This article details Superman's biography within the "Modern Age" continuity, which began in 1985 following the reboot that took place in Crisis on Infinite Earths, until August 2011, at which point the universe was again rebooted into the New 52.
- Note: The events of Superman's origin have been altered a few times due to temporal events which changed history. The rest of Superman's life seems largely consistent, but his early years have been altered. The version presented below is the current version of Superman's origin within this continuity. It replaced Superman: Birthright as the current origin story due to the restructuring of the universe in Infinite Crisis.
- This is the currently correct origin story in the Modern Age continuity, following the events of Infinite Crisis.
Kal-El was born on the doomed planet Krypton to Jor-El and Lara. Although Jor-El had hoped to send his pregnant wife away from the planet in a test rocket and avoid its destruction, Kal-El was born earlier than expected, and the life support systems could only support one. Therefore, the baby was sent alone to Earth, the last son of Krypton.
The baby's spaceship landed in Sutton Field near Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raised him as their son, Clark Kent. As he grew older, he began exhibiting extraordinary powers, including super-strength and flight.
His friends in Smallville included Pete Ross and Lana Lang who continued to remain friends with Kent into their adult lives as shown when Ross became Vice President during Luthor's Presidency.
Young Clark Kent is engaged in a football game with Pete Ross and a few other teenage boys. However, his powers lead to Pete Ross breaking his arm, and destroying the football. Guilt-ridden, Clark rides home with his father. Next day at school, when Pete asks Clark to sign his cast, Clark's powers let him see the break in Pete's arm, and he runs away. Lana Lang, Clark closest friend, follows him, as they talk about the day they discovered Clark's power when he saved her from the blades of a combine harvester. When Clark responds that he's afraid to touch people, Lana kisses him. However, this leads to Clark's heat vision activating, and he accidentally burns down the gym. Clark wonders what's wrong with him.
That night, Jon Kent decides to tell Clark the whole story of how he joined the family. They always knew he was special. Not just for who he is, or for his uncanny abilities. They knew because he dropped out of the sky in a silver rocket, and answered their prayers. Clark is initially overjoyed, until the rocket begins playing a recorded message from Jor-El. The Kryptonian scientist introduces himself as the father of Kal-El, last son of Krypton. He says that his powers will protect him in the environment of the planet Earth, but that he is not one of the Earthlings. Clark reacts with rage, but the ship is resistant to his powers. Clark runs across the field and breaks down crying. John catches up to him, and the two embrace.
The next day, the Kents have an idea: since the rocket is immune to Clark's powers, they make him a set of glasses from some of its crystals to block the heat vision. Martha Kent thinks it makes him look clever. Going back to the rocket, Martha sees some of the disasters that befell Krypton before its destruction, as well as catching a glimpse of day-to-day Kryptonian wear. Clark avoids playing football with the other boys, for fear of hurting someone else. Lana suggests that he get better at lying, then asks him to help her set up her aunt's stall at the county fair. There, Clark meets a young red-headed man: Lex Luthor, who is selling off his books so he can get a ticket out of Smallville. Clark is interested in a book about aliens, but when Lex pulls out the green rock he found earlier, Clark faints, knocking over Lex and smashing the jar with the rock in it.
A tornado brews from nowhere, and although everyone else gets to safety, Lana is swept up. Reacting, Clark runs to her and jumps... and goes on jumping. He flies to her, rescuing her from the tornado. When she asks how he is flying, his power fails him and he falls to earth. The two land in a stream, and Lana kisses him. The glasses, he notes afterwords, contain the effects of the heat vision.
Clark is happy that he has found a positivity use for his condition, but Martha Kent is firm that he should wear something else if he is going to use his powers, or he will swiftly be without clothes. Using some sketches based on the Kryptonian clothing in the hologram, and the blanket he came wrapped in, she plans to make a suit for him to wear, but she needs his heat vision to help her sew it (since the impervious nature of the suit has so far resisted five pairs of scissors, a sewing machine and Jonathan Kent's chainsaw. Once the suit is made, Clark comes down wearing it. Martha and John are impressed, but Clark is firm in the belief that he will never wear something this silly again.
As Superboy, Clark saves Lionel Luthor from falling off a cliff. Clark comes back home by slipping through a secret underground tunnel. He tells his parents that he has been staying out of sight, mostly out of embarrassment about his uniform. Clark looks to the skies with his Pa, sees into distant galaxies, and wonders if he's alone. He studies Dr. Erdel's book the next day, and Lex interrupts him in the process of researching Metropolis for the building Lex plans on constructing in the city.
