- 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!
- — Superman src
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. (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.
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.
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.
The Kents fashioned a set of clothes for their "Superbaby" from the now-virtually indestructible red, blue and yellow blankets in the rocket. This same Kryptonian fabric was later used to create the costume Kal-El would wear as Superboy and Superman.
Jonathan and Martha instill in him a good sense of right and wrong but also a good appreciation to try to fit into society as a positive being using his talents for the local townspeople's welfare. The young Clark takes the advice to heart and starts helping people out as Superboy, starting at the age of eight years old. It is as the heroic Superboy that Clark begins to find his true calling. Meanwhile, as Clark Kent, Kal-El pretends to be a normal human and forms connections with Lana Lang and Pete Ross while going through the stages of his primary and secondary education. While Lana tries repeatedly to prove that Clark Kent and Superboy are the same person, it is Pete who actually bears witness to Clark's secret with his own eyes, watching in secret as Clark changes into his Superboy costume during a camping trip. Nevertheless, Pete takes it upon himself never to reveal this secret to anyone, and never to give any indication to Clark that he might know it either. Superboy discovers his origins from Krypton for the first time by overtaking light rays reflected off the dead planet prior to its destruction. As he grows older and his powers increase, however, Kal-El develops total recall of his first few years of life on Krypton, as a function of his eidetic memory. This at times leads to some frustrating moments between him and his foster parents such as when Krypto (Kal-El's now-superpowered puppy from Krypton) first arrives in Smallville, having been launched into space by Jor-El to test the prototype of the rocket which later carried Kal-El. Though there are several mishaps in Superboy's life on Earth, they never really lead to the troubles of teenage rebellion. Deciding to support his public actions, Martha unravels Clark's blankets and reweaves them into the familiar costume. Clark continues to use Martha's design throughout all of his costume career.
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. 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. Occasionally, Superboy met and teamed-up with the half-Atlantean wandering youth Arthur Curry, alias Aquaboy. 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.
Enter 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Superboy was involved in a mission to protect a Dominator peace envoy to the United Planets from the Dominion's belligerent former leader. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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!"
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.
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. Over the years, Superboy would have to contend with the escape of Kryptonian criminals from the Phantom Zone back into the physical world and the havoc they would play with his life. Many of the Phantom Zoners had a personal reason to despise Superman, as his father Jor-El played a role in catching and prosecuting many of them. Although mostly powerless in the form of wraiths, they exerted a low-level psionic influence over the physical world and frequently broadcast their thoughts in sync with one another to facilitate their escape. Nuclear experiments, atom bomb tests, chemical accidents, and scientific mishaps also had the potential to tear a hole in the veil separating the corporeal and incorporeal planes, which the Phantom Zoners exploited whenever possible.
Superboy briefly believed that he had a brother when a rocket crash-landed in Smallville carrying a strangely-garbed teenager with similar powers as Superboy. Although the youth had retrograde amnesia and could recall nothing of his past, the boy's rocket contained a letter bearing Kryptonese well-wishes from Jor-El and Lara, leading Superboy to assume his Kryptonian ancestry and familial relationship. Because the rocket arrived on Earth on a Monday, Superboy constructed a Kryptonian name for his "brother": Mon-El. Meanwhile, Mon-El would adopt his own "secret identity" as 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. 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. When Brainiac 5 created a permanent cure for his lead poisoning, Mon-El was released from the Phantom Zone for good.
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. 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.
Return to the 30th Century
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. 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.
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.
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.
