Appearing in "Peace on Earth"
- Superman (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "Peace on Earth"
The story opens with Clark remembering back to his days on the farm in Smallville with his father. He remembers when he was young how he and Jonathan Kent walked the acres of fields sowing seed, and the instruction his father would give him about how to do it. His father told him that in some respects, people are like seeds. Some blossom right away, while others need a little extra care.
Superman's thoughts return to the present as he lands in Metropolis Square holding a giant fir tree that lights up to become the city's Christmas tree. The crowd cheered and people wanted to talk with him, but he had other matters to attend to. He then hears a cry for help and races to find a girl in the crowd who has fainted. First he thought it was shock, then he noticed how light and weak she was and realized that this girl was starving. He flies her to a rescue mission, where the doctor in charge assure Superman that she would be fed and well cared for. Upon arriving back at the Daily Planet, Clark suggested to the editor that they consider a story on the homeless for the holidays. The suggestion was made in part as an excuse for Clark to check in on the girl. Checking back at the mission, Clark was informed that the girl is a southern runaway, with no friends or family in the city. Reduced to begging for food, she might have died if it had not been for Superman's timely intervention. The doctor noted that it was too bad Superman can't be there for every needy person. Clark agreed.
After further consideration, including remembering some things Pa Kent told him about putting other people's needs ahead of your own, and consistent with his view that his powers were not strictly his alone, but there for anyone who needs them, Superman requested to address the U.S. Congress. With all the Congressional members assembled, he announced he would like permission to be able to take American surplus food and distribute it to hungry people around the world, as many countries as he could deliver it to in one day. There are some skepticism among some of the Congressional membership, but ultimately they gave their approval. Superman spent several days gathering the food together. He found it encouraging that some people who became aware of his plan are showing up to volunteer to help package the food. The media went wall-to-wall with the story, calling Superman everything from "Selfless Hero" to "Misguided Outsider". The Daily Planet ran the front page headline "Superman's Stand Against Hunger." A few other countries joined in and offered their surplus food, and finally it is all collected and ready for Superman to distribute it to other countries.
Superman began delivering the food to each location, either in a tanker, or on large platform. He drops off grain in the American Southwest, for Native Americans that will be helped by it. He delivers massive amounts of food and grains to countries around the world where hunger on a large scale exists. In many of these countries, crowds gathered to meet him and express their appreciation. Smiling children reach out their hands to him. He noticed in one war-torn European country, from the faces of the people, it was hard to know if there was still any hope left. A little boy asks "Will you be back tomorrow?" Superman continued to cross the globe looking for venues where the food is needed, but knowing that this was only providing one day's relief, and that even he would not be able to continue doing this on a daily basis. He knew the leaders of the world would need to give consideration to a more permanent solution.
Along the way, Superman put out a large brush fire in Africa, while he also stopped a stampede of wild animals from causing damage or injury to a crowd at a drop off point nearby. Not a huge problem, but it took precious time away from the continuance of his mission. Unfortunately, not all of the deliveries are going well. In one country, a military despot in control of his country was there at the drop point "requesting" that Superman leave the food with his soldiers. The Man of Steel knew that his intention was to give some of the food to his men and sell the rest on the black market. Superman wanted to give the food directly to the starving people that were there waiting, but the dictator prevents it with threats against his own people, so Superman left the food where he dropped it. In one country, when Superman leaves the food, no one leaves their home out of fear, and rats get to the food first. In another place, the food drop causes the people waiting for it to turn into a raving mob to get at it. Superman had to burrow underground to pull himself away from all the grasping hands trying to get to him. In yet another country, as Superman arrives the government warns against his help. In response to his persistence, they fire a chemical-weapon missile at where he is, with civilians below. He attempts to save the people by sending the cloud of poison into space, but the tanker is damaged and the food is poisoned. It was at that point, a disheartened Superman kneeling on the ground, amid the rubble of the destroyed food declared "My mission ends here, incomplete and in failure."
Back in Metropolis, a discouraged Clark sits in his apartment and ponders the failure of his mission. He knows that most people respected what he was trying to accomplish, but he also feels the disappointment of millions across the globe who were still waiting, but somehow knew that he wouldn't be coming. Worldwide media demanded a statement from Superman, and it came in the form of an interview with Clark Kent that was the page one story in the Daily Planet. He admits that despite his best efforts, he now sees that the project was too big for one man, even if he is a Superman. The solution to the problem of world hunger rests on the compassion of each person for another. He says, "There's an old saying - give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime." He goes on to say, "I ask everyone to share what they have with those who need it. Their knowledge, their time, their generosity. Especially with the young, for on them rests our future, and all hope of a true Peace on Earth."
In the end, Clark Kent does his part by teaching local school children about what he learned from his father in a Kansas field. He and the children, each one equipped with an over the shoulder bag of seeds, walk out over the fields spreading seeds. As they walk, he tells them, "...not every seed will make it, but all of them deserve the chance to grow."
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Links and References
- Superman at Wikipedia.org
- Superman at DC Comics
- Superman Wiki
- Supermanica Homepage
- Superman Homepage
- Superman at TV Tropes