Superman

Clark Kent, Kal-El

Fighting Incredible
Agility Monstrous
Strength Unearthly
Endurance Shift-Y
Reason Remarkable
Intuition Remarkable
Psyche Amazing

Health 415
Karma 110
Resources Good
Popularity 100

Powers

Class 3000 Solar Absorption and Storage that provides Superman with mass amounts of energy that support all his other powers and abilities. He may direct this stored energy to enhance the following abilities:
Kryptonian Physiology: Exposure to a Yellow sun alters a Kryptonian to allow great physical abilities that provide Superman with the Agility, Strength, and Endurance Ranks listed under statistics and includes the following powers.
Invulnerabilities: Superman has Class 1000 resistance to Heat, Cold, Disease, Corrosives, Toxins and Radiation. His body’s cells protect him internally as well so even his insides wouldn’t be melted by drinking a vial of acid.
True Invulnerability: Superman’s dense Kryptonian body provides him with Unearthly protection from physical and Energy attacks.
True Flight: Superman is able to defy gravity and fly at Shift-Z airspeeds in atmosphere whilst at Class 3000 speed in space.
Torquasm-Vo: This ancient Kryptonian warrior discipline shifts his consciousness on a higher plane. He can fight an enemy in a purely mental realm with Amazing ability.
Heat Emmision-Eyes: Superman can emit his body’s stores of solar radiation through his eyes causing Unearthly Heat damage with a 10 area range. He is able to make wide or focused beams.
Hyper Speed: Superman is fast. He possesses hyperspeed at Amazing rank. He may:
Substitute for Fighting for multiple attacks and evading. May make up to 3 combat actions per round.
Substitute for Agility for dodging and catching projectiles.
Substitute for Intuition for initiative.
May reach maximum flight or ground speed in one round and has no penalties making high speed manuevers or starting or stopping suddenly.
Hyper Breath: Can exhale Monstrous strength winds at a 3 area range. Each area thereafter is at -1cs in intensity. May also emit Amazing intensity cold.
Recovery: Superman’s body continues absorbing solar radiation even after death. This energy may eventually return him to life making it virtually impossible to kill him.
Superman needs an Earth like atmosphere to breath in. His Endurance enables him to last for extended period holding his breath, but in space he will eventually need a space suit. His greater constitution provides little need for sleep, however eventually he will tire and require rest.
Superhuman Senses: Superman heightened senses as below:
Enhanced Hearing: Unearthly
Microscopic Vision: Amazing
Telescopic Vision: Good
Penetration Vision-Xrays: Unearthly
Power Boost: Superman can direct his bodies energies into his Strength, Flight or Speed, raising them as high as +2CS. It is an instantaneous boost and will be used when the challenge calls for it. He would normally raise +1CS, then +2CS if the initial boost is ineffective. He can boost immediately to Shift-Y if he needs too. To activate an increase he must make a Psyche FEAT.
Blue result he drops -1CS for a day.
White result he drops back to normal levels.
Green result sustains heightened rank for 1 round.
Yellow result keeps him at his heightened ranks for 1d10 turns
Red result would keep him at the new level for 1d100 turns.

Limitation

Superman is vulnerable to Krytonite an irradiated ore from his home planet of Krypton. He is powered by a particular wavelength of light which happens to be rather abundant in our sun. Kryptonite either destroys or interrupts this because it’s radiation is in a band which is similar to sunlight, but causes a different process to occur. In other words, the kryptonite radiation “chases out” the sunlight. There are different spectrums of Kryptonite and its effects on Superman are as follows:
Green Kryptonite: causes his body’s cells to deteriorate, similar to radiation poisoning in a human being. Exposure to Green Kryptonite causes Superman to lose all his powers at -1CS per round. He also loses 1 rank of Strength and Endurance (with its loss of Health) per round until death occurs at Shift-0 Endurance. Removal of the Green Kryptonite enables Superman’s body to regain lost ranks at a rate of one per round.
Red Kryptonite: causes bizzare changes in Superman’s body at a Unearthly rank. Changes in the past have included a beserk-madness rage and personal shrinking at a Incredible rank. It is up to the game judge to assign an effect at the time of the exposure to Red Kryptonite. These changes last for one day per round of exposure to the Red Kryptonite.
Gold kryptonite: Gold kryptonite robs kryptonians of all super abilities and powers and they then have the same stats of a normal human of the same height,weight and build.
Blue kryptonite: is toxic only to Bizarro creatures. Effects are similar to Green Kryptonite on Superman.
White kryptonite: is harmful only to plant life.
Jewel Kryptonite: are fragments from the jewel mountains of krypton. It allowed Jax-Ur and his cohorts from the Phantom Zone to concentrate and use their collective mental might focused through jewel kryptonite to send out an energy beam to detonate any explosive material.
Superman also has a vulnerability to magic attacks and the effects of magic. Magical attacks directly effect Superman ignoring any resistances or invulnerabilities. Further more any magical effect is increased +1CS in duration against Superman.
Superman’s powers are based on solar radiation from Earth’s yellow sun. Should he be deprived of this radiation for an extended period he will gradually loose his powers dropping at the rate of -1CS every round until they are no more. Addtionally his physical abilities will reduce at -1CS every round until reaching Typical levels.

Talents

Acrobatics, Wrestling, Martial Arts B, Martial Arts D (Kryptonian version of Tai-Chi), Computers, Electronics, Journalism, Detective/Espionage, Leadership, History: Human and Kryptonian, Linguistics: All Earth languages

Contacts

Batman, Daily Planet, Metropolis Police Department, White House, Justice League, United Nations and just about everyone else inbetween.

History

The planet Krypton had been home to a highly technologically advanced society for hundreds of thousands of years and was a utopia until the devastating Clone War. The post-Clone War Krypton was still one of the most advanced cultures in this Galaxy, but all creative and original impulse had been lost. The society was dying in more ways than one, a strange “Green Death” was killing the population. Twenty million had already died before the scientist Jor-El linked the plague with the side-effects of a doomsday device detonated during the Clone War. The native elements of the planet were being fused together to form a new radioactive element Jor-El called Kryptonium. The pressure created by the reaction was causing massive geological upheavals and would eventually cause the disintegration of the planet.

