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Superman is the most powerful being on planet Earth, an alien immigrant named Kal-El from the planet Krypton who was raised in Smallville, Kansas, to become an American superhero. Raised with high moral ideals, he uses his incredible strength, speed, flight and various other superpowers to fight evil and protect the innocent. In his civilian identity he is Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter working for the Daily Planet in Metropolis. He is a founding member of the Justice League of America and a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th Century.
Superman's origin story has been rewritten and rebooted many times over the years; most notably in John Byrne's 1986 The Man of Steel, Mark Waid's 2003 Superman: Birthright, Geoff Johns' 2009 Superman: Secret Origin and Grant Morrison's 2011 Action Comics. There are several correct definitive historical versions each valid at a different time in his career as a result.
The Man of Steel
The planet Krypton was on the brink of destruction, married scientists Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van built a rocket they could use to save their unborn son Kal-El in his gestation chamber. Jor-El administered a serum  that would prevent Kal dying due to the biological link with Krypton that the artifact called Eradicator had previously established in each of the inhabitants of that planet (the proximity to their planet was required for them to live; this was why Jor-El and Lara did not leave Krypton; the serum also supposedly would only work in fetuses). Jor-El wanted his son to reclaim the fullness in life denied him by the sterility of Kryptonian culture, a world where its inhabitants rarely had direct contact, and preferred to interact with each other virtually. Jor-El planned to send his son to a distant planet orbiting a yellow sun he had been studying for some time: Earth. Meanwhile, the view on a monitor of a Earthling working in a rural area startled Lara, who noticed he exposing his skin to the sun and stepping on unprocessed soil. Jor-El explained that exposure to the yellow sunlight would charge Kal-El cells into living solar batteries and gift him with incredible powers. Just before Krypton finally came to an end his parents sent him to Earth as they planned.Upon landing, the child was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent in Smallville, Kansas. The kindly couple decided they would adopt and raise him, naming him Clark Kent. Apparently a normal child at first, who even got to break an arm after falling from a walnut tree when he was only 5 years old , Clark's abilities increased steadily as he grew up, with super-strength and invulnerability manifesting at an early age and the power of flight developing during high school. His adopted parents revealed the rocket and his foreign heritage to their son when he was 18, leading Clark to the decision that he would become a hero in secret and use his powers to protect innocents.
During this time he pursued his education at Metropolis University while seeking out a living to put himself through school. He operated this way for seven years until he was forced to save a space-plane in front of crowds of people, then meeting reporter Lois Lane for the first time at age 25. Deciding that it was time for him to become a public figure, Clark and Jonathan designed a symbol for him to wear while Martha created a costume. In his secret identity, he would drastically change his physical appearance and mannerisms while wearing spectacles so that nobody would suspect he led a double civilian life.
During his first costumed adventures in Metropolis, he was dubbed Superman by Lois Lane. Later she would comment his debut broke a taboo of several years, since no one saw real superheroes since the dissolution of the Justice Society in 1951. Clark began his new career as a reporter for the Daily Planet working for chief-editor Perry White, alongside Lois and cub reporter Jimmy Olsen, with Superman's first exclusive interview. The media coverage would eventually attract the attention of corrupt business mogul Lex Luthor, who tests Superman and tries to get him on the villain's payroll by withholding support during a terrorist attack. Mayor Frank Berkowitz deputizes Superman so he can arrest Luthor, and Luthor swears his revenge. Repeated attempts to murder Superman eventually led to LexCorp developing an imperfect clone of the Kryptonian named Bizarro.
Jimmy began using a signal watch of his own design to call Superman whenever he was in peril. Returning to Smallville after many years and sorting out childhood best friend Lana Lang's feelings for him, Superman is exposed to the rocket once again. This time he receives a message from his birth parents Jor-El and Lara, learning of Krypton for the first time when Kryptonian technology implants centuries of knowledge in his brain. Superman considers his dual heritage, and decides that no matter where he's from, his life on Earth has made him a human and an American.
Clark now has the ability to see the colorful aura of any living creature's soul before it dies, Clark is inspired by the death of a West African revolutionary named Kobe Asuru, who he met during his time as a freelance reporter. Returning to Smallville at the age of 25, he decides that it's time for him to start making a difference in the world, using the Kryptonian symbol of hope given to him by his parents as his heritage. Designing a costume after traditional Kryptonian clothing with no mask so the public might trust him, Clark adopts a shy bespectacled appearance to hide his true identity and decides to move to Metropolis.
Securing a job interview at the Daily Planet with Perry White, he meets Jimmy Olsen for the first time and immediately falls in love with Lois Lane. He is forced to make his first public appearance as Superman, saving both of them when the city is attacked by experimental military helicopters. Lex Luthor is revealed to be responsible in an act of corporate sabotage against Wayne Enterprises, meeting and coming into conflict with Superman for the first time.
Luthor invites Lois and Clark for an interview, refusing to acknowledge his upbringing in Smallville, and announces to the media that he believes Superman is an alien. Testing this theory, he discovers Superman's weakness by exposing him to Green Kryptonite. Luthor begins spreading paranoia by claiming to the public that Superman is an advance alien invader. This climaxes in a staged Kryptonian invasion of Metropolis, using real troops and holograms to discredit him, led by a fictional warlord named Van-Gar.
Lois inspires Superman to fight back through Kryptonite poisoning, and Jimmy rallies the populace to his side with pictures of his heroism during the war. Superman is ultimately able to end the attacks, exposing Luthor's scheme and proving himself as a hero to humanity.
He is visited in this time by Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 30th Century, an organization of super-powered teens inspired by his legacy. They take him into the future and show him a world where he isn't different from everyone else.
Moving to Metropolis as an adult, he begins work as a reporter at the economically failing Daily Planet. His debut as Superman happens when he catches Lois Lane falling off of a LexCorp building in front of crowds of people.
Luthor accidentally creates the super-villain Parasite using Kryptonite by-products, and then challenges Superman as an alien threat to humanity. The Planet is the only newspaper to portray him in a positive light, with his first recorded photograph taken by Jimmy Olsen. This public distrust leads to intervention by General Sam Lane of the United States Army, and they create the super-villain Metallo to stop Superman. The army takes over Daily Planet headquarters, but Superman regains popular approval by proving that he's only interested in saving lives while the army is actively endangering them. The Daily Planet becomes the most popular newspaper in town because it's the only one with Superman exclusives.
Superman's first meeting with another superhero is with Batman in Gotham City. He tries to arrest Batman at first, but when he is unable, they team up despite their differences to end a trail of murders committed by Magpie. This first meeting would later be changed by Infinite Crisis into a conflict on a cruise ship involving the Crime Syndicate, Deathstroke and Mister Mxyzptlk.
The JLA was formed by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter after Appellaxians attacked Earth. Superman became one of the first members of the team, along with Batman and Wonder Woman, after the team was first formed.
The Modern Adventures
Superman and his supporting cast had their origins rewritten in the Man of Steel series written by John Byrne, following the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986. This was part of many sweeping changes made to continuity in the Post-Crisis DC Universe. These stories would be considered the definitive history until his origins were revised again in Superman: Birthright, written by Mark Waid in 2003.
In those first early adventures, Superman would often find himself pitted against Lex Luthor, who had vowed to destroy the hated "alien" and reclaim his place as the First Son of Metropolis. Luthor also dismisses the suggestion that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same, rationalizing that no one who had the power of Superman would ever pretend to be a mere human like Clark Kent. Superman also has his first encounter with the New God Darkseid, who teleported him to Apokolips. Superman remained on Apokolips for some time, eventually rallying the dregs of that society in a resistance against their despotic ruler, but the revolution was unsuccessful and Superman was returned to Earth.
Superman and Wonder Woman met during the Legends event, and Superman was surprised to find that he thought of her often. Eventually, the two came together, discussing their mutual attraction. After a crisis involving Darkseid and the Olympian gods was resolved, they decided they were not right for each other and would just remain friends. However, Superman did trust Diana enough to reveal to her his secret identity.
Superman was shocked to meet a being calling herself Supergirl, someone who first appeared similar to Lana Lang. Supergirl explained she was from the Time Trapper's Pocket Universe and pleaded with Superman to come back there with her. Superman agreed and met the Lex Luthor of that universe, a benevolent scientist responsible for creating the Matrix Supergirl. He explained that ten years have passed since Superman's visit, and that the Pocket Universe exists solely so that the Legion of Super-Heroes can come there from the future.
Superboy had already left for the 30th Century and Luthor accidentally released General Zod, Faora, and Quex-Ul, three Kryptonian criminals, from the Phantom Zone. The Kryptonians proceeded to destroy the atmosphere of the Pocket Earth, killing everyone on the planet, save for a handful that Lex protected in Smallville. Superman was unable to stop them from killing the rest and badly injuring Supergirl. Superman exposes the criminals to gold Kryptonite, taking away their powers, and then, taking on the role of judge, jury and executioner, decides they must be punished for their crimes -- he exposes them to green Kryptonite, killing them. He then takes Supergirl and leaves the dead world.
The guilt of taking life weighs heavily upon Superman. He has a minor psychotic break, which manifests in the form of him blacking out and fighting crime in the guise of Gangbuster. Guardian discovers this after a brief fight. Superman decides after what he's done that he has to leave Earth. After seeing to a few things and saying good-bye to his parents, Superman uses a breathing mask and a teleporter to begin a self-imposed exile into space. When Matrix fully recovers physically, she shapeshifts into Clark's image, briefly posing as him.
After several adventures in outer space, Superman is captured by Warworld and confronts Mongul for the first time. He meets the Cleric and encounters the Eradicator. Superman is pitted against Draaga in Warwold's arena, and when he refuses to kill Draaga, Mongul attacks Superman. Superman is saved from Mongul by the Cleric, who teleports him away. Superman accepts the Eradicator device from the Cleric, who dies shortly thereafter, and deposes Mongul as the ruler of Warworld. Draaga becomes the leader of Warworld, but is humiliated by his defeat at Superman's hands of steel. Having made peace with executing the three criminals in the Pocket Universe, Superman returns to Earth.
He finds Matrix living in his apartment, still locked into the form of Clark Kent, and Jimmy takes a photo of the two of them. Still confused, the Matrix actually attacks Superman in Smallville before realizing what she has done. Still locked in Superman's shape, she takes off into space in an exile of her own.
Superman soon learns the Eradicator, more sentient than he initially thought, has a mind link to him and is attempting to impose its own designs on Earth. He decides to bury it in the Antarctic, but a subsequent visit reveals that the artifact has built a vast underground fortress -- the Fortress of Solitude. Superman learns the whole history of Kem-L, his ancestor, and how he built the Eradicator and what of its true purpose. The Eradicator begins to melt some of the polar ice cap, but after a communication with holographic forms of Jor-El, Lara, and Kem-L, Superman manages to shut it down. Clark, recently fired from the Daily Planet, accepts the Managing Editor position at Newstime from Collin Thornton. The Eradicator begins to exert its influence over him again, forcing him to change into the so-called Krypton Man. He battles Draaga again on the Moon, almost killing him in the process. Only an intervention by the Kents at the Fortress itself is enough to snap Superman out of the Eradicator's programming. He takes the Eradicator artifact and his Krypton Man costume and hurls them into the sun.
Luthor's kryptonite ring is eventually stolen from him by a former employee, Amanda McCoy. With some help from Batman, Superman manages to recover the ring. He decides to entrust the ring to Batman for safe keeping, telling the Dark Knight to use it against him if he ever loses control and needs to be put down.
Mister Mxyzptlk decided to have some fun with Superman through Lex Luthor. He gave Lex a piece of red kryptonite, which removed Superman's powers. It would work so long as Luthor did not tell Superman about it. When Luthor told Clark Kent, he inadvertently broke the spell and restored Superman's powers. Clark proposed to Lois Lane at this time and she accepted.
Dying of cancer, Lex Luthor decides to fake his death in a plane crash. On the day of Luthor's flight, Jimmy Olsen decides to throw Lois and Clark an engagement party at the Daily Planet. Clark ducks out so that Superman can investigate the remains of the crashed jets. He finds a mangled body, complete with Luthor's prosthetic hand, and it's enough to convince himself, and the world, that Lex Luthor is dead.
Superman eventually discloses to Lois the secret of his double life. Immediately afterward, Superman is swept away in an adventure across time -- Time and Time Again -- that takes him from the ancient past to the distant future. When he finally returns to the present, only a few hours have passed. Shortly thereafter, there was a strike at the Daily Planet.
After a couple weeks of keeping Clark's secret, Lois found that she was a little peeved to think that Clark had been using his role as Superman to gain an advantage over her as a reporter for all those years. After Clark beat her to the punch on a story involving the Parasite, Lois was determined to one up him. The strike organizer at the Daily Planet was a man named Jeb Friedman, a southern "good ol' boy" who took a strong interest in Lois, despite her engagement to Clark. Lois was initially only interested in Jeb for any Intergang connections he might have. She then challenges Clark to scoop her on a story without using any of his powers.
Lois went home to her parents, her mother almost completely recovered, where her father was attacked by Angstrom. Lois managed to hold him at bay until Superman, tipped off to Angstrom's escape and his intent by Emil Hamilton, could turn up and subdue him. Lois offered to call off the bet, but Clark insisted on keeping it. Lois promised to tell Angstrom's story, but the true facts were lost when he was cured at STAR and they sold the story to Newstime. Despite his obvious intentions, Lois and Jeb actually became friends, although it made Clark more than a little jealous.
A young man named Lex Luthor II, the alleged son of the late Lex Luthor, turns up in Metropolis and lays claim to his father's empire. Superman helps investigate the man's claims and he appears to be the genuine article -- no one suspects that it is really the elder Luthor in a cloned new body!
From The Pit Below to Beyond the Stars
Superman's enemies would include both the supernatural and those of scientific origin.
When Perry White's son, Jerry White, is shot, Superman is forced to actually go to Hell to try and rescue both Jerry and Jimmy from the demonic Blaze. Superman is able to rescue Jimmy -- but not Jerry, though Jerry's soul does escape Hell through his sacrifice. Superman later joins forces with Blaze's brother, Lord Satanus, but she ultimately proves the victor in the war against her brother. In the aftermath, Superman meets the being Kismet, who tries to help Superman find some peace by going over the choices he's made and by offering him a glimpse at several possible futures (including one involving Lois and a child).
Arguably Superman's greatest foe, apart from Lex Luthor, is Brainiac. Brainiac was originally a Coluan scientist named Vril Dox whose body was destroyed and who sought refuge in the body of a human illusionist, Milton Fine "The Amazing Brainiac." He attacked Superman, but Fine was able to temporarily overcome Brainiac's control. Brainiac was subsequently captured by Luthor and experimented upon, resulting in his appearance changing to more closely match his original body, before he escapes and battles Superman again. Superman is unable to defeat him this time, and Brainiac escapes into space aboard a custom made "brain ship.
Brainiac would eventually return to Earth at the helm of Warworld. Having recruited Maxima to his cause, Brainiac captured Metron and brainwashed Supergirl (Matrix) and Draaga into serving him as he prepared his invasion of Earth. Brainiac has his headship come to earth as part of a punitive first engagement -- an arrogant boast of his impending invasion. Realizing that this is not an invasion that should be dealt with after it arrives, Superman rallies most of the world's heroes in Metropolis to plan a preemptive counter-strike. With Dubbilex's help (using Metron's Mobius Chair), the heroes are able to reprogram Brainiac's headship and meet Warworld on its way to Earth. Superman leads the invasion of Warworld while Batman stays in charge of an Earthbound group of heroes to deal with any other attacks.
Superman manages to get Draaga and Supergirl to shake off their programming and join him in the fight. After some desperate fighting, Brainiac is defeated -- Maxima changed sides in the fighting and lobotomizes Brainiac, but Superman prevents her from killing him. The New Gods used a Boom Tube to transport the heroes from Warworld back to Earth, right into the middle of downtown Metropolis. Lex Luthor II was already organizing a victory parade. Superman then decided to join the newly reformed Justice League on a full time basis.
A group called the Sons of Liberty was busted up by Superman. In exchange for his protection, a Major Holcroft agreed to testify before a Senate hearing. Superman was on scene at the Capitol, making sure no one was trying to slip a weapon inside the chamber. He neglected to scan Senator Pete Ross, however, assuming that could trust the senator. Pete was being blackmailed, however, by the Sons of Liberty and did sneak a handgun inside planning to kill Holcroft. Pete couldn't go through with it, but unfortunately the Sons had backup. Another of their operatives grabbed Ross' gun and shot Holcroft. Superman had to let the assassin go and rush the Major to the hospital. Before he passed out, Holcroft told Superman that the Sons were responsible for the death of Senator Caldwell. Superman went to visit Pete in his jail cell, but Pete was too afraid to talk to him with Lana's life at stake. Pete was brought before Judge Kramer, who was secretly a member of the Sons of Liberty. Agent Liberty was supposed to assassinate Pete in the courtroom, but refused to do it, turning against the organization. While Superman took apart most of the rest of the unit, Liberty got leverage on the judge and sent it into Clark Kent. Lana was freed and Pete confessed to everything, which meant that the murder charges were dropped (but not the others).
Death and Return
All attempts to revive Superman failed, and he was pronounced dead -- while Clark was discovered to be MIA as well (one of the several hundred people missing and presumed dead from Doomsday's rampage). Superman was buried with full honors, with hundreds of heads of state and several hundred thousand onlookers present, beneath a large statue in Centennial Park. The Justice League and other heroes marched behind the casket, following their leader (official or not) one last time. Lois, Lana, and the Kents were all devastated. The family decided to keep the secret that Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same, while Cadmus stole the body from the tomb. Supergirl retrieved the body from Cadmus, prompting Lex Luthor to gloat that while he may not have killed Superman, by providing the tomb, he at least "buried him."
Jonathan Kent, suffering from a heart attack, is rushed to the hospital in Smallville, where he is remains in critical condition. Jonathan recovers after having a near-death experience in which his soul, guided by Kismet, met with Superman's spirit (which was being plagued by demons) and convinced him to fight his way back to the land of the living. Even as Jonathan awakes and tells Lois and Martha that Superman has returned, sightings of four different beings, all claiming to be Superman, emerge in Metropolis: "The Man of Tomorrow," "The Last Son of Krypton," "The Man of Steel," and "The Metropolis Kid." A trip to the tomb itself reveals it to be empty.
While the first two actually claimed to be Superman (and provided circumstantial evidence that this was true), the latter two did not make the same claim. The young Superboy claimed to be a clone of the original Superman (in fact, he told it to everyone who would listen, soaking up the limelight as much as possible) and the Man of Steel was alleged (by a psychic named Rosie) to have Superman's soul.
Cults began to spring up in Metropolis, worshiping any one of the new four (the visored Superman or the Cyborg primarily) as messiahs. President Clinton is saved by the Cyborg, and officially endorses him as the real Superman. Lois feels that of all of them, Steel is the closest to the ideal of Superman.
It is eventually revealed that none of the four are the real deal. The Eradicator, rendered incorporeal after his last battle with Superman, went to the tomb to try to use Superman's body as a new vessel. Sensing Superman's soul was still lingering, he fashioned a new body from concrete in Superman's image and placed Kal-El's body in a regeneration matrix that was bombarded with sunlight. The Eradicator's body could not absorb sunlight the way Kal-El's could, so he used Kal-El's body to power his own until Superman was successfully revived. His memory had been hazy, however, and he briefly believed that he was actually Superman. He also struggled with the new, human emotions he felt in his new body.
When Superman was finally revived in the Fortress, he was weak and powerless, so he used a Kryptonian battle suit to get to Metropolis. When the war suit arrived in Metropolis it was met by Lex Luthor II, Lois, and others, who were shocked when a black-suited Superman emerged and told them all that he is the real McCoy. Upon learning that Coast City has just been destroyed by the Cyborg Superman (and that he plans to obliterate Metropolis next), he joins with Superboy, Supergirl, and Steel and heads for the site, which is now the location of Engine City. Before they leave, he has a brief talk with Lois, who becomes mostly convinced that this man is the man she fell in love with.
The assault on Engine City is hard, but Superman is soon joined first by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), who manages to defeat Mongul after Superman and Supergirl could not, and then the Eradicator, who explains that it was he who was responsible for Superman's revival -- and that it cannot happen a second time. Superman also learns that the Cyborg is really Hank Henshaw, who was so desperate for revenge against Superman that he decided he would assume his identity and have the universe blame Superman when Earth was destroyed. During the fight, Superman's powers are restored through a self-sacrifice by the Eradicator and the Cyborg is stopped.
