- I won't choose between any one life and another! All of these people are under my protection, you got that? Every living thing!
- -- Superman
Appearing in "Superman's Doomsday Decision"
Synopsis for "Superman's Doomsday Decision"
Moments ago, an alien spaceship put a force field around the city of Metropolis, and ripped the island of New Troy right up from the ground with Lois Lane inside. Watching the alien space ship fly away, Superman uses his zoom vision to determine that there's still a chance he can catch it. Sam Lane is doubtful, reminding that he would have to run at nearly 25,000 miles per hour in order to catch up. Putting on a breathing apparatus, Superman opts to give it a try.
The speed burns the soles off of the bottom of his shoes, but Superman manages to make a massive leap into the earth's atmosphere. Using a satellite as a jump-off point, he makes a second leap toward the fleeing space ship, and manages to catch hold of it. However, the ship appears to be sentient, and it sends large metal tentacles to subdue him with electricity.
The automaton robots begin attempting to seal and preserve him as they have with numerous other items of significance from other worlds. As the last Kryptonian, Superman is quite a prize. Fortunately, he manages to escape and evade the robots. He picks up on a broadcast from a Metropolis radio station, and tries to trace it to the location of the stolen city.
He wanders into a room full of artifacts and cities shrunk down to fit into special capsules. He recognizes one of the cities as one he once saw in a dream, and he is briefly overcome by the memory of a man who called him Kal-El. He recognizes a set of clothes that was collected as the suit worn by that man.
In New Troy, Lois catches sight of Lex Luthor, and naturally assumes that he was somehow involved in what's happened to them. Luthor points out that as a resident of New Troy, it makes sense that he should be there. Using his binoculars, Luthor notes that the Hob's River Bridge has been severed by what appears to be a wall of glass, meaning that 7 million people have been abducted simultaneously. Jimmy Olsen notices that a voice has been talking for some time now, and Luthor points out that mention of Dwarf Star Lensing was made. He realizes, given that the only application for that phrase relates to the supposedly secret science of one Ray Palmer, they have been miniaturized.
Suddenly, they assembled fall under attack by what appear to be giant robotic spiders, and they scatter. Jimmy, Lois, and Lex all rush into the back door of a nearby hotel, where they find a gathering of people sitting around the bar including Glen Glenmorgan. Lois tries to do some investigative reporting by asking Luthor pointed questions, but he shushes her, as he makes a phone-call directly to the alien behind the kidnapping. The alien responds that the arrangement the two of them made is being honoured. The Kryptonian is on the ship now, and in exchange, Luthor survives - albeit miniaturized and trapped in a jar. When the group is attacked again by the spiders, some attending police officers manage to shoot them down, but the distraction draws their eyes to the outside of their glass prison: a giant Superman is watching over them.
Looking in on the city, Superman is relieved to know that the 7 million kidnapped people are all alive, at least. He cries out for whoever has done this to explain who they are, and what they know about him. The robotic voice responds that they are the colony of the Collector of Worlds. On many different worlds, they were known by many different names, but on Krypton, they were known as Brainiac 1.0. The voice explains that the Collector has amassed the largest collection of Kryptoniana in the known volumes of spacetime, but without him, and without the Kryptonian Rocket, the collection is incomplete.
As a test, the voice reveals that it intends to shut off the life support for both the bottled cities of Metropolis and Kandor. Superman will be given just 15 minutes to decide which of the two to save. He must prove to which his loyalty lies; his home world or his adoptive planet. He must decide whether it is nature or nurture which has influenced him most. Angrily, Superman shouts that he will not choose one life over another. he declares every living thing within both cities as under his protection.
The voice goads him on, suggesting that the city of Kandor could provide the answers to the secrets of Superman's origins. With the indestructible armour that his kindred wore on Krypton, Superman could dwell like a king among kings in Kandor. Meanwhile, the people of earth fear, envy and despise him. The pinnacle of their technological achievement was in creating a weapon meant to kill him.
As it turns out, the people of New Troy can hear their exchange, and they begin to gather in the street, calling out his name, and waving lighters and glowing phones. Superman comments that these people will never be kept in a bottle. The voice claims that those in the bottle are lucky, and will be spared the sight of their home planet's destruction. Ignoring the voice, Superman uses his X-Ray vision to see through the military truck in New Troy which contains the rocket in which he was brought to earth. He can hear it calling out to him in his native Kryptonian.
Finally, Superman turns and states that he's made his choice. The people of New Troy see him turning away and call out for him to change his mind, but Luthor plays on it, pointing out that the alien has rejected them, as he expected.
Unexpectedly, Superman instead smashes into the case of the indestructible Kryptonian suit, and challenges the alien to fight him as he puts it on. When the suit touches his skin, it changes from white to blue, and his family's crest emblazons itself on his chest. He says that he will fight on the trapped cities' behalves, and when he wins, they must be sent back to where they belong. Mockingly, the voice responds that the city of Kandor cannot be returned. Krypton was destroyed and Earth will be next.
Brainiac shows himself, and warns Superman to join the collection or die.
Appearing in "Meanwhile..."
Synopsis for "Meanwhile..."
In Metropolis after Superman has taken off in search of the abducted portion of the city, John Henry Irons struggles to hold up the dangling end of the Hob's River suspension bridge until everyone has been evacuated.
Eventually, he cannot hold the bridge any longer, and he has to let go. The end of the bridge collapses, and he realizes that sooner or later, he'd better get a helmet, as he dodges the debris. Passing over what remains of the bridge, John realizes that there are a lot of people trying to get onto the bridge in order to get to family in New Troy. This reminds him to call his niece Natasha, and let her know he's okay.
With the island gone, the banks of Hob's River are crumbling, and the waters are rushing in to fill in the hole - and taking a ferry full of people with them. Using his knowledge of physics, John manages to redirect the course of the ferry toward shore, preventing it from falling into the chasm below.
The rest of John's day is a blur of rescues and crime-stopping. With all the work he does, he starts to wonder if this good feeling must be the same way that Superman feels when he's on the job. He realizes, eventually, that everywhere he goes, the people of metropolis are coming together to meet the crisis. He supposes that it doesn't just take one man like he or Superman to bring Metropolis through a disaster - it takes millions of them.
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