Happy Holidays, Unspokenites! And welcome back to my look back at the Elseworlds epic from “Superman: The Man of Steel” Annual #3! I know it’s been awhile since part one dropped, but rest assured, your loyal Symbifan never forgot about you. So, that said, I present my gift to you all. Let us return to the conclusion of our story…..
Gotham City. The only place on Earth free of the Kryptonian ultranet and therefore free of the invaders’ supervision. But that didn’t stop them from trying. Presently, an ultranet command outpost had secretly been erected on the outskirts of this old, war-torn city. This had come to the attention of the Human Resistance. Now, armored humans from this secretive sect raised their devastating weapons and fired at the before-mentioned structure. Bazooka shells exploded upon impact at the building’s support beams, causing considerable damage. That is until the lead Resistance fighter is hit in the back by a strange, foam-like substance! The others turn to see Lex Luthor’s high-tech goons hovering close by! (Speaking of bazookas, who remembers when Bazooka Gum had actual comic strips in them? What about what now constitutes as a “prize” in a Cracker Jack box? This now concludes my rant about how I hate the internet. Now, back to my online blog…..)
That’s when a large, metal cable suddenly surrounds Luthor’s men! It then pulls taught and they’re all yanked off of their hovercrafts and into the air by a flying man garbed in red, blue, and gold, the colors of the Human Resistance! It was Kal-El! But he now went by the name that was stitched into the uniform that Batman had gifted him, Superman! (My name’s stitched into my undies. It’s so I don’t forget they’re mine and just how cool I am. Studly.) Superman sets his captives aside and unleashes his heat vision upon the various satellites atop the building! He then utilizes his superior strength to finish off the supports, toppling the entire structure! Swooping to the ground, he lands to check on the band of “renegade” humans’ leader. He is not exactly greeted with open arms.
The captain removes their helmet revealing a woman underneath. She not only doesn’t thank Superman, but states how his Kryptonian aid is not needed. Human beings will win their own planet back. And they’ll do it without the help of one of their oppressors. Her name is Lois Lane. She orders the others to retun to base. As they leave, Superman suddenly takes her into his powerful arms and rockets into the sky! Once they’re alone, her tone of voice changes drastically . She tells him how much she has grown to care for him since he saved her life a mere couple of months ago. Superman hold her tighter as he descends into an apartment building window. They kiss passionately as he carries her towards her bed. (The next part of this scene is rated “R” for graphic, off-panel sexual situations.)
But not all were pleased with this union. Jor-El looked on with the elders of the ill-fated Krypton with looks of revulsion and horror. Superman’s birth father then switched off his overhead monitor. He’d seen enough from the secret viewing device that was planted within Lois’ bedroom. (He watched his own son get busy?! Talk about sick! Not only that, but the old farts from the council watched too?! I think I’m gonna need therapy just from reading this!) The Council of Elders waste little time in proclaiming their verdict. As Kal-El was Jor-El’s son, this was his problem to resolve alone. After the Elders disappeared from view, Jor-El wasted no time in contacting Luthor. He demanded that the human resolve this issue immediately. Lex merely responded that Jor-El possessed the same exact powers as his son. Why not get his own hands dirty for once?
Kal-El awoke and dressed himself. He found Lois at her coffe table, pouring over numerous documents and blueprints. She remarked about the building that Batman had died trying to gain entrance to. The ultranet files on it were definitely incomplete. What was inside that was so important that Bruce would give his life for it? They decided to find out. Lois had heard of the infamous Batcave, so she gave Kal directions as they flew. Soon, they were inside the secret, technological marvel that was Bruce Wayne’s hidden sanctuary. They approached a large computer system and tried to gain access to the files they needed. Sadly, this was to no avail. Password required. Both were then surprised by the voice of a young man that seemed to materialize behind them. (Bruce left an orphan out. He really should take better care of his sidekicks.)
They questioned the youth, but the boy wouldn’t even give his name. All he would say is that he and Bruce had worked together in the past. He did admit that even he didn’t know Bruce’s password. Kal was then struck with inspiration. Wasn’t it rumored that Batman once had a trusted butler? Lois gave Kal a more human name to go by for this next step. She named him after the cigarette brand she used to smoke, Clark. (I smoke Aunt May’s personally. Remember kids, with the act of smoking comes great responsibility.) He added the last name of his beloved foster parents to that and Clark Kent was born. The couple then dresses accordingly and makes their way to a nearby retirement home. It didn’t take long into the conversation to come to the realization that this old man, Alfred, was hopelessly senile. But presented with the name to the building in question, he said one word that struck Clark Kent like a fist, “plague.”
Superman set Lois gently down on her feet in her apartment upon their return. He looked shaken. When questioned, he told her of a genetic flaw that plagued his people. A flaw that was a leftover from Krypton’s Clone Wars. (I wonder if that villainous Emperor Palpatine was up to his old tricks against the Jedi? Yeah. I know. You all saw a Star Wars joke coming. Have I become that predictable? Sigh…..) It was almost as if their very planet wanted them all dead. Being born here, Kal-El was immune. And now that Clark knew what that building contained, he knew what he must do. Come morning, he would break into this complex and release this plague upon the world. It wouldn’t take long before he was the last remaining Kryptonian on Earth. Lois tried to comfort him throughout the night. But when she awakens the next the morning, Clark is gone.