Superman returns to Metropolis -- and to Lois, who no longer has any doubts he is the real thing. Superman gets right back into action, quickly convincing Lex Luthor and Maggie Sawyer that he is the genuine article as well. Unfortunately, he still has to "reacquire" the rights to the name and symbol "Superman," but after helping the young Superboy come to terms with his origins and accept the "Superboy" name, the kid graciously returns the rights to the Man of Steel.
Superman, with the help of the shapeshifting Supergirl, manages to come up with a plausible way of "resurrecting" Clark Kent, who had not been seen since Superman's death (one of several hundred people unaccounted for because of Doomsday's rampage). Supergirl takes Clark's form and Superman "finds" Clark in the rubble of a destroyed building. Jimmy gets another picture of Superman and Clark side-by-side. Doctor Occult visits Superman and Lois, explaining to them how his revival occurred before taking them to Kansas to see his overjoyed parents.
Superman also learns that the Fortress of Solitude has been destroyed; he buries what is left of it in the ice and does his best to stop the cults that have sprung up worshiping him. He also discovers that the Eradicator has been healed, seemingly after his body was merged with the mind of a scientist named David Conner.
Clark is welcomed back to a chorus of cheers at the Daily Planet and Superman is thrown a party by Lex Luthor II aboard a blimp, but the scene gets ugly when Underworlders attack the blimp, trying to kill Paul Westfield. Fortunately, the Man of Steel saves the day (and both Westfield and Luthor). Superman leaps back into the good fight with renewed vigor -- he barely stops to rest in the first few weeks after his return. He fought a new team, Nuclear Waste, and said good-bye to John Henry Irons, who had decided to give up being a superhero (his armor being mostly destroyed in Engine City) and was relocating to Washington D.C.
He also takes time to be with Lois -- which has some tragic results when the two decide to go to Paris and are therefore not present in Metropolis when the Toyman kidnapped Adam Grant and subsequently murdered him. Superman is able to track down the Toyman and bring him in with minor trouble. Superman also had to deal with a new villain called Bloodthirst, who had a new Bloodsport, and a revamped Hi-Tech engage in a killing spree, known as "Spilled Blood," in Hob's Heights, all to create more chaos in the city. Bloodsport and Hi-Tech both attempted to murder Jimmy Olsen, but Superman was able to save his pal and finally stop the killing. Bloodthirst, before fleeing, hinted that Luthor's presence in the city would truly lead to chaos.
Shortly after the Toyman is brought to justice, Superman gets into a fight with Lobo which lands him stranded in outer space for a couple weeks While in space, he meets Auron (who at first does not believe he is the real Superman, because Auron had been created to protect Superman's legacy) and encounters Massacre for the first time. Massacre kills Auron and withdraws, promising to come after Superman sooner or later. Superman finally gets some help that sends him back to Earth.
Superman got a rematch with Doomsday after the monster turned up alive and well on Apokolips(the Cyborg Superman was there as well). Superman had been troubled by nightmares about the creature, worried about what had happened to it, and Waverider tipped him off to go to Apokolips where the monster was alive and well. Not even Darkseid could stop the monster's rampage. After working with Darkseid to defeat the Cyborg, Superman pursued Doomsday to the planet Calaton and fought the beast to a standstill. Luckily, with some help from Waverider, Superman was able to teleport Doomsday into the distant future -- just before the universe came to an end. This allowed him to find a little piece of mind, although he regretted the creature's apparent death.
Lex Luthor, whose cloned body is slowly decaying, attempts to clone Superman again using Dr. Teng's procedure, resulting in a second Bizarro Superman. Thinking that he is the real Superman, this Bizarro escapes from Luthor and kidnaps Lois Lane. Lois manages to escape from "Bizarro World," a warehouse where Bizarro had attempted to recreate Metropolis in his own warped way. His memories fragmented, Bizarro flies to Smallville and tries kidnapping Lana Lang, not understanding why she resists him. Superman arrives and drives Bizarro back to Metropolis.
After a battle in the city between Superman and his twisted clone, Luthor reclaims Bizarro. Superman and Lois fly to LexCorp Towers to free him, but Bizarro dies soon after they arrive -- but not before Lois Lane learns that Luthor is also dying of a strange malady.
At the same time, Superman notices a distinct increase in his powers (and his mass as well). Superman is diagnosed by Dr. Hamilton as having his absorption rate being out of control -- he is absorbing far too much energy, and his size and powers begin to grow exponentially. Cadmus Labs attempts to help him, but their efforts prove fruitless. After several failed attempts at controlling the situation, Superman is only cured after allowing the Parasite to purge him of the excess energy. Unfortunately, he is unable to defeat the Parasite, who knocks the Man of Steel out (and clear across Metropolis) before leaving to lay low.
Superman, once more in control of his powers, receives a clean bill of health from Dr. Hamilton. He flies off to LexCorp, where he has to stop an enraged and nearly out of control Supergirl from killing Luthor. Lex's depravity had finally been exposed to Supergirl after she discovered a plot to clone her. Supergirl leaves Luthor forever, but needs some time to herself to process what has happened.
Battle for Metropolis
Luthor, blaming Project Cadmus for his deteriorating condition, orchestrates an all-out war between the Project and the Underworlders (who are also dying from a mysterious plague). Luthor arms and equips the renegade clones. The Underworlders' fight spills out onto the streets of Metropolis and even Superman has trouble containing it. Luthor goes even further, detonating bombs all over the city, prompting an evacuation of most of the city. Luthor and the Underworlders suspect the flood caused by Cadmus is the source of their malady. Cadmus and Dr. Packard realize too late, however, that fallout from Engine City (and the missile that detonated over the city) is to blame. Using Guardian's DNA, Cadmus is able to create a cure, saving the lives of Superboy and the Newsboy Legion. Luthor orders his Team Luthor to try to steal the cure from the Project, resulting in the near destruction of the Project.
Luthor's schemes are revealed to the world on live TV, thanks to the efforts of Lois Lane and Dr. Gertrude Kelly, who had finally betrayed Luthor. Kelly also reveals to Superman Luthor's location. Luthor threatens to launch missiles into the heart of Metropolis, but Superman talks him down. Happersen, however, launches them anyway, devastating most of the city, including destroying all of the major skyscrapers (including LexCorp Tower, the GBS Building, and the Daily Planet) save for the Newstime Building. Superman, working with Superboy and Supergirl manage to limit some of the damage. Luthor is finally taken into custody (although at this point, he is virtually catatonic).
Metropolis would lay in ruins for several weeks, having to contend with several "safeguards" left in place by Lex Luthor (giant robots, hallucinogenic gases, etc.) as well as Luthor himself wielding Superman's own war suit (which Luthor recovered from Metropolis Harbor when Superman and his allies had gone to Engine City). Luthor is taken into custody and his deterioration is halted, but cannot be reversed, leaving him a vegetable unable to even blink his eyes. In addition to Luthor's devices, Superman had to contend with appearances by Bloodsport II and Massacre (not to mention Rift, as part of Worlds Collide), until after Zero Hour, which itself caused a number of problems in Metropolis.
It was revealed later that after Zero Hour, Superman led a cadre of heroes back to Metropolis, and thanks to the magic of Zatanna, the subconscious of Superman, the power of the other heroes, and the soul of Perry White, Metropolis was restored to its former glory.
When the Spectre destroys the entire nation of Vlatava, President Bill Clinton calls on Superman to confront the Spectre in Japan, wielding the Spear of Destiny, one of the few weapons that can harm the embodiment of God's Wrath. Unfortunately, the Spear is cursed with the taint of Adolf Hitler, and all who bear it are corrupted. Superman has a vision where he uses it conquer the world, but ultimately has the strength of will to reject the Spear. The Spectre hurls the artifact into orbit and parts with Superman.
Dead Again, Death of Clark Kent, Trial in Space
Clark Kent is awarded a "Baldy" for his journalistic efforts, but is attacked at the awards. Superman quickly realizes someone is trying to kill him. The would-be assassin is a new villain, Conduit, and Superman is crushed to learn that Conduit is an old friend of his from Smallville, Kenny Braverman. Their fight ends up breaching Superman's tomb, and afterwards it is discovered that there is a dead body in the tomb that looks just like Superman. This causes the world to wonder if the Superman flying around is a fraud. Conduit quickly escapes custody and attacks Superman (not caring if he's real or not), as now he feels a greater hatred of the Man of Steel than for Clark Kent. Superman is able to bring him down again. Superman begins to track down all his enemies with the wherewithal and means to pull off such a hoax -- traveling across not only the country, but to New Genesis and Apokolips -- as Luthor, the Eradicator (at the time working with the Outsiders), Darkseid, and Mister Mxyzptlk are all eliminated as suspects.
As time passed, Superman's grip on reality began to break down, causing his behavior to become more erratic. All of this was because the real culprit was Brainiac, who had recovered from his vegetative state on New Genesis and was returning to Earth. When Superman finally learns what is going on, he confronts Brainiac in the streets of Metropolis, battling the villain until Brainiac is convinced he is about to lose, at which point the personality of Milton Fine reasserts itself and the villain is led away.
On Christmas Eve, while trying to find a "Date with Debbie" doll, Superman had to assist the S.C.U. and several others to stop the "Night of the Hundred Thieves," which included such second stringers as Royal Flush Gang, Captain Boomerang, Loophole, Punch and Jewelee, etc. The thieves were all caught and Superman got the doll. Thorn came out soon after, thinking that the 100 were responsible for the Night of the Hundred Thieves, but that turns out to be a dead end.
Superman helps free Babe from the villainous vampire Ruthven with the help of Lock, and also enlists the aid of Mister Miracle when the villain Deathtrap comes after him. Deathtrap's attack comes after Superman meets a new character on the scene, a mercenary named Shadowdragon. Clark, Lois, and Jimmy went to Washington D.C. for a reporter's convention. While there, they were all three attacked by thugs hired by Arclight, who had a grudge against all reporters. Even working with Agent Liberty, Superman could not prevent Arclight from escaping. Arclight would turn up in Metropolis a few weeks later, however, and working with Jimmy, Superman was able to apprehend him. However, after Perry used Ron Troupe's story instead of Jimmy's, Olsen quit the Daily Planet.
After a few weeks of light duty, Superman's life is turned upside down when Conduit learns the secret of his double life. Conduit blows up the Kent's farmhouse, kidnaps Jimmy Olsen, attacks Lana Lang, and confronts Superman himself. Even though he confronts Conduit in his own lair, Superman has to retreat to save his folks. He then goes on the run with his parents, trying to stay one step ahead of Conduit and his forces (who seem to have a nearly limitless cache of resources to track them down). After Conduit apparently kills Lois and the Kents, Clark in his rage decides that he will no longer be Superman, violently ripping his suit off and incinerating it with his heat vision. Luckily, both his parents and Lois are alive (although he doesn't learn that Lois is alive until after his final showdown with Conduit) and Superman prepares for the final showdown.
The final fight with Conduit occurs in a mock Smallville that Conduit had built in a remote area of the Dakotas. He manages to capture Superman and drops him there. The entire town is populated by animatronics that resemble Smallville citizens from their high school days -- including an entire stadium full of robots that look like Braverman's father, cheering him on. Conduit challenges Superman to a one-on-one battle, but his rage during the fight results in him "self destructing." Superman destroys Conduit's base, defeating an entire army of Pipeline soldiers in the process. Thankfully, Conduit's arrogance kept him from revealing Superman's secret to anyone else. Superman and the Kents continue on the road for a while, with Clark questioning whether he should resume his identity as Clark Kent since he has to be Superman, yet is afraid for the lives of his loved ones. A reunion with Lois helps him put things in perspective, and he realizes how much he would be giving up by not being Clark Kent. Superman and Lois then return to Metropolis. Superman is subsequently able to rescue Jimmy Olsen, who has been left within a trap prepared by Conduit.
Superman reluctantly agrees to referee a boxing match between Bloodsport I and Bloodsport II at Stryker's Island, but as expected, a riot breaks out and Superman has to stop it. The first Bloodsport is shot and killed by guards while Superman is dealing with the latter, who is later murdered in his cell. Shortly thereafter, Superman meets the Alpha Centurion for the "first" time, and the Centurion's presence makes Superman a little protective of Lois, as in an alternate timeline, Lois and Marcus were lovers.
Superman gets on the trail of Luthor, trying to track him down, but only leads to dead ends (two of which literally blow up in Superman's face). Superman also meets the new CEO of LexCorp, the Contessa Erica Alexandra del Portenza. The Contessa hires the Alpha Centurion to be the new head of Team Luthor, which she renames the Centurions.
Superman is approached by Kalibre, an assassin from Apokolips, who pleads with Superman to save his daughter, who has been slated for execution by Darkseid. Superman agrees, and manages to convince Darkseid to spare her life on the condition that Superman will not remain on Apokolips. Darkseid then sends Superman home, and secretly releases the Cyborg Superman, his prisoner since Superman's battle with Doomsday on Apokolips.
Back on Earth, Superman shortly thereafter has to contend with Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught, who are looking for revenge against him and Green Lantern (although they grabbed the wrong one) and perhaps something more -- a bounty on Superman...
After a battle with the Parasite (who has been modified, and now has a split personality) leaves him near death, Superman is easily arrested by Brute at the behest of an intergalactic group known as the Tribunal. Superman manages to escape the ship and fall into the sun, which powers him up, but even then, Brute is able to recapture him. Superman is put through a show trial for the destruction of Krypton (his guilt was already assumed). Their argument is that the Kryptonians need not have died if not for the actions of Superman's ancestor, and since they believe that the sins of the father shall be paid by their sons, Superman is guilty for the planet's destruction.
The Alpha Centurion rallies together a Superman Rescue Squad while Superman manages a jail break with some fellow prisoners, including Mope. After several adventures in space -- including a stopover at Haven and encounters with Freelance and Tolos -- Superman and the Rescue Squad all end up on the Tribunal's home world, each captured by the Cyborg Superman. When the Cyborg betrays the Tribunal, Superman and his allies have to battle each group. Superman saves the Tribunal from the Cyborg's betrayal and the Tribunal decides to "commute his sentence," by sentencing him to never give up his "never-ending battle." Superman and the team return triumphant to Earth. Lois is happy to see Superman back safe and sound, but admits that lately she is missing Clark very much.
Heartache and Dark Times
Even though Lex Luthor (fully recovered thanks to a deal with Neron) was on the run, Superman's life is still troubled. After the return of Lori Lemaris, a near death because of the Joker, and Superman's extensive periods of being removed from her, Lois breaks off their engagement.  Jeb Friedman, not wasting a single moment to try to hit on Lois, works with her to investigate mob involvement in the fish market and is shot and killed after killing someone to save Lois. This only widens the rift between them, as Lois had been unsure of how to feel after Clark refused to kill the Joker, even if it meant she would die.
Clark is unable to reconcile with Lois, even after Mr. Mxyzptlk tries to patch them up (Mxyzptlk dropped by and decided he wanted to give everybody in Metropolis what they wanted--with disastrous and hilarious results). Mxyzptlk's actions do let Lois re-evaluate her recent feelings and after a talk at Mount Fuji -- interrupted when Superman has to save a NASA shuttle landing on Mars -- she decides that she simply cannot be with Superman.Superman reluctantly accepts that their relationship is over, although in frustration and despair he heads home to Smallville to talk to his parents. While there, he has to help save Smallville from a string of deadly tornadoes, although he gets some help from Flash (Jay Garrick).
Superman is later kept decoyed while Lex Luthor marries the Contessa. Superman also had to contend with the return of Brainiac, who switched his mind into Superman's and Superman's into the body of a young mental patient, Chas Cassidy, before briefly capturing all of Metropolis. He used the citizens of the city as a vast data storage unit until Superman -- in Chas's body -- was able to breach his fortress. With the help of the young boy himself (Chas), Superman is able to put everybody back in their right bodies and save the city.
Lois, now frustrated, angry and still not ready to come back to Superman, feels that he is "cramping her style" -- that she has grown too dependent on him and that she can no longer be the effective reporter she used to be. This situation is made too clear when he saves her again, this time from the Parasite. Lois decided to take a foreign correspondent position overseas and leaves Metropolis, although she and Clark part on good terms. Not long after Lois leaves, Perry reveals to Clark that he is taking a leave of absence because he has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Perry asks Clark to fill the position of acting editor while he is gone, and Clark reluctantly agrees. On the same night, Superman encounters Obsession, who goes on a rampage after Superman does not return her affection, causing him to wonder if he had been smothering Lois in the same way at the end.Tolos, the alien wizard Superman encountered while on the run from the Tribunal, arrives on Earth attempting to collect Superman in his bottle city of Kandor. Superman manages to defeat the wizard with the help of some of the denizens of the bottle city, but he is unable to free them from their prison. When the field around Kandor begins to destabilize, Superman and Emil Hamilton take the bottled city to the Fortress of Solitude hoping to find something in the rubble to save the city. Instead of debris, however, they discover that the Fortress has been completely rebuilt, thanks to a sole surviving Fortress robot. The robots initially do not recognize Superman, however, forcing a brief confrontation before the Fortress can be utilized to save Kandor.
Just afterwards, the Final Night occurs. Without the sun, Superman's powers fade away. Superman does his best to keep hope alive, and is willing to sacrifice his own life if necessary. Lex Luthor re-emerged at this time and helped the world's heroes come up with a solution to the Sun-Eater menace. Eventually, with the help of Parallax, the sun was reignited and the Earth was saved. But Superman was still powerless.
The Wedding and Beyond
Lois returns to Metropolis immediately after the Final Night (breaking up an international drug ring in the process) and reconciles with Clark. The two decide to get married quickly. Lucy Lane throws Lois a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, while Clark has a bachelor party thrown at the Ace O' Clubs. The marriage is arranged in short order, with Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane as best man and maid of honor. Clark is still powerless, but Batman arranges for a cadre of heroes to look over Metropolis for him. Batman also happened to own an apartment building where Lois found an ideal place, and so as a wedding gift he allowed for Clark and Lois to move into the home.Lois and Clark then went on a Honeymoon in Hawaii, where Clark was shot and kidnapped by terrorists and Lois had to come to his rescue -- which she did commando style.
After getting home from the honeymoon, Superman is determined to get his powers back. After several failed efforts involving the Legion of Super-Heroes, Cadmus, and a visit to the Fortress, it is an encounter with the New Gods that restores Superman to his old self. In the meantime, Lex Luthor, restored to celebrity status for his aid during the Final Night, voluntarily turns himself in to the authorities. Five of Superman's old foes -- Maxima, Barrage, Anomaly, Misa, and Riot -- form a Superman Revenge Squad and come after him. They do not present much of a challenge to Big Blue. After a long absence, Intergang finally makes a return, filled mostly with the clones of long dead members.
After a menace from Know Man and an invasion by the White Martians, Superman is one of the seven new charter members of the new JLA. See the Justice League entry for more information of his adventures with the new team.
Superman Red and Blue
Something odd strikes Superman as his powers begin to fluctuate. A trip to Kandor only seemed to make things worse. Superman found himself as pure energy, needing a containment suit from Dr. Emil Hamilton (the material of which was mysteriously donated by LexCorp). Superman's new form was a blue and white energy being who could still fly (faster than ever) but who possessed far different abilities than those traditionally associated with the Man of Steel. Furthermore, when he changed back into Clark Kent, he was rendered powerless.
Superman worked with his new powers and continued to be a hero. He found that he was considerably faster, intangible, and able to interact with computers in this energy form. However, he found that he was weaker to energy disruption, and needed to use his powers creatively to replace the super-strength he formerly had.
Superman is able to make the most of his powers and stop a rampaging Metallo with a little help from Scorn, who recently arrived in Metropolis from Kandor. At this time, Perry White returns to the Daily Planet, his cancer now in remission. He resumes his old job, and Clark is relegated to being a reporter. Superman and the Atom have to return to Kandor and save it from Tolos again. While they are gone, Ceritak (aka Scorn) dons Superman's classic costume and tries his luck as a superhero. He also befriends Ashbury Armstrong, the daughter of Daily Planet reporter Dirk Armstrong, who has been growing increasingly skeptical about Superman since his new form. Scorn teams up with Superman when he returns to battle Saviour, who almost gets the best of Superman because of Jimmy Olsen's newscasts (which prompt Bibbo to punch out Jimmy).
