Luthor and the LSV lured Superman into a Kryptonite death-trap, but they were interrupted by the arrival of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who turned the tides in Superman's favor. Superman won the day by manipulating Saturn Queen into turning on her allies.[108] Planning their revenge from the future, the LSV sent two Durlan henchmen to the 20th Century as emissaries of chaos. The Durlans gathered Red Kryptonite meteorites together into a crude statue of Superman on a small island. Then, disguised as admirals of the U.S. Navy, the Durlans sent Jimmy Olsen of the Daily Planet an anonymous news tip about the statue, knowing that he would bring Clark Kent and Lois Lane along with him. Their plan succeeded in exposing Clark to the Red K radiations, but fortunately, the first induced mutation was not a bizarre, revealing physical transformation, giving Clark the time to think about how to remove Lois and Jimmy from the vicinity before more disturbing mutations set in. After weathering all the Red K-induced mutations without harming anyone or exposing his secret identity, Superman was called to join a summit between the leaders of the United States and Russia. Using the temporary telepathy granted by the last Red K-induced mutation, Superman realized that the world leaders attending the summit were in fact the Durlans and exposed them, returning them to their native time-period for punishment.[109]

Nightwing and Flamebird

When Kandorian scientist Than Ol invented an enlargement procedure by which Kandor could hypothetically restored, he and his men convinced the majority of the bottle-city's people that Superman was deliberately withholding knowledge of the procedure out of a desire to preserve his perceived uniqueness on Earth. Superman became aware of the situation when several of Than Ol's enlarged henchmen conducted raids of Earth laboratories for elements to perform the enlargement procedure on a large scale. Superman and Jimmy Olsen tracked the raiders to Kandor and shrunk themselves down into the bottle-city, at which point they realized the people had been turned against Superman. Powerless inside the bottle, Superman adopted the identity of costumed adventurer Nightwing, inspired by his crime-fighting partner Batman, while Jimmy became a Robin-inspired persona named Flamebird. With the help of Superman's facially similar distant relative Van-Zee, Jor-El's old friend Lan Karr, and the Superman Emergency Squad, Superman and Jimmy uncovered that Than Ol's enlargement procedure stood the chance of causing Kandor's disintegration if not reversed within a 3-hour time period and proved this point to the city's inhabitants, saving their lives and regaining their trust.[110]

The Never-Ending Battle

The Saga of Lexor

After masterminding his next jailbreak, Lex hijacked television and radio broadcasting frequencies to challenge Superman. Alleging that all Superman's previous victories were solely on account of the powers imbued by the yellow Sun, Lex claimed that Superman would lose if both were put on a level playing field to match wits. Superman faced Luthor's challenge to preserve the people's confidence in his ability as a hero and consented to face Luthor on a planet orbiting a red sun, where all of Superman's powers would be instantly negated. After going one round with the de-powered Superman and losing, Luthor fled into a sandstorm on the desertified world and forced Superman into pursuit. Eventually, Luthor came across a people who once possessed an advanced technological civilization but fell into a dark age in the aftermath of a cataclysmic war. Reactivating several of the machines which the aliens no longer knew how to use, Lex made vast improvements in their lives before Superman caught up to resume their battle. In the rematch, Luthor and Superman dueled with ancient weapons native to the planet's construction, and Luthor would have won if not for his promise to the aliens that he would restore the planet's long-evaporated bodies of water. Lex forfeited the fight to Superman and allowed himself to be returned to Earth a captive, but only on the condition that Superman should hurl titanic icebergs from a nearby icy planet to the barren seafloor of the desert world. In time, the icebergs melted and created the oceans on that planet anew; the planet's inhabitants credited the achievement to Luthor and consequently renamed their planet as Lexor in his honor.[111]

Superman's next great challenge would be the alliance between Lex Luthor and his other greatest enemy, Brainiac. Luthor initiated the alliance after breaking out of jail and using a thought-scanning helmet in the new iteration of his lair to seek out a being of comparable intellect and malice as himself. In the process, Luthor received errant thought signals from the planet of Colu, detailing the story of how the green-skinned organics on that planet created a line of sentient supercomputers who rebelled and enslaved them and subsequently how the Computer Tyrants created Brainiac to scout out other civilizations for conquest. Having inadvertently uncovered Brainiac's concealed nature as an artifical construct, Luthor helped free the Coluan villain from imprisonment on a barren world. Luthor then volunteered to increase Brainiac's intellect to a level-12 intelligence, using the opportunity to plant a device in Brainiac's CPU that would prevent the alien android from betraying him. Luthor and Brainiac scoured the universe for a list of ingredients needed for a serum to neutralize Superman's powers, visiting Colu and Lexor in the process. While on Colu, Brainiac discovered that the Computer Tyrants who created him had since been overthrown in an uprising of the subject organics led by Vril Dox, Brainiac's wayward adopted son, leaving Brainiac without manifest purpose in existence. On Lexor, Luthor discovered that the people regarded him as a hero and savior and struck up a relationship with an appreciative woman named Ardora. Luthor showed his hidden sentimentality when he prevented Brainiac from seizing materials for the completion of their plans from Lexor's natives and proposed to search for them in another star cluster. Luthor and Brainiac then returned to Earth when ready and used their anti-super-power serum and other devices to render Superman helpless. When the villains were assured of their triumph, Brainiac mesmerized Luthor to remove the device by which Luthor enforced his control and afterwards suppress all memory of Brainiac's android origins. Meanwhile, the city of Kandor mobilized the Superman Emergency Squad to capture the villains and put Brainiac on trial for its abduction. In spite of his failure to argue Brainiac's case in a court of Kryptonian law, Luthor blackmailed the Kandorians into releasing them with the knowledge that only Brainiac and he could undo the spell of total paralysis they put Superman under. Superman was restored to full power and mobility, but he was forced to let Luthor and Brainiac get off scot-free for their actions as a result of their deal.[112]

