The Fall of Metropolis was a five-part storyline that ran through alternating Superman titles in the summer of 1994.
The Battle for Metropolis was actually a four-part prologue to the main story, which brought to a close several key subplots including the truth behind the clone plague and Lex's plot to destroy Lois Lane's credibility. All of this culminated in the double-sized Action Comics #700 which serves as a keystone to both storylines. The story is significant in that it builds up to the point where Lex Luthor's villainous handiwork becomes public knowledge, as well as the fact that he is actually a clone. The story also includes the death of Paul Westfield the director of Project Cadmus, and Sydney Happersen, Lex's number one henchman.
Battle for Metropolis
A mysterious plague has hit the Metropolis area and seems to be affecting only clones. Most of the clones from the Project Cadmus facility including Superboy and the Newsboy Legion fall deathly ill. Moreover, Lex Luthor has likewise been stricken by the plague, and the virus causes his body to breakdown and age prematurely. Luthor publicly accuses Project Cadmus of making an attempt upon his life and declares open war upon them.
Taking advantage of the heated tension are the Underworlders. The Underworlders want revenge against Project Cadmus and anyone associated with them and are more than willing to take innocent human lives to accomplish their goals. Led by the savage Clawster, the Underworlders rise up from the sewers of Metropolis and begin attacking civilians en masse. Members of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, Team Luthor, Cadmus security division and Superman work in tandem to bring the chaos under control. During the battle, Guardian suffers a crippling blow and is brought back to Cadmus Labs.
Cadmus' director Paul Westfield despises the Underworlders and decides to wipe them out. He launches a missile and targets the greatest concentration of them despite the fact that the explosion would also kill hundreds of innocent civilians. Superman intercepts the missile and sends it off into outer space where it explodes harmlessly.
The mad scientist, Dabney Donovan, creator of the Underworlders takes great umbrage with Westfield's attempt to exterminate them. He disguises himself as a janitor, sneaks into Westfield's office and murders him.
Soon after, the project heads of Cadmus Labs learn that Guardian's blood holds the key towards curing the affected victims. Operations manager Carl Packard (secretly a stooge for LexCorp) secretly sends a message to Luthor informing him that they have found a cure. Lex sends a team of "Lex-Men" to Project Cadmus to acquire the cure. Should they fail to capture Guardian, they are to destroy the facility entirely. While the scientists synthesize a cure, Superman engages Luthor's Lex-Men. The cure appears to be successful and the first clone to rise from his bed is Superboy. Superboy assists Superman in fighting the armored soldiers. Although the Lex-Men fail to sanction Guardian, they do succeed in causing Cadmus' power core to overload. The explosion causes the entire facility to collapse. Only Superman and Superboy emerge from the wreckage and Superman swears to bring Luthor down once and for all.
The Fall of Metropolis
Lois Lane presents a videotape and a map to Perry White and Franklin Stern, proving that Lex Luthor has been involved in a wide array of criminal activity including attempted mass murder. She also has evidence proving that the current Lex Luthor is actually the original Lex Luthor in a clone body and not the son of Lex Luthor as the public believes.
At Mount Curtiss, Superboy and Superman emerge from the ruins of Project Cadmus. A handful of Team Luthor soldiers survive as well, but Luthor condemns their failure to procure a cure to the clone plague and cuts them off. Superman and Superboy fight the Lex-Men, and Supergirl arrives and helps them finish them off. Superman grabs a helmet from one of the soldiers and takes it to Professor Hamilton who attempts to use the helmet's communication system to track down Lex Luthor.
Lois meanwhile reveals her inside source at LexCorp - Gretchen Kelley. Gretchen is the one who first provided Lois with the security footage showing Lex Luthor strangling karate instructor Sasha Green.