With Lex Luthor's trial approaching, Superman is appealed to turn in the Kryptonite ring Luthor once possessed (which Superman has entrusted to Batman). Batman reluctantly turns over the ring to Superman (and in the process, Superman learns that he is not vulnerable to Kryptonite in his new form) and Superman allows the ring to be tested by Luthor's defense attorneys. Luthor switches the real ring for a fake and returns the fake to Superman (who gives it back to Batman).
Morgan Edge creates a new Superman Revenge Squad, one consisting of Rock, Barrage, Parasite, and Baud and sets them on Superman. Jimmy Olsen, meanwhile, thinks he's figured out Superman's secret identity and plans to announce it on television. Jimmy ends up chickening out, however, and falsely announces that Superman does not have a secret identity at all, which causes him to be fired from GBS (and Intergang to decide to come after him). Lex Luthor's trial begins: Luthor's defense is that he was really Lex Luthor I, totally innocent and in hiding for over a year, and that Lex Luthor II had been an evil clone created by his assistant. When a mad clone appears (specially created for the occasion), the judge has no choice but to dismiss the case.
The Genesis Crisis then strikes, rendering superheroes across the globe powerless. Superman joins the world's heroes and the New Gods in a desperate battle against Darkseid and Ares that takes them to the Source Wall and beyond. While Superman was at the Source Wall, he encountered the Cyborg Superman, who unbeknownst to Superman, piggybacked in Superman's containment suit back to Earth. Back on Earth, Superman accidentally releases the Millennium Guards, three ancient, powerful beings who identify Superman as dangerous blight on Earth and attempt to eradicate him. While Superman battles the likes of the Ripper, Lex Luthor resumes his place at the top of the world -- he organizes the assassination of Mayor Berkowitz even as his daughter, Lena Luthor, is born to the Contessa. Luthor then has the Contessa drugged and kidnapped, not wanting to share his daughter even with her mother. 
The Cyborg Superman and the Toyman join forces in an attempt to destroy Superman's energy form, but instead Superman is split into the aggressive Superman Red and the calmer Superman Blue. The Millennium Guard reawaken, and discovering that Superman is not only still alive but now there are two of them, band together and summon the Millennium Giants, causing the crossover Behold! The Millennium Giants!. Superman Blue and Superman Red are not capable of handling the colossal giants on their own. The Giants begin to march over the world, causing havoc and destruction, obliterating the city of Thiena Na Oge and most of the nation of Markovia in their path. The JLA rallies to take up the fight, and the two Supermen are finally able to destroy the giants -- but the cost may be the Earth itself! The two Supermen engage in one last, desperate gamble to save the Earth from total destruction -- even if it means losing their lives in the process.
Not only is the Earth saved, but Superman is restored to his old form and powers (and into a singular being once again) much to the happiness of everyone (especially Lois). He gets right back into the thick of things, first by saving a passenger jet from crashing, then by working with the SCU to rescue a kidnapped Lena Luthor, which features a brief appearance by a new Bizarro. Superman saves the baby and returns her to Lex.
Superman had another rematch with Doomsday about this time. After a battle with Superman had ruined his body, Brainiac managed to retrieve Doomsday and download his mind into the brute's body. With his new power, he easily took down the Justice League -- this time consisting of Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Flash (Wally West), Plastic Man, Orion, and Huntress -- all while Superman was distracted in Smallville. Superman had gone there because Lana Lang had given birth prematurely and needed Superman to fly the baby to the East Coast. En route, Superman was attacked by Brainiac/Doomsday and the baby was kidnapped. Brainiac, who was being rejected from Doomsday's body, hoped to use the baby to grow a clone of Doomsday. Fortunately, Superman was able to stop this plan, save the baby, and eject Brainiac from Doomsday. While Brainiac was forced into a new robotic body, Brainiac 2.5, Doomsday was taken to the moon and trapped in four transport tubes on the moon, never more than 25 percent integrated in any one tube.
Alternate Realities and King of the World
A new, powerful villain named Dominus next emerges on the scene. Dominus has powerful reality altering abilities and forces Superman to live through alternate realities (in four different time periods) as part of a plan to track down and capture Kismet. Three of the four time periods were homages to previous Superman eras: Superman: Man of Steel #80-83 focused on the WWII era, with a lower powered Superman battling the Nazis; Adventures of Superman #558-560 was set in the Silver Age, with all its camp nature; Action Comics #745-747 was set in the late 1970's; while Superman (Volume 2) #136-137 was set in the distant future. Superman learns that he and Kismet have more of a history than he thought, and after a long series of struggles through time itself, Kismet is kept safe from Dominus and Superman returns to the proper reality. This adventure coincided with Superman's 60th anniversary.
Hard times had fallen on the Daily Planet, and the owners reluctantly sell the great newspaper to Lex Luthor -- who promptly closes the doors of the great old paper, firing nearly everyone. The employees gather together to toast the Planet as the building is closed down. After the globe on top of the Planet is taken down, Superman has to go back into Kandor with Scorn. He meets Ceritak's father and sister, but his powers begin to fade without access to a yellow sun. He is even framed for the murder of Cerimul, Ceritak's father. He soon learns that the Cyborg Superman is there and is attempting to usurp control of the city. Superman manages to defeat him again, banishing him into the dimensional portal around the city.  Luthor opens a new media business, called LexCom, in Hypersector. Lois is given a job there (although she hates it), but Clark is not. Out of work, Clark decides to resume his book-writing career. He flies around to get some ideas, only to discover to his horror that his nightmare about a nuclear disaster has come true in Markovia.
Convinced he is having prophetic dreams (and that the disasters being foreseen were getting worse), Superman's behavior begins to get increasingly erratic. He stays on patrol nearly constantly. Lois, the Kents, Superboy, Supergirl, Steel... all try talking to him, but no one can get through.
As he steps things up, he decides to bring Superboy to the Fortress of Solitude and share with him some of Krypton's history. Afterwards, he offers the Kid the Kryptonian name of a distant relative of his, "Kon-El," saying he feels like they are family. Superboy gratefully accepts.
His increased duties allow him to help Aquaman defeat Shrapnel, check in on the new Titans that was starting up, and help Flash and Robin stop a series of bombs in Central City. He also learns that Supergirl (Matrix) has bonded with Linda Danvers after visiting her in Leesburg.
Superman decides to take up a patrol of the Earth 24/7, essentially abandoning his life as Clark Kent and taking up residence in the Fortress of Solitude, building monitors that allow him to watch over the whole globe. Deciding this is not enough, he then proceeds to build an army of Superman Robots to help him keep peace and order. Believing that Lex Luthor is creating synthetic Kryptonite, Superman slices the LexCorp Tower in half, casting the top half into outer space. The SCU tries to arrest him, but he will not allow them to do so, prompting the JLA to agree that he has crossed the line and must be stopped. The JLA are unable to defeat his army or breach through the defenses of his new and improved Fortress of Solitude. During the battle, the truth of his recent behavior is made clear -- he has been manipulated by Dominus all along! While the U.N. declares war on Superman, Lois Lane manages to enter the Fortress and free Superman from the spell Dominus has on him. Dominus quickly regains control, and while a horde of Superman Robots attack the U.N. Building, Luthor causes the orbiting half of his old tower (laced with the synthetic Kryptonite) to come crashing down on the Fortress, shattering its defenses and reducing it to ruins. Dominus soon emerges, disguised as Superman, and convinces the world that he is the real thing and that they must band together with him to locate Dominus, all as part of a ruse to track down Kismet. The real Superman manages to win the day, banishing the supervillain to the Phantom Zone once and for all.
Superman is back to normal -- all but one of the Superman Robots has been destroyed, but the world is still uneasy. Many people no longer trust him, some questioning if he is indeed the real Superman while others fearing that he may lose control again. Superman realizes that he will have to win back people's trust one day at a time. An alien named Cognito captures Superman, taking him into space and running simulations of what might have happened had Kal-El's rocket ship landed on Oa, Rann, or Thanagar and he had become the respective champions of those worlds instead of Earth. The JLA rescues Superman, and they learn that Cognito needed help on his homeworld, but did not think Superman would agree to do it. Naturally, Superman decides to help them anyway before returning to Earth.
A woman named Strange Visitor next turns up in Metropolis, an energy being similar to Superman Blue (who even wears the same costume he did while in that state). Superman is dumbfounded as to who this being is, not suspecting her true origins are intimately connected with his own.
Shortly before Day of Judgment, where Superman had to help save the Earth from a possessed Spectre, Brainiac 2.5 returns to Earth, planning on destroying the planet, but Superman saves the day and firmly regains the trust of the world in doing so.
When the rogue angel Asmodel seizes the Spectre Force and freezes Hell over, unleashing a horde of demons onto the Earth, Superman flies to New York City to help in the stand against the demons. He leads a team of heroes into Hell to reignite the fires. While in Hell, Superman's soul was seized by the demon Neron, who inhabited his body in his own attempt to merge with the Spectre Force. Superman's soul was tormented, along with the soul of Lois, who was being held by the Silver Banshee. Their indestructible bond helped them survive and overcome Hell itself. Escaping Hell, Superman's soul forced Neron out of his body, and the soul of Hal Jordan became the new Spectre.
A New Direction for the New Millennium
Starting in December 1999, the Superman titles got a major overhaul. Most of the longstanding writers and artists were replaced, and each of the four main titles began to develop independently from one another (although still coming back together for certain story arcs and major crossovers).
The new direction began with a return of the Daily Planet. Lex Luthor sold the planet to Bruce Wayne for $1, but did not publicly disclose the reason for doing so. The real reason was that Lois Lane made a deal with him, promising to bury one story -- no matter what it was -- in exchange for him allowing the Planet to return. Lois kept this secret even from Clark. Everyone is hired back: Jimmy came back on as a photographer, Lois had her city beat back, and Clark was assigned as a foreign correspondent. That same day, Mongul arrives on Earth, seeking help from Superman to deal with a threat facing the entire galaxy -- the threat of Imperiex. Superman begins special training with Mongul while Jimmy discovers a photograph of Superman wearing a wedding band. Superman confides in Jimmy that he is actually married (though he does not say to whom) before going off into space with Mongul to battle Imperiex near Jupiter. The two succeed in destroying the construct Imperiex was building to destroy the Sol system. Predictably, Mongul then turns on Superman, but Superman had expected this and had a contingency plan in place. Superman turns Mongul over to Lobo before flying home to Lois -- but unknown to him, the being defeated was not the true Imperiex, but merely one of his thousands of drones.
As Clark Kent begins his job as a foreign correspondent, a beautiful new villain named La Encantadora leads Superman on an around the world chase as she sells fake Kryptonite to villains all over the globe. Superman manages to capture her, but not before she delivers a kiss that is more than a simple sign of affection. La Encantadora escapes and encounters Superman again in Metropolis on Christmas Eve when the Demon, Etrigan steals her power. After Superman helps her, she expresses regret over their last encounter before escaping again. Superman and Wonder Woman are transported to an alternate dimension, forced to fight in a battle with the Norse gods against an army of demons for one thousand years. Even after a thousand years, when they were facing certain death and had no idea if they would ever get home, Superman remained faithful to Lois (fortunately, after the war was won, Superman was transported to the same day he left).
Despite being estranged from his Kryptonian heritage, Superman cannot seem to escape its legacy. The Fortress still lay in ruins, but some of the alien technology was causing strange effect in the Antarctic. The last surviving Superman Robot alerts Superman to the disturbances, and Superman is able to contain the situation, but not solve it. While there, Lois recovers a Kryptonian artifact that secretly housed a smaller "copy" of the Eradicator software. The program activates in their apartment, recreating a form of Kem-L who attacks Superman. Fortunately, Lois is able to help him destroy the artifact, and the program with it. The Eradicator's original programming is not completely dead, however, and attempts to reassert control of the actual Eradicator body (still housing the mind of David Conner). Conner actually loses control briefly and attacks Superman in Metropolis, but is able to regain control.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Lex Luthor plans a spectacular party in Metropolis to usher in the New Year. Clark, Lois, and the Kents all attend. Unfortunately, Y2K actually occurs -- all because of the arrival of Brainiac 2.5, who unleashes a computer virus that cripples the world's computers, leading all the world's heroes to desperately try to keep the peace as a worldwide blackout ensues. Superman and Green Lantern have to go into orbit to stop thousands of nuclear missiles launched when the blackout hits. Brainiac is nearly destroyed when a future version of himself arrives, Brainiac 13.
Brainiac 13 begins to upgrade the entire world into a distant futuristic version of itself while Brainiac 2.5 survives by placing his consciousness into Lena Luthor. Superman is joined by the Metal Men in fighting Metallo before starting a desperate struggle with Brainiac 13. The Eradicator arrives to help Superman, warning him that if the virus reaches the Fortress of Solitude, the remnants of the Eradicator's programming may be able to utilize it. Flying to the South Pole, Superman and the Eradicator encounter a monstrous, alternate version of the Eradicator program using the ruins of Superman's Fortress as a body. The Eradicator (David Conner) merges with the other and flies off into space. Superman realizes Kryptonian technology is the key to defeating B-13. Superman is only able to stop B13 by utilizing a Kryptonian battlesuit -- however, while his plan had been to trap B13 in the suit, Lex Luthor made a deal with the supervillain to hand over his daughter (still housing Brainiac 2.5's essence), allowing B13 to escape into space, in exchange for keeping Metropolis upgraded as the very real City of Tomorrow. Only Superman is aware of what happens, and angrily confronts Luthor, but Lex merely brushes him off. Superman vows to find Lena and rescue her -- and to make Luthor pay. After the crisis, Superman works with Steel to build a brand new Fortress of Solitude, this one inside a tesseract, a pocket dimension.
Superman spends some time in Smallville with his folks, trying to hide the fact that Lois has been acting very cold lately. No matter what he does, Lois continues to grow distant and even hostile toward him. Even a vacation to an alien planet where the depth of his love for her is manifested does not help the situation. A confrontation at home causes Lois to attack him -- knocking him clear out of a window. Superman realizes then that it is not the real Lois. A running battle reveals that it is actually the Parasite, whose powers have been altered. The Parasite touched Lois during Y2K, finding out the truth, and had been disguised as her ever since. He had to keep her alive in order to keep up the disguise, however. During the battle, Parasite collapses, having contracted through Superman whatever malady had recently been affecting Big Blue. He dies before he can reveal where Lois is located.
Superman, who had in fact been ill since just after Y2K, begins to grow steadily worse. He had barely been able to fight when the Joker dropped by trying to kill Lex Luthor. As he literally begins to glow green from his illness, Superman turns to Batman to track down his missing wife. Batman is successful, but the weakened Superman collapses just as they find her trapped in a cave.
Superman is dying of a kind of Kryptonite-based cancer. The Atom shrinks Steel, Superboy, and Supergirl down and they enter Superman's body to try to remove the tumor. Unfortunately, "Steel" turns out to be the Prankster in disguise, but the real John Henry arrives and is able to unmask the fraud. La Encantadora reveals she was paid to infect Superman with the virus, which she administered through her kiss during their first encounter. She will not say who paid her, however. Deathstroke has been hired to eliminate her before she could reveal this, but he is unsuccessful (although he nearly kills Lois while he's at it). The operation is successful and Superman is revived and restored to health. Superman decides to take a trip around the solar system with Green Lantern to ensure that he's back up to full health -- near Pluto, they discover Maxima and her people meeting up with Grayven, all of whom are fleeing the coming of Imperiex.
Mister Mxyzptlk makes his return shortly thereafter, causing his greatest disaster ever when he decides to visit the Joker at the Slab and is tricked into giving Joker 99.9 percent of his power. The Joker uses the awesome power of Mister Mxyzptlk to remake the entire universe in his own twisted image. Superman tries to rally the JLA and his other allies in a desperate struggle against the Joker, who is committed to first torturing all of creation and then hoping to destroy it. He brutally kills Superman's friends and loved ones before his eyes. A surreal battle ensues before Superman manages to discover the "rule" that lets him defeat the Joker -- the Joker cannot exist without Batman. Everything is put back as it was, with no one really remembering what had happened (save for Superman). Batman (who had been horribly tortured by Joker over and over) still remembers every minute of it at first, but Superman asks the Spectre to transfer the memories... into the Joker.
Clark Kent manages to attend the wedding of Lucy Lane and Ron Troupe. Lucy gives birth to their baby shortly thereafter, with Lois at her side. Superman gets drawn into an encounter with Lord Satanus, who is trying to steal the soul of Metropolis itself. Thorn and Rampage join with Superman to fight Satanus and rescue the soul of a boy named Cary. They are aided by a mysterious figure named Night Owl. Superman offers himself as a sacrifice, and Satanus takes him into Hell. This proves to be a trick, however, as Satanus corrupts the "soul" of the city, making all the citizens hostile and bitter towards one another. Satanus uses Cary to control the Adversary, tormenting Superman's soul. When Cary turns on Satanus and Superman realizes what has happened, they both manage to break out of Hell, returning to Metropolis and restoring it to normal.
Lex Luthor, regarded as a national hero for his perceived role in the Final Night, Y2K and No Man's Land was elected President of the United States, with Pete Ross as his Vice President. Superman was very upset over the news. Batman confronted the President-elect and demanded the return of the Kryptonite ring, but Luthor called his bluff and did not turn it over. Lana vowed to keep Superman's secret no matter what, and Batman promised Superman that Luthor would be taken down in due time.  Superman brooded over the turn of events all the way through the end of the year, although by Christmas, Lois and he tried to make the best of the situation. After giving gifts to the members of the JLA, Clark and Lois decided to take a few days off to visit Kandor. 
Superman, still angry with Batman over the events of Tower of Babel (see JLA), did not seek his aid when Talia Head arrived in Metropolis. Talia was estranged from her father, Ra's al Ghul, who was weak and sickly beyond any help from the Lazarus Pits. Ra's had kidnapped La Encantadora's younger brother to force the woman to use her powers. Ra's al Ghul was planning on ascending to godhood by merging with an aspect of Gaia, but she rejected him. Superman was offered godhood, but easily rejected it. 
Superman encounters a rocket ship in the field near his parents' house. The rocket contains a message from Jor-El -- one that presents a totally different history of Krypton (one much closer to the Silver Age version), with Jor-El explaining that he made up the harsh, brutal history because he wanted his son to fully embrace his new world. Superman has trouble reconciling this with everything he knows of Krypton, but Dr. Hamilton tells him that it may be possible to travel through the Phantom Zone back in time to Krypton and find out. Lois decides to accompany Superman on this adventure. Meanwhile, President Luthor names most of his new team: Lois's father, Sam Lane, is appointed Secretary of Defense; Black Lightning is named Secretary of Education; Cat Grant is appointed Press Secretary; and Amanda Waller is appointed Secretary of Meta-Human affairs.
Superman encounters a very different Krypton than the one he ever imagined, but gets along wonderfully with his parents and their pet, Krypto, until all is wrecked by the fanatical General Zod. Superman and Lois flee back to Earth, accompanied by Krypto, who develops superpowers under Earth's sun. Krypto proves a little too much for life in Metropolis, however, and after a fight with Mongul in which he almost kills the alien villain, Superman decides to take the dog to the Fortress and have a Super-Robot look after him.
Superman encounters an ultra-violent team of "heroes" called the Elite, led by Manchester Black, who believe that the best way to stop the bad guys is to terminate them. Superman, vastly underpowered compared to their team, forces a confrontation on one of Jupiter's moons where he is able to defeat them without killing anyone, proving his way is best. Black is taken into custody but swears he'll have vengeance.
A creature called Kancer goes on a killing spree, revealing itself to have been grown from the Kryptonite tumor extracted from Superman's body. Superman's investigation points to a figure in Pokolistan as being responsible for having La Encantadora poison him and then creating Kancer, so Superman and some allies head there for some answers. During a pitched battle with Kancer, Faora, and Ignition, Superman is sucker punched by a being known as the "General" -- he is hit so hard that his jaw is actually broken.