After Lex tells Clark of his grand plan, Clark offers to hang out with Lex some time. Lex sneers at the idea.
Lana tries to console Clark over the fact that most of the kids are not hanging out with him, or that he's pushing them away. When Lana kisses him on the cheek his eyes begin to flare, and inadvertently he tells Lana that he only wants to be friends, and sends her off upset as well.
He hears the other kids poking fun at him, and is soon interrupted by three members of the Legion of Superheroes.
The Legion bend the rules to take him to the future. They fight a group of human supremacists. Brainiac 5 interrupts their revelry to remind them of the consequences of their actions. They talk telepathically and remind themselves to be careful not to reveal future occurrences, a few of which we haven't seen the story of, including the Earth/New Krypton war and the death of Lex Luthor. They return Clark to the present and promise future adventures.
As Clark describes the future to Pa, a rocket approaches the house. Clark stops it, revealing the test rocket with Krypto.
While Clark was still a youngster, the amnesic Daxamite Lar Gand arrived in Smallville, Clark was excited to find someone like himself, even theorizing that he was his older brother and naming "Mon-El". However, after accidentally exposing the Daxamite to lead, his memories returned. Clark sent him to the Phantom Zone until a core for his lead poisoning could be found.
During his earliest time as a private super-hero, Clark continued to be visited by the Legion of Super-Heroes, who continue to bring him to their time and induct him into their membership, and share many adventures with Clark during his youth. Clark occasionally traveled between this future and his own native time, before permanently returning to his own native time. His memories of his visits would be erased by Saturn Girl, so as not to pollute the timeline. Clark mostly remembers these events as vague dream-like memories.
After he graduated from high school, Clark then decided to travel the world for a number of years, learning about it's cultures, languages, and customs. He would secretly help people when he could, although he never had a costume or a superhero identity.
He briefly stayed in Paris, where he met a renown journalist named Simone. He also started dating a young woman named Rosie. Shortly after he started dating her, he ran into an old friend of his from high school, Kenny Braverman, who "stole" Rosie away from Clark. The two had a whirlwind courtship and soon became engaged, but shortly before the wedding was supposed to occur, they broke it off. Clark never learned why.
He spent some time in Australia, where he met and had a brief romance with Callie Llewellyn. When Clark returned to Smallville, he began openly using his emerging talents and powers in the costumed super-hero identity of Superman. Clark eventually moved to Metropolis to attend Metropolis University. He would formally enter into college and shuttle between Metropolis University and his parents' home in Smallville. He worked part time as a cook and used his powers to fight crime, though he had no costume yet, nor did he make his presence known to anyone. After graduating with a degree in journalism after only two years, Clark was hired by the Daily Planet. It's here that he would eventually meet and have a competitive battle with Lois Lane.
After graduating college, Clark later moved to Metropolis full time, where he began working as a journalist for the world renowned newspaper, the Daily Planet. A rivalry with his co-worker Lois Lane eventually blossomed into a romance and marriage.
As Clark walks around Metropolis, awestruck, he encounters a citizenry that lives fast, cheap, and out of control. He comes up to the Daily Planet, a dilapidated building laced with graffiti. Inside he makes a point of catching his briefcase and spilling it in a subtle way. In the elevator he meets Rudy Jones, a janitor who says he has forgotten his lunch. Taking Clark for a country rube, Jones talks him into handing over his lunch.
At the main floor he encounters Ron Troupe, Steve Lombard, Cat Grant, and Jimmy Olsen, the whipping boy. He is mistaken for a bill collector and eventually makes his way to the Planet office, where Lois and Perry debate the merits of a story. Perry cites the fact that going after Luthor has nearly killed the Planet, and Lois fights back with the nobility of idealism. Perry introduces Lois and Clark, and Lois offers to take Clark on a tour, which surprises Perry. She takes Clark to the Lexcorp building for the unveiling of a piece of technology, and sneaks in wearing a blonde wig by duping Clark to distract the guards. At the top Luthor unveils his Metallo body suit, which Lois observes with interest as a potential machine of war. Security catches her, she flees, and then she trips and falls off the building.
Clark, hearing the ruckus, sneaks into an alley, changes into his suit, and saves her. People grab at him and he flees, fearing he's done the wrong thing unveiling himself to the world.
Lois and Perry debate the story about the flying man, while the other reporters look on in interest. Luthor goons show and demand that Lois go with them, and they ask for Clark to come as well. Lois agrees, given the opportunity to finally quiz Luthor.
