"The Death of Superman!": This is an imaginary tale....
Appearing in "The Death of Superman!"
- Superman (Dies)
- Lex Luthor
- Al Mantz (Single appearance)
- Duke Garner (Single appearance)
- Bizarro (Flashback only)
- Sykes (Single appearance)
- Lois Lane
- Lori Lemaris
- Lucy Lane
- Sylvia DeWitt
- Justice League of America
Synopsis for "The Death of Superman!"
This is an imaginary tale....
While serving time in prison, Lex Luthor suddenly strikes one of the guards, which lands him doing rock-breaking duty, his intention all along. While out toiling on the rocks, Luthor finds what prompted him to break rocks: Element Z, a rare element with special properties. Going before the Warden, Luthor asks permission to have access to the prisons hospital laboratory for 24 hours. When asked why, Luthor explains that he has found a means to cure cancer. Despite their misgivings, the warden decides to grant this request based on Luthor's apparent desire to atone for his years of wrong doing. Surprisingly, Luthor succeeds and becomes a national hero.
Wishing to help out, Superman goes out into space and collects a large sum of Element Z so that they can come up with a supply to eradicate cancer once and for all. With cancer cured, Luthor is put before a parole board, and with Superman's blessings, Luthor is allowed to leave prison and a fresh start. The two become unlikely friends, and Luthor takes Superman to his secret Luthor's Lair and allows Superman to destroy it, while the two reminisces on some of their old clashes.
Set up as a legitimate scientist, Luthor is confronted by mobsters Duke Garner and Al Mantz who threaten him to stop his good deeds or suffer an "accident". When the two crooks attempt to have Luthor shot, Superman comes to his rescue and gives him a signal watch to summon the Man of Steel whenever there is trouble. The assassination attempts continue, prompting Superman to consult Supergirl in secret and figure out a way to protect Luthor from all the potential mob hits that have been put out on him. The two deduce to build a satellite out in space for Luthor to work in with a special signal system to call Superman for help.
One day the Man of Steel gets a distress from Luthor's satellite and goes to see what the trouble is. He walks blindly into a trap set by Luthor, who had not reformed at all but only pretended to long enough to trick Superman into a death trap. Luthor then bombards the Man of Steel with Kryptonite rays, and as Perry White, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen are forced to watch, Luthor pumps Superman with a lethal dose of Kryptonite, killing the Man of Steel.
With Superman dead, Luthor gathers a gang of criminals and they celebrate his victory, while mourners from all over the universe (including the Justice League of America and the Legion of Super-Heroes) come to pay their final respects to the Man of Steel. Just as Luthor begins planning his first series of crimes, the meeting is crashed by what appears to be Superman. However, this is merely Supergirl in disguise, who reveals her identity to them all before taking Luthor away. She brings him to the Bottle City of Kandor where he is shrunk down to size and put on trail for the murder of Superman. Found guilty, Luthor attempts to appeal to the people by offering a way to restore Kandor back to it's original size. Refusing to make a deal with a murderer, the banish Luthor to the Phantom Zone.
With justice served, Supergirl and Krypto go out into the world to carry on Superman's heroic legacy, Supergirl thankful that she can now reveal herself to the public but has remorse that her cousin had to die in order for her to do so.
- This issue is reprinted in Superman #193, Best of DC #1, The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, Showcase Presents: Superman, Volume 3 and Superman: A Celebration of 75 Years.
- The Death of Superman! was originally published as an imaginary story, a story outside of regular continuity. However Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium retconned it into being set on another Earth.
- Many years later, in Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths (2006), it was revealed that this story is not imaginary, and actually happened -- on Earth-149.
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