The Man of Tomorrow
The Fortress of Solitude
One of the first determinations which Superman made as a fully-fledged costumed hero was to establish a base for himself to work on secret projects, store sensitive equipment and items, and be left to private thoughts. Superman created his first Fortress of Solitude in outer space, believing that he would be more isolated and undisturbed in space than in any Earthly locale. However, a malevolent presence called Urko the Terrible invaded the space-borne Fortress and tried to attack Superman by animating statues of his friends and loved ones, forcing Superman to destroy Urko. Subsequently, Superman scoped out an area in the Earth's core as a potential location for a second Fortress, only to be assaulted by a sentient race of magma-creatures which he had disturbed. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Superman vs. Brainiac
Superman's greatest enemy (Lex Luthor excluded) was not destined to come from the Earth but rather from the stars, as Brainiac, self-proclaimed Master of Super-Scientific Forces, descended upon the blue planet to miniaturize several of the world's major cities, including Metropolis, and teleport them into oxygenated bottles simulating the environments and gravity of the captive cities' world of origin. Reduced in size to that of an insect, Superman set about contriving a way to free the captive Earth cities from Brainiac's grip, only to make the unexpected find of a preserved Kryptonian city in miniature, Kandor. Brainiac captured the city prior to Krypton's destruction, which Superman learned about during his sojourn in the bottle city. Superman then waited for Brainiac to believe he had won, whereupon he entered suspended animation, and used the machinery in Brainiac's ship to restore the Earth cities to their proper sizes and locations upon the planet. With only enough charge left to enlarge himself or Kandor, Superman was prepared to sacrifice for the welfare of his people, only for the decision to be taken out of his hands when a Kandorian scientist pressed the button to enlarge Superman instead. Superman then kept Kandor under safekeeping in his Fortress of Solitude, vowing to its citizens that he would see to its enlargement and freedom by any means necessary. 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. 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.
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.
The Supergirl From Krypton
A few months after finding Kandor, Superman witnessed a Kryptonian rocket crashing near the outskirts of Metropolis. When Superman went to check out the place, he found his cousin Kara. Evidently, a metropolitan district on Krypton named Argo City was not destroyed with the planet itself, but rather propelled into deep space with an atmosphere-retaining protective dome around it. When the soil upon which Argo City was built turned to 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Soon after, Linda graduated from high school and began taking classes at Stanhope College. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Titano the Super-Ape
When the extraordinarily intelligent chimpanzee Toto was launched into space by NASA, his space pod was bathed in the radioactive energies of colliding plutonium and Kryptonite meteoroids. Upon returning to Earth, Toto grew to a gigantic size and manifested the ability to emit Kryptonite-radiation eye-beams, making him a formidable threat to Superman. While the U.S. Army sought to put the beast down, Lois Lane sympathized with the Super-Ape, knowing that its actions were not the product of malice so much as confusion, and with Superman's help, Lois managed to stop the overgrown chimp's rampage. To spare it from being euthanized by the army, Superman breached the time-barrier and deposited the creature now called Titano in the Mesozoic Era, from where it was assumed never to be capable of returning. 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. Titano was befriended by Krypto during one of the Superdog's romps through the timestream.
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. 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. 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.
Tales of the Phantom ZoneWhen 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. 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. 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. For the first time, Superman was compelled by his sense of righteousness into releasing a Phantom Zoner upon completion of his sentence. Quex-Ul, who was sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 25 years for poaching Rondors back on Krypton, tried to depower Superman with Gold Kryptonite upon release. Meanwhile, Superman and Supergirl learned that Quex-Ul was not a true criminal, but was rather hypnotized by the real poacher into taking the fall for his misdeeds. Upon being told this, Quex-Ul sacrificed himself to prevent Superman from being exposed to Gold K, not only permanently losing all his powers but also losing all his memories as well. With Superman's endorsement, Quex-Ul was given the new identity of "Charlie Kweskill" and given a job in the production department of the Daily Planet, none the wiser about his Kryptonian origins. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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 the defect in Va-Kox's facade. 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. Superman fought the terrorist organization DEMON to keep them from stealing the Sacred Star of Sinsubhani. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 following 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.
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 confonted 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, 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.
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.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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 his imposter 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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 semi-spherical 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.
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. As Superman, he would be faced with more dangerous foes than ever before, even as well-established nemeses switched over to more deadly tactics. This would be the era to see Superman's power reduced by one-third and more frequently challenged by malignant forces of comparable might. Meanwhile, as Clark Kent, his professional life would be shaken up, as he would find himself reporting to a new boss and interacting with an expanded circle of acquaintances and rivals.
