"The Riddle of Little Earth Lost": Superman returns to Earth's solar system after a mission in space and is surprised to find that the planet in Earth's usual position isn't Earth at all. Upon closer inspection, he finds that some how, Earth has been replaced by the planet Rann and he is instant
- Hey, I... I've never been a hero on Earth before! And you know something? It feels great!
- -- Adam Strange
Appearing in "The Riddle of Little Earth Lost"
- Mists of Insalla
Synopsis for "The Riddle of Little Earth Lost"
Superman returns to Earth's solar system after a mission in space and is surprised to find that the planet in Earth's usual position isn't Earth at all. Upon closer inspection, he finds that some how, Earth has been replaced by the planet Rann and he is instantly attacked by an army of rebels seeking to overthrow the government on Rann. Superman makes short work of them and soon is met by Adam Strange's lover Alanna and her father Sardath. They invite the Man of Steel back to Sardath's lab in Ranagar City where Superman learns the possible cause of the planet switch: Sardath explains that recently the Zeta-Beam that used to transport Adam Strange between Earth and Rann has changed and that Strange had instead been transported to different locations on Rann at random. Seeking to cure Adam of this affliction, Sardath attempted an experiment by bombarding him with Zeta-Rays, and it seemingly created this situation.
As Sardath finished his explanation, Alanna suddenly feels faint and passes out. Sardath notices a strange mist and deduces that the lack of Rann's three suns has caused dormant microorganisms that leech off moisture have begun coming to life. Superman rushes outside to see that his gas has filled the entire city. Quick thinking, the Man of Steel, grabs some domes off some of the buildings in Ranagar and takes them out into space and places them in orbit to act ask make-shift suns to cause the organisms to become dormant again. Returning to Sardath's lab, Superman is told that this is only a temporary fix, and that more danger lies ahead if they do not find a way to return the two planets to their proper galaxies. Superman detects a clue with his x-ray vision and flies off to check it out while Alanna recovers and tells her father she can't help but wish Adam Strange were here. Superman travels to another part of Rann where he has tracked a Zeta-trail and finds a hidden lab full of machinery. There he finds Adam Strange's old foe Kaskor waiting for him -- or rather a holographic projection of the villain. As Superman attempts to stop him a cage crashes down on the Man of Steel and he finds that his powers are stripped away thanks to a special bulb in the cage that replicates the rays of a red sun. Kaskor explains to Superman that he has created a Zeta-amplifier to cause the two planets to change places in part of a mad scheme to destroy both worlds in revenge against Adam Strange for disposing him as ruler of Rann in the past, and that his plan will see the destruction of Earth as well.
At this same time on Earth, Adam Strange appears on Earth and is surprised to see that his being on his home world is no longer fatal. He begins to search around trying to make sense of why he was returned to Earth when he happens to see an experiment on algae gone berserk on the roof of S.T.A.R. Labs. Quickly, Adam rockets up to the strange plant creature and realizes what's happened: Earth is now in the Alpha Centauri system and that Rann's three sons is causing plant life to increase the amount of photosynthesis that they are used to. Quick thinking, Strange uses his ray gun to evaporate the water in a roof top swimming pool, causing enough cloud cover to cut off the excess solar rays and cause the algae to return to normal. After saving the day, Adam Strange is met by Lois Lane who asks for an exclusive interview for the Daily Planet. Adam does one better and flies her back to the WGBS building for a brief interview. There he witnesses news reports about plant life going crazy all over the Earth and about a strange ice crater that has appeared in Zaire. Seeing this as a clue to explain the planet shift, Adam Strange flies off to check it out before Lois can interview him any further, much to the reporters chagrin.
When Adam Strange arrives at the crater, his hunch is proven correct as he finds that the extreme cold is the after product of a Zeta-Beam transmission. He is soon attacked by a robot which he easily destroys, but this proves to be but a decoy for an even stronger robot that takes him captive. Kaskor then makes his presence known and shows Adam what is in the bottom of the crater: His Zeta-Beam amplifier, and that once the Zeta-Beam he used to swap both planets wears off, both worlds will occupy the same space and destroy each other. Just then, Superman arrives and easily destroys the robot, freeing Adam. The Man of Steel explains to the surprised Kaskor that when left alone to his own devices, Superman used his indestructible cape to block the rays from the artificial red-sun ray generator so that his strength would return and allow him to break free of his cage and track Kaskor back to Alpha Centauri.
However, before the two heroes can stop the device's effects from being permanent, they are held up by the various robots that Kaskor had built to the device protected. With the Zeta-Beam effect that will cause Rann to return to it's proper position imminent, Kaskor attempts to escape by blasting himself with a Zeta-Gun, however Superman has used his x-ray vision to fuse the circuits and Adam Strange knocks him out. With the destruction of their worlds moments away, Superman points out that there is a space warm not far from Alpha Centauri that he can push Earth into while Rann is transported back by the fading Zeta-Beam. However, needing a boost, Superman prepares a rocket loaded up with explosives which Adam will pilot through the worm hole.
Their plan goes off without a hitch, as Adam sets the explosives to go off, the Zeta-Beam that transported him to Earth wears off, sending him back to Rann. The massive explosion causes the space-warp to expand enough to help Superman push the Earth back into it's proper position in the universe, and Rann is returned to it's proper place when the Zeta-Beams wear off it, and a the crisis is averted. Later that night, Clark Kent appears on WGBS news and thanks the "mystery hero" who helped Superman save the Earth when doing his nightly newscast. While on the planet Rann, Alanna asks Adam Strange if being on Earth made him miss his home, Adam looks at her and tells her that he is home and the two lovers kiss.
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