Lois and Clark wait for Luthor, who appears as they're talking about his wealth. Lois lights into him with questions. While they talk, Rudy Jones has mutated into the Parasite and attacks Luthorcorp employees.
Clark hears Parasite's rampage, tries to make an excuse to leave, but as he does, the Parasite bursts in, having smelled him. Clark appears and takes Parasite out of the building. As he does, Parasite's teeth grow outward, and he sucks on Clark's neck, stealing power. They crash on street level.
Clark musters strength and punches the Parasite. He hits Parasite with heat vision, then freezes him in place. The people around seem afraid of Clark and thankful. Luthor appears, and tries to foster the fear. Clark leaves.
On the roof of the Daily Planet, he sees Jimmy on the ledge. Thinking him about to commit suicide, Clark stops him. They talk about feeling ostracized in the big city, and how Jimmy is thinking of leaving. Superman persuades him not to, given that Jimmy is his only friend in the city. Jimmy asks if he can take a picture of Superman, and Superman allows it. Jimmy has him put his hands on his hips. The issue runs with Lois' story and Jimmy's picture, identifying the flying man as "Superman." This infuriates Luthor, causing him to declare personal war on Perry White.
A fire in the Daily Planet's main warehouse almost takes a fatal turn that night, but people are saved by Superman. Public opinion is still wary of Superman, but it is beginning to turn. As he is about to fly away, he meets Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, who get some information for a story. The three voice the opinion that the fire is the work of a malicious. Jimmy wonders who it could be...
At the Daily Planet, things are looking up. Lois is about to get to work, when she is greeted by Sgt John Corben, her father's choice for her future husband. Lois truies to break away, but John refuses to go away... until he is met by Clark Kent. Corben tries to bull Kent aside, but through a combination of oafish good humour and a grip like a steel vice, he sends Corben packing. Clark offers to buy lunch for Lois Lane, and she takes him up on it.
Over lunch, Lois Lane tells Clark about John Corben, who works for her father and whom he favours over Lois and her sister. Lane always wanted a son. Lois also reveals that she cannot remember her mother. When Clark tries to comfort her, she points out that Clark constantly shifts between two personae, one a bumbling fool and one a supremely confident man. An explosion on a skyscraper leads to Clark leaving complaining of an inner ear infection.
Flying to the scene as Superman, he meets General Lane, who asks him for an interview. Lane points out that while there have been previous reports of humans gaining extraordinary abilities, his office believes that Superman is not human. Superman explains that he grew up on Earth, considers himself an American, and wants to use his powers to be a productive member of society. Lane abandons the pretext that this is an interview, and demands to know what Superman can do, and what his interest in Lois is. Superman turns to leave, telling Lane that he is no-one's enemy.
Outside, Superman is accosted by soldiers, who fail to make any impact. However, the soldiers are soon backed up by Corben, who manages to weaken Superman in a pitched battle. As Corben reveals the glowing rock, Superman is weakened, but a ricocheting bullet hits the rock, creating an explosion which cripples Corben and his battlesuit.
Superman escapes through the sewers as the soldiers rush to save Corben. General Lane and his forces arrive at the Daily Planet to shut the newspaper down, until they get some answers about Superman.
And in the sewers below Metropolis, Superman sits wounded.
Soldiers find Superman in the sewers. They battle him as he pleads with them to stand down, for the safety of the bystanders. Metallo enters the fight, and he begins to attack his own soldiers in order to get to Superman.
Lois arrives to warn him about the kryptonite and tell him to flee, but he refuses to give up. Metallo attacks him with a kryptonite ray, threatening the bystanders, but Superman melts a manhole cover over the kryptonite and flies Metallo into space until the lack of oxygen knocks him out.
Sam arrives and orders Superman and Lois arrested. The crowd turns on the Army, and Superman orders the crowd to stop, telling them that they, not the Army, not Lex Luthor, nor himself, are meant to be Metropolis's saviors.
Superman meets with Lex and tells him Metropolis doesn't belong to him: "You don't own us." Lex objects, since Superman isn't from Earth. Superman replies, "This is my home," and leaves.
Superman visits Lois atop the Daily Planet building and thanks her for making him feel like he belongs there. He starts the Planet’s rusty globe spinning again. Lois asks, "Are you a man or an alien?" His response is, "I'm Superman."
- These are the original events of Superman's origin in this continuity, before they were changed by temporal manipulation.
Superman was the son of Jor-El and Lara. On Krypton, sexual reproduction was a thing of the past and babies were grown from their parents' DNA in a Birthing Matrix. Jor-El discovered that Krypton was going to be destroyed, and convinced Lara that they needed to send their son to Earth. Lara was opposed to Earth, seeing a primitive culture where life was not as sterile as it is on Krypton. Jor-El was able to convince her, and the two sent their baby to Earth as Krypton exploded.
