"The Cage": Clark awakes with a start, gasping for air. He moves to the window and stares out as Lois is stirred from her sleep. Lois asks which nightmare it was. Clark just says it was the one with Zod, the one where he kills him. Lois asks if he wants to
Appearing in "The Cage"
- Flash (Behind the scenes)
Synopsis for "The Cage"
Clark awakes with a start, gasping for air. He moves to the window and stares out as Lois is stirred from her sleep. Lois asks which nightmare it was. Clark just says it was the one with Zod, the one where he kills him. Lois asks if he wants to talk about it, but Clark responds that he is going for a walk as he drifts out of the window.
Soaring across the sleeping city, Superman comes to rest on an outstretched girder. He watches a train go by when suddenly he hears a radio transmission. Gorilla Grodd is tearing apart downtown Chicago. In a second, Superman is there. The Man of Steel supports a falling building as rescuers rush to get the panicked citizens out from beneath it. Leaving at super speed and returning with a damaged semi to prop the building up, Superman notes that something isn't right. Grodd is a despot and a calculating terrorist; he was never one to cause random destruction. Opening his JLA comm-link, Superman calls the Flash and asks if he knows the current location of Gorilla Grodd. Flash responds that he is in the middle of Gorilla City right now, dealing with a civil war that Grodd caused. Superman offers his help, but then sees a huge gorilla, obviously not Grodd, hurling vehicles left and right. He talks Wally and signs off the comm-link.
Superman uses his heat vision to stop the thrown bus, and then tries to talk to the monkey. With a screech the ape jumps forward and grabs Superman in his massive grip. Falling through a roof, Clark uses his heat vision to force the ape back. Lying dazed on the floor, he tries to show the ape that he is not an enemy. Instead, a ball of energy forms above the ape's head. An identical one appears around Superman as he screams in pain.
For a moment Superman pictures himself as a monkey, strapped down in a chair and tormented by an evil scientist. Then, dragging his normal self out of a putrid pool, Superman looks up to see a giant rock formation in the shape of a gorilla, sitting in a cage. He realizes instantly that he must be in ape's mind.
Superman flies through the unreal landscape when suddenly he gets knocked out of the sky by a tentacle. Picking himself up out of the mud, he finds a little version of the gigantic ape that he fought outside. The ape begs him not to hit it. It wasn't him that terrorized the city. Outside, something moves him. Looking skyward Superman sees huge hypodermic needles falling toward him. Grabbing the monkey, Superman quickly avoids the deadly javelins, and then asks who is controlling the giant ape. Superman flies the monkey into a cave and sets him down when suddenly a huge claw bursts through the wall and yanks Superman away from the simian. Out in the real world man and gorilla are separated with a tremendous explosion.
As soon as Superman is free the army opens up with all of their weaponry, but Superman recovers fast enough to dive in front of the oncoming barrage and tell the men to hold their fire.
Twenty-five miles away, in a maximum security prison, a scientist prepares a needle with an ominous looking solution. Suddenly he turns around in shock to find Superman standing behind him. He tells Superman that he doesn't understand; the beast destroyed his family. Opening a door behind them, Superman calls to Hector Hammond. The powerful psychic is strapped in a chair, wires and needles poking into his body from every direction. Superman tells him that his message made it out. The cage is open. A single tear runs down Hammond's cheek.
Outside, Superman talks with the head of the prison. He says that it was lucky that Hammond was the only powerful telepath locked up in the area or he might not have been able to find him. The doctor tells Superman that Hammond isn't showing any permanent damage, but only time will tell. Hammond was a mute, he had no conventional way of crying out, but the primitive sections of his mind were still crying out for help.
As Superman takes off into the sky, the doctor calls up that despite the cruelty of the rogue doctor, none of this would have happened if Hammond hadn't killed the man's family. Monsters create monsters. Superman just says that sometimes, cages do too. As he flies away Superman thinks to himself. Zod may be holding the keys to his own cage, and hope it can unlock any cage.
- This book was first published on January 15, 2003.
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