After his past fifty-year career as a superhero, Superman became a pawn to the United States Government and had been used as a participating covert agent during the Cold War. Concerned for his old friend, Batman returning back to crime-fighting and being targeted by the media, Superman visited Gotham City, and talked Batman into keeping a low profile.
Kal-El was later sent by his government to the South American country of Corto Maltese in support of the island nation's resistance against communist influence. In response to Superman's actions, the Soviet Union launched a nuclear warhead called Coldbringer into the United States. Superman manages to divert the missile to an uninhabited desert area before it detonates, but damage is done nonetheless as the warhead was designed to disrupt all electronics and communications in the Western Hemisphere as well as throw millions of tons of dust and debris into the atmosphere. Deprived of the sunlight that gives him his powers, Superman nearly dies, but somehow manages to use the solar energy stored in plant life to revive himself.
In the aftermath of the nuclear attack, the government then sent Superman in apprehending Batman for undermining their authority and to the actual extent, embarrassing them for ensuring Gotham City as one of the best-fed and restored city in America. Soon Superman and Batman became embroiled in a powerful battle, and, when Oliver Queen shoots Superman using an arrowhead loaded with Batman's synthetic Kryptonite, Batman emerges the winner. However, Batman dies of a heart attack shortly thereafter. Superman later attends Batman's funeral as Clark Kent, ravaged with guilt and sadness. Just as he turns to leave, however; he hears a faint heartbeat coming from Bruce's interred coffin, revealing that he faked his heart attack. Clark then winks to Bruce's protege Carrie Kelley in approving Bruce's charade and leaves.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Three years later, more of Superman's backstory was revealed. It had turned out that his common love interest, Lois Lane, had married James Harper (The Guardian) and the two had a daughter, Lana. Kal-El had entered a romantic relationship with Wonder Woman instead, having proven through his strength and noble demeanor that he was a worthy love to her. The two had a daughter, Lara, which had been born four years prior to the government crackdown on vigilante activities.
Superman was abducted by the Monarch during one of his missions for the U.S. President. It was also observed that he was extremely anti-communist, actually talking down his Soviet counterpart from Earth-30. The conflicts between the Supermen are often peacefully defused by the more clearheaded Superman of Earth-16, Christopher Kent.
Deciding that Monarch is too dangerous a threat to allow to remain unchecked, the Earth-31 Superman decides to rally the assembled superpowered beings to directly confront the Monarch rather than comply with the selection process. However, Monarch proved himself too powerful for all the combined heroes and villains, including the Supermen, to fight against. When Breach was able to escape to the Multiverse in order to recruit the other Captain Atom counterparts against Monarch, the Supermen provided a distraction for Monarch from noticing Breach's absence.
Eventually, Superman was forced to battle his counterparts. After Superman and his Soviet counterpart were knocked out from absorbing the radiation after breaching the walls of the Arena, Christopher saves them and plans with the Supermen into allowing himself to combat Monarch by distracting him long enough for Christopher to be strong enough to defeat Monarch. Following the death of Christopher and the arrival of the Captain Atom Brigade, Earth-31 Superman was given the transporter rig by Breach who had managed to free himself from Monarch's control, and uses it to free Monarch's surviving prisoners, and escape, but not before carving his signature "S" emblem on Monarch's prison with his heat vision to spite the villain.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Superman possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of Superman's super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. His biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and his bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
- Heat Vision: Superman can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. He can vary the heat and area affected.
- Super-Hearing: Superman's hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill and concentration, he can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency.
- Enhanced Vision Superman's vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
This umbrella ability includes the following:
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Superman can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. He can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, he can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows him to see the aura generated by living thing.
- Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
- X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Superman's can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. He can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived - such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans - is unclear. This ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
- Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
- Infrared Vision: Superman's can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Superman is able to manipulate graviton particles to defy the forces of gravity and achieve flight. This ranges from hovering to moving in any posture, in any direction.
- Invulnerability: Due to the interaction of his dense molecular structure and supercharged bio-electric aura, Superman is nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, his extends this protection against toxins and diseases.
- Superhuman Stamina: Superman is able to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. This based on his body converting yellow solar radiation directly to energy, but is limited by physiological and psychological needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
- Superhuman Strength: Superman's strength is augmented by yellow solar radiation interacting with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of his musculature. His strength is more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables him to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass.
- Superhuman Speed: Superman is able to move at incredible speed by sheer force of will. This extends to his perceptions and allows for feats such as catching bullets in mid flight as well as covering vast distances in little or no time.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Superman is able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from his lungs. He can chill the air as it leaves his lungs to freeze targets. He can also reverse the process to pull large volumes of air or vapor into his lungs.
- Decelerated Aging: Although at 51 y.o., Superman does not seem to be over 30, a side effect of having spent so many years under a yellow sun.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Superman possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the comic book stories considered to be set on The Dark Knight Strikes Again. It is an adaptation of Kal-El/Superman. The original character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in Action Comics #1.
- Writer Keith Champagne has stated that the Superman of Earth-31 featured in Countdown: Arena is the Superman that appeared in Frank Miller's critically acclaimed series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. 
- In the second part of the animated adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Superman was voiced by Mark Valley.
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- 22 Appearances of Kal-El (Earth-31)
- 25 Images featuring Kal-El (Earth-31)
- 1 Quotations by or about Kal-El (Earth-31)
- Character Gallery: Kal-El (Earth-31)
- Superman at dccomics.com
- Superman at Wikipedia.org
- Superman at Wikipedia.org
- Superman at DC Comics
- Superman at TV Tropes
- ↑ Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3
- ↑ Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4
- ↑ Countdown: Arena #1
- ↑ Countdown: Arena #3
- ↑ Countdown: Arena #4
- ↑ Augie De Blieck Jr. (December 28th, 2007). The Commentary Track: "Countdown: Arena" #4 w/ Keith Champagne. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on October 15 2008.
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