Clark's powers developed slowly, one at a time, as he grew. When he reached adulthood, he learned how to fly. He left for Metropolis and began a series of secret rescues, not allowing himself to be seen. When an experimental space plane began to crash during its inaugural flight with Lois Lane aboard, Clark was forced to directly rescue the plane, and he was seen by a crowd of people. Fleeing the scene, he confided in Ma and Pa Kent. Martha designed his costume for him.
He made his debut as Superman, soon encountering Lois Lane when she drove her car into the river in a ploy to get his attention. He also met Lex Luthor for the first time as an adult. ("The Man of Steel")
- These events replaced those of The Man of Steel after a time-travel adventure in which Superman changed parts of his past.
Superman was the son of Jor-El and Lara, two Kryptonians who decided together to send their son to Earth. Clark grew up in Smallville, friends with Pete Ross, Lana Lang, and Lex Luthor. Luthor was a brilliant but paranoid boy, who eventually turns against his friend Clark out of distrust.
After college, Clark spent some time in Africa, helping the people there with his powers, somewhat openly. ("Superman: Birthright")
The Modern Adventures
Note: Most of the information supplied from this point onward is common to all three interpretations of Superman's origin.
In his first year (after the Lost Years), Superman would have his first encounters with Metallo, Darkseid, Arathaza, Bloodsport, the Circle, the Fearsome Five, Chemo, Rampage, Mister Mxyzptlk, and the Silver Banshee as well as the Legion of Super-Heroes.
In those first early adventures, Superman would often go against Lex Luthor, who had vowed to destroy the hated "alien" and reclaim his place as the First Son of Metropolis. Superman would also encounter his Achilles' Heel, Kryptonite, in his first battle against the cyborg Metallo. Lex Luthor retrieves the Kryptonite from Metallo and has part of it fashioned into a ring which he wears at all times, forcing Superman to keep his distance. Luthor also dismisses the suggestion that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same, rationalizing that no one who had Superman's powers would ever choose to live life as Clark Kent. Superman also has his first encounter with the god Darkseid, who teleports him to Apokolips. Superman remains on Apokolips for some time, eventually rallying the lowlies in a resistance against their despotic ruler, but the revolution is unsuccessful and Superman is returned to Earth.
Superman and Wonder Woman met during the Legends event, and Superman was surprised to find that she was in his thoughts a lot. Eventually the two came together, discussing their mutual attraction, but 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. Superman did trust Diana enough to reveal his secret identity to her.
Superman was shocked to meet a being calling herself Supergirl, someone who first appeared similar to Lana Lang. Supergirl explained that she was from the Time Trapper's Pocket Universe and pleaded Superman to come back there with her. Superman agrees and meets the Lex Luthor of that universe, a benevolent scientist responsible for creating the Matrix Supergirl. He explains that ten years have passed since Superman's visit, and that the Pocket Universe exists solely so that the Legion of Super-Heroes could come there from the future. Superboy has 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 decides that 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 itself 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 shifts into Clark's image, briefly posing as him. 
After several adventures in outer space, Superman is picked up by Warworld and confronts Mongul for the first time. He meets the Cleric and encounters the Eradicator for the first time. 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 the is humiliated by his defeat at Superman's hands. Having found peace over executing the three criminals in the Pocket Universe, Superman returns to Earth.
He finds Matrix living in his apartment, still locked in 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 that 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 its purpose truly is. 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, also accepts a job 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 programming the Eradicator has him under. 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 would ever lose control and need to be put down.
Mister Mxyzptlk decided to have some fun with Superman through Lex Luthor for a change. 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 him (and the world) that Lex Luthor is dead.
Superman eventually discloses to Lois the secret of his double life. Immediately afterwards, Superman is swept away in an adventures across time--Time and Time Again--which 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 knowing his 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 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--can he 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 the science fictional.
When Perry White's son, Jerry White, is shot, Superman is forced to literally 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, however, 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, 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 head ship 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 counterstrike. 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 some heroes on Earth to deal with any other preemptive 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 hereos 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 building, 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 him. Pete was being blackmailed, however, by the Sons of Liberty and did sneak a handgun inside to kill Holcroft. Pete couldn't go through with it, but unfortunately the Sons had backup. Another of their operatives grabbed Ross's 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 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 actually a member of the Sons of Liberty. Agent Liberty was supposed to assassinate Pete in the courtroom, but he 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
Not long after the event commonly referred to as Panic in the Sky, a monstrous alien beast called Doomsday emerged in eastern Ohio and began to march towards Metropolis. The beast single handedly defeated the Justice League when the team rallied to stop it (the lineup consisted of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Bloodwynd, Maxima, Fire, Ice, and Guy Gardner). Superman battled the creature across several states, eventually drawing the line in Metropolis itself. After a desperate battle, Superman managed to put down the monster--but collapsed as he did so, dying in Lois's arms.