Thinking better of his bargain with Luthor and Brainiac, Superman returned to Lexor in pursuit of Luthor just in time to witness the dedication of a museum. Superman realized that the Lexorians were giving tribute to Luthor in the form of a radiant jewel currency that emits an intelligence-sapping radiation and made an attempt to steal it while devoid of powers on the alien planet. Meanwhile, Luthor refurbished a machine of ancient Lexor to give him temporary super-powers and pursued Superman in the masked identity of "the Defender," ironically reversing their usual relationship on Earth. Luthor ultimately captured Superman but decided to allow his escape once Superman revealed his true reason for stealing the jewels and voiced his hypothesis that they were responsible for Lexor's civilizational decline. Still not content with this stalemate, Luthor synthesized a quantity of Red Kryptonite dust and constructed a spacecraft to enable return to Earth, intent on using the Red K to rob Superman of his powers and bring him back to Lexor for public humiliation and execution. Instead, Luthor's spacecraft traveled through a time warp and crashed on the outskirts of San Francisco in the year 1906. Luthor learned that the Daily Planet was mainly published on the West Coast in the early 1900s and stole the identity of the newspaper's publisher Cyrus Groat after the real Groat was thrown off a horse and broke his neck. Superman tracked Luthor to the past and took a job at the San Francisco Planet for a disguise, unaware that "Groat" was actually Luthor until Luthor contrived a means of exposing him to the Red K on a journalistic assignment. Afterwards, Luthor brought Superman to an island in the bay and activated an experimental time-machine to travel back to Lexor in the modern-day. However, the machine malfunctioned, teleporting Luthor to the modern era while emitting destructive vibrations that caused the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After regaining his powers and helping with disaster relief, Superman flew back to the present, where he accurately guessed the site of Luthor's arrival: a cell in the abandoned Alcatraz Prison.[113]

Luthor staged his next escape from prison while Superman and Supergirl were both occupied in outer space and set new coordinates for an unmanned NASA space shuttle to return him to Lexor. There, Lex was greeted by the people with a spectacular parade and tied the knot with Ardora by wedding under the traditional Lexorian custom. Luthor knew that Superman would track the space shuttle with the help of NASA and confided in Ardora with his anxieties about the Action Ace's impending arrival. In spite of his nature, Luthor was forced by Ardora to swear not to kill Superman if he were victorious and instead to leave his fate to the courts. Luthor chose to interpret his vow to his wife rather creatively, faking his death when Superman came to capture Luthor and bring him back to Earth and making it look like a murder. Luthor put himself into a coma-like state with depressed metabolism for 5 days, knowing that Superman would be arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and put on the fast-track to his execution within the next 3, per Lexorian legal tradition and counting on the public outrage that would accompany his apparent murder by his arch-enemy to expedite the process. Although all Superman's attempts to prove his honesty in a court of Lexorian law were shot down, largely due to the unreasoning hate and inconsolable grief of the general public, he guessed at Luthor's scheme and broke jail just in time to make Luthor ingest the drug that would prematurely revive him. Superman was acquitted of the murder charges as such, but in spite of the evident reality that Luthor was manipulating the public sentiment to unjustly put Superman on death row, Superman was still banished from Lexor for defying the people's hero and Luthor was still revered as a figure of almost saintly benevolence. Even worse, Superman was forced to return to Earth without Luthor in tow, effectively having lost in his battle of wits against the evil mastermind.[114][115]

The Luthor-Brainiac Team

In spite of the mutual distrust and backstabbing that occurred during their first alliance, the criminal scientist Lex Luthor and the Coluan AI Brainiac would unite forces on numerous occasions to attack the Man of Steel. One such instance of successful cooperation by the master super-villains was when Superman was stripped of his powers by the radioactive emissions of a colossal hunk of space-debris, in the process of diverting it away from a galaxy inhabited by sentient life-forms. Following up on a threat he made to Superman to kill the two great loves of Superman's life, Lois Lane and Lana Lang, Luthor contacted Brainiac upon getting word of Superman's imminent retirement and broke prison. Meanwhile, Kal-El's chosen successor as Superman, a re-sized volunteer from Kandor named Ar-Val, proved to be more concerned with grandstanding before the public than actually helping people and chose to disbelieve both his predecessor and Jimmy Olsen when both warned him of the urgency of the situation. Consequently, the depowered former Superman resorted to using the future tech of the Legion of Super-Heroes to grant himself artificial temporary super-powers and tackle Luthor and Brainiac by himself. Only when they actually went through with their scheme to kidnap Lois and Lana did Ar-Val begin to behave responsibly and help Kal-El save the day. Realizing that he was not suitable to be the Earth's protector, Ar-Val subjected himself to a deadly procedure to transfer his Kryptonian abilities back into Kal-El's body, restoring the mantle of the Man of Steel to the one and only at the cost of his life.[116]