Jor-El was a dreamer in a society that had forgotten how to dream. He was greatly influenced by an encounter with a time lost Jack Knight who first taught him about Earth. A death left an opening in the Register of Citizens and Jor-El was selected by computer to be the father of a new child with the librarian Lara. Jor-El became smitten with her and used every chance to hear news of her. Genetic material was taken from the couple (who never met) and placed in an artificial womb called a Gestation or Birthing Matrix. However, Jor-El knew that the only way for a Kryptonian to survive the Green Death was for them to escape to the stars. He had already designed a prototype Hyperdrive and secretly removed the genetic factor from his child that stopped all Kryptonians surviving off planet. The genetic factor that had been introduced by his own xenophobic ancestor Kem-L, the creator of the Eradicator.

Jor-El’s three month investigation into the “Green Death” concluded before the birth of his son Kal-El. The pieces were in place. Jor-El knew that neither he nor Lara could survive away from Krypton, but their unborn son shielded from the Kryptonium radiation in his Matrix might have a chance. With little time left Jor-El attached the Matrix to the Hyper-Drive. The removal of the Matrix from the birthing chambers was noticed by Lara and she confronted Jor-El. He managed to convince her of their impending doom and together they launched the Matrix. Krypton died as Jor-El confessed his love to Lara – an act alien to that already dead world.

The Matrix took a hyper-light journey covering the fifty light-years that separated Krypton and Earth in just under twenty years. Time dilation meant that the occupant had only just reached the end of the gestation period when he entered Earth’s atmosphere. The Manhunters had been observing Jor-El and knew that a Kryptonian raised under Earth conditions would possess vast superpowers. They dispatched a starship to intercept the Matrix, but were delayed by a contingent of Green Lanterns sent by the Guardians of the Universe. This gave enough time for the Matrix to crash land and to be found by the farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent.

The Matrix opened when inspected, thus giving birth to Kal-El on American soil. Believing the child to be part of an Earth based space programme the Kents decided to raise him in secret rather than hand him over to the heartless authorities than had sent a baby into space. They named him Clark after Martha’s family and took him back to their farm just as the largest blizzard of the century hit Smallville. They were cut-off from town for five months. The blizzard had been created by the Manhunters to stop anybody reaching the crash site before them, but the Kent’s had already ” contaminated” the child with human love. After twice failing to capture the child the Manhunters decided drastic actions was required to monitor his future development. They replaced the Smallville doctor with a disguised Manhunter and implanted every child born in the town with a dormant mind control device.

Young Clark Kent seemed a perfectly normal baby boy. His new parents were able to announce him as their own natural son. Martha had suffered from a series of miscarriages and nobody wanted to closely question the new parents. By kindergarten Clark had already formed a strong friendship with Lana Lang and Pete Ross. It was only at the age of eight that Clark began to appear more than a normal human child. He was using a neighbours field as a shortcut when his father saw him charged down by a bull. Jonathan ran to the spot where his son had gone down expecting to find a bloody mess, but to his surprise and joy Clark was untouched. Unbeknown to the Kents, Clark’s Kryptonian cells were storing solar energy and converting it into superpowers. His invulnerability developed first followed by strength, speed, stamina, heightened senses and in his final year of school he discovered that he could fly.

Clark was a natural sportsman and found success on the football field with the Smallville Giants. While nowhere near his adult powerlevel Clark still outstripped every opponent. Most, such as his team-mates and coach, just saw Clark as an amazing athlete, but for those living in the shadow of Clark Kent feelings of jealousy were never far from the surface. Kenny Braverman was born the same day as Clark Kent and his meta-gene had been activated by the Kryptonium radiation from a fragment of Kryptonite embedded in the tail fin of Clark’s Hyperdrive. The side-effects made him suffer a crippling on-off sickness and when well he always came second to Clark Kent. The final straw came when Kenny asked Lana out to the school dance and found that she had already accepted Clark’s invitation. Braverman would carry a grudge against Clark for the rest of his life and eventually became the supervillain Conduit.

For the most part Clark’s childhood was idyllic, but he was watched by formidable cosmic powers. The loose alliance of deities and entities called the Quintessence watched Kal-El with a keen interest knowing that one day he would follow a great destiny. They tested him by invading his dreams and examining his reactions to xenophobia and what actions he would choose when faced with it. He passed their tests and they concluded that he would one day become a mighty champion for humanity. Other powers found themselves drawn to the young Clark Kent. The martian J’onn J’onzz even worked undercover as a farmhand on the Kents farm for a season.

Clark’s adopted parents realised that great power carries even greater responsibility, a philosophy that Clark had to learn the hard way. Two incidents really drove this home to Clark, the first happened when a car he was in crashed into a tree on the way home from a party. The driver, Scott Brubaker, had been drinking and was left in a vegetative state. Clark had offered to drive, but Scott insisted. Clark learnt that while he may be indestructible the people around him were not. The second incident happened after Clark had practically won the final football game of the High School season single-handedly. His father confronted him over the use of his abilities, revealed to him that he had been adopted and showed him the rocket ship that had brought him to Earth.

The growing realisation of his responsibilities and the revelation of his adoption left Clark with some hard thinking to do. He had to help people secretly, but if his identity was ever revealed he would never be able live a normal life. He decided to leave Smallville and search the world for answers to his unique condition. Before he left he revealed his abilities to Lana – she had been hoping that Clark was going to propose marriage. Lana was devastated by the news because she knew that Clark saw her more as a sister than as a potential lover. In time she would come to see Clark’s trust as an honour and would marry Pete Ross.

After leaving Smallville Clark aimlessly worked his way around the world, aided flood relief in India, stopped earthquakes in Asia and even raising the odd headline sunken ship. Clark left home hoping to discover answers to his problems, but could never seem to find a focus. In Venice he encountered the veteran journalist Ed Wilson and shadowed him on assignments around the world. Wilson eventually discovered Clark’s abilities and pushed him to get his act together. Clark was inspired by Wilson and returned to the US to enroll with Metropolis University to study journalism.

During university Clark worked at Balducci’s Restaurant as a short order chef. A waitress there called Ruby Carson introduced Clark to the city and turned a young country boy into a city dweller. At U.Met Clark majored in journalism and took almost every course he could. It was on one of these courses that he first met Lori Lemaris. Clark had seen Lana and Ruby as friends and occasionally as girlfriends, but Lori was different. They fell deeply in love and Clark proposed marriage, but Lori broke off the relationship and vanished. Clark later learnt that she was a mermaid from a sunken Atlantean colony and left because she knew a relationship between a surface dweller and an Atlantean could never work.