All attempts to revive Superman fail, and he is pronounced dead--while Clark is discovered to be MIA as well (one of several hundred people missing and presumed dead in Doomsday's rampage). Superman was buried with full honors with hundreds of heads of state and several hundred thousand onlookers 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 steals the body from out of the tomb. Supergirl retrieves 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." Jon Kent, suffering from a heart attack, is rushed to the hospital in Smallville where he is remains in critical condition. Jon recovers after having a near death experience where 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 Jon awakes and tells Lois and Martha Superman has returned, sightings of four different being, 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 actually claim to be the original Superman. 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 begin to spring up in Metropolis, worshiping any one of the new four (but the visored Superman or the Cyborg primarily) as a messiah. 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 how Superman would have acted.
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 and use Superman's body as a new vessel. Sensing Superman's soul was still lingering, he fashioned a new body in Superman's image and placed Kal-El's body in a chamber 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. The war suit arrives in Metropolis and is met by Lex Luthor II, Lois, and others, who are shocked when a black-suited Superman emerges and tells them all that he is the real deal. 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 original one 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 him 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 comes 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 (the party is thrown in his honor) 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 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 kidnaps Adam Grant and subsequently murders him. Superman is able to track down the Toyman and bring him in with minor trouble.  Superman also has to deal with a new villain called Bloodthirst, who has 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 attempt to murder Jimmy Olsen, but Superman is able to save his pal and finally stop the killing. Bloodthirst, before fleeing, hints that Luthor's presence in the city will truly lead to chaos.
Shortly after the Toyman is brought in, Superman gets into a fight with Lobo which lands him stranded in outer space for a couple of weeks While in space, he meets Auron (who at first did not believe he was the real Superman, since 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.
Clone Wars and the Battle for Metropolis
Lex Luthor, whose cloned body is slowly decaying, attempts to clone Superman again using Dr. Teng's procedure, resulting in a second Bizarro Superman. Bizarro escapes from Luthor and kidnaps Lois Lane, thinking that he is actually the real Superman. Lois manages to escape from "Bizarro World," here 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 this 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 to much energy, and his size and powers begin to grow out of control. 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 not able to defeat the Parasite, who knocks the Man of Steel out (and clear across Metropolis) before leaving to lay low.
Superman, back 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.
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 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 and steal the cure from the Project, resulting in the near destruction of the Project.
Luthor's schemes are revealed to the whole world on live TV, thanks to the efforts of Lois Lane and 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. Happerson, 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, 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 lead 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 seems to get even more out of control, having destroyed 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 by it. 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 it 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 his enemies who could pull off such a hoax one by one--traveling across not only the country but to New Genesis and Apokolips as well--as Luthor, the Eradicator (at the time working with the Outsiders), Darkseid, and Mister Mxyzptlk are all eliminated as suspects.
As time went on, Superman's grip on reality began to break down, causing his behavior to be even 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 lead 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, when Perry used Ron Troupe's story instead of Jimmy's, Olsen quits 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 bots 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 awhile, 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 Supes 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 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 and 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 Lois now feels towards Clark, as she had been unsure of how to feel after Clark had refused to kill the Joker, even if it meant she would die.
Clark is unable to reconcile with Lois, even after Mr. Mxyzpylk tries to patch them up (Mxy dropped by and decided he wanted to give everybody in Metropolis what they wanted--with disastrous and hilarious results). Mxy's actions do let Lois reevaluate 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 into 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 and angry and still is not ready to come back to Superman, now 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 the need arose. Lex Luthor reemerged at this time and helped the worlds' heroes to come up with a solution to the sun-eater menace. Superman was fully prepared to sacrifice himself to come up with a stop-gap solution, but thankfully that sacrifice would not be necessary. 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 Honeymoon in Hawaii, where Clark was shot and kidnapped by terrorists and Lois had to come to his rescue--which she did commando style (literally).
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 traditionally associated with the Man of Steel. Furthermore, he could turn back into a powerless Clark.
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 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 Ceritak, who is 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 back 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 used to have (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 daugher, 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.
