"Apokolips, Now!": Determined to save his friend John Henry from Darkseid's clutches, Superman now faces Darksied on an asteroid on Apokolips. He recounts how, to avoid involving Earth, he led a group of those with
- Superman saved a man's life once, and that made all the difference. Because that man was my Uncle John. Because he made me see that we're all responsible for each other -- and if you save one life, you save the world. Because he showed me that there is some sense to this superheroics thing. Uncle John was always trying to get me to see that, I think -- but sometimes you just need to get hit over the head. Superman went to the wall. For the sake of a friend plotted, fought and won a battle so important the world will never know it went down. I'll even forgive him for trying to keep me out of that fight -- because, bottom line, he changed my life. My life will count for something. I will make a difference.
Superman Versus Darkseid: Apokolips Now #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of March, 2003. It was published on January 29, 2003.
Synopsis for "Apokolips, Now!"
Determined to save his friend John Henry from Darkseid's clutches, Superman now faces Darksied on an asteroid on Apokolips. He recounts how, to avoid involving Earth, he led a group of those with Kryptonian DNA (which includes another version of Supergirl) in an invasion on Apokolips. Here, he makes a bargain with Darksied. If he bests Darksied in single combat, then he gets to take Steel and leave Apokolips, and he will not tell anyone of Darkseid's defeat. If Darksied wins, he gets to keep Superman, Steel, the Entropy Aegis, and the power to remake and destroy the universe. Darkseid, aware that Superman probably isn't being up front with him about everything, accepts the wager, and takes the offensive immediately, attacking the Man of Steel with full-force. They begin trading blows, and both seem evenly matched. Darkseid tells Superman that he's never been bested before, and he doesn't plan on losing now. Superman balls his fists and smacks him back across the asteroid. Darkseid notes Superman's increased strength, and blasts him with his omega beams. Superman uses his heat vision and barely deflects the beams. However, they turn on the Man of Steel again, and he uses his super-speed to fly all around the asteroid, staying just out of reach of the beams. He leads the beams all the way to Darkseid, and flies out of the way just in time, and the beams collide with Darkseid, burning him.
Meanwhile, the other Kryptonians do battle with the hordes of Apokolips. The Eradicator unleashes his full might upon them, an quickly dispatches the monsters. Meanwhile, Natasha Irons is also able to make her way to the hell planet, and she prepares to enter the city, in the hopes of locating Steel. Back on the asteroid, Darkseid seems to get the upper hand on the Man of Steel and as he looms above superman to crush him with a boulder, Superman uses his freeze breath against the Dark lord. Meanwhile, Natasha is teleported to another place on Apokolips, using the power of the Entropy Aegis. She finds herself standing infant of a large statue, made in the likeness of the Aegis. Suddenly, Doomsday begins punching his way out of the statue, and emerges from inside the statue, and he sets his sights on Natasha. She uses her suit's energy blasts against the creature, but this only barely delays the rampaging juggernaut.
Elsewhere, Darkseid and Superman face each other, both catching their breath, weary from the long fight. Darkseid threatens to destroy Superman, but the Man of Steel commands Darkseid to give him Steel. Darkseid refuses, and attacks him again. Darkseid tells Superman that Steel was never meant to be the entropic force because he was too mortal. But Superman tells him that the entropic force was merely incubated inside of Steel, and that it was nurtured to provide a potent fuel, one which would amplify a more powerful entity. Amid the battle against the hordes, Kara finishes off the last of them, and uses her telescopic vision and sees Natasha, about to be killed by Doomsday. Kara flies off to her rescue, to the dismay of Eradicator, who asked Kara to hold her position. Meanwhile, Natasha prepares to be killed by the monster, figuring that if it killed Superman, she's no match for it. Suddenly, John Henry, emerges from the statue as well, using the great reserves of energy in the aegis armor. He picks up Doomsday in his hand, and throws him back onto the ground.
Darkseid insists that he cannot be defeated and that he is stronger, but Superman defeats him at last, stating that this time, he is stronger. Again asking for the return of his friend, he vows never to tell others the result of the combat, but warns that if Darkseid ever comes to Earth again, he will spread the word across the universe. John Henry, meanwhile, blasts Doomsday with the powers of the armor, and finally contains the creature before falling unconscious. Superman and the others arrive, and find John on the brink of death. Natasha saves with a transfusion of blood from her. They all return to Earth, where John receives proper medical care. Back on Apokolips, a resistance movement takes an 'S' as its symbol, somehow having gained word of Darkseid's defeat.
Appearing in "Apokolips, Now!"
- Superman (Flashback and main story)
- Superman Family
- Eradicator (Flashback and main story)
- Krypto (Flashback and main story)
- Natasha Irons (Flashback and main story)
- Steel (John Henry Irons) (Flashback and main story)
- Superboy (Flashback and main story)
- Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) (Flashback and main story)
- Supergirl (Linda Danvers) (Flashback and main story)
- Big Barda (Flashback only)
- Female Furies (Cameo)
- Boom Tube
- Entropy Aegis (Destroyed)
- Mother Box
- Steel's Armor (Flashback only)
- Kinetic Hammer (Flashback only)
- This issue is reprinted in Superman vs. Darkseid.
- This issue continues from Superman: The Man of Steel #134.
- Excluding Action Comics #586 and Adventures of Superman #595, this is the first time that Superman and Darkseid physically fight.
- 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)
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World Recommended Reading:
- Forever People (Volume 1)
- Forever People (Volume 2)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 1)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 2)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 3)
- Mister Miracle (Volume 4)
- Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle (Volume 1)
- New Gods (Volume 1)
- New Gods (Volume 2)
- New Gods (Volume 3)
- New Gods (Volume 4)
- Orion (Volume 1)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen (Volume 1): issues #133-#148
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World (Volume 1)
- Death of the New Gods (Volume 1)
- DC Graphic Novel #4
- Genesis (Volume 1)