Clark graduated from U Met. in just two years and briefly returned to Europe. He had decided on a career in journalist because it allowed him to keep track of potential disasters and to compete on a level playing field with other people. He was taken under the wing of Parisian journalist Simone DeNeige, she was beautiful, worldly, and taught Clark to exploit networking. After leaving Paris Clark applied to the Daily Planet and Managing Editor Perry White agreed to give him an interview. While killing time in Metropolis Clark decided to attend the city’s two hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebrations. The main event was to be the landing at Metropolis International of the Spaceplane Constitution.

Clark was watching crowd when a light aircraft breached the secure airspace and collided with the Constitution. The two planes locked together and began to tumble out of the sky. There was no way to stop the media seeing him, but Clark knew he had to save the Constitution. Leaping into the air he moved with superspeed (hoping nobody would get a good look at him) caught the Constitution and lowered it to the ground. Before he could make a getaway Clark was cornered by the reporter Lois Lane who had been a guest on the Constitution. That moment was enough for the watching crowd to descend, each wanted a favour, a promotion, a sales opportunity. In fright Clark took to the air and only stopped when he reached Tibet. There on a remote mountain peak he sat and shook with fear at the emotions that he had unleashed. They knew of him now and his world could never be the same again.

The news of the Constitution rescue reverberated around the world. The public had not seen such a sight since the Second World War. The Daily Planet carried the story on its front page with Lois calling him a “mysterious superman.” Clark returned to Smallville in secret. It was Jonathan Kent who suggested a solution, he remembered the mystery men of the JSA and how several of them had revealed their secret identities. He combined this with the name created by Lois Lane and together with Martha and Clark he created an heroic identity for Clark.

Clark could wear no mask in his “Superman” identity as the world had already seen his face, instead Clark Kent would wear a disguise — he adopted a different hair style, costume glasses and body language. Nobody knew Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and it was years since his Smallville friends had seen him. Therefore nobody would notice the change. With the red and blue costume in place Superman made his first appearance in the skies above Metropolis. For the next few days Superman stopped every mugging, robbery and crime that he could find.

The effect of Superman’s actions against the criminal element caused a major down turn in crime, but neither the police nor Lois Lane could get any firm details on him. Threatened by Superman the Metropolis crime syndicates formed a single organisation under the leadership of Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim. Mannheim had been trained on Apokolips and reported directly to Desaad. He unified the cartels into Intergang and hit back at Superman with Darkseid’s son Kalibak. The police responded to the incident by forming the Special Crimes Unit (SCU). Closer ties between Superman and the police were fostered when Clark used a carefully managed “interview” to scoop a job at the Daily Planet and to explain Superman’s agenda. His sudden appearance with the scoop of the decade earned him Lois’s enmity. She had delivered a similar story onto Perry’s desk which she had obtained by deliberately putting herself in danger to lure Superman to her rescue.

The appearance of Superman was a revelation to the world and to the super powered defenders who operated in the shadows. His appearance ignited a second heroic age with the appearance of second generation heroes such as Green Lantern II (Hal Jordan), Flash II (Barry Allen) and Atom II (Ray Palmer) plus the appearance of new heroes such as the Martian Manhunter and Metamorpho. Five of the new heroes banded together to battle six alien invaders and chose to remain together as the Justice League of America (JLA). The new JLA was an instant success with the media and they discussed at length if they should offer Superman membership. They got their chance when Superman helped them defeat Xotar the Weapons Master. To their disappointment Superman had to decline because he felt that he did not have enough time to devote to a group, but he told them that he’d be there if they ever needed his help. Superman ended up assisting the League on a number of occasions including during the New Genesis-Apokolips War.

It was one of the new heroes that appeared in the weeks following his debut that caused Superman the most trouble. In Gotham City a mysterious vigilante called the Batman was operating outside of the law. Superman, feeling in part responsible for the new wave of heroes, confronted the vigilante with the intention of handing him over to the Gotham City police. The Batman via cunning and manipulation showed Superman the corruption endemic to Gotham and how only somebody operating outside of the system could hope to tame it. The two heroes agreed to disagree on methods and over the years they grew to respect and trust each other. In later years Superman gave Batman a sample of Kryptonite as an insurance policy so that if he ever became a threat it would be Batman’s duty to contain Superman.

When Superman first appeared in Metropolis it was a city controlled by one man, Lex Luthor. Luthor had pulled himself out of the Hob’s Bay slums and had built a multinational empire called Lex Corp, with holdings in almost every major industry. Rumour placed him as the second or third richest man in the world and he directly or indirectly employed nearly two thirds of the people in Metropolis. That power base made Luthor the most powerful man in Metropolis and he did not let people forget it. He used carefully arranged charitable donations and civic schemes to create an image of a benevolent businessman, yet behind the scenes Luthor controlled the Mayors Office and often used his own security force to strong arm opponents into shady and illegal deals. Of course carefully faked documents and a legal web made sure no evidence could ever be pinned on Luthor. He was never arrested until he tried to ensnare Superman in his web.

Luthor was overseas for most of Superman’s early career and upon returning to Metropolis found that he had been eclipsed by this intriguing outsider. Luthor was determined to bring Superman on to his team. He staged a high society party on his private yacht knowing that it was going to be targeted by a terrorist faction. When the terrorists attacked Luthor deliberately held his personal security force back to draw Superman into the open. Afterwards Superman found himself on the receiving end of a twenty five thousand dollar check from Luthor. The outraged Mayor deputised Superman and ordered him to arrest Luthor on charges of reckless endangerment.

Lex Luthor was booked and charged like any common criminal, but his lawyers had the charges thrown own and it never came to court. It was the start of a bitter war between Superman and Luthor. Luthor started a massive surveillance project on Superman and was eventually able to gain a DNA scan. From this Luthor discovered that Superman was an alien. When he tried to clone his own Superman Luthor discovered that there was an unknown x-factor in Kryptonian DNA and the process created the first Bizarro.

Meanwhile Clark Kent and Superman continued to make names for themselves. Superman battled villains including the body hoping U.L.T.R.A Humanite, the inventor Thaddeus Killgrave and Luthor’s numerous attacks. He became allies with with Metropolis’s other defenders, people like the Thorn, the Guardian and the Cadmus Project, and the police officers of the Special Crimes Units. But always at the back of his mind was the question of his own origin. All he knew was that the Kents had found his capsule after it crash landing on their land (he even searched UFO reports for sightings that night). It was others that first discovered his identity as the sole survivor of Krypton. Some like Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) decided to keep quite out of respect, but others like Professor Emmett Vale sought to use the information against him.