Superman tracks Lex Luthor to his private yacht, the Sea Queen. He bursts through the wall and finds Luthor wasting away inside his hyperbolic chamber. Luthor refuses to go down easy though. He has his hands pressed on a trigger that will release an entire stockpile of ultrasonic missiles throughout the city if Superman takes one step closer. Superman appeals to Luthor's vanity and limited sense of reason, asking him if this is how he wants the world to remember him - as a mass murderer? Luthor realizes that he is right and pulls his hand away from the switch. His assistant however, Sydney Happersen, having always been loyal to Lex, cannot understand why he would falter. Enraged, he lunges at the bed chamber and hits the detonator switch. An electric surge courses through his system, killing him. The damage is done though. The missiles have launched. While Superman races off to try and stop the missiles, Superboy takes Lex's yacht to the Bakerline Naval yard.
The missiles come up from underground and begin arcing towards key points throughout the city. The first one strikes the Daily Planet building, and the giant Daily Planet globe crashes to the ground. Superman cannot stop the missile, but he does prevent the globe from crushing fleeing bystanders.
Witnessing this spectacle is media magnate Collin Thornton, who now reveals himself to be the demon Lord Satanus in disguise. Satanus has his own ambitions so far as Metropolis is concerned, and he cannot allow Luthor's death wish to bring it all down. Without revealing his hand, he uses his powers to surreptitiously guide Superman to where the other missiles are located. To satisfy his own vanity though, Satanus steers one of the missiles towards the Lexcorp Tower. The infamous landmark comes crashing to the ground. Superman, Superboy and Supergirl succeed in destroying the remaining missiles, but the damage is already done. Metropolis lies in ruins.
Superman continues to render aid to any who need in the wake of the "Fall of Metropolis". He meets with Myra Allen who is keeping a watch over her orphan charges. Suddenly, a giant cybernetic robot rise up from out of the ground and begins targeting specific individuals with a death ray emanating from its visor.
Later, the killer robot comes to Hob's Bay and begins going after Myra and the kids. It blasts Myra with an energizer ray, burning her to death. It then begins targeting Keith and the others. Superman arrives and begins fighting the robot. He lifts into the sky and hurls it into outer space.
A LexCorp employee named Mister McDonald rummages through the ruins of the Bank of Metropolis, desperately searching for something. A homeless man named Wild Bill tells him that his efforts are wasted. Everyone is now on the same playing field. McDonald will not be deterred however, and emphasizes how he is above the rabble of other people. His search is interrupted as three giant killer robots begin sifting through the wreckage, blasting away at any stray people they come across.
Superman meanwhile, continues his rescue efforts throughout the ruins of the city. He finds that Lex Luthor has been moved to one of the many triage units that have been set up throughout Metropolis. One of Luthor's handlers tells Superman that Lex is a vegetable. Although he can still think and hear everything around him, his body is wasted and useless.
Superman flies off and engages the killer robots. He knows that Luthor designed the robots as part of a "scorched Earth" policy to prevent Metropolis from ever being converted into another Engine City. The robots turn on him and catch Superman in a crossfire that blasts him out of the sky. Though invulnerable, the attack is devastating enough to stun the Man of Steel for a few moments. Wild Bill finds him and offers him a fruit box drink. Superman thanks him, then resumes his fight against the robots. Wild Bill rescues a young girl named Cindee who had been trapped in the rubble. Superman stops the last robot, which was moments away from destroying the hospice tent containing Lex Luthor's inert body.
With the battle concluded, Superman flies towards the Newstime Building. Mister McDonald, having acquired funds from his safety deposit box at the bank, is trying to bribe his way into the building, believing that it will provide him a more luxurious shelter. Superman dryly tells him that the Newstime Building is now being used as a hospital unit. If he wants to get in, then maybe he should volunteer to help.
Another of Lex Luthor's fail-safe weapons is activated over Metropolis. A noxious green vapor cloud settles over the city, causing all those within the infected area to suffer severe hallucinations. A group of survivalists imagine seeing an invading alien army descending upon them. Another man believes that his friend is actually a vampire who is trying to kill him. Yet another man, imagines himself being persecuted by Nazi soldiers.
