"Superman: Bulletproof": Maxim Zarov has spent his life learning to hunt the world's deadliest game, and now he is on the hunt for Superman. Records show that Little is known about where the alien landed years ago, but two farms in Kansas recur in a pattern of early
Appearing in "Superman: Bulletproof"
- Lois Lane
- Jimmy Olsen
- Mrs. Nyxly
- Justice League
- Nimrod the Hunter
- Angus "Guns" Grundig (Dies)
- Captain Comet (First appearance)
- Glen Glenmorgan (Mentioned only)
- David Marigold
- Aaron van Dien
- George Taylor
- Daily Star
- Clark Kent's Apartment
- David Marigold's Apartment
- The Interstate, 200 miles from Metropolis
Synopsis for "Superman: Bulletproof"
Maxim Zarov has spent his life learning to hunt the world's deadliest game, and now he is on the hunt for Superman. Records show that Little is known about where the alien landed years ago, but two farms in Kansas recur in a pattern of early Superman sightings in the Midwest - Kent Farm and Blake Farm. Kent Farm is now under the supervision of Mr. Fry since Jonathan Kent passed away. When questioned, Mr. Fry explains that he was given the farm by Clark Kent, who moved away to Metropolis. Zarov sets his sights on Clark Kent, and begins man-hunting in earnest. Suspicious, Mr. Fry calls Clark in Metropolis with a warning.
Clark, meanwhile, has just finished writing an article reporting on the discovery of a little girl's body in Hob's Bay; apparently the victim of an extremely brutal and frenzied attack. Wishing justice to be done, Clark can remain objective no longer and decides to do something about it. He rushes back to his apartment, grabs one of his Superman T-shirts, and takes a train to the home of David Marigold - an egotistical recluse whom he is sure committed the murders of this girl and others. Marigold is annoyed to have a visitor, and threatens to call the police, slamming the door in Clark's face. Clark has already called the police, though, and moments later he crashes through the door as Superman. Though he strongly desires to mete out untold punishments upon the man, he leaves Marigold for the police, along with all of the evidence that Clark Kent collected. Marigold can only manage to sputter that someone will need to look after his pet hamsters.
And so, Superman attempts to convince the other members of the Justice League to adopt the hamsters, to no avail. Neither are they especially willing to tackle world issues like poverty in Somalia. The group dynamic is changing, and in these early stages, they're beginning to suss out each other's identities. In any case, Batman argues that they should steer clear of world conflicts, lest they become a gang of authoritarian living-weapons from America. International problems are far more complex than they could understand, and can't be fixed so easily. Flash admits that while he sympathizes with those international issues, he has a family and a life in America, and it would be best - for the time being - to operate within the law, as far as he is concerned. They are not, after all, gods. Frustrated, Superman leaves them, and Batman supposes that one day, they may all have to go after him.
While killing time before an important job interview with Perry White, Clark, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen hang out in Clark's apartment. Lois suggests that her step-niece Susie would be happy to adopt the hamsters. Meanwhile, Jimmy goes through Clark's photo albums, and becomes excited when he spots a photo of Lana Lang in her prom dress. Perhaps a bit jealous, Lois begins asking about Clark's past with Lana, but Clark is distracted by something else. He's been sifting through Lois' scrapbook of early Superman sightings. He is surprised to discover news of certain Superman sightings that predate anything he ever did. With an hour before Clark's interview, the trio rush to get some lunch, failing to notice that Maxim Zarov has been staking out the apartment from the diner across the street.
On an interstate highway, a trucker stops for a man in a hooded cape, who uses mind-control abilities to get a ride to Metropolis. En route, he introduces himself as Adam, and explains that he has returned to Earth to assume control.
Clark is concerned that getting a job at the Daily Planet as a result of his exposé against Glen Glenmorgan constitutes selling out. Lois' reassurance is cut off, though, when they notice that there seems to be a commotion outside the Daily Star, where Clark had recently been employed. A man with a bomb strapped to his chest is approaching the building as the throngs run away screaming. Scornfully, Lois suggests that is Clark's cue to run for his life, but this time, he runs toward the danger. Clark recognizes the bomber as Angus Grundig, a former employee of Glenmorgan. Clark's reporting in the Daily Star put him out of work, so he hopes to take it with him as he takes his own life.
Inside the Daily Star, George Taylor spots Clark outside and attempts to warn him away, but Clark tries to warn him away instead. His despair at its peak, Grundig releases the detonator's kill switch, and the resulting explosion is felt all the way down the street. Everyone assumes that Clark was caught in the blast.
The next day, Maxim Zarov approaches Mrs. Nyxly, Clark Kent's landlord, and introduces himself as a friend of his. Mrs. Nyxly informs him that Clark died in the explosion the day before, which confuses Zarov, as he was sure that Kent and Superman were one and the same. Superman, though, does not seem to be dead, as he appears behind Zarov and warns against using guns at close-range. Regardless, Zarov tries several weapons, but only manages to injure himself. As Superman prepares to hand Zarov over to the police, he promises to explain Clark Kent's apparent death to Mrs Nxyly later.
Later, in the hospital, Zarov realizes that even he must leave some kind of trail behind. Now he's stuck in a hospital bed. Disguised as a nurse, the small man who suggested he kill Superman in the first place offers Zarov an opportunity. He will provide other-worldly weapons, and allow him a place in the Anti-Superman Army - if only he will make a certain deal.
Appearing in "Absent Friends"
- Superman (Clark Kent) (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "Absent Friends"
Last winter, Jimmy Olsen had dragged Clark Kent out into the cold and snow to see one of his favourite old sci-fi movies at the Metropolis Theatre. Suddenly, Clark slipped on the ice, and within moments, a van which had lost control on the ice slammed into a telephone pole in front of them. If Clark had not slipped just prior, both he and Jimmy would have been flattened under that van.
Jimmy relates this story over drinks at Swan's Tavern, where newsmen have gathered for years. This time, they have gathered to say goodbye to Clark Kent. Lois Lane remembers how she had first thought of Clark as an insignificant author of human interest puff-pieces, but upon reading his work, she had discovered a certain empathy in his writing that was an extension of who he was.
One day, she and Clark had been having lunch together when a gas main explosion hit nearby, causing significant destruction. While her first instinct was to ask what happened and who was responsible, Clark's first thought was to help people. Seeing that selflessness, she had felt ashamed. They both wound up on the front page that day - after helping the bystanders. To Lois, it wasn't just that Clark was a good person; it was that he made her a better person, too.
George Taylor remembers Clark as a boy, from when he worked at the Smallville Sentinal. He had got to know Clark better when they worked together on the Daily Star. Unable to top Lois' speech, George leads the assembled in a toast to absent friends, and the caring man who made them care too.
Afterwards, they reporters begin to go their separate ways. Walking home together, Lois and Jimmy miss their friend, and hope that he would have liked what was said about him. From a nearby roof, Superman watches them go, and inwardly regrets his decision to kill Clark off.
- No special notes.
- The "Turtle Man" Jimmy mentions in the second story is a reference to past stories in which he played "Turtle Boy" in a series of pizza commercials, and later when he was transformed into an actual turtle-man, and attempted to fight Darkseid.
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