The Composite Superman

Out-of-luck professional high-diver Joe Meach attempted to perform a public stunt to rustle up opportunities for work by diving off a skyscraper into a water tank. Unbeknownst to Meach, the tank sprung a leak before he dived and enough of the water had spilt out that his stunt would have proven fatal, had Superman not intervened to save his life. Meach explained his difficulties in nailing down employment, and a sympathetic Superman pulled strings to get him a custodial job at the Superman Museum. However, observing the myriad exhibits lionizing Superman and the hallmarks of his career drove Meach into an invidious resentment of his red-and-blue-clad benefactor. Meach finally had his chance to show Superman up when a bolt of lightning struck a set of statuettes bearing the likenesses of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Because the statuettes were actually miniature, lifeless organic duplicates of the Legionnaires, the lightning-strike had the unique effect of bathing Meach in energies that conferred the collective powers of the Legion to the janitor. Using the powers of Chameleon Boy to change his appearance to half-resemble Superman and half-resemble Batman, Meach introduced himself as the Composite Superman to the two heroes and threatened to reveal their secret identities to the world unless if they allowed him to become their partner, having learned their alter egos through Saturn Girl's telepathic powers. Composite Superman proceeded to humiliate Superman and Batman by single-handedly thwarting criminal schemes and averting disasters that the two failed to, both working together and separately. Superman and Batman went on to fake their deaths using android doubles to assess Composite Superman's true moral alignment, but the plot backfired on them when Composite Superman used his powers again to deduce their intent and tried to blackmail them into retirement. With Superman and Batman out of the picture, the Composite Superman set about forming an opulent palace for himself out of a rock formation. Spurred into activity by the realization that their enemy endeavored to dominate the Earth in the long run, Superman and Batman stormed the palace and lost against Composite Superman in a matter of minutes, whereupon the villain readied to make good on his threat and expose their secret identities in Metropolis and Gotham City. However, Meach only then discovered that his powers were temporary in nature and left the heroes to return to the Superman Museum, desperate for a recharge from the statuettes. Instead Meach reverted back to human form and blacked out on the floor, regaining consciousness hours later with no memory of ever having been the Composite Superman or anything that transpired during that period. With his last few moments of awareness before fainting, Meach tried to scrawl the secret of the Legion statuettes onto a sheet of paper but never got any further than the first few words, which proved of no help to Meach once he had lost his memory. Superman and Batman never learned who the Composite Superman truly was or where his powers had come from, though both admitted that he had been the most frightful adversary in their rogues' galleries thus far.[117]

The Vanguard of the Heroic Age

World's Finest: The Superman-Batman Team

Batman and Superman switch identities

Batman and Superman switch identities
Early on in their careers, Batman and Superman met each other during a case when they would attempt to protect each other from the danger posed by a gang of Kryptonite smugglers. This would end with the Dynamic Duo and Superman working together for the first time to stop the gang.[118] Soon, Batman and Superman learned each other's secret identities, but promised to keep them a secret and they subsequently started working on several cases together.[119][120] When Superman rescued Batman and Robin from a mob attack, he would accidentally reveal his secret identity to Lois Lane, prompting Batman and Robin help stage an elaborate hoax in order to once more protect Superman's identity.[121] When Clark Kent and Lois Lane were captured by criminals who used heavy artillery in their crimes, Batman and Robin were led to their hideout thanks to Superman's secret aid and they captured the thugs.[122] Sometime later, Batman and Superman came up with an elaborate hoax wherein Batman poses as a swami and needs Superman's assistance in order to capture a group of crooks.[123] When Batman was exposed to a lethal gas by the Purple Mask Mob that would've killed the Dark Knight should he be physically active, Superman and Robin made Batman believe that he had a broken leg to keep him out of action until the poison wore off.[124]

Batman and Superman started a competition to define in which of their cities would a science convention should be held, but the heroes were equal and the science convention took place on both cities.[125] Batman and Superman worked together to stop the evil Professor Pender, who used a machine to swap powers between them. Using their respective abilities, Super-Batman and Normal Superman managed to defeat Pender and return to their normal forms.[126] Next, Superman summons Batman and Robin to Metropolis to try and figure out who is trying to reveal Superman's secret identity. This all turns out to be a ruse to keep the Dynamic Duo preoccupied while Superman travels out to Gotham City to capture the Varrel Mob.[127] Superman and Batman stopped the Mole Gang, while also working on their civilian identities as temporary reporters in order to report the epic gang battle and save the Gotham Gazette from bankruptcy.[128]

When Superman went missing, Batman and Robin were asked to track down the Man of Steel and help him expose yet another empty threat from a criminal attempting to expose Superman's secret identity. This case would bring the earliest meeting between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent.[129] Superman and Batman teamed yet again to stop a gang of crooks which had duped a preserved Kryptonian caveman into aiding their crimes, although the caveman died from the combination of exposure to Kryptonite and cosmic rays.[130] Sometime later, Batman and Superman investigated the mysterious case of the deaths of Robin and Jimmy Olsen, learned about a purposeful deception and captured an important gang in the process.[131] Next, the Batman and Superman team almost disappeared as a grudge grew between the heroes, but after working together to save Kandor, they moved past their disagreements.[132] Following this, the heroes stopped the double threat of Braniac and Clayface with help from their sidekicks Robin and Jimmy.[133] Batman and Superman later pulled a hoax on Doctor Zodiac, a notorious con-artist and captured him along with several other gangsters.[134] Some time later, Batman and Superman worked together to stop Dr. Light from killing Superman with a magical staff he created.[135]

