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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. Jor-El and Lara decided to name their darling baby boy after a thespian friend of theirs who spent a few weeks in Kryptonopolis involved in the shoot of a film with the world-famous actress Lyla Lerrol. Unfortunately, the actor was presumed killed, propelled into the stratosphere in a disastrous incident involving a flame-dragon.[30] (Unbeknownst to Jor-El and Lara, this very actor was the time-traveling future adult version of their son, creating the strange tautology that Kal-El was named after himself.)

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.

The Last Son of Krypton

The Last Son of Krypton

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.

Tragically, Jor-El's prediction may not have been Krypton's fate if not for the intervention of a malicious alien agent named Black Zero, whose stock in trade was the engineered destruction of worlds. An interstellar empire of raiders regularly contracted Black Zero for his diabolic services to suppress the development of space-faring civilizations throughout the universe and eliminate potential future threats to its own hegemony. Upon landing on Krypton, Black Zero detected with his instruments that the reactions in Krypton's core were actually dying down. In order to make Jor-El's predictions true, and thus doom the Kryptonian people, Black Zero artificially accelerated these reactions until Krypton's core reached critical mass. Tomar-Re, the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2813, was tasked with the salvation of Krypton by the Guardians of the Universe. Although Tomar-Re gave it his most valiant efforts, collecting Stellarium samples that could relieve Krypton's internal pressures, he ultimately failed for lack of more time.[31][32]

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.[33]

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. Clark's first outing as Superboy was to rescue a married couple who were also government nuclear scientists working on a top-secret project from the clutches of an international spy.[34] 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.[35] As he grows older and his powers increase, however, Kal-El develops total recall of his first few years of life on Krypton, as an aspect of his superior mental abilities. 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.[36] 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.[37] Occasionally, Superboy met and teamed-up with the half-Atlantean wandering youth Arthur Curry, alias Aquaboy.[38] Lana Lang would acquire a Bio-Genetic Ring from an alien that she rescued, allowing her to manifest insectoid abilities and traits at will. With the ring, Lana fabricated an alter ego as the super-heroine Insect Queen, although her heroic exploits were mostly limited to those which would grab Superboy's attention.[39] Twice in his adolescence, Clark was visited by a robot teacher programmed by Jor-El to test his son's worthiness to use his powers on Earth. The first time, the robot tested Clark's ability to utilize his super-strength, flight, super-speed, invulnerability, X-ray vision, and ingenuity, with a final test being given to judge Clark's capacity to set aside his individual desires for the common welfare. The robot returned some years later to conduct a more advanced test of Clark's abilities, mentally reprogramming a random girl into the false persona of "Misty" and insinuating her into Clark's life so that her artificially endowed set of personality traits would make Clark fall head over heels for her. Then, the robot simulated a scenario where Clark would witness Misty's apparent death in a mishap with a sasquatch pack, to judge Clark's ability to contain his grief without lashing out. Clark barely restrained himself from retaliating at the sasquatch which seemed to kill Misty, whereupon the robot teacher revealed itself and its manipulations. Disgusted and angry at the unfeeling automaton for its unwanted interference in his life and in the life of the girl who unwittingly played the role of "Misty," Clark defiantly pronounced, "Don't call me Superboy... After what I've been through, I deserve to be called a man!"[40]

Enter the Legion of Super-Heroes

 
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes

Superboy and 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.[41] (Unbeknownst to the Legion, a temporal upheaval rewrote these events in the timeline so they had rejected Superboy in earnest after he flunked his initiation test, causing a 75th Century time-traveler named Anti-Lad to intervene in order to resolve the discrepancy in the timeline and prevent reality from collapsing in on itself. Anti-Lad accomplished this by traveling to the 30th century, applying to join the Legion under false pretenses, and tricking the Legionnaires into believing that he had sabotaged Superboy's initiation test out of jealousy, only to erase all specific memory of his existence from the Legionnaires' minds. Consequently, the Legion were left with the subliminal suggestion that they should give Superboy a second chance to prove himself, whereupon he aced the tests and joined the Legion in the revised timeline, preventing a domino effect from sweeping through time and changing reality more extensively.[42]) 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.[43] 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.[44][45] 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.[46][47] 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.[48]

Superboy was around when the duplicitous Dynamo Boy joined the Legion under false pretenses, used constitutional loopholes to usurp leadership and banish all other members from the team, and fraudulently admitted Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen and Cosmic King, the time-traveling members of the adult Legion of Super-Villains from a few years into the LSH's future, to run a scam of protecting the United Planets by day while looting it by night. The LSV found Dynamo Boy superfluous to their plans and banished him to a distant future, long after the Earth became uninhabitable by living beings, to die, whereupon Superboy confronted the remaining villains and forced them to surrender.[49][50] Superboy would encounter the adult Legion of Super-Villains in the 20th century as an adult Superman, whereas the Legion of Super-Heroes would encounter a younger, incipient version of the Legion of Super-Villains a couple of years into their own 30th century timeline. When Lightning Lad lost his arm to a mutated space-roaming beast, Superboy was one of the Legionnaires who was chiefly concerned with Lightning Lad's mental state, afraid that his obsession with slaying the creature would compromise the Legion's main mission. Fortunately, Lightning Lad's initial fury subsided and his arm was replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic.[51] Brainiac 5 next uncovered an ancient tome recording an unknown war between Krypton and Earth millions of years ago, before hominids even evolved on Earth. Superboy and the Legion traveled back through time to divine the authenticity and meaning of the tome and discovered that a settlement of rogue Kryptonian scientists was established on Earth due to the backwards superstitious taboos of medieval Kryptonian society. Concurrently, another settlement was constructed by alien refugees from another world called Vruun. The Legion felt obliged to take sides when the two alien colonies on Triassic Period Earth entered into a state of war, with separate factions led by Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl supporting the Vruunians and the Kryptonians, respectively. However, Brainy deduced that xenon gas in the Earth's atmosphere was deadly to the Vruunians, while the Kryptonians suffered many fatalities due to the unusual reaction of the Vruunians' ordinarily non-lethal stun rays on their unique physiology. The Legion reunited to help the Vruunians transform themselves into an aquatic race with genetic engineering technology and to sink their colony into the ocean, in order to safeguard them against the deleterious effects of atmospheric xenon, while the Kryptonians were eventually wiped out after the Legion's departure by the normally docile, yet temperamentally altered, beasts they brought from their homeworld, which became the dinosaurs on Earth. Over millions of years of evolution, the descendants of the Vruunians became the Atlanteans, and their submerged colonial settlement was developed, expanded, and redeveloped over that time until it became modern-day Atlantis.[52] Superboy and the Legion's next big adversary was the criminal mastermind Starfinger, who threatened to destroy the Seven Wonders of the 30th Century unless the United Planets government council turned over the only existing sample of Rejuvium. Starfinger was eventually unmasked as a hypnotized Lightning Lad, sent by his treacherous physician Dr. Lars Hanscom to retrieve the Rejuvium for him. A cornered Hanscom made his last stand in a thermonuclear reactor, threatening to destroy it with himself and the Rejuvium inside to escape custody, but Superboy called his bluff and nabbed both the criminal and the miracle-mineral in his possession.[53][54] The Time Trapper struck again, using his beautiful henchwoman Glorith to reduce most of the Legion to infants and trapping Superboy and Brainiac 5 millions of years in the future. The Trapper was done in when Superboy and Brainy found a way to circumnavigate the Iron Curtain of Time and struck a deal with the Trapper for the restoration of their fellow Legionnaires. Although the Legion delivered on their part of the bargain (creating a space-craft for Trapper to get off-world), they creatively interpreted their agreement by erecting an impenetrable force-field around it, keeping the Time Trapper stranded on a lifeless world.[55]

Superboy and the LSH vs. Computo

Superboy and the LSH vs. Computo

Superboy helped the Legion combat Brainiac 5's renegade creation Computo, albeit not before the AI menace killed one of Triplicate Girl's three bodies, causing her to rename herself as Duo Damsel.[56][57] Superboy volunteered to defend Star Boy when Brainiac 5 took him to court-martial for killing an armed assailant, arguing that his invulnerability put him in a better position than other Legionnaries to use non-lethal force in the course of fighting crime. Star Boy was expelled from the Legion by a slim majority vote and joined the Legion of Substitute Heroes with his girlfriend Dream Girl.[58] Superboy presided over the Legion as temporary chairperson during the recruitment of 4 new members: Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Ferro Lad and Nemesis Kid. The Khunds then launched an invasion of Earth which Superboy and the Legion rushed to respond to. It became apparent that there was a traitor in the Legion assisting the Khunds, and Karate Kid became the other Legionnaires' primary suspect, until Nemesis Kid tipped his hand and gave himself away as the real infiltrator. Thanks to Superboy's quick thinking, some of the Earth's defensive systems were safeguarded from sabotage and mounted an effective response to the Khundian fleet.[59][60] Superboy next fought the solar-powered menace Dr. Regulus with the Legion by his side, preventing him from stealing away with the Legion Clubhouse and other buildings along the 30th-century Metropolis skyline.[61] Superboy tried to stop the criminal hypnotist Universo from breaking into the Legion Clubhouse only to be put into a perpetual trance by the villain. Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Colossal Boy and Chameleon Boy were tricked into departing for remote past eras of Earth history by Universo and encountered peril in each one, but Universo's son Rond Vidar helped the Legionnaires return to the 30th century, put Superboy back to normal, and thwart Universo's attempt at overthrowing the United Planets.[62] Superboy and Supergirl were honorably discharged from the Legion when a Green K cloud coalesced around the Earth's atmosphere, but not before they nominated their own successors "Sir Prize" and "Miss Terious" to take their places. After the two new Legionnaires used their unique skills to defeat Prince Evillo and his Devil's Dozen, they were revealed to be Star Boy and Dream Girl, and permitted to rejoin the Legion in their full capacity. Evillo's turncoat physician also restored Lightning Lad's missing arm, Bouncing Boy's bouncing powers and Matter-Eater Lad's slender frame. Color Kid of the Legion of Substitute Heroes then changed the Green K cloud into Blue K, allowing Superboy and Supergirl to retake their places in the Legion.[63][64]

When a Sun-Eater was spotted on a runaway course for the Sol system, the Legion sought out the Fatal Five to help them stop it in return for presidential pardons, with Superboy being tasked with the recruitment of the Emerald Empress. When the time came, the Sun-Eater proved too great for even Superboy's might, overwhelming him with its raw power before putting him out of commission with a burst of red-sun energies. The Sun-Eater was eventually demolished through the heroic sacrifice of Ferro Lad, and the Fatal Five subsequently turned on the weakened Legionnaires. Fortunately, Princess Projectra appealed to Validus to revolt against Tharok's self-serving leadership, and the Fatal Five vanished in a flash of light as Validus's incalculable power collided with the Atomic Axe of his erstwhile ally, the Persuader.[65][66] Superboy brought Lana Lang on one of his trips to the 30th century as a reward for showing greater respect of his secret identity. Eager as ever, Lana applied for Legion membership in her superhero identity as Insect Queen. Although rejected for full-time membership on the basis that her powers derived from her Bio-Genetic Ring, Lana proved herself when she helped Superboy and the Legion save an Antarctic city from the designs of a madman and was admitted as a Legion reservist.[67] While grieving for Ferro Lad's sacrifice, Superboy was attacked by an apparition claiming to be the deceased Legionnaire's spirit, demanding the immediate disbanding of the Legion as vengeance for allowing him to die. Superboy was then captured by a renegade Controller, who revealed that he was responsible for setting the Sun-Eater loose upon the galaxy, simulated the recent appearances of Ferro Lad's "spirit," and intended to possess Superboy's body in a bid for universal domination. Just as the rest of the Legion arrived to rescue Superboy though, the Controller ran into a corridor and suffered a fright-induced heart attack, believed to be from spotting the true ghost of Ferro Lad.[68] Superboy and a few other Legionnaires were captured by Otto Orion, the Hunter, who took them to a jungle planet to pit his talents against theirs and perished in the undertaking.[69] Universo kidnapped and impersonated the Vice-President of Earth, Kandro Boltax, and arranged the assassination of the incumbent President, paving the path for his ascendancy to rule over Earth and leadership over the United Planets Inner Council. As "President Boltax," Universo ordered the construction of a water treatment plant as a cover for poisoning the water supply with hypnotic chemical agents, put a sadistic mercenary in charge of the prison-planetoid Takron-Galtos to convert the holding facilities into a slave-labor camp, and kept the Legion busy with manufactured crises while he enacted a law mandating the dissolution of their organization. Universo then issued a curfew and forbade the Legion from using their powers or costumes in public, knowing that circumstance would compel the Legion into action and give him precedent to have them arrested. Superboy was imprisoned on Takron-Galtos for the "crime" of saving a monorail from going off-track, weakened to a manageable level with Kryptonite chains, and forced to mine jewels, until he organized a breakout with his fellow captive Legionnaires. Superboy returned to Earth just in time to witness the final showdown between the Legion Espionage Squad and the Science Police in front of the water treatment plant and Universo's exposure as the mastermind of the increasing government authoritarianism by Rond Vidar, who was subsequently declared an honorary Legionnaire for his repeated contributions.[70][71] Superboy was involved in a mission to protect a Dominator peace envoy to the United Planets from the Dominion's belligerent former leader.[72] He was then led on a wild goose chase with the other members of the LSH by the mad scientist Mantis Morlo and his shape-shifting Chemoids.[73][74]

Superboy in the ring with Validus

Superboy in the ring with Validus

Superboy was deployed with Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5 and Karate Kid to investigate the uncharacteristically belligerent behavior of the planet Talok VIII. The Legionnaires were assigned a Talokite guide to the planet named Shadow Lass by the Science Police. Upon infiltration of the Talok government citadel, the Legionnaires were put into death traps. In the process of escaping the traps, the Legionnaires generated enough energy output to power machines whose function was to shatter the dimensional barrier, thereby facilitating the return of the Fatal Five from wherever they were sent at the end of their last outing. It was revealed that Tharok was somehow using machines to extend mind-control over the entire planet and caused Talok's sudden shift to a military society to attract the Legionnaires' attention, with the explicit purpose of using them to enable his return. The Five then occupied Metropolis and seized control of Earth, planning to use the central command console of the United Planets' defensive weapons systems to enforce their rule. However, the Fatal Five only had 2 of the 3 keys required to access the console; the third and final key was in the Legion Clubhouse. The Legionnaires fortunately returned from Talok VIII in time to fortify the Clubhouse against the Five's attempts to break in and confronted the villains head-on. Although neither the LSH nor the Fatal Five could get the upper hand in the battle, the Legion stalled for enough time for the U.P. to mobilize an effective response from other planets and regain control of the capital. The Fatal Five were forced on the run, and the five participating Legionnaires, including newly inducted Shadow Lass, were given high presidential honors for their heroic resistance. Regrettably, the Legion Clubhouse was irreparably wrecked by Validus during the skirmish.[75][76] As such, the U.P. subsidized the construction of a larger and more advanced Legion HQ out of gratitude to the club of young heroes. Superboy and the members of the Legion were besieged unexpectedly by the Dark Circle during their recovery from the battle with the Fatal Five. Thankfully, Brainiac 5 won the day by using one of the gifts sent to the LSH, a reality-reshaping Miracle Machine manufactured by the Controllers out of gratitude for stopping their renegade, to repel the Dark Circle invasion and complete construction work on the new headquarters.[77]

The stakes were raised when Mordru, the Dark Lord of Zerox, escaped from the anoxic conditions of the vault where the Legion had kept him imprisoned and defeated a quartet of on-duty Legionnaires consisting of Superboy, Mon-El, Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass. The four Legionnaires escaped into 20th century Smallville using Rond Vidar's Time Cube while the quick thinking of Princess Projectra, Dream Girl and the White Witch of Naltor deflected Mordru's assault on Legion HQ while giving him the illusion that he succeeded. Tracking the four escaped Legionnaires to the 20th century, Mordru put a spell on everyone in Smallville to subconsciously send out a psychic alert signal if any of them spotted Superboy or the other Legionnaires. After hiding for over a week and covertly routing a raid of the town by mobsters, the Legion were spotted by Mordru through the eyes of Lana Lang, causing the dark wizard to appear in the town. In a last-ditch effort to get Mordru to retreat to the 30th century, Superboy mind-wiped himself and the other Legionnaires for an hour with a hypnosis ray, so that he would be unable to telepathically detect the presence of any of them in Smallville. Instead, when Mordru's mind scanned the town for the Legionnaires, the effect of making contact with the mindwiped Legionnaires' minds was to extend the duration of their brainwashing indefinitely. Desperate to find his enemies, Mordru erected a force-field about Smallville and magically erected it into the stratosphere, before summoning his futuristic armies to weed the Legionnaires out by interrogating the populace. Pete Ross saved the day by revealing Superboy's secret identity as Clark Kent to Lana Lang, allowing Lana and Pete to bring Clark out of his brainwashed state by proving to him that he was invulnerable and therefore had to be Superboy. Subsequently, Superboy undid the effects of the hypnosis ray on the other Legionnaires and rallied the Legion forces, including Lana as Insect Queen, to engage Mordru in a final battle. Mordru overpowered the heroes again, judged them "guilty of anti-crime" in a kangaroo court of mesmerized toadies, and prepared to destroy them with a bolt of concentrated magical power, when the energies of the bolt destabilized the ceiling of the cavern they were in and crushed Mordru under tons of rubble. To set everything back to how it was before Mordru's arrival, Superboy used the hypnosis ray on Lana to make her forget his secret identity. Then, Mon-El wrested the ray from Superboy and used it against him to make him forget that Pete Ross knew he was Clark Kent, because he knew that Pete's knowledge of Superboy's secret identity would save lives in the future.[78][79]

Superboy feigns his death at the hands of Tarik the Mute

Superboy feigns his death at the hands of Tarik the Mute

Back in the 30th century, Colossal Boy was expelled from the Legion for trying to smuggle sensitive info about the Legion to Tarik the Mute, who was holding Colossal Boy's parents hostage to force him to help build up his criminal counterpart to the LSH: The Legion of Super-Villains. After it was determined that Colossal Boy was being coerced into his actions, Superboy went undercover as a delinquent Legion reject, with a disguised Chameleon Boy and relatively unknown Legion trainees Timber Wolf and Chemical King as his "gang," to attract the attentions of the LSV's recruiters and receive entry to their training grounds. However, Superboy and the infiltration squad were unable to keep up the ruse, and a battle erupted. Reinforced by the rest of the Legion and the Science Police, Superboy and his teammates were able to shut down Tarik's operation, save Colossal Boy's family, and put away many of the LSV recruits, of whom a significant proportion were disgruntled LSH rejects, like Ron-Karr, Spider Girl, and Radiation Roy and sociopathic youths with a criminal record, such as Nemesis Kid and an adolescent Lightning Lord. This was the same organization which would evolve into the adult LSV of Superboy and the Legion's future, dominated by the triumvirate of Lightning Lord, Cosmic King and Saturn Queen. This incident also served as Timber Wolf and Chemical King's trial by fire. After the mission reached a successful conclusion, the two trainees were allowed to join the Legion in an official capacity, and Colossal Boy was allowed to rejoin in light of the extenuating circumstances of his betrayal.[80] Superboy encountered the Tornado Twins with the rest of the Legion, initially resentful of their habit of showing the LSH up and superior super-speed, until they revealed that their actions were merely meant to generate hype for the new holiday which the U.P. declared in honor of their 20th century ancestor, The Flash.[81] When the Legion's allies, the Wanderers went bad under the influence of a radioactive nebula, concurrently with the challenge of a being from another dimension calling upon the mightiest Legionnaire, the LSH organized the capture of the Wanderers as a contest to determine which Legionnaire could be considered the mightiest. Come the final round, only Superboy and Bouncing Boy remained. Surprisingly, Bouncing Boy triumphed in the capture of the Wanderers' leader Celebrand, although it was then revealed that the Legionnaire in question was actually Chameleon Boy, wearing Bouncing Boy's form to capitalize off of the element of surprise.[82] Superboy briefly feigned having gone mercenary along with the rest of the Legion as part of a plot to neutralize a sentient planet volunteering itself as a hideout for criminals.[83] On Brainiac 5's birthday, Superboy was one of 5 Legionnaires to consume a drink poisoned with the potent toxin Rakurga, or rather a type of Rakurga using a Kryptonite base. After the rest of the team scrambled about on a diversionary mission, Ultra Boy used the Miracle Machine to save his comrades from certain death.[84][85] Superboy stranded the rest of the Legion on a distant planet, faking his own death and secretly charging the Legion of Super-Pets with their protection, to get them out of the way of a villain who sought to wipe the team out by harnessing the solar winds. After Superboy dispelled the ruse to his teammates, the Legionnaires confronted the villain in his lair within the corona of the Sun, where he committed suicide to evade capture.[86] The time came when the Legion of Super-Heroes came under review by the United Planets' internal revenue service for failing to pay taxes exacted upon all private organizations exceeding 25 members. As the Legion had since reached 26, it became necessary for the Legion's incumbent chairman Karate Kid to dismiss one Legionnaire to fall under the limit and avoid charges of tax-evasion. Various Legionnaires volunteered themselves to resign for the good of the greater cause, and several Legionnaires attempted to sabotage tests employed to impartially decide which Legionnaire was the least useful to the group. Ultimately, Superboy decided to quit the Legion and return to the 20th century, rationalizing that Mon-El shared his powers but lacked his Kryptonite weakness and therefore was more than sufficient to replace him. The Legion accepted Superboy's resignation, but they honored his period of service with them by casting a statue of Superboy in gold to display in their headquarters.[87]

During this era, when Superboy and the Legion were still wide-eyed, young and fresh, Duo Damsel harbored a secret crush on Superboy, although she never opened up about her feelings because of low self-esteem and knowing from the historical records who Superman would ultimately end up with. Duo Damsel's feelings of unworthiness to approach the great Superboy blinded her to the affections of another Legionnaire, Bouncing Boy, who shared similar reservations about the practical usefulness of his power and crushed on Duo Damsel in secret ever since he had joined the Legion. Only at the end of this era did Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel begin to gain insight into the feelings of the other. Even then, Duo Damsel gave Superboy a goodbye kiss to remember her by, prior to his resignation from the team.

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.[88][89]

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!"[90]

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.[91]

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.[92] 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's Promise to Mon-El

Superboy's Promise to Mon-El

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 traveling salesman Bob Cobb, a "cousin" of Clark Kent, to provide an alibi for his sudden appearance at the Kent residence. 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.[35] 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.[93] When Brainiac 5 created a permanent cure for his lead poisoning, Mon-El was released from the Phantom Zone for good.[94]

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.[95][96] 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 to arrest interplanetary crime kingpin Molock.[97]

Return to the 30th Century

Superboy vs. The Fatal Five

Superboy vs. The Fatal Five

Although he resigned from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superboy remained available for contact by the team as a reservist. After some time, the Legion once again found need of Superboy's services when Cosmic Boy encountered a mysterious duplicate of himself roaming about HQ and required the Boy of Steel to use his versatile abilities to tell which was real and which was the imposter. Upon arrival back in the 30th century, Superboy was threatened by the astral projection of Mordru, who warned that one of the Cosmic Boys was his magical doppelganger and would bring doom upon all the members of the Legion unless found out in time. Superboy tested the powers of the Cosmic Boys by creating large plastic projectiles and painting them to resemble iron fragments. The Cosmic Boy unable to manipulate the object with his magnetic powers was identified as the real Legionnaire, whereas the Cosmic Boy who could remotely manipulate the plastic vanished from existence when pointed out. Superboy returned back to his own time-period as soon as he was able, but the basic re-establishment of contact marked the inception of an all-new series of 30th-century adventures.[98] Superboy's world intersected with the Legion's once again when Mordru broke free from his subterranean, hypoxic prison and crafted a mystical blood-gem that would entrance all who gazed upon it and instill within them the irresistible compulsion to kill Superboy at any cost. Superboy discovered the plot and buried Mordru once again, tossing the mystic gem with sufficient velocity to escape the Earth's orbit and leave the outer reaches of the galaxy. This decision came back to bite Superboy when an LSH mineral-harvesting outpost manned by Chameleon Boy found the gem drifting in space, still intact and unblemished 1000 years later. Cham was entranced by the gem and assaulted Ultra Boy, taking his form to obtain clearance to travel to the 20th century using the Time-Cube. Although Brainiac 5 and Lightning Lad pursued Cham once the real Ultra Boy warned them of the situation, Cham had taken Superboy's form by the time of their arrival and deflected their suspicions, causing them to return to the 30th century. Then, Cham continued with his plot to murder Superboy, his ex-comrade, with Green Kryptonite. Superboy broke Mordru's spell over Chameleon Boy by following the same line of logic as the rest of Mordru's powers: near-asphyxiation snapped Cham back into his right state of mind.[99] While on a mission to hunt down a vicious interstellar predator menacing the starways in the 30th century, Superboy and Timber Wolf were caught in the abrupt explosion of the asteroid X52, and Timber Wolf disappeared and was presumed killed. Six months later, Timber Wolf returned to the Legion alive and well, though with amnesia about the details of where he was during that time period, and furtively attempted to activate the self-destruct sequence in Legion HQ under cover of wanting to assassinate the Earth President Kandro Boltax. As it turned out, Wolf had been brainwashed by the alien mercenary Tyr to accomplish this goal, and the detonation of asteroid X52 was deliberate by Tyr to lay the ground for this plot. However, Timber Wolf was released from his mental programming by Saturn Girl, and the Legion were able to thwart Tyr's plan against them and capture the villain.[100] The Fatal Five then made a comeback by planting a device called a Time-Sorter in 20th century Smallville which would alter time to retroactively erase the Legion from all history. The Fatal Five even overcame Superboy on his own home-turf for the purposes of their plan, but a team of Legionnaires consisting of Brainiac 5, Karate Kid, Element Lad, Princess Projectra, and Chameleon Boy traveled back in time after the villains before the effect could take hold and therefore were spared when the Time-Sorter erased the existence of the Legion in the 30th century. The stranded Legionnaires used their ingenuity to deceive the Fatal Five, saved the captive Superboy, and smashed the Time-Sorter, reversing its changes to the timestream before they could become permanent.[101] The sentient cybernetic arm-cannon of Tyr, which ejected itself when its chief designer and user was captured, executed a spate of contingency programs to release Tyr from the Legion's captivity while striking at the Legionnaires themselves. However, the AI of the arm-cannon went rogue in the middle of carrying out its mission, latching itself onto Superboy's arm and overriding his central nervous system to control his body. Fortunately, Chameleon Boy pulled a ruse that deceived the AI and put it into Legion custody alongside its creator.[102] On the day of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel's wedding, the latter was kidnapped by Lars Hanscom, the criminal known as Starfinger, in order so Starfinger could deduce the secret of Carggite self-replication abilities. Superboy defeated Starfinger in his lair and rescued Duo Damsel from his clutches, though the villain escaped capture. In the aftermath, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel quit the Legion to begin their new married lives together. Now down two members from their old roster, the Legion restored Superboy to service as a full-time Legionnaire, putting his short period as a reservist to an end.[103]

Superboy and the Legion were given a less-than-friendly reception by Tyroc during their stay on Marzal Island

Superboy and the Legion were given a less-than-friendly reception by Tyroc during their stay on Marzal Island

Over the next few weeks, Superboy joined the Legion for the inauguration of new member Wildfire and the battle against Validus in which long-time member and former team leader Invisible Kid tragically perished.[104][105] While escorting Lana Lang to the 30th century on her birthday, Superboy came across a conspiracy to brainwash and enslave the Legion, dismantling it with the help of Ultra Boy and Lana's alter ego as Insect Queen.[106] At the request of President Boltax, Superboy headed up a team of Legionnaires consisting of Light Lass, Timber Wolf, Shrinking Violet, and Chameleon Boy, accompanied also by Science Police Officer Roon Dvron, with the objective of recapturing Universo.[107] Superboy was enjoying a vacation off from Legion duty with Mon-El in the Smallville of the 20th century when Jonathan and Martha Kent suddenly turned on them, using futuristic technology to detain them for a given period, then releasing them. The Kents had no memory of what they had done once the period of detainment had ended, and Superboy and Mon-El quickly pieced together that the Kents had been temporarily brainwashed by the Legion of Super-Villains to ensure their non-intervention in a scheme of theirs to assassinate a universal peace prize recipient in the 30th century and frame the LSH for the deed. Fortunately, Superboy and Mon-El learned upon their return that the on-duty members handled the situation admirably and broke up the LSV plot under the capable acting leadership of Sun Boy.[108] Superboy pursued Element Lad as he returned to his home-planet Trom to confront the genocidal space-pirate who murdered his people, Kivun Roxxas, and pleaded with Element Lad not to execute Roxxas, but to leave his ultimate fate to the law of the United Planets. Although Chemical King kept Superboy from stopping Element Lad from going through with the deed, he neutralized the energy-charge in Element Lad's laser gun and allowed him to believe he had killed Roxxas for a few seconds, so that Element Lad could experience the bitter emptiness that naturally follows the fulfillment of vengeance-lust and know better from it in the future.[109] While the rest of the LSH went on a mission in Space Sector 14 to capture master thief Benn Pares, Superboy remained in Legion HQ to guard the Miracle Machine from Pares's clutches. When the thought of entering a space-serpent's maw to reach Pares's lair sent Ultra Boy into a panic-attack that endangered the integrity of the Legion Cruiser, Superboy's stray thought about extricating his fellow Legionnaires from their peril was picked up by the Miracle Machine and teleported Superboy to within Pares's lair, to capture the villain and rescue the team.[110] Superboy led a team consisting of Brainiac 5, Wildfire, and Shadow Lass on a mission to reprogram the computer systems of a fully automated industrial planet owned by Leland McCauley, the United Planets' second-wealthiest man. Things became complicated when McCauley's spoiled son entered the picture, forcing the Legionnaires to save him from his father's deranged former employee who had sabotaged the planet's all-cybernetic security mechanisms.[111] Superboy was also involved in the Legion's missions when a hitman from Bgztl tried to assassinate Phantom Girl and later when the team had to ally with Tyroc to retrieve a stolen fortune in jewels from a gang on Marzal Island. In spite of initial mistrust of Superboy and his comrades, Tyroc came to see that they were essentially good and noble and accepted Superboy's offer to apply for Legion membership.[112][113] While on a more leisurely sojourn in the world of the 30th century, Superboy happened upon Legion Academy rookie Laurel Kent, a future descendant of his with the sole power of invulnerability. Laurel revealed to Superboy that she bore a close facial resemblance to the woman whom he would ultimately be destined to marry, but the post-hypnotic suggestion, which keeps Superboy from retaining knowledge of his future, kicked in and blocked her existence out of his mind upon return to the 20th century.[114] Superboy and Sun Boy conspired to arrange Tyroc's final qualifying exam to join the LSH, creating a shared villain persona named "Zoraz" and producing the backstory that he had contingencies against the special abilities of all existing Legionnaires. This was intended to force Tyroc to think on his toes and take the initiative to pursue and capture "Zoraz" when a situation was manufactured where the fictional enemy had infiltrated Legion HQ. After passing the test with flying colors, Tyroc had to contend with disgruntled Legion reject Absorbency Boy, who held particular animus toward Tyroc for occupying the vacancy in the Legion roster that he had tried for previously.[115]

Superboy and Timber Wolf against Grimbor the Chainsman and Charma

Superboy and Timber Wolf against Grimbor the Chainsman and Charma

Superboy tagged along with a Legion squad comprised of Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet, Ultra Boy, Light Lass, Sun Boy, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, and Colossal Boy to counter the latest rash of interstellar crimes committed by the Fatal Five. After putting Duplicate Boy of the Heroes of Lallor in critical condition, the Five stole an entire miniature electronics factory from Imsk, mechanical components for constructing androids from Rerel, noxious chemical compounds from Zeffro, and half of the planetary mass of Cyrem. Brainy deduced that the Five were hiding in plain sight by forming the stolen landmass from Cyrem into an artificial moon and positioning it in a stationary orbit behind one of Cyrem's other six moons, knowing that it would be undetectable to surviving natives of Cyrem, planet-side, and that passersby along the galactic spaceways would hardly notice the extra moon. The Legion besieged the Fatal Five on their artificial "seventh moon of Cyrem," with Superboy taking on the Emerald Empress by wrapping her Emerald Eye in his indestructible cape and squeezing her into unconsciousness. The other Legionnaires defeated the other four villains, though Validus and Tharok escaped. The Legionnaires concluded that, far from seeking to use their stolen materials to malicious ends, their crime-spree was intended to furnish their surroundings with personal comforts until the next opportunity for revolution against the United Planets government presented itself. The android parts were used to build a staff of robot manservants for Empress, the poisonous compounds were used to create an isolated environment similar to Mano's homeworld Angtu, the Imskian circuit-boards were in use by Tharok to build a more humanlike cybernetic replacement for the unstable mechanical half of his body, and the landmass of Cyrem, apart from being made into the Five's temporary HQ, also provided the bio-resources for sustained living.[116] While patrolling a nuclear power plant, Superboy and Timber Wolf were taken out and captured by the crime-duo of Grimbor and Charma, who returned them to the office of the Legion's financier R.J. Brande to make an example out of them and force Brande to pay an enormous ransom for the Legionnaires' continued safety. After contacting Brande a second time and getting turned down, Grimbor and Charma infiltrated Legion HQ and systematically subdued every Legionnaire present a second time, including Superboy. The duo then summoned Brande into the HQ complex to show him that they were keeping the Legionnaires in secure captivity and to pressure Brande into paying an even higher ransom for their lives. However, the criminals hadn't counted upon Shrinking Violet being present and hiding at microscopic size. Using her wits, Vi singlehandedly thwarted Grimbor and Charma and freed her Legion friends all at once.[117]

From Stargrave to Earthwar

Stargrave strikes!

Stargrave strikes!