Fortunately, 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 has to get 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 need 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% 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 alterating 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 focussed on WWII era, with a lower powered Superman battling the Nazis; Adventures of Superman #558-560 was set in the Silver Age, with all its campiness; Action Comics #745-747 was set in the late 1970's; while Superman #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 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 red sun. He is even framed for the murder of Cerimul, Ceritak's father. He soon learns that the Cyborg Superman is there and 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 by stopping by 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 building 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 ruin. 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. Luckily, 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 have 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, Supes 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 Asmodai seizes the Spectre Force and literally 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 force Neron out of his body, and luckily Hal Jordan became the new Spectre instead of Neron.
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 foreign correspondent. That same day, Mongul Jr. 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 at Jupiter. The two succeed in destroying the construct Imperiex was building to destroy the Sol system. Predictably, Mongul then turns on Superman, but he had expected this and had a contingency 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 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 programing 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 tesserect, 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 towards 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. He 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 and 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% of his power. The Joker uses the awesome power of Mxy 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, unfortunately, 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.
Imperiex, Brainiac, and President Luthor
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, just the two of them. 
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 her 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 parent's house. The rocket contains a message from Jor-El--a bizarre message 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 where 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 the better way. 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.
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 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 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 dies 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: using 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 earth. (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 seemed to be suffering some memory lapses.
Superman is put through a trial for his part in the Impereix 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 a "Jokerized" version 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. 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 thankfully 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 secretly Perry keeps him on staff in order to secretly investigate Luthor.
Superman is approached by a pantheon of ancient gods who want Superman to bolster their ranks. Not surprisingly, 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 know 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 Green Arrow (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 apparently been running for the past fifty years in Columbus, Ohio. Superman found a tesserect and inside, Heroville, a community of all 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) 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 too. 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 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 plot 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 transfered 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 on. His powers fade as he connects, 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 and bring down Luthor. Superman breaks into LexCorp, where he finds Hope a prisoner (and having been badly tortured) and rescues her. Perry openly hired him 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.
She turns out to be a ploy of theirs. They also infect Superman with a Kryptonian virus which 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. While this is the technical change to his new origin, it is not made official until Infinite Crisis.
Godfall and Hidden Enemies
Superman befriended 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 returned 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, demanded that Superman turn over the device, but he refused. After a short chat with the Justice League, Superman headed 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 elementals disband. Superman takes Fr. 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 activated 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 Fr. 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 had 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. Supes 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 and that Lois settled for Clark but really loved Superman.
Clark is visiting his parents in Smallville when he learns Sue Dibney, 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 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 Lorring, is nearly hanged, Superman is the first on scene and identifies the knot used, though it ends up being a red herring. After the attack on Lorring, 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. See Identity Crisis for more details on this event.
Fractures and Ruin
Greg Rucka took the helm of "Adventures" with issue 627.
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 the Replikon auto-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 his 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. Going over to Lupe's house to discuss the situation, the lieutenant unabashedly tries to hit on him. 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. Mxy 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 from the injury. 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 whom he had held as hostage into new version 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, apparently aging somehow, heads to the local S.T.A.R. to have himself checked out. He was apparently poisoned by the liquid K 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 that he could not do it himself, he recruited an army of himself 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 lead a a League of Supermen (heroes inspired by the Man of Steel) in a neverending 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 hot 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--but 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, Mxy 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 to it. 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 he 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.
As a tie-in with the OMAC Project, there was a four-part storyline entitled "Sacrifice." Superman 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, this time 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 show him the badly beaten body of the 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 wrapping Lord up in her Lasso of Truth, demands 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 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. Mxy's magic is not working right (presumably because of the crisis) and Clark takes him to a diner to talk. With some cues from Mxy, 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 Mxy's help, Superman finds his lair. It is well guarded, however, and Superman has to contend with red solar lamps. Mxy 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. Weakened though he is, 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 and rescue who they could. Chemo began to reform, and Superman engaged, knowing that he would reform quicker, sucking 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. 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 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 speedforce, the two Supermen fly him to Krypton's solar system--and straight through its red son. 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, obliterating the kryptonite 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 meanwhile the Earth is in good hands.
One Year Later
Superman's powers seemed to be gone. He consulted with scientists and other superheroes in an attempt to get his powers back, but he finally accepted that he was just a normal human now. After living a normal human life as Clark Kent for a year, his powers unexpectedly began to come back, bit by bit.
When he returned to action as the Man of Steel, there was much public speculation as to whether or not he was an imposter. However, his daring actions, broadcast across the globe, while driving the Auctioneer from Earth convinced the world that he was the real deal.