Batman and Superman then worked with Metamorpho after he gained their powers and together they captured an international criminal.[136] When a Kryptonian with a werewolf-like affliction was released in Gotham, Batman and Superman teamed-up to capture Lar-On and place him in the Phantom Zone, for his and others' safety.[137] Superman went to Gotham to rescue Jimmy Olsen and helped Batman stop the terrorist group called Battalion of Doom.[138]

The Justice League of America

As Earth-One's first superhero, owing to the almost-total lack of Golden Age superheroes in that reality's timeline and his early start as Superboy, Superman inspired many other superhuman crimefighters to take action in their own distinctive way. Yet, for the exception of frequent team-ups with Batman and Robin, Superman had very little interaction with other costumed heroes prior to the invasion of the alien Appellaxians, who sought to make Earth into the battlefield for the contest over rulership of their world. The Appellaxians, taking elemental forms, projected themselves to Earth in the form of meteorites before awakening upon impact. Superman and Batman met the Appellaxian warrior called the Crystal Creature, while Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter fought the entities elsewhere. In the aftermath, Superman and the other heroes banded together as the Justice League of America, to combat threats too powerful for any single hero to handle.[139] In the League's earliest adventures, Superman played somewhat of a backseat role, however. For instance, he was confined to outer space, protecting Earth from a swarm of meteoroids, as the JLA fought the starfish-like alien invader Starro the Conqueror, arrived only during the team's final battle against Xotar, the Weapons Master, to turn the tables, and got taken out by Professor Anthony Ivo's Kryptonite gas-trap while the rest of the League fought Ivo's android Amazo.[140][141][142] Superman would take a more active role starting with the JLA's encounter with the Kalanorian tyrant Despero, where he, like the rest of the League, is put into a hypnotic trance by the villain and cast off to a strange alien world.[143] Superman played a pivotal role in the Justice League's first encounter with the Lord of Time, using his power of total recall and ability to breach the time-barrier through speed to track the villain down to the far-flung future he retreated to upon the JLA's squashing of his scheme. Due to the machinations of the Demons Three, who were released 100 years from the present-day as the direct result of Felix Faust's failed plot, Superman was unable to return to the present with the JLA. The demons intended to destroy the Moon and eradicate all human life on Earth, but Superman and the JLA stopped them with a bait-and-switch gimmick, courtesy of Green Lantern, and were able to return to their native time-period.[144][145] Superman was again essential to saving the JLA, this time from the clutches of Dr. Light, when Light banished the members of the team to far-off worlds. Arriving at the fight later than the rest of the League, Superman and Batman had the idea of switching costumes to trick Light and throw a monkey wrench in his plans.[146] In the first official team-up of the Justice League and Justice Society of America against the Crime Champions, Superman's personal adversary on the enemy team was Doctor Alchemy. On Earth-One, Superman fought the villain alongside the Flash and Green Arrow but was quickly defeated. When the JLA and JSA turned the tables on the villains, Superman rushed Doctor Alchemy with the Green Lantern of Earth-Two and overcame him before he could react.[147][148] Superman was summoned by a trio of alien scientists with the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Atom to stop an uncontrollable chain-teleportation phenomenon from destroying Earth and several other planets that the aliens had visited. It was discovered that the aliens' chain-teleportation spell was enabled by a mad other-dimensional tyrant who sought to store up the energies from the consequent planetary annihilation to overpower other planes of reality. Superman and his JLA comrades defeated the menace and undid his matter-disintegrator ray's effect just in time to save the Earth.[149] Superman was present when the Justice League were captured on 3 separate missions by an extradimensional entity called "I" who nullified the JLA's success-factor as a team to preserve its own existence. To render "I" inert and regain their efficacy as a superhero team, Green Lantern reactivated Amazo to defeat the Justice League, achieving the same effect as if the League used their super-powers to solve a major case, and turned the tables on Amazo once their success-factor returned to them.[150] Superman's next great challenge in a JLA mission was when the Crime Syndicate of Earth-Three visited Earth-One looking for the excitement of opposition, having so effortlessly plundered their own world that they had almost lost their enthusiasm for villainy. Superman sped off to meet his evil Earth-Three counterpart, Ultraman, who was reported as knocking over a bank, but he was met instead by Power Ring, who put Superman and the other Justice Leaguers under a magical trance to hold them at bay. The Crime Syndicate then invaded Earth-Two and defeated the Justice Society with another mystical enchantment, before facing the Justice League on Earth-Two under the logic that the battleground would be "neutral" with respect to the rival teams. Superman fought Ultraman and tricked him into overloading his power with a Green K asteroid, causing temporary paralysis. Afer Superman's comrades outwitted their own counterparts, the victorious Justice Leaguers elected to imprison the Crime Syndicate in the void between dimensions.[151][152] Superman lost his super-strength when the misguided scientist Brain Storm used his Stellar-Helmet to transfer it into the body of a delivery boy, pulling the same trick to neutralize the talents of Batman, the Flash, the Atom, and Hawkman. Then, Brain Storm kidnapped the five heroes and paralyzed them with his powers to make them witness his capture and planned execution of Green Lantern, whom he wrongly alleged had murdered his brother. Fortunately, Superman and the other Justice Leaguers discovered that the field of stellar-energy that Brain Storm used to trap their bodies also empowered their minds to summon the ordinary people who now held their powers. Reclaiming their missing powers from their temporary civilian recipients, Superman and the JLA triumphed over Brain Storm but were unable to stop their deranged foe from making his escape.[153]