Vale had observed the crash landing of Superman’s Matrix and had spent years studying him from a far. His work had progressed as far as it could via mere observation and he was forced to steal the Matrix to continue his research. The movement triggered psionic recording devices planted in the Matrix by Jor-El. They started to reach out to Superman’s mind, manifesting as holograms and memory implants. They started as simple hallucinations and eventually turned into full blown projections of Jor-El. The phantom Jor-El downloaded thousands of images into Clark’s mind. In an instant he learnt of his origins on Krypton, its history, culture, language and heritage. The information did not stop there as the phantom tried to “reprogram” Clark, turning him into a perfect Kryptonian. Fortunately the projection was interrupted by Jonathan Kent and Clark was left with only the cold information. For the first time he knew his heritage as Kal-El of Krypton, but he found that the information made no difference to how he lived. As far as he was concerned he was born and raised on Earth and thought of himself as an Earthman.

Professor Vale had concluded that Superman was a scout for a alien invasion force. Vale decided that it was his duty of stop Superman so he used the badly mangled body of con-man John Corben to create a cyborg he called Metallo. Metallo killed Vale and then exposed Superman to his Kryptonite power-core. His first exposure to Kryptonite severely weakened Superman and it would have killed him if Lex Luthor had not spirited Metallo away. Luthor removed the Kryptonite and had a small sample cut and mounted in a signet ring. For months the Kryptonite Ring kept Superman at a “safe” distance from Luthor, but the radiation from the ring would not prove as harmless to humans as previously thought. It would result in Luthor loosing his hand and then almost dying from cancer. Superman’s other enemies during this period included the 5th-dimensional imp Mister Mxyzptlk, the mentalist Brainiac and a host of Intergang funded inventors such as the Toyman and Killgrave.

Ever since Lois Lane had met Clark she had harboured a certain level of anger at him for scooping her on the Superman story. But the years had started to soften her attitude towards him. Meanwhile the Smallville Manhunters had been exposed and destroyed by Superman and the Spectre (Jim Corrigan). Shortly afterwards Lois decided to investigate the Manhunter/Smallville connection. To her surprise she discovered Superman and Lana Lang together and Lois jumped to the conclusion that Superman and Clark Kent were actually the same person. Her suspicions were deflected when Jonathan Kent mislead her by claiming that Superman’s rocket ship had crash landed on their land, but that they had raised Kal-El and Clark as brothers. This enraged Lois as she thought Superman and Clark were in a conspiracy to keep her out of Superman related stories, however she did agree to protect the Kents. Lois was hurt by the Smallville incident and it would be sometime before she could trust either Clark or Superman.

A chance coincidence threw Superman into a Pocket Universe where a duplicate of the Earth-One Superboy existed. The pocket-dimension had been created by a being called the Time Trapper in his manipulations of the Legion of Superheroes. Superman later encountered a super powered woman dressed in a version of his uniform. This Supergirl had been sent to his world to seek Superman’s aid. Shortly after Superman had left the pocket dimension Superboy had been killed. While investigating his laboratory that universe’s Lex Luthor (a benevolent rather than a malevolent figure) had accidentally released three Kryptonian Criminals from that universe’s Phantom Zone.

General Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora easily conquered the alternate-Earth and left it a barren wasteland. The last remaining humans were holed up in Smallville and the alternate Luthor had sent Supergirl (an artificial shape-shifting lifeform) to get Superman’s help. When he arrived he found the final battle was just about to begin. The criminals knocked out Supergirl and slaughtered the last remaining humans as Superman found himself overpowered. He realised that he was not powerful enough to stop them on his own and that if they reached his own Earth then not even the JLA would be able to stop them. Superman reluctantly found that there was only one way to stop the three and to spare the lives of billions of people. As the last representative of Krypton and Earth justice it fell to him to judge and execute the three Kryptonians with Kryptonite. The experience so shook Superman that he swore never to take a life again.

The lingering guilt over the death of the Kryptonians left Superman open to telepathic attack. Brainiac used the weakness to telepathically attack Superman causing him to suffer a mental brake down. Superman began masquerading as Gangbuster until he was exposed by Dubbliex. Superman realised that his mental problems could put people in danger and he exiled himself from Earth. In space he was captured by the slavers of Warworld and was forced to fight in their gladiatorial games. Superman defeated the reining champion Draaga, but refused to kill him. This caused a revolution on Warworld that resulted in the overthrow of the ruler Mongul. While in the prisons of Warworld Superman encountered an alien Cleric who had once visited Krypton. The Cleric gave Superman the Eradicator – one of the last artefacts of Krypton.

Superman used the Eradicator to return to Earth and kept it hidden in Clark Kent’s apartment. The intelligence of the Eradicator began to reach out and temporarily mutated Jimmy Olsen into a human-elastic band. It also began to alter Clark’s personality, he became emotionless and remote, slowly becoming the prefect Kryptonian. The change estranged Clark from his friends (Jimmy in particular) and he quit the Planet to become editor of News Time. The Eradicator also began to emit random energy bursts. One burst killed a private detective who had been hired by Amanda McCoy, a former employee of Lex Luthor. She had discovered that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same person, but Luthor refused to believe her and had her fired. She was killed in a random act of violence in Gotham City. An investigation into her death by the Batman led to him and Superman discovering each others secret identities.

Clark eventually noticed the effects of the Eradicator and moved it to the Antarctic, but the distance did not diminish its power. It began pulling materials and technology from the Phantom Zone to construct a fortress. At the same time its manipulations reached a peak and Superman found himself becoming the Krypton Man – a persona totally devoid of any humanity. It was only the help of the Kents that allowed Superman to overthrow the domination of the Eradicator. Afterwards Superman was left with a perfect working Kryptonian Fortress of Solitude to use as a secret hideaway. Superman threw the Eradicator into the Sun to destroy it, but its energies combined with those of the Sun and it returned in a humanoid form. Professor Hamilton had to use the Soul Gem of Mister Z to dissipate it.

Clark returned to work at the Planet and good natured pressure on Lois began to crack the emotional wall she had erected between them. Slowly they became close and eventually she agreed to go out with him. A romance followed and Clark proposed marriage to her after Mxyzptlk’s Red Kryptonite temporarily erased his powers. He revealed his double identity to Lois shortly after she accepted his proposal. She was shocked, but before they could talk Superman was hurled through time by one of the Linear Men. He spent months in the timestream bouncing back and forth to an alternate 30th century before returning to the present. He found that only a night had passed locally. The separation made Lois and Clark realise that whatever happened they wanted to face it together.