The sorceror 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.
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 his father 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 was recently reunited with some of the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes during the Lightning Saga event. Some time later, Superman battled a Brainiac robot, until it showed to contain a message from Brainiac 5 of the Legion, that Superman should go to the 31st century again. While Superman went 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 a warped version of Superman's origin was spread out (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 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 is terrified of Brainiac.
After visiting the Kents, Superman then 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 like 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 awakes 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, 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 towards 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 can not control anything on Earth and is promptly defeated by Superman.
However, Brainiac reveals that the cities can not 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 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 which explodes on the Kent farm. Although no one is hurt by the explosion itself, Jonathan Kent suffers a heart attack and dies, just as Clark arrives. The Epilogue begins with Jonanthan Kent's funeral. Clark looks over and sees Bruce Wayne and Alfred are standing under a tree near by.
In the second issue of Final Crisis, Lois and Perry are caught in an explosion triggered by Clayface destroying the Daily Planet and apparently Lois is seriously injured or possibly even dead. In the third issue, it is revealed that only Clark's heat vision is keeping her heart beating. Clark is visited by a mysterious phantom who insists that he must depart Earth immediately if he is to save his wife's life. The story is continued in the 3D tie-in comic "Superman Beyond", where the female Monitor Zillo Valla stops time around Lois, allowing Superman to leave her side for a while, recruiting him and several of his multiversal doppelgangers in a mission to save the entire Multiverse, promising immediate care for Lois. After facing off against the dark Monitor Mandrakk, Superman brought back a distilled drop of The Bleed, and administered it through a kiss, restoring her to full health.
Superman goes to the 31st century, where he was given access to 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 Darkseid is in Dan Turpin, allowing the Anti-Life slaves to surround him. Superman then witnesses Darkseid fire the radion bullet that kills Orion through time, and also Darkseid's defeat when Barry Allen and Wally West lead 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 superheroes and humanity left alive, 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 the Dark Monitor arrives to consume Superman, the last and greatest Protector of Life at his weakest. He taunts Superman, saying he has nothing to start the Miracle Machine with, so Superman should come to Mandrakk and embrace the death of everything. Superman counters this, and uses the solar energy in his body to power the Miracle Machine, in order to restore the Multiverse to its proper form.
Superman: New Krypton
Following the events of the Brainiac story arc, 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, lead 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.
Superman: World of New Krypton
In the build-up to this series, Superman apparently agrees to a deal with his aunt Alura that he renounce his allegiance to Earth and severs ties there in order to live on New Krypton with his people. He does not truthfully renounce all ties to his adopted home, as he tells his wife Lois Lane. He instructs his friend Mon-El to "take over for him," and has conversations with the Guardian and Jimmy Olsen before disembarking for New Krypton. Superman intends to live amongst the Kryptonians in the hopes of easing tensions with Earth and teaching them to use their powers responsibly.
When he arrives on the planet, he receives a lukewarm welcome from members of the Kryptonian military. He is openly welcomed by Alura, who asks him to pick a guild with which to be employed while on the planet. While he is deciding this, it is revealed to him that General Zod has been released from the Phantom Zone and is lauded as a great leader and a hero. He is given his previous job as the head of the Kryptonian military, and Superman finds this alarming. Zod maintains that he no longer has any reason to hate his fellow Kryptonians, as they have now accepted him. While deciding which guild to register for and having an argument with Zod, he is assaulted by his father Jor-El's former friend and lobotomized disciple of Zod, Non. Superman disposes of him quickly, and makes it clear that while the New Kryptonians hostile to him are steadily learning their powers, Superman has had his for years and demonstrates his vastly superior fighting skill and capability with his powers.
When Alura asks Superman which guild he has chosen, he admits that he is not comfortable with any, even going so far as to liken the Kryptonians' working conditions to slavery. However, Superman ultimately is assigned to be a member of the Military guild and is referred to by General Zod as "Commander El. 
On Oa, the Guardians of the Universe discuss New Krypton, fearing that the Kryptonians while under the leadership of General Zod will return to a military expansion that the Guardians feared long ago before Krypton's destruction. On New Krypton, Zod boasts of a recently redesigned rifle made to kill native Kryptonian species. He puts "Commander El" in charge of the "Red Shard," a unit responsible for law enforcement and civic defense.