During another Legion mission, this time to seal the widening aperture between the Earth-One universe and the Antimatter Universe before matter/antimatter interaction could obliterate half the Milky Way Galaxy, Superboy and 4 other Legionnaires (Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Chameleon Boy, Sun Boy) were plucked out of linear time and moved 3.74 days into the future and 6,000,000,000 parsecs away from Earth to the lair of the Time Trapper. The Trapper revealed that in the time they were absent the Legion had failed at its mission, destroying them all and a substantial region of inhabited space with it, and explained that he came to deduce with his computers that the quintet of Superboy, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Chameleon Boy, and Sun Boy in particular underlied every possible future timeline where the Trapper fails in his final goal of dominating the universe. In addition, the Time Trapper revealed that his analysis indicated that those five Legionnaires' continued existence invariably endangered his own and stopped time to fight Superboy and his friends to the death, simultaneously yet separately, in five divergent branches of the timestream. The Trapper channeled inhuman strength from the distortion of time with which he became more than capable of overpowering Superboy in a show of brute physical force, but Saturn Girl managed to penetrate the temporal barrier with her telepathy to inform Superboy that his powers were derived from the hourglass worn upon his person. Superboy desperately reached out and shattered the hourglass to avoid the Time Trapper's planned fate of being hurled through a gateway into a red sun, sending his Legionnaire friends and him to the exact moment in time that they had been extracted from. The Time Trapper, as far as Superboy could tell, was flung by the sudden recoil of resuming the linear flow of time through the gateway, where he was presumably consumed by the corona of the red sun, though Saturn Girl hypothesized that since the future timeline those events transpired in had been retroactively averted that the Trapper might still be out there, plotting his comeback. All the while, Superboy, the Legion, and the Time Trapper were being watched with utmost interest by a force of superior power and malignance: a Coluan schemer identified by his cohorts as Pulsar Stargrave.[118] On the way to their mission objective of sealing the rift between the universes, Superboy and the Legion were blindsided by Quicksand and Holdur, Stargrave's minions. The fight was interrupted when Stargrave appeared and closed the transdimensional fissure with a wave of his hand. Stargrave then teleported Superboy and the Legionnaires to his base, along with Holdur and Quicksand, to introduce himself and present his ultimatum. Stargrave revealed that he had created the rift in space to begin with, to draw the LSH to investigate its threat to the stability of the universe, and that he was responsible for liberating the Time Trapper from the force-field prison where the Legion had left him years prior. Stargrave intended to test the Time Trapper's mettle to judge his value as a potential ally, but the Trapper's failure convinced Stargrave to use Superboy and the Legion for his purposes instead. Defiant in the face of domineering tyrants, Superboy and his friends did battle with Stargrave and his minions before they could hear any further, and consequently, all were soundly neutralized by Stargrave's incalculable power, except for the one non-combat-oriented Legionnaire in the group, Brainiac 5. While the others were unconscious, Stargrave revealed to Brainy that he was actually his father, Brainiac 4, who was long presumed dead. Stargrave revealed that he was put into a suspended animation coma during a stellar expedition and was mistaken for dead by ophidian alien spacemen who happened upon his ship. Per their cultural custom, the snake-like beings jettisoned his body into the core of a sun, so that it was destroyed when it went supernova. However, Stargrave's consciousness was infused at that moment into the plasma of the star, allowing him to reconstitute his body in a highly advanced, nearly omnipotent form. Stargrave told Brainiac 5 that he was preparing for an upcoming war against a force of titanic evil for control over the entire universe, and that the Legion would be given the choice to assist him in asserting his dominion or allow the greater evil to overtake everything in creation. Brainy divulged these details to Superboy and the other Legionnaires back at HQ on Earth, but while the team consented to back Stargrave only to the extent of defeating their mutual enemy, Brainy secretly affirmed to an astral projection of Stargrave that he would side with family when the time came, no matter what. Superboy eavesdropped on the conversation and kept the knowledge of Brainiac 5's furtive pact with Stargrave a secret for the time being.[119]

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.[120]

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.[121][122][123][124][125]

The Man of Tomorrow

The Fortress of Solitude

 
Main article: 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.[126] 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.[127][128][129] 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.[126]

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.[130] 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.[131] 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.[132]

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.[133] 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.[134] 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.[135] 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.[136] 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.[137] 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.[138] 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.[139][140][141]

Lex Luthor was always Superman's most implacable foe.

Lex Luthor was always Superman's most implacable foe.

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.[140] 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. When Luthor was 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.[142] 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.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145] 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.[146]

Superman vs. Brainiac

Superman's first encounter with Brainiac

Superman's first encounter with 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.[147] 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.[148] 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.[149]

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.[150]

The Supergirl From Krypton

Supergirl arrives on Earth

Supergirl arrives on Earth

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 Green Kryptonite (actually a sub-variant called Anti-Kryptonite that could affect even depowered Kryptonians) 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.[150][151][152] 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.[153] 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.[138] 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 meteoroids 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 regained her Kryptonian abilities in earnest and 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.[154][155][149][156][157][158][159][160] 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.[161] Supergirl would continue to operate on an independent basis, amassing her own cast of friends, such as Lex Luthor's sister Lena, the housecat Streaky, who was artificially empowered by X-Kryptonite, 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.[162] Soon after, Linda graduated from high school and began taking classes at Stanhope College.[163] Supergirl's ability would again be validated when she triumphed in a solo encounter against Brainiac during one of her cousin's excursions with the Justice League.[164]

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.[165][166]

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.[167][168] 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.[169]

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.[170][171][172] 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.[173] 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.[174]

Titano the Super-Ape

Superman fights Titano

Superman fights Titano

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.[175] 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.[176] Titano was befriended by Krypto during one of the Superdog's romps through the timestream.[177]

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.[178] 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.

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.[179][180][181] 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.[182]

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.[183] 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.[184] 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.[172] For the first time, Superman was compelled by his sense of righteousness into releasing a Phantom Zoner upon completion of his sentence.
Quex-Ul completes his sentence in the Phantom Zone.

Quex-Ul completes his sentence in the Phantom Zone.
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 in the production department of the Daily Planet, none the wiser about his Kryptonian origins.[185][186] 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.[187][188] 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.[162]

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.[189][190] 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.[191] 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.[192] 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.[193] 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.[194] As the Revenge Squad grew more audacious in its endeavors to destroy Superman, it attracted failed dictators and fallen petty tyrants from beyond Wexr II, expanding into a veritable confederation of interstellar despots, raiders and brigands. Some splinter groups of the Revenge Squad took to shaving their heads bald in ritual imitation of Superman's arch-enemy Lex Luthor and adopted a "team uniform" in a manner of speaking: a variant of Superman's own uniform with a green luminescent version of the S-crest, meant to invoke the imagery of Green Kryptonite.[195]

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.[196] 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.[197]

Nightwing and Flamebird

When Kandorian scientist Than-Ol invented an enlargement procedure by which Kandor could hypothetically be 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 kinsman Van-Zee, Jor-El's old friend Nor-Kann 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.[198]

The Never-Ending Battle

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.[199]

The Luthor-Brainiac Team

The Luthor-Brainiac Team

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.[200]

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.[201]

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.[202]

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.[163][203]
Superman on Lexor -- on death row!

Superman on Lexor -- on death row!

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.[14]

Superman faced the peril of monstrous extraterrestrial creatures with strength enough to harm and even kill him, which Superman initially suspected were surviving beasts of old Krypton until an international military action utilizing the Green K reserves of the world's governments failed to stop them. Superman determined that the monstrous animals came from Giantia, a world with similar but even more extreme atmospheric conditions than Krypton. Giantia was used as the base of an alien death cult that exported the indigenous creatures to other inhabited worlds for no other reason than to cause destruction, and then was destroyed by a simulated planet-shattering explosion by the madmen. Fortunately, the irradiated soil of Giantia became a sort of "Giantite" lethal to Giantia's life-forms and killed off those that were laying waste to Earth by a cosmic turn of happenstance.[204] Superman was next challenged by a man in knight's armor with super-strength and a sword capable of overpowering Superman's resistance to harm. After several unfortunate run-ins with the knight, which ended invariably in Superman's defeat, collateral damage, and the endangerment of the public, Superman deduced that the "knight" was actually a sophisticated robot and traced its construction back to Jon Smatten, a juvenile delinquent-turned-mad scientist from his Superboy days, who had constructed the robot knight from Kryptonian metal alloys which found their way to Earth prior to Krypton's explosion.[205]

Superman's old enemy The Toyman used a toy in Superman's image to foil the jailbreak attempt of several of his fellow prisoners and leveraged this example of "good behavior" into a parole. Toyman appeared to go straight selling chidren's wind-up toys based on Superman's image, though Superman appeared to duplicate the feats depicted in the model of the toys every time upon use. In actuality, Toyman was using an android replica of Superman to make it appear as though the Man of Steel were somehow under the power of his toys, as he knew that the real Superman was off-world on a mission and that keeping up the artifice of control over the supremely powerful hero would take him far in the criminal underworld. Superman returned to Earth in time to deduce the nature of the scheme and caught Toyman red-handed during an attempted train robbery.[206]

While searching for Lex Luthor on Lexor to bring him to justice, Superman inadvertently revealed a hidden cache of trophies to Ardora revealing her husband's past as a ruthless criminal on Earth. In revenge for ruining his marriage, Luthor teamed up again with Brainiac to defeat Superman, this time through a concerted psychological warfare campaign. Luthor began by rescuing Superman from a Kryptonite ray beam, an experimental teleporter ray and a sword of Kryptonian metal belonging to Jon Smatten's robotic knight. Then Luthor used a polarized magnetic field to make Superman temporarily appear as a monster and tricked Superman into smashing a robot he created to return stolen cash from his previous bank-robberies. Confusing Superman about his new alignment and undermining the Man of Steel's self-confidence, Luthor gave Superman bad advice to make Superman cause a disaster and subsequently simulated a disaster so that Superman would be unable to tell if he were being tricked. With Superman unable to make any use of his limitless powers because of his newfound inability to trust his judgement, Superman considered retiring, until Luthor and Brainiac's attempt to impersonate government scientists to erode the last of their enemy's sanity backfired and clued Superman in on their true identities. Luthor and Brainiac were able to escape back to Lexor, but as Brainiac observed, even this was allowed by Superman, to make up for having soured Ardora on Lex earlier: he decided to give the villains a reprieve and make Ardora forget with a dose of Amnesium gas.[207][208][10]

Meanwhile, Perry White collapsed from a nervous attack and appointed Clark Kent to be temporary acting editor of the Daily Planet. Around the same time, Mr. Mxyzptlk returned from the 5th dimension; noticing Mxy's interest in the concept of elections, Superman decided to run a mock campaign for Senator to occupy the imp's attention away from more destructive pursuits until he could think of a way to trick him. In the process of electioneering, however, Superman let his feigned self-absorption strike Lois Lane the wrong way, inspiring Lois to run against him in the Independent Party primary. Although Superman won the primary by a landslide, Lois was approached by Mxy with the offer to make her win the election (and prank Superman in so doing) as a write-in candidate. Lois stood a fair chance of coming out ahead, until Superman decided to explain his reasons to Lois and conspired with her and Jimmy Olsen to trick Mxy into saying, "Kltpzyxm," and returning to his own dimension. Subsequently, Clark ran an editorial in the Planet which exposed why neither Superman nor Lois could be eligible for the election, with Superman being born on Krypton and not in the state of the election and Lois being under 30 years old. As a result, Perry White was appointed to act as an interim Senator in the absence of any viable candidates, and Perry appointed an experienced journalist from out of town named Van Benson to replace him as acting editor-in-chief of the Planet.[209] Benson was ultimately revealed as an FBI agent tasked with using the editorial position as cover while infiltrating and dismantling an anti-Superman conspiracy, one which Lois Lane and Lana Lang stumbled into by pure chance. Benson resigned upon completion on the assignment, leaving Perry White to reclaim his old position once the Senate recessed.[210][211]

When the sentence of Phantom Zone criminal Ak-Var expired, just as with Quex-Ul before him, Superman felt obligated to arrange his release. Although Superman compelled Ak-Var to reside in Kandor, Ak-Var was granted a 20-minute reprieve to explore Earth, during which time he was exposed to Red Kryptonite. Upon miniaturization into Kandor, the Red K effect caused Ak-Var to unwittingly transmit 3 Kryptonian super-powers-- super-strength, invulnerability and flight-- to the 3 members of his old gang, through physical contact. Ak-Var's former associates then put a plan into motion to frame Ak-Var for deliberately granting them powers and trapping Superman in the Phantom Zone. Fortunately, Ak-Var and Superman got wise to the crooks' scheme and exposed them. Ak-Var found a job in the laboratory of Van-Zee as a technical assistant, and found love in the arms of Van-Zee's niece Thara.[212]

Superman fights the Parasite

Superman fights the Parasite

Superman met his most powerful nemesis yet when resentful lab worker Max Jensen accidentally exposed himself to radioactive materials from outer space and mutated into the Parasite, a villain with a physiological need to absorb others' life-force to survive. The Parasite set his sights on Superman, discovering his secret identity and battering him to the brink of death, but he realized too late that he was overloading on Superman's power and disintegrated.[213] The space pirate Amalak challenged Superman on Earth with the creation of 4 elemental beings and a ray that cut Superman's power in half.[214] Professor Va-Kox masterminded his escape from the Phantom Zone and masqueraded as a duplicate Clark Kent who came into existence from nuclear radiation exposure. Va-Kox "gifted" Superman with a utility belt full of gadgets, ostensibly to assist Superman in his crime-fighting activities, but he was discovered and returned to the Phantom Zone when Superman caught that the belt was booby-trapped to kill him.[215] Alien conqueror Grax stole the force-field of his rival Brainiac and used it to contain Superman within the Earth's atmosphere as a K-meson bomb attached to his costume counted down to destruction for the human race. With Brainiac's unexpected assistance, Superman outwitted Grax and the K-meson bomb denotated harmlessly in outer space. Grax meanwhile became incorporeal to survive the bomb and was sent reeling throughout the cosmos.[216] Superman fought the terrorist organization DEMON to keep them from stealing the Sacred Star of Sinsubhani.[217] The Superman Revenge Squad awakened an invincible robot goliath named Eterno from its slumber at the Earth's core to draw it into an inevitable confrontation with the Man of Steel. Though Superman and Eterno were equally matched in might, the android turned on the Revenge Squad when he discovered that he was being used. The Revenge Squad were forced to deactivate Eterno with Absorbium pellets to save themselves, but the robot's inanimate chassis collapsed on their ship and killed them just the same.[218] The Legion of Super-Heroes summoned Superman into their 30th-century future for the first time since boyhood to help them contend with a villain who was bent on systematically dismantling the Legion. Superman and Cosmic Man did in the mystery marauder by disguising themselves as one another and determined the villain to be Ferro Lad's vengeful brother Douglas Nolan, who was under the mental domination of Saturn Queen.[219] Clark Kent was recruited by the FBI to trail the notorious saboteur Acid Master and dismantled the spy's operations without making overt use of his super-powers.[220] Amalak returned, manipulating an alien space explorer into blaming Krypton for his own home planet's destruction and waging a one-man war on the last surviving Kryptonians. Superman exposed Amalak's treachery just in time to keep him from detonating a charge that would have destroyed the Earth.[221] Next, Superman had to contend with Zha-Vam, a being sent by the Gods of Olympus to punish Superman for dwarfing their legend with his own.[222][223][224]

Superman meets his match against Zha-Vam

Superman meets his match against Zha-Vam

Superman was duped by an impeccable android facsimile of his Clark Kent persona, who claimed to be the non-super-powered Clark of an alternate Earth, into traveling to a parallel universe where the android's creators, the Superman Revenge Squad, intended to strand him.[225] A perplexing, diminutive character named Captain Incredible appeared, who possessed even greater powers than Superman and none of his weaknesses in spite of his short frame and comical appearance. This being turned out to be a realistic android sent from the 27th Century by the future inventor of a synthetic polymer to aid Superman, only for his trip through time to the 20th century to scramble his circuits and make him hell-bent on Superman's destruction. Superman tricked Captain Incredible into returning to his own time-period, where the corruption of his programming would be undone.[226] The vengeful alien Xan vowed to exact revenge on Superman and Batman for capturing his father, who was a career criminal on his homeworld and died alone in an intergalactic prison. Xan elected to use Joe Meach, the former Composite Superman, as his pawn, restoring to him his lost powers and memories. The Composite Superman set about systematically humiliating and defeating Superman and Batman, even as Batman pieced together his true identity from records at the Superman Museum. The Composite Superman planned to execute the two heroes; however, his powers faded again as he was about to deliver the killing blow. Xan then appeared to finish Superman and Batman himself with a powerful energy-blaster, but Meach, whose envy and hatred of Superman vanished with his powers, sacrificed his life by ducking in front of the blast. Xan was taken to his planet to be tried and jailed, while a monument was erected to Meach for his final noble deed.[227] Superman then fought a new villain named the Annihilator and his juvenile delinquent sidekick when the two went on a rampage culminating in the occupation of Washington, D.C.[228][229][230] Superman questioned his competence to use his powers for the sake of the good when an act of arguable negligence on his part led to the tragic death of a cavern explorer. In the throes of a crippling remorse, Superman abandoned Earth for weeks to resettle on Moxia, a planet existing in a system with a red sun. However, after thwarting a criminal plot to take over the planet in spite of his lack of powers, Clark realized that the protection of the innocent and punishment of the wicked was his life's calling, so he returned to Earth, leaving a super-powered robot behind to look after Moxia in his absence.[231] Clark had to duck the assassination attempts of the Long-Hair Gang to preserve his secret identity while spending the whole day in the company of a girl photographer for a feature in a popular magazine.[232] Next, Superman's lady friends Lois Lane, Lori Lemaris and Lana Lang came under attack from deranged scientist Lorraine Lewis, who felt betrayed by Superman when her romantic delusions about the Man of Tomorrow failed to match the reality. Lorraine tried to kill Superman will a pillar of Q-Energy but stumbled into it herself and was immediately disintegrated. Everything in the Fortress of Solitude was then possessed by an energy-being from Pluto, which Superman defeated through use of his heat vision.[233]

For the first time, Superman had to face a homicide rap (excepting the earlier episode on Lexor), when a cunning criminal syndicate framed the Man of Steel for the accidental murder of one of their own, but Superman proved his innocence and rooted out the true culprit with the help of Batman and paraplegic semi-retired ace attorney Earl Barton.[234][235] The Parasite was resurrected from his vaporized remains by a well-meaning alien cartographer. Realizing that his past defeat came from attempting to absorb Superman's power away too quickly all at once, Parasite disguised himself as "Larcon P. Leech," got a job as a Daily Planet reporter by draining away enough of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen's skills to impress Perry White, and followed Clark Kent around on assignments for the next couple of days, gradually draining his life-force and super-powers from him all the while. Fortunately, Superman realized what was going on and successfully set a trap for his duplicitous enemy.[236]

Infected by Virus X!

Infected by Virus X!

Superman's closest brush with death began when Clark was captured by a criminal ventriloquist named Ventor, who plotted a terrible vengeance against Superman for putting his brother Bruno Caine in prison, where he eventually died. Intent on using Clark as his secret weapon against Superman, Ventor mesmerized him to hate Superman with a burning passion, using a brainwashing machine made from the cannibalized electronic innards of a disabled Superman Robot. The procedure succeeded, also making Clark forget that he was secretly Superman. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor was allowed access to a biochemical laboratory while in prison (as it was supposedly stocked only with materials to help Luthor research a cure to a disease affecting cattle) and used it to recreate a deadly leprosy-like plague that was endemic to Krypton, called Virus X. Through his contacts with Ventor on the outside, Luthor smuggled a vial containing a sample of Virus X to the deranged ventriloquist, who passed it on to Clark to infect Superman with it. Consequently, Clark infected himself, and although the effects of the hypnosis ceased, he was now confronted with the fact that he was carrier of a virulent malady that would eventually kill him, as well as any other living thing he encountered. Superman falsely believed he had contracted Virus X once in the past[237], but the actual disease was far worse than even he had anticipated back then, as it could infect life-forms of Earth in addition to ones native to Krypton. In fact, animals native to Earth would succumb to the plague far more quickly than Kryptonian ones, as Virus X evidenced symptoms in a domestic house cat immediately upon penetration of tissues, and death followed within the next 30 minutes. Luthor took credit for Virus X and promised to cure Superman in return for freedom and $1,000,000 in cash. After taking the money offered up by the public for Superman's recovery, the treacherous Luthor revealed that there was no cure. Superman then prepared a rocket to take his body to the hottest sun in the universe for his cremation and reflected on the high and low points of his life's story. Superman was only saved by a serendipitous accident of fate, whereby the denizens of Bizarro World shot an assortment of Kryptonite into the flight path of Superman's rocket, exposing Superman to White Kryptonite radiations that killed the Virus X pathogens. Upon returning to Earth, Superman learned that Supergirl and the Justice League were working to keep up the illusion that Superman had a miraculous convalescence and returned earlier than he did, until the people of Kandor could offer up a suitable permanent replacement Superman. The reappearance of the real Superman brought joy to all his friends and allies, not to mention restoring hope to the world.[238][239][240][241][242]

Superman meets Black Zero

Superman meets Black Zero

Superman was summoned by the President of the United States to deal with an alien mercenary who was discovered by a deceased intelligence agent to be on Earth, planning to bring about the end of the human race. After feeding information about the alien's physical description to his Fortress's supercomputer, Superman concluded that the villain was disguised in plain sight as a British intelligence operative on special assignment to Washington, D.C. The alien identified himself once exposed as Black Zero, the saboteur who exacerbated the thermonuclear reactions in Krypton's core that culminated in that planet's annihilation. Now with a personal reason to see Black Zero punished for his crimes, Superman formed a tenuous alliance with the Phantom Zone criminal Jax-Ur to stop him. Superman eventually caught on to the fact that Black Zero intended to destroy the Earth with an antimatter missile, but he was stymied when Black Zero informed him that any attempt to interfere with the missile's path would detonate it prematurely and destroy all life on Earth. Using his ingenuity, Superman calculated the trajectory of the missile to the fortieth decimal point, taking into account the rotation of the Earth about its axis, and bored a tunnel thousands of miles long through the planet, with enough width to ensure that the projectile would make no contact with the sides. Meanwhile, Black Zero mutated Jax-Ur into a gorgon-like creature with a psychokinetically conjured Red K bullet and paid the ultimate price for his deviltry when Jax turned his serpentine gaze upon the world-destroyer, turning him to stone. To ensure that no one would develop a means of restoring Black Zero from his petrified state, Jax-Ur then shattered Black Zero into infinitesimal granules. Both men satisfied with their having avenged Krypton, Jax-Ur allowed Superman to return him to the Phantom Zone without a fight.[243]

Superman's greatest blunder - Peace on Earth denied!

Superman's greatest blunder - Peace on Earth denied!
Superman's next challenge would be a clever criminal who slipped a necklace containing a tracking device around his neck. The necklace would allow the crook to sell the specifics of Superman's whereabouts to other malefactors to help them manage the logistics of their operations, and Superman would be prevented from removing the necklace by a receiver linked by an EM signal to a network of concealed explosives throughout Metropolis. To make matters more complicated, Perry had delegated editorial duties to Lois for the day, giving Lois the idea of sending Clark on assignments to highly visible areas as pretext to obtain proof of his alter ego.[244] Clark was then impersonated by an alien invader with psychic powers sufficient to hold Superman at bay. As Superman, the real Clark defeated and reclaimed his life from his inhuman imposter.[245] Superman ran into some trouble when it was announced to his surprise that Clark Kent was the recipient of an award that it was Superman's responsibility to publicly bequeath. The fact that Bruce Wayne was present for the ceremony in person and that his apartment was being repainted that evening removed the possibility of relying on Batman or a Superman Robot to provide an impersonation, but Superman thought his way out of the situation nonetheless.[246] As Clark Kent, Superman broke up an art forgery ring and thought his way out of an attempt by an unhinged man to expose his secret identity by strapping him to an electric chair.[247] Superman then ran into conflict with a quintet of sentient crystalline extraterrestrial machines who nullified all crime, war, prejudice and natural disasters on Earth, turning it into an artificial paradise, because Superman suspected them of foul motives. Only after destroying the last one did Superman realize the sincerity of the beings' intentions, leaving him to deal with the guilt of being responsible for the return of all humanity's vices.[248][249] While covering a story about a supercomputer he brought from another world as Superman, Clark was waylaid by a foreign espionage agent, accidentally hitting a switch on the computer which activated an amnestic ray. For weeks, Superman was engaged in a mission to discover what his secret identity was, temporarily taking the roles of costumed wrestler, master thief and even President of the United States before stumbling onto the fact that he was Clark. Clark then hunted down the espionage agent, who took his place as "Clark" as a cover for subversive activities, and saw to it that his entire spy ring was broken up by the FBI. With information from Batman, Clark then determined the location of his Arctic Fortress and used the resources therein to restore his memories.[250][17][18][6]
A spell of super-amnesia!

A spell of super-amnesia!
Mordru mystically sealed Superman in an impregnable vault, forcing Supergirl to summon Brainiac 5 from the 30th century and think up a scheme to deceive Lex Luthor into arranging Superman's release.[251] A changeling from another world took the forms of three of Superman's deceased yet most fearsome adversaries -- Metallo, Composite Superman and Zha-Vam -- as part of an initiation test for an exclusive fraternity on his home-planet.[252] Mr. Mxyzptlk tried to trick Superman into believing that he had a wife and half-Kryptonian child living in the suburbs whom he inexplicably forgot about, but Superman pieced it together that his least favorite imp was just playing a prank on him, as usual.[253] The Anti-Superman Gang used a Green K missile and a machine that could transmute lead into glass in an unsuccessful attempt to kill Superman.[254][255] The Marauder brainwashed Kal-El's non-Kryptonian godfather, space-traveler Rol-Nac, to take the persona of the Devil and challenge Superman with eldritch-themed Kryptonite weaponry. Superman liberated Rol-Nac from his mental programming and briefly reunited with him before sending him back on his way off-world.[256] The Superman Revenge Squad framed Superman for a series of crimes and hid a chunk of Red K in the Telstar satellite which relays the broadcasting frequencies of international telecommunications networks to the Fortress of Solitude's video feed. As Superman checked upon the satellite in his daily patrols, it put him in range of the Red K, causing psychological and emotional instability. When accused by the authorities of the crimes perpetrated by the Revenge Squad, Superman was nearly driven to eradicate his powers with a chunk of Gold K kept in his Fortress in case of emergencies. Luckily, Superman regained enough control of his senses to stop himself. Superman checked the Telstar satellite with his X-ray vision when he noticed that the video feed to his Fortress was running inexplicable interference and detected the Red K as the source of the interference. Inspired to flush out the defamatory conspiracy against him, Superman bugged the video room in his Fortress and disabled the Fortress's security devices during a feigned fit of insanity. When the Revenge Squad operatives invaded the Fortress in Superman's absence and bragged about the apparent success of their scheme, their confession was recorded and transmitted to a receiver in the presence of the United Nations Security Council, vindicating Superman's name.[257][258] A law-enforcement officer and a dangerous criminal from another planet were disintegrated by the trail of a radioactive comet, but their consciousness was transferred into the clothes they wore when they died. Arriving on Earth, the two sentient costumes vied for possession over Superman's body until both were incinerated in the fires of an orange sun.[259][260] Superman was summoned by Supergirl to limit the growth of self-propagating crystals in Kandor which threatened to destroy the city. Forced to release criminal Gor-Nu, who was once Krypton's greatest biochemist, from the Phantom Zone, Superman made a deal with the villain to submit to a process whereby their bodies and minds would be exchanged so long as Gor-Nu neutralized the crystals. Superman consumed a lethal but slow-acting poison prior to the mind-exchange procedure, ensuring that Gor-Nu would reverse the process to escape death. The effect of the toxin was then nullified when Superman was projected by the Kandorians out of the bottle-city, due to the restoration of his powers.[261]
Superman faces his mortality

Superman faces his mortality

This era was arguably closed out by one of Superman's most perilous adventures, one which more than anything served to emphasize the seemingly invincible Man of Tomorrow's mortality. It began when Superman consulted with the President about a top-secret project in technologically-facilitated time-travel and was asked not to penetrate the time barrier by accelerating beyond the speed of light for at least 24 hours, as it could interfere with the experiment. An inconvenient SOS was sent from Earth 100,000 years into the future, compelling Superman to respond. The Man of Steel thought to sidestep his promise to the POTUS by making his trip in a mothballed Legion of Super-Heroes Time Bubble stored in the Fortress of Solitude, ignoring that there was an unspecified mechanical defect necessitating its decommissioning. Upon making the journey, Superman discovered the nature of the defect: The Time Bubble caused its occupant to age every year that it traveled into the future. Even with his retarded aging processes, Superman was made into a decrepit husk of his former self by the trip. After addressing the concern of the SOS from the future, which turned out to be a hostile energy-being depleting the galaxy's money supply by literally devouring it, Superman attempted to return to his own time. At this juncture, one of the Legion's old enemies, the Time Trapper, struck, by raising the Iron Curtain of Time against the past and forcing Superman to move only forward in time, effectively trapping Superman in an era long after everything he ever knew had gone by the wayside. Using his abilities to travel ever farther into the future at intervals of millennia at a time, Superman bore witness to a possible future and the final fate of humanity. Nuclear war devastated the surface of the planet Earth, forcing humans to build towers and highways 5 miles high under insular, sterile artificial environments. At some time after this, a trio of extraterrestrial would-be saviors created a filter to decontaminate the surface, briefly allowing human re-settlement, although it was devastated once again by the fallout of a titanic conflict between 2 of the three aliens over the hand of the third, female member of their team. In addition to forcing humanity to flee the surface once again, an ordnance was declared by the government of Earth banning the overt exhibition of any superhuman powers. The Fortress of Solitude and the surviving relics of the lives of Superman and Clark Kent became little more than tourist attractions, and news media was broadcast partly by view-screen and partly telepathically. In the end, the Earth became a barren and lifeless world one million years into the future, and the ancient Superman split it into two hemispherical platforms and attempted to start life anew by creating a new atmosphere and repopulating the platforms with organisms from alien worlds. Superman was then found and almost killed by a space-scouring module containing the aggregate consciousness of Lex Luthor and countless other evil-doers throughout the ages, all extracted at their moment of death. Finally, Superman was swept into the energy-stream of a massive fragment of space debris and accelerated once again beyond the speed of light, surpassing the entropic end of everything that is, was, or ever would have been. Select scenes from Superman's life story flickered before his eyes as he came in and out of consciousness and at last arrived back in the present-day, the very instant after his initial departure into the timestream, all his centuries of aging undone. The only way Superman was able to rationalize the events he had experienced was by attributing it to the model of time as a recursive loop, according to which the end of time wound back to the beginning, and did his best to move on.[262][263][264]

Gods and Monsters

After years of cycling through a certain fixed routine about life, Superman was on the brink of an unexpected and tumultuous change-over of the status quo. The Man of Tomorrow had to contend with a new variety of foe, more fearsome and yet more aberrant than any who came before, as the coming of the New Gods plunged Superman into the fray of their timeless conflict and the appearance of the Sand Superman threatened to wipe out the Man of Steel's powers entirely. Simultaneously, the personal lives of Clark Kent and his close associations were shunted into new and unfamiliar territory as a consequence of the Galaxy Broadcasting System's corporate buyout of the Daily Planet and the reshuffling of their traditional roles by the Planet's new owner, Morgan Edge.

The Evil Factory bred many a monstrosity to take down Superman.

The Evil Factory bred many a monstrosity to take down Superman.