Last Adventures

Batman and Superman then stopped the threat of the Pi-Meson Man.[154] When Clayface returned and kidnapped Lois Lane, Superman and Batman used the oldest of their tricks and switched identities to confuse the criminal and stop his mad plan.[155] Batman and Superman then stopped Metallo, who had escaped from Superman Island and started a crime wave using a black hole.[156] When several weapons were stolen from the Fortress of Solitude,[157] Batman and Superman investigated and came in conflict with the intergalactic villain called Weapon Master.[158] When Superman was captured by the Weapon Master, Batman used one of Superman's machines to save his friend, but in the end the Weapon Master escaped.[159]
World's Finest Comics 323

After this, the heroes worked together to stop Mister Freeze from altering the weather in both their cities.[160] Batman and Superman then stop the threat of a lethal plague.[161] The heroes then assisted Hawkman to restore peace in Thanagar.[162] Afterwards, Batman and Superman confronted and stopped General Scarr's Army of Crime.[163][164][165]

Batman and Superman were then threatened by a mystical being[166] and Batman was possessed by a dark entity[167] and taken away to Madame Zodiac's lair.[168] Superman searched all over the world and eventually found Batman. The Man of Steel helped Batman overcome the possession and with unexpected help from Dr. Zodiac, the heroes managed to defeat Madame Zodiac and the Dark Entity.[169] Later, they stopped the powerful duo called Null and Void[170][171], the menace of Chronos[172] and finally, they stopped the threat of Nightwolf before they decided to go their separate ways.[173]

The End

Superman would continue to try to protect the universe directly from various forces throughout all of his career such like Mongul's Warworld, up until the war against the Anti-Monitor. It would be during this conflict that Kal-El would lose his cousin Kara. He would not recover from the loss of Supergirl at the hands of the Anti-Monitor.

Like his Earth-Two counterpart, Superman would decide to sacrifice his life in order to stop the Anti-Monitor, but was stopped by a somewhat-underhanded sneak-blow by the elder Kal-L, who decided the younger and more powerful Kryptonian would have a better chance at stopping the Anti-Monitor later if Kal-L's direct attack against the Anti-Monitor failed.

Kal-L's attack, along with the assistance of Superboy-Prime, succeeded, and the single surviving universe was saved. The Superman of Earth-One returned to the singular Earth, and continued to be active as Superman until such time where he was erased from existence and recreated as a new individual with a restructured history. When he and those connected to him were recreated, the people of the new singular Earth lost all memories of the previous Earth-One Superman, but would still go on to know the brand-new individual as "Superman" on this new Earth.

Convergence

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This section of the history takes place during Convergence, a massive crossover event revisiting characters from past eras and realities. The villains Brainiac and Telos plucked them from their own timeline and stored them together, causing them to cross over into each others' reality. Its precise chronological placement and canonicity may be unclear.

Two versions of him are taken to Convergence, back when he was Superboy and a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes and the adult version of him in modern day. The 31st century Metropolis and modern day Gotham are taken by Telos and they are stripped of their powers for a year. Back when he was Superboy, he and the Legion encounter Prime Earth Booster Gold, Rip Hunter and Goldstar, assumes they are villains and attacks them. But Rip Hunter teleports them a few minutes into the future and they escape.[174] After the dome goes down, he and the Legion fight the Atomic Knights,[175] but ends up forming peace with them due to their mutual beliefs in justice.[176]

Meanwhile, Lucius teleports his adult self and Supergirl to the Phantom Zone while attempting to escape the dome. He and Supergirl are attacked by Phantom Zoners and he sacrifices himself so Kara can escape. Supergirl later comes back to save him but they are ambushed and trapped by the Phantom Zoners.[177]Lucius opens a portal for them to escape, but Superman sacrifices himself so Supergirl can escape and the Phantom Zoners can't get out. He is narrowly saved when Supergirl uses a grapple gun to pull him out of the Phantom Zone. He and Kara then help Kamandi fight off General Symian and the Ape-Men. He then lets the Ape-Men take him to their ultimate weapon and destroys it.[178]

When Brainiac reveals that unless the destruction of the original Pre-Crisis multiverse is prevented the current multiverse will collapse into one universe, New Earth Kal-El asks to be sent back to the Crisis along with Hal, Kara and Barry. Lois and his baby son join him and they are transported back to the first Crisis by Brainiac. His final fate after Convergence is unknown.

