Batman and Wonder Woman pay Superman a visit at his Fortress of Solitude, bearing gifts for the Man of Steel's birthday. However, upon their initial entry, they see Superman standing rather still with a strange alien plant attached to his chest and wrapping its tendrils around him. They call out to
Appearing in "For The Man Who Has Everything"
- Mongul (Final appearance)
- Kryptonians in Superman's fantasy
- People in Batman's fantasy
- Krypton (Hallucination)
Synopsis for "For The Man Who Has Everything"
Batman and Wonder Woman pay Superman a visit at his Fortress of Solitude, bearing gifts for the Man of Steel's birthday. However, upon their initial entry, they see Superman standing rather still with a strange alien plant attached to his chest and wrapping its tendrils around him. They call out to him, but Superman doesn't respond. His mind is entranced by a vision he sees...
- ...a vision of him being on a Krypton that never exploded, living out the normal life of an average Kryptonian, being married and having a son. He wakes up in bed, greeted by a servo-robot named Brainiac and a window view of wheat fields surrounding his house like it was in Smallville on Earth. His wife wakes up beside him and gives him a good morning kiss. Brainiac informs Kal-El that he and his son Van-El are expected in Jor-El's laboratory in 2 hours and 12 minutes.
As Wonder Woman goes to find whoever has broken into the Fortress, Batman tries to determine where the plant came from and what it's doing to Superman. Soon a gigantic yellow-skinned muscular humanoid male named Mongul shows up, carrying Wonder Woman's body in his hand, gloating about how easily he took her down. Suddenly she awakens to give Mongul a kick that knocks him over, saying "not as easily as you think". Batman stops the two of them from fighting just long enough to know what the planted attached to Superman is. Mongul tells them that the plant is a Black Mercy, which gives its victims the desire of their hearts, trapping them in a dreamworld that they cannot escape from. He ponders at what kind of fantasy Superman must be having, presuming that he's having a "more honest" dream of ruling the universe with Earth beings fawning at his feet rather than the "pretense" of being a superhero. At that comment, Wonder Woman charges at Mongul, nearly breaking her hands with her punches.
- On Krypton, Kal-El makes pancakes for Van-El's breakfast when he nearly slips on a "little present" left on the floor by the dog. Brainiac offers to clean the mess up, but Kal-El tells him not to, saying it's Van-El's responsibility to walk the dog. Soon Van-El appears with his dog Krypto and is scolded by his father for not taking responsibility for his pet. Van-El almost lets slip about a "party" when he asks his father if he's going to attend. Kal-El tells his wife Loana that he doesn't want a "surprise party", realizing that his son is talking about his own birthday party, and Loana promises that he won't get one. As Van-El goes to eat his breakfast, Loana looks deep into Kal-El's eyes with love, saying that it's only a small party, and the two of them kiss.
Both Batman and Wonder Woman gang up upon Mongul, who throws Batman off him until he lands nearly injured right next to Superman. As Mongul approaches Batman, Wonder Woman grabs the alien and throws him backwards over her head. Mongul simply gets up and says Wonder Woman has volunteered to be the first of her kind to die. As he throws her through a wall, Batman tries to use a laser to cut away at Black Mercy, but it has no effect: the laser burn marks are instantly healed. Batman tries to reach out to Superman to get him to snap out of his dream world as he continues to hear Wonder Woman getting pummeled through the Fortress by Mongul. One of the walls she's flung through is the weapons room of the Fortress, where she uses one of the more powerful energy blasters to take on Mongul.
- On Krypton, Kal-El walks Van-El through the hallways of a city building toward Jor-El's laboratory when he feels another tremor like the one he feel earlier that morning. As Jor-El embraces his grandson, Kal-El calls Brainiac to find out about the tremor, who simply informs his master that the tremor is very minor and completely harmless. Van-El is completely impressed by all the creatures he sees in his grandfather's laboratory, including one that suspiciously looks like the Black Mercy plant. Kal-El brings his father's attention to a map showing spots where tremors have been occurring, saying that he feels something cataclysmic is going to happen. Jor-El reminds his son of a prediction he made years ago of a similar disaster that never happened, and that it took years for him to salvage his reputation afterward. Kal-El suggests maybe his father was right...and then looking at his son, recants and says maybe he himself has been working too hard. He decides to let go of the past and focus on the future. He takes Van-El to the roof to see the Macroscope, but as he follows, he briefly looks again at the map showing the tremor spots and then mutters to himself, "it's just not right."
Meanwhile, Batman finds that Black Mercy is losing its grip on Superman, which he suspects is his friend fighting his way out of the fantasy. Batman encourages him to continue fighting it.
- On Krypton, Kal-El is on the roof of the building with his son looking through the Magnoscope when he hears the voice of Bruce Wayne saying, "Fight it!", followed by yet another tremor. Van-El looks away from his viewing to see his father slumped over and holding his head in his hand, as if something is wrong. Kal-El tries to tell Van-El how he felt when his son was born, and yet for some strange reason, he feels as if nothing he has experienced is real. He holds his son very close to him as if saying goodbye to him as he feels the tremors getting more intense until the very ground crumbles under their feet and Krypton now explodes.
Batman at that point succeeds in pulling Black Mercy off Superman's body, only for it to now latch onto him and give him a fantasy based on the desires of his heart. In Batman's fantasy, he sees that his father, on the night that his parents were murdered by a low-life criminal on the street, succeeds in grabbing the criminal's hand before he fires a shot and then pummeling him with the other fist, while young Bruce watches, cheering his father on.
Superman, now freed from the Black Mercy's thrall, attacks Mongul in a rage, angry that he had been pulled from his fantasy of being on a Krypton that was never destroyed and losing everything that was so dear in the process. Wonder Woman, now weakened from Mongul's assaults, crawls over to where Batman is now entranced by the Black Mercy's power to pull the plant off him, yelling "Bruce!" to get his attention. As she does, Batman's fantasy of his father turning the tables on his murderer turns sour until at last it unfolds exactly as he remembered it. With Black Mercy now loose, Wonder Woman struggles to keep it at arm's length from her as it tries to attach itself to her.
The fight between Superman and Mongul, with neither side prevailing, carries over into a room where the Kryptonian is distracted by the statue of his parents holding up a globe representing the lost world of Krypton, and Mongul uses it to pummel Superman. However, Mongul is distracted by Wonder Woman calling to him and sees her through a hole in the ceiling one floor up. She then throws Black Mercy right onto Mongul, and instantly it wraps itself around Mongul, giving him a fantasy of his own heart's desire as he drops to the ground, the heroes now relieved that the fight is over.
Batman and Wonder Woman finally present their birthday gifts to Superman. Wonder Woman shows him a rare species of a plant blossom called the Krypton -- a blossom that ended up being crushed during the fight. Superman nonetheless is pleased that his friends and allies have even thought of bringing him gifts. They look upon Mongul with the Black Mercy attached to him and wonder what kind of fantasy he's been having.
On the floor, Mongul smiles as he hears tortured screams in his fantasy.
- No notes.
- This story is adapted from the original comic book story of the same name featured in Superman Annual (vol. 1) #11.
- Wonder Woman almost says, "Go to hell", as she uses the neural impacter weapon on Mongul -- just as she did in the original version of the story -- except that the triggering of the weapon cuts off the "hell" part.
- Loana's comment in Superman's fantasy, "I couldn't get you off this farm if I exploded a quantum bomb under your..." has a possibly intended expletive cut off by their servant Brainiac's announcement to Kal-El.
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Links and References