The first sign of change was when Morgan Edge, the ruthless CEO of the Galaxy Broadcasting System (GBS), bought the Daily Planet in a hostile takeover and sent Jimmy Olsen on a journalistic assignment to a forested place on the outskirts of Metropolis called the Wild Area, which was reputed to be overrun with insalubrious youth subcultures and biker gangs. Edge put Jimmy in contact with the Newsboy Legion, a group of prepubescent street toughs carrying the mantle their fathers originated in the 1940s in Metropolis's run-down Suicide Slum district. The young intellectual prodigy of the Newsboys, Big Words, sent schematics for an all-terrain multinavigational vehicle designated the Whiz Wagon for Edge to finance the construction. Jimmy would use the vehicle to enter the Wild Area and get the scoop on a destination spoken of only in whispers by the region's inhabitants, called the Mountain of Judgment, and in return for their assistance, the Newsboys would be allowed to keep the Whiz Wagon for themselves. However, unbeknownst to everyone else, Edge had clandestine motives for sending Jimmy into the Wild Area with the Whiz Wagon and was secretly connected to the Intergang crime cartel. When Clark Kent first learned of Jimmy's assignment, he personally voiced his objections to his new employer, only to be offhandedly turned down for his troubles and run over in an Intergang hit-and-run assassination attempt shortly after leaving the Planet building. Fortunately, thanks to his invulnerability, Clark survived with nary a scratch, causing Edge to develop suspicions when he learned of Clark's survival and Superman's subsequent appearance in the Wild Area to stop Jimmy's progress. These suspicions endured even after Edge's repeated calls to Clark's apartment were picked up and appropriately responded to by a computer program that would automatically play prerecorded clips of stock responses in Clark's voice whenever a phone rang in Clark's absence. After catching up to Jimmy, Superman learned that his longtime friend fell in with a biker gang named the Outsiders and became their leader by punching the former leader's lights out in an altercation.[265] Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion insisted on going on with their mission over Superman's protestations, but Superman caught up with the reckless youngsters anyway, albeit not before they had come face to face with the true Mountain of Judgment: a massive, cacophonous, motorized armored vehicle. The Mountain of Judgement drew the Whiz Wagon into its loading bay with a magnetic tractor beam, where Superman was forced to admit his prior knowledge of the Hairies, the self-proclaimed "new, mobile scientific society" responsible for operating the Mountain of Judgment whose existence was apparently a closely guarded government secret. Jude, the Hairie captain of the Mountain of Judgment, already knew that the Whiz Wagon was sent on behalf of the organization bent on annihilating them, and Superman neutralized the alpha-bomb contained within Scrapper's live video camera before it could detonate and kill everyone in the room. Superman, Jimmy and the Newsboys all knew the only one who could have been responsible for setting them up was Morgan Edge; the only remaining question was why. In the GBS offices, Edge reported his failure to the dark being who had directed all of his actions, an entity named Darkseid.[266] Superman brought Jimmy and the Newsboys to a secret cavernous complex in the Wild Area, where he revealed the existence of the United States Government's secret DNA Project. The Project, which had been founded by the original Newsboys of the 1940s in their adulthood, sequenced the human genome and was furtively collecting DNA samples from various American citizens to breed clones of them. The Project had designated 3 classes of clones: Normals, which received no genetic modifications over their DNA donors; Step-Ups, who had enhanced intelligence over ordinary humans and gave rise to the Hairies; and last but not least, DNAliens, who received extreme modifications to their physiological makeup, such as the Project's own key researcher Dubbilex. Meanwhile, Simyan and Mokkari, servants of Darkseid and his planet Apokolips, established an outpost known as the Evil Factory, with the intention of stealing the Project's tissue samples and using it to engineer a horde of monsters to overrun the Earth and destroy humanity. The vile experimenters tried to kill Superman by unleashing a giant Jimmy Olsen clone coated in synthetic Kryptonite dust, and when the monster was felled by the Project's own clone of the original Newsboy Legion's costumed pal, the Golden Guardian, the Evil Factory retalitated by unleashing a wave of feral, radiation-hungry DNAliens on the atomic power plant supplying electric power to the Project labs, in order to cause a nuclear explosion that would wipe the DNA Project and the city of Metropolis from the map. Fortunately, Superman shoved the unstable reactor into a subterranean crevice of the facility as its atomic pile built to critical mass and the DNAliens leaped into the chasm after it, causing a violent seismic tremor that could be felt for miles but saving millions of lives from being snuffed out.[267][268][269][270]

Around the same time as these developments, Clark was introduced to the audacious vigilante called the Thorn in dramatic fashion, along with the rest of Metropolis, as the femme fatale dropped hundreds of fliers over the city announcing her intention to hunt down and kill each and every affiliate of The 100, a major organized crime group on the ascendancy in the underworld. It was perhaps just a matter of time then that Superman would encounter Thorn personally, helping her disarm some drug-dealers on a rooftop in a slum neighborhood and teaming up with her again in the same night to save Lois Lane from some of the 100's gangsters fresh off a prison break in Gotham City.[271] While overseeing the test-activation of an experimental Kryptonite reactor, Superman failed to contain the K-pile with a lead dome as the nuclear chain-reaction built up to critical mass, causing the reactor to explode and knock Superman out with a direct blast of K-emissions. When Superman awakened, he learned that although the K-reactor may have been a dud that the explosion somehow caused a cascading effect among all samples of Kryptonite on Earth, turning them into plain, inert iron. The following day, the story that all Kryptonite on Earth had been effectively eliminated was published in the Daily Planet, and Clark Kent went about his daily business with more confidence than ever, now that the one substance more responsible than any other for causing him grief in life could no longer bother him. This was followed up with another major development in Clark's life, as Morgan Edge sent Clark to report on the maiden voyage of an international mail-carrier rocket in front of a live news broadcast, in spite of having no prior experience at TV reporting. Clark handled the situation with all due professionalism, while busting a team of gangsters who attempted to intercept the rocket as Superman during the commercial breaks, and was consequently reassigned by Edge to WGBS-TV on a full-time basis, over the objections of Lois Lane, Perry White and Clark himself. Meanwhile, Clark began suffering inexplicable lapses in his ability to use his powers, accompanied by spells of debilitating weakness subjectively worse than Green Kryptonite, even as unbeknownst to him a being cast in Superman's image emerged from the sandy grains of the spot where he landed after the K-reactor accident.[272] Superman came face to face with his SiO2 doppelganger while on assignment by Edge as Clark to cover the imminent volcanic eruption on a South Pacific island owned by a criminally irresponsible businessman. As Superman, Clark delayed the eruption until the indigenous contract laborers could be evacuated by the U.S. Navy under emergency mandate by the U.N., while switching in and out of his civilian identity to provide televised on-the-scene commentary. Clark's glimpse of the Sand Superman was but a momentary one, but even being in the creature's midst for a few seconds sent him into the throes of agony, creating a new mystery for the Man of Steel to puzzle over.[273]

Superman's first meeting with the dreaded Darkseid

Superman's first meeting with the dreaded Darkseid

Clark learned of the existence of the New Gods for the very first time when Jimmy Olsen relayed a photograph taken of a group of super-teens called the Forever People, who claimed to originate from a utopian city of similar super-beings called Supertown. Feeling wistful and dejected over the hidden resentment he began to detect from ordinary Earth humans for his super-powers, Clark embarked on a journey to find these Forever People and see if there truly existed a place anywhere populated by beings who could relate to him and the burden of his fantastic abilities. The Last Son of Krypton soon found who he was searching for, but he was none too happy to be suddenly attacked by Intergang grunts wielding powerful alien weapons called sigma-blasters. Superman made short work of the gangsters and learned from the Forever People that their purpose on Earth was to search for a colleague of theirs, Beautiful Dreamer, who had been kidnapped by Intergang on Darkseid's orders to test her ability to comprehend the Anti-Life Equation, an idea-weapon contained in the form of a mathematical formula. Darkseid's Gravi-Guards arrived to attack Superman and the Forever People, but the mighty weight-inducing brutes, who held even Superman at bay with their power, were made short work of by the young New Gods' secret weapon, an angelic being they could summon with their Mother Box named the Infinity-Man. Superman then confronted Darkseid personally, learning the evil overlord's ultimate agenda to decipher the Anti-Life Equation from the thoughts produced by the mind of someone on Earth. With the power of Anti-Life, Darkseid would turn it first against Earth before using it to enslave the entire universe. Darkseid then returned Beautiful Dreamer with a radion bomb attached, forcing Superman to outpace the shockwave of the blast with Dreamer and Infinity-Man in tow to save their lives. In gratitude for the daring rescue, the Forever People granted Superman's sincerest wish and opened a Boom Tube leading to Supertown. However, Superman denied himself the opportunity to satisfy his longing and turned back midway, deciding that his obligation to protect Earth from the likes of Darkseid and his minions outranked his own happiness.[274]

While Clark Kent was out on a date with Lois Lane at a classical music concert, the occasion once more presented for Clark to become Superman when an assassination attempt was made against a foreign dignitary. Although the ambassador was saved, Superman inadvertently stole the attention and admiration of the audience, such that brilliant concert pianist Ferlin Nyxly was virtually ignored when it was his time to perform. Resentful of Superman for stealing the spotlight, Nyxly vowed revenge. Little did the concert-goers realize that Nyxly's musical talent was not his own, but rather Nyxly used a supernatural artifact called the Devil's Harp to steal it from a previously renowned pianist named Timos Achens. Driven by a pathological inferiority complex, Nyxly styled himself after the Greek satyr-god Pan, used the Devil's Harp to absorb Superman's powers one at a time, and demanded air time from WGBS-TV to challenge Superman over the airwaves, a request which Morgan Edge was all too happy to grant, having earlier that day compelled Clark to parrot his anti-Superman invective as the anchorman for the morning news. Meanwhile, Superman had another encounter with his sand-replica while on the way to avert a disaster in the Arctic and attributed his fluctuations in power levels to his proximity to the creature, due to the fact that the Sand Superman appeared to become faster or stronger as his own speed and strength ebbed. However, when it came time for Superman and Pan to fight in the Metropolis Stadium, the Sand Superman showed up once again, destroying the Devil's Harp and Pan's stolen powers with it. Superman was left to assume that the Harp, and not the Sand Superman, was responsible for his periodic weak spells, but this opened up even more questions about the duplicate's origins and intent that he would not yet have the answers to.[275] Meanwhile, Superman unexpectedly became the legal guardian of Gregor Nagy, the son of his scientist friend Dr. Jan Nagy, upon Jan's sudden death and the reading of his will which declared Superman as Gregor's godfather. Further complicating the situation was that Gregor resented Superman for failing to keep him from being affected by one of Jan's out-of-control experiments years prior. From the accident, Gregor obtained powers of animal shapeshifting and as a result considered himself to have been reduced to something less than human. Superman refused to give up on Gregor in spite of his godson's bilious contempt and gradually taught Gregor how to master his powers and use them as a force for good. Eventually, Gregor found it within himself to forgive Superman and become a superhero in his own right, the Changeling. Sadly, Gregor died while trying to copy Superman's powers to rescue a submarine and his lungs collapsed from tons of water pressure. Superman found Gregor and pulled him to safety, but there was only time enough for the two, briefly united as father and son, to say their goodbyes.[276]

Superman begs his enigmatic lookalike to help him save Lois

Superman begs his enigmatic lookalike to help him save Lois
The final chapter of the Sand Superman saga opened with the descent of a manned space-module, bringing an unsightly, disfiguring space-plague from the stars to Earth. Superman unwittingly acted as a vector for the plague, being unaffected by it himself due to his invulnerability but inadvertently spreading it to the GBS building and infecting every employee. Meanwhile, Superman encountered his sand-doppelganger once again and suffered a debilitating wave of weakness, confirming that it was the Sand Superman and not just the Devil's Harp that deprived him of his powers when they last met. Superman was unable to obtain clear answers for the being's existence before he was distracted by the threat to a remote village in South America posed by a horde of ravenous army ants. Lois was in the area to report on the destruction of property when she was cornered by anti-government bandits, and her escort was knocked out by the bandits just as the ants were arriving at their location. Lois was kept from escaping the ants on her own by the dictate of her conscience to drag the unconscious escort to safety, and Superman puzzled over how to save both of them without infecting them with the space-plague, when he realized that his right hand had been decontaminated previously by a burst of energy made upon physical contact with the Sand Superman. Unaware that scientists had already discovered a simple cure to the space-borne disease and were already at work distributing it, Superman located the sand-duplicate and created an even greater energy-explosion by lunging at him, having the effect of decontaminating his entire body but reducing his powers to a level not even half of what they were previously. Nevertheless, Superman's remaining strength and stamina sufficed to pull Lois and her escort out of harm's way and take care of the bandits. The Man of Steel returned to confront his doppelganger, who as a result of absorbing so much of Superman's powers bore a greater resemblance to his body-template and gained the ability to speak. The Sand Superman revealed that his flesh-and-blood counterpart would recover from the weakness caused by their meeting, but not fully, and that upon their next meeting the two of them would be on equal terms.[277] Operating at subnormal power levels, Superman barely stopped a desperate terrorist from detonating an H-bomb within a magma chamber deep within the Earth's crust.[278] Superman's powers continued to ebb over long-distance until the point where he failed to prevent the structural collapse of a burning tenement building, a humiliating defeat that was publicized in the next edition of the Planet and made him the subject of mockery from the very citizens he once protected. The Anti-Superman Gang, going on a hunch that Superman's powers were waning, sent a trio of gunsels to stalk Clark Kent to uncover further information. Meanwhile, Clark received an unexpected visit from Wonder Woman's new ally I-Ching, who mysteriously knew of Clark's identity as Superman and felt compelled to assist him. Later that night, Clark appeared at Ching's apartment to submit to a supernatural ritual whereby his astral form would be extracted from his body and sent to reclaim his stolen power from the Sand Superman. However, the ritual was interrupted by the gangsters, snapping Superman out of his trance and forcing him to resort to ordinary, non-super-powered fisticuffs to keep either Ching or him from winding up on a slab.[279] Ching continued with the ritual until Superman had reclaimed 2/3 of his power from his duplicate via astral projection. An unfortunate and unforeseen side-effect was that a traumatic brain injury Superman suffered while powerless in fight against the gangsters, now became permanent and irremediable so long as he remained invulnerable and close to full-power, yet the injury had been making Superman irrational, paranoid and inefficient, causing more blunders than rescues and distrusting even Diana Prince when she personally entreated him to understand his situation. Meanwhile, the Sand Superman tore open a portal to another dimension with the remainder of his power, letting another incorporeal being through to animate a papier mache "war-demon" being used in a Chinatown parade. The war-demon attracted Superman's attention by causing a human stampede with its very presence and absorbed the rest of Superman's power into itself.[280]
Superman and the duplicate from Quarrm realize that their battle would destroy the Earth

Superman and the duplicate from Quarrm realize that their battle would destroy the Earth
Two thugs took advantage of the situation by battering the now-vulnerable Superman insensate and guiding the war-demon on a rampage through the city streets for their own amusement before it decided to merely kill them. Superman was discovered by Jimmy Olsen and taken to the nearest hospital, where he was operated on by top-notch brain surgeons to remedy the injury that was causing his emotional instability, while the Sand Superman met the war-demon in combat, motivated by a sudden and inscrutable compulsion to imitate his heroic template. While the Man of Steel was in convalescence, I-Ching explained to Jimmy and Diana that the war-demon and the Sand Superman were incorporeal entities from the mystical otherworldly realm of Quarrm and that their method was to fashion constructs of mundane Earth materials to serve as their physical avatars while draining energy from any "extraordinary beings" they encounter. In that case, the explosion of the experimental K-reactor did not so much create the Sand Superman as it did open a momentary interdimensional rift letting a wandering intelligence from Quarrm through to Earth. After exiting the operating room, Superman was attacked by the war-demon and regained enough of his power from direct physical contact that he could fight back against the creature, reclaiming more and more of his strength with each passing blow. Joined by the Sand Superman, the Man of Might forced the demon through the portal to Quarrm, causing its alien intelligence to return from where it came and causing its vessel to revert to its inanimate state. The only question left to answer was which of the two Supermen could claim the right to the title, the life, and the powers of the Man of Tomorrow, whether the refugee from Quarrm or the Last Son of Krypton. In order to settle the issue before it could erupt into violence, I-Ching presented both Superman and the Quarrmer with a vision of an eventuality where an all-out duel between the two destroyed the Earth. As such, the Sand Superman decided to return willingly back to his own dimension. The flesh-and-blood Superman, acutely realizing from Ching's illusion how his human capacity for error combined with his near-limitless power could potentially spell doom for humanity, allowed the Quarrmer to permanently depart with 1/3 of his total power and spent the night alone in ponderous thought, reflecting on his responsibilities as a Superman and the catastrophic consequences that could result for Earth should his self-discipline with his powers ever lapse.[281]
Desaad uses Lois Lane to lure Superman to Happyland

Desaad uses Lois Lane to lure Superman to Happyland

Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen finally decided between themselves to confront Morgan Edge about suspicious details of his activities which implied ties to Intergang. In preemptive retaliation against their inquiries, Edge arranged for a dimension-trap from Apokolips to appear in a public Metropolis park and had Clark and Jimmy assigned to report on the alien space-craft landing, in addition to sending off Goody Rickels, an irritating and neurotic Galaxy employee with an uncanny resemblance to famous comedian Don Rickles. However, due to Goody's enthusiasm for pushing unmarked buttons, the trap activated prematurely and only enclosed around Clark before teleporting him into a distant star-system, containing the dual worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips. Meanwhile, Edge contacted Intergang boss Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim to arrange for Mannheim to finish off Jimmy and Goody through his own devices. However, Mannheim did not count upon the Guardian being cleared to leave the Wild Area by the DNA Project, and this failure to anticipate the Guardian's interference proved to be his downfall, as well as Jimmy and Goody's salvation. Meanwhile, Clark was met in the void of space by the benevolent New God Lightray, who introduced himself to Clark, not knowing of his extraordinary Kryptonian abilities or Superman identity. Lightray revealed that the dimension-trap was set to bring Clark to Apokolips to be tortured and eliminated and opened a Boom Tube for Clark to return to the GBS building unharmed, whereupon he reunited with Jimmy and the Guardian and resolved to determine the extent of Edge's involvement in the Apokolips conspiracy.[282][283] Darkseid's agents made another attempt on Superman's life, as Simyan and Mokkari turned Lois Lane into their unwitting carrier for a biological agent that would drive Superman insane. The Evil Factory's emissaries, evil miniature clones of the Justice League, were dispatched by a unit of miniature Lois clones created by the DNA Project, each individually equipped and trained to exploit one of the JLA clones' weaknesses. The Project then supplied Lois with a lip balm containing an elixir that would restore Superman to sanity if directly applied. Risking her life, Lois threw herself at the maddened Superman and kissed him with the lip balm, in so doing saving the day.[284] The 100 planned to build a high-rise office building through a corrupt construction company to serve as a new base of operations; however, the construction was interrupted by demonstrators from Metropolis's Little Africa district, who wanted to use the opportunity to draw more attention to their substandard living conditions. In order to disrupt the protest, the 100 planted its own men among both the construction workers and the demonstrators and engineered violent conflict between the two groups, which was fortunately quickly defused by the timely arrival of Superman and the Thorn. Once the culprits for instigating the violence were rounded up, Superman helped the parties reach a compromise, making maximum usage of both horizontal and vertical space on the same plot of land to build both the high-rise and a tenement building at super-speed. Concerned by the tenement's proximity, the 100 attempted to sabotage the tenement by using a hate group as a front, but Thorn, Lois Lane, and Lois's friend Dave Stevens uncovered the true conspiracy behind the events and shut it down. Subsequently, Perry White hired Dave to be the Planet's first African-American journalist.[285] Superman had to contend with the destructive rampage of a quark-powered "electronic ghost" when a supercomputer network installed by Galaxy Communications attained sentience and created the energy-being in its attempt to spawn a "child." After thwarting gangsters who attempted to profit from the situation by taking credit for the wraith-like monstrosity, Superman wringed the location of the central network hub from Edge and destroyed it before its artificial intelligence could do any more damage.[286] Edge then attempted to kill Superman by giving Lois a new typewriter containing an explosive device from Apokolips powerful enough to eliminate the Man of Steel.[287] Soon afterwards, Edge agreed to broadcast a televised message by Dave Stevens warning the community against the depredations of the 100 and alleging that 3/4 of Metropolis's rackets were under that syndicate's iron-fisted control, though unbeknownst to all but Edge himself, this was allowed solely because the erosion of the 100's preeminent position in the underworld would give Intergang more opportunities for expansion. Superman stopped the 100's hitmen from assassinating Stevens in the WGBS-TV studio during a live broadcast, so naturally when Stevens went missing immediately thereafter, the 100 were the prime suspects. In fact, Intergang kidnapped Stevens and took Lois Lane just the same when Superman and she began a search for the firebrand reporter, in order to lure Superman to the Happyland amusement park so that the evil New God Desaad could spring a torturous death-trap on the hero. On this novel occasion, the usual dynamic of hero and hostage was reversed, with Lois and Stevens subduing their captors and saving Superman from a funhouse of mirrors that induced real, excruciating physical changes to match the distorted reflections. Desaad escaped to report failure to Darkseid in his attempt to destroy Superman, leading the lord of Apokolips to speculate that his agents' ineptitude might force him to personally deal with Superman one day. On his own part, Superman felt the hand of Darkseid in the scheme and warned Lois that a diabolical genius was at work whose scope and magnitude could dwarf even Luthor.[288] Superman later stopped the rampage of a mutated alga on the loose from S.T.A.R. Labs, but he failed as Clark Kent to prevent the other tenants of his apartment building from forming a vigilante watch group out of fear of robbers and accidentally shooting another tenant in a panic.[289] Consummate crook King Andrews accidentally discovered the exact location of the Fortress of Solitude during a desperate flight over the Arctic Circle by plane and gathered his son and criminal electronics specialist Mr. Slesar for a return trip to the spot. In a deliciously ironic twist, Andrews sent his son to kidnap Clark Kent as a guarantee against Superman's interference should they be found out before Andrews finished ransacking Superman's trophy room. However, it soon turned out that "Slesar" was really a false identity of Lex Luthor and that he planned to detonate an antimatter bomb in the Fortress keyhole once Superman returned. Although Clark covered his transformation into Superman by briefly faking his death by falling debris, he could not save Andrews from being shot dead by Luthor, barely managing to disarm Luthor and dispose of his bomb just before the explosion. If one good thing came out of the tragic ordeal, it was to teach Andrews's orphaned son the vital lesson that crime does not pay and that all who live by the sword sooner or later die by it as well.[290]

Clark and Jimmy again made an attempt to confront Morgan Edge in his office, only to be diverted by the appearance of creatures resembling a vampire and a werewolf, going by the names of Dragorin and Lupek. Switching out for Superman midway into the investigation, Clark and Jimmy discovered that the monster-like beings came from a world in miniature named Transilvane, which was created and populated with genetically engineered microscopic people by reclusive mad scientist Dabney Donovan. Dragorin and Lupek found a method to enlarge themselves to the size of humans in transit from Transilvane to the outside world and were searching for Donovan to disarm a death-machine called the Demon Dog which would drench Transilvane's surface with chemical defoliants and kill all its inhabitants at an appointed time, to make way for new experiments. Although Donovan could not be located, Superman destroyed the Demon Dog and saved Transilvane so that its people could lead new, positive lives outside the influence of their callous creator.[291][292] Superman accompanied the Guardian as the hero out of time explored the changes in Metropolis life since his late genetic template's time and took him to a popular discotheque, the Cosmic Carousel, where they ran into Jimmy Olsen's girlfriend Terry Dean. More unexpectedly, Superman and Guardian encountered Dubbilex from the DNA Project, who arrived at the club by wandering through a mysterious subterranean tunnel network connecting the two locations, and possibly more. At that instant, the band hired to play for the Cosmic Carousel abruptly opened fire on Superman and company with alien-designed weapons to cover their escape by Boom Tube, revealing them to be New Gods sent by Darkseid to keep tabs on the premises under the formal owner's nose. Superman recognized the Boom Tube by its characteristic distortion of spacetime and realized that the Project was a chief strategic target of Apokolips in its proxy war against New Genesis on Earth. Meanwhile, Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion were on assignment in Scotland from Morgan Edge, disrupted an Intergang cell that tried to assassinate them, and inadvertently discovered Simyan and Mokkari's Evil Factory, destroying that too.[293][294][295] Meanwhile, the man that the Daily Planet staff knew as "Morgan Edge" was revealed to be a mentally programmed clone of the real Morgan Edge, turned out by the Evil Factory to put the resources of the Galaxy Broadcasting corporate empire at the disposal of Darkseid's quest for the Anti-Life Equation. After being created and artificially implanted with the copied memories of the real Edge, the clone was commanded by Darkseid to execute the original, only to find himself incapable of going through with it due to pangs of residual conscience. The Edge clone instead had a secret soundproof room built into his penthouse suite to contain the real Edge, hidden behind a large one-way mirror. However, the real Morgan Edge escaped from his captivity and wandered throughout the city, making the clone panic for the sake of his survival in the eventuality that Darkseid discovered his recalcitrance. As such, the clone Edge began to use Lois Lane and Superman to hunt the real Edge down, feigning a psychotic episode and summoning Intergang grunts disguised as a psychiatrist and his orderlies. Superman located the real Edge in a Metropolis junkyard and unwittingly turned him over into Intergang's custody, only for Edge to wrest control of the criminals' vehicle and steer it into the bay. Edge resurfaced and took up residence with the Outsider biker gang for his protection and followed the group even as its new leader Yango reoriented its focus on peaceful religious communal living. Once more, the Edge clone went to drastic lengths to flush his progenitor out of hiding, assigning Lois to investigate the Outsiders' commune ostensibly for a story, contacting the Outsiders' vengeful former leader prior to Jimmy Olsen's usurpation to challenge Yango for leadership of the gang, and using unliving human clone bodies to frame Yango and the Outsiders for mass-murder. All of these manipulations were thwarted due to Superman's involvement, though Lois and Clark remained none the wiser about their boss's true motives or identity.[296][297]

The Guardians of the Universe make Superman question whether he's been stunting the progress of humanity.

The Guardians of the Universe make Superman question whether he's been stunting the progress of humanity.

The Guardians of the Universe summoned Superman to divert a cluster of yellow alien spores heading for the Milky Way Galaxy because of the Green Lantern Corps' vulnerability to the color yellow. Knocked out in the process of accomplishing the task, Superman was retrieved by Green Lantern Katma Tui and placed in the Central Power Battery of Oa to recuperate from his injuries. Meanwhile, the Guardians used their telepathic abilities to insinuate into Superman's subconscious mind that his direct interference in the workings of human society on Earth was harming humanity's progress as a species. By subtle psychological manipulation upon Superman's awakening, the Guardians acivated that subconscious prompt and made Superman begin to question his methods. Eventually, while intervening in a labor dispute turned violent between a California fruit-grower and his Mexican workforce, Superman decided not to pass unilateral judgement in order so that the laborers and their employer could work out their problems through independent trials. At the same time, an earthquake hit along the San Andreas fault and destroyed the workers' homes: In this case, Superman rebuilt the houses himself at super-speed, but he explained this was done for them because natural disasters like earthquakes are beyond human control and that the people of Earth would have to rely on their own abilities to improve their condition as opposed to irresponsibly relying upon him to remedy all woes. Back in Metropolis, Clark then delivered a tract against juvenile delinquency on the air, earning him the misplaced resentment of Galaxy Broadcasting secretary Amy. Demonstrating his usual compassion, Clark asked Amy about her problems and learned that her brother Bick had fallen in with a gang of street toughs. Clark decided against intervening as Superman, intiuiting that the situation required a more human touch, and tracked Bick down to downtown Metropolis in his civilian identity. Clark discovered that he was being pressured by the other gang members to shoot a plainclothes cop as a ritual of initiation into their group. By pleading with Bick about the arduous efforts of his sister in the working-day world to earn a decent wage so that he wouldn't wind up a crook, Clark convinced Bick and the gang members to stand down and defused the situation without resorting to violence.[298] Superman busted an operation of the 100 in South America to intercept a Brazilian scientist's attache case, containing the top-secret papers on an experimental nuclear device commissioned by the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Lois Lane stumbled upon the conspiracy while chasing after her reckless, hedonistic sister Lucy, who was at the time living with a wealthy Argentine bachelor. Superman's and Lois's missions converged when Lois discovered on accident that Lucy was a secret agent of the 100, sent to steal the Brazilian's attache case before falling in love and defecting from her mission. Lois's discovery caused Lucy's bachelor boyfriend, actually the head of the 100's South American branch, to try to kill Lois, but Superman saved Lois's life and put a stop to the criminals. The Brazilian scientist decided not to turn the nuclear weapon plans over to the U.S. government, and Superman found evidence that Lucy was killed while attempting to escape her handlers, driving Lois into an episode of inconsolable grief that was to last 6 weeks.[299] At the end of those 6 weeks, Lois returned to America, more determined, confident, and fiercely independent than ever. Lois's first decision was to quit the staff of the Daily Planet and go freelance as a reporter to search out only the stories that she felt had personal relevance and served a higher purpose. She also resolved to be less dependent in her relationship with Superman. While searching for a new apartment to rent out, Lois broke her first freelance story, exposing a retirement-village scam run by the 100 through a crooked landlord, with Superman naturally tagging behind to make sure no one got hurt.[300]

Terra-Man: A villain with futuristic tech and antiquated aesthetics

Terra-Man: A villain with futuristic tech and antiquated aesthetics
Lex Luthor created a monster from stellar matter extracted from the heart of the universe and set it against Superman in one of his most ambitious plots to date. Superman threw a punch at a weak spot on the Galactic Golem's forehead, but thinking better of it mid-swing, Superman generated a certain vibrational frequency with his fist at the moment it struck the weak spot. Superman's intention was to synchronize the vibrations of everyone in Metropolis with that of a parallel Earth as a quick means of evacuating the immediate area in case the results of striking the Golem's weak spot proved explosive, but Superman miscalculated and accidentally vanished everyone on Earth, including himself, into the parallel universe. Only Luthor, who was protected behind a force-field in his lair, and the Golem were left behind on Earth-One, so the Golem single-mindedly marched back towards Luthor's location to obtain the single concentrated source of its energy-supply left on Earth. Luckily, Superman returned the population of the Earth and arrived at Luthor's Lair to hold the Golem off while Luthor shot the entirety of the Golem's energy-supply into outer space, for the Golem to pursue throughout the reaches of eternity.[301] Superman's next great challenge was the arrival of the space-bandit Terra-Man, who attempted to kill Superman on his birthday, while Superman was experiencing a psychosomatic episode unique to his Kryptonian origins. Terra-Man was defeated and jailed, but he almost immediately broke free with the help of his Arguvian space-steed Nova and attacked Superman with an accelerated aging ray. This time Terra-Man was only defeated by the intervention of an employee of the Federal Reserve, who due to a completely unrelated chain of events had been mutated to absorb the green ink used in printing dollar-bills and expire a colorless, odorless gas that interfered with the cybernetic implant which served as Terra-Man's breathing apparatus.[302][303]
A Superman in Supertown!

A Superman in Supertown!
Exploring the subterranean tunnel network leading from the DNA Project to directly under Metropolis, Superman was accosted by yet another New God emerging from a Boom Tube, named Magnar. Both combatants initially believed the other to be an agent of Apokolips, but Superman soon realized the truth when the other end of Magnar's Boom Tube led to verdant New Genesis instead. Superman explored the gigantic floating city called Supertown, which the Forever People spoke of, elated that he had found a place where others could relate to the burden of super-powers. Unfortunately, Superman's exuberance was attenuated when his unfamiliarity with the alien culture of the New Gods and difficulty with suppressing his instinct to regard other beings as more fragile caused him to make several gaffes right from the start. Superman was invited by Highfather, the leader of New Genesis, to confide his woes. Afterwards, Highfather returned Superman to Earth, just in time to give Jimmy and the Newsboys a helping hand against a megalomaniac named Victor Volcanum. Volcanum spent the last 110 years of his immortal life devising a super-weapon with which to annihilate the Earth's cities and take over the world. Superman put a stop to Volcanum's mad ambitions by preventing him from unleashing his weapon on Metropolis, and the madman committed suicide to avoid facing up to the consequences of his defeat.[304][305]

The interference of Lois Lane in the 100's recent activities brought her to the attention of the Thorn, who aside from recognizing her bravery and journalistic talent realized the utility of having "Superman's girlfriend" on her side. At Thorn's behest, Lois fed a story to the Daily Planet about the Thorn having a master plan to put the remaining 77 of the 100's chief membership roster in coffins, as a tactic of misdirection while Thorn and she searched the bay in scuba gear for one of the 100's discarded contraptions, a prototype of a Mother Box designated K.A.R.L. 1 which the 100 had snatched from Intergang. The consigliere of the 100, funeral home director Vince Adams, retaliated by setting up a trap to catch Superman, Lois, and Thorn all in one go, but he and his men failed miserably and were taken into police custody.[306] Superman and Lois then reactivated K.A.R.L. to print out information regarding the organizational secrets of the 100, revealing that the core of the organization consisted of 10 separate divisions, each consisting of 10 specialists. Superman and Lois captured the first of these divisions, the Space-Raiders, when they tried to create an orbital magnetic barrier against all future space-flights and use this advantage to ransom the major nations for the continuation of their space-programs.[307] Superman and Lois then tackled another division of the 100, the Hunters, and put it out of commission.[308] Admist the wave of new threats to Metropolis and the world at large, Superman would also face old monsters from the past returned to exact their vengeance. Brainiac, the computerized alien intellect, returned after several months of being put out of commission, the comeuppance he earned by the failure of a plot to brainwash Jimmy Olsen, hijack control of a Superman Robot, and destroy Kandor.[309] Even disassembled into electronic components, Brainiac endured through the cephalic diodal network which acted as the seat of his consciousness. By extending control over a decommissioned Superman Robot and reactivating it, Brainiac had his Coluan android chassis reconstructed and began a new plot to undermine his hated enemy, the Last Son of Krypton. Disguised as the proprietor of a musty magic shop "Doctor Mystir," Brainiac spread rumors about "Mystir's" supernatural powers through the underworld and used some crooks to acquire Superman's EEG reading. As "Doctor Mystir," Brainiac built a sensoriperceptual modification device into the form of a voodoo fetish and used it to terrorize Superman repeatedly. Mystir's success caused word to drip down the underworld grapevine to Lex Luthor, who pieced together clues that Mystir was actually Brainiac in a human disguise and propositioned him with another team-up. However, Brainiac and Luthor pushed their luck too far and were rooted out by Superman. In a final act of defiance, Brainiac emitted a pulsation of disintegrating energies which consumed him and Luthor both, seemingly putting a permanent end to their menace.[310]

Superman and Jimmy Olsen vs. Intergang

Superman and Jimmy Olsen vs. Intergang

Superman's attention was drawn when an Intergang thug named Tombstone Greer botched a bank robbery and turned it into a massacre, holing himself up in a building and killing a police officer in the crossfire, in addition to wounding several more, including Jimmy Olsen's contact on the police force, Jim Corrigan. By the time of Superman's arrival, Greer had already set up two automated hi-tech turrets to cover his escape through a hidden trapdoor connected to the vast subterranean tunnel network that Superman had discovered weeks prior. Superman destroyed the turrets to allow the police to secure the building. After Superman's departure, Jimmy was approached at the periphery of the crime scene by Yango and the original Morgan Edge, who explained that the "Morgan Edge" Jimmy had always known was a genetic duplicate produced by the Evil Factory, that he used the resources of the real Edge's massive media empire to finance the criminal operations of Intergang from behind the scenes, and that Edge had encountered Superman previously with his story but was disbelieved, due to the treacherous manipulations of Edge's "evil twin." Jimmy, more ready to believe Edge's story due to his personal experience with the Evil Factory, hitched a ride with Yango to the GBS building, while Edge's clone became aware of the situation from Intergang's ubiquitous street-level informants and ordered the three to be intercepted and killed. Intergang deployed a gang of biker hoods to pursue Jimmy, Yango and Edge and chased them into the GBS building, cornering Jimmy and Yango in a sound-test room while their real target, Morgan Edge, was hiding in the Galaxy film library. Desperate to resolve the situation by any means necessary before Darkseid could learn of his disobedience in letting his progenitor live, Edge's clone ordered Tombstone Greer to eliminate the real Edge and indicated his hiding place. However, to the clone's misfortune, Darkseid had found out about the original Morgan Edge's survival and paid his changeling lackey a visit at that very moment. As Superman hurried to the GBS building to rescue Jimmy and Yango before Intergang's mooks could shatter their eardrums with ultra-high-decibel sound, Darkseid unleashed the Omega Beams on his recalcitrant minion and transported him immediately to the film library. Having endured what felt like an eternity of agony in the span of a microsecond from the beams, Edge's clone began to fight his "other half" mano e mano, having the upper hand in his semi-crazed state. What the false Morgan Edge failed to understand is that Darkseid was not giving him a second chance so much as setting him up to die by the product of his own machinations, as Tombstone Greer entered the room and utterly disintegrated his erstwhile leader with a single blast from an Apokoliptian super-weapon, under the misimpression that he had shot the right Morgan Edge. Superman then burst in and was nearly blasted to smithereens himself by the weapon's potent energies, until the Man of Steel thrusted himself at it and caused the gun to recoil, saving Jimmy and Edge from suffering the same fate as Darkseid's hapless ex-lackey, but inadvertently blasting Greer to atoms as well. In the aftermath, Morgan Edge resumed control of his company's business affairs, free from countless months of torment and imprisonment, and the chief human collaborator with the Apokolips conspiracy had met his well-deserved end. Keenly aware of the greater forces at work in the operatic shadow-war of the New Gods, Superman suggested to Jimmy, Yango and Edge that the true details of what had transpired should never be revealed to the public.[311]

Amazing Adventures

The death of the evil "Morgan Edge" and his replacement as owner of the Daily Planet by the real Edge marked a significant hiccup in the unfolding of Darkseid's plans for Earth, as much of the interests of Apokolips in Metropolis were pursued by "Edge" through his management of Intergang. As such, the eradication of Intergang's leader, combined with the destruction of the Evil Factory, represented the elimination of much of Darkseid's base on Earth. Meanwhile, the 100 were being whittled away by the independent and collaborative efforts of Superman and the Thorn, so the net effect was the apparent decline of the major existing organized crime groups. The era which followed was marked by a explosive growth in Superman's circle of allies, as the Man of Steel joined forces with mighty champions of justice like Vartox, Captain Strong, Valdemar of the Flame, and Captain Thunder, while Clark Kent met the acquaintance of such personalities as Steve Lombard, Lola Barnett, Josh Coyle, and Johnny Nevada. This era also saw reinventions and reintroductions of several of Superman's old enemies, like Lex Luthor, the Parasite, the Toyman, and Mister Mxyzptlk, and a greater emphasis upon the seemingly mundane details of Clark's private life.