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. 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. 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 billions of lives from being snuffed out.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.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. 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 U.S. Mint, 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. 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.
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. 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. Superman and Lois then tackled another division of the 100, the Hunters, and put it out of commission. 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. 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.
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.
World's Finest: The Superman-Batman Team
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Superman and Batman then had to contend with Clayface, who used his shapeshifting powers to take Superman's form and replicate his powers. 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. 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. Following this, the heroes stopped the double threat of Brainiac and Clayface with help from their sidekicks Robin and Jimmy. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Superman and Batman then interfere with the unethical experiment of biochemist Dr. Arron, who retaliates by exposing Superman and Batman to psychoactive chemicals that transform them, physically and mentally, into duplicates of their feared nemeses: Kralik the Conqueror and Two-Face. Dr. Arron is accidentally exposed to these chemicals himself and breaks up the fight between the transformed heroes in the physically and mentally altered form of the Composite Superman. 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. 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. 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.. 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. 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. Some time later, Batman and Superman worked together to stop Dr. Light from killing Superman with a magical staff he created using Zatanna's powers. 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.
Batman and Superman then worked with Metamorpho after he gained their powers and together they captured an international criminal. 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. Superman went to Gotham to rescue Jimmy Olsen and helped Batman stop the terrorist group called Battalion of Doom.Batman and Superman then stopped the threat of the Pi-Meson Man. 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. Batman and Superman then stopped Metallo, who had escaped from Superman Island and started a crime wave using a black hole. When several weapons were stolen from the Fortress of Solitude, Batman and Superman investigated and came in conflict with the intergalactic villain called Weapon-Master. 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. After this, the heroes worked together to stop Mister Freeze from altering the weather in both their cities. Batman and Superman then stop the threat of a lethal plague. The heroes then assisted Hawkman to restore peace in Thanagar. Afterwards, Batman and Superman confronted and stopped General Scarr's Army of Crime.
Batman and Superman were then threatened by a mystical being and Batman was possessed by a dark entity and taken away to Madame Zodiac's lair. 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. Later, they stopped the powerful duo called Null and Void, the menace of Chronos and finally, they stopped the threat of Nightwolf before they decided to go their separate ways.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. Superman and Aquaman would encounter each other on occasion in the years to come. 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.
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.
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 a tyrannical sorcerer 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.
Shortly after all Kryptonite on Earth was transformed into iron, 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, 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.
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. 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. 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. Superman played a pivotal role in the Justice League's first encounter with the Lord of Time, using his power of total recall and ability to breach the time-barrier through speed to track the villain down to the far-flung future he retreated to upon the JLA's squashing of his scheme. Due to the machinations of the Demons Three, who were released 100 years from the present-day as the direct result of Felix Faust's failed plot, Superman was unable to return to the present with the JLA. The demons intended to destroy the Moon and eradicate all human life on Earth, but Superman and the JLA stopped them with a bait-and-switch gimmick, courtesy of Green Lantern, and were able to return to their native time-period. Superman was again essential to saving the JLA, this time from the clutches of Dr. Light, when Light banished the members of the team to far-off worlds. Arriving at the fight later than the rest of the League, Superman and Batman had the idea of switching costumes to trick Light and throw a monkey wrench in his plans. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 Dr. 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. Brain Storm returned and struck Superman blind with his Stellar Helmet to facilitate his 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. 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. Superman was attacked while assessing the worthiness of Metamorpho to join the Justice League, alongside 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. 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. Superman was the only JLAer from the League's encounter with the Unimaginable not to contract an alien ailment 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. Superman and the Flash then had to contend with a magical duplicate of Felix Faust whose existence threatened the destruction of the universe.
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. Dr. 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, Dr. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
The Satellite Years
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. 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. 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. 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. 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, 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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 cut off contact with the rest of the Justice League in grief and disgust.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. After the dome goes down, he and the Legion fight the Atomic Knights, but ends up forming peace with them due to their mutual beliefs in justice.
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.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.
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.
