Lois Lane was a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who worked for The Daily Planet in Metropolis. Early in her career, she had covered sports and was thus acquainted with the star athlete Dale Suderman. After Dale gained the contract to build a new sports arena on Metropolis' Westside over the Planet's owner, LexCorp billionaire Lex Luthor, in 1999, Luthor had try to find any improprieties in his past. Lois objected to Luthor's tactics, telling him that in spite of the fact that he owned the Planet, its function was not to advance his business agenda. Nevertheless, she proceeded with the interview. Dale's close friend, mentor and manager Marcus Clark believed that Dale and Lois had chemistry but Dale dismissed the idea out of hand.

Unbeknownst to Lois, Luthor also sent a private investigator named Malloy to Dale's native Pleasantville, Kansas to learn all he could. While Malloy's investigations came to naught, he hit a breakthrough when he heard a salesman turned self-help guru's commercial mentioning his encounter with a "miracle baby" in Kansas in 1974. From the guru, they learned the exact location of the accident and were able to find the ship which had brought Dale to Earth.

With the revelation that he was an alien, public opinion began to turn against Dale with many demanding that he return his numerous medals and trophies as he had cheated. They did not believe Dale's claims that he had previously suppressed his memories of having superpowers. By reviewing CCTV footage of Dale's exposure to a piece of green rock contained in his ship during a confrontation with Luthor in his office, Luthor's scientists determined that the green rock was detrimental to Dale's health. To that end, a man in Luthor's employ shot Dale while he was being interviewed on The Whitty Banter Show. Dale was grievously injured but survived. Several months later, Luthor was indicted for his role in the shooting.

While Dale was convalescing in hospital, Lois visited him and told him that she was leaving the Planet and played to begin teaching. She was soon employed at Midwestern University. One of the students in her Journalism 101 class was a young man named Clark Kent. Kent was in reality a pseudonymous Dale Suderman, who had told the general public that he had intended to leave Earth to find what fate had befallen his people and home planet. However, his plan to leave Earth was in actuality a lie designed to allow him to live a normal life. He hid his true identity with a pair of glasses.