Meanwhile, Superman is at S.T.A.R. Labs talking to Doctor Kitty Faulkner. Faulkner informs him that Project Cadmus sent them all of their data moments before their facility was destroyed. Included in this data, is the treatment cultivated from Guardian's blood to curing the clone plague. Superman's super-hearing picks up a distress call in downtown Metropolis and he flies off. After disarming a man who was attempting to destroy a "werewolf", he turns and finds Lois Lane standing in the ruins of the city. One of the survivalists, perceiving Superman as some sort of monster, opens fire on him, but the bullets ricochet off his chest, striking Lois. Superman cradles the dying Lois in his arms while his parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, admonish him for failing to protect his family. Superman now realizes that he too has fallen victim to the hallucinogenic vapor cloud. He is then taunted by images of a healthy Lex Luthor who proudly declares that the destruction of Metropolis is Superman's legacy. Superman grapples with the phantasm, but come to terms with the fact that none of this is real.
Elsewhere, Professor Emil Hamilton finds himself the victim of a trigger-happy prostitute who mistakes the professor for her pimp. A white-haired woman appears and saves the Professor's life, but his arm is bleeding badly. Hamilton is not immune to the effects of the vapor, but he does possess the means of stopping it. He has the white-haired woman drive him and his crate of synthetic enzymes towards the bay, with the intent of dumping them into the water. Superman arrives and helps to distribute the enzymes, by creating a water spout that rains down upon the city. Within short order, the cloud disappears and the hallucinations fade.
Superman flies Professor Hamilton to a triage unit, but the medical staff are unable to save his arm, and are forced to amputate it.
Although Lex Luthor is a veritable vegetable, he can still remotely activate Superman's old Kryptonian Warsuit to come to his aid. The suit breaks Luthor out of his iron lung imprisonment and places him inside the armor's chest cavity, where dozens of cables and implants attach themselves, providing Lex with the means to control the suit. Luthor begins plodding through Centennial Park searching for Superman. He soon gets his wish, as the Man of Steel bears down upon him. Luthor picks up Superman's memorial statue and begins battering him it. He then fires missiles out of the suit's gauntlets, but Superman catches them and sends them back to their point of origin.
The fight continues with neither combatant giving any quarter. Luthor fires an ignited gout of rocket fuel from his other gauntlet, and the heat is so intense that even Superman begins to waver beneath it. Superman dives into Lex and destroys his armaments. He tears open the war-suit's chest cavity and pulls Lex's sickly form out. He flies him to S.T.A.R. Labs where Kitty Faulkner tells him that there is nothing they can do for Lex. Because of the nature of the accelerated aging of Lex's clone body, the cure they acquired from Project Cadmus won't work for him. Looking down at Lex's crippled form, Superman says that this is the "end of an era".
The Battle for Metropolis:
The Fall of Metropolis:
- Action Comics #700
- Superman: Man of Steel #35
- Superman #91
- Adventures of Superman #514
- Action Comics #701
- The "Battle for Metropolis" is not to be confused with the "Battle of Metropolis" which took place during Infinite Crisis.
- Significant events from this story include:
- During this storyline, though not germane to the events involved, was also the wedding of Lana Lang to Pete Ross.
- The destruction of the Hobsneck Bridge is an important event leading into Worlds Collide, the crossover which took place immediately after the Fall. The Bridge became connected with the destroyed bridge on Paris Island in Dakota City thanks to the machinations of the supervillain Rift, leading to a meeting between the Superman Family in Metropolis and the heroes of another universe.
Links and References
This event or storyline is specifically related to Superman, or to members of the Superman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Superman Storylines category.
This issue is related to the Battle for Metropolis and Fall of Metropolis storylines, spanning through the Superman Titles in 1994, and involving the battle for, and then fall of Metropolis.