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"Deep Freeze": Superman has been stabbed a second time by Ghost Soldier, who claims that he is loyal only to humanity, and that Superman's actions in sympathy toward the creatures who live in Imperial Subterranea, bringing the
- You pushed yourself into a situation you didn't understand, big man. Or are you going to tell me you were going to save everyone?
Appearing in "Deep Freeze"
Synopsis for "Deep Freeze"
Superman has been stabbed a second time by Ghost Soldier, who claims that he is loyal only to humanity, and that Superman's actions in sympathy toward the creatures who live in Imperial Subterranea, bringing them to the surface, are unacceptable. Fortunately, Lana Lang is there to back up her old friend. With her distraction provided, Superman tries to stop his bleeding, taking stock of the situation. He must protect Lana and the energy source they recovered from below. He must discover why the sun causes the cute creatures from underground to transform into monsters. Among those monsters is Superman's young friend Baka, who takes the form of a massive creature in sunlight, frightening humans like Lana's former coworkers, who now fire their guns at what they cannot understand.
As the smaller creatures are terrified by what is happening to them, they grow more dangerous, and Lana is threatened. Ghost Soldier, preserving human life, slices the creatures to pieces, causing their mangled bodies to return to their original form. Lana is horrified, but Ghost Soldier claims she should blame Superman for bringing them up to the surface in the first place. Superman, of course, is enraged, though he attempts to remain calm. He can't contain it, however, and attacks, knowing full well that most of his attacks are easily evaded by someone who can phase through him. Luring Ghost Soldier in close, Superman uses his Freeze Breath to freeze the attacker's molecules, and prevent him from phasing - with the unfortunate side-effect of freezing much of the insect and animal life in the area, to his regret.
Grimly, Superman states that he blames Ghost Soldier, thrusting his fist through the chunk of ice encasing him, and ripping off the man's mask. Hoping to learn who gives him his orders, Superman places the mask over his own face, and sees that there are others like Ghost Soldier, and he sees where they are. Crushing the mask in his fists, Superman orders Lana to stay back and look after Baka while he sees to this matter. Lana, though, senses the pain he feels. She knows that something is bothering him, as he looks just how he looked when they were kids; when he found out that bullies had killed Pete Ross's dog, back in Smallville. Superman knows that he is, in his heart, the same boy who cried over that dog.
Before he can leave, a rumbling from below signals the arrival of Ukur, the Beastlord, who has come to warn of what will happen to the creatures they brought back with them. When he learns that he was too late to stop their transformation or their murder, he explains that he has come with a related purpose: Baka cannot stay with them. He belongs below ground. This angers Superman, and he is only angered further when he sees unmarked military bombers coming for them.
Desperately, he warns Lana to get the civilians to their trucks and head at least two miles away within the next five minutes. Lana demands an explanation, but there is no time, and he raises his voice, worrying her greatly. Sighing, Superman turns his attention to Baka, explaining that despite his wishes, it would be safer for his friend to go back with Ukur, before the humans hunt him and hurt him. Sadly, Baka transforms back into his boyish form, and wraps his arms around Superman. Regretfully, Superman remembers that he had promised Baka that he'd always be there for him. Pointedly, he warns Ukur not to hurt Baka, but Ukur responds that he would never hurt the prince. Seeing their surprise, he explains that Baka is the prince of the Imperium, and very precious. He promises to protect the boy until both worlds are ready for him. Superman listens to them as they go deep underground, and he can still hear Baka crying, even two miles underground.
Wordlessly, Superman retrieves a massive boulder, and seals off the cavern before returning to the skies, and destroying all of the bombers. When Superman returns to Lana, he finds her crying. The orb she'd saved had cracked. It would no longer provide them renewable energy. She can see his eyes watering, and she reminds that after losing everything they came to this place for, it's okay to cry. Superman responds that he has a better idea.
He grabs Ghost Soldier, and drags him to his Tower Control at a phenomenal speed. Even so, the commanding officer, Harrow, is waiting for him readily.
- This book was first published on March 5, 2014.
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