Our Worlds at War
All signs point to an impending war: a distraught Eradicator returns to Earth ranting of a coming disaster (and is subdued when Superman fills his head with visions of the "other" Krypton); an alien armada shows up at Earth, preparing to make their last stand against Imperiex. Apokolips itself warps into earth space. President Luthor orders Superman not to attack Darkseid, claiming that they are working together to save the universe. Superman flies off, back to Pokolistan, for a chat with the General. A fight occurs between the two, during which the General identifies himself as Zod. Superman, having flashbacks to his time in the Pocket Universe, refuses to believe that this can be Zod. Their fight is cut short when a massive energy beam levels Topeka, Kansas. Superman discovers an Imperiex probe in Kansas and manages to destroy it... but finds his childhood home destroyed and his parents missing. The JLA alert him that he is needed in orbit and he takes off.  The Justice League rallies in space, but are taken down one by one by the onslaught of Imperiex probes. Superman watches several of his friends fall and also witnesses the apparent destruction of Atlantis.
As a desperate battle is joined (where every team from the JSA to Young Justice takes up the fight) Superman travels to the Watchtower where he learns that Luthor sent Steel and the Suicide Squad to revive Doomsday. They were successful, although Doomsday trashed the team and seemingly killed Steel. After finding the ruins of the Watchtower and convincing Black Racer to spare John Henry, Superman then fights side by side with Doomsday, each destroying dozens of probes before the real Imperiex Prime arrives. With battles raging across the Earth, Superman witnesses what he thinks is Wonder Woman falling to the deadly onslaught. Going to her side, he is unavailable to fight off one of the probes at the White House, which results in the death of Sam Lane. Wonder Woman did not die, but rather it was her mother, Hippolyta, who was struck down after donning Diana's armor.
Luthor and the Allies come up with one desperate plan: To merge a specially prepared Strange Visitor with Superman and assault Imperiex Prime himself. The plan is successful -- Imperiex is seemingly destroyed (although Strange Visitor sacrifices herself in the effort), but just then Warworld -- under the command of Brainiac 13 -- arrives and absorbs the energy of Imperiex. He then causes LexCorp tower to fire on Apokolips, causing Darkseid to believe that Earth has betrayed him. He orders an invasion of his own. Superman, distraught over all the death and destruction, flies into the sun, becoming super-charged. He attacks Warworld itself, and learns that Imperiex is still alive, his energy being contained in Warworld and if it is released, the universe will be destroyed. Superman formulates a plan: utilizing Darkseid, Wonder Woman, Tempest, Steel, and others, the Allies are able to boom tube Warworld to the beginning of time.
The war is won, but at a high price with so many missing or dead, and so much destruction all over the world. (See Our Worlds At War! for more details about the conflict). Superman adopts a modified costume, one with a black background on his S-shield (instead of a yellow one) and a black S on the cape. Thankfully, his parents turn up alive and well, first his mother and then his father, although his father is suffering some memory lapses.
Superman is put through a trial for his part in the Imperiex War -- a trial with the Quintessence as the judges, the Linear Men prosecuting, and the Spectre (Hal Jordan) representing Superman. The Linear Men say that Superman is too disruptive -- having upset the intended "rebirth" of the universe, time will now progress completely unpredictably. The judges declare that is how it should be, that the true age of mortals has begun, and dismiss Superman from the hearing over the Linear Men's strongest objections.
The world slowly begins to rebuild, with Superman taking a minor role, though the rebuilding is soon interrupted by the Joker's Last Laugh, an even bigger crossover that ran through virtually every DC title for December 2001. Among other threats, Superman would have to battle "Jokerized" versions of the Eradicator, Green Lantern, and Doomsday, the latter of which had now evolved to sentience. Superman defeated Doomsday again, this time on the grounds of the White House, telling the self-aware monster that he would never again be afraid of him.
Never Ending Battle
On the advice of the Martian Manhunter, Superman begins to have some therapy sessions with Dr. Claire Foster. The new Zod is weighing heavily on his mind, and he is concerned about his parents and Lois. Zod is weighing heavily on his mind. Superman is afraid of him -- not just his power, but he is afraid of Zod's cunning. When Clark Kent is assigned to Pokolistan, he is afraid to go. He is afraid that Zod will recognize him and then Lois and his parents will be in danger. Nevertheless, when he finds Zod using Bizarro Superman as his punching bag, he is forced to intervene.
Superman helps his parents open up a new general store in downtown Smallville. Meanwhile, President Luthor deduces that Clark Kent is Superman. Bizarro nearly exposes the truth as well, when Manchester Black uses his powers to temporarily switch the minds of Superman and Bizarro into the other's bodies. J'onn J'onnz learns that this Bizarro, like Gorgeous Gilly and Scorch, was saved by Mxyzptlk from the Joker universe. J'onn also learns that Ignition also survived the trip, although he was apparently not created by Emperor Joker, and Bizarro has been used by Zod these past months to prepare for a fight against Superman. After Bizarro and Superman are switched back, Bizarro hints that Zod may look like Superman himself.
Luthor is not the only one to learn his identity -- the creature Kancer does as well, but he sacrifices himself before he can alert General Zod as to what he knows. During this adventure, Superman learns that Guy Gardner was not killed in the war as was previously thought, and manages to rescue him from some trouble.
Lois Lane uncovers proof that Luthor knew about the impending Imperiex invasion long before anyone else (which means he could have called for evacuations and saved more lives) but Luthor, per their deal, orders her to bury the story. Instead, Lois gives the story to Clark and he writes it. Luthor denies the allegations, and a mind scan by Martian Manhunter seems to prove his innocence. Clark is apparently fired over the incident, but Perry keeps him on staff on the down low, in order to secretly investigate Luthor.
Superman is approached by a pantheon of ancient gods who want Superman to bolster their ranks. Superman refuses, but on the other side of Metropolis, Lois is transformed into a goddess by the same group, hoping this will convince Superman to join. Lois is tempted to use her new power to raise her dad from the dead, but a heartfelt talk with Wonder Woman helps her decide against it and surrender her power. Superman defeats the evil gods with some help from Zeus, who demands Superman never bring up the name Rao (a Kryptonian god) in his presence.
A strange baby with super powers is born in Metropolis. Superman, upon getting hold of the baby, takes him to the Fortress of Solitude for some testing. Unfortunately, he is attacked there by Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman, who have come to destroy the baby. During the fight, it quickly becomes apparent (mostly when the baby speaks) that he is the new host for Brainiac. While Superman and Kelex fight the others, Brainiac manages to take control of the Fortress itself. He brings the entire Fortress to the skies of Metropolis and begins expanding it to huge proportions, threatening the world itself. Owlman manages to trick Brainiac into fleeing to the Phantom Zone, however, and Superwoman goes after and smothers the baby, stopping Brainiac. The three villains return to their own time and Superman returns the Fortress to its proper place.
Superman also makes a return trip to "Krypton" via the Phantom Zone, only now he learns the truth -- it is merely an illusion created by Brainiac 13 intended to trap Superman there. Nevertheless, Superman felt a real connection with his father and mother in a way that he really hadn't before. The phantom Krypton had been based on a historical era that Jor-El had admired. Superman felt better about Krypton as a whole, too, as he had previously been feeling more estranged from it than ever. Also, Krypto was still present on the Earth.
When Oliver Queen returns to life, Superman meets him on the Watchtower with the rest of the JLA. Afterwards, Ollie has Clark meet him at a secluded spot in the wilderness where his grave had been. Clark tells Ollie that Perry White managed to buy all the photos someone managed to take of Ollie's funeral. He hands them over to Queen, who can account for everyone in the pictures except one face. Superman does not know who it is either, and he parts with Ollie to help with an earthquake.
Manchester Black then returns, orchestrating an event known as Ending Battle. Using his vast mind powers, Black manages to control/convince an entire legion of super-villains to attack Superman -- starting with everyone he cares about. Before it's over, Superman has to engage virtually every enemy he has, all while desperately trying to save all his friends and family. Superman has Lois rally most of his friends and family at Steelworks, but she herself slips out and is cornered by Black at their apartment. Superman also learns that Lex Luthor knows his secret identity. In the end, Black makes Superman think that Lois has been murdered in an attempt to force Superman to kill Black (and thereby prove Superman is no better than he is). Black fails, however, for even in his grief, Superman refuses to kill him (although he is seriously tempted). Black's ruse is then up, revealing Lois is alive. Before Black kills himself, he removes the knowledge that Clark Kent is Superman from Luthor's mind and files. Superman restores his original, red-and-yellow S-shield.
While Clark's investigation of Luthor begins to border on obsession, Steel dons the Entropy Aegis from Our Worlds at War! and disappears. Recruiting a team of all Kryptonian heroes (including the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El, who has arrived from the past for a brief visit, Superman leads an assault on Apokolips. He challenges Darkseid to a one-on-one battle for the life of John Henry Irons. While they fight, the rest of the team battle Darkseid's forces on Apokolips. Doomsday, handed over to Darkseid after the events of Last Laugh, joins the fray as well, but he is stopped by Steel. Superman defeats Darkseid and everyone returns home alive and well.
War with Zod and the Battle for the Future
Clark Kent has an interview with a famous novelist, Ben Conrad. Somehow, a character from Conrad's stories (a nod to the Golden Age Superman) has come to life and is running amok. Conrad erases the character by deleting his story... but he has another manuscript entitled The Hollow Men. Shortly thereafter, Batman alerted Superman to an old government experiment that had been running for the past fifty years in Columbus, Ohio. Superman found a tesserect and inside, Heroville, a community of super beings that had been developed in the wake of WWII. When the JSA resigned, however, the director of the project, Christopher Camel, destroyed all records of its existence and hid the project. For the next half century, it remained hidden.
While Superman was investigating, someone was attacking several heroes (the Ray, the Elongated Man, etc.) leaving them as still as statues and black and white. When Superman returned and discovered them this way, he traced the problem back to Heroville. In the mere hours he had been gone, someone had attacked the village as well. The culprits were a trio of colorless men in suits who surrounded a victim and reduced them to their vegetative state. Camel saved Superman from suffering the same fate as Ray and Ralph. Superman realized that the three were characters from Conrad's book -- they were the Hollow Men, dedicated to preserving the perfect 50's era exactly as it was, and in the story, they succeeded. Superman sent one of the children to Conrad to alert him of what was happening, and Conrad wrote a new ending where the Hollow Men destroyed themselves, realizing they had outlived their usefulness.
The final conflict with General Zod finally occurs. After meta-humans begin to pop up all over the country, General Zod approaches in a feigned gesture of peace, implicating a foreign nation as responsible. He reveals himself at last -- he looks just like Superman. He announces a plan to change the sun from yellow to red -- a plot that seemingly succeeds, which of course he is really responsible for, as his suit really transferred yellow sunlight to red and made him as strong as Superman. With the sun red, he no longer requires the suit, and after taking down a depowered Superman, he masquerades as Big Blue and seizes control of a secret U.S. facility, forcing President Luthor to flee. As most of the Justice League and other heroes are rounded up (as Zod's plan also involved a way of inhibiting the powers of most of Earth's heroes), Superman and Luthor join together with an army of villains from the orbiting prison facility. Luthor makes it clear to Superman that he blames Big Blue for his recent mind wipe and that it served to only reaffirm his hatred for the Man of Steel.
While Superman takes on Zod, Luthor manages to work with Metallo and return the sun to its proper color. Zod tries to get Superman to kill him, but Superman refuses. As the sun turns yellow, restoring Superman to full power, Zod charges full ahead. His powers fade as he connects with Superman, so he is fatally injured and dies shortly thereafter. The day is won, but with his dying breath, Zod is unrepentant, mocking Superman about how they share the same face.
A new Supergirl named Cir-El, who claims to be the daughter of Superman and Lois from the future, arrives and helps Superman battle a nuclear powered villain called Radion. She claims to have been sent back in time by a group called the Futuresmiths. Lois is already feeling conflicted over the possibility of Cir-El being her daughter, but she is angry when she learns that Clark has secretly been working with Perry for months to try to bring down Luthor. Superman breaks into LexCorp, where he finds Hope, a prisoner (who has been badly tortured) and rescues her. Perry openly hired Clark back, just as Lois announces she is quitting to work for Channel 3 News.
Superman is nearly killed by Gaki, now Byakko a vengeful wraith-like being who stabs Superman in the chest. Barely conscious, he escapes and encounters Girl 13, who takes him to Lana Lang's new apartment in Metropolis. Girl 13 is under the impression Lana is Superman's girlfriend. They are quickly joined by Natasha Irons, controlling a giant robotic body (a la the "new" Steel, although it can change sizes), and Cir-El. Byakko and her gang of ninjas attack the group, but Girl 13 and Natasha are able to briefly hold them at bay. Byakko wants revenge against Superman for the death of her husband, Gunshin, who was murdered by Kojiro. The girls get Superman to the Fortress of Solitude, but Byakko follows them there. She maintains the upper hand until she stumbles across a room in the Fortress where thousands of letters sent to Superman are kept -- many loving him, many hating him. She leaves voluntarily. Superman is completely healed and thanks the girls for their help.
Cir-El turns out to be a ploy of the Futuresmiths. They also infect Superman with a Kryptonian virus that nearly kills him. Cured of the virus, he must take the fight into the future, which involves a battle with Brainiac 12 (the precursor to Brainiac 13) and the Futuresmiths), resulting in Metropolis being restored to its former, present day condition. Also, when Superman returns through the time stream, he ends up in a different timeline, one based on Superman: Birthright.
Godfall and Hidden Enemies
Superman and his supporting cast had their origins revised in the Superman: Birthright series written by Mark Waid in 2003. This rewrote the previous definitive origin story, John Byrne's 1986 mini-series The Man of Steel, to include more elements from the Silver Age character. It would remain in continuity until Infinite Crisis in 2006 established Geoff Johns' Superman: Secret Origin.
Superman befriends a priest named Daniel and explains a story of his own pride. One day, after being called out into space to help Green Lantern, Superman returns to find one million people missing from Earth -- including Lois. Superman refers to this event as the "Vanishing" and says that it originated in the Middle East. Flying there, Superman found a city in the midst of a civil war. A man named General Nox and his henchman, Equus, are responsible for the civil war. Superman battles Equus and discovers the machine responsible for the Vanishing. Equus activates the machine, and along with himself, General Nox and another three thousand people disappear.
A man claiming to work for the government, Mr. Orr, demands that Superman turn over the device, but Superman refuses. After a short chat with the Justice League, Superman heads back to Metropolis to fight off a giant water-based monster. The water monster is soon joined by three others (each based upon an element) and attempt to get Superman to leave the planet. After bluffing that he will destroy the planet if they carry through their threat to wipe out all human life, the elemental's disband. Superman takes Father Daniel to the Fortress of Solitude, even as Wonder Woman heads there to stop Superman. Wonder Woman seeks to prevent Superman from activating the Vanishing machine, thinking it will be the equivalent of suicide.
As Fr. Daniel is taken back by Orr and treated for cancer, Superman activates the machine and disappears. Superman realizes that the Vanishing was caused by a device he originally created should anything ever happen to Earth -- it created a "perfect" city inside a pocket of the Phantom Zone and would teleport some people there (including Lois). Superman finds Lois and the others living in a city there -- but the city is under siege by Equus and his new master, an all-new General Zod. Zod had managed to activate the device to draw Superman there. After a battle with Zod involving Father Daniel (who has been turned into a Borg thanks to Orr), Superman manages to return everyone lost in the Vanishing back to Earth. Superman builds a new Fortress of Solitude in the Amazon Jungle.
Clark resumed his job at the Daily Planet -- but suffered a demotion. Jack Ryder was his replacement. Clark was angry at Lois, for she had known about it beforehand and did not tell him. Trouble was brewing for Superman, however. Darkseid dropped by Metropolis, announcing that Doomsday had escaped his custody and was presumably back on Earth. Over in Smallville, Gog shows up and attacks Superboy and some of his friends, hoping to draw Superman's attention. It worked, and Superman showed up to battle Gog (and seemingly did not recognize him). After a massive brawl, Gog manages to inject Superman with some liquid Kryptonite, nearly killing him. Superboy manages to take him to STAR Labs for treatment. When word of his injuries gets out, STAR is attacked by several villains, causing Wonder Woman, Superboy, and other heroes to defend the injured Superman. Superman is cured but still weak, so he is promptly injured again by Weapons Master. He and his allies manage to turn the tide, however, before he collapses again from his injuries. Lana helped him as he slowly recovered (Lois being overseas at this time) and she told him she was divorcing Pete because she had settled for him the way Lois settled for Clark, but really Lois loved Superman.Clark is visiting his parents in Smallville when he learns Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, has been murdered. Superman attends her funeral in Central City before getting to work at helping tracking down her killer. Like most of the other superheroes, he is shaken at the murder. Sue was killed in her home, a place covered with Justice League-certified alarm systems. When one group goes after Doctor Light and is taken down by him and Deathstroke, Superman arrives afterwards, wondering what prompted the team to go after Light in the first place (though they do not disclose everything they know). When the Atom's wife, Jean Loring, is nearly hanged, Superman is the first on the scene and identifies the knot used, though it ends up being a red herring. After the attack on Loring, someone sends a note to Lois hinting she will be next (and that the killer knows who her husband is). No attack comes, however, as it was merely a ruse while Jack Drake ends up being the real next victim. Superman's role in tracking down the killer is minor, though he does assist in bringing down Deadshot and some other thugs.
Per his demotion, Clark is assigned to "the Shack," working a graveyard shift covering the Special Crimes Unit. He meets the new S.C.U. team leader, Lupe, who makes it clear that she thinks of Superman as one of her deputies. On his first night out Superman has to turn up and battle Replikon, who does not seem totally in control of himself, and once defeated, Replikon self-destructs. Meanwhile, Lois gets herself assigned to cover a U.S. led invasion of Umec. She and Clark spend a last night together before she goes overseas (and before she goes, she asks Wonder Woman to check on Clark if she ends up being gone too long).
With the help of Green Lantern, Superman investigates Replikon and finds one of Replikpon's children murdered and another missing. The child turns up as a new Replikon, being controlled by an unknown party, and although Superman manages to defeat him, Replikon's weapons are shown to interfere with Superman's powers. Replikon then turns up with the villain manipulating him, Ruin, as they take hostages and force a confrontation with Superman. During the battle, Clark is teleported to the 5th dimension by Mister Mxyzptlk, who warns him about an impending doom and that he should be sure to look after Lois. Mxyzptlk then teleports Superman back to the exact instant he left, where Ruin's beam manages to drain Superman's power. Superman manages to free Replikon from Ruin's control, and subsequently manages to capture Ruin, who is turned over to the S.C.U. (although he escapes, murdering several officers, before his identity can be revealed).
In Umec, Lois and the squad she is assigned to cover, get trapped in a war zone and a sniper shoots her in the chest. Superman is there a moment later -- to catch her as she falls. He flies her to the nearest medical encampment, where he waits while she undergoes hours of surgery. Luckily, the Justice League becomes aware of the situation, and Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter get to work. Once Lois is stabilized, the JLA teleport her to the Watchtower where Doctor Mid-Nite works on her further. Clark stays at his wife's side after the surgery. Lois recovers at home for a couple of months, surrounded by friends and family.
Ruin, meanwhile, has transformed a brother and sister into new versions of the Parasite. The twins attack Lois at home, where Mxyzptlk tries to intervene, but is unsuccessful. Superman borrows a suit of armor from Steel to confront the pair, who are recklessly endangering lives. Lupe is desperate to stop them, and find Ruin, who murdered some of her crew. Superman learns Ruin's location and flies off alone to face him. Ruin manages to best Superman with lamps that use red sunlight and escapes for a meeting with Lex Luthor, who tells him to start spilling blood. Tension had been growing between Lois and Lana, which nearly boils over while Clark and Lois visit the Kent farm. A fight breaks out when a Repo Man (literally, a man who is there to repossess Pa's truck, despite his protests that he made every payment) suddenly grows super-strong and attacks Superman and Superboy. Repo Man's powers suddenly fade away, and Superman knocks him out. Repo had made comments about getting his powers from a "strange white-haired guy" who also apparently gave him a chunk of kryptonite. Superman, beginning to age somehow, heads to the local S.T.A.R. lab to have himself checked out. He was poisoned by the liquid Kryptonite injected in him by Gog.
