"Superman, Inc.": In 1974, Kal-El's ship crashlanded in Kansas. Shortly thereafter, the infant Kryptonian was run over by a speeding car being driven by a drunk travelling salesman. Wracked with guilt at the thought of killing a baby, the sal
Superman, Inc. is a one-shot with a cover date of November, 1999.
Synopsis for "Superman, Inc."
In 1974, Kal-El's ship crashlanded in Kansas. Shortly thereafter, the infant Kryptonian was run over by a speeding car being driven by a drunk travelling salesman. Wracked with guilt at the thought of killing a baby, the salesman was astonished to discover that Kal-El was unharmed. He promptly turned the baby into the Pleasantville Sheriff's Office. Interpreting Kal-El's survival as a sign that he should clean up his act, the salesman gave up drinking and, within five years, had become a self-help guru who claimed that his life had been turned around by his encounter with a "miracle baby."
Several months later, Kal-El was adopted by a farm couple named Darryl and Edna Suderman and given the name "Dale." The Sudermans had been married for 17 years by the time that they adopted Dale and, since they were seemingly unable to have children of their own, his adoption made them finally feel as if they were a true family. However, the Suderman's happy life was cut tragically short by Darryl's death in 1979. Over the course of the next few months, Edna's health deteriorated and she began to experience problems with her heart. It was at this time that Dale first began to exhibit his Kryptonian heritage. While climbing a tree on the farm, Dale fell to the ground. Edna, fearing the worst, was shocked that he had no signs of injury. Shortly afterwards, he demonstrated his X-Ray Vision when he told his adoptive mother that her glasses had fallen behind the dresser, which he promptly lifted with no difficulty. He then demonstrated his ability to fly. Edna was horrified by this revelation and claimed that Dale was not her son and that he was possessed. In her astonishment, she did not pay attention to where she was going. She fell down the stairs and broke her neck, killing her instantly.
Following the deaths of his adoptive parents, Dale spent time at numerous foster homes. When he was a young teenager, he was sent to the Kansas State Juvenile Home where he was subjected to a ten week psychiatric evaluation. The psychiatrist noted that Dale was unresponsive and withdrawn, particularly when questioned about Edna's death. Based on Dale's claims to have no memory of that event or any of the events preceding it, he concluded that Dale was suffering from trauma-induced amnesia. Although standardized testing indicated that he was of above average intelligence, he lacked motivation and performed well below his potential. He avoid social interaction with his peers, choosing to isolate himself. The psychiatrist believed that this behaviour was attributable to a desire to prevent any further loss or trauma. In spite of Dale's problems, however, he recommended that his treatment be determined at the end of the current quarter due to staff and budget shortfalls. While at the State Home, however, Dale discovered that he had considerable athletic ability by participating in a basketball game with several other boys of his own age. His athletic prowess caused him to open up to his psychiatrist but he still refused to discuss his mother's death. He ran away from the home soon afterwards.
In his late teens, Dale was discovered by a former professional basketball player named Marcus Clark, who became his close friend, mentor and business manager. Under Marcus' tutelage, he launched his basketball career and eventually branched out into other sports including baseball and football. By 1999, he was the most successful and famous sports star on Earth. He played basketball for the Los Angeles Talons, had won several Olympic medals, was the Superbowl MVP and had hit at least 82 home runs in the previous baseball season. This earned him the nickname of "Superman." He used his sporting success and media image to establish his own corporation, Superman, Inc. Its headquarters were in Metropolis and many of his athletic awards were on display there. However, his success made him extremely arrogant. When Marcus asked him if he had ever considered why God had made him the greatest athlete on Earth, he told him that it was because God wanted him to be become the biggest star on Earth. He believed that he should try to entertain billions of people all over the world and that he represented their dream and their escape from the drudgery of their lives. Marcus told Dale that he should consider what was wrong with those billions of people that they needed him to improve their lives.
After Dale left the Talons, LexCorp billionaire Lex Luthor attempted to sign him to the Metropolis Monarchs, which he owned. He told the media that he was close to reaching a deal with the Mayor to build a new sports arena on Metropolis' Westside. He believed that the opportunity to play in a new arena would entice Dale to join the Monarchs. However, immediately afterwards, Dale announced that not only was he was establishing his own basketball franchise, the Metropolis Spartans, but that he had won the contract to build the arena on the Westside. In the meantime, Dale worked to increase his media profile even further by creating an animated television series entitled Superman. The title character of the series, based on Dale himself, was a "new kind of action hero - a super hero" who was endowed with superhuman powers such as strength, flight, invulnerability and X-Ray Vision. Though they were concerned that the censors might deem X-Ray Vision to risque for network television, his advisors nevertheless believed that the series would push "a lot of buttons in the adolescent fantasy department." When asked where he got the idea for his animated counterpart, Dale told that it came from his dreams.
