"The Ending Battle (Part VIII of VIII) - The Last Super-Villain": Lois lies on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Despite that, Clark can still hear her heartbeat. Manchester Black lights up a cigarette and with a smug look and tells Superman that the heartbeat he is hearing is Black's. Lois
Appearing in "The Ending Battle (Part VIII of VIII) - The Last Super-Villain"
Synopsis for "The Ending Battle (Part VIII of VIII) - The Last Super-Villain"
Lois lies on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Despite that, Clark can still hear her heartbeat. Manchester Black lights up a cigarette and with a smug look and tells Superman that the heartbeat he is hearing is Black's. Lois is dead. In shock, Superman collapses to the ground. Manchester kicks Lois' corpse across the room, and then tells Superman that he shouldn't have spent so much time beating up Metallo once again. Superman can't think of anything to say.
Manchester then reveals to Superman what has happened since their fight on Jupiter. How the government released him in exchange for his services. Martian Manhunter was never able to probe Lex Luthor because Manchester was guarding him. And then when Lois' father died, Superman acted weak. From that crack Manchester forced his way into his secret and his life. Black even created the "Smallville File" that told Luthor who Superman was. From there Black began to take his life apart, piece by piece.
Superman can only ask why. Manchester responds simply: he wanted to show Superman how the real world works. It isn't his idealized utopia that he lives by. Now Superman has finally been made human. Black asks how it feels, and Superman responds with a blast of heat vision. Superman batters Black across the Metropolis skyline. He tries to remove his powers, but Black's new reflective implants prevent that. Calling on the massive powers at his disposal, Black hammers Superman into the ground. Screaming with rage, Superman sends Black flying. His fists hammer into Black's body. Despite being bludgeoned, Black simply retaliates by threatening others in Clark's life. Tackling Manchester to the ground, Superman threatens to kill him. Black just smiles up at him. Superman won't kill; he just can't exist in the real world. Black quotes Superman: "Until my dream of a world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share, I'll never stop fighting."
With a tremendous blast, Superman reduces Manchester Black to a smoldering skeleton. Superman stands above his fallen foe, trembling with rage. Manchester is dead, and yet he hasn't accomplished anything. Lois is still dead, and all that Superman has done is kill himself too.
However, Superman's act of vengeance is just an imagination thought by the Man of Steel. As his thoughts of vengeance evaporate back into the deep crevices of his mind, Superman tells Black that he will not dishonor his wife's memory over him. Black just stands there silently for a minute. As Superman gathers Lois into his arms, Black screams at Superman that he had killed his wife, and Superman isn't even going to hit him. With tears streaming down his face, Superman says quietly that vengeance is not justice. As Superman leaves the room, he tells Manchester that it doesn't matter if he runs; he will still find him within the hour. He will put Lois somewhere safe, and then he will devote his life to making sure that Black stays incarcerated for his entire life.
Shocked, Manchester just stands there. Even after Lois has been killed, Superman is still just going to throw Black in jail. He won't ever kill. Never. As Black echoes this sentiment, he spins his fingers in the air.
In Superman's arms, Lois's body dissolves away into nothing. Panicked, Superman whips around to find his wife stumbling toward him. Black was bluffing; he wanted Superman to kill him, only to have him realize that he was wrong. That would break Superman. Unbelieving, Manchester turns away from the embracing couple and vanishes into the night.
At the White House, Luthor suddenly panics as all of his data tying Superman to Clark Kent is deleted. Clutching at the remains of the incinerated remains of the evidence, Luthor falls into a daze, and a moment later cannot remember who Superman is.
Inside a small room somewhere else, Manchester sits on a bed staring out the window. He reflects back on his own life. When he was a child he had been idealistic, and then the world had ruined him. But then he met Superman and Black felt like a child dreaming again. Superman was the real thing, and Black became a super-villain. Letting his cigarette fall to the ground, Manchester raises a finger to his temple, glowing with telepathic energy. Black says goodbye, and blows the entire top floor.
Lois and Clark lay in bed together for days. Clark knows that Black isn't coming back, but Lois isn't sure. She has nightmares of what happened to her. Finally, Lois tells him that he was right to walk away. That is the man she loves. With that, Lois tells him to go back to work.
Donning his true costume, complete with his yellow symbol, Superman soars out into the sun.
- This book was first published on October 23, 2002.
- Final chapter of the "Ending Battle" storyline.
- Manchester Black's statement to his last fight with Superman along with the Elite occurred in Action Comics #775.
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