After going to the Watchtower, a visibly aged Superman has to battle Preus, who has captured J'onn J'onzz and Jimmy Olsen. Superman is able to defeat him, but collapses from the effort. Gog arrives -- not just a single Gog, but many of them. Gog explains that he was a young boy whose family and home was destroyed when Imperiex leveled Topeka (making him similar, yet distinct from The Kingdom's Gog). Becoming a master of time, he had tried for two centuries to save his family, but when that failed, he decided to kill Superman for letting it happen. Realizing he could not do it himself, he recruited an army of his selves from different points in time. The dozens of Gogs overwhelm Superman, but then Doomsday arrives and declares that no one will kill Superman but him.
Gog successfully fights off Doomsday and apparently kills Superman. Cut to the future, where for centuries, Gog has Superman in chains, while a reformed Doomsday leads a League of Supermen (heroes inspired by the Man of Steel) in a never-ending battle against Gog. In the end, Superman's nobility wins over Gog, and he travels back in time with the future Doomsday to set things to right, stopping the battle before he can win it and healing Superman. Before the future Gog and Doomsday disappear, they warn Superman about an upcoming crisis.
Superman flies to the Fortress of Solitude for a meeting with Batman and Wonder Woman, where he confesses that he knew what the League had done to Doctor Light (per Identity Crisis) and Diana speculates that the only way to stop Ruin may be to kill him. Batman theorizes that Ruin must be someone who knows Superman's identity and hates him very much. Lois, meanwhile, believes that she was not in Umec just to get Superman to come and stop the war and begins to investigate who would be behind such manipulation. Ruin shows up at the Shack and attacks Jimmy Olsen and the S.C.U., but Superman manages to save them -- however, Ruin teleports away before he can be unmasked. Clark gets two surprises that same day: The first is from Pete Ross, who wants him to talk to Lana, and the other is from Lois, who announces she thinks they should have a baby. While they are discussing it, Mxyzptlk shows up and shows them a possible future involving a child, before repeating his warning about an upcoming crisis.
Clark tries to talk to Lana about stopping her divorce, but she is not interested in listening. Ruin then shows up at Steelworks and attacks both John Henry and Natasha, but Superman again is on scene and this time manages to unmask the villain -- the world is shocked to find it is none other than Pete Ross! Thrown in jail, Pete is beaten by Lupe, who lies to Superman when he shows up and says that Pete was trying to escape. Talking to Pete alone, Superman learns that Pete knows Superman's secret identity (having learned from Lex while he was president and before he "forgot") and that he has been set up. Superman vows to prove Pete's innocence. The prison then suffers a power outage, resulting in the twin Parasites being freed -- but then they are attacked by an Omac Unit. When the dust clears, one of the twins is dead and the other missing -- and so is Pete Ross.
The Supergirl From Krypton
When a massive Kryptonite meteorite falls to Earth, Superman and Batman find a Kryptonian rocket came together with it, containing Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin. Despite Batman's suspicions, Clark is thrilled to meet Kara and is determined to take her in. Nonetheless, Wonder Woman, after listening to Harbinger's troubling prophecies, takes Kara to Themyscira to keep her safe and train her..
Diana's fears to prove be justified when Darkseid's troops invade Paradise Island and kidnap Kara. Outraged, the Trinity travels to Apokolips where Darkseid has brainwashed Kara into becoming his newest Female Fury. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman force Darkseid to give Kara back. Darkseid pretends to renounce Kara but then he attempts to kill Superman in retaliation. After a tough battle, Superman pins Darkseid to the Source Wall to protect her cousin. Kara is safe from Darkseid for now, but she chooses to take up the Supergirl mantle.
SacrificeSuperman discovers Brainiac manipulating Lois -- or so he thinks. After a battle with Brainiac in the Fortress of Solitude, Superman discovers blood on his hands; then the JLA and the JSA turn up, ordering him to surrender himself for what he has done. Superman tries to remember what happened, but instead of a battle with Brainiac, he recalls a fight with Darkseid. The JLA concede that it seems like Superman is being manipulated. When he asks whose blood is on his hands, the team takes him to the Watchtower and shows him the badly beaten body of Batman.
The League determines that Maxwell Lord is responsible for manipulating Superman with the false memories, but before they can put Superman in a transporter tube, Max begins his manipulations anew and compels Superman to flee the Watchtower, with Wonder Woman hot on his heels. Superman, believing that he has just seen Doomsday murder his wife, attacks Diana with all his might. Diana puts up a good defense, and proves to be a match for Superman, pulling out all the stops. She manages to stun and even injure him, and then proceeds to wrap Lord up in her Lasso of Truth, demanding to know how to free the Man of Steel from his control. Max replies the only way to do so is to kill him (Lord). Diana snaps Max's neck -- an event recorded by the Brother Eye satellite and broadcast around the world. Superman is freed -- but at a terrible price.
Superman is called away from the scene to deal with a nuclear missile. After pitching it into space, he has to fight off two OMACs and discovers that they are really people inside the metal OMAC suits. He flies to the Batcave to talk to Batman about what has happened, but Batman is not interested. Superman returns to Metropolis, where even Lois agrees with what Diana did. Superman can't help but think of everything that's happened, particularly the events of "Crisis of Conscience" in JLA, so he goes to see Zatanna. She tells him that she altered the Toyman, and together they find him, locked in his own fantasy world. Zatanna clears his delusion just before he apparently dies in a collapsing building. In Metropolis, the world is unsure of how to react to the tape of Wonder Woman killing Lord. Lois goes to Umec to figure out who was behind the hit on her and deduces that it must have been Lord himself. Lex Luthor shows up at the Daily Planet, trying to get information on Ruin. Ruin himself then shows up for a fight, teleporting all throughout the battle. Superman realizes he is using the Phantom Zone to teleport. Before he can unmask Ruin again, the villain flees. Superman responds to his JLA alert, flying to the Watchtower -- only to find it in ruins.
Shifting through the ruins of the Watchtower, Superman can find no trace of J'onn J'onzz. Wonder Woman and Batman both turn up. Batman coldly tells Diana to leave, that she has no business there after killing Lord. They are interrupted by Mongul, and they are so fractured that they barely are able to take him down. Afterwards, Batman tells Superman how the whole world is afraid of them because of Wonder Woman, and that the last time he truly inspired anyone is when he died. All three go their separate ways.
Coming back to Metropolis, Superman finds Mister Mxyzptlk in the form of an old man lying in the gutter. Mxyzptlk's magic is not working right (presumably because of the crisis) and Clark takes him to a diner to talk. With some cues from Mxyzptlk, Clark begins to piece together who Ruin could really be: a scientist, access to the Phantom Zone, knowledge of red sunlight -- it must by Emil Hamilton. With Mxyzptlk's help, Superman finds his lair. It is well guarded, however, and Superman has to contend with red solar lamps. Mxyzptlk sacrifices himself, taking a Kryptonite arrow meant for the Man of Steel. He whispers his name backwards and disappears.
Superman confronts Ruin -- who is indeed Prof. Hamilton. Ruin taunts Superman, showing him a scene playing out across town: he has Pete Ross tied up in one of his suits, standing over a machine that will kill Lana Lang and her baby son Det. Lupe is at the scene and has a gun aimed at the back of Pete's head, thinking he is the real Ruin. Though weakened, Superman tears across town to stop it -- but he arrives too late to stop the bullet. Lupe did not aim for Ross, however, knowing that she was being set up. Pete and Lana are freed and escape, although Lupe is injured saving them in the process. Ruin arrives and battles Superman for the last time. Superman forces him outside, destroying his teleporter and his weapons. Hamilton reveals that his suit has a bomb that will take out half the city. Superman rips the suit off him and lets it detonate high in the air. After Hamilton is taken in, Clark Kent has a talk with Lana and Pete (now they both know his secret), and promises Pete he will clear his name.
Alexander Luthor continues with his machinations to find "the perfect Earth." In order to keep most of the world distracted, he orders the Secret Society of Super-Villains to drop Chemo over Blüdhaven. Chemo detonates, killing over 100,000 people instantly, and leaving the city irradiated with poisonous clouds. Superman arrives, leading a cadre of heroes who can withstand the toxicity to try to rescue who they could. Chemo began to reform, and Superman engaged, knowing that Chemo would reform quicker as he reabsorbed the poison back into himself. Once it was all gone, Superman hurled Chemo into space.
As the Crisis continued, Earth-Two was brought back into existence. Superman heard a scream from that world, and flying there found Kal-L from Earth-Two, standing over the body of Earth-Two Lois Lane, who had just died. Kal-L blamed Kal-El for her death and attacked her, leading to a brutal fight across the Earth-Two Metropolis. As they battled, their lives flashed before each other's eyes in an instant - and they would change it. Due to this, Superman would realize that Earth-Two was too "soft" for New Earth's actions. The fight was finally stopped when Wonder Woman arrived, grabbing Kal-L in her Lasso. She and Kal-El helped him see the truth -- that Alexander Luthor was really manipulating the strings.
Alexander Luthor is stopped from creating his "perfect universe" when his tower is destroyed by Kon-El during a battle with Superboy-Prime. Unfortunately, Kon-El dies of his injuries just before Superman, Kal-L, Wonder Woman, and Batman arrive. Superman is deeply affected by the loss, but is determined to put an end to the madness that Luthor has created. Alexander's machinations have disrupted history, causing some changes to Superman's history (see Kal-El (New Earth) for details). Nearly every super-villain on the planet converges on Metropolis, desiring to conquer Superman's home city. Kal-El and Kal-L lead the charge with the other heroes in their wake. The first villain they take down is Doomsday himself. Kal-L confronts Alexander, but he is unrepentant. Superboy-Prime, driven totally insane by this point, decides the only solution is to destroy this universe completely by flying straight through Oa at lightspeed.
J'onn J'onzz, aware of his plan, alerts everyone who can fly to try to stop the insane Prime, but he is too fast. In deep space, Guy Gardner and a coalition of Green Lanterns manage to stop him long enough for Kal-El and Kal-L to grab him. Not fast enough to take him back to the Speed Force, the two Supermen fly him to Krypton's solar system -- and straight through its red sun. After they fly through it, they crash on Mogo. Prime's suit was destroyed and his powers were failing, but he still managed to beat Kal-L, fatally injuring him. Kal-El tore the S-shield off Prime's chest, and managed to knock him out before collapsing (there was Kryptonite all around them). The Green Lanterns swoop down, destroying the kryptonite fragments and incarcerating Prime. Kal-L dies in Power Girl's arms, and a powerless Superman is taken back to Earth. Batman and Wonder Woman decide to take some time off. Superman is not discouraged, however, knowing that his powers will return in time, and in the meantime, the Earth is in good hands.
Superman's origins were heavily revised in the Superman: Secret Origin mini-series written by Geoff Johns in 2009; this made the history established by Mark Waid in his 2003 mini-series Superman: Birthright non-canon following Infinite Crisis in 2006. It would remain the definitive origin until 2011 when Flashpoint established the DCnU and Grant Morrison's Action Comics updated the story.
One Year Later
After living a normal human life as Clark Kent for a year, Superman's powers suddenly came back. When he returned to action as the Man of Steel, there was much public speculation as to whether or not he was an impostor. However, his daring actions, broadcast across the globe, while driving the Auctioneer from Earth, convinced the world that he was the real deal.
The sorcerer Arion came to Metropolis to implore Superman to stop fighting for the benefit of mankind, saying that he was disrupting the proper course of human history by pushing back an inevitable devastating event, and in the process, causing that event to be much worse, resulting in the end of civilization. This revelation troubled the Man of Steel, and caused him to consider his place in the world.
Arion gave Superman two weeks to consider stop being a Superman, and prevent that disaster from occurring. In those two weeks, Superman helped Lightray and Fastbak to control a group of teenage New Gods during a field trip on Earth. The teenage gods had begun causing trouble in Metropolis, and Superman discovered that Arion was the one who set the teenage gods in a rampage in the first place.
After the two-week period ended, Superman informed Arion of his choice to continue being a Superman. However, Arion cast a mind-control spell on Superman, planning to use him as a weapon against other alien heroes. But Superman managed to resist the spell, and went after Arion, who began unleashing a massive disaster on the world. Phantom Stranger told Superman that Arion had unleashed the very disaster he was trying to prevent.
Superman and Phantom Stranger went to the future, where they saw the disaster had wiped out humanity. Phantom Stranger told Superman that if he were to accept Arion's suggestion, humanity would survive the disaster, but at the cost of a significant amount of wisdom. So, Phantom Stranger told Superman that he had to find another way. Superman and Phantom Stranger returned to the present, and Phantom Stranger gave Superman a magic shield to protect himself from Arion's attacks. Superman found Arion's lair in the Atlantic Ocean. After a lengthy fight, Superman defeated Arion and handed him to the authorities.
A young boy, seemingly from Krypton, landed in Metropolis in a ship. Although initially the government worked with Superman on studying him, they later moved the boy without informing the Man of Steel. Angered, Clark hijacked the truck transporting the child and took him. Lois and Clark decided to take the boy in as their son, naming him Christopher.
Zod was defeated when Superman was able to break free of the Zone. Zod was stunned to find that his own biological son Lor-Zod rejected him, preferring Kal-El and his wife as his parents. Confronted with this betrayal, Kal-El decided to accept the boy as his own and along with his wife Lois are raising the boy on Earth as their own. Later, Chris sealed himself in the Phantom Zone to prevent Zod from conquering Earth.
Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Superman was reunited with some of the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes when they travelled back in time to bring Wally West back. Sometime later, Superman battled a Brainiac robot, until it proved to contain a message from Brainiac 5 of the Legion. The message read that Superman should go to the 31st century again. While Superman was there, he discovered that the sun had turned red, thus he lost his powers. Earth had also become a place that did not welcome aliens at all, due to the fact that a warped version of Superman's origin was spread (in which Superman was not from Krypton, but from Earth) and the origin's messengers, the Justice League of Earth, led by Earth-Man.
The Daily Planet is having a meeting, introducing the new members of the Daily Planet, including Cat Grant, Steve Lombard and Ron Troupe. Clark hears a mysterious noise with his super hearing and goes to investigate as Superman. He discovers the noise was a Brainiac drone, sent to try to locate Superman. Superman promptly defeats the drone and takes it back to the Fortress of Solitude. With help from Supergirl, it is revealed that Superman has never truly fought Brainiac before, and all earlier encounters Superman has ever had with Brainiac has been with one of his probes. It is also revealed that Kara was on Krypton when Brainiac stole Kandor, and because of this, she is terrified of Brainiac.
After visiting the Kents, Superman goes flying all through the galaxy in an attempt to track down Brainiac. He discovers his probes on one planet, and witnesses Brainiac capture a city as he did with Kandor. Brainiac also fires a missile into that planet's sun, causing the sun to explode and destroy the planet. The explosion knocks Superman unconscious and he is brought upon Brainiac's ship.
When Superman awakens, he escapes and makes his way around Brainiac's ship. There, he discovers a room full of thousands of bottled cities, including Kandor. At this point, the true Brainiac reveals himself. It is revealed that Brainiac has been collecting information of all the planets he has been destroying and the next planet he decides to attack is Earth, including capturing Superman and Supergirl as the last remnants of Krypton. The Brainiac ship arrives over Metropolis and sends out probes to attack Metropolis, while everyone, including Supergirl, does their best to fend them off. Meanwhile Superman fights with Brainiac. After knocking him out, Superman hears a voice that sounds distinctly like his father; it turns out it is the voice of Zor-El, Supergirl's father, who is alive inside the bottled city of Kandor.
As Superman and Zor-El talk, Brainiac attacks Superman from behind. Supergirl is also caught at this point and brought upon Brainiac's ship just as Metropolis is encased in a bottle and a solar-aggressor missile is fired toward the sun. Superman is unconscious and held captive by the ship, being hooked up to all the bottled cities, hearing their cry for help. Superman escapes and attacks Brainiac, before taking the bottled Metropolis and Kandor, he then frees Supergirl and convinces her to stop the solar-aggressor from hitting the sun, which would cause it to go supernova. Superman then attacks Brainiac and knocks him out of the ship, forcing Brainiac to land on Earth.
Brainiac is overwhelmed by Earth bacteria and micro-organisms. As a result, he cannot control anything on Earth and is promptly defeated by Superman. However, Brainiac reveals that the cities cannot be sustained outside of the ship, and Superman flies off and returns Metropolis before flying to the Arctic and releasing Kandor to its normal size. Supergirl also manages to stop the Sun from being destroyed. However, Brainiac has one final trick left. After reading Superman's mind while he was kidnapped, he knows where Superman's parents live, and he promptly fires a missile that explodes on the Kent farm. Although no one is hurt by the explosion itself, Jonathan Kent suffers a fatal heart attack and dies, just as Clark arrives.
During Jonathan Kent's funeral, Clark looks over and sees Bruce Wayne and Alfred are standing under a tree nearby.
As Libra, the prophet of Darkseid, makes his bid to take over the Secret Society of Super-Villains, Luthor says that the only way Libra could get his respect is to take Superman out of commission. Shortly afterwards, Clayface, disguised as Jimmy Olsen, bombs the Daily Planet, severely injuring and killing several staff members and leaving Lois in critical condition. As Lois is taken to the hospital, Clark manages to keep her heart beating with his heat vision. As Clark whispers that he would do anything to save his wife, he is suddenly confronted by Monitor Zillo Valla, who insists that Superman must depart Earth immediately if he is to save his wife's life.
Zillo stops time around Lois, allowing Superman to leave her side for a while, but warning him that while they should have all the time they need, after time returns to normal Lois' heart will beat only once without Superman's help. She promises a drop of Bleed, the extradimensional substance in which the Multiverse grows, to heal Lois should their mission succeed. Exiting reality, Superman finds himself aboard the Carrier Ultima Thule, instinctively discovering his capability to access 4-D vision to perceive the situation. Fighting off a corrupted Monitor nanotech probe - titanic by moral scale - and leaving it in the remains of Earth-51, he is introduced to his allies, fellow Supermen Captain Marvel of Earth-5, the "Quantum Superman" of Earth-4 Captain Allen Adam, guilt-ridden Overman of the Nazi-dominated Earth-10, and his antimatter twin Ultraman. Eventually finding themselves in Limbo, where Merryman takes them to the Library of Limbo, its sole book containing infinite pages. Together, Superman and Captain Marvel are able to lift the infinite weight, allowing them to learn of the story of the Overmonitor, the all-encompassing megabeing in which the Multiverse grew, into which it sent the Monitors; its initial incursion into reality left a mark on creation in the form of a silent, titanic sentinel in the shape of Superman himself. As they learn of the original Monitor, Dax Novu, and his attempt to chain the destroyer Mandrakk, feedback knocks both of them out of the story, returning Captain Marvel to Billy Batson. Before he has time to react, Superman learns that Zillo Valla has drained Overman of blood to sustain herself, and Ultraman, holding the Infinite Book, declares himself Mandrakk's prophet as the sky shatters.
As Limbo rises up to fight back against its attackers, Ultraman confronts Superman, threatening that if their matter/antimatter particles mix it will destroy them both, but Captain Marvel returns to break them up. As the drugs designed to dampen Captain Adam's quantum senses wear off, he realizes what must be done, combining the essences of Superman and Ultraman, the energy generated enough to 'broadcast' the resultant being to the higher dimension of Nil, home of the Monitors. Possessing the Superman Giant left by the Overmonitors' contact with reality, Superman discovers that the Monitors are a race of cosmic vampires feeding on the Bleed to sustain themselves, with Dax Novu having in the process become Mandrakk. After facing off against the Dark Monitor and casting it out of creation to the realm of the Overvoid, Superman is informed by the Monitors that he has been tricked; it is impossible to contain or bottle Bleed. Splintering back into Superman and Ultraman upon the return to material reality, Superman, Overman and Captain Marvel destroy the last of Mandrakk's ships. Returning to his Earth Superman has in fact managed to bring a distilled drop of The Bleed, and administered it through a kiss to Lois, restoring her to full health, as the Monitors, saying nothing could do it, were wrong: Superman can.
After saving Lois, Superman is transported to the 31st century by the Legion of Super-Heroes. As he arrives in the Legion clubhouse, the Legionnaires show him an image of Takron-Galtos with an S-shield burning in its surface, explaining that a riot caused every prisoner to be released. Cosmic Boy tells Superman that a similar incident happened in Smallville. Then, Phantom Girl shows him an image of the culprit, and Superman realizes that it is Superboy-Prime. Superman explains to the Legion about Prime's origins, saying that he is from a parallel universe.
To combat this new threat, Brainiac 5 suggests contacting the Legions from two parallel worlds. Mon-El supports the plan, but Superman believes that the only way to stop Prime is by redeeming him.