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Powers

  • Kryptonian Physiology: Under the rays of a yellow sun, Superman, like all Kryptonians and some species of extraterrestrial lifeforms with similar physiology, gained enormous power to wield as he sees fit. The below covers his variegated power set.
    • Solar Energy Absorption: As a product of his Kryptonian physiology, Superman absorbs solar radiation and stores it within his cells to survive.[179]The rays of a white sun could amplify Superman's strength beyond normal limits, while the rays of an orange sun reduced Superman's strength and invulnerability to levels at which collisions with small meteoroids could stun him. According to some sources, the rays of an orange sun could also render Superman blind as well as at half-power. The rays of a red sun, while sufficient to sustain his life functions by providing his cells solar radiation, nonetheless negated all of his powers instantaneously and made him the equivalent of a human man with a well-trained, albeit vulnerable, body. Red sun radiation could strip Superman of his abilities even in environments which existed primarily under a yellow sun.
    • Superhuman Strength: Superman possesses a truly extraordinary strength level, by no means capable of being precisely measured but certainly well within the range of being able to press or lift from millions to sextillions of tons. Although early Silver Age appearances portrayed Superman as being so strong that he could tow a galaxy of planets through space with an absurdly large chain with one hand and throw white dwarf star matter light years away effortlessly, later appearances showed Superman's physical might, though still incredible to say the least, to possess veritable and somewhat tamer limits. In the Bronze Age, Superman could still move individual planets around the Earth's size and lift neutron star matter, though he would have to struggle and strain in the process, while these feats were presented at the time as if the uppermost bounds of his ability. This de-powering may have been the by-product of the Kryptonite Nevermore saga, in which Superman's power was reduced by 25-33% permanently by the Sand Superman. Afterwards, as Superman once lamented when tasked with shifting the tectonic plates of the Earth with brute strength, "Superman, who could once juggle planets with one hand, can't even manipulate one puny continent!"[180]
    • Invulnerability: Superman's body was virtually invulnerable to all forms of mundane and ordinary harm. Neither bullets nor bazookas could even faze the nigh-invincible Man of Steel. Superman could even withstand the explosion of an atomic bomb at ground zero unfazed, and even the force and heat of planetary-level explosions and supernovas only had the power to stun Superman momentarily. Superman even withstood the Big Bang for a few minutes.[181] However, even excepting Superman's specific Kryptonian weaknesses, it was possible to hurt and/or daze Superman by channeling massive forces comparable to those which Superman himself could muster. Though uncommon, there has been a select host of powerful beings capable of fighting Superman on equal ground (e.g. Martian Manhunter, Galactic Golem, Bizarro, Darkseid, Mongul, Amazo, Shaggy Man, Neutron, Validus, etc.). It seemed that Superman could also increase his base durability level by bracing himself for an incoming attack; attacks that could send Superman reeling often had no noticeable effect once Superman prepared himself.[182] Due to years of exposure under a yellow sun, Superman's invulnerability is greater than that of the Phantom Zoners; Once, every Zoner was affected by Faora Hu-Ul's psychic bolts, while Superman was undamaged [183].
      • Longevity: Superman can live almost indefinitely if he resides under continuous exposure to Earth's sunlight or that of another yellow star/sun.
      • Self-Sustenance: He does not need to eat or sleep (but is still capable of doing so) and doesn't require oxygen to breathe, enabling him to travel in space and underwater unprotected.
      • Superhuman Stamina: He has the ability to maintain continuous physical activity for an undefined period. Although not unlimited, Superman's stamina is indeed considerable. His resilience in the face of perils that could potentially annihilate planets, galaxies, universes, and even him is tremendous.
    • Flight: Superman is capable of defying gravity as a result of Krypton's greater gravity and its demands on Kryptonian physiology. Superman can travel through time and traverse dimensions by exceeding the speed of light.
    • Superhuman Speed: He is capable of moving, reacting, running, and flying at superhuman speeds. While not as fast as the Flash, Superman is considered one of the swiftest beings in the universe. He can use this power to disarm opponents, catch bullets or shrapnel, cross vast distances in seconds, and move himself and other objects at speeds exceeding the speed of light itself.
    • Superhuman Hearing: Superman has vastly increased auditory sensitivity to even the slightest changes in sound and pitch, allowing him to pick up noises from across the globe. He has shown enough control to block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source/frequency.
    • Enhanced Sense of Smell
    • Enhanced Senses
    • Super-Breath: Superman can create hurricane force winds by blowing, and also exhale super-cooled gas to freeze a target. His super breath is so powerful that he once used it to blow earth back into orbit. He can also breathe in large amounts of air to dispel clouds of gas by exhaling it.
    • Heat Vision: Superman can fire beams of intense heat from his eyes, a product of his capacity for optical release of electromagnetic radiation along a range of wavelengths. One time, when he was Superboy, he used heat vision to reignite the Sun, which had been drained by a Sun-Eater. Even still, some enemies were powerful enough to stand up to it and not even wince, such as Brainiac, whose Ultra-Force Shield Belt protected him from harm on a level even greater than Superman's invincibility, and Mongul, who withstood the full intensity of Superman's heat vision after being hit with it point-blank.
    • Super Vision: Superman also possessed telescopic vision, enabling him to see objects from great distances away, and X-ray vision, which enabled Superman to see through objects via the optical projection of X-rays.
      • Telescopic Vision: The ability to focus his vision to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics.
      • Microscopic Vision: The ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the sub-atomic level.
      • X-Ray Vision: The ability to see through anything except lead. Since it is passive, this ability would not generate harmful radiation in the same manner as a focused projection of hard X-rays.
    • Super-Ventriloquism: He could project his voice without visibly moving his mouth or lips across large distances.
    • Super-Hypnotism: A passive and low-level ability amplified to a meaningful degree by the material of the lenses in Clark Kent's glasses, Superman's eyes emitted hypnotic waves which subconsciously impressed Superman's desire not to allow other people to discover his secret identity into the perceptions of others. As long as Clark Kent wore glasses and Superman didn't, no one made the connection. Superman, however, was also trained in how to artificially mesmerize others using light effects and used his skill in hypnotism on one occasion to convince his WGBS and Daily Planet friends that he had been selected for an assignment when he had not been.
    • Genius Level Intellect: Superman, like most Kryptonians, is possessed of a higher level of intelligence than the average Earth human. Even among Kryptonians, the House of El was a lineage associated with scientific, cultural, and forensic achievement and possessed an above-average intelligence which Superman inherited.
      • Total Recall: Superman had total and perfect recollection of all the events that transpired in his life since his birth on Krypton, being able to recall even trivial and minute details or information from decades ago with impeccable accuracy. He could learn surgery in minutes by reading the appropriate books, and re-build an exploded computer by recalling where each component was. This power was enabled by augmentation of his already formidable intellectual capabilities by the Sun's rays.