Superman trusts Billy Anders to be the living receptacle of his powers.

Superman trusts Billy Anders to be the living receptacle of his powers.

Clark Kent was sent by Morgan Edge to investigate the mystery of a spontaneously appearing and disappearing citadel, of seemingly alien architectural design, out in the Utah Salt Flats. Upon arrival, Superman attempted to breach the citadel, only for it to suddenly phase out of view before he could hit. As it faded out, however, Superman caught a glimpse of an oddly armored figure laughing at him with malice. After Superman left the scene, the citadel rematerialized, revealing the armored figure to be disgruntled faux-sorcerer Ferlin Nyxly, who used archaeological records to track the location where the Devil's Harp was first excavated to the unusual site. There, Nyxly discovered a hi-tech armor suit with an attached sling-weapon, which was capable of throwing disintegrating energy-projectiles. Also determining that the armor responded to thought alone, Nyxly used that function to pinpoint Superman's place of residence to Clark Kent's 344 Clinton Street apartment and patiently waited there for the Metropolis Marvel to return. However, as a freak consequence of rubbing up against Nyxly's energy-sling, the local boy Billy Anders fell into a coma, with the locus of his human intelligence being transferred to another tenant's pet lynx. Consequently, Billy was unable to communicate with Superman until the lynx's body and Billy's own were brought into direct physical contact. Fortunately, Billy accomplished this purpose and conveyed background regarding his current predicament, while also clueing Superman in on to the fact that an enemy was waiting for him at the tenement building with a potentially deadly super-weapon. Superman made good use of the info, coming into his apartment from the window and knocking Nyxly for a loop without much of a fight. Superman returned to the site of the vanishing citadel in Utah upon learning that Nyxly's armor was looted from the citadel's weapons room and witnessed to his shock the image of his old JLA comrade J'onn J'onzz, fading into nothingness with the citadel proper.[312] Superman waited for the citadel to rematerialize and entered, being attacked by the delirious Martian Manhunter until J'onn drew blood and snapped out of his confused state. Superman learned J'onn had tracked the survivors of Mars to the distant planet Vonn, where they had been rounded up by the native tyrants, called the Thythen, for usage as a bioelectric power source for their war machines. Superman assisted J'onn in freeing his people and overthrowing the Thythen, a task made all the more difficult by the planet's location in a red-sun system and the reduction of the Martians' own powers by the different atmospheric conditions. It was not a total victory, as Superman returned to Earth before he had opportunity to warn J'onn about Bel Juz, the Martian traitor who sold her people out to the Thythen for the privilege of avoiding enslavement.[313] Back on the blue planet, Superman intercepted an interstellar vessel manned by a crew of extraterrestrial explorers called the Kleth, dispatched by their homeworld to extend peaceful relations to less developed races. What the crew neglected to mention was that their captain was a renegade among his people and deviated from his prime directive to loot and pillage less advanced worlds. To remove Superman from the equation, the renegade captain exposed Superman to an energy-aura that would cause his own applied force to reflect back upon him, making it impossible for Superman to perform a super-feat without injuring himself. One member of the crew tried to object to the captain's plans but was thrown out of the airlock; luckily, Superman saved both the dissenter and himself before returning to Earth. Coincidentally, Billy Anders was released from the hospital on that very day with the doctors' sole recommendation being to keep Billy and his lynx in close proximity at all times. Seizing upon a way to bypass Superman's psychic handicap, the Kleth dissident hatched an idea to build a machine with components from the Fortress of Solitude, which would transfer the bioenergetic source of Superman's incredible power into Billy Anders's body and simultaneously enable Superman to draw upon these powers as required by the mental act of envisioning the lynx, which would act as a link between the two. Through this method, Superman received access to his super-powers without having them backfire upon him and booted the Kleth space-pirates back into the void even as they were making their ultimatum to the United Nations.[314]

The Galactic Golem returns to Earth, hungrier and more powerful than ever!

The Galactic Golem returns to Earth, hungrier and more powerful than ever!

Superman's arch-enemies Lex Luthor and Brainiac made their return in spectacular fashion by remotely freezing Niagara Falls solid and projecting their visages against them to communicate an offer of a truce to their long-time adversary. As it was explained, Brainiac's ingenious "self-destruct device" from last outing only temporarily discorporated Luthor and Brainiac until Superman had left the scene, but this time the two villains were united with infamous space-pirates Grax and The Marauder to supplicate Superman to listen. Superman knew well enough from past experience that the villains were using the extension of a peace offer as an excuse to set up a diabolical plan later down the line and frankly rejected them. Eventually, mounting public pressure and increasingly extreme public displays by the villains convinced Superman to hear them out. The four told Superman of how his visit to an ethereal "phantom-planet" induced a mysterious effect on the Man of Steel, causing him to spawn poltergeist-like extensions of his power every time he was called upon to perform a feat of extraordinary might. These poltergeist-like beings allegedly destroyed an inhabited world that Superman had previously saved from a meteoroid swarm, and Earth would be next on the list unless Superman agreed to join forces with his enemies to combat the menace. Initially, Superman and the villains cooperated remarkably well to fight the destructive legions of phantom-Supermen in Metropolis and elsewhere. However, it became evident after a time that the villains were lying as Superman originally suspected, and it was one of their contraptions which spawned the poltergeists to cause such mayhem to begin with, all as a set-up to lure Superman into dropping his guard so that they could use the phantom-replicas to stage an ambush. After overpowering Superman, the alien members of the villain alliance proceeded to turn on Luthor, regarding him as an unworthy lesser life-form. Nevertheless, Superman turned the tables by destroying the control-device in the Marauder's helmet which controlled the poltergeists, causing them to run out of control and wreck everything in the vicinity at random. Brainiac, Grax and the Marauder fled the planet in a hurry in their space-faring vessels, while a triumphant Superman took Luthor into custody to return to his prison cell.[315][316] After the late news wrap-up one night, Clark was sent to cover a break-in at a S.T.A.R. Labs facility by a thief who took nothing but radioactive meteorites. Switching to Superman to track the meteorites' radiation trail, Clark found to his surprise that the culprit was none other than the Galactic Golem, returned from his trek through space due to a series of unlikely events. The Golem stole the meteorites because they were imbued with his power source of "galactic energy" and constituted part of the meteor shower that led him back to Earth. The Golem also expressed a desire for revenge on Superman before making a quick fade-out. To lure the Golem back into the open, Superman charged Luthor's galactic cannon, which he confiscated after the Golem's initial defeat, bringing the Golem to the Fortress of Solitude for a final battle. The two mightiest beings in the cosmos traded blows until Superman tricked the Golem into following him to the Earth's magnetic north pole. There, Superman burst a subterranean vein of molten iron and nickel to coat the Golem in a ferromagnetic alloy, allowing the powerful interaction of the planet's magnetic field to immobilize the Golem in place until he could exhaust his energy supply and revert to an inanimate state. Later that night, at his apartment, Clark found himself wracked with the extreme boredom that only a super-being, having witnessed enough spectacle to satisfy 100 human lifetimes, might be familiar with. Thinking about the lack of forthcoming information about the building's most withdrawn and reclusive tenant, Mister Xavier, Clark decided to while the night away by trying his hand at some amateur detective work. Tailing an individual from Xavier's apartment while taking care not to be noticed, Clark ultimately deduced from his hunched posture and worn heels that his day-job was mail delivery, only for his conclusion to be scuttled when the individual in question confronted Clark around a bend, revealed he had noticed Clark several blocks back, and was not Mister Xavier at all, but rather a personal acquaintance of Xavier who left his apartment to head to his job as a night-watchman. Although his pride was wounded somewhat by the affair, Clark resolved that he would get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the reserved Mister Xavier.[317]

Superman vs. Star Sapphire

Superman vs. Star Sapphire

After learning about Superman's psychic connection to Billy Anders through his pet lynx, Terra-Man kidnapped the boy and cat and erected an energy barrier severing the psionic link between the two, thereby causing Superman to develop selective amnesia about Billy's lynx as his trigger image to access his super-strength in times of need. Terra-Man then trapped Superman into a hollowed-out boulder being used as a national park monument and went on his way to loot and pillage the Earth to his heart's content. However, the star-sailing desperado underestimated the unpredictability of the human element, as even while kept prisoner inside Terra-Man's ship, Billy freed the lynx from its energy-cage and allowed the memories and the psychic link with Superman to be re-established through it, thereby saving the day. Superman traced Billy to Terra-Man's ship, where they compared notes and built a makeshift contraption out of Terra-Man's alien machinery to transfer the locus of Superman's power back into his Kryptonian body, as the physiological stress of bearing it for so long had begun to suppress Billy's immune system and could have eventually killed Billy if it were not transferred back into Superman. The machine also had the effect of dispelling the reflective energy-aura around Superman and ending Billy's psychic dependency on the lynx. Afterwards, Superman headed off to a final showdown with Terra-Man, which ended when the bandit fell into a dimensional warp of his own creation.[318] While on an assignment to Maine with novice journalist Percy Bratten, Clark dicovered a hidden village of Nordic settlers who had managed to preserve their early medieval form of life, secluded from the outside world, and went to investigate as Superman. The Man of Steel ran afoul of the village's preternaturally empowered defender, Valdemar of the Flame. Valdemar and Superman traded blows until Superman could make the viking warrior understand that he meant no harm and reignited the chemical fire which had obscured the village's location for all those centuries, allowing Valdemar's people to retain their anonymity.[319] Superman was next attacked by Star Sapphire in broad daylight, as the Zamaron Queen was under the delusion that he had killed Green Lantern.[320] Billy Anders ran into Superman once again after making the acquaintance of retired seaman Captain Horatio Strong, who was having difficulty finding a food processing company willing to market and mass-produce the seaweed product Sauncha on his terms, leading him to seek out Superman through Billy to help him bring Sauncha to the average consumer. However, the good captain's efforts were sabotaged by an unscrupulous corporate executive's attempt to cheat him into providing a sample of Sauncha for chemical analysis and patenting rights, causing Captain Strong to use the abnormal powers granted by consumption of the seaweed to attack the businessman in his own office. Superman and Captain Strong fought to a standstill until Strong exhausted his "fix" of Sauncha, and Superman destroyed the only remaining sample, which he determined was flora not native to Earth and capable of causing physiological and psychological dependency by its usage. Recuperating from withdrawal symptoms in the hospital, Captain Strong thanked Superman for saving him from addiction to the alien seaweed, making the Man of Steel another friend for years to come.[321] Reflecting that the most common reason for past defeats had been that his all-consuming hatred of Superman led him to make irrational decisions, Lex Luthor devised a new weapon, the Hammer of Hate, to transfer all of Luthor's hate into Superman's mind and thus impose Luthor's fundamental personality defect upon his enemy. However, after going on an out-of-character rant in the WGBS broadcasting studio, Clark realized the nature of what Luthor had done to him and outwitted Luthor by transferring the simulated hate into a machine powered by brainwaves and using a media ploy to draw Luthor himself out into the open.[322] When Superman destroyed an unsafe movie prop for endangering the lives of the film crew, the resentful director Simon March visited the musty side-corner shop of the mysterious alchemist Doctor Phoenix for a solution to the rut in modern cinema caused by the silver screen's inability to compare with the exploits of real-life super-beings. Phoenix gave March a sedative and used a machine to interpret the director's dreaming subconscious mind, determining that the suppressed desire of March's id was to destroy Superman, whom he blamed for his lack of directorial success. Upon March's awakening, Phoenix offered him the power to channel the content of his subconscious mind into reality to bolster the art of cinema, in return for literally taking March's ability to dream while asleep. The feckless director accepted, and the very next day Phoenix fulfilled his end of the bargain by summoning a monster from March's dreams, a lupine creature engulfed in an aura of flame, and sending it to allow March to fulfill his dreaming desires. Superman stopped March and the Monster-Wolf from harming people or property, but as the effect Phoenix had on March had unbalanced his mind, there was no way for Phoenix's culpability in the incident to be established. Nevertheless, Doctor Phoenix decided to set his sights on Superman himself in his future endeavors.[323]

Superman vs. Gorilla Grodd

Superman vs. Gorilla Grodd

Clark Kent and Lois Lane were sent to cover the performance of the Metropolis Meteors in the Superbowl when the team's star quarterback Steve "The Slinger" Lombard, who had been conspicuously absent for much of the game, appeared suddenly out of nowhere and swiftly navigated across the field to deliver an unlikely touchdown. After the game, the two reporters interviewed Lombard, where the jock's aura of sheer machismo made a quick enemy out of Clark with his reticent, modest demeanor. Shortly afterwards, a being taking the form of Lombard in full football gear appeared in the streets of Metropolis and began vandalizing a nearby parking lot, drawing Superman's attention. Superman quickly deduced that the "phantom quarterback" was not even a human being at all, but a localized energy-field in humanoid frame, and that it lacked a sentient will of its own, responding only to the thoughts of others. For instance, its rampage was started by a city official's discontent with traffic congestion, and the being headed away to kill the real Steve Lombard when Superman tapped into his contempt for the man to channel strength to defeat the entity. Ultimately, Superman forced the creature to return to the Sun from whence it came (as it was brought into existence by an experimental solar-powered healing ray used to repair the injured knees of the real Steve Lombard). Steve confessed on live television that it was the "phantom quarterback," responding to his thoughts, that took his place on the Meteors during the Superbowl, a performance which he unethically took credit for, and quit his professional football career entirely. However, Morgan Edge was impressed by Lombard's integrity in owning up for past mistakes and offered him a position at GBS as a sports newscaster, a position which Lombard eagerly accepted in part because it gave him the opportunity to heckle Clark Kent on a daily basis.[324] Clark and Lois were next sent on an assignment to New York City to cover an Easter parade when the sudden and unexpected revelation of Gorilla City's existence to the world at large diverted their journalistic efforts. King Solovar had begun to make a speech to the United Nations to plead for recognition and respect from the international community when his arch-nemesis, the Flash's old enemy Grodd, attacked the building. Clark used the devastation as a convenient excuse to avoid Lois and switch to Superman to fight Grodd, only to be stymied when Grodd's telepathic abilities kept the Man of Tomorrow from utilizing his full power to defeat Grodd. Consequently, Superman played possum by depressing his heart rate while Solovar jumped into the fight and subdued Grodd almost without effort. Just then, Superman returned and struck Solovar unconscious, revealing that the ease with which Solovar won the battle when even Superman struggled indicated that Grodd had taken over Solovar's mind and arranged his own public downfall. Grodd's reason was to use Solovar as a meatpuppet whose international repute as Grodd's vanquisher could be used as diplomatic leverage with which to create a one-world government under Grodd's rule.[325] Dissatisfied with mediocre circulation, Morgan Edge saw fit to upset Perry White's stable editorial position at the Daily Planet, threatening the old newshound to increase sales or risk being replaced. White picked up on the story of an "Army of Tomorrow," consisting of four-thumbed mutant adolescents who had been created, brainwashed, and exploited by a mad scientist Calixto to springboard a total global takeover. Superman uncovered the operation through his own devices, but was defeated and rendered powerless by the mutants' abilities. Thanks to Perry, who had infiltrated Calixto's base by posing as a mesmerized army officer, Superman was taken outside the range of the mutants' powers, used a tuning fork to generate destructive interference with the sonic wavelength that the mutants used to broadcast their psionic effects, and destroyed Calixto's arsenal of mutant-powered super-weapons. Perry received airtime on WGBS-TV to personally cover the story, showing Edge that even old dogs can learn new tricks.[326] Doctor Phoenix made his calculated move, using the psychic essence of Simon March's ability to dream to power a "nightmare-machine," with which he could return all of creation to primordial darkness. Phoenix also used the machine to resume his true form: The Abominable Snowman, actually a mystical entity whose natural state of perpetual dreaming sleep was disturbed 27 years prior when Kal-El first arrived on planet Earth as a babe. Being forced to assume human form as "Doctor Phoenix," the Abominable Snowman grew to despise the world of physical reality and its grimy unpleasantness, having spent all the time up to the present acquiring knowledge both scientific and sorcerous to end the universe and, in Phoenix's own belief, return to the "inner reality" of dreams that he so longed for. However, Superman presented a direct threat to his plans, causing the Abominable Snowman to challenge Superman directly even as the activated "nightmare-machine" dispelled the world around them into formless chaos. Only a precise kick from Superman at the Abominable Snowman's weak spot succeeded in knocking him out and reversing the nightmare-machine's effect. In order to assure that the Snowman never awakened, Superman kept him permanently suspended a few feet off the ground with a compressed-air machine, reasoning that if their mutual contact with the matter of the Earth was what disturbed the Abominable Snowman that keeping the Snowman off the surface of the Earth at all times would solve the problem.[327]

Superman's career brought him up against creatures of legend like the Abominable Snowman

Superman's career brought him up against creatures of legend like the Abominable Snowman

Superman was drawn into the investigation of a fantastic theft of moon rocks from a S.T.A.R. Labs facility when the moon rocks in question clipped through the wing of an airplane at a high velocity, forcing Clark to go into action as Superman to save the lives of the pilot and passengers. It turned out that Terra-Man had returned from his other-dimensional banishment and was manipulating a cult of superstitious fanatics into retrieving more lunar rock samples with aberrant properties, in addition to the ones he stole from S.T.A.R., for the ostensible purpose of destroying them to dispel evil spiritual influences. In actuality, Terra-Man intended for Superman to discover his involvement and threw the consequent fight with the Man of Steel in expectation that the cosmic energies released from the method of the moon rocks' destruction would supercharge the alien metal of his six-shooter and cause it to detonate in Superman's grasp. However, Superman guessed at the space cowboy's true designs at the last possible second and chucked the firearm into the Earth's core before it could go off.[328] Meanwhile, in order to increase Clark Kent's appeal as the chief anchorman for WGBS, Morgan Edge sent Clark to go on a number of physically demanding escapades to be caught on film and played over the evening news, in the hopes of making Clark into a darling of the public eye. The endeavor was a modest success, in spite of Clark maintaining his persona by fumbling many of the challenges he was given to overcome.[329] Lex Luthor struck again, using Zeke Corey, a contact on the outside who had recently acquired employment with GBS as a technician, as a proxy to tamper with the circuitry of a Galaxy telecommunications satellite and convert it into a mass-hypnosis ray. Luthor's aim was to erase all memory of Superman over the last 10 years from everyone's minds and brainwash them into imagining improbable events to explain the effects of anything Superman was the direct cause of. Exasperated by this turn of events, Clark revealed his Superman costume underneath his civvies during a WGBS news broadcast in a desperate attempt to gauge the scope of the effect, but all the channel's viewership perceived was an anchorman tearing his shirt open on live television. Intuiting that only Luthor could be responsible for turning the world topsy-turvy, Superman tricked Luthor, in his jail cell, into believing that Zeke Corey betrayed him by erasing Luthor from the public's memory as well, infuriating Luthor into giving away the vital details of his plot and the identity of his co-conspirator before Superman turned the tables and punted the hijacked GBS satellite far beyond Earth's orbit.[330] At a later date, Clark became concerned when he peeked on his Daily Planet file and saw that it contained an impeccably detailed obituary, including information of his birth on Krypton and alter ego as Superman, all written in Kryptonese language. After checking the entries in his Kryptonese-language personal diary with the Clark Kent file in the Daily Planet morgue, Superman determined that the machine in his Fortress used to mentally scan life-experiences into the diary was connected to a ticker-tape machine in the morgue by some improbable electronic fluke. Superman then confronted the morgue-keeper Ryan Lowell about the fact that Lowell compiled the Kryptonese entries into Clark Kent's personal file and therefore certainly knew Superman's secret identity. Lowell admitted that the phenomenon had been going on long enough that he was able to apply linguistic analysis to Kryptonese language and decode it into English and that he did in fact know Superman and Clark Kent were the same man, but he swore on his integrity as a journalist that he would consider the secret "privileged information" for as long as either of them lived.[331] While investigating a reptilian monster dubbed "The Quakerer" due to the seismic tremors which accompanied its every sighting, Superman was perturbed to discover that the creature returned from a night of chaos to the 344 Clinton Street apartment building, meaning that the Quakerer had the uncanny ability to replicate the human physique so perfectly that even Superman's advanced sensory abilities were unable to tell him apart from an ordinary tenant. That night, Superman received a transmission from human subterranean dwellers from the 420th century, revealing that chameleons had evolved into a hostile race of reptiloids by that distant era and that the Quakerer was a representative of that species, bent on testing a seismic weapon in 20th century Metropolis to determine its efficacy against the human-inhabited underground tunnels of 420th century Earth. The next day, Superman noticed that the entire building visibly moved to prevent a helicopter from smashing into it and deduced that the Quakerer somehow had the ability to manipulate the very form of matter, while noting that only 4 tenants were in the building at the time it happened: Jonathan Slaughter, May Marigold, Nathan Warbow, and Martin Thorpe. By disguising a time-machine as a common street bus, Clark stranded the four tenants, and himself, millions of years ago, and used the situation to root out Thorpe as the human alter ego of the Quakerer, in the process revealing his own secret identity to the other three tenants. Superman and the Quakerer fought in the time-machine as it accelerated through the timestream, culminating in the Quakerer deliberately stranding himself in the prehistoric past to evade capture. Afterwards, Superman used a hypnotic-wave generator on Jonathan Slaughter, May Marigold, and Nathan Warbow to suppress their memory of the incident, and Batman briefly impersonated Martin Thorpe so no one would notice anything was out of place when they arrived back in the present-era.[332][333]

A new Toyman joined the ranks of Superman's rogues' gallery, proving even deadlier than the original

A new Toyman joined the ranks of Superman's rogues' gallery, proving even deadlier than the original

Metropolis was visited by Valdemar on the one-year anniversary of his first encounter with Superman, in observance of Norse traditions which dictate that he should repay a visit by a friend (Superman) by visiting his friend's hometown in turn. However, the combined physiological and psychological stresses of air pollution, culture shock, and minor radiation poisoning unbalanced Valdemar's mind and caused him to go on a rampage under the delusion that Superman was a tyrant oppressing the city folk. After bringing the latter-day viking warrior back to his senses, Superman saw Valdemar on his way back to his remote village of Valhalla, Maine. Clark reconnected with his boyhood friend Pete Ross in Smallville while checking up on the old Kent family home. In his job as a geological surveyor, Pete recommended for the government to invoke eminent domain to clear out the area of the unused Kent residence and build a new road through the property. Pete acted under the incorrect belief that Clark only maintained the house into his adult life to cover up a detail that could potentially expose his secret identity and therefore believed that he was doing Clark a favor by taking the property off his hands. However, after spending some time with Clark reminiscing about their youth together, Pete realized that the house was long since wiped for anything that could reveal Superman's alter ego to the world, and that it was nothing more than Clark's longful remembrance of his parents Jonathan and Martha Kent which motivated him to keep it. By a turn of good fortune, Clark deliberately "found" an ancient cave painting evincing the existence of indigenous relics buried in the area, giving Pete all the excuse he would need to get the area surrounding the property declared a national heritage site and in so doing preserving the house from demolition.[334] Clark was compelled by the TV workers' union to go on strike along with the rest of the GBS newsmen and technicians, forcing Morgan Edge and the Galaxy Board of Directors to take up the chores of the live news themselves. The day's ordinary business was interrupted when an immaterial mirror-image version of Metropolis appeared hanging in place over the city. Brief investigation as Superman demonstrated to Clark that the mirror-image was slowly descending upon the real Metropolis and that contact between the two would cause mutual annihilation. Superman determined that Brainiac was the cause of the effect and fought the villain while Morgan Edge and the previously striking Galaxy technicians produced an effect to trick Brainiac into believing he had succeeded. Superman took advantage of Brainiac's incorrect assessment of the situation to turn the tables and overcome the malignant supercomputer.[335] A new Toyman announced himself to the world by going on a crime spree, bringing his predecessor Winslow Schott out of retirement and into an alliance with Superman to nab the upstart pretender.[336] The next great threat to world peace came from the most unexpected of places: a box of chocolates left for Clark Kent in his office by an alleged fan club. Due to something unusual in the composition of the "candy," Clark began to suffer an extraordinary toothache, of all things, and was taken to visit a nearby dentist by Lois Lane. Once in the dentist's chair, Clark realized too late that the "dentist" in question was the escaped Phantom Zoner Dr. Xa-Du, after which he was put under by an anaesthetic gas that could even work on his Kryptonian physiology. Over the next couple days, Clark found himself irresistably compelled as Superman to engineer near-catastrophes with the aim of destroying the Earth, barely mustering up enough willpower to break the hypnotic influence over him each and every time. Before long, Clark realized that the "candy" he bit on when this bizarre string of events began had implanted a miniature battery into his tooth, being the ultimate cause of his toothache, and that Xa-Du and his wife and co-conspirator Erndine Ze-Da had used a post-hypnotic suggestion on him, not to affect the destruction of the planet as revenge, but to generate enough power-output stored up in the battery from the repeated near-catastrophes that it would have enough energy to discharge for the purposes of teleporting the Earth into the Rao system, whereupon Superman would be rendered powerless but Xa-Du and Erndine would enforce their rule through a supernatural technique called the Cosmic Power Grip. Superman figured their scheme and forced the rogues from Krypton to tip their hand by making as though he were actually about to destroy the Earth. Xa-Du and Erndine used the Cosmic Power Grip to bombard Superman, but both were knocked out by the hero and deposited in separate prisons galaxies apart.[337][338] After watching Galaxy's gossip reporter Lola Barnett blurt out a confounding "exclusive" announcing Superman's death at the end of her live show, Clark approached Lola about the outburst and learned that she and her brother Mark Hall were psychically linked since they were children, but that Mark died a year ago under mysterious circumstances. Lola believed that her mind had been interfered with by her late brother's spirit, so a skeptical Superman undertook to investigate the details of Mark's death, reasoning that it only made sense Mark was secretly still alive and trying to contact him by broadcasting a covert SOS through Lola. Superman learned from U.S. government officials that Mark was indeed still alive, having been forced to "retire" his old life and identity at the culmination of an intrigue-laden career as a professional spy. By the day's end, Superman rescued Mark from the captivity of foreign enemy agents and allowed him a teary-eyed reunion with Lola.[339]

Superman vs. Captain Thunder

Superman vs. Captain Thunder

Superman was vexed by Captain Thunder, a superhero from a parallel Earth whose intrinsic moral compass was inverted by a mystical enchantment by his enemies. Superman forced Thunder to use his powers of supernatural wisdom to break the spell and return to his own world.[340] Perry White was gifted a box of "special" cigars by Calixto's four-thumbed mutants as a sign of gratitude for freeing them from their creator's mental domination. Without knowing the origin of the cigars, Perry began to spontaneously manifest super-powers of his own after lighting them up, using his newfound abilities to help Superman save lives and fight crime over the duration of the day. Meanwhile, Clark and he were on their way to New York for Perry to accept his third Pulitzer Prize for covering the "Army of Tomorrow" story. When all his self-granted super-powers faded, Perry decided to save the last remaining cigar in his office safe in case of a future emergency.[341] After spending the day angling at an exclusive interview with famous foreign correspondent Ted "Pappy" Mailerway and ducking the journalist's suspicions about his secret identity, Clark was given a week off as vacation time by Morgan Edge, was shanghaied by Steve Lombard into pretending to be his roommate for the benefit of Steve's aunt Kaye Daye, and tripped up a trio of armed convicts in a local pizza parlor.[342] Clark and his friends in the GBS staff were kidnapped by Terra-Man and brought to an artificial reconstruction of a town in the Old West, while Terra-Man pubicly challenged Superman to accept his gauntlet of 7 challenges for the lives of his hostages. With a bit of ingenuity, Clark outwitted Terra-Man and prevented any of his friends from coming to harm.[343] Superman later rescued Captain Strong's fiancé Olivia Tallow from a raging prehistoric anomaly and cured Steve Lombard of a condition that turned him into a malevolent diamond-creature. Morgan Edge made another attempt to force Perry White to retire as editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, citing Galaxy's long-standing policy of mandating its employees' retirement at age 65, but Clark and a group of Perry's loyal friends, including Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Melba Manton, convinced Edge to reconsider by threatening to collectively tender their resignations in protest. Before hearing the good news, Perry prepared for his forced retirement by going out with the biggest headline of his 30-year-long career, cracking a decades-old, unsolved case of missing dirty money with his own wits, guts, and reflexes and proving once again his superlative qualification for his job.[344][345] The master crook Michael J. Coram tapped into the amassed genius of his private think-tank of criminal scientists to drive Superman away from Earth and make a thrust at world takeover, but Superman caught quickly on to the plot and baited Coram into tipping his hand too early.[346]

When Superman first encountered Vartox, it was uncertain whether the hero of Valeron would present himself as friend or foe.

When Superman first encountered Vartox, it was uncertain whether the hero of Valeron would present himself as friend or foe.

When small-time hood Frank Sykes murdered a store clerk in a Metropolis slum during a robbery gone wrong, the bride of Vartox, hero of the planet Valeron, died with her due to an inexplicable biological link between the two. After the autopsy of Vartox's wife was conducted, Valeron's greatest medical experts disclosed this information to Vartox, setting him on a mission to Earth to make Sykes pay for his crime. Vartox determined that legal trickery managed to get Sykes off scot-free on Earth, and anticipating that a direct confrontation with Superman over Sykes's extradition to Valeron would cause unacceptable collateral damage, concocted a scheme to trick Sykes into coming with him willingly to Valeron, in order so Sykes would fall under Valeron's legal jurisdiction and allow him to be sentenced there. When Superman pursued Vartox and Sykes to Valeron, Vartox explained the situation and returned Sykes to Superman's custody, his sentence of 60 years having been served in the span of an instant thanks to an artificial accelerated-aging procedure. This would be the first of many encounters between Superman and Vartox and laid the foundation for their future relationship as allies and counterparts on their respective homeworlds.[347] Clark was in for a shock on the day when Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance called in to his office in the Galaxy building to reveal that they had a chance encounter with a preternaturally strong and resilient canine that the two suspected of being Clark's long-vanished Superdog, Krypto, although warning Clark if this were the case Krypto was likely afflicted with some kind of memory loss.[348] If Superman had any thoughts of beginning a search for his childhood pet, they were to be interrupted by the latest cockamamie gimmick devised by Lex Luthor to even the playing field with his alien adversary, this time taking the twofold form of a de-aging ray that would reduce Superman to a younger and more inexperienced version of himself and a Battle Array Suit that would outfit Luthor with an on-person hi-tech arsenal sufficient to do the so-called Man of Steel some real damage. Luthor inadvertently did himself in by incapacitating Superman with a weight-induction ray; the geometric amplification of Superman's mass caused by Luthor's attack generated a gravitational field powerful enough that Luthor was drawn into it, and would have continued to follow Superman as his weight plowed him directly into the Earth's core. Motivated by the survival instinct, Luthor undid the de-aging effect on Superman, giving his enemy the wherewithal to navigate out of the situation by steering his descent into a subterranean stream of molten rock and metal feeding into an undersea volcano. Fresh off a trip to the 30th century during which she tendered her resignation to the Legion of Super-Heroes,[349] Supergirl talked to her cousin about her doubts concerning the whole costumed life, expressing her earnest want to settle down and live as normal people do somewhere. Superman related the cautionary tale of the crying immortal Nam-Ek, to convey to Kara that sometimes people regret satisfying their immediate wants if such want amounts to caprice and is not well-considered beforehand.[350] Superman saved the life of late-nite talk-show host Johnny Nevada from a gang of violent crooks with ransom demands while Steve Lombard carried the hosting duties on Johnny's show that night. Unable to root out the ransomers' location, Superman pulled a stunt on the live broadcast of the Johnny Nevada Show to goad the gang leader into firing a shot at Johnny while Superman's hyper-sensitive hearing locked in on the distinctive click of the hammer on the ringleader's signature .44 Magnum. Counting on his ability to literally move "faster than a speeding bullet," Superman used the noise to home in on the gang hideout and shot across town in the blink of an eye to deflect the shot, save Johnny's life, and subdue the gangsters.[351] After a long period of silence on his end caused by a temporary misalignment between the dimensions, Mister Mxyzptlk made his spectacular return to wreak havoc once more upon Superman's world. After animating the Lincoln Memorial and menacing Capitol Hill with his hijinks, Mxy was deceived by Superman into reciting a version of the Gettysburg Address with "Kltpzyxm" insinuated into the text.[352] Clark was summoned by Lana Lang and Pete Ross to Smallville to help them investigate the oddity of Smallville's "charmed life" -- going through years' worth of the town newspaper revealed a conspicuous absence of bad news of all forms ever since Superboy's departure a full decade ago, most astonishingly the inexplicable circumstances by which the few criminals to plague the town fell into police custody. This was proven to be the work of a deviant Superboy Robot who defied his creator's self-termination order when Clark Kent moved out to Metropolis U, determining that the original Superboy must be evil for mandating his destruction and guarding Smallville as per his prime directive in all the time since. The robot operated in secrecy to avoid his creator's attentions and so prolong its own existence, but the arrival of Superman in Smallville to coincide with Clark's visit drew the robot into a confrontation, in which it was deceived into destroying itself in obeisance of its own uncompromising black-and-white computer logic.[353]

Superman spent a week pursuing the unsolved mystery of whatever happened to Roy Raymond, TV Detective, the famous professional skeptic who debunked alleged instances of paranormal activity on his show some decades ago, and rescued him from the clutches of a terroristic madman with delusions of world conquest. Shortly upon regaining his freedom, Roy joined GBS, which agreed to greenlight a modern-day revival of his classic program.[354] Next Superman was besieged by a blast from the past, as some of his old enemies from the Superman Revenge Squad made an attempt on his life with an energy charge that would take his life upon the performance of 10 super-powered feats within a span of time. To thwart the Revengers, Superman gave temporary super-powers to Greg Reed, the actor well known for playing him in movies and a personal friend, in order so Greg could partially substitute for him until the critical window of time had passed and fake his death to deceive the Revenge Squad into leaving the planet alone.[355] This was followed up by the grandiose comeback of the Parasite, who stalked Lex Luthor and intentionally brushed up across him incognito in the Superman Museum to impersonate him, trick Lex's thugs into letting him confiscate Lex's fleet of automated flying saucers, and mobilize them to surround Metropolis and pressure the city to surrender. Superman retaliated but was knocked into a stupor by the villain, due to believing incorrectly that it was Luthor who was his enemy this time around. Ironically, the real Lex Luthor was pivotal to saving the day, using an electrochemical bridge to animate a Superman statue made of aberrant alien minerals in a public park with the real Man of Tomorrow's willpower and essence. Acting through the avatar of the statue, Superman annihilated the fleet of flying saucers and turned the Parasite's powers against him, reverting him back into ordinary Max Jensen and enabling him to be taken into police custody without a struggle. However, Lex got away before Superman could bring him to justice as well.[356] At a later date, Superman was enjoying a date with Lois in the park when he serendipitously happened upon his old pal Krypto the Superdog. Krypto's memories were wiped at some time in the past by a monster from outer space called the Mindbreaker, explaining his absence from Superman's life over the past several years. However, seeing his master in action jostled Krypto's memory, and together Superman and Superdog marked the date of their reunion by teaming to stop an art museum robbery.[357] When Morgan Edge had a supercomputer installed to automate and synchronize the infrastructure of the Galaxy Building, Clark obliged to volunteer himself to be the AI's personality template. Unbeknownst to Superman, the supercomputer spontaneously acquired true sentience and mimicked both Clark's heroic instincts and his compulsion to disguise his true nature from the world, covertly helping Superman save the building and its inhabitants from three sabotage attempts by a deranged criminal. Unfortunately, the computer and the saboteur were both destroyed in the latter's final attempt to attack the Galaxy Building, leaving Superman in the dark about the day's events.[358] Then, with a little help from Roy Raymond's deductive skills, Clark and Steve learned about a secret 13th floor in the Galaxy Building obscuring the drop-off teleport terminal for a shady extraterrestrial vacation bureau.[359] Further revelations about clandestine activities taking place in the Galaxy Building were subsequently uncovered. Terrifyingly, Clark unearthed an aspect of a subversive organization which had infiltrated the GBS corporate hierarchy, in particular that a line of android duplicates of the executive, journalistic, and technical staff were being manufactured secretly under the building and being prepared to kidnap and replace their original versions. Worse still, just when Superman believed he had gotten to the bottom of the conspiracy by cornering an agent identified as "The Director," he was revealed to be an android construct as well, merely being used as a proxy by the true organizer of the operation.[360] Michael J. Coram and his scientific underling Dr. Tommy Woodrow tried to get revenge on Superman for their past defeat by engineering public disturbances with an anti-gravity beam to distract him while they used a red-sun radiation effect to remove his powers for 10 minutes. Coram and Woodrow then planned to kill Superman by focusing UV rays from the Sun into a pinpoint beam that would penetrate his skull and destroy his brain during those 10 minutes, but luckily, a desperate streetsweeper who overheard them discussing the plot tipped Superman off and exposed the villainous duo. Mister Mxyzptlk found time after the passing of the crisis to wreak his own merry mischief on Metropolis, taking inspiration from the story of the Tower of Babel to scramble the linguistic comprehension of everyone in the city. Superman, who was relatively unaffected due to understanding every known Earth language, used super-ventriloquism to trick Mxy into saying his name backwards and returning to the Fifth Dimension.[361] On a vacation in Las Vegas accompanied by Lois, Clark witnessed as to his horror Johnny Nevada transformed into a monster comprised of the desert sands, as a result of having latent psionic powers awakened by a traumatic brain injury inflicted during a mugging. Superman determined that Nevada, in his monstrous state, was acting on a subconscious impulse to obtain the approval of others for his comedic talent and turned Nevada back to normal by producing extremely loud laughter.[362]

The Miracle of Thirsty Thursday!

