Appearing in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Part Two"
- Jimmy Olson/Elastic Lad (Final appearance; Dies)
- Lana Lang/Insect Queen (Final appearance; Dies)
- Krypto (Final appearance; Dies)
- Perry White (Final appearance)
- Alice White (Final appearance)
- Batman (Final appearance)
- Captain Marvel
- Green Arrow
- Martian Manhunter
- Robin (Jason Todd) (Final appearance)
- Hawkman (Final appearance)
- Superwoman (Final appearance)
- Wonder Woman (Final appearance)
- Jim Crane (Final appearance)
- Jonathan Elliot (Single appearance)
- Fortress of Solitude (Final appearance)
- Gold Kryptonite (Final appearance)
- Phantom Zone projector (Final appearance)
- Brainiac's skull ship (Final appearance)
Synopsis for "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Part Two"
This is the second part of the imaginary story detailing the final fate of the pre-Crisis modern-day Superman. It is generally told as a flashback in the year 1997 by Lois Lane Elliot, who is retired from the Daily Planet and now a happy homemaker. Prior to the second part being told, Lois Lane Elliot introduces her husband Jordan to the Daily Planet reporter doing the interview with her. The second part of the story goes as follows:
As Superman is seen melting down the giant key that opens up the Fortress of Solitude, Brainiac/Luthor shows up somewhere near the fortress when they are joined by the Legion of Super-Villains, offering their help to defeat and destroy Superman. To that end, Brainiac/Luthor erects a force field that prevents any other superheroes from the outside to help Superman. Also, the Kryptonite Man's deadly radiation keeps Superman and his dog Krypto at bay from attacking them.
Seeing that Superman needs help, Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang equip themselves with the powers they had when they adopted superhero identities, transforming themselves into Elastic Lad and Insect Queen as they take on the group of villains outside the fortress. Luthor has Lana kill him so that Brainiac would no longer have any control of him, but the Legion of Supervillains quickly destroy Lana afterward. Jimmy comes to avenge her death, but Brainiac resumes control of Luthor's body long enough to kill Jimmy and to launch a missile that rips a gaping hole into the fortress. With the fortress breached, Kryptonite Man enters, seeking to kill Superman, but Krypto attacks and risks his life to kill the radiating villain.
Superman carries Lois Lane and the trophy with him when he sees the Legion of Supervillains inside his fortress, gloating about the deaths of Lana and Jimmy. This makes Superman angry enough to attack them with his heat vision, causing them to retreat and return back to the future. Outside the fortress, Superman sees that Brainiac's head is losing control of Luthor's body as it succumbs to rigor mortis and detaches himself from it, vainly trying to crawl its way toward Superman before it goes completely dead.
It is at this point that Superman begins to consider that somebody must be behind all the villains turning against him, and so calls out Mxyzptlk's name. He appears unto Superman, revealing that he has grown tired of becoming a mere nuisance and is now deciding to become fully evil. Mxyzptlk also starts to change from his harmless impish self to a hideous dark creature intent on overpowering Superman enough to kill him. Superman then looks at the trophy, realizing that its Superman figure is holding a Phantom Zone projector, and so goes to get the Phantom Zone projector to use it on Mxyzptlk. As he activates it, Mxyzptlk speaks his name backwards in order to return to his home dimension, but finds himself being pulled into two different dimensions and screams as he is being ripped apart.
Realizing that he has just broken his own moral code to not kill, Superman goes into the Gold Kryptonite chamber to strip himself of all his powers as Lois Lane sadly watches on. With the force field Mxyzptlk kept active now powered down, the heroes outside the barrier enter the fortress to find dead bodies of all of Superman's friends except for Lois, Perry White, and his wife, still being alive. They see that Superman has departed from the chamber through a secret passageway and is now wandering outside in subzero temperatures where supposedly he would die.
It is at this point where the story closes, with Lois Lane Elliot telling the reporter that any possible rumors of Superman still being alive after that are not likely to be true. As the Daily Planet reporter departs, Jordan Elliot brings their son Jonathan into the living room, where he plays with a piece of coal that he turns into a diamond. He and Lois both decide to relax with a pizza and a bottle of wine, and as Jordan turns to close the door in the last panel, he slips the reader a wink.
- This issue follows Superman #423 (vol. 1).
- This issue was reprinted in Across the Universe - The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore and Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?.
- Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? is one of DC's series of stories set outside of regular continuity, and is considered an Imaginary Story. It takes place in the year 1997. The two-part saga is intended to represent the "final" Superman story, but does not actually take place within canonical Earth-One history. This is evidenced in the second part by the appearances of both Captain Marvel, who became part of the New Earth universe following the Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the modern-day Wonder Woman, whose history was rebooted following what happened to her in Crisis On Infinite Earths #12.
- Regardless of DC's editorial intentions, this "final" Superman story was presented by DC as being an "Imaginary Story", a Silver Age convention, revived especially for this occasion, that served to tell "What If?" stories that would have been considered series-killers if they were to happen in the "real" continuity of the comic. Thus, it is debatable whether or not this story should be considered canonical with the Superman series as it existed pre-Man of Steel reboot.
- Noticeably, Lois' husband Jordan Elliot is named for Superman's biological father Jor-El while their son Jonathan is named for his adoptive father Jonathan Kent.
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