Panicked, Lois grabs for her phone. Surprisingly, the man that answers on the other end is none other than Lex Luthor! Lois begins by telling Lex that the plan has gone awry. Luthor replies that if anything has gone awry with their plan, it’s that she’s letting her feelings for this alien cloud her judgement. Ignoring this, she reports that Kal-El is gone. Before Lois can continue, Jor-El bursts in through her front door! Terrified, Lois goes for her gun, but using his heat vision, he melts the weapon! Grabbing her up by the throat, he demands to know his son’s whereabouts. Lex answers through a planted spy device that he’s pleased to see Jor-El finally lifting a finger himself. What’s his next move? Jor-El looks to the device’s screen with obvious rage and replies that he’s bringing his son home, no matter the cost! The screen goes dead, leaving Lex Luthor to ponder if he has just overplayed his hand. (This place has more bugs than a roach motel! Am I right, folks?)
Clark sat at the Kents’ dinner table in Kansas. After his adoptive father returned from tending to the fields, Clark rose to his feet and asked both of the people that had raised and cared for him if he could keep the Kent name. Of course they were overjoyed. He then asked for their advice. If he were to release this plague, Earth would be free. But he would have committed mass-genocide upon his own people. What should he do? Before much could be said, a voice from the doorway spoke. It was Lex! He was sorry to interrupt, but there was a situation….. (Is it me, or is Luthor in almost every scene, working every single angle in this issue? I don’t know how he keeps track of which side he’s on at the moment! No wonder he was elected President of the United States in later storylines!)
Superman rocketed through the skies at top speed! When he reached Gotham City, his fears were confirmed. Jor-El had gone mad! He was hovering above the people with a large vehicle raised over his head as a weapon, firing heat vision down at the screaming crowds! He demanded he see his son right now! Superman rams his shoulder into his father’s ribcage with all of his might, sending the crazed Kryptonian flying! He then catches the plummeting vehicle and sets it down on the street carefully. But this action took far too long! Seeing his chance, Jor-El blasts his son off of his feet with a full blast of heat vision! (It’s definitely on now! I don’t see a Father’s Day card in Jor-El’s future! Maybe a tie, but that’s a given.)
The battle then takes to the skies! Back and forth fists are thrown that could topple mountains! But Jor-El simply doesn’t have the fighting experience that his son does. Superman throws him through a nearby water tower. And before he can fully get back to his feet, Clark unleashes the fullest extent of his heat vision! Jor-El falls, unconscious at last! Superman arrived at the building in question in a flash. He punched through the thick steel of the wall and flew in. Lex Luthor sat nonchalantly in a lawn chair on the other side! In his hand was a drink with a little umbrella leaning lazily inside. Superman went for the proper panel to release the plague. Nothing. Luthor had rewritten the circuit board! (Does anyone get what side this guy’s on? I feel like I’m trying to do algebra here!)
Lex explained that the Kryptonian race, though arrogant, didn’t deserve to die. Kal could teach them a better way. Tired of Luthor’s numerous head games, Superman grabbed him up by his armor and smashed him through several floors of the building! He demanded that Lex fix the panel. Luthor’s reply was a blast of green energy from a cavity within the armor’s chest! As he stood up, he grabbed an large iron bar. He explained that Jor-El had equipped him with a weapon powered by a small rock called Kryptonite. He then finished by gleefully striking the hero again and again with the weapon! Kal stirred to rise, but Lex revealed a large chunk of rock within his armor! It seems that Luthor wasn’t content to simply subdue Superman, he was going to kill him! But as he raised the bar for a final strike, he was shot from behind! Lois Lane stood with a smoking energy rifle! (Now she’s on Superman’s side?! Anyone have a scorecard I can look over?)
Luthor lies there demanding to know why. Her only reply as she helped Superman to his feet was that she loved him. Not to be defeated yet, Lex’s armor shot out several blasts of energy! Unfortunately for him, he missed his intended targets. He did however hit the weakened support beams above him! A large chunk of the complex came crashing down upon him. It was over. Superman never did use the deadly Kryptonian plague. Instead, he began work on teaching them a better way. Luthor was right after all. Speaking of Lex Luthor, though badly injured, he managed to survive too. As Superman raised the new flag of humanity atop a large building, he looked down to see a strange black car race by below. Batman sat within with a familiar youngster dressed in a colorful costume. Batman slowed the Batmobile long enough to smile at Superman and say, “Welcome to the party, pal.” (Batman survived too?! I feel like my brain just turned to jelly! This comic had more twists and turns than a “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick! Jack Sparrow 4-Life, y’all!) Superman smiled back and flew onwards. Batman was right. The fight had only just begun.