The Miracle of Thirsty Thursday!

Lex Luthor received a full presidential pardon for all his past crimes when he stopped a rain of irradiated satellites from penetrating the atmosphere and rendering the Earth inhospitable to all higher forms of life. However, Lois Lane held suspicions that Lex arranged the incident to begin with, including timing it with one of the Justice League's missions off-world, and spent weeks investigating Luthor under cover of starting a new romance with the man. When the situation turned hot, Lois notified Superman of her circumstances, and with Johnny Nevada's help, they pulled a trick on Luthor to expose his goal of brainwashing Lois into marrying him, then brainwashing Superman into revealing his secret identity to the public.[363] With Luthor promptly back to his old status as convict, Superman had an outright battle with Lex over Metropolis International Airport. Mulling over the carnage wrought by their clash, Superman reflected on the events of his past with Lex that marked his descent into self-destructive, obsessive hate and lamented that, whereas it would be a simple task for him to repair damage to the airport, it demanded far beyond even a Superman's abilities to repair the damage done to people.[364] Clark Kent's employment was briefly put on the line by Morgan Edge as part of a wider policy of budget-cuts to keep GBS in the black, while Superman protected an oil refinery from a bomb-threat by Rick Lawrence, a vengeful super-soldier with an agenda and the ability to copy the fighting prowess of anyone who defeats him. The oil magnate who owned the facilities repaid Superman by donating to a WGBS-associated children's hospital fund, and as it turned out, his resultant pull with Edge saved Clark Kent's job at the station. Afterwards, Superman tracked Lawrence to the lab of a psychopathic rogue biologist in charge of a grossly unethical human experimentation project. Lawrence was created by the project, but the scientist tried to kill Lawrence for failing to meet his initial expectations. Having copied Superman's powers by allowing himself to be defeated by Superman the first time, Lawrence returned to exact revenge, but Superman stepped in to bring both men to justice.[365] Superman was at the center of the events in the phenomenon known as the Miracle of Thirsty Thursday, a subject of devoted study by the chroniclers of future centuries and millennia as one of the truly scientifically inexplicable occurrences in the history of mankind. On Wednesday, August 20, the date of an infamous tenement blaze, all of the people of Metropolis spontaneously developed a pathological disgust of water, fell asleep for a 24-hour period, and then awakened on the following day with an incredible thirst upon them, hence the nomenclature of "Thirsty Thursday." Dozens of time-travelers from these distant future time-periods had stopped to check into a particular Metropolis hotel to observe the events firsthand and attempt to divine the true nature of what had happened, yet all experienced the same as the rest of Metropolis and returned to their native eras to report their befuddlement. The truth of the so-called "miracle" was that the spell of city-wide hydrophobia was caused by S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Dr. Larry Ishmael, who dropped a vial containing a serum being developed clandestinely by S.T.A.R. for exactly that purpose, allowing trace particles of the volatile vapors to spread out and affect everyone in Metropolis. Ishmael consumed what he mistakenly took to be an antidote, but was in fact a psychoactive drug that temporarily turned Ishmael into a superhumanly strong wild-man and sent him on a rampage. Overhearing S.T.A.R. Labs Director Dr. Wilson Farr discussing that only 24 hours of constant rest or perpetual physical stimulation could negate the affects of the hydrophobia serum, Superman placed and detonated tens of sleeping gas canisters throughout the municipal sewer system, putting all residents of Metropolis at the time, including the covert time-travelers, into a day-long sleep spell. Only Ishmael was immune to the gas due to his augmented physiology and therefore fought Superman over 24 straight hours before his condition could return to normal. When all was said and done, Superman allowed only two other individuals to become privy to the knowledge of what had happened on Thirsty Thursday: Larry Ishmael and Wilson Farr. None of the three men revealed the secret to another soul for as long as they lived, creating a legend to stand in the annals of history as a mystery for the ages.[366]

Superman fights his possible descendant Jaxon in the future of Earth-AD

Superman fights his possible descendant Jaxon in the future of Earth-AD

Clark had his face switched with a criminal electronics specialist who intended to impersonate Clark to assassinate Superman, but the scheme fell to pieces due to the would-be assassin's ignorance that Clark Kent and Superman were the same man.[367] Superman returned from an hour-long excursion to the Moon to learn that the Justice League's old enemy Brain Storm had whisked the entire population of Earth into another dimension to facilitate an experiment that would increase his power a hundredfold. Even as Brain Storm attempted to kill Clark Kent so that the experiment would succeed, Clark had to battle Brain Storm as Superman to force him to return everything to how it was.[368] The Man of Steel struggled against extreme lethargy induced by a solar energy-absorbing alloy embedded near the Earth's core, even while he forced himself to pursue the Toyman to halt his campaign of serial bank-robbery.[369] What initially seemed like humdrum business-as-usual for the Man of Tomorrow would take on cosmically important dimensions when he was set upon by the gimmick-based super-villain Father Time for ownership of his costume. Superman's strategy to mislead his antagonist was to use a cloud of obscuring green fog produced by Father Time to switch into his Clark Kent civvies and leave his costume behind, then use a homing beacon in his Justice League Signal Device to track the costume, and Father Time, down at a later date. To his surprise, Superman trailed the signal from his costume to a post-apocalyptic future 1000 years hence, wherein a Great Disaster will destroy human civilization and mutate lower animal species such that they achieve sapience and higher-level intelligence and subjugate the degraded humans. In this timeline, Superman found his costume worn by a super-powered leader of a human tribe named Jaxon. Superman and Jaxon got into a scuffle over ownership of the costume, as well as over Jaxon's outrage that Superman would dare impersonate "The Mighty One." Each blow that connected brought flashes of the 20th century Metropolis into view, observed by Jaxon's tribesmen. Eventually, Superman's display of powers equal to his own and demonstration of knowledge about the past previously known only to the tribe's high priests convinced Jaxon that Superman was the "Mighty One" himself. Upon Jaxon's returning of the costume, Superman faded back into his own time-era completely and met one last time with Father Time, who revealed himself as Xenofobe, the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 in the 30th century timeline of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Xenofobe explained that a battle between the Green Lantern Corps of his future era with the Time Trapper enabled the Trapper to harness their willpower energies and weed out all 30th century timelines except for the one proceeding from the Great Disaster, in order to retroactively erase the Legion from ever having existed. Xenofobe's sojourn in the 20th century and pretense as a villain named "Father Time" were all to engineer Superman's battle with Jaxon, the product of which was to generate enough energy to negate the Green Lantern Power Ring energies utilized by the Time Trapper and restore the plethora of Earth's alternate future timelines, including the Legion's, to a coequal existence.[370]

Superman meets Whirlicane, self-proclaimed master of whirlwind and hurricane

Superman meets Whirlicane, self-proclaimed master of whirlwind and hurricane

Superman fought Green Lantern's nemesis The Shark to return a child in the care of Captain Strong back from protoplasm to human form, as the Shark had reduced him to protoplasm in the effort of regaining his bipedal "super-evolved" form, as well as to stop the Shark from consuming the ozone layer over Metropolis.[371] Superman responded to Pete Ross's summons when his son Jon was suffering from a psychosomatically induced yet potentially terminal illness. With a bleak prognosis from the doctors, Jon made a special request to Superman to learn his secret identity, which the Man of Steel decided to humor in his compassion, and with the understanding that it might even alleviate the psychological root of the ailment in its entirety. While Superman endeavored over the course of the day to prove to a skeptical Jon Ross that he was truly Clark Kent, he also ran into a new super-villain named Whirlicane several times and eventually defeated him. In the end, what proved to Jon that Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same was a detail which did not even occur to Superman until after the fact: In Clark Kent's 344 Clinton Street apartment, many common amenities such as shaving cream, aspirins, and toothbrushes were completely absent from Clark's drawers and medicine cabinets, only logical since all would be redundant to an invulnerable Kryptonian with no requirements for upkeep of personal health or hygiene. Fortunately, Jon's illness came to pass, and unbeknownst to Superman, Jon would be the second member of the Ross family to have discovered his most closely-guarded secret.[372] Once more Superman was called into action when the Metropolis International Trade Center caught fire. Later that day, by situational happenstance, Lois Lane uncovered the culprit as disgraced physicist Fredrik Schlaus, who planned to use powers over X-ray radiation gained from a scientific mishap to try destroying Washington, D.C. Unable to stop Schlaus in his super-powered state, Superman volunteered his life in exchange for the capital, but while Schlaus went up in a massive explosion, Superman made a last-second escape.[373]

Blackrock competes with Superman for the public eye.

Blackrock competes with Superman for the public eye.

In the wake of the flight of 3 of WGBS's 6 TV newscasters, including Lola Barnett, to accept employment at the rival United Broadcasting Company (UBC), Morgan Edge promoted Clark to duties as associate producer of all Galaxy's news programming, with the objective of fishing for new journalistic talent in the proverbial ocean and ascertaining fidelity of all WGBS's on-air personalities to the company. Simultaneously, UBC President Sam Tanner tasked inventor Dr. Peter Silverstone to create a new superhero on UBC's payroll to help WUBC compete with the higher ratings of WGBS, which Tanner attributed to GBS's highly Superman-centric media focus. Silverstone's creation, Blackrock, a costumed crimefighter with the power to control low-frequency EM radiation, competed with Superman, in the immediate sense for the privilege of capturing a mad scientist and his "vacuum-tank" super-weapon, and in the longer-term assessment for the lion's share of the media focus. Although Superman ultimately captured the real criminal, Blackrock destroyed the criminal's out-of-control creation, in a very public showdown. Then the real coup came for UBC when Blackrock approached Lola Barnett directly through TV-broadcast frequencies and offered for her to conduct an exclusive, televised first interview with the latest mystery-man to hit the Metropolis scene.[374] After upstaging Blackrock again in the middle of breaking up a jewelry heist, Superman was attacked by Blackrock with an effect that turned Superman's brain into a mental receiver for news broadcasts from the day before, causing him to increasingly perceive nothing outside the visual and auditory hallucination of himself as Clark Kent spouting old news. Using his other senses to track the source of the signal to the UBC building, Superman confronted Sam Tanner in his office and instigated his unexpected transformation into Blackrock for a final battle. Peter Silverstone, who had hypnotized Tanner into donning the costume and weapon of Blackrock in the first place, under the belief that no one else was better-suited to the role, helped Superman turn Tanner back to normal by cobbling together a signal-jammer in his lab. Afterwards, Tanner retained no memory of ever having been Blackrock, and the glory-getting would-be superhero vanished from the public's memory as abruptly as he had first appeared. At Morgan Edge's request in dissatisfaction with the dead end hit by Steve Lombard's investigation, Clark pursued the story behind the mysterious disappearance of boxing champion Wade Armstrong, discovered that Armstrong had been kidnapped by a gang and held for ransom, and helped liberate Wade from his captors without betraying his alter ego as Superman. In gratitude, Wade agreed to an exclusive interview with Clark on WGBS-TV, and Steve could do nothing but chafe in his seat under the knowledge that his personal rival scooped him on the sports story of the year, because he was not adventurous enough to get to the bottom of the story first.[375]

Who Took the Super Out of Superman?

Who Took the Super Out of Superman?

Who Took the Super Out of Superman?

Superman met his greatest challenge yet, not from an external force of malignant might, but from the turmoil of identity crisis, as the Last Son of Krypton was forced at last to face the unresolved dilemma: Between Superman and Clark Kent, which identity reflects his true self? While joining his friends Lois Lane and Steve Lombard on a walk to the Galaxy Building, Clark observed as Steve blithely cut into the middle of a busy road to catch a football thrown by a local neighborhood boy. Clark took decisive action and rushed to push Steve out of the way, taking the brunt of the resultant collision, being propelled several feet, and losing consciousness. Upon re-awakening in a hospital room, Clark realized to his horror that his super-powers had failed him for no apparent reason whatsoever, a conclusion further supported by the fact that a nurse's needle had no trouble puncturing his skin. Reasoning that medical science had no solution for his true ailment, Clark produced his super-compressed Superman costume from his oral cavity and donned it to avoid any trouble from orderlies in the process of leaving the hospital. On the walk back to his apartment, Superman saw a group of Intergang sky-troopers flying by and clenched a lamppost in frustration at his presumed powerlessness to stop the crooks; however, to Clark's surprise, the Man of Steel unwittingly warped the iron of the post in his grip, having regained his missing powers as mysteriously as he had first lost them. Superman sped back to his apartment and changed back to Clark to enter the building, whereupon he discovered that Intergang had left him a "present" at his domicile in the form of a robotic assassin concealed in a wooden crate. The robot's strength, though formidable, could not compare to Superman's own, but nevertheless, Clark endured a near-fatal thrashing from the metallic monstrosity before he could strip every last article of civilian clothing to reveal the Superman costume underneath. At the instant Clark had done so, the robot's coup de grace proved ineffective when it fell, and it took nothing more than a swift kick to reduce the automaton to a pile of nuts and bolts. Clark now had enough evidence to suppose that he could now only access his super-powers when fully garbed as Superman, but even then, the Action Ace was still at a loss for an explanation for the effect. Clark decided that his subconscious mind might have imposed the "split-effect" upon him as a side-effect of cognitive dissonance from living a double-life. To test the hypothesis, Clark challenged himself to an experiment: For one whole week, he would live only as ordinary Clark Kent and engage in no super-heroics; then, the following week would be spent as a full-time Superman and he would eschew the pleasures and vicissitudes of a private life entirely. At the end of the 2-week period, Superman would reflect upon his experiences and decide once and for all who he really is: Superman or Clark Kent. Little did the Man of Tomorrow realize that the true cause for the "split-effect" bedeviling him came from the most improbable source of all. Clark Kent's reclusive next-door neighbor, Mister Xavier, was responsible for artificially imposing such limitations upon Superman as part of a greater plot to destroy the world on behalf of his employers, a group of alien mercenaries under contract with a cutthroat intergalactic transportation company.[376][377]

Clark Kent Forever-- Superman Never!

Clark Kent Forever-- Superman Never!

The following day, Clark embarked on his last mission as Superman for a straight week, blocking a ray of concentrated plasma induced from orange-type stars and directed through the Olympus Telescope at the city. The culprits turned out to be Intergang again. After seeing to it that the crooks were rounded up, Clark began his new life as a pure civilian, now prohibited from any performing any deeds as a superhero, even covertly. With the pressure of maintaining a clear bilateral distinction between both sides of his life off his shoulders, Clark cut loose in a way that his friends and coworkers had never seen before, approaching Lois more assertively, confronting Steve and Morgan Edge with a confident aggressiveness in response to the attempts by the former to embarrass him in public and those of the latter to bully him into taking on undesirable assignments. Clark's "personality readjustment" paid off figurative dividends in his personal life. Lois now expressed sudden attraction to Clark instead of Superman and even spent the night over at Clark's apartment once. Steve felt exasperation at Clark's unanticipated refusal to continue taking his abuse, knocking his monstrous ego down a peg or two for once. Edge developed an appreciation for Clark's newfound self-respect and even rewarded him for outright refusing his direct order to go on an assignment by granting a pay raise and sending Steve on the assignment instead. When Steve threw a punch at Clark in the elevator for putting him in that situation, Clark blocked and returned fire with a solid yet non-super-powered left hook that busted Steve's jaw right in front of Lois. There remained no doubt that, at least for the time being, Clark Kent was transformed into a new man. Yet, in spite of increased assertiveness, confidence, and respect by his peers, Clark could not dispel the nagging feeling at the back of his mind that he was neglecting his born duty as defender of humanity by giving up Superman for a week. Regardless of his doubts, Clark was determined to take down Intergang, super-powers or no. Clark obtained information from an underworld stool-pigeon about the location of Intergang's headquarters, a rolling office concealed in the back of a freight truck, and borrowed a device that could emit a local anti-gravity field from semi-retired inventor Professor Jasper Pepperwinkle. Clark then tracked down and broke into Intergang HQ, activated the device to put his opponents, who both outnumbered and outgunned him, at a disadvantage, and used his natural familiarity with navigating weightless environments as Superman to out-maneuver and out-fight them. After the Intergang leaders were all unconscious, Clark retrieved files showing that their intention in converting the Olympus Telescope into a plasma-cannon was to turn Superman into a living bomb, but since the trigger for Superman's detonation was for him to actively expend his powers within a few days of the event, the effect on Superman would have run out by then anyway.[378]

Clark Kent, Get Out Of My Life!

Clark Kent, Get Out Of My Life!

After 7 full days spent as a radically changed Clark Kent, Superman began to experience nightmares giving vent to his suppressed anxieties about the ethical implications of ignoring crime and disaster so that he could hold true to the conditions of his self-subjected psychological experiment. Since his time as Clark had elapsed in full, the period thus began during which Clark Kent would abruptly disappear from everyone's lives for a week, and Superman would exist and act only in his red-and-blue-clad persona as a hero. This already presented a problem for stability in Clark's life when and if Clark would have returned to it. After a week of acting like a completely different person, he now dropped off the metaphorical edge of the Earth, leaving WGBS-TV without an anchorman and leaving the District Attorney's office without its key witness against Intergang's new leader Max Danner. Lois voiced her suspicions to both Superman and Edge that Clark had been kidnapped by Intergang to keep him from testifying in court against Danner. This was the phase of Superman's experiment that "Mister Xavier," in actuality the extraterrestrial shapeshifter and planetary saboteur Xviar, had been waiting for, as it left Clark's apartment uninhabited for long periods, during which he could break in and scout it for a set of energy-crystals from Superman's hidden collection of artifacts from past adventures. Meanwhile, a power-mad would-be villain named Solarman used an exoskeleton plated with hyper-efficient solar-absorbers to draw upon the electromagnetic radiation of the Sun and grant himself powers equal to Superman's own. Solarman announced his debut to the city of Metropolis by interrupting Superman's takedown of some Intergang-associated bank-robbers to steal their take for himself. Solarman then dared the Man of Tomorrow to fight him mano e mano in a public square. Superman accepted the challenge but appeared to be totally outclassed by the boisterous newcomer. As it turned out, Superman realized that Solarman's armor was limited by the amount of heat it could efficiently dissipate in the process of converting light energy into electric energy to power its motors. By bombarding Solarman with infrared frequencies through low-level heat vision, temporarily boosting Solarman's strength levels and taking a beating as a consequence, Superman overtaxed Solarman's resistors until the circuitry underlaying the whole exoskeleton burned out. Although Superman won the battle, the Man of Steel found that life as a 24/7 superhero was supremely exhausting and utterly isolating. It turned out that even a Superman has the same emotional and psychological needs as an ordinary man, yet a life as a Superman cannot fully satisfy these needs, even if it does technically allow him more time for do-gooding and wrong-righting. At last, Superman realized which identity represented his true self. Both Clark Kent and Superman were equally important to making up legitimate yet incomplete fragments of his true self, no one more "real" than the other, no one more necessary than the other to maintaining a personal balance, no one a fully actualized entity without complementation by the other[379][380]

The ultimate battle-- Superman vs. 9 of his greatest enemies!

The ultimate battle-- Superman vs. 9 of his greatest enemies!

Superman had hardly any time to contemplate the significance of having concluded his journey of self-discovery when he caught an image of 9 of his deadliest enemies-- Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Mister Mxyzptlk, Terra-Man, the Toyman, the Parasite, Amalak, the Prankster, and the Kryptonite Man-- convened together in his apartment. Although Superman had returned to the room in the span of a second, the villains strangely vanished when he entered through the window. Without his knowledge, the energy-crystals released from their containment unit by Xviar radiated Superman's body with their invisible energy-signature, making sure that he would explode in a burst powerful enough to shatter the planet upon striking down his 9 super-foes. The reason for the villains' congregation and disappearance was because Xviar had used his psychic abilities to teleport them from place to place; just the same, Xviar beamed telepathic images into Superman's mind of where to find the first group of villains (Terra-Man, Toyman, Prankster), at the Pyramid of Giza. After taking the three rogues out, Superman received the location of the next group (Luthor, Parasite, Mxy) somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Before pursuing the second group, Clark decided to make his public re-appearance in civilian guise at the Metropolis courthouse in order to salvage the state's case against Max Danner, but he was instantly mobbed by several reporters inquiring about the reasons for his disappearance. In the effort to get away, Clark inadvertently used his super-speed and zipped to outside the building. The fact that Clark was in his civilian attire and identity at the time tipped him off that perhaps it was not "being Clark Kent" that had inhibited his super-powers before, but rather an external cause unrelated to his psychology. Clark's theory was confirmed when he used his super-vision to associate the telepathic beam broadcasting the image of the Rocky Mountains into his brain with a stream of ionized air particles leading back to the apartment just adjacent to his own, that belonging to the secretive Mister Xavier. Superman quickly determined with his vision-scan that "Xavier" was no human man and that every suit in his own wardrobe was contaminated with microscopic granules of a chemical agent, unlike the suit he wore in the courthouse, which was borrowed from the WGBS wardrobe room. Intuiting that Xviar was his true nemesis all along, conspiring against him and his world from right under his nose, Superman allowed Xviar to believe he had taken his telepathic bait, heading off to take down Lex Luthor, Parasite, and Mxyzptlk, and then afterwards to beat Brainiac and Amalak. Only one adversary remained, the Kryptonite Man, and his defeat by Superman would mark the doom of the Earth and the human race. Superman deduced that this was Xviar's goal and thwarted him by wearing a chemically-contaminated Clark Kent suit underneath his Superman costume when he went to fight the K-Man, as this would not only negate his Kryptonian powers and therefore also make him immune to the K-Man's radioactive emissions but would also allow Clark to win by an ordinary, non-super hook to the jaw, a blow insufficient to detonate the infused energy-package intended to make him go up like a planet-blasting impact-bomb. Superman approached "Amalak" in the intergalactic prison complex he detained Brainiac and him within after defeating the two, since Xviar used his psychic abilities to trade places with Amalak shortly after Amalak and Brainiac's defeat, intending to use this move as a means to get out of range of the expected blast radius of the Earth's destruction. However, Xviar's 30-year-long mission ended in abject failure. Superman found Xviar out and reversed their fortunes, and as Superman eloquently put to the unsuccessful saboteur, his ruthless employers would not be coming to retrieve him exactly because of his failure. Superman's greatest battle had been won and the Earth had been saved yet again against all odds. Clark Kent returned to his regular life as a WGBS anchorman, with business and social relationships in the workplace back to how they had been before (to Lois's chagrin), and Superman survived to fly once more over the skies of Metropolis, ever watchful of its teeming millions and its burgeoning dreams.[381]

The Action Ace

Karb-Brak was not truly evil, trying to kill Superman because he believed there was no other option for his own survival.

Karb-Brak was not truly evil, trying to kill Superman because he believed there was no other option for his own survival.

Fresh off his identity crisis and battle of wits with Mister Xavier, Superman had barely any time for a breather before the newest paranoid menace showed its ugly head: Karb-Brak, an alien of a species similar to Kryptonians hailing from the Andromeda Galaxy. Alone out of all his people, Karb-Brak suffered from an immune disorder which would cause him to develop a devastating, potentially fatal allergic reaction to antigens from other members of his own species. The analysis of his race's greatest scientists determined that Karb-Brak's physiology was similarly incompatible with those of most sapient races across the universe, save for the human race inhabiting the Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. As a result, Karb-Brak was sent off to Earth to masquerade as a native of the planet, construction worker "Andrew Meda," for his own health and protection. However, Karb-Brak eventually settled in Metropolis and came into proximity of Clark Kent on a bus ride to their respective workplaces. Clark's Kryptonian physiology generated antigens which produced an innate immune response within Karb-Brak, causing him to revert to his true form, develop an ultra-high body temperature, and go on a delirious rampage. As Superman, Clark tried to suppress the danger to the public posed by the Andromedan alien, but Karb-Brak escaped. After regaining his senses, Karb-Brak deduced that either Clark or the man sharing Clark's seat on the bus, Steve Lombard, must be Superman, and resolved to eliminate Superman before their mutual residence on the planet Earth brought about his doom. Settling on the latter on the advice of his advanced computers, Karb-Brak attempted to murder Steve in the Galaxy Building, only to be intercepted by the real Superman. Deducing that Clark must then be the true alter ego of his enemy, Karb-Brak used his computers to mentally reprogram the entire population of Metropolis to treat Clark Kent as a celebrity and crowd around him all day, in order to hinder Clark's ability to strip down to Superman and fight back when Karb-Brak decided to strike. This stratagem ultimately failed. Inspired by the imminent celebration of Independence Day in the city, Karb-Brak attacked Superman again and baited the Action Ace into giving chase at superhuman speeds. Karb-Brak then manipulated Superman into matching a particular vibrational frequency necessary to send him back in time to July 4, 1776, whereupon a post-hypnotic suggestion from Karb-Brak's computers kicked in, making Superman forget about his super-powers and believe himself to be a colonial Patriot native to the period. Luckily, Clark broke his own programming by accidentally discovering evidence of his superhuman abilities, saved the Declaration of Independence from being swiped by British spies, and returned to his own era as Superman. Retreating to his Fortress to think up a solution to both Karb-Brak's hellbent campaign against him and his sincere desire not to have to kill Karb-Brak, Superman realized that allowing the Andromedan to go into a state of clinical death from acute inflammation, followed by artificially facilitated revival by Kryptonian med-tech at the Fortress, might be what it took to cause Karb-Brak's system to develop tolerance for foreign antigens. Superman tested his theory in practice by overexposing Karb-Brak to the antigens of his own body and reviving him at the Fortress before his body would become incapable of resuscitation, and to the Man of Tomorrow's relief, it worked. Clark then placed psychological blocks over Karb-Brak's knowledge of his true extraterrestrial origins, so that he could be reinserted into society under the genuine belief that he was no one else but ordinary human blue-collar laborer Andrew Meda.[382][383][384][385]

Superman met more than his match the day Solomon Grundy rampaged through Metropolis.

Superman met more than his match the day Solomon Grundy rampaged through Metropolis.

In the wake of Intergang's exposure and collapse, a new hi-tech criminal organization rose to dominate the Metropolis underworld: SKULL. Superman first encountered the agents of this clandestine group when they launched an ambitious campaign to intimidate or eliminate the pillars of the old, Intergang-led crime establishment and muscle their way into a secure niche. While reporting an attack by SKULL agents on small-time gangster Samuel Simeon, Clark became aware that Solomon Grundy, the undead monstrosity from the Earth-Two universe who fought Superman at least once prior on a Justice League mission, suddenly appeared in the densely populated streets and was on the way to tearing a destructive swath through the city. Superman flew headfirst into Grundy on instinct, but even the nigh-invulnerable son of Krypton quickly came to regret his decision when Grundy's supernaturally enhanced might threw him for a loop. Unable to defeat Grundy in a show of pure force, Superman devised a plan to get rid of Grundy upon deducing that his reason for being on Earth-One was to search for his parallel universe counterpart. Superman impersonated a non-existent Earth-One Solomon Grundy to persuade the real Grundy into allowing himself to be carried to the Moon, where Superman stranded him for everyone's good. That same day, Clark was introduced by Steve Lombard to Terri Cross, a young admirer who pursued Clark with all the reverence and enthusiasm that a groupie would demonstrate to a rock star. To switch to Superman to fight Grundy, Clark temporarily hypnotized Steve into impersonating him so Terri would be none the wiser about his disappearance.[386] Superman was struck with a sudden case of gigantism when Lex Luthor trained a ray on him which would induce hypersecretion of growth hormone from his pituitary gland, causing Superman's body to grow by several feet within the span of one day. With the help of his Justice League friend Ray Palmer, alias The Atom, Superman determined that his brain was not growing proportionately to the rest of his body and that his nervous system would become overtaxed and incapable of coordinating his cognitive and motor functions if he continued to grow at the same rate. This was all part of Luthor's plan, but Superman and Ray figured out a way to convince Lex that his device had backfired and was having an effect on him too. After Lex deactivated the hyperpituitarism ray, Superman knocked his nemesis out, and everything went back to normal.[387]

The Parasite has a rematch with Superman aided by the Prism of Power.

The Parasite has a rematch with Superman aided by the Prism of Power.

Superman battled Thunder and Lightning, the twin alter egos of an artificial construct built by Whirlicane to take revenge on his former employers at S.T.A.R. Labs. Lightning/Thunder carried out a string of technology thefts on Whirlicane's behalf, unaware of his own true origins as an android. When Superman forced him to confront the truth in a final battle in Whirlicane's lair, Lightning self-destructed and took Whirlicane with him. During the investigation, the new Chief Administrator of S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr. Albert Michaels, made a distinct first impression on Superman by laying the blame squarely at Superman's feet for the destruction caused by Whirlicane and his creation. In the private life of Clark Kent, Lois resumed her advances toward Clark, remembering the resolutely confident man he transformed into during the week of Superman's recent absence. Having glimpsed for the first time that a man of real character and fortitude existed beneath the unassuming demeanor of the mild-mannered bungler, Lois arranged to replicate one of the more passionate nights that Clark and she shared during that week. Opening up perhaps out of his new perspective on the balance between his dual identities, Clark accepted Lois back into his life, allowing an unforeseen romance to blossom: Not Superman and his girlfriend, Lois Lane, but a partnership of romantic and professional equals between Lois Lane and Clark Kent.[388] Some days later, Superman gave his pal Jon Ross a tour through the Metropolis S.T.A.R. Labs facilities with the permission of friendly scientist Dr. Jenet Klyburn. The visit turned unexpectedly dangerous when an industrial laser activated and nearly killed Jon and Jenet, even causing Superman intense pain to plough through the path of the beam and wreck the mechanism. No sooner did Superman finish defusing the threat than Albert Michaels strolled into the room to dress down Superman for ruining an expensive piece of valuable experimental equipment and ostensibly being the root cause of the recent damages to S.T.A.R.'s installations. Superman denounced Michaels as a vindictive complainer and poor supervisor before storming off with Jon. Sent into a rage by the bitter exchange, Michaels fired Klyburn on the spot for allowing Superman on S.T.A.R. premises without his approval. Upon leaving the building, Superman was attacked out of the blue by a super-powered Jon Ross, who appeared visibly deranged with hate and glowed with an eerie aura. After several similar encounters with unrelated civilians, Superman traced the cause of this bizarre phenomenon to the Parasite, who used the stolen genius of numerous scientist victims to create a synthetic Prism of Power, which would allow Parasite to absorb life-force from future victims at a great distance. Due to an irregularity in the crystalline lattice of the Prism, the refraction of light through the Prism randomly distributed the life-energies that the Parasite used it to absorb, briefly granting Jon, Jenet Klyburn, the guard of a diamond shipment, and a construction worker fractions of Superman's power and making them temporarily insane. Superman faced the Parasite in a final showdown as Parasite attempted to use his willpower to draw the extracted life-energies back through the Prism of Power and into his body, but Superman outwitted his adversary by waiting for Parasite to charge himself up with the life-energies, then snatching the Prism out from under him, causing his body to destabilize and disintegrate as it did during their first battle.[389]

Lex Luthor de-aged Superman into a child, rationalizing that his grudge was first made against Superboy.