Swearing revenge for his earlier humiliation, Luthor had his best reporter Lois Lane, a Pulitzer Prize winner who worked at The Daily Planet and was acquainted with Dale from her days of covering sports, try to find any improprieties in his past. Lois objected to Luthor's tactics, telling him that in spite of the fact that he owned the Planet, its function was not to advance his business agenda. Nevertheless, she proceeded with the interview. Marcus believed that Dale and Lois had chemistry but Dale dismissed the idea out of hand. He then told Marcus that he hoped to eventually humiliate Luthor even further by seizing control of LexCorp. Marcus advised him against this course of action as he believed that Dale would never be truly happy until he stopped thinking about himself for a change. Furious, Dale threw Marcus out of his office and told him to go to Hell. When he had calmed down the next day, Dale sent an e-mail apologising to Marcus but did not receive a response. Shortly afterwards, he received a phone call informing him that Marcus had been killed when his plane had crashed on its way to Los Angeles. The death of his mentor and friend had a profound effect on him.
Hoping to find out the truth of Dale's origins, Luthor sent a private investigator named Malloy to Pleasantville to learn all he could. While Malloy's investigations came to naught, he hit a breakthrough when he heard the salesman turned self-help guru's commercial mentioning his encounter with the "miracle baby" in Kansas 25 years earlier. From the guru, they learned the exact location of the accident and were able to find the ship which had brought Dale to Earth. The next day, Luthor printed a story claiming that Dale was an alien. Dale was outraged, calling the story "science fiction crap." Luthor told him that he had prove and showed him the ship. After being temporarily weakened by a piece of green rock contained in the ship, Dale threatened Luthor physically but was shot by his security men before he could do so. Dale fell out of the office window, hundreds of feet to the ground below, but flew back up immediately. This proved to not only Luthor but the general public that Dale was, in fact, an alien. Although Dale considered killing Luthor, he ultimately refrained from doing so.
With the revelation that he was an alien, public opinion began to turn against Dale with many demanding that he return his numerous medals and trophies as he had cheated. They did not believe Dale's claims that he had previously suppressed his memories of having superpowers. By reviewing CCTV footage of the incident, Luthor's scientists determined that the green rock was detrimental to Dale's health. To that end, a man in Luthor's employ shot Dale while he was being interviewed on The Whitty Banter Show. Dale was grievously injured but survived. During his convalescence, he was visited by Lt. John Jones of the Metropolis Police Department, who revealed that he was likewise an alien. The last survivor of his people, Jones became a policeman to learn about humanity, to see them at their best and worst, and to help whenever he could. Using his telepathic abilities, he was able to uncover Dale's suppressed memories of his childhood use of his powers and the circumstances surrounding his mother's death. He told Dale that they were many other metahumans on Earth but they were living in fear, unsure of how the public would react to them. He believed that Dale could be a role model for his fellow metahumans.
Dale began to re-evaluate his life and returned to Kansas for the first time in many years. While flying around Smallville, he was struck by lightning. He awoke a day later in the home of Jonathan and Martha Kent. They explained that they had found him unconscious in their wheat field. As they had not owned a television in many years, they did not recognise him and he told them that his name was "Dave Sullivan." For the next few months, Dale stayed with the Kents and helped them out on their farm. He grew very fond of them but, after seeing an article on an old newspaper which stated that Luthor was being indicted for his role in the shooting, he realised that it was time to start a new life for himself. He was deeply touched when Martha told him that she had begun to think of him as her own son and he promised to return as often as he could.
On his return to Metropolis, Dale announced that he planned to leave Earth to order to determine what fate had befallen his people and his home planet. In the meantime, he announced his intention to establish the Superman Foundation, which would use his vast fortune to benefit all of humanity. However, his plan to leave Earth was in actuality a lie designed to allow him to live a normal life. He hid his true identity with a pair of glasses. In honour of Marcus Clark and the Kents, he adopted the pseudonym "Clark Kent" and enrolled in Lois' class Journalism 101 in Midwestern University.
Appearing in "Superman, Inc."
- Marcus Clark
- Lt. John Jones
- Jonathan Kent
- Martha Kent
- Darryl Suderman
- Edna Suderman
- Reprinted in Elseworlds: Superman Vol. 1.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- 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: Son of Kal-El (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)