For years Superman had declined membership of the Justice League and had refused to acknowledge his role as the de facto leader of the superhuman community. That changed when Brainiac seized control of Warworld and allied himself with Maxima, Draaga and a mind controlled Supergirl. Superman was forced to call on the New Gods, Justice League and many solo superheroes to help him defend the Earth. Maxima and Supergirl switched sides and Draaga sacrificed himself to save the Earth. Brainiac was defeated when Maxima used her psionic powers to scrambled his mind. Shortly afterwards the Justice League was reorganised and Superman became the leader of the American branch. This often put him in conflict with Maxwell Lord and the head strong Guy Gardner. He also had to deal with Maxima and hero worship from Ice.

The creature know as Doomsday was a byproduct of the research that eventually lead to the Kryptonian mastery of genetic engineering and clone technology. For hundreds of thousands of years it had bounced from planet to planet fighting the Khunds, the Green Lantern Corps and even killing one of the Guardians of the Universe. It was eventually “killed” by Radiant of Calaton and was entombed in a metal cage so his spirit could not escape. The “tomb” was jettisoned into space and made planet fall on Earth where it became embedded deep in the planet’s crust. Hundreds of years later it was reawakened by the presence of Superman (who it sensed was one of its old tormentors) and went on a rampage that killing hundreds. It easily scattered the JLA as it made a straight line for Metropolis. Superman confronted the monster in an all out brawl that raised buildings and shook the foundations of the city. Neither combatant would give in and the inevitable conclusion saw Superman give his life to stop Doomsday.

Lois Lane and the planet were shocked by Superman’s death, but it did not take his old enemies long to gain from the situation. Lex Luthor (back in a younger cloned body) used the situation to prove his “civic minded pride” by organising much of the funeral and remembrance proceedings. Paul Westfield of the Cadmus Project stole Superman’s body under an executive order that allowed him to collect the bodies of any dead aliens, but he was exposed by reporters from the Daily Planet and the President rescinded the order. An international TV audience watched Superman being laid to rest in Centennial Park under a massive statue.

No sooner was he laid to rest than Superman’s body disappeared from the tomb. There was stories of him rising from the dead or of Cadmus stealing the body. Shortly afterwards four pretenders appeared in Metropolis and each appeared to embody something of Superman. The body had actually been taken by the Eradicator who was using it to collect solar radiation which it could then absorb. Then perhaps due to some lingering connection between the two the Eradicator began masquerading as a Superman meeting out its own violent form of justice. He was joined by a Superboy who believed himself a clone of Superman and Steel II who designed his power armour in homage to the man who had once saved his life. The fourth and most mysterious of the four “supermen” became known as the Cyborg. He was actually a mentally unstable scientist who blamed Superman for destroying his original body.

The Cyborg was determined to destroy Superman’s reputation and convinced many people (and the White House) that he was actually the real Superman brought back to life and repaired by Kryptonian technology. The Cyborg was actually working with Mongul and together they planned to turn Earth into a new Warworld. They started by destroying Coast City (killing seven million people) and turning it into a giant rocket engine. Because of the unique nature of his death, the technology of the Fortress of Solitude and the efforts of the Eradicator Superman breathed once more, but was without his superpowers. He returned to Metropolis and with the help of Superboy, Supergirl, Steel and Green Lantern Hal Jordan managed to defeat Mongul and thwart the destruction of Metropolis. The Cyborg had one last weapon and exposed Superman to an asteroid of pure Kryptonite. The radiation would have killed him in seconds had the Eradicator not placed himself between the radiation and Superman, his energies switched the polarity of the Kryptonite radiation repowering rather than weakening Superman. The fully powered Superman then shattered the metal body of the Cyborg.

The aftermath of being dead was complicated. Clark Kent was assumed to be one of those killed in Doomsday’s rampage, but he was “discovered” by Superman trapped in an old storm shelter. This was accomplished with the help of the shape-shifting Supergirl who posed as Clark so Superman could rescue “him”. Clark returned to the Daily Planet to find that his desk had been given to new reporter Ron Troupe and that his apartment had been relet. He stayed with Jimmy for a short time before moving into a new apartment and trying to get back some pattern of normalcy. This was further complicated when Conduit tried to kill Clark Kent and his family, if that wasn’t enough Brainiac tried to make people believe that Superman’s body was still in the tomb.

Investigations by Professor Hamilton had shown that Superman’s powers were derived from solar energy stored in his Kryptonian cells. Without replenishment those energy reserves would become depleted and Superman would slowly loose his powers. That is exactly what happened when the Sun Eater attached itself to the Sun removing the source of Superman powers. He was forced to exhaust his reserves saving people from the resulting chaos and it was not long before he found himself powerless. The Sun Eater was eventually vanquished by Parallax (Hal Jordan), but Clark’s powers did not return. This coincided with the end of a rocky patch in Lois and Clark’s relationship when they almost separated for good. They managed to work through their problems and were finally married. The honeymoon in Hawaii was interrupted by a kidnapping but that’s what you expect when you marry a superhero.

The quest to regain Superman’s powers took a number of twists and turns. The origin of the problem was tracked down by the robots from the Fortress who’s scanss registered Clark as human and not Kryptonian. This was due to the side effects of a battle with an alien sorcerer called Tolos, who was the original owner of the Bottle City of Kandor. The city exists in an extra-dimensional pocket. Tolos had tried to draw Superman forcibly across the dimensional gap and had left him slightly “out of phase” with the normal world. It was this phase shift that stopped Superman’s normal Kryptonian abilities from returning. In a gamble to regain his powers Superman opened a Boom Tube into the heart of the Sun. The sudden exposure to such enormous amounts of solar energy jumped started his powers and seemingly returned him to normal. Afterwards Superman helped refound the JLA during their battle with Known Man.

The effect of the phase shift and the sudden repowering was not at first evident, but over time Superman began to notice sudden electrical surges in his presence and at one stage he even became intangible. He was becoming a being of pure energy with little form or mass, lack of control over his new abilities caused power cuts in Metropolis as he accidentally blew power lines. More serious problems arose when it emerged that this new form was not stable and that he would eventually discorporate. STAR Labs and Professor Hamilton used technology from one of the Fortress robots and a special fabric provided by the Contessa (the new C.E.O of Lexcorp) to construct a containment suit for Superman. Bonding with the suit gave Superman physical form and the Ray helped teach Superman how to use his new powers. Superman could alter the phase shift created by Tolos. When fully out of phase with normal reality he was the electric-Superman and when fully in phase with reality he was a normal powerless human.