Some of the Legionnaires, including Lightning Lad, disagree with this idea. Lightning Lad suggests breaking the Legion code and killing Prime, but Cosmic Boy disagrees. The discussion between the two then becomes a fight, until Cosmic Boy says that the reason he became the leader of the Legion is because he wanted everyone but him to have a life outside the team.
Then, White Witch, Blok, Wildfire and Dawnstar appear right before everyone's eyes. Blok and Dawnstar explain that White Witch teleported them from Sorcerer's World, except for Rond Vidar, who is fighting Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains.
Mon-El suggests going to Sorcerer's World but Lightning Lad replies that they won't make it in time if they use their ship. Cosmic Boy asks White Witch if she can teleport them, and she says she can. Suddenly, White Witch feels the death of Vidar. Dawnstar then senses that the Legion of Super-Villains, along with Earth-Man and the Justice League, are headed for Earth. Brainiac takes a team to find an artifact in the Justice League's headquarters in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, while Superman and the rest of the Legion faces off against the Legion of Super-Villains.
As the fight continues, Superman tries to reason with Prime, reminding him of his life in Earth-Prime before the First Crisis, but Prime burns a hole in his hand with his heat vision and continues attacking him. Suddenly, Brainiac 5 appears with the Post-Zero Hour Legion and the Earth-Prime Legion, turning the tide. M'Onel and Andromeda help Superman in the fight against Prime. However, Prime escapes them.
Superman wraps the injury in his hand with a piece of his cape. With Prime's temporary retreat from the battle, Superman fights Mordru. Suddenly, Superman sees an explosion coming from the clubhouse and goes to help. Then, he realizes that Brainiac 5 brought Kid Flash back to life. Suddenly, a portal opens behind Superman and a giant hand grabs him along with Lighting Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl, taking them to the end of time.
There, they encounter the Time Trapper, who reveals that since the First Crisis, he wanted to destroy Superman, and although he attempted to erase any true memory of Superboy from the Legion, he still could not erase him. So he decided to replace him, and he has brought the three founders of the Legion to witness the end of the Superman dynasty. Suddenly, the Time Trapper blasts them with an energy burst.
Superman then witnesses Superboy's return to life and encourages the Legionnaires to fight the Time Trapper. After the four attack the Time Trapper, Superman rips his hood and the four heroes discover that the Trapper is in fact an aged Superboy-Prime.
Superman and the Time Trapper fight, and Superman tells him that he won't gain anything by holding onto hate. In the 31st century, Superboy blasts Prime in the chest, causing a burn to appear in the Time Trapper's chest. Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy bring the three Legions to the end of time, and they all knock the Time Trapper out. Superman and the founding Legionnaires then return to the 31st century with the Time Trapper. As soon as he sees the Time Trapper, Prime becomes repulsed by what he will become, so he punches the Trapper, causing both to cease to exist. Superman and Superboy reunite and the two Legions return to their respective universes.
Before returning to his own time, as the reality-shattering impact of the current Crisis begins to affect the future, Superman is given a brief glimpse of the reality-altering Miracle Machine by Brainiac 5. When he returns to the present, Superman finds that Darkseid has taken over Earth. In a fit of desperate rage, Superman attacks Darkseid's bunker, finding Batman's charred corpse within. After being mocked by Darkseid, Superman nearly kills him, but hesitates when he realizes that Darkseid is possessing Dan Turpin, allowing the Anti-Life slaves to surround him. Superman then witnesses Darkseid fire the Radion bullet that earlier killed Orion through time, and also Darkseid's defeat when Barry Allen and Wally West led the Black Racer to him. As reality breaks down around him and the universe slowly dies, Superman, with the help of the rest of the remaining superheroes and humanity, completes construction of a copy of the Miracle Machine.
Darkseid's essence attempts to claim the Miracle Machine in a last ditch effort to defeat Superman. However, Superman sings a note at a frequency that counters Darkseid's own vibrational frequency, shattering his essence. At this point, Mandrakk, now in the form of Monitor Rox Ogama, arrives alongside a now vampiric Ultraman to consume Superman, the last and greatest Protector of Life, at his weakest, explaining that Darkseid's fall, return and ultimate demise have worn the fabric of creation enough for him to invade it. He taunts Superman with reminders of his father Jor-El's own inability to save his world, saying he has nothing to start the Miracle Machine with, so Superman should come to Mandrakk and embrace the death of everything. Superman replies that he's had better offers, and uses the remaining solar energy in his body to power the Miracle Machine, making a single wish. Then, exiled Monitor Nix Uotan arrives, bringing the forces of the Zoo Crew of Earth-26, the Super Young Team become Forever People of the 5th World, and the angels of the Pax Dei, while Captain Marvel brings the collective Supermen of the Multiverse. The Supermen vaporize Ultraman, while the rest battle Mandrakk's shadow demons, weakening Mandrakk enough for the Green Lanterns to break through and kill Mandrakk with a spike created from their rings. As the heroes present repair the Multiverse and restore Earth to its proper position, ending the Final Crisis, Nix Uotan reveals to his love Weeja Dell in the last moments of Nil's existence that Superman's wish was for a happy ending.
The entire city of Kandor now resides near the Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole, populated by 100,000 Kryptonians. Although distracted by the recent death of his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, Superman attempts to aid the Kryptonians in their assimilation with the rest of the Earth -- something very few Kryptonians seem interested in, including the city's leaders, Zor-El and Alura, Supergirl's parents. After the first televised meeting between the President of the United States and a delegation from Kandor is interrupted by a rampaging Doomsday, Zor-El and Alura form a task force determined to preemptively end any future threat to Kandor by capturing Superman's worst villains and trapping them in the Phantom Zone. However, several human police officers are killed when they refuse to hand over the Parasite, enraging Superman.
At the same time, Lex Luthor, who has been recruited by General Sam Lane to halt the Kryptonian “invasion,” gains control of Brainiac and unleashes his robot army from within the depths of the alien's spaceship, currently being held in Kandor. During the fight, Metallo and Reactron, who are working for Luthor and General Lane, are brought into Kandor as Trojan horses containing Kryptonite. Reactron manages to kill Supergirl's father, Zor-El. Alura's anger causes her to denounce humanity. Members of the Justice League and Justice Society arrive in Kandor, led by the Guardian, demanding the city turn over those who murdered the police officers, and a large-scale battle erupts, with Superman in the middle. It only ends when Kryptonian scientists manage to use Brainiac's technology to lift Kandor off the Earth and grow an entirely new planet underneath it, called “New Krypton,” on the other side of the solar system, directly opposite the Earth, and therefore hidden by the sun. Alura tells Superman that he is not welcome on New Krypton, although Supergirl takes up residence there with her mother. In the end, Alura frees General Zod from the Phantom Zone to help her lead their people.
Kryptonian Military Guild
Superman accepts his aunt Alura In-Ze's offer to begin a new life on New Krypton in exchange for renouncing his life on Earth, and places a Labor Guild member named Tyr-Van as his guide. Because of his superior mastery over their special abilities, he is drafted into the Kryptonian Military Guild as a Commander working directly underneath General Zod. Kal is placed in charge of the Red Shard tactical response unit, and Asha Del-Nar is appointed as his XO. Placed under his command are Jeq-Vay, Kir-Ta, Non and Sem-Re.
Following his successful handling of a hostage situation involving the Labor Guild demanding equality led by Tam-Or, he is forced to duel his fellow officer Commander Gor over a tactical humiliation and wins through superior technique. The Green Lantern Corps is sent to New Krypton on a fact-finding mission; Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Sodam Yat assist the Red Shard in taking down Kryptonian serial killer Greyline who has escaped from the Phantom Zone. Kal and Asha are charged with treason for refusing to put the man to death and ceding him to the Lanterns' authority. Dyn-Xe of the Artists Guild is appointed their defense counsel, and they are sentenced to death. Zod convinces the Religious Guild to grant him a pardon when he realizes that Kal is more than willing to die for his ideals if it will make the army stronger. Zod is shot through the chest during an assassination attempt.
The shooter is identified as a patriotic soldier named Ral-Dar, although he escapes custody and travels to Earth; this forces Kal to become Superman again so he can pursue him with Supergirl during Codename: Patriot. Superman and Mon-El meet Guardian and the Science Police to explain Ral-Dar's plot and the attempted assassination of Zod. Lois explains to Clark that Chris Kent has returned to Earth. Superman and the Guardian brief the Science Police about Ral-Dar. Superman pursues Ral-Dar all the way to Markovia, where the U.S. President is meeting with the Markovian president. Superman stops Ral-Dar, only to be confronted by General Lane with members of Squad K and his own troops, with kryptonite-infused weapons and Kryptonian battle-suits. Lane orders them to open fire, and the hail of bullets kills Ral-Dar. Superman demands answers, but is called away by Alura. Superman takes Ral-Dar's body and returns to New Krypton.
Kal-El is temporarily promoted to General with Zod out of commission, and the council discusses going to war based on revelations that Ral-Dar's weapon was Earth-made. There is a massive military conflict involving a Thanagarian attack during a Kryptonian operation to take one of Jupiter's moons for their terra-forming. General El mediates the conflict by opening diplomatic channels with wing-master Vetalla Dae, personally leading the Red Shard on a mission to save her ship. Jemm, Son of Saturn is outraged at their rearrangement of the solar system, and is barely convinced not to declare war on Krypton.
Adam Strange is found in the home of a murdered councilor. Strange explains that he arrived via Zeta Beam to protest New Krypton's charter with Thanagar on behalf of Rann, but he agrees to help General El solve the murder to prove his innocence. Tam-Or is their main suspect, although Kal and Strange believe him to be framed. Zod recovers and returns to active duty; Gor charges them with aiding and abetting a fugitive, and attempts to execute them as traitors on the spot. They escape death using another Zeta Beam, although Tam-Or is killed in the shooting. Zod demotes Gor and allows Strange to leave, initiating a deeper internal investigation.
Commander El discovers that the murders were caused by Wri-Qin, part of a cabal attempting to weaken Krypton internally on behalf of General Lane and Superwoman; they were led to believe that this would end the inevitable war sooner, and ultimately preserve Kryptonian lives. They had been promised power in the new order, and Qin had begun eliminating the other conspirators to secure more of it for himself. Kal's efforts to institute governmental change from within Kryptonian society finally have a positive effect, with Tyr-Van elected to become the first Labor Guild council representative.
Clark temporarily leaves New Krypton to spend Thanksgiving with Martha, Conner and Krypto in Smallville. While Clark, Conner and Martha talk at the table, Krypto hears something outside. Superman and Superboy go to investigate, telling Krypto to stay in the farm and protect Martha. The two heroes go to the graveyard and find Kal-L, who has been transformed into a Black Lantern, taking Jonathan Kent's coffin out of the grave. Kal-L attacks them, but Superman and Superboy fight back.
As Superman and Superboy fight Kal-L, Martha is held hostage by Earth-Two Lois Lane, who is also a Black Lantern. Superman tells Superboy to save Martha while he fights Kal-L. Superman tries to reason with Kal-L, but he refuses to listen. Suddenly, Psycho-Pirate, also a Black Lantern, appears and brainwashes Superboy, telling him to attack Superman.
Superman is forced to fight Conner while defending himself from Kal-L. Superman tries to reason with Conner, but he simply keeps fighting. However, just when Kal-L is about to kill Superman, Superboy breaks free of Psycho-Pirate's control and attacks Kal-L with his tactile-telekinesis. Then, Krypto meets up with Superman and Superboy, after having defeated Earth-Two Lois. Superman and Krypto fight Kal-L while Superboy takes Psycho-Pirate's mask and uses it to disintegrate Kal-L. Although Kal-L is destroyed, the mask is destroyed as well. Superman believes that what happened in Smallville is happening across the world, so he, Superboy and Krypto decide to investigate.
Things, however, take a turn for the worse for Superman and Superboy when Nekron, the leader of the Black Lantern Corps, arrives at Earth. Nekron reveals himself as the one behind all resurrections across the universe, including Superman's return to life after his death at the hands of Doomsday. Then, Nekron transforms Superman into a Black Lantern, inducting him into his Corps.
Hal Jordan finds the White Entity of Life and merges with it, gaining the necessary power to defeat Nekron. Hal resurrects Superman and inducts him into the new White Lantern Corps. With their combined power, the White Lanterns resurrect Black Hand, Nekron's link to the world of the living. Having lost his herald, Nekron is banished from the world of the living and the Blackest Night ends. The White Entity then disappears and Superman is returned to normal.
Last Stand of New Krypton
Brainiac's invasion on Kandor begins, forcing civilians to fight for their home. Kal-El rescues a boy called Lan-Drom from Brainiac's robots, before being informed Zod has activated the global defense cannons to fire on Brainiac's ship. Unfortunately, the blast does not even scratch the ship, but several Kryptonians are killed as collateral damage. Outraged, Kal-El calls out Zod on his recklessness and lack of preparation, motivating him to quit the Military Guild and become Superman again. Superman deduces how the shield around Brainiac's ship works and is able to bypass it, infiltrating the ship. Once inside, Superman attempts to confront Brainiac directly, only to be hit by a Kryptonite laser fired by none other than Luthor, who is working with Brainiac.
The laser's impact knocks Superman unconscious and he is carried away by Brainiac's robots. Upon awakening, the Man of Steel finds himself strapped to a torture machine before Lex and Brainiac. Superman demands to know what exactly Luthor gains by working with Brainiac, but the villains are resolute in maintaining their objectives secret. Even when he is tortured, Superman frees himself. Luthor attempts to get Superman to stand down by aiming a gun at one of the bottled city under Brainiac's capture; a situation quickly solved when Mon-El snatches the city away before Luthor pulls the trigger. Together, Superman and Mon-El take on Brainiac's robot army.
Superman keeps Brainiac from recapturing one of the cities, but becomes separated from Mon-El. Fortunately, Superman stumbles upon the Legion of Super-Heroes, who has come to New Krypton's aid. The Legionnaires explain the bottled cities must be returned to their rightful places so that the future the Legion comes from is preserved. Suddenly, Brainiac bottles and shrinks Kandor again. Superman attempts to intervene, but is then blasted by one of Brainiac's red sunlight weapons, causing him to fall to New Krypton's surface. Fortunately, Superman is saved by Legionnaire Quislet, who had taken control of one of Brainiac's robots. With his powers replenish, Superman rejoins the battle and enters Brainiac's ship once more.
Upon entering the ship, Superman comes across Zod and his soldiers battling Brainiac' army. While Zod fights Brainiac by himself, Superman searches for the captured Kandor. The Man of Steel finds Kandor and asks Supergirl and Brainiac 5 to return Kandor to New Krypton and restore it to its original size while he faces Brainiac. Brainiac 5 warns Superman he will die if he fights Brainiac, but Superman assures him he will survive the day. Supergirl and Brainiac 5 succeed in restoring Kandor to its original size, while Superman confronts Brainiac. But in all of a sudden, one of Brainiac's stolen cities is enlarged while inside Brainiac's ship.
The damage causes the ship to go on a collision course towards Kandor. Superman asks Mon-El and the Legionnaires to save the bottled cities while he, Superboy and Supergirl stop the ship from crashing. The heroes are successful, but Superman is left mortally wounded, much like Brainiac 5 said. With a blood transfusion from Superboy and a dose of synthesized, concentrated yellow sunlight from the 31st century, Brainiac 5 saves Superman's life. When Zod attempts to kill Brainiac, Superman intervenes, arguing that Brainiac should stand trial for his crimes; but in that moment, Brainiac 5 grabs Braniac and teleports away. Shortly afterwards, Superman and Supergirl discover Lex was never present at Kandor; instead it was one of his robots.
War of the Supermen
Shortly after Brainiac's invasion has been stopped, Superman receives news that General Zod had declared war on Earth. Outraged, Superman attempts to stop him but is held down by Ursa and Non. Zod reveals from the very beginning he planned to invade Earth and allowed Superman to join the Military Guild so that his soldiers would be properly trained in the use of their powers, therefore facilitating an invasion. Also, Zod never let go of his vendetta against the House of El. Superman argues that a war will mean the end of both Earth and New Krypton, but Zod has already started the attack.
Superman frees himself from Ursa and Non's hands and flies into space to fight them and Zod. Their fight is brief, however, as they all tragically bear witness New Krypton's complete destroyed. Superman searches in the debris of New Krypton, managing to find a sad Supergirl. She silently reveals Alura died in the explosion. An enraged Supergirl then grabs the Kryptonian flag and flies to war, followed by a worried Superman.
Superman and Supergirl engage in a brief fight, but they are able to talk things over. Supergirl blames herself for New Krypton's destruction, as she brought Reactron to Kandor by Alura's order. Superman comforts her and they resolve to end the war. The cousins intercept the Kryptonian army fighting the human forces stationed on Mars. As Superman and Supergirl attempt to stop the battle, Zod sends a second wave of Kryptonians to attack Earth. Meanwhile, Luthor and General Lane uses reverse-engineered Kryptonian technology to turn the sun red. With their powers gone, Superman, Supergirl and thousands of Kryptonians begin to suffocate in space.
To save the Kryptonians, Thara Ak-Var fully unleashes the power of the Flamebird and turns the sun back to yellow, sacrificing her life in the process. Superman and Supergirl recover their powers just in time to survive, but thousands of Kryptonians have already suffocated to death, including Lieutenant Nar. More determined than ever, Superman flies to Metropolis to personally confront Zod and his forces.
As Superman and Zod clash, Superman refuses to allow Zod to destroy humanity while Zod has resolved to turn Earth into a new Krypton and also plans to kill Lois Lane, just to make Superman suffer. Just as Zod is about to kill Superman with a Kryptonite knife, Superboy uses a Phantom Zone projector to trap Zod's soldiers in the Phantom Zone while Krypto pulls Superman away from Zod. Angrily, Zod stabs Krypto with the knife, forcing Superboy to take the dog away from the battle. Superman takes the projector, intending to trap both Zod and himself within the Zone in order to make sure Zod can never escape. However, Nightwing chooses to return to the Phantom Zone and keep Zod trapped. Saying goodbye to Superman, Nightwing throws his adoptive father back to Earth so that he can continue protecting it. In the aftermath, Superman and Lois reflect sadly on how New Krypton's appearance resulted in such a pointless war, Superman expressing his uncertainty about whether any Kryptonians are left in hiding on Earth, while Lois promises to write the truth about her father's actions despite the media portraying him as a hero for his 'defensive action,' hoping that someday humanity will be ready for interaction with other alien races.
Following the Hundred Minute War, Superman feels he has lost touch with humanity. In an effort to get back to his roots as a hero and help people with their problems, he decides to walk across the entire country on foot starting in Philadelphia. Passing through Detroit, he uses alien technology to solve the employment crisis and reopen factories. Batman tracks him down and asks him to stop, believing that he's in the middle of an emotional breakdown, but Superman insists it's something he needs to do. He meets with further criticism in Ohio when a super-villain fight ravages a small town, raising the question of whether he holds responsibility.
People in Chicago ask him to leave a public park because his presence might be a danger to children, and he begins having prophetic apocalyptic dreams about sacrifice. Rescuing a young boy from an abusive father, he tries to reinforce that powers are not required to be a hero. His morals are challenged again in Iowa, when Lois Lane tries to shut down a factory that the local community depends upon; despite their environmentally unsafe practices, Superman concludes that a Daily Planet expose would destroy people's lives and asks her not to publish the article.
Representatives of the Superman Squad are sent from the future to help him deal with his depression, believing that seeing his many descendants in action throughout space-time will remove his doubt and restore his faith in his own legacy. In her new rebooted incarnation following the changes made to history in Odyssey, Superman meets Wonder Woman for the first time and inspires the warrior towards more heroic actions. The Flash stops to have lunch with him in Colorado and discuss the idea of moral absolutes and heroic legacy, leaving Superman with a brighter outlook toward his own future. Batman helps him further come to terms with his grief in Utah, while they reminisce about an encounter with Vandal Savage they once shared before developing alter-egos.
Livewire attacks Las Vegas, and Superman regulates the mental illness caused by her electrical powers using Strange Visitor's costume. Following a meeting with his childhood idol Iron Munro, Superman does his best to get Livewire off lightly on her sentence; he explains to Jimmy Olsen that America is the land of second chances, even for super-villains. Clark decides that Superman is unnecessary, and believes he can do more good without causing harm if he begins operating in secret again the way he did as a young man. In the middle of Clark writing an article officially condemning himself, an Oregon man obsessed with Superman takes him on a tour of the city to show him his value as a symbol by asking people on the streets.