Abilities

Weaknesses

  • Vulnerability to Kryptonite: There existed various kinds of Kryptonite, most of which affected Superman in a particular and invariably negative way. Green Kryptonite, of both real and synthetic varieties, could negate Superman's powers in a matter of seconds and immobilize Superman with waves of excruciating pain. Prolonged exposure would lead to fatal radiation poisoning and discolor Superman's blood and tissues green. Red Kryptonite, on the other hand, emitted radiation that would mutate Superman in unpredictable ways for a time span of 2-3 days. No two samples of Red K would have the same effect on Superman, while any given Red K chunk could only affect Superman or any other Kryptonian once through exposure. Gold Kryptonite emitted radiations that would permanently destroy Superman's powers without causing him direct physical harm. While other varieties of Kryptonite, typically synthetic, existed, these three main varieties were the most commonly found in nature and impacted Superman each in their own unique, detrimental way.
  • Vulnerability to Magic: Due to lacking the innate resonance with magical forces that became adaptive in humans over millions of years, the Kryptonian race, Superman included, were not only bereft of the human disposition towards magical mastery (though a secret cult of Kryptonian wizards did exist), but were also more acutely vulnerable to the effects of magic than normal humans. This applies even to Superman, whose physiology is enhanced in numerous ways by Earth's environment to be immune to most natural forces. Superman thus has no special invincibility to harm inflicted through mystical means and could often be rendered powerless by the forces of magic. Supernatural creatures and human spell-casters as such were always formidable adversaries for Superman to contend with.
  • Vulnerability to Red Sun Radiation: When exposed to the frequency range of electromagnetic radiation emitted by a red sun, whether naturally or artificially generated, Superman lost all his superpowers and became, for all intents and purposes, equivalent to a normal human man of his age and build. Even on worlds that exist under yellow suns, the projection of red sun radiation at close range could render him imminently powerless. However, unlike Green K, red sun radiation does not harm Superman directly, and unlike Gold K, its effect is not permanent.
  • Vulnerability to Psionics: Superman could be totally incapacitated by a psychic intrusion if the source of the intrusion were capable of subverting his mental defenses quickly enough. Potentially, a talented psychic could render Superman unconscious or place him under mind-control if Superman were not given the opportunity to respond.
  • Vulnerability to Q-Energy: Q-Energy had a similar effect on Superman as Green Kryptonite and could potentially destroy him.[197] [198]
  • Although Superman can survive with no food, water, oxygen or sleep, it's been stated a lack of rest and dream taxes a Kryptonian's mind,[199] to the point Superman becomes prickly, irritable and psychologically unstable.[200]
  • It is possible that Atron-Rays, which affected the renegade Kryptonian Klax-Ar might strip the powers of Superman or any other Kryptonian, if the exposure is prolonged.

Equipment

  • Superman's Costume: Originally the normal Kryptonian cloth that infant Kal-El was swaddled with during his flight to Earth, Superman's costume becomes just as invulnerable as its wearer, if not actually more so, under the radiation of a yellow sun. Evidence that Superman's costume may become more durable than his body on Earth includes the fact that fights with various enemies capable of physically harming Superman still fail to tear or rip his costume. As a result, Superman's costume provides some measure of protection even when Superman is stripped of his superpowers, as it can resist the effects of drastic temperature change and physical abuse, though this says nothing about the ability or lack thereof of its wearer to sustain this type of damage under conditions of powerlessness. Superman's costume is also known to be able to shield its wearer (or anything wrapped in its cape) from the effects of friction.
  • Kryptonian Lenses: Clark Kent can use glasses with lenses from his Kryptonian spaceship to project his heat vision without melting them.
  • Superman Robots: Android facsimiles of the Man of Steel imbued with inferior duplicates of Superman's main power set and used to stand in for him on occasions when it is necessary that Superman and Clark Kent be seen together in order to deflect suspicion or to defend Metropolis when their creator is unable to for a variety of reasons. Special Superman Robots have even been created to pose as Clark Kent in his civilian identity. Pollution eventually made it unsafe for them to use their superpowers.
  • Super-Computer: Superman's highly advanced supercomputer, located in the Fortress of Solitude.
  • Various technological artifacts from Krypton and other alien world Superman has visited in the past, usually contained within the Fortress of Solitude.

Transportation

  • Usually just flies under his own power, but occasionally made use of a Supermobile to compensate for temporary loss of powers or for protection against non-yellow sun-systems in which Superman would often lose his powers or find them diminished. During his time in Kandor as Nightwing, Kal-El utilized a rocket belt to give him the ability to fly as he would be able to under Earth's yellow sun.

Weapons

  • Phantom Zone Projector
  • Various weapons collected from past interstellar adventures, usually contained the Fortress of Solitude's armory.
  • This version of Superman, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
  • Superman first appeared in Earth-Two continuity in Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The Earth-One version first appeared (as Superboy) in More Fun Comics #101 by the same creative team.
  • Inconsistencies regarding Superman, Superboy, and other "Earth-One" stories with Earth-One continuity resulted in many stories being retroactively assigned to a parallel Earth with Earth-Thirty-Two and Earth-Two-A being the largest of these.