Superman’s new energy powers were readily accepted by his comrades in the Justice League, but he forced them to put him through the standard membership tests just to prove himself. The powers strained his relationship with Jimmy Olsen as Superman and as Clark Kent. At the time Jimmy was working in TV as a high profile rating-grabbing action reporter and had used information that Professor Hamilton had given him in good faith as the basis of a news report. His detailed analysis of Superman’s new abilities almost allowed Metallo to kill him. Jimmy’s next stunt was even worse – he was unwittingly part of an Intergang plot to expose Superman’s secret identity on live television. He drew up a short list that he discussed on air, but when the crunch came he bottled out of revealing who he thought Superman was. Clark Kent was on the short list that Jimmy drew up and it remains to be seen if any new evidence will jog Jimmy’s mind towards the truth.

Lois and Clark enjoyed the chance to live as a normal couple for once, but things began to go wrong when the Toyman and Cyborg split Superman into two near identical Red and Blue Supermen. The two Supermen could not have been more different, the Red Superman was quick to jump into battle and was over confident while the Blue Superman took too long to assess a situation and lacked confidence. Lois was confused – both claimed to be the real Clark Kent, but neither equalled the man she had married. Blue and Red continually got in each others way as both tried to respond to the same emergency. The twin Supermen had little time to despair on their situation as three Millennium Giants appeared. The JLA and other heroes were powerless to stop the three Giants from absorbing Earth’s geological energy. Various claims were made linking the twin Superman to saviours from Hawaiian legend who were responsible for awaking the Giants, but no hard facts were ever established. The Supermen stopped the Giants. In the aftermath it was revealed that the Giants were a symbolic part of the Earth’s renewal and the twin Supermen were forced to expend all their energies to complete the task that the Giants had been summoned to do. This caused both Supermen to merge into a single normal Kryptonian Clark Kent.

There are other worlds and universes that mirror the history and development of our own. These universes exist within an infinite continuum called Hypertime. The existence of this continuum was unknown to the heroes of Earth until events from a parallel universe called Earth-Kingdom spilled over into Earth-Zero. The Superman of Earth-Kingdom had retired some years before, but had been called out of solitude by a new generation of rampant metahumans who threatened to consume the world. A nuclear explosion in the heart of Kansas had precipitated a near apocalypse before that universe’s Captain Marvel gave his life to demonstrate to everybody the error of their ways. One of the few survivors of the Kansas Tragedy was a child called Matthew. Twenty years later he became that Superman’s most devoted disciple and worshipped him as a saviour. That Superman was forced to explain that he wasn’t a god and Matthew really should do something else with his life.

Matthew was shattered and was easy prey for a quintet of cosmic beings called the Quintessence who sought to transform him into their agent. They gave Matthew knowledge and power so that he could precipitate the Kansas Tragedy early allowing them to manipulate the event to their own ends. Unfortunately the power only unhinged his mind further and transformed Matthew into the monster called Gog. He then murdered Superman for being a false prophet. Gog them travelled back in time to the previous day and killed him again, he then went back another day as he slowly worked his way back through time killing Supermen as he went. Unbeknown to Gog he was actually moving diagonally across Hypertime rather than linearly along his own timeline.

Gog rampaged across Hypertime killing consecutively earlier and earlier Supermen until he reached Earth-Kingdom and discovered that this Superman had had a child by Wonder Woman. He kidnapped the child and journeyed to Earth-Zero where he hoped to create an identical explosion to the Kansas Incident. It took the Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman from both Earth-Zero and Earth-Kingdom with the help of Rip Hunter and the grown Jonathan Kent II (the kidnapped child) to stop Gog and free the child. This was the first time that the heroes from either Earth had encountered Hypertime and they were sworn to secrecy over its existence.

Connections with other Earths grew as Superman found himself caught in a war between cosmic beings. For sometime Superman had dealings with the entity called Kismet. She was a being that existed between the Lords of Order and Chaos, titled the Illuminator of the Ways, it was her job to illuminate to people the different paths that their actions could take and the patterns that their destiny could form. She had previously appeared to Superman and Jonathan Kent. It was revealed that she had a mysterious rival called Dominus who sought to replace her as the Illuminator. He used her connection with Superman to pull him through four radically different scenarios modelled after World War II, the 1950s, the 1970s and the far future. In each era Clark Kent became Superman and faced warped versions of his old foes.

Kismet intervened to stop the manipulations and was attacked by Dominus. She was injured and was forced to revert to a dormant healing state in a strange cocoon. While Superman distracted Dominus Waverider took the dormant Kismet back into time and hid her in the body of Sharon Vance (a childhood friend of Clark who would have otherwise died in a playground accident had she not been joined with Kismet). Thwarted, Dominus released Superman and vanished. Meanwhile the Daily Planet had been under serious financial strain as circulation dropped. In its weakened state it was easy prey for a Lexcorp buy out. Luthor fired the majority of the staff including Clark Kent and Perry White while retaining Simone DeNeige, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Dirk Armstrong. They were transferred to a new entity called LexCom, a free on-line news service updated around the clock.

Clark began to spend more and more time as Superman. He also began to suffer from horrific visions of disasters and destruction that started to come true. He began acting on his visions stopping the disasters that he had seen in his dreams. He even stopped sleeping to escape the nightmares. Spurred on by the visions he became more proactive and spent more and more time as Superman. What nobody knew was that the visions were being manipulated by Dominus. Clark’s personality also began to shift, he lost his more reserved human side and became ruthlessly efficient. He began interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign countries and helped depose a third world dictator.

As Superman became more active the world’s media began to take notice and even the United Nations began to watch him more closely. He pushing himself further and further, he even dumped his Clark Kent identity. This prompted Lois Lane to contact Batman and the Justice League. After an argument Superman warned the League to stay out of his way. Steel, Supergirl and Superboy also got the same warning. Superman effectively made himself a super-guardian over-riding national boundaries and international law. He created a army of robots in his own image and turned the Earth into a police state with himself at the centre of power. His absence from Metropolis created space for Luthor to launch a youth movement called the Supermen of America, that even received Superman’s tacit support. Led by an elite brigade they mirrored Superman’s actions and became a world wide vigilante organisation under Luthor’s personal control.

Superman was driven by his nightmares to make the world a crime free utopia, but at the same time he was loosing the humanity that had always held him in check. With little alternative the DEO and Lexcorp used synthetic Kryptonite to try and kill Superman. It failed and Superman responded by destroying the Lexcorp skyscraper and putting the upper portion of it into orbit. He then confiscated the world’s nuclear weapons and threw them into the Sun. That was the final straw for the international community and the UN Security Council authorised lethal force against Superman. In a battle royal the JLA, Steel, Superboy, and Supergirl faced off against Superman, the robots and the Supermen of America Elite Brigade. Superman left his forces and returned to the Fortress of Solitude where he was confronted by Lois. Her pleas began to crack the illusions that Dominus had been using to control Superman. Before she could finish her pleas Luthor used the orbital remains of the Lexcorp tower as a Kryptonite missile and brought it crashing down on the Fortress.

