"What Could Have Been, What Can Still Be and What Is": Superman and Vandal Savage have reached the comet and resume their fight while the comet falls towards Earth. The comet's energies mutate Savage, who then throws Superman towards a canyon. The Puzzler, under Savage's orders, traps Superman i
Appearing in "What Could Have Been, What Can Still Be and What Is"
Synopsis for "What Could Have Been, What Can Still Be and What Is"
Superman and Vandal Savage have reached the comet and resume their fight while the comet falls towards Earth. The comet's energies mutate Savage, who then throws Superman towards a canyon. The Puzzler, under Savage's orders, traps Superman in a virtual simulation of Krypton. There, he finds himself face to face with duplicates of Jor-El, Lara and their son Kal-El. In this reality, Krypton did not explode and Kal-El grew up to be a young boy. Jor-El explains to Superman that Krypton was saved by it ruler, the High Chief.
Superman makes his way to the High Chief's inner sanctum, defeating anyone in his way, and discovers the High Chief to be none other than Savage, who explains the comet was originally about to hit Krypton until a Kryptonian diverted it to Earth. In Savage's virtual world, however, the comet crashed on Krypton and killed millions, but Savage used the comet's power to unite Krypton under this rule and save it from impending doom. With disaster averted, Kal-El got to live with his biological parents instead of being sent to Earth. Superman refuses to accept Savage's words, so Savage rearranges the simulation and takes him to Earth.
This virtual Earth is also under Savage's rule, with Superman as his general. Earth is under attack by the Dominators, but a group of heroes and villains led by Superman quickly ends the invasion. While Savage and his cohorts celebrate, Superman asks why does Savage wants him on his side while he already has the comet and Savage responds that every clan needs a leader. Previously, Savage founded the Demon Knights but they failed to realize his vision of a strong clan. Savage also reveals Lois, Jimmy and Perry as his personal servants, outraging Superman, who breaks their chains. Continuously annoyed by Superman's defiance, Savage shows him an Earth destroyed and its habitants killed by their own weakness.
Savage ends the simulation and gives Superman a final offer to join him while he goes to bring the comet closer to Earth. As Lois' news crew arrives at the canyon, Superman is left to ponder what Savage showed him. Then, he remembers a conversation he had with his father when he was a child. He wanted to use his powers to get back at a bully, but Jonathan told him everyone had the opportunity of choosing who they wanted to be. And Superman has made his choice.
He reaches low orbit and begins pushing the comet away from Earth. Savage orders the Puzzler to deal with Superman. Instead the Puzzler asks Superman why did he not finish HORDR_ROOT when had the chance. Superman answers HORDR_ROOT was more than just a robot, he was his own person with his own choices. Just like HORDR_ROOT, Puzzler can choice what he wants to be. Inspired by Superman's answers, the Puzzler chooses to help Superman push the comet away. The force exerted by the three causes the comet to shatter, throwing Savage into deep space while Puzzler plunges into the sea.
Superman is thrown back into the canyon and Lois and Jimmy rush to help him. With the crisis over, Superman reconciles with Lois and emotionally hugs. Afterwards, the three friends enjoy lunch at a diner, where Jimmy reveals he got back to the Daily Planet. Superman hears a cry for help and quickly flies to the rescue.
- This book was first published on March 16, 2016.
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