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- In many ways, Superman really did die on the outer reaches of the solar system all those centuries ago. Luthor might have dropped a decimal point when he calculated my density, but he successfully made me realize that the human race could thrive without me.
- -- Superman
Appearing in "Red Son Setting"
- Fortress of Solitude
- Malaysia (flashback only)
- Phantom Zone
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Red Son Setting"
It is the year 2000, and the Global Soviet Union encompasses all countries except for Chile and the United States of America, which has undergone a disastrous civil war. Within the Soviet sphere of influence there is no crime, no poverty, no unemployment, and no choice. The "Superman brain" operation is a common punishment for dissent. Superman is committed to "winning the argument" with the US, and repeatedly refuses Brainiac's suggestions of an invasion. His sole failure remains Stalingrad, which is ravaged by a green microscopic organism bearing resemblance to a Sheep louse.
Luthor runs for and wins the American presidency. Using his massive economic capital and dictatorial powers, he returns prosperity to the country. He remains as asocial as ever, though, and this is only a part of a larger plan to provoke Superman into invading America so that Superman can be destroyed. He confronts Superman in the Siberian Winter Palace. In a seemingly anticlimactic moment, Brainiac yanks Luthor deep into the recesses of the Fortress to be surgically turned into yet another Superman Robot. Superman agrees that his hand has been forced, and prepares to attack.
Superman takes on the East Coast, confronting and defeating the Green Lantern Marine Corps, which is led by Colonel Hal Jordan, and featuring Privates Scott, Stewart, Rayner, and Gardner. He defeats the Amazon forces commanded by a highly disillusioned Wonder Woman, and a collection of "super-menaces" that Luthor has put together over the years. Brainiac's spaceship cuts the U.S. Pacific fleet to pieces, and the two superbeings meet at the White House, where Lois Luthor waits with the last weapon, a small note written by Lex that manages to break the Comrade of Steel's resolve. It reads, "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?"
Superman orders Brainiac to end the invasion, and the robot reveals that he is not as reprogrammed as everyone thought, attacking Superman while boasting that "eventually the entire universe" will "hum to his battery". He is shut down by Luthor, who evaded surgery (by undisclosed means) during the invasion, and is destroyed by Superman. This triggers a fail-safe self-destruct (though it is lightly implied that Luthor had planned for this to happen) and as the singularities powering Brainiac's ship threaten to explode, Superman rockets it into outer space, where it blows up. The Earth is saved, but Superman is caught in an explosion which is said to have a kill radius of 15,000,000 miles (24,000,000 km).
The epilogue follows. The Soviet Union falls into chaos, and is transformed by the Batmen. Lex Luthor goes on to integrate many of Superman's ideas into the new philosophy of "Luthorism". This becomes the defining moment for mankind's future as it enters an unprecedented age of peace and stability. A benevolent world government is formed and maintained, and Luthor presides over a string of scientific achievements, including the cure of all known disease, and colonisation of the solar system. Lex Luthor lives for over two thousand years. At his funeral it is revealed that Superman survived and is apparently immortal. Now permanently retired from public view, he goes on to describe Luthor's descendants, culminating in Jor-L, "whose intellect exceeded that of even his beloved ancestor." It is revealed that Earth is being torn apart by tidal stresses from its sun (which is becoming a red giant). Jor-L and his wife send their infant son rocketing back into the past. The final panels of the comic book depict the landing of Kal-L's timeship in a Ukrainian collective in 1938, effectively causing a predestination paradox.
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