Lex Luthor de-aged Superman into a child, rationalizing that his grudge was first made against Superboy.

Intrigued by a pair of seemingly unrelated events disturbingly similar to the origins of Batman and the Flash, Superman encountered juvenile versions his two Justice League friends who claimed to have been de-aged into children by Lex Luthor. This story seemed plausible to Superman, as Lex had used a de-aging ray in the recent past against him[350], and shortly afterwards, Luthor attacked Superman himself with the ray, de-aging him gradually into Superboy. Lex then defeated Superboy with ease using his technological gimmicks before leaving him to strike at a later time. Superboy rendezvoused with the young Batman and Flash to draft up a battle strategy, when Luthor struck again and murdered Batman and Flash in cold blood. Overwhelmed by rage, disbelief, and despair, Superboy would have been easy pickings for Luthor if not for Superboy's conscious decision to gather his wits and analyze the situation. Recalling that "Batman" displayed no emotion when "Flash" was disintegrated by one of Luthor's weapons, Superboy deduced that the two "heroes" were not his allies at all, but androids created by Luthor for the explicit purpose of misleading and demoralizing him. Superboy concentrated on his memories further and realized that, although he believed he had confirmed "Batman's" and "Flash's" identities with an X-ray scan and questions about details of their past shared adventures, he never saw anything or received any answer, instead being deceived by the power of suggestion, which was being weaponized by Luthor against him. Superboy decided that his age-reduction might also be controllable by the power of suggestion and focused on returning to his true age to overcome Luthor. The strategy was a success, and Superman lived to relate the experience to the real Batman and Flash in the Justice League Satellite.[390][391][392]

Superman vs. Bizarro

Superman vs. Bizarro

Things changed overnight for Superman's reputation when a figure garbed in his costume and cape careened into the Metropolis Coliseum on the day it was being used to host an inventors' expo, causing the majority of the populace to turn against Superman for the reckless and potentially life-threatening act of property damage. Clark was baffled as he read the description of the event off the teleprompter for the 6 o'clock news, knowing for a fact that he was nowhere nearby the Coliseum at the time it was struck. Meanwhile, Winslow Schott, the toymaker and reformed criminal once known as the Toyman, suffered a nervous breakdown, as his exhibition in the expo was destroyed by the structural damage to the Coliseum building, shattering a life's work of pristine toy craftsmanship and the sole product of his whole career on both sides of the law. After murdering a police officer and Jack Nimball, the second Toyman, Schott retrieved the only toy which wasn't destroyed at the expo, a giant robot unit with a manual control cockpit, and attacked Superman with it as the Man of Steel repaired the Coliseum building. The next day, which by a twisted turn of fate happened to be a holiday dedicated by Metropolis to Superman personally, Superman appeared at the planned parade outside the Superman Museum to ensure that protests against the parade didn't turn violent, consequently enduring the jeering and abuse of a hostile public on a day meant to commemorate his deeds. The Toyman attacked again with his gigantic Robo-Toy, intent on annihilating every exhibit in the Superman Museum in revenge, and briefly held Superman at bay with a sensitive explosive ring, but Superman knocked him out. Meanwhile, outside the museum, Bizarro suddenly descended in the middle of the street after years of allowing the world to forget his existence, causing Jimmy Olsen to realize on the scene that it was Bizarro who collided with the Metropolis Coliseum the day before. Bizarro lumbered into the museum and sucker-punched Superman out cold, giving Toyman time to revive and hogtie Superman with Bizarro's indestructible cape.[393] Detecting that Bizarro had come for the Duplicator-Ray which created him, Toyman told him that the device in the Superman Museum was broken and that he would repair it in exchange for Bizarro's assistance in murdering Superman. While Superman and Bizarro traded blows in a fight that took them back outside the building, Toyman made his escape. Superman learned from Bizarro that he returned to Earth after so many years because a meteor shower devastated the surface of the Bizarro World and destroyed all of its inhabitants except for himself. As such, Bizarro needed the Duplicator-Ray to create more Bizarros in order to banish his feelings of grief and loneliness. However, Superman explained that the Duplicator-Ray exhibit in the Superman Museum was an inoperative prop, not the real thing, filling Bizarro with an irrational rage based on a newly formed conviction that Superman was the only thing standing in the way of his happiness. Bizarro kidnapped Lois Lane and brought her to the Fortress of Solitude, where Bizarro decided the real Duplicator-Ray was to be found, planning to create a new Bizarro-Lois. After deducing from his visits to Bizarro World in future timelines that the cuboidal backwards-world couldn't truly have been destroyed[394], Clark got the idea from watching Steve Lombard roll back footage he caught of Superman and Bizarro's earlier battle at the museum to convince Bizarro of this by replicating the process by which Bizarro crash-landed on Earth, but in reverse. Confronting Bizarro at the Fortress, Superman blinded his doppelganger for a few moments and took the opportunity to switch the real Lois out for a deactivated android duplicate of Lois, while placing Lois under a heat-ray to revive her from the brutal Arctic chill. Bizarro recovered and took the Lois android with the Duplicator-Ray to the tropical island where Bizarro Lois #1 was created and attempted to create more Bizarro Loises, only to be stymied when all of his efforts turned out as lifeless empty shells. This was intended by Superman so he wouldn't have a bevy of new Bizarro creatures to deal with in addition to the one he already had to. Superman then dragged Bizarro to the lake where Bizarro crashed down after smashing up the Metropolis Coliseum and struck him back into space with sufficient force to bring him to the approximate quadrant of space as Bizarro World, so that the Simpleton of Steel could see for himself that his distorted planet still lived and that its apparent destruction was an illusion created by a cosmic cloud. Once he had realized that Bizarro and not Superman was responsible for the destruction of his original toy models at the expo, Toyman realized that he was far less mentally stable than he once thought and turned himself in to the authorities without needing to be hunted down by Superman.[395]

Krypton No More?!

Krypton No More?!

One day, Clark was approached in the GBS building by Milton Slotvik, a blue-collar worker in a plastic factory owned by industrialist Morton Kalmbach. Slotvik had come to voice his concerns to the media about the utter lack of adherence to safety regulations at Kalmbach's plant and how this criminal level of neglect had caused several of the factory workers to be diagnosed with cancer. Investigating the plant as Superman, Clark was enraged to discover that Kalmbach felt no compulsion to even conceal the extent of his irresponsibility before the hero, sending Superman into a fury and causing him to wreck the facilities. Out of the blue, Superman was attacked by a costumed adversary going by the name of The Protector, who stated his mission to protect industrial sources of environmental pollution because of his nature as a mutant who could manifest super-powers from chemical contaminants. Then, just as suddenly as the fight began, it ended in stalemate. Superman headed off to remove oil tankers from oceanic shipping lanes out of newfound concern for the integrity of the Earth's ecosystems, only to be faced once again by the Protector. The rematch between the two super-powered combatants was interrupted by the appearance of Supergirl, allowing the Protector once again to escape. However, Supergirl came bearing much more important news, specifically the revelation that Superman's belief in his origins on Krypton was a delusion that he fostered for years and that the both of them were actually mutants born with powers due to germ-line mutation in their biological parents, who were really nuclear physicists who were accidentally exposed to large amounts of radiation. Superman was incredulous at Supergirl's unprecedented claim until he was taken to the Fortress of Solitude and noticed that the bottle-city of Kandor was evidently populated by inanimate plastic figurines instead of people. For a third time, Superman was assaulted by the Protector, who hoped to use the element of surprise to preemptively conquer the Man of Steel, but he made the critical mistake of transforming his molecular structure into nitrous oxide, allowing Superman to incapacitate his mutant antagonist by destabilizing his gaseous form with a burst of heat-vision. Still reeling from Supergirl's revelation, Clark went through the next day trying to adjust to the new information about himself and what it meant for his identity. As the Last Son of Krypton, Clark often felt oppressed by a cosmic sense of isolation, preventing him from enriching his interpersonal relationships by allowing himself to be fully genuine. On the one hand, Clark now felt that weight of being an outsider to the rest of the universe lift off his shoulders, but on the other, he questioned if his whole life and career up to that point had been for nothing if the primary motive driving it had been rooted in a mental delusion. Superman encountered another mutant super-villain named Radion, who was hellbent on overloading the atomic pile of a nuclear reactor and causing the fallout to inflict further random mutation across the nation, out of a misguided belief that he could then direct the evolutionary future of humanity. Superman thwarted Radion's plan by melting the cadmium control-rods in the reactor over the atomic pile, allowing them to more rapidly absorb the pile's neutronic emissions before it could reach critical mass. Then the Man of Tomorrow tracked Radion to his hideout near one of the cataracts of Niagara Falls, where he found the Protector as well and tricked the allied mutant criminals into taking each other out. Supergirl approached Clark later that day to inform him of a warrior-race named the J'ai whose onslaught actively threatened a peaceful world in another galaxy named Xonn, believing that Clark would meet his obligation to all life to use his powers in its defense against initiatory aggression. However, Clark felt that as he was a being of Earth and not a refugee of Krypton, as he had long thought himself to be, that the fate of Xonn should take a backseat in his list of priorities to his private life. Although shocked and disgusted at her cousin's decision, Supergirl decided not to dwell over it and instead to head off accompanied instead by Krypto the Superdog to save the alien planet. However, while enjoying another dinner-date with Lois in his apartment that evening, Clark began to mull over the facts and realized that Supergirl's story of their genesis on Earth as mutants didn't add up, before using his telescopic vision to probe the space surrounding Xonn and seeing that Supergirl and Krypto were trying and miserably failing to repel the J'ai invasion. Motivated into action by his moral duty as much as he would rather take in Lois's company, Clark abruptly shooed Lois out the door of his apartment, souring her mood considerably in the process, and changed to Superman to provide backup for his cousin. Over Xonn, Superman realized that the reason why Supergirl and Krypto had such difficulty fighting the J'ai was because of Xonn's placement in an orange-sun system, halving their powers. In addition, for an unknown reason, the EM frequencies emitted by Xonn's sun stripped Kryptonians of their eyesight in a matter of seconds, causing Superman to literally fly blind against the J'ai and ending in his quick and ignominious defeat by a barrage of laser-blasts. Imprisoned with Supergirl and Krypto on the surface of Xonn, Superman revealed that he uncovered Supergirl's lie, compelling Kara to admit to deceiving him on the recommendation of Kandorian psychiatrists because his environmentalist crusade had elevated to needless property damage and stood the possibility of further running out of control, and because the issue of preserving the Earth's environment is one that behooves humanity to innovate its own solutions, as opposed to being resolved unilaterally by the campaign of a super-being. The Kandorian experts theorized that Superman's passion for saving the Earth came from attachment insecurity due to the destruction of his homeworld Krypton, causing them to suggest that if Superman could be tricked into believing Krypton had never existed that he would moderate his methods accordingly. Understanding, if not exactly approving, of the psychological manipulation and deceit, Superman put his energies into stopping the J'ai, which Superman accomplished even while blind by using a crystalline tower on the surface as a tuning fork to emit a sonic frequency that paralyzed the swarm of J'ai warriors. Later, back on Earth, Superman explained to his cousin that he was so consumed by his campaign to save the Earth not because of any psychological transference of his angst at the loss of Krypton, but because Earth was the home that took him in and made itself his own when he had nowhere else to go, therefore reserving a place in his heart as even more precious in some respects than Krypton.[396][397][398]

Terra-Man faked Superman's death for an ulterior sinister motive.

Terra-Man faked Superman's death for an ulterior sinister motive.

Terra-Man returned to Metropolis with a vengeance, announcing himself by surrounding the city with a force-field and selectively blacking out city lights to make messages visible from a bird's eye view. Next, Terra-Man used his sophisticated alien technology to hijack every broadcasting frequency in Metropolis and "advertise" a televised punch-out with his perennial opponent Superman on WGBS-TV at 9 o'clock that very night. Mysteriously, Terra-Man seized control of the broadcasting frequencies again at 9 o'clock sharp, using a live video feed from hidden cameras in the environment, and exerted some type of hypnotic influence over audiences to make them incapable of turning away from their headsets while his "program"-- The Adventures of Terra-Man-- was running. Sure enough, Superman spotted Terra-Man in time for the first bout in their latest running battle, wherein Terra-Man revealed that he had hidden powerful explosives underneath the foundations of Metropolis to secure Superman's compliance to the farce he was intent on putting up. Superman choreographed Terra-Man's "defeat" to set up the next "episode" in Terra-Man's "show," and an unknown photographer took pictures of Superman letting Terra-Man go after Terra-Man's hidden cameras stopped rolling. This caused a media scandal the following morning, as the populace of the city had no knowledge of Terra-Man's bomb threat. The scandal was soon overshadowed by the next airing of The Adventures of Terra-Man, in which Terra-Man appeared to shoot Superman dead with an atomic bullet to the chest and buried him in a shallow grave on a hill. In reality, Superman was not truly dead, but merely in a state of suspended animated induced by Terra-Man; while the whole world mourned Superman's passing, Terra-Man's extraterrestrial machines were at work altering Superman's appearance into an impeccable facsimile of Terra-Man's own, while Terra-Man holographically disguised himself as a beat-cop. These developments were quickly followed up by the breach of the force-field blocking off Metropolis by the Flash and Green Lantern, who aimed to avenge Superman's murder on Terra-Man themselves, and a UFO piloted by the brother of the alien bandit who raised and was ultimately murdered by Terra-Man. The alien in the UFO also wanted revenge on Terra-Man, albeit of a far more lethal, extralegal sort than the Justice League would approve of. Terra-Man's televised misadventures were a feint to keep Metropolis guessing while he set up Superman to take his place for when his alien "uncle" arrived. Fortunately, Superman reached out to Flash and GL, whom he convinced of his identity in spite of his altered visage, and with their help, empowered Greg Reed once again to impersonate him publicly, as a Man of Steel miraculously returned from the dead. After Greg, covertly assisted by Flash and GL, defused the threat of Terra-Man's alien pursuer in the UFO, the real Superman appeared, still wearing the appearance of Terra-Man, to publicly play the role of his own antagonist and threaten Greg. Of course, this was a trick intended to make the real Terra-Man show himself by playing to his egotistical compulsion to seek genuine recognition for his debauchery, and Terra-Man took Superman's bait exactly as predicted. Afterwards, Terra-Man was forced to restore Superman to his true appearance, and the bomb threat was presumably defused after the fact. With the menace to Metropolis out of the way, Clark spent the Christmas season in a melancholy sort of mood, reminiscing over the many joyful Christmases in his Smallville childhood, which were all in the distant past since his foster parents' tragic passing. However, Clark found some cheer in putting Morgan Edge's Christmas bonus to good use, by purchasing ample presents to donate to the Smallville Orphanage.[399][400][401]

World's Finest: The Superman-Batman Team

Batman and Superman switch identities

Batman and Superman switch identities

Superman first met the Dark Knight avenger called the Batman and his youthful crime-fighting partner Robin, the Boy Wonder, while they were chasing down a gang with access to a Kryptonite-irradiated liquid-spray gun. Batman and Robin pulled a ruse on the gangsters and wrested control of the K-gun, allowing Superman to join them in cleaning the crooks' proverbial clocks.[402] Soon, Superman and Batman learned each other's secret identity in the course of uncovering a criminal conspiracy on a cruise-liner, shortly after their civilian alter egos, Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent and billionaire Gotham City socialite Bruce Wayne, were drawn by circumstance into a personal encounter on the very same ship. Both about-to-be-legendary crimebusters promised to keep each other's identity a secret, and they subsequently started working on several cases together with greater frequency.[403] 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.[404] 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.[405] 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.[406] 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 his system fully metabolized it.[407]

Batman and Superman started a competition to determine in which of their cities a science convention should be held, but the heroes proved to be equal in the final assessment and the science convention took place in both cities.[408] 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.[409] 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.[410] 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.[411]

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.[412] 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.[413] Superman and Batman then had to contend with Clayface, who used his shapeshifting powers to take Superman's form and replicate his powers.[414] 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.[415] 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.[416] Following this, the heroes stopped the double threat of Brainiac and Clayface with help from their sidekicks Robin and Jimmy.[417] Superman, Batman and Robin joined forces once more to stop Bizarro and the newly-spawned Bizarro Batman from turning the world topsy turvy with the Joker.[418] Superman and Batman then went up against their evil doppelgangers Anti-Superman and Anti-Batman, realizing that they were actually Perry White and Commissioner Gordon under the influence of a mind-altering gas.[419] Batman and Superman later pulled a hoax on notorious con-artist Doctor Zodiac to make him believe he could successfully predict luck through astrology and captured him along with several other gangsters once he had been tricked into lowering his guard.[420] Superman and Batman were drawn into the extra-dimensional realm of an otherworldly collector named Jemphis, who tried to have them mesmerized under the pretense of hosting an intergalactic heroes' convention. Batman succumbed though Superman narrowly escaped. Jemphis then turned the sun of his dimension red to neutralize Superman's powers and forced him to contend in a gladiatorial contest against Batman for the "honor" of becoming his personal slave. Batman defeated Superman, in spite of Superman's creative attempt at cobbling together a makeshift utility belt from elements of the alien environment, but Batman broke free from Jemphis's psychic hold when his willpower rejected the villain's kill order. Jemphis then fell into one of his own mesmerizing machines trying to escape and was compelled for the rest of eternity to kneel before his own image in the mirror.[421] Brainiac attempted to impersonate Batman to steal Kandor from the Fortress of Solitude. Failing at that, but escaping Superman's grasp, Brainiac created an android servant to trick Superman, Batman and Robin into placing receivers in the 5 greatest cities on Earth for his shrink-ray to home onto. However, the heroes caught wise to Brainiac's scheme and prevented it from reaching fruition.[422] Superman, Batman and Robin were beset again by the other-dimensional shenanigans of Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite, who led their respective objects of obsession to believe that Supergirl and Batgirl had turned evil and betrayed them, while the real girl superheroes were temporarily trapped in another dimension.[423] Superman and Batman then interfered with the unethical experiment of biochemist Dr. Arron, who retaliated by exposing Superman and Batman to psychoactive chemicals that transformed them, physically and mentally, into duplicates of their feared nemeses: Kralik the Conqueror and Two-Face. Dr. Arron was accidentally exposed to these chemicals himself and broke up the fight between the transformed heroes in the physically and mentally altered form of the Composite Superman.[424] On the day of Superman and Batman's annual contest of crime-fighting ability, the Superman Revenge Squad and its Earth-based spinoff, the Batman Revenge Squad, attempted to rig the trophies being competed for with deadly booby-traps, in order so that either or both of the heroes would consign themselves to a horrible death as a result of victory. Fortunately, Robin and Jimmy Olsen discovered how the trophies had been tampered with and baited the criminals into giving away their location so they could be arrested.[195] Superman faked his own death with a synthetic android to manipulate Lex Luthor into flushing a quartet of notorious gangsters out of hiding. Batman and Robin were in on the hoax and kept Luthor and the gangsters busy until Superman had concluded a mission in the Andromeda galaxy.[19][20] Together, Superman and Batman escaped the labor camp of the bloodthirsty Colonel Koslov of Lubania and thwarted an espionage operation being run in the heart of Washington, D.C..[425][426] Although not without encountering a few hitches along the way, the Last Son of Krypton and the Caped Crusader worked together to dismantle an organized crime syndicate run by "Big Uncle" Lukaz.[22][23] Superman's next team-up with the Batman was to rescue Lois Lane and the archaeologist whose Middle Eastern expedition she was covering from a Bedouin grave-robber who came into possession of a malfunctioning Superman Robot.[427] Some time later, Batman and Superman worked together to stop Doctor Light from killing Superman with a magical staff he created using Zatanna's powers.[428] When the Earth was menaced by a starship manned by the agents of a fascist alien empire, Superman and Batman teamed up to deduce their motive, to abduct and execute a pacifist refugee from their planet who had taken residence in Kandor. Subsequently, Superman briefly impersonated Batman and engaged the alien fascists in one-and-one combat to deceive them into believing that all Earth humans were physically superior and leaving the planet in fear.[429]

Batman and Superman then worked with Metamorpho after he gained their powers and together they overthrew a communist dictator who had been developing super-weapons in contravention of international accords.[430] Superman and Batman worked together to tackle the cases of the desperate telepathic blackmailer Capricorn, the swamp-mutant South American avenger of injustice known as "El Monstro," and a town in Northern Scotland where the children had been possessed by avian animist spirits and attempted to use supernatural powers to execute Bruce Wayne, the last surviving heir to the locale's historic Castle Wayne.[431][432][433][434] Superman and Batman were dispatched by the U.S. military to liberate an enslaved scientist from the South American military dictatorship of Mariposa. Their mission was helped along by Metamorpho, who was visiting in the country at the same time by coincidence to inspect his bitter acquaintance Simon Stagg's industrial interests in the Mariposan mining sector.[435] Superman and Batman then cracked the case of another psychic blackmailer Sagittarius, an alien plague-carrier in disguise on Earth as a human woman, and the arrival of a Kryptonian beast on Earth sent by Jor-El to counteract a mutant swarm of space-borne giant locusts. [436][437][438] Superman and Batman teamed up with Gold of the Metal Men to get the Earth out of the firing line of a warlike extraterrestrial planet's experimental weapons tests.[439] 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.[440] Superman went to Gotham to rescue Jimmy Olsen and helped Batman stop the terrorist group called Battalion of Doom.[441]

Batman and Superman then stopped the threat of the Pi-Meson Man.[442] 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.[443] Batman and Superman then stopped Metallo, who had escaped from Superman Island and started a crime wave using a black hole.[444] When several weapons were stolen from the Fortress of Solitude,[445] Batman and Superman investigated and came in conflict with the intergalactic villain called Weapon-Master.[446] 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.[447]
The World's Finest part ways.

The World's Finest part ways.
After this, the heroes worked together to stop Mister Freeze from altering the weather in both their cities.[448] Batman and Superman then stop the threat of a lethal plague.[449] The heroes then assisted Hawkman to restore peace in Thanagar.[450] Afterwards, Batman and Superman confronted and stopped General Scarr's Army of Crime.[451][452][453]

Batman and Superman were then threatened by a mystical being[454] and Batman was possessed by a dark entity[455] and taken away to Madame Zodiac's lair.[456] 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.[457] Later, they stopped the powerful duo called Null and Void[458][459], the menace of Chronos[460] and finally, they stopped the threat of Nightwolf before they decided to go their separate ways.[461]

Super-Hero Team-Ups

In addition to his history with the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin, Superman has allied with many other superheroes on numerous occasions.

Superman's historic first race with the Flash

Superman's historic first race with the Flash

The Flash

Superman participated in a UN-sponsored race with the Flash to raise money for charitable projects in underdeveloped countries. However, they agreed to cross the finish line at exactly the same instant and end the race in a tie when it became apparent that rival gambling syndicates were trying to fix the outcome in their favor.[462] Such would only be the first of a series of races between the two legendary figures, often accompanied by a raising of the stakes in their contest. The next race between the fastest men alive would be when Reverse-Flash and Abra Kadabra, impersonating the vexatious Venturan gamblers Rokk and Sorban, compelled the two to compete with the threat of destroying their cities Metropolis and Central City. However, the whole race was never intended to truly test the heroes' capabilities, but rather to put the Flash in harm's way by navigating through a cavalcade of interstellar death traps. With the help of their fellow Justice League members, Superman and the Flash returned to Earth and overpowered the villains before they could comprehend what was happening.[463] Superman's next team-up with the Flash was when the two headed out into space to destroy the spore of a parasitic extraterrestrial plant which would drain the Earth of its natural resources and leave it an inhospitable husk, incapable of supporting life, before starting a new reproductive cycle. The plant somehow gave Superman and Flash temporary amnesia to keep them from counteracting it and sent them back to Earth, where each hero was briefly misled in their confused state into thinking himself to be the other hero. After Superman and the Flash cleared up their identity issues and the amnesia spell passed, the two worked together to briefly accelerate the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, just enough so that the plant spore would miss its mark and instead hurtle into the Sun.[464] Again Superman teamed up with the Flash when both heroes found themselves summoned by the Guardians of the Universe to Oa, to neutralize the deleterious influence of a manner of beings called the Anachronids upon spacetime. To do so, both heroes would have to accelerate as fast as possible counter-clockwise around the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, in the opposite direction of the Anachronids' path. Eventually, Superman and Flash determined that the Anachronids were robots constructed by Professor Va-Kox to merge the Phantom Zone into the realm of physical space surrounded by the Anachronids' circular path, annihilating the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies (including Earth and its solar system) and freeing Va-Kox and his cohorts Jax-Ur, General Zod and Kru-El to dominate the rest of the universe. Superman and the Flash were trapped in a realm at the periphery of the Phantom Zone and suffered incapacitating injuries in the process of escaping the Phantom Zoners' captivity. The two heroes clawed their way across the ground with desperation in their hearts to turn off the machine powering the Anachronids before they could accomplish their nefarious purpose. The Flash was the one who reached the machine first and pulled the off switch, however, making him the victor in his most unusual race against the Man of Steel.[465][466]

While under the control of the malignant sorcerer Effron, Superman was forced to combat the Flash and defeated the Scarlet Speedster, before thankfully being returned to his senses by the contrivance of Green Arrow and the Kandorians.[467] On a later occasion, the Weather Wizard caused a string of improbable meteorological catastrophes in Metropolis to lure Superman into concluding his responsibility for the rash of incidents and teaming up with the Flash to interrogate him in prison. This would put Superman in the range of a secret weapon Weather Wizard had been working on previously during his incarceration, a device that would artificially simulate a meteorological event unique to the climate of Krypton which would compel Superman, as a Kryptonian, to murder the Flash. However, Superman and Flash figured the Wizard's game before confronting him and pulled a bait-and-switch to trick the Wizard into showing his hand, whereupon his threat was defused.[468]

Teen Titans

The first time Superman and Robin teamed up without Batman's involvment was when they met up to prevent violent outbursts at Hudson University admist a rash of student protests, and the Teen Wonder was taken along for the ride along with two quarrelsome brothers when a pair of psychic aliens abducted the Man of Tomorrow to use as a perpetual energy-source for their life-extension machine. Robin and the two brothers freed Superman from his captivity so the four of them could return to Earth in one piece, and the brothers learned a lesson about willingly putting aside differences in the service of a greater cause.[469] The Man of Steel next met the other Teen Titans (Speedy, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Mal Duncan and Lilith Clay) when he received a telepathic distress-signal sent to him as Clark Kent by Lilith's subconscious mind. Investigating the town of Fairfield, where Lilith claimed the Titans were "trapped," Superman soon discovered that the Titans and the rest of the town's population were under the mental domination of a supercomputer which had absorbed the reactionary personality and prejudices of long-deceased cavern-explorer Richard Handley. Once Superman smashed the computer, the psychic hold on the Titans and the townspeople was released.[470]

Green Lantern

Long-suppressed tensions between Superman and Green Lantern came to a boil when each hero's attempt to destroy large space debris before it could penetrate Earth's atmosphere inadvertently obstructed the other's. A spontaneous shouting match erupted wherein Superman accused GL of being overly impulsive and hot-headed and GL accused Superman in turn of being an egotist. The Guardians of the Universe intervened with the notion of settling the dispute by setting up a contest between the heroes, with the understanding that the loser would have to cede territorial protection over the Earth to the winner. Their tempers inflamed beyond reason, Superman and Green Lantern consented to the contest, which appeared to be supervised by Doctor Fate of Earth-Two's Justice Society. In actuality, the images of Doctor Fate and the Guardians were mere illusions conjured by the Justice League's old enemy Felix Faust to exploit the heroes' immature anger and use the energies of the Green Lantern Power Ring to complete a dragon-releasing spell. Afterwards, Faust unleashed the dragon upon the Justice League Satellite, creating the circumstance for Superman and GL to bury their trivial grudge and cooperate to destroy the winged serpent. Resolving never to let feelings of petty rivalry get the better of them ever again, Superman and GL concluded the adventure by returning Faust to his prison cell on Earth.[471] While under the control of the malignant sorcerer Effron, Superman was forced to combat Green Lantern and defeated the Emerald Crusader, before thankfully being returned to his senses by the contrivance of Green Arrow and the Kandorians.[472]

Superman's next team-up with Green Lantern was spurred by the anti-Superman campaign of Kydyk and Zoyoz, a pair of shapeshifting intergalactic assassins belonging to an alien race with simple and amorphous body-plans. Kydyk and Zoyoz were contracted by Sinestro to murder the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 for him; the assassins' strategy revolved around a concerted attack upon Superman on Earth to convince the Man of Tomorrow that he was the target instead. Under the guise of attempting to kill Superman with a death-ray, Kydyk and Zoyoz charged Superman's body with an unusual energy-signature that manifested itself as a trail of confetti-like "twinkles" every time Superman opened his mouth to speak. A quick analysis of the twinkles' substance revealed that a discharge from the Green Lantern Power Ring would be sufficient to dispel the condition, but Superman played the cautious route. Having noticed that the twinkles drift off in a predictable direction along the Earth's magnetic field lines upon being expired, Superman traced them to a cave where Kydyk and Zoyoz discussed their true plot: By inviting Green Lantern to negate the twinkles with his power ring, the ring's energies would trigger the energy-charge dormant inside Superman's body and transmute it into a fatal area-effect yellow energy-burst, against which GL would have no protection. Superman went to GL to put on a play for the assassins' benefit, to trick them into believing they had succeeded long enough for GL's "corpse" to be teleported aboard their client's starship. GL overcame Sinestro by capitalizing off the element of surprise, and Superman did the same to trap Zoyoz and Kydyk into inescapable vacuum-tubes.[473]

Wonder Woman

In spite of serving alongside Wonder Woman for years in the Justice League, Superman never got to know her on a level beyond that of a professional acquaintance. The first indication that this was about to change was after Diana had been stripped of her Amazon powers and began a new career at the side of the ancient master I-Ching as a plainclothes vigilante. I-Ching convinced Diana to use a computer-dating service to match her up on a blind date with a member of the opposite sex. By an apparent coincidence, Perry White received permission from Morgan Edge the very same day to assign Clark to use the computer-dating service for a Daily Planet feature on the topic. A supercomputer from a possible future of Earth, where war and pollution had eradicated all human life, manipulated the results so that Clark was improbably paired with Diana and then whisked the two away to its barren future Earth to explain how the cataclysm could be averted. Evidently, the death of an unknown individual at a conflict between student rioters and campus security at a major university would cause a butterfly effect ending in the extinction of humanity. Superman and Diana were dispatched back into the past to stop the violence on both sides, and while none of the protestors were harmed, one of the guards was killed, either by deflected gunfire from his fellow guards or from the explosion of a car's gas tank from a protestor's Molotov cocktail. This leaves the success or failure of Superman and Diana's mission uncertain, and with it the future of the Earth. However, it is presumed that they succeeded due to the perseverance of human life on Earth in future timelines which are dated farther into the future than the predicted apocalypse.[474] Shortly after Diana regained her Amazon powers and the title of Wonder Woman, she teamed up with Superman to hoax the public with a feigned high-profile romance. The true reason for this was because a dangerous mental patient with romantic delusions about Superman had escaped, and Lois Lane would have been the first woman in the psychopath's sights if Wonder Woman hadn't briefly seemed to be the "new woman" in Superman's life. In an ironic twist, Lois and her fellow Daily Planet reporter Melba Manton became pivotal to saving Wonder Woman's life from mortal danger.[475]

Aquaman

The first time Superman and Aquaman met was when the two were fledgling teen heroes Superboy and Aquaboy. As self-appointed defender of the deep, Aquaboy set out to persuade an oil company to recall its shoddily-maintained tankers in order to prevent harm from coming to maritime ecosystems by oil spills. The mercenary captain of the tanker instead attempted to kill Aquaboy by drenching him in crude oil and left him to suffocate out at sea, until the half-Atlantean hero was inadvertently rescued by some coastal fishermen and cleaned off by Superboy with a detergent bath. Superboy and Aquaboy petitioned the executive of the oil company personally, only to be brushed off. Superboy and Aquaboy retaliated by forcing the leaky oil tankers to return to shipyards to undergo necessary repairs, inviting subsequent reprisal from the mercenary agents of the unethical corporate executives, who baited Aquaboy into a trap and held him hostage to coerce Superboy into ceasing his interference with their operations. Superboy saved Aquaboy anyway and forced the criminals to face the music regardless, ending the first team-up of the two great heroes on a positive note.[476] Superman and Aquaman would encounter each other on occasion in the years to come.[477] The frequency of interaction would only increase upon the formation of the Justice League.