- 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.The rays of a white sun could amplify Superman's strength beyond normal limits, while the rays of an orange sun reduced Superman's strength and invulnerability to levels at which collisions with small meteoroids could stun him. According to some sources, the rays of an orange sun could also render Superman blind as well as at half-power. The rays of a red sun, while sufficient to sustain his life functions by providing his cells solar radiation, nonetheless negated all of his powers instantaneously and made him the equivalent of a human man with a well-trained, albeit vulnerable, body. Red sun radiation could strip Superman of his abilities even in environments which existed primarily under a yellow sun.
- Superhuman Strength: Superman possesses a truly extraordinary strength level, by no means capable of being precisely measured but certainly well within the range of being able to press or lift from millions to sextillions of tons. Although early Silver Age appearances portrayed Superman as being so strong that he could tow a galaxy of planets through space with an absurdly large chain with one hand and throw white dwarf star matter light years away effortlessly, later appearances showed Superman's physical might, though still incredible to say the least, to possess veritable and somewhat tamer limits. For instance, Superman once had to exert himself to the point of collapse to retrieve Hawkman's Thanagarian Star Cruiser from the gravity field of a neutron star, demonstrating that his strength and endurance were not infinite and could be exhausted by sufficiently challenging tasks. 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!"
- 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. 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. 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.
- Longevity: Superman can live almost indefinitely if he resides under continuous exposure to Earth's sunlight or that of another yellow star/sun.
- Self-Sustenance: He does not need to eat or sleep (but is still capable of doing so) and doesn't require oxygen to breathe, enabling him to travel in space and underwater unprotected.
- Superhuman Stamina: He has the ability to maintain continuous physical activity for an undefined period. Although not unlimited, Superman's stamina is indeed considerable. His resilience in the face of perils that could potentially annihilate planets, galaxies, universes, and even him is tremendous.
- Flight: Superman is capable of defying gravity as a result of Krypton's greater gravity and its demands on Kryptonian physiology. Superman can travel through time and traverse dimensions by exceeding the speed of light.
- Superhuman Speed: He is capable of moving, reacting, running, and flying at superhuman speeds. While not as fast as the Flash, Superman is considered one of the swiftest beings in the universe. He can use this power to disarm opponents, catch bullets or shrapnel, cross vast distances in seconds, and move himself and other objects at speeds exceeding the speed of light itself.
- Superhuman Hearing: Superman has vastly increased auditory sensitivity to even the slightest changes in sound and pitch, allowing him to pick up noises from across the globe. He has shown enough control to block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source/frequency.
- Enhanced Sense of Smell
- Enhanced Senses
- Super-Breath: Superman can create hurricane force winds by blowing, and also exhale super-cooled gas to freeze a target. His super breath is so powerful that he once used it to blow earth back into orbit. He can also breathe in large amounts of air to dispel clouds of gas by exhaling it.
- Heat Vision: Superman can fire beams of intense heat from his eyes, a product of his capacity for optical release of electromagnetic radiation along a range of wavelengths. One time, when he was Superboy, he used heat vision to reignite the Sun, which had been drained by a Sun-Eater. Even still, some enemies were powerful enough to stand up to it and not even wince, such as Brainiac, whose Ultra-Force Shield Belt protected him from harm on a level even greater than Superman's invincibility, and Mongul, who withstood the full intensity of Superman's heat vision after being hit with it point-blank.
- Super Vision: Superman also possessed telescopic vision, enabling him to see objects from great distances away, and X-ray vision, which enabled Superman to see through objects via the optical projection of X-rays.
- Telescopic Vision: The ability to focus his vision to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics.
- Microscopic Vision: The ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the sub-atomic level.
- X-Ray Vision: The ability to see through anything except lead. Since it is passive, this ability would not generate harmful radiation in the same manner as a focused projection of hard X-rays.
- Super-Ventriloquism: He could project his voice without visibly moving his mouth or lips across large distances.
- Super-Hypnotism: 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 enabled by augmentation of his already formidable intellectual capabilities by the Sun's rays.