Related

Footnotes

  1. Action Comics #564
  2. World's Finest #89
  3. Batman #140
  4. Action Comics #370
  5. Adventure Comics #175
  6. Superman #172
  7. Adventure Comics #223
  8. The 1960s versions of the origin story have the Kents sending Kal-El to an orphanage and adopt him later, while most 1970 versions of the story have the Kents pass Kal-El off as their own distant relative whose birth parents die.
  9. Superboy #89
  10. Superman #137
  11. Superman #139
  12. Adventure Comics #247
  13. Superboy #98
  14. Adventure Comics #310
  15. Adventure Comics #312
  16. Adventure Comics #317
  17. Adventure Comics #318
  18. Adventure Comics #321
  19. Adventure Comics #271
  20. Superman #292
  21. Superboy #68
  22. Superboy #78
  23. Adventure Comics #283
  24. Superboy #89
  25. Adventure Comics #300
  26. Adventure Comics #305
  27. Adventure Comics #287
  28. Adventure Comics #288
  29. Adventure Comics #320
  30. Amazing World of Superman #1
  31. Superman: The Secret Years #1
  32. Superman: The Secret Years #2
  33. Superman: The Secret Years #3
  34. Superman: The Secret Years #4
  35. Superman #129
  36. Action Comics #261
  37. Action Comics #241
  38. Action Comics #265
  39. Superman #176
  40. Action Comics #261
  41. Superman #133
  42. Superman #136
  43. Superman #87
  44. Superman #106
  45. Action Comics #249
  46. World's Finest #88
  47. World's Finest #100
  48. World's Finest #104
  49. Action Comics #267
  50. Action Comics #271
  51. Action Comics #277
  52. Superman #144
  53. Action Comics #277
  54. Action Comics #292
  55. Action Comics #294
  56. World's Finest #126
  57. World's Finest #129
  58. World's Finest #137
  59. Action Comics #242
  60. Action Comics #275
  61. Action Comics #280
  62. Action Comics #252
  63. Action Comics #252
  64. Action Comics #309
  65. Superman #134
  66. Action Comics #267
  67. Action Comics #278
  68. Action Comics #279
  69. Action Comics #280
  70. Action Comics #281
  71. Action Comics #282
  72. Action Comics #283
  73. Action Comics #284
  74. Action Comics #285
  75. Action Comics #287
  76. Action Comics #310
  77. Action Comics #254
  78. Action Comics #255
  79. Action Comics #263
  80. Action Comics #264
  81. Superman #140
  82. Superman #131
  83. Superman #135
  84. Superman #154
  85. Superman #148
  86. Superman #174
  87. Superman #127
  88. Superman #138
  89. Superman #147
  90. Action Comics #276
  91. Action Comics #285
  92. Action Comics #289
  93. Superman #154
  94. Superman #157
  95. Action Comics #297
  96. Action Comics #298
  97. Action Comics #310
  98. Superman #135
  99. Superman #138
  100. Superman #139
  101. Superman #141
  102. Action Comics #286
  103. Action Comics #287
  104. Action Comics #295
  105. Action Comics #300
  106. Superman #163
  107. Action Comics #313
  108. Superman #147
  109. Action Comics #283
  110. Superman #158
  111. Superman #164
  112. Superman #167
  113. Superman #168
  114. Action Comics #318
  115. Action Comics #319
  116. Superman #172
  117. World's Finest #142
  118. Superman #94
  119. Superman #76
  120. World's Finest #94
  121. World's Finest #71
  122. World's Finest #72
  123. World's Finest #73
  124. World's Finest #75
  125. World's Finest #76
  126. World's Finest #77
  127. World's Finest #78
  128. World's Finest #80
  129. World's Finest #84
  130. World's Finest #102
  131. World's Finest #141
  132. World's Finest #143
  133. World's Finest #144
  134. World's Finest #160
  135. World's Finest #207
  136. World's Finest #217
  137. World's Finest #256
  138. The Brave and the Bold #150
  139. Justice League of America #9
  140. The Brave and the Bold #28
  141. The Brave and the Bold #29
  142. The Brave and the Bold #30
  143. Justice League of America #1
  144. Justice League of America #10
  145. Justice League of America #11
  146. Justice League of America #12
  147. Justice League of America #21
  148. Justice League of America #22
  149. Justice League of America #25
  150. Justice League of America #27
  151. Justice League of America #29
  152. Justice League of America #30
  153. Justice League of America #32
  154. World's Finest #262
  155. World's Finest #264
  156. World's Finest #270
  157. World's Finest #272
  158. World's Finest #273
  159. World's Finest #274
  160. World's Finest #275
  161. World's Finest #277
  162. World's Finest #278
  163. World's Finest #279
  164. World's Finest #280
  165. World's Finest #281
  166. World's Finest #285
  167. World's Finest #286
  168. World's Finest #287
  169. World's Finest #288
  170. World's Finest #293
  171. World's Finest #307
  172. World's Finest #321
  173. World's Finest #323
  174. Convergence: Booster Gold #2
  175. Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
  176. Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2
  177. Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1
  178. Convergence: Adventures of Superman #2
  179. Action Comics #262
  180. World's Finest #208
  181. Action Comics #553
  182. Action Comics #560
  183. Action Comics #473
  184. Adventure Comics #213
  185. Action Comics #294
  186. Action Comics #473
  187. Adventure Comics #159
  188. Superman #229
  189. Superman #184
  190. Action Comics #348
  191. Action Comics #350
  192. Adventure Comics #368
  193. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #12
  194. World's Finest #251
  195. DC Comics Presents #49
  196. Superman #370
  197. Superman #204
  198. DC Comics Presents #1
  199. Superman #365
  200. DC Retroactive: Superman-The '70s #1



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