"The Once and Future War!": This story is reprinted from DC Comics Presents #61.
Appearing in "The Once and Future War!"
- Dewey (Single appearance)
- Murdermek (Single appearance)
- Nick Bravo (Single appearance)
- Scientists of Intercorp (Single appearance)
- Arnold Berkowitz (Single appearance)
- Norman Blank (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Once and Future War!"
This story is reprinted from DC Comics Presents #61.
OMAC bursts into an Intercorp laboratory and begins fighting the criminal scientists. A group of them manage to activate a time-transmitter sending a robotic assassin known as Murdermek backwards in time. OMAC leaps through the quantum aperture just as the scientists set the self-destruct sequence on the transmitter, stranding OMAC back in the past.
In 20th century Metropolis, a squad of police officers engage in a fire-fight with a group of criminals holding up a liquor store. The Murdermek robot appears in the middle of the fight and begins looking for his intended target. The thugs shot at the giant robot, but to no avail. Superman suddenly arrives and begins fighting Murdermek. Murdermek blasts Superman through a brownstone with his missile launchers.
Suddenly, OMAC arrives in this time period and begins surveying the area for signs of Murdermek. When police officers see him, they assume that he is in league with Murdermek and try to arrest him. OMAC uses his enhanced strength to hurl the cops away from him. Superman witnesses this incident and makes the same assumption that the officers did. The two briefly fight one another until OMAC explains why he has come backwards in time.
Murdermek meanwhile, leaves the scene and continues on his mission. He goes to Metro Central Station where he attempts to assassinate a civilian named Norman Blank. Norman Blank is the ancestor of OMAC and by murdering him, he will succeed in preventing OMAC from ever being born. Superman smashes through the building and scoops up the perceived target. Murdermek's missiles strike the floor as Superman flies him off to safety. He quickly returns to the station to finish his fight with the robot. OMAC however, discovers that Murdermek has provided the thugs from the liquor store with high-tech armored hover-ships. OMAC incapacitates the flyers while Superman finally succeeds in destroying Murdermek. They then address Murdermek's intended target who reveals that he is not Norman Blank, but rather Arnold Berkowitz. The real Norman Blank is a janitor who works at the station who happened to have been standing behind Berkowitz when Murdermek launched his missiles. Superman simply rescued the wrong man.
Appearing in "The Kid Who Played Superman!"
- Lois Lane
- Jimmy Olsen
- Perry White
- Lana Lang
- Morgan Edge
- Mickey Norris (First appearance)
- Justin Moore
Synopsis for "The Kid Who Played Superman!"
This story is reprinted from Superman #388.
Superman helps out a young admirer of his who wears a Superman shirt, has telepathic powers, and is captured by aliens.
Appearing in "Luthor Unleashed!"
- Lex Luthor's Warsuit (First appearance)
- Lex Luthor's starship
Synopsis for "Luthor Unleashed!"
This story is reprinted from Action Comics #544.
Lex Luthor rises from the rubble following his most recent confrontation with Superman. He hobbles to one of his safe houses and meets his robotic servant RX99. RX99 helps Luthor to a rocket ship where upon he blasts off from the planet Earth, seemingly forever.
Thoughts of hatred for the Man of Steel continue to fill his mind however. He flies to the planet Lexor where his wife Ardora comes out to greet him. Ardora tells Luthor that during the time that he has been gone, she has given birth to his son Lex, Jr.
Luthor is elated and feels that he now has a chance to start over with a new life. Addressing the citizens of Lexor, he announces his plans to stay on the planet permanently to raise his son. The townspeople still regard Luthor as their personal savior. Lex tells Ardora of his lifelong battle against Superman, and vows that he is no longer interested in pursuing a life of crime. He throws himself into the role of Lexor's champion and uses his super-science to create a Netrarod – a giant mechanical antenna that will help stabilize Lexor's planetary core. Now the citizens of Lexor need no longer fear the geological upheaval that has plagued their world as of late.
Back on Earth, the robot RX99 develops partial sentience. Feeling a need to fulfill his master's desires of revenge, the robot activates one of Luthor's many doomsday devices. A satellite from space produces a force field that completely envelops the city of Metropolis. Superman investigates the matter and finds the satellite with the stylized "L" engraved on the side. After destroying the satellite, Superman flies off to track down Luthor and bring him to justice. He has no idea that Luthor is actually innocent of this most recent attack against the Kryptonian's adopted city.
Meanwhile, Luthor is still obsessed with Superman. Putting his new reputation at great risk, he develops an elaborate war-suit and secretly tests the suit's weapons systems on a nearby transport flyer. News of this mysterious "Marauder" begins to circulate, and Lex publicly vows that he will find and stop whoever is using this destructive armor.