- Superman can stop his breathing and heartbeat, faking death. 
- Artistry (sculpting)
- Aviation: Superman piloted the Supermobile on occasions when he was deprived of his super-powers.
- Gadgetry: Brilliant scientist and inventor, especially in robotics.
- Expert Combatant: In combat situations, Superman makes use of an improvised fighting style that relies on overwhelming force and speed. Superman has revealed being skilled in Judo, Wrestling, Boxing and Karate. Kal-EL was also trained by the Karate Kid in armed and unarmed combat, when he worked alongside the Legion of Superheroes. Along with being trained by Muhammad Ali when it comes to Boxing, for two weeks.
- Kryptonian Historiography
- Indomitable Will: Superman has shown to have a powerful spirit, free of corruption and temptation. Having been raised by a kindly Kansas farmer and his wife, he was taught to protect life and help others. He is very optimistic and never gives up, even when things look bad.
- Journalism: Clark is one of the top reporters on the Daily Planet, rivaled only by Lois Lane.
- Leadership: Superman has proven many times over his ability to command respect and inspire others with his charisma, ardor, and idealism. He often serves as the primus inter pares of the Justice League.
- Medicine: Licensed doctor.
- Multilingualism: Appears to read, speak and write every known language on Earth (even Ancient ones, such as Ancient Egyptian) as well as several alien languages, including Kryptonese and the Interlac script.
- Psychology 
- 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. 
- 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, to the point Superman becomes prickly, irritable and psychologically unstable. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Superman was granted the honorary degree of Doctor or Super-Science, for all he has done for humanity.
- Superman was an honorary citizen of all the United Nations.
- On the 1976 DC Comics Calendar, his birthday was listed as February 29th.
- Two variants of this Superman appeared in the Dominus Effect:
- Superman was used as the model for Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy and Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's The Night Watch while traveling through time. However, the facial features of the figures in both paintings were taken from other individuals.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- 2,731 Appearances of Kal-El (Earth-One)
- 253 Images featuring Kal-El (Earth-One)
- 238 Quotations by or about Kal-El (Earth-One)
- Character Gallery: Kal-El (Earth-One)
- ↑ Superboy #63
- ↑ Superman #124
- ↑ World's Finest #97
- ↑ Action Comics #564
- ↑ World's Finest #89
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Action Comics #375
- ↑ Batman #140
- ↑ Superman #165
- ↑ Superman #169
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Action Comics #335
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #56
- ↑ Action Comics #370
- ↑ Adventure Comics #175
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Superman #172
- ↑ Adventure Comics #223
- ↑ Superman #210
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Action Comics #372
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Action Comics #374
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 World's Finest #189
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 World's Finest #190
- ↑ Action Comics #382
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 World's Finest #194
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 World's Finest #195
- ↑ Superboy #173
- ↑ Superman #149
- ↑ Superman #205
- ↑ Superman #257
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Superboy #89
- ↑ Superman #137
- ↑ Superman #139
- ↑ Superboy #171
- ↑ Superboy #124
- ↑ Adventure Comics #247