Superman regained his senses amid the devastation and saw what he had been forced to do. Dominus countered by throwing Superman into the Phantom Zone and would have killed Lois Lane had she not been saved by one of the Superman Robots. As he drifted in the Phantom Zone Clark slept for the first time in months free from Dominus’s nightmares. He encountered a trio of aliens who revealed that Dominus had once been the lover of Kismet. They had been members of the same priesthood and one of them was to be chosen to ascend as the Illuminator of the Ways, Kismet was chosen over Dominus, but he became unhinged and swore to replace her. He sought out ancient magics that destroyed his mortal body forcing Kismet to place him in the Phantom Zone to save his life.

Dominus met the holographic spectre of Kem-L in the Zone. Kem-L thought that Dominus was a friend and equipped him with Kryptonian technology to give him corporal form. Dominus escaped from the Zone when the Eradicator created the Fortress and began his pursuit of Kismet. The aliens told Superman that Dominus could only shape reality with images from people’s waking minds. Superman returned to normal space by using Kem-L’s Soliton Wave Generator, but was quickly captured by Dominus. He began impersonating Superman and convinced the UN that Superman’s previous actions had been controlled by Dominus. He then manipulated them into letting him lead the search for the Dominus. He made his image of Superman into a political leader and de facto world ruler, while actually searching for Kismet instead of himself.

Lois Lane and Lex Luthor teamed up with Outburst to penetrate the citadel that Dominus had created in Metropolis. Inside they found the real Superman hidden in the basement. While imprisoned Superman had used the time to perfect an ancient Kryptonian technique called Torquasm-Vao which allowed him to enter a Theta State where his mind was so calm that Dominus could not pull images from it to manipulate. In the final battle Luthor and Lois managed to broadcast Superman’s innocence to the world. Superman allowed Dominus access to images of Krypton, he then kept changing the version of Krypton over and over again overloading Dominus with his own realities. Superman then used a Projector from one of those realities to trap Dominus in a Phantom Zone of his own making thus removing him from contact with any waking minds. Normal reality was instantly restored and Dominus was left in a loop of unreality totally disconnected with the real world.

The defeat of Dominus signalled the end of a long saga in Superman’s life. For the first time in ages his dreams were his own and he was back in the family of the Daily Planet. The paper had been sold back to Perry White’s consortium as part of a secret deal between Lex Luthor and Lois Lane – she would kill one story of his choosing if he set the Planet free. This lull was shattered when Brainiac gatecrashed Metropolis’ New Years celebrations with an attempt to usurp control of all computers running Lexcorp software. What would have been a simple supervillain plot was transformed into a world crisis when Brainiac was usurped by Brainiac 13 (B13), his own upgrade from an unspecified point in the future.

B13 used a nanite based super-virus to transform Metropolis into a facsimile of its future construction and reconfigured it to serve as his centre for worldwide domination. Superman and the Kryptonian robot Kelex discovered that Kryptonian technology was immune to the B13 virus. They managed to trap the B13 consciousness inside a knock off Kryptonian Warsuit built by Lex Luthor. However, Superman was unable to stop Luthor making a Faustian bargain with B13 to trade Lena (his infant daughter – at the time possessed by the original Brainiac) for an escape route and the complete technical details of the new Metropolis. The publicity created by Luthor’s “charitable” distribution of B13 technology and his efforts to rebuild the No Man’s Land of Gotham City created a wave of popularity that was big enough to sweep him into the Whitehouse as President Luthor.

The confusion unleashed by the transformation of Metropolis served as a smoke screen for the Parasite to kidnap Lois. He discovered Superman’s secret identity from her absorbed memories and impersonated Lois for several weeks as a ruse to continuously feed off the Man of Steel. At the time Superman was suffering from the debilitating effects of a Kryptonite tumour given to him by the mercenary Enchantadora. The Parasite unwittingly absorbed the side effects of the tumour and died before he could reveal Lois’s location. The rapidly weakening Superman almost died searching for her before the Batman stepped in and traced her to a remote cave system. The tumour was removed when Superboy, Supergirl, and Steel were shrunk by the Atom and actually entered Superman’s body to retrieve it.

Lois tracked Enchantadora’s employer to the the eastern European country of Pokolistan and its ruler General Zod. The mysterious General was the third holder of the name that Superman had encountered. The first was the Kryptonian criminal from the Time Trapper’s Pocket Universe who Superman had been forced to kill. The second was a fanatical military leader from an alternate Krypton that Superman had just discovered in the Phantom Zone. That Zod had been vaporised in a battle with a doppelganger of Jor-El. The new Zod broke Superman’s jaw in their first meeting and quickly surrounded himself with a cadre of powerful malcontents. Faora (his second in command), Kancer (a demonic creature created from the remains of Superman’s tumour) and Ignition (a villain from the Emperor Joker timeline). Zod and Superman became obsessed with each other. Zod even tortured Bizarro No 1 in preparation for his eventual show down with the Man of Steel. An initial confrontation had to be cut short when Earth was attacked by legions of Imperiex Probes.

Imperiex Prime believed itself to be the personification of nature whose duty it was to bring about the end of one cycle of the universe so that another could begin. To that end it collapsed entire galaxies into backholes and had chosen Earth as its next target. The first attack resulted in the destruction of Topeka, Kansas and the blast reached as far as Smallville. The Kents were among the missing, but Superman had no time to search for them before he was called away to help the Justice League. The conflict was an all our war that was fought with such ferocity that the pacifist Man of Steel found himself becomingly increasingly ineffectual. He was distracted by the death of Hippolyta and failed to heed Lois’s calls for help from the White House. That resulted in General Lane (Lois’s father and Luthor’s Secretary of Defense) giving his life to save Washington from an Imperiex Probe.

Superman had engaged in mortal combat before and had interceded in enough war zones, but he had never been affected so personally by war. He had always been there as the overwhelmingly powerful hero, but now he was faced with a legion of opponents near his own power level and his family and friends were dying around him. Overwhelmed Superman turned to his commander-in-chief for guidance and placed his fate and the fate of the Universe in the hands of President Luthor.