Superman eventually arrives on Lexor as Luthor suspected, and he can no longer remain in hiding. Donning the war-suit, he flies off to face the Man of Steel for what he believes will be their final battle. The fight is evenly matched as Lexor's red sun slowly saps away at Superman's strength. Superman's body is coated with a special sunscreen to protect him, but eventually this begins to wear off.
During the battle, Lex fires a blast of energy at Superman from his gauntlets. The blast ricochets off Superman's chest, striking the Neutrarod. This causes a severe power surge that channels deep into the planet's core, starting a chain reaction. Within minutes, Lexor's core explodes, killing millions of Lexorians. The blast hurls Superman backwards, and he believes that Luthor has died in the explosion.
Turning, Superman flies back towards Earth, confident that he has seen the last of his archenemy. Lex survives however, and clings to floating chunk of rock. His hatred for Superman has reached new heights, and he swears that he will soon have his revenge.
Appearing in "Ambush Bug II"
- Legion of Substitute Heroes
Synopsis for "Ambush Bug II"
This story is reprinted from DC Comics Presents #59.
Having escaped from prison, Ambush Bug has decided to try and hitch a ride on Superman by teleporting on the Man of Steel's back. The Bug picks a particularly bad time to do so as Superman was about to go on a mission into the 40th Century. Realizing that Ambush Bug has hopped on his back, Superman stops travelling through the time barrier as quickly as possible, ending up in the 30th Century, the home era of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Needing to get his mission done, and not wanting to deal with Ambush Bug until later, Superman tries to drop him off with the Legion of Super-Heroes, but finds that the Legion is away on a mission. With no other choice, Superman leaves Ambush Bug with the Legion of Substitute Heroes, in spite of his doubts that they can keep Ambush Bug contained he has no choice to trust the bumbling Legion of Substitutes who assure the Man of Steel that they have the situation under control.
However, they do not, because they did not have an adequate holding facility to keep Ambush Bug at bay, and the trickster manages to break out of his cell (Which was really just a fish tank, and the Substitutes were too ashamed to tell Superman that their holding cells were broken.)
When Superman returns to the 30th Century he's mortified to find that Ambush Bug is running amok in the future and that three of the Legion of Substitutes are trying to stop him: Fire Lad, Chlorophyll Kid and Stone Boy. This doesn't end well when Stone Boy tries to soften an impact by turning into stone form and getting his head stuck in the ground, Superman leaves Fire Lad and Chlorophyll Kid behind to try and find a way to get Stone Boy out of his jam while he goes after Ambush Bug. Figuring he finally managed to capture the Bug in his cape, the Bug teleports away with Superman's trademark cape. Superman is then approached by the Science Police who ask him to come to their headquarters to assist in stopping Ambush Bug.
The Bug himself has found amusement by finding a strange alien, tying Superman's cape around the creatures neck and dubbing it "Superman II" and tossing it off a building to see if it can fly. The confused alien is saved by Color Kid and Antennae Lad. They are then menaced by Ambush Bug who reclaims Superman's cape and disappears, deciding to wear it himself and begins to enjoy life in the 30th Century. He then decides to get Superman's attention by running amok in the Superman Museum. Superman meanwhile is meeting with Science Police Chief Zendak with Substitute Legion members Porcupine Pete and Infectious Lass. When they learn that Ambush Bug is in the Superman Museum, Superman is mortified that the Bug may stumble upon his secret identity, Porcupine Pete assures Superman that they can capture the bug with the help of auxiliary Substitute Legion members, an assertion that Superman has a feeling of dread over.
Trying to capture Ambush Bug inside the Superman Museum proves to be more difficult as the annoying pest manages to evade capture from then the most capable member of the Substitute Legion. Superman finally finds a way to defeat the Bug however: Using the pests natural defiance toward authority against him, they trick him into activating the Phantom Zone projector by putting "do not enter" and a "do not push button" on the Projector. As expected, Ambush Bug disobeys these warnings and pushed the button on the Phantom Zone Projector and is transported to the Phantom Zone.
With Ambush Bug contained for now, Superman will go for the annoyance and recover his cape once he has an adequate holding cell for him. Later as Superman and the Legion of Substitute Super-Heroes celebrate their victory, they wonder where Fire Lad, Chlorophyll Kid and Stone Lad are. They are in fact, still where Superman left them, with Fire Lad and the Chlorophyll Kid trying to figure out how to get Stone Boy's head out of the ground.
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