- ↑ Superboy #98
- ↑ Adventure Comics #310
- ↑ Adventure Comics #312
- ↑ Adventure Comics #317
- ↑ Adventure Comics #318
- ↑ Adventure Comics #321
- ↑ Adventure Comics #330
- ↑ Adventure Comics #331
- ↑ Adventure Comics #332
- ↑ Adventure Comics #333
- ↑ Adventure Comics #335
- ↑ Adventure Comics #336
- ↑ Adventure Comics #338
- ↑ Adventure Comics #340
- ↑ Adventure Comics #341
- ↑ Adventure Comics #342
- ↑ Adventure Comics #346
- ↑ Adventure Comics #347
- ↑ Adventure Comics #348
- ↑ Adventure Comics #349
- ↑ Adventure Comics #350
- ↑ Adventure Comics #351
- ↑ Adventure Comics #352
- ↑ Adventure Comics #353
- ↑ Adventure Comics #355
- ↑ Adventure Comics #357
- ↑ Adventure Comics #358
- ↑ Adventure Comics #359
- ↑ Adventure Comics #360
- ↑ Adventure Comics #361
- ↑ Adventure Comics #362
- ↑ Adventure Comics #363
- ↑ Adventure Comics #365
- ↑ Adventure Comics #366
- ↑ Adventure Comics #367
- ↑ Adventure Comics #369
- ↑ Adventure Comics #370
- ↑ Adventure Comics #372
- ↑ Adventure Comics #373
- ↑ Adventure Comics #375
- ↑ Adventure Comics #377
- ↑ Adventure Comics #378
- ↑ Adventure Comics #379
- ↑ Adventure Comics #380
- ↑ Action Comics #387
- ↑ Adventure Comics #271
- ↑ Superman #292
- ↑ Superboy #68
- ↑ Superboy #78
- ↑ Adventure Comics #283
- ↑ Adventure Comics #300
- ↑ Adventure Comics #305
- ↑ Adventure Comics #287
- ↑ Adventure Comics #288
- ↑ Adventure Comics #320
- ↑ Superboy #173
- ↑ Superboy #188
- ↑ Amazing World of Superman #1
- ↑ Superman: The Secret Years #1
- ↑ Superman: The Secret Years #2
- ↑ Superman: The Secret Years #3
- ↑ 96.0 96.1 Superman: The Secret Years #4
- ↑ Superman #129
- ↑ 98.0 98.1 Action Comics #261
- ↑ Action Comics #241
- ↑ Action Comics #265
- ↑ Superman #176
- ↑ Superman #133
- ↑ Superman #136
- ↑ Superman #87
- ↑ Superman #106
- ↑ Action Comics #249
- ↑ World's Finest #88
- ↑ World's Finest #100
- ↑ World's Finest #104
- ↑ 110.0 110.1 Action Comics #267
- ↑ Action Comics #271
- ↑ 112.0 112.1 Action Comics #277
- ↑ Superman #144
- ↑ Action Comics #292
- ↑ Action Comics #294
- ↑ World's Finest #126
- ↑ World's Finest #129
- ↑ World's Finest #137
- ↑ Action Comics #242
- ↑ Action Comics #275
- ↑ 121.0 121.1 Action Comics #280
- ↑ 122.0 122.1 Action Comics #252
- ↑ Action Comics #309
- ↑ Adventure Comics #393
- ↑ Superman #134
- ↑ Action Comics #278
- ↑ Action Comics #279
- ↑ Action Comics #281
- ↑ Action Comics #282
- ↑ Action Comics #283
- ↑ Action Comics #284
- ↑ Action Comics #285
- ↑ Action Comics #287
- ↑ 134.0 134.1 Action Comics #310
- ↑ 135.0 135.1 Action Comics #318
- ↑ Action Comics #339
- ↑ Action Comics #254
- ↑ Action Comics #255
- ↑ Action Comics #263
- ↑ Action Comics #264
- ↑ Superman #140
- ↑ Superman #131
- ↑ Superman #135
- ↑ 144.0 144.1 Superman #154
- ↑ Superman #148
- ↑ Superman #174
- ↑ Superman #127
- ↑ Superman #138
- ↑ Superman #147
- ↑ Action Comics #276
- ↑ Superman #135
- ↑ Superman #138
- ↑ Superman #139
- ↑ Superman #141
- ↑ Action Comics #285
- ↑ Action Comics #289
- ↑ Superman #157
- ↑ The Phantom Zone #1
- ↑ Action Comics #297
- ↑ 160.0 160.1 Action Comics #298
- ↑ Action Comics #286
- ↑ Action Comics #287
- ↑ Action Comics #295
- ↑ Action Comics #300
- ↑ Superman #163
- ↑ Action Comics #313
- ↑ 167.0 167.1 World's Finest #175
- ↑ Superman #147
- ↑ Action Comics #283
- ↑ Superman #158
- ↑ Superman #164
- ↑ Superman #167
- ↑ Superman #168
- ↑ World's Finest #142
- ↑ Action Comics #319
- ↑ Action Comics #326
- ↑ Action Comics #329
- ↑ Superman #182
- ↑ Action Comics #332
- ↑ Action Comics #333
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #62
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #63
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #64
- ↑ Action Comics #336
- ↑ Action Comics #340
- ↑ Superman #190
- ↑ Action Comics #341
- ↑ Action Comics #342
- ↑ Superman #191