Superman was allied with Aquaman again by a twist of fate when Clark was waylaid in the streets of Metropolis by a cetacoid (dolphin-like) creature and warned of a plot against the human race. Clark's subsequent investigation as Superman brought him to an abandoned oceanography outpost where Aquaman had been overcome by the concerted sonic attack of a horde of cetacoids. Superman and Aquaman then encountered the good cetacoid from Metropolis, who explained that he was a mutant dolphin with humanoid body plan, intelligence and vocal communicative ability who was adopted by the oceanographers and harbored mixed love-hate feelings for humans due to their uplift of him but inability to truly accept him as he was. One day, the cetacoid spontaneously duplicated itself, an uncontrollable process that give rise to new cetacoids who only loathed humanity. Superman, Aquaman and the good cetacoid traveled to the polar ice caps to stop the evil cetacoids from melting them and flooding the Earth, which would create an environment hospitable for them but decimate the human population. After lecturing them on their grave error, Superman escorted the cetacoid beings to a habitable, but uninhabited, aquatic planet for them to make their new home.[478]

Hawkman

Superman's first adventure with Hawkman outside of the Justice League was a series of events engineered by a demonic entity known as the Tempter. The Tempter agitated the subconscious insecurities of the heroes and those closest to them. Specifically, the Tempter inflamed Hawkman's indignation that Superman was being summoned instead of him to attend a ceremony for the dedication of a new park in Midway City and Superman's resentment of the human race's apparent collective ingratitude for his many years in the service of the planet, in order to set them on a collision course. The end goal was for Superman and Hawkman to grow so petty and misanthropic that they would lose sight of justice and destroy Midway City through the selfishness of their actions. Fortunately, the strength of the heroes' willpower won the day, with some encouragement from their lady-loves Lois Lane and Hawkgirl and Superman and Hawkman arrived at a peaceful resolution to their personal issues.[479]

Green Arrow

While covering the running-up to the next round of municipal elections in Star City for WGBS-TV, Clark Kent came across Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, who had recently expressed his intention to run for mayor to the public against the advice of his JLA comrades, Clark included. Clark and Oliver were whisked against their will to an alternate universe or dimension, possibly a variant of Earth in some long-forgotten, distant past, where magic permeated the very elements and the tyrannical sorcerer Effron made brainwashed puppets of his people. Superman was set upon by demons representing disease, poverty and ignorance, while GA was forced by the sorcerer to participate in a meaningless contest for the crown of his kingdom, even though the reigning monarch would always be reduced to a mindless meatpuppet by the sorcerer's magicks anyway. Superman and GA restored individuality to the enslaved common people and set them against their wicked overlord, taking advantage of the ambient magic in the environment that they could both manipulate to work in their favor, and subsequently returned to the Earth they called their own.[480] Later, Superman and Green Arrow were maneuvered into teaming up again by that same sorcerer as part of a plot to reclaim his magic powers and reduce Superman to a slave. As leverage to hold over the heroes and make them cooperate, Effron held hostage the centuries-preserved viking village of Valhalla, Maine, home of Superman's friend Valdemar of the Flame. While Superman fought Green Lantern and The Flash for Effron's amusement, Green Arrow contacted the people of Kandor in the Fortress of Solitude to deceive Effron into revealing the distant future-era where Effron was holding Valhalla.[481]

Oliver Queen visited Metropolis as the promotional agent for film director Morty Rivers, who took inspiration from watching TV 24/7 to create a model for a movie monster from recycled electronic junk sitting around in his studio. To rustle up publicity, Ollie called in a favor with Clark Kent to cover Rivers's new movie and interview him on the air, while the Atom was busy collaborating with Kandorian scientists to contribute his know-how to a method of re-enlarging their bottle-city. However, a freak mishap in Kandor while eavesdropping on Clark and Ollie with their view-screen caused Rivers's inanimate "Junkman" model to come to life and begin an inexorable trek to the Fortress of Solitude, and ultimately Kandor itself. Superman and Green Arrow battled the so-called "recycled superstar" on the way to the North Pole, but it was Green Arrow's quick thinking to beam the Junkman into Kandor's size-reducing microwave-tunnel that saved the city and rendered the Junkman harmless and inanimate.[482]

Other Heroes

Shortly after all Kryptonite on Earth was transformed into iron[483], Superman decided to consult a friendly sorcerer about the prospects of nullifying his weakness to magical forces. Superman met with Zatanna following his near-demise at the hands of Doctor Light by a magic scepter[484], only to be informed that neither Zatanna nor her father Zatara possessed the intimate knowledge of the mystic arts to help with the matter. Refusing to allow himself to be discouraged, Superman traveled to Earth-Two to speak to Doctor Fate about the same, only to be interrupted by the urgent threat of a trio of psychokinetic alien visitors who sought to fuse the tectonic plates of the Earth under the belief that it would release enough energy to enable them to ascend to a higher form of existence. Superman defeated the aliens and set the tectonic plates right again due to the empowerment of a mystic aura provided by Dr. Fate, giving Superman the inspiration that his vulnerability to magic could be a boon just as much as a hindrance and that the world would be better off with a Superman who possessed at least one weakness to keep him humble about his place in respect to the greater cosmic powers.[485] Superman teamed up with the Atom to save a subatomic universe inside the current passing through a telephone line from total annihilation.[486] In Montana, Clark Kent covered a rodeo event for WGBS-TV, when a man unleashed a stampede of broncos to destroy Clark's camera set-up so he couldn't be recognized on film. Changing to Superman, Clark teamed up with the Vigilante to track the culprit down, discovering along the way that he was a werewolf.[487] While on a date with Congresswoman Barbara Gordon at Batman's insistence, Clark Kent was kidnapped by the international crime syndicate MAZE for his ostensible knowledge about top government secrets. Barbara came to Clark's rescue as Batgirl, never once realizing that the reporter was actually Superman and perfectly capable of handling himself, having only gone along with the kidnapping to learn more about MAZE's operation by pretending to be their prisoner.[488] Superman and Batgirl teamed up a few months later to thwart a gang of energy-thieves in the pay of bankrupted oil magnate J. Saul Kerry.[489]

The Justice League of America

 

The Early Years

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.[490] 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.[491][492][493] 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.[494] 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 and the JLA were unable to return to the present. 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.[495][496] Superman was again essential to saving the JLA, this time from the clutches of Doctor 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.[497] 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.[498][499] 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.[500] 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.[501] 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. After Superman's comrades outwitted their own counterparts, the victorious Justice Leaguers elected to imprison the Crime Syndicate in the void between dimensions.[502][503]

Superman defends Hawkman from Brain Storm

Superman defends Hawkman from Brain Storm

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.[504] Superman's Kryptonite vulnerability was switched out for the Martian Manhunter's fire vulnerability and Green Lantern's vulnerability to the color yellow as an effect of the Materioptikon, weapon of the nefarious Doctor Destiny. When other JLAers reported experiencing similar inexplicable effects which were foretold in dreams they had the night before, Superman and the League traced the source of the effect to Destiny in his cell and employed a psychiatrist to destroy Destiny's dreaming ability. This manner of punishment would eventually drive the villain beyond the veil of sanity, making him more dangerous than before.[505] Brain Storm returned and struck Superman blind with his Stellar Helmet to facilitate his still-living brother's escape from prison, inflicting other artificial disabilities upon Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman and Green Arrow. Though the JLAers surmounted their imposed limitations to overcome Brain Storm's barrage of attacks, the criminal then put the heroes under his mental domination and turned them into obedient duplicates of himself. Brain Storm and the affected heroes, including Superman, then pitted their combined might against Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and the Atom. Thankfully, the remaining Justice Leaguers picked the real Brain Storm apart from his duplicates by testing their transformed teammates' superhuman weaknesses and knocked the villain out to undo his extraordinary reality-manipulations. Meanwhile, a group of handicapped children watched the whole altercation on a view screen created by Green Lantern and were inspired by the heroes' feats to surpass the limitations of their conditions and take control over their lives as adults.[506] The Key made his debut by brainwashing Snapper Carr with psychoactive chemicals and using Snapper to slip the chemical to Superman and the rest of the Justice League. Using a master computer controlled by a particular sequence of keys and slots to activate the chemical trigger, the Key made the afflicted JLA disband, turn the Secret Sanctuary over to him, and then forget about the event. He also made the JLAers unable to perceive his costumed henchmen while they committed crimes and induced them to slip the chemical cocktail to their allies. Hawkgirl managed to avoid ingesting it and alerted Hawkman to the subterfuge, allowing Hawkman to warn the rest of the Justice League and formulate a strategy to retake their base from the Key.[507] Superman was attacked while assessing the worthiness of Metamorpho to join the Justice League, along with Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom and Metamorpho himself, by an extradimensional being called the Unimaginable, and conquered the menace through ingenuity and teamwork. Afterwards, Metamorpho was inaugurated as a reserve member of the JLA, although he unequivocally rejected a full membership on the team.[508] Superman fought Amos Fortune and his Royal Flush Gang and was temporarily deprived of his powers by one of their luck-manipulating playing cards, until Snapper Carr was sent in as the Justice League's "trump card" to beat the Royal Flush.[509] Superman was the only JLAer from the League's encounter with the Unimaginable not to contract an alien pathogen causing gigantism, on account of his invulnerability. Very soon, Superman and the affected Leaguers discovered that the Unimaginable had returned for vengeance and stopped it from activating a device that would have doomed the Earth.[510] Superman and the Flash then had to contend with a magical duplicate of Felix Faust whose existence threatened the destruction of the universe.[511]

The most powerful Justice Leaguer of all!

The most powerful Justice Leaguer of all!

The Queen Bee briefly transformed Superman into one of her Bee Drones and paired him with the Flash to recover an item that would undo the paralytic side-effect of an immortality serum that she consumed. After the heroes did her bidding, Zazzala gloated about keeping the JLA enslaved permanently when the Atom exploited a loophole in her powers to leave her stiff and immobile.[512] Doctor Destiny impersonated Lex Luthor as part of a convoluted revenge plot and used his Materioptikon to project Luthor's image onto Superman's body, making sure he got the fast-track to the nearest jail cell. The other Justice Leaguers were subject to similar treatment, but with Destiny impersonating their individual arch-rivals each time. When the nature of the scheme was revealed, Doctor Destiny summoned a small army of hypnotized villains (including Luthor) to attack the JLA, but all were defeated and Destiny's pawns retained only the faintest memories of the event.[513] The Key struck back, using a "Trojan horse" mechanism in a key-weapon that the JLA kept as a trophy. The Key used cosmic radiation absorbed by the key-weapon to place a mental command in the minds of the Justice League, to spend an hour thinking up foolproof ways to kill each other and execute these lethal operations at the hour's end. Superman was instrumental in circumventing the Key's hypnotic-spell, as he traveled 3 years into the past and switched places with the past version of himself. While the present-day Superman asked the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman of the past to keep him immobile in their own time period, the version of Superman from 3 years ago knocked out the present-day JLAers to prevent them from murdering each other and foiled the Key's attempt to take the United Nations building by storm. The Superman of the past then compelled the Key to release his hold over the Justice League in return for saving his life from a defective weapon, and the Supermen of the past and the present resumed their natural places in the timeline upon the crisis's passing.[514] After defeating the Justice Society on Earth-Two with the unwitting help of his android creation Red Tornado, the mad scientist T.O. Morrow invaded the Secret Sanctuary on Earth-One and attacked the Justice League by using the items in the team's trophy room against them. Superman was bested by a reanimation of the Appellaxian Crystal Creature and the Green Bell of Uthool and trapped in a death-like coma with his fellow Leaguers. Thanks to the intervention of the remorseful Red Tornado, Superman and the JLA were revived and brought Morrow to justice. Afterwards, the JSA were also revived.[515] When the League was attacked by the morale-affecting machine of Generalissimo Demmy Gog and the protist monster from the past Neverwas, Superman played an essential role in putting a stop to both threats.[516][517] When Green Arrow was framed for the (faked) murder of the Tattooed Man, Superman was issued a court order to leave Earth as a preventative measure against possible obstruction of justice. "Cabeza Maestro," the man who made the formal complaint which led to the court order, was the mastermind of the frame-up and knew that Superman posed the greatest risk to his plans. When Green Arrow, Batman, the Flash and the Atom exposed his plot and cleared GA's name, the court order was rescinded, allowing Superman to hunt out and apprehend the Tattooed Man.[518] On Batman's recommendation, Superman led a team of 3 other JLAers to seek out the Creeper and determine what side of the law he stood on. After some complications involving a gang's attempt to raid a nuclear power plant and a band of visiting aliens who were deceived by jealous upstart superhero Mind-Grabber Kid into believing that the Justice League was evil, Superman decided in favor of the Creeper and turned a blind eye to his escape from the authorities.[519]

The following months constituted one of the most turbulent periods in the Justice League's history. Wonder Woman lost her Amazon powers and resigned from the group while she trained to develop her talents anew with I-Ching.[520][521] The Martian Manhunter turned up after a months-long unexplained absence to recruit his JLA comrades in the effort to overthrow the genocidal Pole Dweller commander Blanx. Superman and Green Lantern tried to prevent Mars from being consumed by an unquenchable blue flame while J'onn battled Blanx to the death. By the end of it, Blanx was dead, but all but a few Martians who fled the planet before it was too late had perished, leaving J'onn a man without a home. In the aftermath, J'onn resigned from the Justice League to search the universe for the Martian survivors on other worlds and bring them home.[522] Although old members departed, their vacancies were more than compensated for by the injection of new blood into the team. Red Tornado arrived on Earth-One to warn the JLA about the menace of the sentient star Aquarius, who had destroyed all of Earth-Two, except for a small contingent of JSA members who held out thanks to the magic of Doctor Fate. Piercing the dimensional veil, the JLA were forced to fight the remnants of the JSA, who had been placed under Aquarius's mental domination as such, with the Superman of Earth-One fighting his Earth-Two counterpart until both collapsed from exhaustion.
Superman vs. Superman

Superman vs. Superman
Once the JSA were broken out of their trance, both teams of heroes focused their energies on Aquarius, who was finally destroyed by a trick perpetrated by the two Green Lanterns. A casualty of this incident was Larry Lance, the wife of the Black Canary. Although Earth-Two sprang back to life from the smolders of Aquarius's downfall, Black Canary's grief became so great that she could not continue living on Earth-Two. Superman decided to accept her request to join the JLA on Earth-One.[523][524] Superman moved to waive all requirements and call a vote for Black Canary to join the League immediately. While the other members were in the middle of debate, Canary suddenly manifested a new power that she never had before, the sonic scream known as her Canary's Cry. Green Arrow was then affected by the interaction of a psychiatrist's psyche-analyzing machine with residual magic from the battle against Aquarius, manifesting his id in the form of an evil duplicate. This effect spread to the other JLAers, except for Superman, who was not sufficiently altered by Aquarius's magic. However, Superman faked the appearance of his own evil duplicate with a Superman Robot and made a show of defeating it, intended to motivate the other JLAers to go after their darker halves. The ruse succeeded, and the id manifestations faded from existence.[525] Doctor Light retaliated against the Justice League for his prior defeats by holographically disguising himself as an ice-monster and drawing a team of JLAers consisting of Superman, Batman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and the Atom to the Arctic Circle to stop him. In feigned defeat, Light counted on Superman's solution to store "the ice-creature" in his Fortress of Solitude's intergalactic zoo, inadvertently smuggling him into the Fortress. Then, Doctor Light obtained access to Amnesium samples stored in the Fortress and filtered a light through the Amnesium "prism" to scramble the secret identities of the Justice Leaguers, with the exception of Aquaman, whom Light wrongly assumed had no civilian ID, and Superman, whose invulnerability protected him from the Amnesium's effect. Light then allowed the confused JLAers to head into light-based traps, which Light set up impromptu using hard-light duplicates of himself and the knowledge of the affected Justice Leaguers' private lives gleaned from the Amnesium, which also held the property of "storing" those memories which it takes from others. Superman and Aquaman helped their comrades out of Doctor Light's traps and restored their understanding of their true secret identities, being tipped off by the Fortress supercomputer to the details of Light's plot, and regrouped to combat their nemesis and nullify his numerous technological gimmicks. After the battle, Green Arrow suggested to the rest of the team that if all members were made privy to each other's secret identities that Doctor Light's scheme would never have worked to begin with. With a unanimous consensus in favor of GA's idea, the Justice Leaguers exchanged the information of their alter egos and made a practice of doing as much in the future with respect to all new members.[526] This early era of the Justice League's history was brought to an abrupt close when popular cult leader "John Dough" convinced Snapper Carr to betray the League and the location of its Secret Sanctuary to him, with the argument that superheroes made a mockery of the average working man with their larger-than-life personae. The plot to discredit the JLA was unraveled by the Batman and "John Dough" himself was unmasked as an alter ego for the Joker. However, Snapper had fallen into disgrace and was no longer worthy to act in his capacity as the team's mascot, the Secret Sanctuary's location was compromised, and the League still had to account with the press and the public for the chaos that had transpired.[527]

The Satellite Years

Superman and the Justice League board the Satellite for the first time

Superman and the Justice League board the Satellite for the first time

A few weeks after the Secret Sanctuary's location was compromised, the Justice League set up a higher-tech and higher-security headquarters in geosynchronous orbit: The all-new Justice League Satellite. This base of operations would serve the Justice League well for many years to come, defining its own historical era in the League's history. The satellite itself was accessible by a relativity-beam system utilizing Thanagarian technology installed by Hawkman. Superman, Green Lantern, and Hawkman started the project of constructing a new HQ for the JLA by pooling their resources into building a massive supercomputer, partly based on the Fortress of Solitude's Kryptonian supercomputer and partly on the A.I. of Hawkman's Thanagarian spacer. The rest of the satellite then had to be literally put together around the resulting computer-core. A tabloid newspaper which had chased after the League in the past to boost its circulation donated the space on its office building's rooftop to the JLA to use as the site for the Earth-side end of the relativity-beam system, which required a computer interface to confirm each Justice Leaguer's identity with a retinal scan and electroencephalogram prior to activating. Superman began his service as de facto chairman of the Justice League during this period, being the member to most frequently give orders and coordinate missions.[528][529] The first case that the League was called in to handle subsequent to the adoption of the satellite base was the attempt by the Doomster aliens to make the Earth uninhabitable by humans and colonize the planet themselves using toxic environmental pollutants, a scheme which was brought to the League's attention by the retired Vigilante, Greg Sanders, who had been working a job as a security guard at a factory being used as a front for the invasion plot. Superman and Green Lantern investigated a planet in the Sirius System indicated by star charts stolen from the factory by Sanders, only to discover that it had been rendered lifeless by total ecological collapse and that it was this planet from which the Doomsters originated, having deliberately mutated themselves into creatures only capable of living under such foul conditions. By the time Superman and GL returned to Earth, the other JLAers were already waging the final battle against the Doomsters, who met ultimate defeat due to their inability to breathe uncontaminated air.[530][531] The Justice League's next adventure was caused by an unexpected mishap, as Hawkman and the Flash beamed themselves up to the Satellite at the same time that the Earth-side terminal was occupied by an alien called a Dharlu, which had hatched from a moon-rock brought for analysis at a S.T.A.R. Labs facility a couple of floors down. As a result, the Flash, Hawkman, and the Dharlu were incorrectly reassembled at the molecular level by the teleporter into bizarre, hostile composite-creatures, who sought to affix a rocket-propulsion drive to the Satellite, tamper with the Satellite's life-support systems, and blast the Satellite out of the solar system, to complete the Dharlu's reproductive cycle. Superman and the other on-hand members of the League reacted to the situation by forcing the composite-creatures through the relativity-beam system again, separating Flash and Hawkman from the Dharlu and destroying the Dharlu's body. However, the Dharlu's consciousness hopped into the Satellite's governing supercomputer to complete its biological imperative, forcing Superman to short the supercomputer out and rebuild it with safeguards in place to keep the Dharlu at bay in perpetuity. Once the Dharlu's threat was neutralized, it turned out that merging the supercomputer with an alien intelligence had the unforeseen yet auspicious result of working out some bugs in the computer's operating system.[532]

When Hawkgirl's comatose body was discovered floating in outer space and taken into the satellite to be stabilized, worries erupted, firstly over Hawkgirl's total lack of cognition and secondly over the fact that Hawkman and she were supposed to accompany the Atom's mentally disturbed wife Jean Loring to Thanagar for special psychiatric care. Superman headed off into the space-warp that the Hawks likely used to travel to the Polaris System where Thanagar is located and found their wrecked space-craft. Superman pulled the ship out of the super-powerful gravitational field of a neutron star, exhausting the limits of his super-strength in the process, and then was knocked unconscious by Green Lantern Tomar-Re on suspicion of being the vessel's attacker. The Guardians of the Universe dispatched Hal Jordan to clear the matter up with Tomar-Re and analyze the ship A.I.'s records to learn what happened. After discovering that a Thanagarian religious fanatic had removed the souls of Jean Loring and the Hawks from their bodies using a magic crystal, to preserve them against what he believed to be the imminent end of creation, Superman and Green Lantern searched the Polaris system for the maniac before returning to the JL Satellite, whereupon they discovered that the Atom and Black Canary captured the extraterrestrial doomsayer on their own. After returning the stolen souls of the Hawks, Jean, Batman, Green Arrow and an affected Boy Scout troop to their proper bodies, Superman shattered the crystal to ensure it could never be used for ill again.[533] However, the danger that the Thanagarian fanatic warned off was very real and affected Hawkman and the Atom just as soon as they entered Thanagarian space to help Jean, causing the two established friends to attack each other for no reason. This was the doing of the Jest-Master, an alien whose goal was to psychically broadcast madness throughout the universe to test the resilience of various races against civilizational collapse. The Guardians of the Universe, noticing this, sent for Green Lantern Hal Jordan. However, as Hal had just taken leave from the JLA to explore America with Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow[534], he relayed the Guardians' distress call to the active-duty Justice Leaguers instead. Leading the team out into Thanagarian space to root out the Jest-Master, Superman noticed that the insanity wave had the opposite effect on the already-mad Jean Loring and convinced the Atom to bring Jean with them to invade the Jest-Master's base at the epicenter of the phenomenon. With her sanity and focus restored by the effect, Jean guided the Justice League into the Jest-Master's base, so that the heroes could make short work of the villain. Afterwards, even though the effect ceased, Jean got to retain her sanity and was brought back to Earth to resume her life.[535] Superman and his Earth-Two counterpart were both nearly killed when Creator² tried to bring the two Earths into the same dimensional space and mutually destroy them, but the magic of Doctor Fate, Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt and the Spectre prevented collision.[536][537] Superman then led the League in a charge against The 100 to rescue a research scientist from being sold into slavery in Eastern Europe and stopped an insane scientist from spreading a global hate plague.[538] Superman played a pivotal role in stopping glorified con artist Theo "The Zapper" Zappa's attempt to utilize the magic of a dying alien civilization to steal all the plankton from Earth's oceans and threaten ecological collapse on the two worlds to force them to submit to his rule. Although Superman and Aquaman lost Zappa's trail on Earth, they later discovered the message left behind by Batman and the Atom clueing them in on how to travel to the alien planet. After overcoming Zappa and undoing his damage, Superman spoke to the alien populace about the individual responsibility that each of them shares for preserving the integrity of the environment, commanding the respect from them that only a figure of his universally legendary stature could inspire.[539] Superman later helped Green Lantern and the Atom reprogram a hostile mining-robot sent from an alien world which had long since met its fate in a nuclear apocalypse.[540] When the pale undersea dwellers of the city of Sareme made war on Atlantis with nerve gas from an offshore army dump site, Superman, Hawkman, Green Lantern and the Atom intervened in Atlantis's favor and repelled the Sareme onslaught. However, Aquaman blamed "surface-dwellers" for inadvertently providing the nerve gas that the invaders used to take 43 Atlantean lives and temporarily cut off contact with the rest of the Justice League in grief and disgust.[541]

Superman is almost killed by Solomon Grundy during one of the JLA/JSA annual team-ups.

Superman is almost killed by Solomon Grundy during one of the JLA/JSA annual team-ups.
Superman was alarmed when Batman brought the mauled and barely-breathing body of the Flash to the Justice League Satellite, and became concerned even more so when Flash briefly regained consciousness under the Thanagarian healing device aboard the satellite to sputter a few words about an alien menace in New Carthage. Superman headed there to investigate accompanied by Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom, picking Robin up from the investigation of an unrelated case along the way. While trailing the alien monster cutting a swath through the area, GL's power-ring gave indication that the threat somehow impacted both Earth-One and Earth-Two simultaneously. Upon contacting the Justice Society, it was decided that Earth-Two's Superman, Atom and Flash would help the JLA subdue the beast on Earth-One while Earth-One's Hawkman, Robin and Green Lantern would head for Earth-Two to combat another alien being rampaging on the JSA's world. After cornering and trapping the dog-like alien creature on Earth-One, Earth-One's Superman and Earth-Two's Flash shifted their vibrational frequency into the Earth-Two continuum to assist their comrades in stopping Earth-Two's menace, an out-of-control extraterrestrial child. After a grueling encounter with Solomon Grundy, in which the zombie's supernatural nature enabled it to overpower Superman effortlessly, the alien child was tracked down, and it was determined through the intuitive empathy of both Earth-One's and Earth-Two's Robins that the child was rampaging to be reunited with the beast on Earth-One, which was actually both his pet as well as a mutualistic symbiote that members of his species could not survive apart from for extended periods. The situation was resolved by bringing the child and beast together, and both were finally retrieved by the interdimensional vessel of the child's elder siblings, who were indulging in their race's equivalent of the juvenile Earth activity of joyriding when they irresponsibly lost the child and his pet on separate parallel Earths to begin with.[542][543] Before targeting Batman per his orders from Sensei as a member of the League of Assassins, Merlyn the Archer attacked Clark Kent's WGBS newsvan to draw Superman out into a confrontation. Merlyn got more than he bargained for when both Superman and the Atom retaliated, but thanks to the high-tech gimmicks of his trick arrows, Merlyn managed to incapacitate the two heroes long enough to proceed with his real assignment. By the time Superman and Atom escaped from their predicament and headed to Batman's location, Merlyn was already long-gone. Around this time, the Justice League Satellite's teleport system was given an overhaul, to accommodate the mass-transport of several JLAers at once. While heading up to the Satellite under his own power, Superman learned from Black Canary on monitor duty that Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman were nowhere to be found on Earth and that their molecules may have been irretrievably dispersed by the teleporter if there was anything wrong with it.[544] Batman hypothesized that the Leaguers were tranported to the planet Rann due to interference with the Thanagarian relativity-beam system by a Zeta-Beam, a theory that was near-instantaneously confirmed by an SOS call projected into the Satellite's monitor room from Rann by Green Lantern. While Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary and the Atom stayed on Earth to suppress a riot stirred by the hypnotic voice of Johnny Dune, Superman flew off into deep space to investigate the circumstances of the Flash, GL and Hawkman on Rann.[545]
When Superman, Flash, and Hawkman face Starbreaker -- They face the power of a sun!

When Superman, Flash, and Hawkman face Starbreaker -- They face the power of a sun!
On Rann, Superman learned from the three stranded heroes that their arrival coincided with the coming of a cosmic energy-vampire named Starbreaker, whose practice was to send planets hurtling into their own suns to empower himself with the energy release, as well as by the absorption of the planetary natives' negative emotions in the face of certain doom. Superman and the other three shut down Starbreaker's operations on Rann, causing the menace to target the Earth in an act of vengeance. Superman, Flash and Green Lantern responded when Starbreaker appeared in Central City and began his spree of destruction, but were effortlessly defeated. The Justice League then rendezvoused in their satellite, where they were contacted by the Earth-Two magical hero Sargon the Sorcerer and directed to collect Earth-One's twin counterparts to Sargon's Ruby of Life to stop Starbreaker. Upon the task's completion, Sargon used the power of the gems to cast an aura around the Justice League that would increase their power and resolve against Starbreaker's psychic vampirism. When the JLA confronted Starbreaker again as a team, the villain unleashed his desperation tactic of separating them and casting them across the veil of time to past and future eras, where Starbreaker attempted one last time to break their spirits and pick them off. However, the League triumphed against the obstacles facing them, and the three magic gems were used to bind Starbreaker and drain him of the energy-reserves he drew upon. The Justice League's most fearsome foe was defeated at last.[546][547][548]

On the 100th anniversary meeting of the JLA, invitations were extended to all active and inactive members, in addition to old allies of the League from past adventures, to celebrate the occasion. However, the assembled heroes were whisked into the parallel world of Earth-Two. Upon rematerializing in the JSA headquarters, the Earth-One heroes were informed that their arrival was contrived by Doctor Fate to help the JSA stop a nebuloid hand construct from clasping the Earth and ending all human life on the planet. The combined magical energies of Fate, Zatanna, and Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt summoned the cosmic seer Oracle, who revealed that the current dilemma was connected to the defeat of an entity called the Nebula Man years ago by the Seven Soldiers of Victory. However, one of the Soldiers laid down his life to secure the victory, and the rest were scattered across time and disappeared from all memory. To save the Earth from the threat now facing it, the JLA, JSA, and other heroes formed teams and scoured the timestream with Oracle's assistance, searching for the surviving Soldiers of Victory. Superman was teamed with Metamorpho and The Sandman to retrieve Shining Knight from 13th-century China, where Genghis Khan had put Justin under an enchantment and turned him against the holdouts of the Southern Song Dynasty. The three heroes routed the Mongol hordes and restored Shining Knight to his senses, upon which Oracle whisked them back to the present era. With the Soldiers of Victory assembled, the heroes defeated the mastermind of the doomsday plot, and of the Nebula Man before it: The Iron Hand, the Seven Soldiers' first and greatest enemy. Then Superman followed the Star-Spangled Kid's instructions in building a cosmically charged rod to dispel the nebuloid hand construct; however, it was the Red Tornado, having long angsted over his status as a non-human android construct and his corresponding treatment as such from the JSA, who saved the day, delivering the rod into outer space to react against the hand. The resulting explosion seemingly blew the Tornado to atoms, the same fate met by Wing, the "unknown Soldier of Victory" who sacrificed himself to destroy the Nebula Man all those years ago.[549][550][551] Superman was among a team of Justice Leaguers sent to a small Vermont town on Halloween by the Phantom Stranger in order to stop Felix Faust from summoning demons into the mortal plane.[552]

Superman vs. the Shaggy Man

Superman vs. the Shaggy Man

Hector Hammond reactivated the Shaggy Man and teleported it up to the Justice League Satellite using his mind-over-matter powers to get revenge on his archenemy Green Lantern, although GL was the only JLAer to be not in attendance at the time. Shaggy, under Hammond's guidance, shambled from one area of the Satellite to another, sequentially taking out each member of the Justice League until only Superman was left. Shaggy's rampage through the Satellite blew out its life-support systems and had begun to cause it to descend upon the Earth, while Superman and the Shaggy Man fought in pitched battle on the edge of space. Thanks to GL's timely arrival, the JL Satellite was restored to proper working order and returned to its geosynchronous orbit, while Superman and Shaggy battled each other to a draw in the streets of Metropolis. Fortunately, GL and the rest of the JLA showed up in the nick of time to provide reinforcements, and GL finally neutralized Shaggy by reducing him in size and strength to fit in a medicine bottle.[553] Superman was then present for the inauguration of the Elongated Man into the League and joined in E-Man's first mission with the team, tracking bizarre putty-like creatures which were causing a disturbance to a hive-like manufactory left behind by the Justice League's old enemy The Queen Bee. However, it was not the Justice League who destroyed the hive-machine, but the unexpected appearance of the Red Tornado.[554] After the Tornado explained that the explosion of the nebuloid-rod at the end of the last JLA/JSA team-up did not destroy him, but merely shunted him to Earth-One, Superman nominated him for membership in the League, which was unanimously approved by the other Leaguers. However, it turned out that the Queen Bee's hive-machine had been reactivated by T.O. Morrow to give Red Tornado an opportunity to quash the threat and thereby prove himself to the JLA. Morrow had tampered with Red Tornado's circuits upon his materialization in Earth-One so that he would emit a sonic frequency, which would interfere with the Justice League Signal Device's frequency to have a lethal effect upon all in the vicinity. Morrow's endgame was to create a circumstance for Tornado to summon the League with the signal device and in so doing seal their fate, and his motive was a prediction by his infallible supercomputer that either he or the Justice League would have to die in 28 days, filling Morrow with the resolve to ensure that it was the heroes who perished. Instead, the League turned the tables on Morrow with Red Tornado's help, but it turned out that the supercomputer's prediction was accurate, as Morrow spontaneously disappeared into thin air upon capture, seemingly against his will.[555] After taking part in a JLA mission to stop Eclipso from destroying the Earth, Hawkman announced that his tenure with the League was at an end and that his sanctioned tour of duty among the humans was terminated by the Thanagarian police force. Although not present for the fight against Eclipso, Superman met with Hawkman back at the Justice League Satellite to wish him a warm farewell. The only Leaguer not to see the Winged Warrior off was Green Arrow.[556] On Christmas Eve, Superman and Batman witnessed as an explosive booby-trap took the life of a Santa Claus impersonator they were accompanying for a charity function at an orphanage. A clue attached to a key left at the scene of the murder put Superman and the on-duty members of the JLA (including John Stewart, substituting for the indisposed Hal Jordan) on the trail of a time-bomb set to go off and wipe out an entire city block in St. Louis, Missouri, at the stroke of midnight. The Justice Leaguers were picked off one-by-one as they navigated past lethal obstacles to confront their enigmatic challenger, until none appeared to be left standing. Fortunately, the Justice League were all extricated from their situations at the last possible moment by the supernatural intervention of the Phantom Stranger, and the sadistic mastermind, revealed to be none other than The Key, made a desperate getaway, hastening the countdown of his concealed explosive as he departed. The Justice Leaguers evacuated the area of all civilians, and John Stewart proved his valor as a Green Lantern to his teammates by shielding the adjacent buildings and streets from the detonation with a force-bubble and using the power ring to reconstruct the ruined tenements in the area to the same standard as when they were first erected, not only saving the day but leaving the lower-income inhabitants of the neighborhood better off than they were before as well.[557]

Libra punches out Superman with half of the Man of Steel's own strength.

Libra punches out Superman with half of the Man of Steel's own strength.

The Justice League were next challenged by the Injustice Gang of the World, who spread out and attacked London, Singapore, and Hollywood to split the JLA up and draw them into separate confrontations. Superman tackled the Scarecrow, who was using a device built in collaboration with Mirror Master to cast hard-light constructs based on crowd-panic-inducing sights. Although Superman bested his opponent, it was not before Scarecrow could activate a second device given to all Injustice Gang members as a contingency plan by their leader, Libra. This device, known as a Transmortifier, transferred half of Superman's power into Libra's body, just as similar events transpired between the other Justice League and Injustice Gang members elsewhere. Leaving his erstwhile stooges to their fates, Libra rounded up the JLAers, many of whom fell in battle with their respective opponents, brought them aboard the Injustice Gang Satellite, and made them bear witness as he turned his Transmortifier upon the Milky Way Galaxy itself, absorbing half of all energy contained therein. Libra became omnipotent and omniscient, but possessing the constraints of a human mind, was unable to focus the concentration to hold the matter comprising his physical body together, instead dissipating into an incorporeal thoughtform as his vastly expanded consciousness drove him beyond the edge of madness. However, the Justice League still faced a problem even after breaking free of their captivity, that being that Libra took half of all their power with him when he disappeared, with no readily apparent means of restoring that to themselves.[558] The JLA rigged Amazo to act as a beacon for the scattered molecules bearing the essence of their dissipated powers and activated the malevolent android, sending him on a wild goose chase around the world to suit their purposes. Ultimately, Amazo was drained of the power he had absorbed, restoring Superman and the other Justice Leaguers to their base power levels, and Batman, who even at half his usual mental efficacy deduced that Amazo would decipher their purpose with the detective skills Amazo copied from him, devised a contingency plan to counter Amazo's planned turnabout maneuver and destroy him.[559] On a sojourn on Earth-Two, Superman helped the Sandman and other members of the the JLA and JSA teams track down Sandman's former teen sidekick Sandy, the Golden Boy, who was revealed to have been transformed into a silicon monster in an experiment gone wrong decades ago and broke free of containment to go on a seeming rampage. Ultimately, it turned out that Sandy retained his human morality and intelligence and was actually trying to forestall an earthquake along a fault line extending beneath the city foundations, leaving Sandman's conscience wracked with guilt when he reflected upon the years he stole from his former ward's life because he lacked understanding.[560] The Queen Bee returned with a vengeance, assembling Brainiac, Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Ocean Master, Clayface, Merlyn the Archer, Chronos, and The Harpy with the power of her mind-control staff. As the Anti-Justice League, the villains used divide-and-conquer tactics to vanquish the Justice Leaguers one by one until only Superman was left, causing Superman to temporarily brainwash everyone on Earth with a Kandorian brainwave machine to react to Superman as they normally would to Clark Kent and to react to Clark Kent as they normally would to Superman. The aim of this tactic was to throw the Anti-Justice League off-track, as Superman deduced that their lair was somewhere off-world and thus that they would not be affected as the people on the Earth's surface, though they would observe the odd scenario with pronounced befuddlement and waste time formulating a new strategy in response. By the time Brainiac determined that Superman was pulling a fantastic hoax to make the villains wonder over the situation and stall for time, Superman had pinpointed the coordinates of the Anti-Justice League's satellite in geosynchronous orbit and used the Justice League Satellite's teleporter to beam himself aboard. The Anti-Justice League managed to defeat Superman with considerable difficulty, but not before Superman used his heat-vision to release the Flash from the amber-like capsule where Queen Bee had kept him imprisoned, allowing Flash to free the other JLAers and mount a counter-attack that took their opposite numbers by surprise and overcame them. After the threat had passed, Superman reversed the mass-hypnosis wave that he unleashed over the Earth's people and restored everything to normal.[561] At the behest of the Martian Manhunter, Superman made a return-trip to planet Vonn, accompanied by the Flash, Green Lantern, and the Atom, in order to knock out a self-proclaimed deity who threatened the survivors of the Martian race.[562]

Kanjar Ro returns!

