"The Leap": During the second World War, the Japanese feared a new weapon that they knew would come from the skies. One day, in Nagasaki, a young boy looked up to see a plane flying overhead. He watched through binoculars to see it dropping what appeared to be a bo
- Not every story Superman is involved with needs him in the title.
- — Superman
Synopsis for "The Leap"
During the second World War, the Japanese feared a new weapon that they knew would come from the skies. One day, in Nagasaki, a young boy looked up to see a plane flying overhead. He watched through binoculars to see it dropping what appeared to be a bomb. However, the casing fell away to reveal a man.
Now, Superman re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, and recalls how it feels similar to the experience of a game he used to play with his friends in Smallville called "The Colder Leap", where they would jump from a neighbor's silo into his haystacks before school. There, though, in outer space, Superman has found a prototype space station called the Lighthouse, developed in cooperation between the Americans, Russians, and Japanese. It is meant to be a hub for deep space exploration. Unfortunately, it is also the eighth object that has been hurled out of orbit today by someone who is attempting to destroy the Earth. This particular object is nuclear equipped, and as such, it is far too dangerous to let collide with the planet, and it is a struggle to get a handle on it.
What's worse is that there are people on board. Yanking them free with little time for explanation, he is surprised when the Lighthouse fights back. Forcing himself to talk to the astronauts, Superman assures them they'll be fine, though he knows they will burn up in the atmosphere if he can't save them first. Using his heat-vision, he activates the Lighthouse's built-in re-entry shield to protect them. Returning his attention to the Lighthouse's impending crash, Superman hopes to stop the thing's engine, but the only safe method for doing that would be to short out the electrical engine without damaging the nuclear battery. Hopefully, he uses his X-Ray vision, at Gamma level, to short it out. This, at least, stops the Lighthouse from propelling itself toward the earth, though it is still too late to stop it from falling to Earth entirely. Desperately, Superman grabs the astronauts in mid-air and attempts to shield them with his body, promising that he will prevent any lives from being lost. The Lighthouse comes down hard against the Earth's surface, but, true to his promise, Superman protects the astronauts from any harm.
His work done, Superman receives a sudden call from Jimmy Olsen, who reports happily that Superman stopped the Lighthouse, thinking he is giving his friend Clark Kent an early tip. Jimmy suggests that the crash may have been the work of a cyber-terrorist group called Ascension, but it seems to Clark like more than they're capable of.
Meanwhile, over Metropolis, prisoner Lex Luthor non-chalantly reads from the Illiad as his companion prisoners attempt escape by attacking their guards - sending the chopper they are riding in careening off-course. Fortunately, they are saved by Superman, who is not pleased to see Luthor involved - particularly since the earth-bound objects were weaponized by a malware program similar to one described in Luthor's doctorate research. However, Luthor explains that his research was stolen years ago, in a well-documented theft. Annoyed that Superman doesn't appear to believe him, he demands of Superman to explain to him why he would do it. Superman responds that Luthor would do it merely to show that he can. Smirking, Luthor explains that he has other plans for the world - better plans. He intends to build Metropolis a central solar tower which will generate nearly 600 megawatts daily, and he intends to do it from a Supermax prison.
Later, Jimmy suggests that the Daily Planet now works like an evil empire, and he admires Clark for quitting his job there, and doing things right. Clark explains that the Planet wasn't interested in printing the stories he wanted to write, anyway. In this case, he is working on the Lighthouse story, having got an interview with one of the astronauts the night before. Their conversation is interrupted by a call from Lois Lane, who has already read the headline on his story, but before she can launch into a critique she is interrupted by Perry White. She resumes by complaining that Clark failed both to mention Superman and to suggest that Ascension might have been responsible. She knows it seems too big for them too, and has been trying to convince her father to look into it. However, what Clark really missed in his article is that the seventh object, which he thought he had let crash into an unoccupied installation near Thailand, had actually missed and hit the water.
This comes as a surprise to Clark, because physically, the satellite couldn't have missed. As Superman, he travels to the sea in search of evidence, knowing that neither he nor his compatriots in the Justice League had redirected the satellite's course. When he arrives, he discovers a giant hand-print on the side of it, and is confused. However, he is further taken aback when torpedoes from a nearby submarine home in on him. This comes as a surprise to the submariners as well, considering that they had not expected Superman to be there. They were merely destroying the wreckage under orders from General Sam Lane.
General Lane, meanwhile, is in a secret underground base, hoping that Superman will not delve too much deeper, but sure that he will never find this place. And, if by chance he does find it, the weapon they have hiding there is more than any match for Superman - and it's been working for the US government for nearly 75 years.
Appearing in "The Leap"
- Wraith (First appearance)
- Hideki (Flashback only)
- Aikia (Flashback only)
- Ichiru (Flashback only)
- Japan (World War II, August 9, 1945) (Flashback only)
- Nagasaki (Flashback only)
- United States of America
- A "Director's Cut" version of this issue was released in July, 2013; including pencil art by Jim Lee and full scripts by Scott Snyder.
- This issue includes a bonus two-sided, tipped-in poster measuring 11.6875" x 18.875" that is part of the reading experience and can be easily removed for display.