Appearing in "Protector of the People"
Synopsis for "Protector of the People"
Nearly four thousand years ago, the Daemonite prince Artus returned to his mother's castle carrying the body of his dead wife, a victim of what he believes is the genetic decline of their species. The commingling of Daemonite DNA with that of other species had resulted in the spread of auto-immune deficiencies, cancers, higher infant mortality rates. Artus believed that this had weakened their race. As a result of his insolence, he was cast out of court by his mother, all while he swore that he would return his people to their proper place as conquerors of the universe.
Now, Clark Kent is growing tired of living with Jimmy Olsen, who has turned out to be quite a slob. He leaves for work, leaving Jimmy to be late, still sleeping on the couch. Clark enjoys the opportunity to share in everyday life by taking the subway instead of flying. He has also grown a bit disenfranchised with the Daily Planet, since its takeover by Galaxy Communications - not to mention since Lois Lane stopped working in the bullpen.
Clark is startled when he realizes that everyone on the streets of Metropolis is staring upward with horror at the looming shadow of a giant spaceship. He uses his telescopic vision to determine that the ship belongs to Helspont, and is surprised when the Daemonite seems to know he's watching.
He quickly changes into Superman, and flies up into space, where he is met by Helspont. The Daemonite demonstrates his superior strength and power by launching Superman violently into the surface of the moon, reminding him that as the Earth's most powerful protector, he is too weak to stop him. Superman recovers soon, but realizes with some disbelief that he has suffered a concussion, and collapses.
In Seattle, J'onn J'onzz realizes that Superman just made impact on the moon, and decides to contact StormWatch. He is interrupted by Salu, a Daemonite and retainer to Helspont. He per-emptively attacks her. She remarks that Helspont does not harm worlds or take life, but he does demand submission. J'onn refuses, and she beats him into a near unconscious state. She has little care for the fact that Helspont's plan will kill millions, and she advises him to take up the offer to join Helspont - otherwise he will be considered an enemy.
Superman regains consciousness on the ship of Grifter, but they don't have long to talk before the ship's hull is breached by Biomass. Superman knocks the creature out into space, sealing the breach behind them with his heat vision.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Starfire takes some time to herself for relaxation. She is interrupted by Quom, another Daemonite emissary. He offers her a chance to join with Helspont, questioning her on what she knows of the "Thirteen Scions of Salvation". She believes it is merely a legend, failing to suspect that she is actually being recruited into it. She is surprised to have been left alive by a Daemonite, with an offer to consider.
Superman punches Biomass through the hull of Helspont's ship, and ends up on the bridge, facing down the captain once again. Helspont mocks Superman's sympathy for the millions who will be killed. He draws Superman's attention to the numerous Daemonite agents who were on earth, as they are all killed at once by his people. He claims that the deaths are necessary for the betterment of the galaxy.
In Washington, D.C., Hawkman fights the Daemonite Lord Defile, and loses. Defile reminds Hawkman that as a Thanagarian, he is an alien stranger among humans, and would better use his time serving Helspont. He is called away, suddenly, reminding that only thirteen can save this universe, and Hawkman could be one of them - or he could die.
Helspont reveals how he was once Artus, and he left home in order to build an army and reclaim it. He discovered the blue flame's power, and gave his followers a portion thereof. They discovered the Earth, and it proved to be the best possible location for the genetic salvation of the Daem. In the human population, there was an accelerant - the Metagene - which could evolve and become the Daem's salvation. He left many agents on Earth to prepare the humans for his inevitable return, but they grew feckless and allowed the metagene to mutate without proper controls.
Now, Helspont has returned to reclaim control of his investment. He admits that he has no intent to see earth destroyed, nor to see Superman dead. In fact, Superman's activities have done a significant amount to secure his investment. By protecting the people, he protects the metagene from corruption. Still, Superman may need to be tamed by the capable Daemonite champions that Helspont leaves behind.
Before disappearing, Helspont makes tantalizing mention of Jor-El. Superman's interest is piqued, but he receives no answers. Alone again, in space, Superman realizes that he has no idea what he should do in the face of Helspont's threat.
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