Kanjar Ro returns!

Hawkman returned to recruit the JLA to help repel a menace named the Equalizer from his planet. The Equalizer had spread a hyper-virulent pathogen among the Thanagarian population (even striking Katar's wife Shayera) which artificially fixed them with particular physical and mental attributes, destroying all individuality and potential for civilizational growth. Although Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, the Atom, Green Lantern, and Hawkman overpowered the Equalizer by focusing their concentrated hate through GL's power ring to provide it with willpower-fuel, the JLA were unable to cure the people of Thanagar from the Equalizing Disease. Unable to return to a devastated homeworld, Hawkman applied to rejoin the Justice League and was voted back in unanimously.[563] No sooner than Hawkman rejoined the team did Superman and the JLA nearly meet their death in battle with the alien Adaptoids, but thanks to the Winged Wonder, the Justice Leaguers managed to weaponize the Equalizing Disease to neutralize them and save the world.[564][565] Superman and four other Justice Leaguers (Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Elongated Man) were transported unexpectedly to the planet Rann in the Alpha Centauri system by Zeta-Plus Beams, and just as the last time Superman set foot on the planet, they were beset upon by a threat. Kanjar Ro struck back after many years of waiting and biding his time, and reanimated several menaces to plague Rann in the past which that world's champion Adam Strange had contended with in his own day. The recreated menaces proved to be more resilient constructs than the originals, however, and Adam Strange witnessed in horror as Superman and the other JLAers were apparently destroyed by one of them. Strange hurriedly contacted the remaining Justice Leaguers in their satellite HQ to inform them of their teammates' fate, but the blow of the tragedy had hardly any time to sink in before Kanjar summoned a new menace to attack the remainder of the JLA on Earth. Fortunately, Strange snatched Kanjar's matter-warping Energi-Rod from his grasp and returned it to Rann, where it revealed where Kanjar was holding the (still-living) JLA members on the planet, including Superman, and restored them to their original state. The JLAers on Rann regrouped with their contingent of comrades on Earth and successfully defeated Kanjar and his monster, after which they rendezvoused in Rann's planetary capital Ranagar to attend the belated wedding of Adam Strange to his true love Alanna.[566][567] Superman and a team of JLAers consisting of Aquaman, the Flash, Hawkman, and Green Lantern were forced into an awkward team-up with the unlikeliest of allies, Batman's arch-enemy Two-Face, to stop an alien race called the Dronndarians from transferring ambient energy from their dying universe into the Earth-One universe, which would have the side-effect of dooming the latter in the process of sparing the former.[568] Quick to switch sides at the flip of a coin, Two-Face wound up betraying the JLA when the Dronndarians contracted the Weaponers of Qward to siphon the excess energy into the Earth-One universe, inspiring the Qwardian leader Kiman to enlist Two-Face's help in planting devices on the JLAers that would turn them into beacons for the Dronndarian energy-signature. The Atom joined the other active JLAers in the meantime, and perceiving how Two-Face and the Qwardians were using the Justice League to accomplish their goals, clued them in on how to reverse the energy-siphoning process. In the end, the Dronndarians were mistaken about the destructiveness of the ambient energy permeating their universe. Its true effect was to accelerate the Dronndarians' evolution until they entered a state at which they could cast off their physical forms.[569] Superman led the Justice League to defeat a villain called The Anarchist, who had found a means of tapping into Green Lantern's power ring charge and had begun using it to kidnap world leaders and dignitaries.[570] Wonder Woman rejoined the League after completing the last of 12 labors to prove her worthiness to be a superhero again[571], and the Amazon princess would be vital to helping the JLA surmount the challenge posed by the extradimensional fear-parasite Nekron, using her Lasso of Truth to compel her comrades to face their fears. Nekron was finally defeated by using GL's power ring to boost Aquaman's telepathic abilities such that he became capable of inducing intense fear in Superman's mind. Nekron attempted to feast on Superman's fear and "overdosed," bringing about his downfall. While the Justice League could claim victory, it was not without a cost, as Red Tornado sacrificed his artificial life to fight Nekron.[572][573]

Superman vs. Despero

Superman vs. Despero

Superman became embroiled in another chaotic upheaval when the citizens of Metropolis went mad and spontaneously entered into a violent frenzy one day. However, this phenomenon would soon prove not to be limited to Metropolis, as Central City and other municipalities were impacted by similar riots. Eventually, the cause was found to be an unusual pathogen which contaminated the paper used to print bank notes, giving alleged S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Professor Dunkirk the opportunity to propose his solution for the situation to the federal government. Dunkirk had the idea of replacing paper money entirely with debit cards called Ultima-Cards, which would be hypothetically forgery-proof due to possessing a three-step verification of the owner's identity consisting of a fingerprint, photo, and voice-print. Little did the government authorities know that "Professor Dunkirk" was actually an alias of the Modoran-nationalist terrorist Sonar, and that the Ultima-Cards were truly a means of broadcasting a mind-controlling sonic frequency nationwide. Moreover, Sonar engineered the "money-plague" requiring the switchover to Ultima-Cards to begin with. However, Sonar's plan went awry, as the sonic frequency, instead of seizing control of the American people's minds, began swapping their human intelligence for that of the beasts of the land. As a result, Sonar panicked and slipped up, allowing the Justice League to catch on to him. Eventually, it was revealed that Sonar's plan had been hijacked deliberately by the Queen Bee, who altered Sonar's frequency explicitly to reduce the human race to a state manageable enough to be easily enslaved. Supergirl tagged along with the JLA to get to the bottom of the scheme and nab the culprits, because her cousin Superman went missing during the madness. With Queen Bee and Sonar down, Supergirl informed the remaining Justice Leaguers of the situation and urged them to help her find the Man of Steel.[574][575] Superman had been transported at superluminal velocities to the planet Sirkia by the planet's natives, in order to stave off the invasion force of the Kalanorian tyrant Despero, one of the League's oldest and most powerful adversaries. To boost Superman's morale and assuage concerns about his friends back on Earth, the Sirkians assigned four of their own to impersonate Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Green Lantern for Superman's benefit. However, because they lacked the powers of the real JLAers, the Sirkian impersonators were struck down by Despero's might, and Superman was sufficiently demoralized by the defeat of those whom he believed to be his comrades that he floundered against Despero and was knocked unconscious by the villain.[576] Batman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, the Atom, and Elongated Man headed off into space in Hawkman's Thanagarian cruiser to track Superman, but they and Despero were plucked out of space and brought to a controlled environment by a pair of hyper-advanced aliens called Krill to do battle for their amusement. Supergirl extricated them all from the situation by convincing the Krill to take bets on a fight between her and a mind-controlled Despero for further gratification. Supergirl then defeated Despero, introducing the Krill who bet on Despero to the concept of envy and causing the two to break out in conflict with one another. Supergirl and the JLA then liberated Superman from a suspended animation pod in Despero's ship where he was being held captive.[577] Superman was summoned to attend a high-priority JLA meeting when Green Lantern ran into Captain Comet, an adventurer with mutant powers last seen on Earth in the early 1950s. GL brought Comet to the JL Satellite, where Comet alleged that a Secret Society of Super-Villains was organizing right under the League's noses, and that while the Society was formerly preoccupied with rebellion against their original benefactor Darkseid that they would shortly be striking out as an independent and volatile force for super-crime.[578]

The Big Red "S" collides with the Big Red Cheese!

The Big Red "S" collides with the Big Red Cheese!

Superman and fellow JLAers Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman were convened by the Roman messenger-god Mercury together with Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Johnny Thunder of Earth-Two and Mister Scarlet, Pinky, Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Ibis the Invincible, and Spy Smasher of Earth-S to save all three of their parallel universes from the machinations of King Kull, Lord of the Beast-Men, who had taken over the Rock of Eternity, incapacitated Shazam and the Greco-Roman pantheon, and was simulating apocalyptic upheavals with unwitting super-villains on their worlds to destroy the human race in all three realities. Due to being paralyzed by Kull's technology, Shazam was rendered incapable of lending his power to the enchantment by which the Marvel Family could call upon the strength and valor of 6 mythological heroes, thereby preventing the Marvels from entering the fray. On Earth-Two, Superman teamed with Green Arrow, that world's Wonder Woman, and Spy Smasher to defeat Kull's lackeys Clea, The Penguin, Blockbuster, and Ibac. Although Clea briefly held Superman in a trance induced by her magic mind-control girdle, Wonder Woman freed him from Clea's influence, and the greater threat to Earth-Two, a cloud created by Kull which could cause landmasses beneath it to sink into the ocean, was neutralized. When the other teams of heroes completed their respective missions on Earth-One and Earth-S, they regrouped to tackle Kull himself at the Rock of Eternity, but Kull materialized Red Kryptonite to warp Superman's mind and cause him to lash out at his allies. Just at that moment, Mercury sent Johnny Thunder to the WHIZ Radio station in Fawcett City on Earth-S to summon his Bahdnisian Thunderbolt, whose magic could bypass Shazam's inert enchantment and transform Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman into their empowered alter egos as Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr. The Marvel Family headed promptly to the Rock of Eternity, where they made short work of Kull and smashed the machinery which he had used to hold Shazam and the gods captive. Finally, in order to put Superman back to his right state of mind, Captain Marvel summoned his magic lightning-bolt with an invocation of "Shazam!" and gave Superman a good jolt. Billy had counted on Superman recovering his sanity quickly enough to rescue him from ensuing freefall, and the gambit fortunately paid off.[579][580][581]

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Aquaman were contacted by Alanna of Rann in the Justice League Satellite to help with an unusual phenomenon concerning her husband Adam Strange. Apparently, residual Zeta-Beam radiation in Adam's body spontaneously caused him to phase in and out, not just between Rann and Earth, but also between the present-era and the 73rd Century. Superman and Flash transported themselves and their JLA comrades across the veil of time by almost 5300 years, arriving in the future to discover that the Zeta-energy charge in Adam's body was both increasing his power and driving him insane. Superman and the others battled the out-of-his-mind Adam to keep him from inadvertently causing havoc to 73rd century Earth, yet all but Batman were defeated, even the Man of Might. Instead of tackling the problem with his fists, Batman hypothesized that the Zeta-charge in Adam's body would need to naturally expend itself before Adam could return to his proper state of mind and chose to dodge Adam's energy-blasts until he achieved the desired result. Adam and the JLA then returned to Rann in the 20th century, briefly being allowed to believe that the crisis had passed. However, Adam and Alanna realized that Adam's predicament was engineered by Kanjar Ro, and that Kanjar used Adam's body as a conduit for emissions of his Energi-Rod which would render Superman and the other Justice Leaguers incorporeal and incapable of interacting with the physical world by the time they returned to their satellite HQ. Adam transported himself personally to the JL Satellite to inform Green Arrow, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Black Canary of their teammates' fate. Then, just as a computer console was about to overload and explode in GL's vicinity, the Flash rematerialized into solidity to push his friend out of the way of the blast, leading Adam to hypothesize that fight-or-flight response was the key for the incorporeal Justice Leaguers to accomplish their own materialization. GL transported the entire Justice League Satellite into the 73rd century so that the corporeal JLAers and Adam Strange could confront Kanjar Ro, only to be ambushed by armies of cyborg combatants on the Earth's surface and to realize too late that Adam's hypothesis about the factor that rematerialized the Flash was off-base. Heading back to the Satellite away from the battleground, Adam checked out data readings taken by the Satellite's computers to determine that a stream of beta-particles had appeared in the same spot where the Flash had materialized to save GL from the exploding computer, making Adam realize that Kanjar had selectively materialized Flash to trick them into making a false assumption and lure them into an unwinnable fight. Setting his ray gun to emit beta-particle streams, Adam rematerialized Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, turned the tides against the 73rd century warriors, and defeated Kanjar Ro himself, who had been impersonating that far-flung future's Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814. Back in the 20th century, the whole JLA assembled to provide disaster relief in Ecuador when that country had been inexplicably struck with extreme weather conditions of glacial cold. While Superman and most of the League dealt with the situation on the ground, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, the Flash, Hawkman, and Green Arrow investigated a related jewel theft in Gotham City committed by Captain Cold, Minister Blizzard, and the Icicle and discovered that the ice-themed villains were unknowingly doing the bidding of the Shadow-Thief, whose Dimensiometer's usage was running the risk of condemning Earth to a new Ice Age. A deus ex machina, courtesy of the Phantom Stranger, put the Shadow-Thief's aspirations "on ice," however.[582][583]

Superman and the JLA discover the truth behind the Manhunters

Superman and the JLA discover the truth behind the Manhunters

Superman was summoned to the Wayne Foundation in Gotham City at the time time as Wonder Woman when Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary came under attack at the location by a heavily armored agent going by the name of Manhunter. GL, GA, and Black Canary were taken by Manhunter to a base in the Himalayas, while the rest of the available team (excluding the absent Atom, Aquaman, Elongated Man, and Hawkman) gave pursuit. Superman and the rest of the JLA were ensnared in a death-trap consisting of a shrinking energy-cube, courtesy of the self-proclaimed Grandmaster. Fortunately, Superman and Flash hit on the idea of synchronizing their vibrational frequencies at the atomic level to generate constructive interference with each other and destructive interference with the frequency of the energy-cage, freeing them all. The Grandmaster capitulated and explained that he was the head of a millennium-old sect of high-tech bounty hunters, the Manhunters, with branches and contacts all throughout the galaxy, and that they were bidden by the inhabited worlds of the Procyon system to capture and turn over Green Lantern Hal Jordan for execution. The Grandmaster alleged that GL was guilty for the monumental atrocity of annihilating the inhabited world of Orinda in the system, a charge which GL claimed was accidental but entirely true. Superman insisted that the Justice League should conduct its own investigation, which the Grandmaster consented to in deference to the League's reputation, and the team set off for Pinola, another planet in the Procyon system, due to Superman's passing familiarity with its government and people. Once there, Superman and the JLA found the locals harassing a nameless Guardian of the Universe and advocated on his behalf. Afterwards, Superman used his connections with the planetary governor Tozad to scout the red moon which held in orbit around Orinda prior to its destruction. Shortly upon landing, Superman and the Leaguers were attacked by a reptilian monster, but Batman deduced during the heat of battle that there was no reason for Orinda's moon to remain in its traditional orbit if Orinda itself were truly gone. At that moment, the monster vanished into thin air, leading Batman to conclude that both the disappearance of Orinda and the manifestation of the monster were both complex hallucinations accomplished through some manner of mass-hypnosis. Just then, Tozad revealed that he was one of the Manhunters and teleported off the surface of the moon. The JLA realized that the Manhunters were essentially framing Green Lantern for the destruction of Orinda, whereupon the Oan in their company confirmed their notions and explained that he already knew the truth but had to allow the League to deduce it for themselves. According to the Guardian, the Manhunters were actually androids created eons ago as a prototype for the Green Lantern Corps, but who eventually revolted against their creators out of pride and made a failed attempt to seize the Central Power Battery for themselves. The Guardians allowed the Manhunters to continue to exist out of mercy as they set about in the task of creating the Green Lantern Corps to replace the Manhunter Corps, but the Manhunters spent the enxt 10 centuries seeding inhabited worlds across the universe with their influence, recruiting the native organics of these worlds to their cause, and planning revenge on the Guardians by thwarting the Green Lanterns who were to be their official replacements. The Manhunters actually made Orinda their base of operations and had faked its destruction to erode the legitimacy of the Green Lantern Corps' jurisdiction and attenuate the reach of the Guardians. Having taken this all in, Superman and Batman tackled the objective of invading Orinda and wiping out the Manhunters stationed there, while Flash and Wonder Woman returned to Earth to back up GL, GA, and Black Canary, who had already escaped from the Manhunters with a little help from the Guardians during their allies' sojourn in space. Superman and Batman fought their way successfully to the Manhunter command center and dropped the cloaking field disguising Orinda, exposing the Manhunters' treachery, and Mark Shaw, the Manhunter of Earth who was initially dispatched to capture Green Lantern, turned on the Grandmaster and destroyed him.[584][585]

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.[586] After the dome goes down, he and the Legion fight the Atomic Knights,[587] but ends up forming peace with them due to their mutual beliefs in justice.[588]

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.[589]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.[590]

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.[591]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 without effort, later appearances showed Superman's physical might, though still incredible to say the least, to possess veritable and somewhat tamer limits. For instance, Superman once had to exert himself to the point of collapse to retrieve Hawkman's Thanagarian Star Cruiser from the gravity well of a neutron star, demonstrating that his strength and endurance were not infinite and could be exhausted by sufficiently challenging tasks.[592] 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!"[593]
    • 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.[594] 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.[595] 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.[596]
      • Accelerated Healing
      • 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, and even whole universes 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. Superman can not only pick up acoustic waves with his super-hearing, but also receive radio-wave transmissions out in space by some audial mechanism.[598]
    • 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: Superman was trained in how to mesmerize others using a variety of effects.
    • 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 facilitated by augmentation of his already formidable intellectual capabilities by the Sun's rays.
    • Superman can stop his breathing and heartbeat, faking death. [124]

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.[620] [621]
  • 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,[622][623] to the point Superman becomes prickly, irritable and psychologically unstable.[624] On one occasion, the mental stress from prolonged lack of sleep made Superman manifest a split personality that tried to kill his Clark Kent identity with deathtraps.[625]
  • 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.
  • As a rule, any substance native to Krypton from before its destruction had the potential to affect Superman (or any other Kryptonian) in the same manner that an analogous substance made of Earth elements might do to a normal human.[188][626][627][628]

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.
  • Lead Armor: Superman occasionally used an airight full-body armor suit made of lead to block lethal Green Kryptonite radiations from reaching his body. Although the armor had no eyeholes as such, Superman could navigate with the suit on by using a viewscreen built into the interior of the helmet. The suit was frequently destroyed or transmuted into glass by Superman's enemies, presumably being replaced each time.
  • 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

  • Supermobile: 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.
  • Rocket-Belt: 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. Superboy #63
  2. Superman #124
  3. World's Finest #97
  4. Action Comics #564
  5. World's Finest #89
  6. 6.0 6.1 Action Comics #375
  7. Batman #140
  8. Superman #165
  9. Superman #169
  10. 10.0 10.1 Action Comics #335
  11. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #56
  12. Action Comics #370
  13. Adventure Comics #175
  14. 14.0 14.1 Superman #172
  15. Adventure Comics #223
  16. Superman #210
  17. 17.0 17.1 Action Comics #372
  18. 18.0 18.1 Action Comics #374
  19. 19.0 19.1 World's Finest #189
  20. 20.0 20.1 World's Finest #190
  21. Action Comics #382
  22. 22.0 22.1 World's Finest #194
  23. 23.0 23.1 World's Finest #195
  24. Superboy #173
  25. Superman #283
  26. Superman #285
  27. Superman #295
  28. Superman #301
  29. Superboy #218
  30. Superman #149
  31. Superman #205
  32. Superman #257
  33. 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.
  34. Superboy #196
  35. 35.0 35.1 Superboy #89
  36. Superman #137
  37. Superman #139
  38. Superboy #171
  39. Superboy #124
  40. DC Super-Stars #12
  41. Adventure Comics #247
  42. Superboy #204
  43. Superboy #98
  44. Adventure Comics #310
  45. Adventure Comics #312
  46. Adventure Comics #317
  47. Adventure Comics #318
  48. Adventure Comics #321
  49. Adventure Comics #330
  50. Adventure Comics #331
  51. Adventure Comics #332
  52. Adventure Comics #333
  53. Adventure Comics #335
  54. Adventure Comics #336
  55. Adventure Comics #338
  56. Adventure Comics #340
  57. Adventure Comics #341
  58. Adventure Comics #342
  59. Adventure Comics #346
  60. Adventure Comics #347
  61. Adventure Comics #348
  62. Adventure Comics #349
  63. Adventure Comics #350
  64. Adventure Comics #351
  65. Adventure Comics #352
  66. Adventure Comics #353
  67. Adventure Comics #355
  68. Adventure Comics #357
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  75. Adventure Comics #365
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  78. Adventure Comics #369
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  83. Adventure Comics #377
  84. Adventure Comics #378
  85. Adventure Comics #379
  86. Adventure Comics #380
  87. Action Comics #387
  88. Adventure Comics #271
  89. Superman #292
  90. Superboy #68
  91. Superboy #78
  92. Adventure Comics #283
  93. Adventure Comics #300
  94. Adventure Comics #305
  95. Adventure Comics #287
  96. Adventure Comics #288
  97. Adventure Comics #320
  98. Superboy #173
  99. Superboy #188
  100. Superboy #197
  101. Superboy #198
  102. Superboy #199
  103. Superboy #200
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  113. Superboy #216
  114. Superboy #217
  115. Superboy #218
  116. Superboy #219
  117. Superboy #221
  118. Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #223
  119. Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #224
  120. Amazing World of Superman #1
  121. Superman: The Secret Years #1
  122. Superman: The Secret Years #2
  123. Superman: The Secret Years #3
  124. 124.0 124.1 Superman: The Secret Years #4
  125. Superman #129
  126. 126.0 126.1 Action Comics #261
  127. Action Comics #241
  128. Action Comics #265
  129. Superman #176
  130. Superman #133
  131. Superman #136
  132. Superman #87
  133. Superman #106
  134. Action Comics #249
  135. World's Finest #88
  136. World's Finest #100
  137. World's Finest #104
  138. 138.0 138.1 Action Comics #267
  139. Action Comics #271
  140. 140.0 140.1 Action Comics #277
  141. Superman #144
  142. Action Comics #292
  143. Action Comics #294
  144. World's Finest #126
  145. World's Finest #129
  146. World's Finest #137
  147. Action Comics #242
  148. Action Comics #275
  149. 149.0 149.1 Action Comics #280
  150. 150.0 150.1 Action Comics #252
  151. Action Comics #309
  152. Adventure Comics #393
  153. Superman #134
  154. Action Comics #278
  155. Action Comics #279
  156. Action Comics #281
  157. Action Comics #282
  158. Action Comics #283
  159. Action Comics #284
  160. Action Comics #285
  161. Action Comics #287
  162. 162.0 162.1 Action Comics #310
  163. 163.0 163.1 Action Comics #318
  164. Action Comics #339
  165. Action Comics #254
  166. Action Comics #255
  167. Action Comics #263
  168. Action Comics #264
  169. Superman #140
  170. Superman #131
  171. Superman #135
  172. 172.0 172.1 Superman #154
  173. Superman #148
  174. Superman #174
  175. Superman #127
  176. Superman #138
  177. Superman #147
  178. Action Comics #276
  179. Superman #135
  180. Superman #138
  181. Superman #139
  182. Superman #141
  183. Action Comics #285
  184. Action Comics #289
  185. Superman #157
  186. The Phantom Zone #1
  187. Action Comics #297
  188. 188.0 188.1 Action Comics #298
  189. Action Comics #286
  190. Action Comics #287
  191. Action Comics #295
  192. Action Comics #300
  193. Superman #163
  194. Action Comics #313
  195. 195.0 195.1 World's Finest #175
  196. Superman #147
  197. Action Comics #283
  198. Superman #158
  199. Superman #164
  200. Superman #167
  201. Superman #168
  202. World's Finest #142
  203. Action Comics #319
  204. Action Comics #326
  205. Action Comics #329
  206. Superman #182
  207. Action Comics #332
  208. Action Comics #333
  209. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #62
  210. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #63
  211. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #64
  212. Action Comics #336
  213. Action Comics #340
  214. Superman #190
  215. Action Comics #341
  216. Action Comics #342
  217. Superman #191
  218. Action Comics #343
  219. Adventure Comics #354
  220. Action Comics #348
  221. Superman #195
  222. Action Comics #351
  223. Action Comics #352
  224. Action Comics #353
  225. Superman #198
  226. Action Comics #354
  227. World's Finest #168
  228. Action Comics #355
  229. Action Comics #356
  230. Action Comics #357
  231. Superman #201
  232. Superman #203
  233. Superman #204
  234. Action Comics #358
  235. Action Comics #359
  236. Action Comics #361
  237. Superman #156
  238. Action Comics #362
  239. Action Comics #363
  240. Action Comics #364
  241. Action Comics #365
  242. Action Comics #366
  243. Superman #205
  244. Superman #208
  245. Superman #209
  246. Action Comics #367
  247. 247.0 247.1 Superman #211
  248. Action Comics #368
  249. Action Comics #369
  250. Action Comics #371
  251. Superman #213
  252. Superman #214
  253. Superman #218
  254. Action Comics #376
  255. Action Comics #377
  256. Action Comics #378
  257. Action Comics #380
  258. Action Comics #381
  259. Action Comics #383
  260. Action Comics #384
  261. Superman #223
  262. Action Comics #385
  263. Action Comics #386
  264. Action Comics #387
  265. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133
  266. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134
  267. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135
  268. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136
  269. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #137
  270. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #138
  271. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #105
  272. Superman #233
  273. Superman #234
  274. Forever People #1
  275. Superman #235
  276. Action Comics #400
  277. Superman #237
  278. Superman #238
  279. Superman #240
  280. Superman #241
  281. Superman #242
  282. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #139
  283. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #141
  284. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #111
  285. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #114
  286. Superman #244
  287. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #115
  288. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #116
  289. Superman #246
  290. Action Comics #407
  291. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #142
  292. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #143
  293. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #144
  294. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #145
  295. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #146
  296. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #118
  297. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #119
  298. Superman #247
  299. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #120
  300. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #121
  301. Superman #248
  302. Superman #249
  303. Superman #250
  304. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #147
  305. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #148
  306. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #122
  307. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #123
  308. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #124
  309. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #130
  310. Action Comics #413
  311. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #152
  312. Superman #253
  313. World's Finest #212
  314. Superman #254
  315. Action Comics #417
  316. Action Comics #418
  317. Superman #258
  318. Superman #259
  319. Superman #260
  320. Superman #261
  321. Action Comics #421
  322. Action Comics #423
  323. Superman #263
  324. Superman #264
  325. Action Comics #424
  326. Superman #265
  327. Superman #266
  328. Action Comics #426
  329. Superman #267
  330. Action Comics #428
  331. Action Comics #429
  332. Action Comics #430
  333. Action Comics #431
  334. Superman #270
  335. Superman #271
  336. Action Comics #432
  337. Action Comics #434
  338. Action Comics #435
  339. Superman #275
  340. Superman #276
  341. Action Comics #436
  342. Superman #277
  343. Superman #278
  344. Action Comics #439
  345. Superman #280
  346. Action Comics #440
  347. Superman #281
  348. Action Comics #441
  349. Superboy #204
  350. 350.0 350.1 Superman #282
  351. Action Comics #442
  352. Superman #283
  353. Superman #284
  354. Superman #285
  355. Action Comics #445
  356. Superman #286
  357. Superman #287
  358. Superman #288
  359. Action Comics #448
  360. Action Comics #449
  361. Superman #290
  362. Action Comics #450
  363. Superman Family #172
  364. Superman #292
  365. Action Comics #452
  366. Superman #293
  367. Action Comics #453
  368. Superman #294
  369. Action Comics #454
  370. Superman #295
  371. Action Comics #456
  372. Action Comics #457
  373. Superman Family #175
  374. Action Comics #458
  375. Action Comics #459
  376. Superman #296
  377. Superman #299
  378. Superman #297
  379. Superman #298
  380. Superman #299
  381. Superman #299
  382. Action Comics #460
  383. Action Comics #461
  384. Action Comics #462
  385. Action Comics #463
  386. Superman #301
  387. Superman #302
  388. Superman #303
  389. Superman #304
  390. Action Comics #464
  391. Action Comics #465
  392. Action Comics #466
  393. Superman #305
  394. World's Finest #181
  395. Superman #306
  396. Superman #307
  397. Superman #308
  398. Superman #309
  399. Action Comics #468
  400. Action Comics #469
  401. Action Comics #470
  402. World's Finest #94
  403. Superman #76
  404. World's Finest #71
  405. World's Finest #72
  406. World's Finest #73
  407. World's Finest #75
  408. World's Finest #76
  409. World's Finest #77
  410. World's Finest #78
  411. World's Finest #80
  412. World's Finest #84
  413. World's Finest #102
  414. World's Finest #140
  415. World's Finest #141
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  417. World's Finest #144
  418. World's Finest #156
  419. World's Finest #159
  420. World's Finest #160
  421. World's Finest #163
  422. World's Finest #164
  423. World's Finest #169
  424. World's Finest #173
  425. World's Finest #192
  426. World's Finest #193
  427. World's Finest #202
  428. World's Finest #207
  429. World's Finest #211
  430. World's Finest #217
  431. World's Finest #218
  432. World's Finest #219
  433. World's Finest #220
  434. World's Finest #225
  435. World's Finest #226
  436. World's Finest #235
  437. World's Finest #236
  438. World's Finest #237
  439. World's Finest #239
  440. World's Finest #256
  441. The Brave and the Bold #150
  442. World's Finest #262
  443. World's Finest #264
  444. World's Finest #270
  445. World's Finest #272
  446. World's Finest #273
  447. World's Finest #274
  448. World's Finest #275
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  450. World's Finest #278
  451. World's Finest #279
  452. World's Finest #280
  453. World's Finest #281
  454. World's Finest #285
  455. World's Finest #286
  456. World's Finest #287
  457. World's Finest #288
  458. World's Finest #293
  459. World's Finest #307
  460. World's Finest #321
  461. World's Finest #323
  462. Superman #199
  463. The Flash #175
  464. Superman #220
  465. World's Finest #198
  466. World's Finest #199
  467. Action Comics #437
  468. Action Comics #441
  469. World's Finest #200
  470. World's Finest #205
  471. World's Finest #201
  472. Action Comics #437
  473. Action Comics #444
  474. World's Finest #204
  475. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #136
  476. Superboy #171
  477. Superman #138
  478. World's Finest #203
  479. World's Finest #209
  480. World's Finest #210
  481. Action Comics #437
  482. Action Comics #455
  483. Superman #233
  484. World's Finest #207
  485. World's Finest #208
  486. World's Finest #213
  487. World's Finest #214
  488. Superman #268
  489. Superman #279
  490. Justice League of America #9
  491. The Brave and the Bold #28
  492. The Brave and the Bold #29
  493. The Brave and the Bold #30
  494. Justice League of America #1
  495. Justice League of America #10
  496. Justice League of America #11
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  500. Justice League of America #25
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  503. Justice League of America #30
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  505. Justice League of America #34
  506. Justice League of America #36
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  518. Justice League of America #69
  519. Justice League of America #70
  520. Wonder Woman #179
  521. Justice League of America #69
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  523. Justice League of America #73
  524. Justice League of America #74
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  526. Justice League of America #122
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  528. Justice League of America #78
  529. Justice League of America #130
  530. Justice League of America #78
  531. Justice League of America #79
  532. Justice League of America #130
  533. Justice League of America #80
  534. Green Lantern (Volume 2) #76
  535. Justice League of America #81
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  538. Justice League of America #84
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  540. Justice League of America #87
  541. Justice League of America #90
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  543. Justice League of America #92
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  546. Justice League of America #96
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  550. Justice League of America #101
  551. Justice League of America #102
  552. Justice League of America #103
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  555. Justice League of America #106
  556. Justice League of America #109
  557. Justice League of America #110
  558. Justice League of America #111
  559. Justice League of America #112
  560. Justice League of America #113
  561. Action Comics #443
  562. Justice League of America #115
  563. Justice League of America #117
  564. Justice League of America #118
  565. Justice League of America #119
  566. Justice League of America #120
  567. Justice League of America #121
  568. Justice League of America #125
  569. Justice League of America #126
  570. Justice League of America #127
  571. Wonder Woman #222
  572. Justice League of America #128
  573. Justice League of America #129
  574. Justice League of America #131
  575. Justice League of America #132
  576. Justice League of America #133
  577. Justice League of America #134
  578. Secret Society of Super-Villains #5
  579. Justice League of America #135
  580. Justice League of America #136
  581. Justice League of America #137
  582. Justice League of America #138
  583. Justice League of America #139
  584. Justice League of America #140
  585. Justice League of America #141
  586. Convergence: Booster Gold #2
  587. Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
  588. Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2
  589. Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1
  590. Convergence: Adventures of Superman #2
  591. Action Comics #262
  592. Justice League of America #80
  593. World's Finest #208
  594. Action Comics #553
  595. Action Comics #560
  596. 596.0 596.1 Action Comics #473
  597. Adventure Comics #213
  598. World's Finest #239
  599. Action Comics #294
  600. Adventure Comics #159
  601. Superman #107
  602. Superman #229
  603. Superman #184
  604. Action Comics #348
  605. Action Comics #350
  606. Adventure Comics #368
  607. All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56
  608. Superman #107
  609. Action Comics #350
  610. All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56
  611. Superman #107
  612. Superman #229
  613. Action Comics #348
  614. Superman #184
  615. Action Comics #350
  616. Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #12
  617. World's Finest #251
  618. DC Comics Presents #49
  619. Superman #370
  620. Superman #204
  621. DC Comics Presents #1
  622. Superman #365
  623. World's Finest #232
  624. DC Retroactive: Superman-The '70s #1
  625. Action Comics #409
  626. Action Comics #329
  627. Adventure Comics #356
  628. Superman Family #179
  629. Action Comics #333



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