- I have all this power... and I couldn't save them.
- -- Superman
Appearing in "Death Be Not Proud"
Synopsis for "Death Be Not Proud"
Superman is flying above the city of Topeka, Kansas searching for what caused the explosion that ravaged the Midwest. At the center of the destroyed city is a large crater that Superman surveys, questioning "Why...?" this happened. Flying into the crater he finds an Imperiex probe, which he believes to be dead as he is not moving and has no heartbeat. However, as he flies out of the crater to answer a call for help, the probe opens its eye.
Superman flies out of the crater and finds a young boy at the edge. He picks up the boy who is scared and cannot find his parents. Superman admits that he is scared too, and although the boy doesn't believe this, he agrees to be brave as long as Superman is brave. Superman flies the boy to army rescue workers, who tell him that they were just deployed by President Luthor and that Topeka was Ground Zero for the attack. Superman questions the fate of Smallville, but the soldiers do not know if the city survived.
In the middle of the conversation, Superman suddenly flies off, stopping the top floor of a nearby building from falling. As he is replacing the building, the probe suddenly climbs out of the crater. Superman immediately begins to fight it. The probe taunts Superman reminding him of their earlier fight in Superman #153. Thinking that the probe is actually Imperiex, Superman vows to stop him once and for all. During the fight, the probe tells Superman that Imperiex has never been defeated and Earth's galaxy will fall next. This enrages Superman who says that he has no choice but to stop Imperiex. Attacking simultaneously with his heat vision and super breath, Superman breaches the probe's armor and it is destroyed, leaving Superman alone in the crater.
Outside of the crater after some time has passed, Supergirl is standing at the edge with a soldier who questions who she is, claiming she doesn't look like any Supergirl he has ever seen. A beaten and tattered Superman emerges from the crater and asks Supergirl to handle Topeka as he checks on some folks nearby. He flies to Smallville only to find the Kent Farm destroyed, with a small box the only thing remaining in tact. Thinking his family dead, Superman lets out an agonized scream of "NOOOOO!". Someone puts a hand on his shoulder and he turns around to Supergirl comforting him. He tries to say something, but she has been rendered temporarily deaf by his agonized scream. When she finally regains her hearing he laments to her that although he has so many powers, he was unable to save them. Although admitting to Supergirl that he was not sure if his parents were actually home, Superman still feels as if he has lost his parents. He opens the box that he found, and it contains a spare costume "In case of emergency". As Supergirl tries to lighten the mood with a joke about having to buy her own costumes, Superman picks up a distress call from J'onn J'onnz about the JLA needing his help. He flies off telling Supergirl he would be back as soon as possible.
- No special notes.
- Throughout the story, the Gettysburg Address is recounted, implying that Topeka, and the whole of Kansas has become hallowed ground because of the sacrifices which happened.
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Our Worlds at War Crossover