The villain of the story is revealed to be Lisa Jennings, a woman who became the physical embodiment of Superman's depression and self-doubt through exposure to a Kryptonian Sunstone, also receiving his powers. Superman disarms her using his hope, having beaten depression and decided to embrace his legacy. Giving signal watches to his closest allies, he forms the Supermen of America with Iron Munro, Livewire, Steel, Superboy, Super-Chief and Supergirl. This team that embodies the values of "Truth, Justice and the American way" will eventually preserve them into the future as the Superman Squad.
Reign of Doomsday
Taking Luthor's ship, Superman makes it to the ship where his friends are captured. He reunites with Kara, Conner, Steel and the Cyborg Superman. The group comes to the realization that they were not attack by one, but by multiple Doomsdays created by Luthor, starting the "Reign of the Doomsdays."
Cyborg Superman wants to fight the Doomsdays, but Superman, knowing that they would not survive a confrontation with them, rips his node off. The heroes then fly across the ship in an attempt to escape the Doomsdays. They also take the original Doomsday with them. Reaching an observation area, the heroes begin rearranging the internal structure to reach Earth. However, they encounter a new foe, the Doomslayer. The Eradicator, against Superman's suggestion, tries to fight the Doomslayer, but the Doomslayer destroys him.
Superman and his allies are shocked by the Eradicator's murder, and the Doomslayer expresses remorse for what he did. He explains that his mission is to erase Doomsdays and all knowledge of them from the universe, and attacks the original Doomsday with his laser vision. However, Superman defends him, saying that while Doomsday may be a mass murderer, the fact that the Doomslayer achieved sentience proves that Doomsday has the potential for redemption. The Doomslayer refuses to listen and continues his plan to crash the ship into Earth and destroy it, considering it "ground zero" for Doomsday's infection.
Superman and his allies escape from the ship and attempt to slow its fall. The Doomslayer reverses the ship's engines to merely destroy North America instead of the entire planet, by aiming for Metropolis. Superman orders Superboy, Supergirl and Steel to return to Metropolis and help in the relief effort when the ship leaves. He manages to angle the station to land in the bay, creating a tidal wave. Steel's gravitron source, Supergirl's super breath, and Superboy's tactile-telekinesis dissipate the tidal wave, while Superman returns to Metropolis. Suddenly, the Doomslayer attacks the city with the four Doomsday clones.The Doomsday clones spread across the world, wreaking havoc. Supergirl fights attacks Cyborg Doomsday in a nuclear lab, Steel fights Superboy Doomsday in Moscow, and Superboy fights Steel Doomsday in Haiti.
In S.T.A.R. Labs, Superman, Lois and Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi use the original Doomsday's body to try and find a way to stop the Doomsday clones. Suddenly, Doomsday awakens, but the Eradicator speaks through him. The Eradicator says that, as a being of pure information, he leaped into the technology Luthor used to clone Doomsday so that he could control the original Doomsday. Also, the Eradicator says that he can help Superman against the Doomsdays.
The Eradicator, controlling Doomsday's body, helps Earth's heroes fighting the Doomsday while Superman an accelerator to reach the Doomslayer's tower before its defenses detect him. Meanwhile, Earth's heroes begin fighting the Doomsdays. Reaching the Doomslayer's tower, Superman flies through a tunnel that leads to the ship's core. To stop him from foiling his plan, the Doomslayers powers up the ship's informational engines.
As Superman reaches the ship's core, Superman finds information about the Doomsday Supergirl threw into a tunnel. The Doomsday spent years trapped inside the tunnel, conscious and fueled by rage. Suddenly, the Doomslayer blasts Superman with the ship's informational engines.The blast from the ship's informational engines does not destroy Superman, instead it converts him into data and transfers him into the ship's informational engines, where he meets the ship's artificial intelligence. The AI reveals that the ship is actually a sentient creature from another universe that got injured during a journey. When it was healing itself, Luthor attacked it and modified it to suit his needs. When Supergirl threw the Doomsday clone through the creature's tunnels, it was infused with the creature's knowledge, becoming the Doomslayer. Superman tells the creature that it can help, so the creature shows its internal schematics, teaching Superman how to repair it. When Superman learns everything he needs, the creature returns him to solid form.
The Eradicator, meanwhile, defeats Superboy Doomsday in Moscow, and Zatanna teleports him to the ship and the heroes to Kansas, where they help Supergirl defeat Cyborg Doomsday. With the clones defeated, the heroes throw them way down into the pit the tower is located in, because the tower will also teleport things that are close to it.
Reaching the tower's bridge, Superman manages to activate a sequence that will teleport the tower to its home before it reaches Earth's core. Suddenly, the Doomslayer attacks him, but the Eradicator appears to help Superman. The Eradicator, telling Superman that it was an honor fighting alongside him, throws Superman out of the tower, seconds before it teleports away. With the battle over, Superman and Supergirl return to Metropolis.
Later, Clark and Lois eat dinner in a restaurant. There, Clark admits to Lois the Eradicator's sacrifice and that Luthor found out about his double life. He also says maybe he should reveal his secret identity, but Lois says that it is not necessary, because the people will always trust Superman no matter what happens. Lois tells Clark that it was Jonathan and Martha Kent, not his coming from Krypton, that made him Superman. Clark and Lois then return home.
This section of the history takes place during Convergence, a massive crossover event revisiting characters from past eras and realities. The villains Brainiac and Telos plucked them from their own timeline and stored them together, causing them to cross over into each others' reality. Its precise chronological placement and canonicity may be unclear.
At some point after the Reign of the Doomsdays, Clark and Lois travelled to Gotham City. Unfortunately, the villain Brainiac stole Gotham City and put it under the custody of Telos, controller of the Blood Moon. The city was surrounded by a dome that trapped everyone inside and caused all superhumans to lose their powers, including Clark. Three months after the dome's imprisonment Clark impregnated Lois with his child, and during the next nine months Clark fought crime in Gotham as a masked vigilante with Lois' help until the dome around Gotham disappeared and Clark regained his powers, enabling him to be Superman again. Superman explores the land beyond the city's outskirts and discovers the city has been taken to another planet. Suddenly, he is attacked by Captain Thunder, Cyborg and Abin Sur, inhabitants from a parallel universe. Superman's attempts to make peace are foiled when Jimmy, wanting to help Superman, attacks the alternate heroes with an aircraft.
With Jimmy's help, Superman takes his opponents down until he hears Lois is in trouble. He flies back to their apartment, finding it empty; but Abin Sur had been swayed by Superman's arguments and explains Lois was kidnapped by Superman's own alternate counterpart. Superman quickly incapacitates his alternate self and rescues Lois in time to deliver their son, who they decide to name Jonathan Samuel Kent. Unfortunately, Deimos seizes control of the Blood Moon and forces the inhabitants to accept his dominance. Superman later makes an alliance with other superheroes on the Blood Moon and they all confront Deimos, who has already gathered his own superhuman army to fight the heroes.
After a superhuman brawl, Telos, having been convinced to protect the heroes he once imprisoned, captures Deimos' lackeys, but Deimos overwhelms his enemies with his magic power before being killed by a version of Hal Jordan still merged with the entity Parallax. With Deimos dead, the power he once controlled is released into the universe and starts breaking reality apart. Booster Gold and his allies release the only person who can stabilize the multiverse: Brainiac. Coming to regret his evil deeds, Brainiac attempts to save reality but he cannot do that unless a group of heroes travels to the past and prevents the First Crisis from happening in the first place. Supergirl, the Flash and Hal accept that mission, and Superman and his family come along to help them.
The actions of Superman and his friends are unknown, but their efforts in averting the First Crisis are successful and ensure the rebirth of the infinite multiverse, after which he, Lois and Jonathan ultimately found themselves on Prime Earth 9 years in the past, where Lois and Clark raised their child in anonymity.
Brave New World
Even so, Superman never stopped working to protect the world, even if he had to maintain a low profile. He even witnesses the Justice League's first battle with Darkseid. To further his activities, he constructed his own Fortress of Solitude. Eventually, he came across the villainous psychic Blanque, and for the first time Superman was forced out in the open to fight him. After defeating Blanque, Superman imprisoned him inside his Fortress.
Later, Superman saves Excalibur, a space shuttle that carried Hank Henshaw, the man who became the Cyborg Superman in his old world. Concerned for his safety, Superman takes Henshaw to the Fortress to give him medical attention, but Blanque manipulates Henshaw to release him from his prison. Superman manages to release Henshaw from Blanque's control and re-imprison Blanque. While returning home, Clark and Lois discuss the possibility of telling Jon about his nascent powers and that his father is a superhero.
Upon finding out Lois and Jon are being threatened by Intergang agents, Superman flies off to save them, only to discover they have already beaten their attackers. Superman and Lois come clean to Jon, but cannot say much before Superman finds out Henshaw is under attack. He flies to the island where Henshaw is being held and finds him under attack by the alien conqueror Hyathis. After a short fight, Hyathis vanishes and Superman returns to his family and teaches Jon how to fly.
Final Days of Superman
Superman later meets his younger Prime Earth counterpart, who is dying from radiation poisoning. Their encounter does not last long, as they are attacked by Denny Swan, an ex-con who had acquired solar powers after being in contact with the younger Superman's solar radiation and now wanted to be the world's only Superman. After taking his family to his Fortress to keep them safe., Superman helps his alternate self in taking Swan out of Earth's orbit to defeat him. Although the day is won, the younger Clark dies and Superman mourns his death alongside the new world's heroes.
Sometime later, Clark receives a warning from the mysterious Mr. Oz that he, his family and the fallen Superman are not who they think they are. Superman visits his younger self's memorial at Metropolis, where he meets Lana Lang. Both are grieving the younger Superman's death, but Superman tells her about his own death and resurrection, so perhaps they can bring him back using the Regeneration Matrix. Superman takes Lana and his alternate self's body to the Fortress of Solitude, but unfortunately, the Regeneration Matrix does not exist in Prime Earth, meaning the younger Superman cannot be resurrected. Accepting the younger Clark is gone, Superman brings his alternate self's remains to Smallville so Lana can bury them next to his parents and makes the decision to be the Prime Earth's new Superman.
Superman makes his first public appearance confronting Lex Luthor, who had assumed the "Superman" identity as his own way to honor the fallen hero. Their fight doesn't last long until Doomsday shows up in Metropolis, forcing Superman and Luthor to work together in taking the beast down. During that time, Superman encounters a completely human Clark Kent, who claims to be real Clark Kent and the younger Superman merely assumed his identity in an attempt to protect him from assailtants. As the human Clark proved harmless, Superman decides to leave him to his own devices.
Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the human Clark professes his love for Lois, who rejects him. Angry, the human Clark burns down the Smith Farm, kidnaps Jon and reveals his real identity: Mr. Mxyzptlk. All this time, Mxyzptlk had brainwashsed himself into thinking he was Clark Kent to escape from Mr. Oz and now wants revenge because Superman didn't even try to save him. Mxyzptlk also reveals that both the New Earth and Prime Earth Supermen are actually two halves of the true, complete Superman; who was split into two separate people during the Flashpoint incident. The two Supermen save Jon and become a single, complete version of Superman of Prime Earth; fixing their conflicting histories and bringing the world back to normal.
This history is continued in The New 52 at Kal-El (Prime Earth)#Rebirth.
Superman is commonly seen as a brave and kind-hearted hero with a strong sense of justice, morality and righteousness. He adheres to a strict moral code often attributed to the small town American values with which he was raised, thanks to his adoptive parents. His commitment to operating within the law has been an example to many other heroes but has stirred resentment among others, who refer to him as the "big blue boy scout." Superman can be rather rigid in this trait, causing tensions in the superhero community, notably with Wonder Woman (one of his closest friends) after she killed Maxwell Lord.
Secret Identity: Clark Kent
To protect his secret identity, Superman has constructed a persona in his civilian identity as Clark Kent. To the world at large, Clark is a mild-mannered and clumsy person. Only Lois Lane, his wife, knows that this attitude is just an act.
Having lost his home world of Krypton, Superman is very protective of Earth, and especially of his family and friends. This same loss, combined with the pressure of using his powers responsibly, has caused Superman to feel lonely on Earth, despite his many friends, his wife and his parents. Previous encounters with people he thought to be fellow Kryptonians, Power Girl (who is, in fact, from the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe) and Mon-El, have led to disappointment. The arrival of Supergirl, who has been confirmed to be not only from Krypton but also his cousin, has relieved this loneliness somewhat.
Relationship with allies
Superman has worked with and fought alongside every hero in existence. As expected, though, only a few of them are real close to the Man of Steel.
- Supergirl: Superman and Supergirl had an extremely close relationship. Kara loved her cousin greatly, although she was sometimes irritated about his overprotectiveness and the fact that she was supposed to take care of him but she was younger because of suspended animation. For his part, Clark was torn and undecided about whether to hover around her or give Kara her own space. Anyway, Supergirl made Superman feel less alone, and she trusted him and reassured him when he felt down. New Krypton's downfall strengthened their bond. Once he and the Post-Flashpoint Superman got merged back, he bonded with the Post Flashpoint Kara.
- Batman: The relationship between two of the greatest heroes in the world is long-storied and complex. Superman and Batman have had arguments and fallouts and been at odds with each other... but they're ultimately friends, no matter what. Bruce is one of the very few persons Clark would trust to watch his back. When his split halves got merged back and History got changed, Superman only told three persons he trusted above all about it, and one of them was Batman.
- Wonder Woman: Clark and Diana were attracted to each other when they met. In the beginning they thought about getting together, but after a very brief relationship they considered they were better as friends. Since then they have been very close friends and siblings-in-arms.
- Lightning Lad: Out of all Legionnaires, Lightning Lad was Superman's best friend. Garth was the one talked Legion co-founders Imra and Rokk into bringing Superboy back to the future, and taught him that "sometimes rules had to be broken. Sometimes just for fun". Both teenagers often hang together and got into trouble to the horror of their teammates, who would say they were "a lightning rod for trouble". Years later an adult Garth would credit his childhood friend with teaching him about the difference between right and wrong and being more like a brother to him than his own. When Lightning Lad was -temporarily- killed in action, Superboy attended his funeral, and was willing to sacrifice himself to bring him back.
- Power Girl: Power Girl arrived in Earth long before Supergirl, making Superman happy to find a long-lost relative. However, alterations done to the timeline made Kara believe she was daughter of an Atlantean sorceror. She kept her distance from the Kents for a while, although Superman kept being nice to her, until another Crisis proved she was truly his relative from another reality. Since then, Clark treated her like his another cousin.
Lois Lane is Clark Kent's life love. Although details of how their relationship played out vary, usually Clark meets Lois in his first day in the Daily Planet and falls for her at first sight, but it takes a while for Lois warming up to Clark. Before meeting and dating Lois Clark Kent loved some other women like Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris and Diana of Themyscira.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Superman's cellular structure is much more dense, resilient, and biologically more effective than human tissue. He does not possess superhuman strength levels despite his enhanced cellular ability without his cellular structure charged with yellow solar energy. Without such charging, his physical capabilities are identical to a human of his height and weight who engages in regular physical activity. As an alien, he possesses several organs whose functions are not yet disclosed or understood, but are believed to be part of or the source of his bio-matrix force field and reclamation aura. Superman's body also stores energy actively within his bio-cellular matrix as an energy pattern that is linked to his body's electromagnetic field. This energy powers most of his electromagnetic capabilities such as flight, heat vision and other "sight"-based abilities while supplementing his physical abilities to superhuman levels.
- Solar Radiation Absorption: As a Kryptonian, his cells function like a super battery, hyper metabolizing specific wavelengths of radiation as fuel to enable living functions and/or superhuman abilities. Different wavelengths of radiation have different effects on Superman's physiology and well being, but his cells cannot absorb or utilize all types of radiation. The wavelength of his home solar system's red sun enables his body to function on an identical level of a healthy human while the Earth's solar radiation in both its raw and filtered state through the Earth's atmosphere acts as fuel to enable all of his powers. Every time Superman uses any of his superhuman abilities, his body expends absorbed sunlight and he is capable utilizing any of them to various degrees through controlled circumstances. The solar-based radiation of a foreign blue star proved to increase his known abilities under a yellow sun to a higher degree and enabled additional powers. The existence and constant exposure to proven "healthy" radiation sources is not required for him to live and utilize his powers, but prolonged periods without exposure to them and/or utilizing his powers will require Kal-El to recharge in order to live and continue using his powers.
- Superhuman Strength: Superman possesses near limitless strength, though the exact limits of Superman's strength is unknown. He is capable of lifting far in excess of one billion tons. Different periods and intensities of exposure to Earth's solar radiation can cause his strength to fluctuate over time. Superman's known feats of strength include lifting an enormous pyramid and flying it to Mars without any strain, physically overpowering Darkseid in combat, moving Earth away from the Sun with aid of Green Lantern while Starbreaker was pushing it toward the Sun (a feat that would require quintillions tons of force), and having the strength necessary to shatter a small planet with numerous blows. Unhealthy levels of high exposure to solar radiation can exceed Superman's "normal" strength level.
- Superhuman Speed: He is capable of moving, reacting, running and flying at superhuman speeds. While not as fast as the Flash, Superman can still fly at speeds faster than speed of sound and is considered one of the fastest beings in the universe. He can use this power to disarm opponents, catch bullets or shrapnel and cross vast distances in seconds. This also confers:
- Superhuman Stamina: He has the ability to maintain continuous physical actions for an undefined period. Clark has unlimited stamina if he is consistently exposed to Earth sunlight.
- Flight: Superman is capable of flying at supersonic speeds (over two thousand miles per second) in a planetary atmosphere and at faster-than-light speeds while in space. He once travelled from the Vega star to Earth - a distance of over 25 light years - in minutes if not seconds, meaning he is capable of flying over one million times the speed of light.
- Heat Vision: Superman can fire beams of intense heat from his eyes. These beams can be made invisible, allowing him to work undetected, and can be adjusted to affect matter on a microscopic level. Feats include powering up the giant ion planet moving engines, annihilating an army of Doomsday clones in one blast, potentially rivaling the heat of a Star and bypassing a target's outer shell, avoiding damage to a person's skull for surgical purposes.
- Invulnerability: His body is nigh-invulnerable due to his superhumanly dense cellular and anatomical structure as well as his radiating bio-electrical aura. Superman is under some circumstances resistant or immune to different forms and levels of lacerations, blunt force trauma, energy-based assaults, falls from great heights, explosions, the cold void of space, toxins and all known diseases on Earth. His supercharged bio-electric "aura" acts as an invisible "force field" radiating within a few millimeters from his skin. He can willfully utilize his aura strengthening it's power to a greater degree to provide an additional defense against certain levels of physical and energy attacks for a considerably short period of time, but doing so can endanger him should the attempted feat prove inefficient for any reason. Superman utilizes his aura by expanding it around a person(s) or object(s) to enable their structural stability when lifting or traveling with them. Superman's invulnerability has been in constant flux over the years. He could surviving the blast of nuclear warheads, entering the Earth's sun and emerging unharmed, withstanding the impact of an exploding star, and surviving being in the vicinity of an explosion equal to 50 supernovas while already significantly weakened by red sunlight.
- Longevity: Superman can potentially live indefinitely with little to no ageing to his being, so long as he continuously retains enough yellow solar radiation in his body.
- Self-Sustenance: He does not need to eat or sleep (but is still capable of doing so) and doesn't require oxygen to breathe enabling him to travel in space and underwater unprotected.
- Super-Breath: Superman can generate hurricane force winds by blowing, and also chill his breath to freeze a target. He can also breathe in large amounts of air to dispel clouds of gas by exhaling it.
- Superhuman Senses: All of Superman's senses are heightened to superhuman levels.
- Superhuman Hearing: Superman has the ability to expand his hearing range, giving him the ability to hear sounds before the sound waves actually reaches him. This also gives him incredible hearing at extreme variances of sound and pitch frequency, allowing him to pick up noises from across the globe. He has shown enough control to block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source/frequency.
- Super Smell: On various occasions, Superman has demonstrated that his sense of smell is significantly enhanced to the point he can smell odors across the entire planet.
