"Powerless": In the safety of the Khentii Mountains in Outer Mongolia, Superman tests his new ability, a powerful solar flare. The heat burns away his uniform, and when Batman arrives in his Batplane offering
- I've always been curious about "being" human. I'm aware of human feelings, but I'm not aware of feeling human. After a few times, I've come to enjoy it. Especially the food!
- — Superman
Appearing in "Powerless"
Synopsis for "Powerless"
In the safety of the Khentii Mountains in Outer Mongolia, Superman tests his new ability, a powerful solar flare. The heat burns away his uniform, and when Batman arrives in his Batplane offering a ride, he must board it naked - and powerless. Grumpily, Bruce warns that he can't just swing by to pick Clark up every time he uses his powers, despite the fact that Alfred has kindly packed him a lunch and a set of clothes.
In need of a more consistent plan for dealing with this ability's unfortunate side-effects of rendering him powerless, Superman meets with the Justice League, after taking 24 hours to recharge his strength. He admits that he has only a small grasp of what triggers the flare, but what interests him most is how to deal with being human during the hours before his powers return. The League has many questions, and Clark isn't really able to answer any of them without further tests - for which he requires Cyborg's help. Vic suggests that they try test format "JL 1-1A". As it turns out, there is no test JL 1-1A, and the League just use it as an excuse to blast him with weapons and beat on him, to test how strong he is, compared to his former self. Fortunately, his power levels and reflexes appear to be back to normal.
Cyborg insists that they set joking aside, and do a real test, to monitor the flare ability in a controlled environment. This means diverting much of the Justice League Satellite's exhaust baffles in order to ensure that the blast doesn't knock the satellite out of orbit, as Batman's diagnostics suggest it might. Safely behind a transparent wall of titanium, the Leaguers watch as superman prepares to activate his flare. Using his heat-vision, Superman tries to recreate the effect, and eventually succeeds in causing such a significant solar flare that it shorts out many of the electronics in a localized Electromagnetic Pulse. Batman approaches him in the aftermath, and wonders why Clark is doing this. Clark responds that he wants to know where the ability came from. It seems to have appeared suddenly when he fought Ulysses. Batman accepts Clark's need to know more, and suggests that they forget about it for a while to have dinner - Clark's treat.
First, they all go out for drinks in plain clothes - except Victor, whose cyborg appearance makes him somewhat conspicuous. He interrupts their toast via video call to explain that he may have found a way to harness some of the energy from Superman's flare. Excitedly, Clark suggests they have Italian food after drinks, feeling hungry, for once. Unfortunately, Clark's lack of powers since that last solar flare has made his tolerance for alcohol decline significantly.
Clark wakes in his apartment to news of a shootout downtown and a crushing hangover. Hurriedly, he gets into his uniform and brushes his teeth, leaping from his balcony, only to remember that flight is off the table. He can only leap now. Making his way across town in bounds, Superman discovers that the men are armed with weapons that seem to drain power. He dodges their blasts, but ends up being crushed under debris. Fortunately, he survives it - though he can feel it. He takes them all down before they can hit him again, and determines that he will never drink again. Worriedly, and not feeling himself, Superman gathers up the weapons and leaps off to show them to Cyborg and Batman for study. Unfortunately, he is caught on film bleeding, by some lookers on.
As the news is filled with that footage, Clark has a harder time of hiding the fact that he still has to wear Superman's injuries in his daily life as Clark Kent. Lois Lane spots him at the Daily Planet, and is made suspicious by the bandage on his head.
- This book was first published on April 29, 2015.
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