Superman now found himself a soldier under Luthor’s command. He was informed that the only way to stop the war was to kill Imperiex and send its stolen energies back to the correct star systems. Superman was ordered to merge with Kismet/Strange Visitor to protect himself against Imperiex. Together they were able to split Imperiex’s armour, but the released energy was intercepted by B13. His journey back in time and the restructuring of Metropolis had all been focused towards capturing the Imperiex energy. He had been feeding intelligence to President Luthor and had even created the fake Krypton in the Phantom Zone as a trap for Superman.

The detonation of Imperiex should have killed Superman and Kismet, but she sacrificed herself to allow him to return more powerful than ever. It also gave Superman an insight into the nature of the conflict between B13 and Imperiex. He realised that neither the surviving Imperiex intelligence nor the B13 program could be allowed to win, but that neither could be destroyed without the intervention of the other. Both B13 and Imperiex tempted Superman with their own designs for the universe – “choose me, I’ll destroy him and remake the Universe as a utopia.”

The stark choice brought Kal-El to his senses and made him realise that he should not be fighting them as a soldier, but rather he should be fighting them as Superman and Superman does not kill! Steel, Luthor and Darkseid collaborated to turn B13′s technology against him and created a Boomtube back to the birth of the Universe. Superman dumped the B13 and Imperiex intelligences into the energies of the Big Bang sating both their desires. Imperiex got his wish of restarting the Universe and B13 got its wish to be part of the (all be it flawed) Universe.

The Imperiex War devastated hundred of thousands of lives and left lasting scars on Earth’s geography and population. Despite his last minute victory Superman was as devastated as anybody else. The Kents were initially thought dead, Martha was found at a disaster relief camp, but it was some time before an amnesic Jonathan returned to Smallville. At the same time Lois left for a sabbatical with her mother. She blamed Clark for not being there to save her father and wanted time alone to grieve. Clark found himself alone just when he needed support. At the advice of J’onn J’onzz he started working through his problems with a therapist. As part of the grieving process he changed the yellow of his chest shield to black – a sign of mourning for the those that had lost their lives during the War.

The aftermath of the War had metaphysical ramifications and the Quintessence convened a hearing to examine Superman’s actions. An aggressive Hunter of the Linear Men accused Superman of upsetting the balance of the universe and of not realising just how important he actually was in the cosmic order. Superman was defended by the Spectre (Hal Jordan) who argued that Superman had acted selflessly to preserve life. The panel concluded that Superman’s inference with Imperiex’s mission had instituted a new era where mortals would now control the strings of destiny rather than the overseeing immortals.

The final vestiges of B13 lingered long after the war. In Metropolis a remnant of the B13 program called the Overmind sought to take over the city computer systems by using Nat Irons (niece of the hero Steel) as a power amplifier. Superman fought the Overmind and helped Steel free Nat. Both men were shocked to discover the the host of the Overmind was actually a mind controlled Professor Hamilton. Another B13 trap was eliminated when Jor-El from the Phantom Zone Krypton briefly visited Earth. He and Kal-El discovered that the Phantom Zone Krypton was actually a B13 program and Jor-El was forced to seal it off from the rest of the universe to stop it from degrading.

Lois and Clark were slowly reconciled. They were forced to admit their personal pains to each other while under the hypnotic thrall of a descendant of Count Dracula. Lois was hurt that Clark had not been there to save her father and he was dejected that she wanted to be alone when he needed her support the most. The final act of reconciliation came after a quartet of evil gods tried to transform Lois into a goddess. She attempted to resurrect her father, but was persuaded against it by Wonder Woman. She convinced Lois that Superman had been doing his duty, just as her father had been doing his.

The reconciliation between Clark and Lois was all the vengeful Manchester Black had been waiting for. Black had been the leader of a violent and powerful vigilante group called the Elite. Superman had publically humiliated Black by proving to the world that his no-killing brand of superheroism was just as effective and was actually superior to that practised by the Elite. Black had been handed over to the US government and was given field command of the Suicide Squad sent to release Doomsday during the War. He disappeared shortly afterwards and started plotting his revenge on Superman.

Clark’s emotional turmoil during the separation from Lois allowed Black to telepathically probe his memories. Black used the knowledge of Clark’s secret identity to start psychologically torturing him. He arranged for Luthor to “discover” evidence pointing to Superman’s connection with Smallville and the Kents. Luthor was then able to make the connection himself and spent weeks dropping hints to Superman and Clark Kent that he knew “their” secret. At the same time Black released evidence to Lois of Luthor’s collaboration with B13. Luthor had learnt of Imperiex from B13 and had put himself in a position of power to control the defences of Earth. Lois wrote an exposé for the Planet, but was forced to kill the story when Luthor called in their bargain. She confessed the entire affair to Clark and he arranged for the story to be published under his byline – thereby circumventing Luthor’s deal. However, Perry White was forced to retract the story and publish a public apology when Black erased all the evidence. The affair ruined Clark’s professional reputation and Perry had to sack him to protect the Planet’s own reputation, but he secretly retained Clark’s services as an undercover reporter solely employed to find the material that would bring Lex Luthor down once and for all. Even Lois was unaware of their real plan.

After he’d professionally humiliated Clark Kent, Black waited until he was reunited with Lois before unleashing an army of supervillains on everybody in Kent’s private life. Not even Conduit’s attack on Clark Kent had been so total. The Daily Planet, his friends and even Smallville were attacked. Superman turned to Steel for help and his friends collected at the Steelworks for safety, but Lois was determined to report on the chaos rather than hide. She was easily prey for Black who captured her and telepathically tortured her.

An inner cadre of Mongul, Bizarro No 1, Master Jailer and the Silver Banshee kept Superman busy long enough for Black to complete his torture of Lois and apparently kill her. Black goaded Superman about Lois. He kept trying to push him over the edge, but Superman was in a state of shock and refused to rise to Black’s cruel challenges. An emotionally drained Superman collected Lois’ remains and made to leave telling Black that he was going to lay Lois to rest. Then he would hunt Black down and make sure he never escaped from prison. He would devote his life to watching Black, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure he stayed behind bars.

Now it was Black’s turn to be shocked. Even the murder of his wife would not push Superman into taking a life. It had been Black’s intention to prove that in the real world even superheroes kill, instead he had only managed to prove himself wrong. Black dispelled the illusion of the dead Lois and then vanished forever. The psychological terror Black had unleashed on Lois was partially healed by J’onn J’onzz, but it would be several days before Clark left her side. When Superman next took to the skies he was wearing the original red and yellow S-shield, the black had gone, the mourning was over, and it was time to move forward into a new day!

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