- Super Vision: Superman also possesses a superior sensory arrangement of visual capabilities.
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: He can see into all of the EM Spectrum. Superman can see and identify radio/television and any and all broadcast/transmitted frequencies, allowing him to avoid detection through radar or satellite monitoring methods.
- Telescopic Vision: The ability to focus his vision to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics.
- Microscopic Vision: The ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the sub atomic level.
- X-Ray Vision: The ability to see through anything except lead. Since it is passive, this ability would not generate harmful radiation in the same manner as a focused projection of hard X-rays.
- Thermal Vision: The ability of see through the heat tracks left by a living being or object.
- Solar Radiation Absorption: As a Kryptonian, his cells function like a super battery, hyper metabolizing specific wavelengths of radiation as fuel to enable living functions and/or superhuman abilities. Different wavelengths of radiation have different effects on Superman's physiology and well being, but his cells cannot absorb or utilize all types of radiation. The wavelength of his home solar system's red sun enables his body to function on an identical level of a healthy human while the Earth's solar radiation in both its raw and filtered state through the Earth's atmosphere acts as fuel to enable all of his powers. Every time Superman uses any of his superhuman abilities, his body expends absorbed sunlight and he is capable utilizing any of them to various degrees through controlled circumstances. The solar-based radiation of a foreign blue star proved to increase his known abilities under a yellow sun to a higher degree and enabled additional powers. The existence and constant exposure to proven "healthy" radiation sources is not required for him to live and utilize his powers, but prolonged periods without exposure to them and/or utilizing his powers will require Kal-El to recharge in order to live and continue using his powers.
- Expert Combatant: Due to having superpowers all his life and constantly engaging in battle with various foes, Superman has over time become an excellent hand-to-hand fighter utilizing a fighting style that directly complements his superpowers. Superman's combat versatility allows him to adapt to any foe and beat them. Additionally, Superman has been trained in boxing by Wildcat,  Mongul in Gladiator combative methods, Wonder Woman in wrestling and even learned some advanced martial arts techniques from Batman.
- Genius Level Intellect: He has shown incredible intelligence and computational abilities; his mind works sharply and with extreme speed relative to earth-humans. Superman's analytical powers enable him to read information directly from machines (and, with careful usage of his heat vision, he can even reprogram machines).
- Indomitable Will: Superman has shown to have a powerful spirit, free of corruption and temptation. Having been raised by a kindly Kansas farmer and his wife, he was taught to protect life and help others. He is very optimistic and never gives up, even when things look bad. Superman has learned how to place mental inhibitors on his own power so that he doesn't accidentally "flex and cause the tectonic plates to shift." To him, they are the barriers that allow him to feel human enough to live a healthy life, and he only ever releases one of them when fighting a particularly powerful opponent or performing a difficult task.
- Torquasm Vo: Torquasm Vo is a Kryptonian discipline that Superman uses sometimes. It is basically a means of focusing ones mental discipline to help fight adverse effects such as mental domination. It can be used to manipulate someone's mind. Superman used that ability during his fight against the Eradicator. It was used to create an illusion to let Superman enter inside the Eradicator.
- Torquasm Rao: Allows him to tap into his instincts and separate himself from his body. Makes him able to prevent others from manipulating his mind and allows him to fight on the astral plane. 
- Investigation: Both as a superhero and as a journalist, Superman is an expert at gathering evidence from all kinds of sources.
- Journalism: Clark is one of the best reporters on the Daily Planet, rivaled only by his wife Lois Lane. He gained a Pulitzer Prize at least in one occasion.
- Leadership: Superman has proven many times over his ability to command respect and inspire others with his charisma, ardor, and idealism. He often serves as the primus inter pares of the Justice League.
- Ventriloquism: Used to practice in high school.
- Vulnerability to Kryptonite: Since the destruction of Krypton, its remains (rendered radioactive by the explosion) have been spreading throughout the universe as Kryptonite, a crystalline substance whose specific radioactive wavelength is lethal to Kryptonians native to this reality. The most common form of Kryptonite is Green Kryptonite, and its effect is directly poisonous to him. Kryptonite from other realities do not necessarily have the same effects on all Kryptonians.
- Vulnerability to Magic: Superman's biomatrix is his most powerful asset, but the strength of this field is also its greatest weakness. Its permeability to certain wavelengths makes him vulnerable to certain radiations, particularly magical energies whose chaotic electromagnetic or extra dimensional signatures disrupt this force field. Superman's vulnerability to magic varies depending upon the special effects of the magic. No magic seems to be able to directly destroy him unless it comes from a semi-divine or divine source. He can be injured and worn down by magical entities. Magic can have powerful and unpredictable effects on Superman and his magical enemies have often proven to be the most dangerous.
- Vulnerability to Chi: Lex Luthor and Question argued that, because of Superman's solar based powers, planetary based esoteric and vital forces could have an opposite effect on him . Luthor posited that concentrated doses of such energies could severely cripple Superman and become fatal, and he attempted to exploit this weakness with the Science Spire, which tapped into the energies of Metropolis. Taking this into account, characters like Gloss could have a great advantage in a fight against Superman.
- Lead Superman cannot see through lead with his x-ray vision powers.
- Solar Energy Dependency: His abilities will eventually weaken without replenishing his energy reserves with normal (yellow) sun radiation, especially if he doesn't have any direct contact with yellow sunlight. When exposed to the same red solar radiation as Krypton's red sun Rao, it causes Superman to lose his powers within a large amount of exposure until the exposure to yellow sunlight will reverse this effect.
- High-Pitched Noises: Because of his super hearing, Superman's ears are extra-sensitive to extreme noises.
- Legion Flight Ring and Time Bubble: As a former or reserved member of the Legion of Super-Heroes Superman keeps a Legion Flight Ring (though he does not use it unless he cannot use his powers) and Time Bubble, the ring either cloaked on his hand, or like the Bubble, kept in the Fortress of Solitude.
- Archer rifle: As Commander El of the New Kryptonian Military Guild and leading Commander of the Red Shard faction, Superman kept a standard issue Archer rifle, though he only uses to disarm or hurt, never to kill.
- All items in the Fortress of Solitude
- Superman first appeared in Earth-Two continuity in Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. His history was rebooted for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity beginning in The Man of Steel #1 by John Byrne.
- Superman's origin story has been rewritten many times over the years, each time heavily changing which stories may be considered in continuity based on the interpretation. John Byrne wrote his definitive mini-series The Man of Steel in 1986 following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, part of sweeping changes in the Post-Crisis DC Universe to make stories more accessible. It was later updated and retold again by Mark Waid in his 2003 mini-series Superman: Birthright, which brought back many older plot points that had been non-canon during the Byrne-era. Geoff Johns rebooted the DCU during Infinite Crisis in 2006, although Superman's new origins wouldn't be completely explored until his 2009 mini-series Superman: Secret Origin. Following the birth of the DCnU when the timeline was altered during Flashpoint in 2011, Grant Morrison was tasked to write an updated origin story in his run on Action Comics.
- Thanks to various reality altering events such as Zero Hour, JLA/Avengers, and Infinite Crisis as well as hypertime Superman's history changed. For example, originally he had no career as Superboy nor was he a member of the Legion of Superheroes. But shortly after Infinite Crisis he related how he first met the Legion of Superheroes and his time as Superboy with them. In the aftermath of Convergence the New Earth Superman, Lois, and their son Jon were all transported to Prime Earth and lived under the name "Smith". As a result of the New Earth and Prime Earth Supermen being merged his history changed again and no reference to either a Superboy career or the Legion of Superheroes was made and events of Prime Earth history changed.
- The silver age version of Superman had other powers such as Super hypnotism, Super ventriloquism, and Sonic screams of over 1,000,000 decibels. During this period, 'heat-vision' was merely x-ray vision used at high intensity.
- Kellel is the name given Superman when he acquired the powers of a god and oversaw Proto-Earth-1 with Batman and Wonder Woman.
- Superman appears as Superman (Prime) a playable character in the Infinite Crisis video game.
- Superman does not drink alcohol.
- Clark was a vegetarian at one point in his life.
- Clark's favorite movie is To Kill a Mockingbird.
- The aura that Superman's body generates, the same that protects his body from damage, prevents grime and dirt from clinging long to his flesh to keep him perpetually clean.
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- 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)
- 2,827 Appearances of Superman (Clark Kent)
- 1,347 Images featuring Superman (Clark Kent)
- 195 Quotations by or about Superman (Clark Kent)
- Character Gallery: Superman (Clark Kent)
- Superman at dccomics.com
- Superman at Wikipedia.org
- Superman at Wikipedia.org
- Superman at DC Comics
- Superman at TV Tropes
- Superman at Supermanica
- ↑ Superman/Batman #13
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #642
- ↑ Action Comics #600
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel Annual #4
- ↑ Action Comics #655
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Man of Steel #1
- ↑ World of Metropolis #3
- ↑ Action Comics #597
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Man of Steel #2
- ↑ The Man of Steel #4
- ↑ World of Metropolis #4
- ↑ The Man of Steel #6
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #1
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Superman: Birthright #7
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #8
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Superman: Birthright #2
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #3
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #4
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #5
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #6
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #9
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #10
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #11
- ↑ Superman: Birthright #12
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #1
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #2
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #3
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #4
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #5
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #6
- ↑ The Man of Steel #3
- ↑ Superman/Batman Annual #1
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #2
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #3
- ↑ Action Comics #586
- ↑ Action Comics #600
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #21-22, Adventures of Superman #444
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #27
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #450, 453
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #32-33, Adventures of Superman #454-456, Action Comics Annual #2
- ↑ Action Comics #643-644
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #459-461
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #42
- ↑ Action Comics #652
- ↑ Action Comics #653-654
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #49-50
- ↑ Action Comics #660
- ↑ Action Comics #662
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #476-478
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #1, Action Comics #667
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #4, 7
- ↑ Action Comics #670-672
- ↑ Action Comics #656, Adventures of Superman #470
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #71
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #494
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #438
- ↑ Action Comics #647-649
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #9
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #65
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #488
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #66
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #489
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #14
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #69
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #492
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #18
- ↑ Justice League America #69, Superman (Volume 2) #74
- ↑ Action Comics #684, Superman: Man of Steel #19
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #75
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #498
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #20
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #76-77
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #500
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #501
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #22
- ↑ Action Comics #687, 690
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #25
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #81
- ↑ Green Lantern (Volume 3) #46
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #82
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #505-506
- ↑ Action Comics #692-693
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #27-28
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #84-85
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #507, Action Comics #694, Superman: Man of Steel #29
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #30-31
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #509
- ↑ Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey #1-3
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #87, Adventures of Superman #510, Action Comics #697
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #32, Superman (Volume 2) #88
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #511-512
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 3) #4
- ↑ Action Comics #698-699, Adventures of Superman #512-513, Superman #90, Superman: Man of Steel #31, 34
- ↑ Action Comics #700
- ↑ Action Comics #701, Superman: Man of Steel #35, Superman (Volume 2) #91, Adventures of Superman #514
- ↑ Action Comics #702-703, Adventures of Superman #515-516; Superman #92-93, Superman: Man of Steel #36-37
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #522
- ↑ Spectre (Volume 3) #21-22
- ↑ Superman #0, Action Comics #0
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #38
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #94
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #95-96, Superman: Man of Steel #39-40, Action Comics #704-705
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #519
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #520-521
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #41-42
- ↑ Action Comics #707-708
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #99, 103
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #100
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #45
- ↑ Action Comics #711
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #46
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #525
- ↑ Action Comics #712
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #526-527
- ↑ Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #104-105
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #50
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #529
- ↑ Action Comics #716-717, Superman: Man of Steel #51-52
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #531
- ↑ Action Comics #719-720
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #55
- ↑ Action Comics #721, Superman: Man of Steel #56
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #112
- ↑ Action Comics #722, Superman: Man of Steel #57
- ↑ Superman: Man of Tomorrow #5
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #536, Action Comics #723, Superman: Man of Steel #58, Superman (Volume 2) #114
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #59, Superman #115
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #538
- ↑ Action Comics #725
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #116
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #61
- ↑ Final Night #1-4
- ↑ Superman: The Wedding Album #1
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #541, Superman: Man of Steel #63
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #64
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #542-544
- ↑ JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare #1-3, JLA #1-4
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #122-123
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #68
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #124
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #125
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #70
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #126
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #127
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #550
- ↑ Genesis #1-4
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #128
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #130
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #131
- ↑ Superman Red/Superman Blue #1
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #78
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #79
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #135
- ↑ Superman Forever #1
- ↑ Superman: The Doomsday Wars Vol 1 #1-#3
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #138-139
- ↑ Superman: Save The Planet #1
- ↑ Superman #140; Superman: Man of Steel #84; Action Comics #749, Adventures of Superman #563
- ↑ Action Comics #750
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #564
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #86-87
- ↑ Superboy (Volume 4) #59
- ↑ Aquaman (Volume 5) #53
- ↑ Titans #2
- ↑ Robin (Volume 4) #63
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 4) #31
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #142-143
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #566
- ↑ Superman: Man of Tomorrow #13
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #88
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #144
- ↑ Superman: King of the World #1
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #145
- ↑ Action Comics #757
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #92
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #149
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #150
- ↑ Superman: Man of Tomorrow #15, Day of Judgment #1-5
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #151-153
- ↑ Action Comics #760, 762
- ↑ Action Comics #761
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #95-97
- ↑ Superman: Y2K #1
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #154
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #98
- ↑ Action Comics #763
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #100
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #577-578
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #155-157
- ↑ Action Comics #765-766
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #158
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #102
- ↑ Action Comics #767
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #159
- ↑ Emperor Joker #1
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #160-161, Adventures of Superman #582-583, Superman: Man of Steel #104-105, Action Comics #769-770
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #585-588
- ↑ Superman: Lex 2000 #1
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #165
- ↑ Action Comics #772-773
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #166-167
- ↑ Action Comics #776
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #170
- ↑ Action Comics #775
- ↑ Action Comics #777, 779
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #114-115
- ↑ Action Comics #780
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #172
- ↑ JLA: Our Worlds at War #1
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #594
- ↑ Action Comics #781
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #173
- ↑ Action Comics #782
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #174-175
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #118
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #175
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #176
- ↑ Action Comics #797
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #178
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #181
- ↑ Action Comics #789-790
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #182-183
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #126-127
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #603-605
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #184, Adventures of Superman #606, Superman: Man of Steel #128, Action Comics #791
- ↑ Green Arrow (Volume 3) #4, 16
- ↑ Superboy (Volume 4) #100
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #186-187, Adventures of Superman #608-609, Superman: Man of Steel #130-131, Action Comics #795-796
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #134
- ↑ Superman Versus Darkseid: Apokolips Now #1
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #612, 614-616
- ↑ Action Comics #801-805
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #192-194
- ↑ Action Comics #806-808
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #195-201
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #204-215
- ↑ Action Comics #814-819
- ↑ Identity Crisis #1-7
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #627-636
- ↑ Action Comics #821-825
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #633-641
- ↑ Superman/Batman #8
- ↑ Superman/Batman #9
- ↑ Superman/Batman #10
- ↑ Superman/Batman #11
- ↑ Superman/Batman #12
- ↑ Superman/Batman #13
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #219
- ↑ Action Comics #829
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #642
- ↑ Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #219
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #643-645
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #1
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #646-647
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #4, Adventures of Superman #648
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #5, Adventures of Superman #649
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #7
- ↑ Action Comics #843
- ↑ Superman #658
- ↑ Superman #663
- ↑ Superman #667
- ↑ Superman Annual #13
- ↑ Action Comics #844
- ↑ Action Comics #
- ↑ Action Comics #846
- ↑ Action Comics #858
- ↑ Action Comics #866
- ↑ Action Comics #867
- ↑ Action Comics #868
- ↑ Action Comics #869
- ↑ Action Comics #870
- ↑ Final Crisis #2
- ↑ Final Crisis #3
- ↑ Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1
- ↑ Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2
- ↑ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
- ↑ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2
- ↑ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3
- ↑ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4
- ↑ Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5
- ↑ Final Crisis #6
- ↑ Final Crisis #7
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #1
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #2
- ↑ 286.0 286.1 Superman: World of New Krypton #3
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #4
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #5
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #6
- ↑ Action Comics #880
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 5) #44
- ↑ Superman #691
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #7
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #8
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #9
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #10
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #11
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #12
- ↑ Blackest Night: Superman #1
- ↑ Blackest Night: Superman #2
- ↑ Blackest Night: Superman #3
- ↑ Blackest Night #5
- ↑ Blackest Night #8
- ↑ Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #1
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 5) #51
- ↑ Superman #698
- ↑ Adventure Comics (Volume 2) #9
- ↑ Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2
- ↑ Adventure Comics (Volume 2) #10
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 5) #52
- ↑ Superman #699
- ↑ Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #0
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #1
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #2
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #3
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #4
- ↑ Superman #700
- ↑ Superman #701
- ↑ Superman #702
- ↑ Superman #703
- ↑ Superman #705
- ↑ Superman #707
- ↑ Superman #708
- ↑ Superman #709
- ↑ Superman #710
- ↑ Superman #711
- ↑ Superman #713
- ↑ Superman #714
- ↑ Action Comics #900
- ↑ Action Comics #901
- ↑ Action Comics #902
- ↑ Action Comics #903
- ↑ Action Comics #904
- ↑ Convergence: Superman #1
- ↑ Convergence: Superman #2
- ↑ Convergence #5
- ↑ Convergence #6
- ↑ Convergence #7
- ↑ Convergence #8
- ↑ http://comicbook.com/2015/07/12/dan-jurgens-compares-jonathan-kent-to-damian-wayne-clarifies-the/
- ↑ 342.0 342.1 Superman: Lois and Clark #1
- ↑ 343.0 343.1 Superman: Lois and Clark #3
- ↑ Superman: Lois and Clark #5
- ↑ Superman: Lois and Clark #7
- ↑ Superman: Lois and Clark #8
- ↑ Action Comics (Volume 2) #52
- ↑ Superman/Wonder Woman #29
- ↑ Superman (Volume 3) #52
- ↑ DC Universe: Rebirth #1
- ↑ Superman: Rebirth #1
- ↑ Action Comics #957
- ↑ Action Comics #964
- ↑ Action Comics #974
- ↑ Superman (Volume 4) #18
- ↑ Action Comics #975
- ↑ Superman (Volume 4) #19
- ↑ Action Comics #976
- ↑ Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #220
- ↑ JSA Classified #1
- ↑ Action Comics Annual #10
- ↑ Action Comics #850
- ↑ Superman/Batman #19
- ↑ Superman/Batman #10
- ↑ Action Comics #850
- ↑ Superman/Batman #13
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 5) #53
- ↑ Action Comics #904
- ↑ Superman: War of the Supermen #2
- ↑ Supergirl (Volume 7) #8
- ↑ Superman/Batman #3
- ↑ Trinity (Volume 2) #8
- ↑ Action Comics #600
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #2
- ↑ Action Comics #864
- ↑ Adventure Comics #304
- ↑ Adventure Comics #520
- ↑ Adventure Comics #312
- ↑ JSA Classified #1
- ↑ JSA Classified #2
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #2
- ↑ Final Crisis: Requiem #1
- ↑ Superman/Batman #13
- ↑ Justice League of America (Volume 2) #29
- ↑ Trinity #5
- ↑ Superman #685
- ↑ Flash (Volume 2) #109
- ↑ Justice League of America (Volume 2) #30
- ↑ Countdown #48
- ↑ Superman/Batman #10
- ↑ Action Comics #774
- ↑ Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey
- ↑ Action Comics #782
- ↑ Action Comics #867
- ↑ Action Comics #847
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #4
- ↑ http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/wildcat&p=2
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #3
- ↑ Superman/Batman Annual #1
- ↑ Question (Volume 2)
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #8
- ↑ Justice Society of America (Volume 3) #5
- ↑ Superman: Lois and Clark (Volume 1)
- ↑ Action Comics #978
- ↑ Trinity #29
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #67
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #3
Superman Family member
Daily Planet Staff member
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
Legion of Super-Heroes member
|Black Lantern Corps member|
This character is or was a member of the Black Lantern Corps. Those who have died may wield the Black Power Ring, symbolizing their lack of both life and emotion.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Black Lantern Corps members category."
|White Lantern Corps member|
This character is or was a member of the White Lantern Corps, guided by the Life Entity to wield the White Light of Life.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "White Lantern Corps members category."