- ↑ Action Comics #343
- ↑ Adventure Comics #354
- ↑ Action Comics #348
- ↑ Superman #195
- ↑ Action Comics #351
- ↑ Action Comics #352
- ↑ Action Comics #353
- ↑ Superman #198
- ↑ Action Comics #354
- ↑ World's Finest #168
- ↑ Action Comics #355
- ↑ Action Comics #356
- ↑ Action Comics #357
- ↑ Superman #201
- ↑ Superman (Volume 203) #
- ↑ Superman #204
- ↑ Action Comics #358
- ↑ Action Comics #359
- ↑ Action Comics #361
- ↑ Superman #156
- ↑ Action Comics #362
- ↑ Action Comics #363
- ↑ Action Comics #364
- ↑ Action Comics #365
- ↑ Action Comics #366
- ↑ Superman #205
- ↑ Superman #208
- ↑ Superman #209
- ↑ Action Comics #367
- ↑ 219.0 219.1 Superman #211
- ↑ Action Comics #368
- ↑ Action Comics #369
- ↑ Action Comics #371
- ↑ Superman #213
- ↑ Superman #214
- ↑ Superman #218
- ↑ Action Comics #376
- ↑ Action Comics #377
- ↑ Action Comics #378
- ↑ Action Comics #380
- ↑ Action Comics #381
- ↑ Action Comics #383
- ↑ Action Comics #384
- ↑ Superman #223
- ↑ Action Comics #385
- ↑ Action Comics #386
- ↑ Action Comics #387
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #137
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #138
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #105
- ↑ Superman #233
- ↑ Superman #234
- ↑ Forever People #1
- ↑ Superman #235
- ↑ Action Comics #400
- ↑ Superman #237
- ↑ Superman #238
- ↑ Superman #240
- ↑ Superman #241
- ↑ Superman #242
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #139
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #141
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #111
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #114
- ↑ Superman #244
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #115
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #116
- ↑ Superman #246
- ↑ Action Comics #407
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #142
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #143
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #144
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #145
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #146
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #118
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #119
- ↑ Superman #247
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #120
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #121
- ↑ Superman #248
- ↑ Superman #249
- ↑ Superman #250
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #147
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #148
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #122
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #123
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #124
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133
- ↑ Action Comics #413
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #152
- ↑ World's Finest #94
- ↑ Superman #76
- ↑ World's Finest #71
- ↑ World's Finest #72
- ↑ World's Finest #73
- ↑ World's Finest #75
- ↑ World's Finest #76
- ↑ World's Finest #77
- ↑ World's Finest #78
- ↑ World's Finest #80
- ↑ World's Finest #84
- ↑ World's Finest #102
- ↑ World's Finest #140
- ↑ World's Finest #141
- ↑ World's Finest #143
- ↑ World's Finest #144
- ↑ World's Finest #156
- ↑ World's Finest #159
- ↑ World's Finest #160
- ↑ World's Finest #163
- ↑ World's Finest #164
- ↑ World's Finest #169
- ↑ World's Finest #173
- ↑ World's Finest #192
- ↑ World's Finest #193
- ↑ World's Finest #202
- ↑ World's Finest #207
- ↑ World's Finest #211
- ↑ World's Finest #217
- ↑ World's Finest #256
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #150
- ↑ World's Finest #262
- ↑ World's Finest #264
- ↑ World's Finest #270
- ↑ World's Finest #272
- ↑ World's Finest #273
- ↑ World's Finest #274
- ↑ World's Finest #275
- ↑ World's Finest #277
- ↑ World's Finest #278
- ↑ World's Finest #279
