"Who Took The Super Out Of Superman!": Several decades ago, at the same time than Jonathan and Martha Kent found the rocket carrying baby Kal-El, two prospectors happened upon a spaceship. They were turned to ashes

Quote1 I've been telling kids for years that wearing a Superman costume won't give them powers like mine... but I wonder if those words are somehow gaining a ring of truth! Quote2

Superman #296 is an issue of the series Superman (Volume 1) with a cover date of February, 1976.

Appearing in "Who Took The Super Out Of Superman!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Inter-Gang (Behind the scenes)
    • Sky-Crooks
  • Xviar (First appearance) (Flashback and main story)
  • Killer Bees
  • Pirates

Other Characters:



  • A robot assassin sent by Inter-Gang


Synopsis for "Who Took The Super Out Of Superman!"

Several decades ago, at the same time than Jonathan and Martha Kent found the rocket carrying baby Kal-El, two prospectors happened upon a spaceship. They were turned to ashes right away, and out of the ship stepped a human-looking being.

Sixteen years later, Xviar is watching Superboy's exploits from afar. Although time has passed, his defective human disguise shows no signs of aging. He's informed by his superiors that he's to move to Metropolis, where Superboy will most likely resettle, and wait for further instructions.

Many years later, Superman deals with a swarm of killer bees heading towards Metropolis and disposes of a band of pirates, and changes to Clark Kent. As making his way to J. Schwartz's Judo School where he's awaited by Lois Lane and Steve Lombard, he saves Lombard from being run over by a cab. The cab hits Clark instead, and surprisingly, he gets injured and knocked out unconscious. As Lois checks on Clark and shouts Steve to call an ambulance, Xviar is observing the scene. Clark Kent feigned illness many times in the past, but it'll be different from now on.

A while later, Clark Kent wakes up on a hospital bed and realizes he has no powers. Once he's alone, Clark decides he needs to get out of there immediately to investigate what's wrong with him. Clark takes his hyper-compressed suit out of its hiding place, changes to Superman and walks out.

As soon as he leaves the building, Superman sees a trio of Inter-Gang sky-crooks. At the beginning frustrated with being unable to stop them, Superman realizes his powers have returned and quickly and easily captures the Intergang thugs.

Afterwards, Superman flies back to his apartment and examines his trouble. For some reason, he loses his powers when he wears his civilian clothes but gets them back when he suits up.

Superman changes back to Clark, too focused on his dilemma to notice a big crate sitting next to his apartment door, when he hears the lobby buzzer ringing. As he answers the call -warning him about the crate's delivery-, an Inter-Gang robot bursts out of the crate and attacks Clark Kent. Guessing this is Inter-Gang's reaction to his articles exposing them, Clark Kent rushes to take off his civilian clothes as dodging the robot's relentless and deadly assault. It's only when Superman has gotten rid of every clothing article that he can easily dismantle the robot.

After his victory, Superman hears someone knocking on his door. Superman quickly changes into Clark, goes out and greets his neighbor Mrs. Goldstein, excusing his apartment racket on his rearranging the furniture. As Clark pushes Mrs. Goldstein's wheelchair past his neighbor's door on their way to a tenants' meeting, Mrs. Goldstein wonders if Clark's mysterious next door neighbor Mr. Xavier whom nobody has ever seen will attend.

After they've marched down the hall, Xviar opens his door and peeks out, grumbling about troublesome, annoying neighbors. He goes to report to his superiors, who praise him for his mission's progress and let him know his assignment's ultimate purpose: carrying out Earth's destruction using Superman as weapon.

Meanwhile, Clark is sitting on the meeting, pondering maybe his problem's origin is psychosomatic. Maybe his body is telling him he can't lead a double life anymore and he has to choose between both identities once and for all.


  • First part of a four-part story continued through Superman #299.


  • Clark Kent states he is taking karate classes, but he actually attends a Judo school.
  • Clark, Lois and Steve's Judo school instructor is named after Julius Schwartz. The self-named character wouldn't be created until 1985.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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