- ↑ World's Finest #280
- ↑ World's Finest #281
- ↑ World's Finest #285
- ↑ World's Finest #286
- ↑ World's Finest #287
- ↑ World's Finest #288
- ↑ World's Finest #293
- ↑ World's Finest #307
- ↑ World's Finest #321
- ↑ World's Finest #323
- ↑ Superman #199
- ↑ The Flash #175
- ↑ Superman #220
- ↑ World's Finest #198
- ↑ World's Finest #199
- ↑ World's Finest #200
- ↑ World's Finest #205
- ↑ World's Finest #201
- ↑ World's Finest #204
- ↑ Superboy #171
- ↑ Superman #138
- ↑ World's Finest #203
- ↑ World's Finest #209
- ↑ World's Finest #210
- ↑ Superman #233
- ↑ World's Finest #207
- ↑ World's Finest #208
- ↑ Justice League of America #9
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #28
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #29
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #30
- ↑ Justice League of America #1
- ↑ Justice League of America #10
- ↑ Justice League of America #11
- ↑ Justice League of America #12
- ↑ Justice League of America #21
- ↑ Justice League of America #22
- ↑ Justice League of America #25
- ↑ Justice League of America #27
- ↑ Justice League of America #29
- ↑ Justice League of America #30
- ↑ Justice League of America #32
- ↑ Justice League of America #34
- ↑ Justice League of America #36
- ↑ Justice League of America #41
- ↑ Justice League of America #42
- ↑ Justice League of America #43
- ↑ Justice League of America #44
- ↑ Justice League of America #49
- ↑ Justice League of America #60
- ↑ Justice League of America #61
- ↑ Justice League of America #63
- ↑ Justice League of America #65
- ↑ Justice League of America #66
- ↑ Justice League of America #68
- ↑ Justice League of America #69
- ↑ Justice League of America #70
- ↑ Wonder Woman #179
- ↑ Justice League of America #69
- ↑ Justice League of America #71
- ↑ Justice League of America #73
- ↑ Justice League of America #74
- ↑ Justice League of America #75
- ↑ Justice League of America #77
- ↑ Justice League of America #78
- ↑ Justice League of America #79
- ↑ Justice League of America #80
- ↑ Green Lantern (Volume 2) #76
- ↑ Justice League of America #81
- ↑ Justice League of America #82
- ↑ Justice League of America #83
- ↑ Justice League of America #84
- ↑ Justice League of America #86
- ↑ Justice League of America #87
- ↑ Justice League of America #90
- ↑ Justice League of America #91
- ↑ Justice League of America #92
- ↑ Justice League of America #94
- ↑ Justice League of America #95
- ↑ Justice League of America #96
- ↑ Justice League of America #97
- ↑ Justice League of America #98
- ↑ Convergence: Booster Gold #2
- ↑ Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
- ↑ Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2
- ↑ Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1
- ↑ Convergence: Adventures of Superman #2
- ↑ Action Comics #262
- ↑ Justice League of America #80
- ↑ World's Finest #208
- ↑ Action Comics #553
- ↑ Action Comics #560
- ↑ 417.0 417.1 Action Comics #473
- ↑ Adventure Comics #213
- ↑ Action Comics #294
- ↑ Adventure Comics #159
- ↑ Superman #107
- ↑ Superman #229
- ↑ Superman #184
- ↑ Action Comics #348
- ↑ Action Comics #350
- ↑ Adventure Comics #368
- ↑ All-New Collectors' Edition #C-56
- ↑ Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #12
- ↑ World's Finest #251
- ↑ DC Comics Presents #49
- ↑ Superman #370
- ↑ Superman #204
- ↑ DC Comics Presents #1
- ↑ Superman #365
- ↑ DC Retroactive: Superman-The '70s #1
- ↑ Action Comics #409
- ↑ Action Comics #329
- ↑ Adventure Comics #356
- ↑ Action Comics #333
Superman Family member
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
Legion of Super-Heroes member
Daily Planet Staff member
|Batman Family member |
This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Batman, and a member of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Family members" category.