As his second, Superman is assigned Lieutenant Asha Del-Nar. Together, they find members of their new unit forcing Non, a recent transfer into the unit, to fight against a vicious Torquat. Superman reprimands the unit and later shares a conversation with Alura about the Kryptonian guilds. Avoiding Zod, Superman runs into his servant of the labor guild who speaks of unrest in his guild. Zod then arrives and orders Superman to kill a stampede of beasts that threatens a colony. When the Red Shard prepares to kill the animals with their new rifles, Superman orders them to put the weapons away and instead teaches them how to wrangle the beasts without killing them. Zod compliments Superman on handling the situation, but admonishes "Commander El" for challenging his authority. Their conversation is stopped when news of a Labor Guild member taking hostages, including Alura, emerges. Commander Gor, a man responsible for killing several human police officers in Superman: New Krypton, arrives and threatens to kill them all if the hostages are not released. This leaves Zod pleased and Superman concerned that there could be a loss of life on his watch. 
Superman tries to talk General Zod out of allowing Commander Gor to execute the Labor Guild prisoners. Zod is undeterred, but Superman convinces him to allow him to try to quell the situation without further violence. As a sign of good faith, Superman allows himself to be blasted with the red solar energy of an Archer rifle, which negates his powers for thirty minutes. Superman goes into the Galla where Labor Guild leader, Tam-Or, is keeping the provisional government captive. He appeals to his aunt, Alura, and asks her to consider the Guild's needs should they agree to set them free. Alura allows Tam-Or to air his demands.
Tam-Or says that as Earth's sun precludes the need for rest or food, the Labor Guild has been working literally non-stop since New Krypton has been formed. They want time to rest and see their families. Additionally, there is some unknown disease spreading through the Labor Guild ranks, even though that shouldn't be possible, and they want the Science Guild to find out why. Finally, they want a representation on the new Science Council being formed. Alura agrees to the first two requests, but points out that the Labor Guild has never had a seat on the Science Council in Kryptonian history, to which Superman points out that this is New Krypton. Alura finally agrees to consider the third demand if the Labor Guild agree to stand down.
The Labor Guild surrenders and sets down their weapons. Superman has resolved the situation peacefully before General Zod's deadline. Commander Gor however, having not received the order to stand down, sits with a sniper rifle above the square where Alura and the others were being held. He fires a shot aimed at Tam-Or, but Supergirl rushes in and catches the bullet before it can strike its target.
Superman returns to Military Guild headquarters and gives Zod an update. Commander Gor, having nursed a dislike for Superman for quite some time, kicks him in the back. By Guild protocol, an official duel is conducted. Since both men have super powers, Superman relies upon his combat training to win the day. As the fight concludes, Superman turns his eyes upward to see three members of the Green Lantern Corps hovering above them. Green Lantern Hal Jordan tells Superman, "It's time we talked".
Based on the recent arrival of New Krypton, the Guardians of the Universe have sent a fact-finding mission. Their first contact, Kal-El, is pleased to see his old friends, but General Zod arrives within seconds. He remembers the Earthly Green Lanterns that fought him skilfully when they last met, and he orders Kal and Tyr to give them a tour of New Krypton.
Flying over the city, Tyr-Van gives the Green Lanterns a rundown of the city's founding, before moving on to encompass the whole planet - using the tech they were able to steal from Brainiac, they have made a new planet. Currently they are building an atmosphere, then a moon. Within a year, they will be finished. Kal is proud and happy. He and Sodam Yat chat briefly about Mon-El.
Lieutenant Nar arrives to get Kal for an emergency briefing. Thirteen criminals were brought to New Krypton from the Phantom Zone, and adapted to their powers faster than the other Kryptonians. They have been on the run, but they have a lead on one of them. Orders are to bring them in, but the Red Shard has been ordered to escort the Green Lanterns on their tour.
The Green Lanterns are surprised, and a little unsympathetic, to find that New Kryton is building a fleet of space ships. Tyr tells them that they are billed as a security deterrent, but Hal Jordan believes Zod is planning something. Kal cannot vouch for Zod, but he asks Hal to trust him.
Suddenly, an explosion occurs at the other end of the yard. A group of the criminals were meeting here, and when they were ambushed by the Military Guild, one of them ruptured a fuel line to cover the escape of all the others. There were no deaths, and no apparent leads. But Kal points out that the Kryptonians can hear someone flying away very fast. The chase is on.
The fugitive is identified as Val-Ty, alias Greyline, a notorious murderer who fought Tomar-Re. They chase him into the scaffolding around one of the unfinished ships, where he steals welding equipment and uses it as an explosive. Nar takes the Red Shard around the other side and Kal and the Green Lanterns are to herd him there. However, Zod has his own plans - when Nar has him in custody, she is to execute him. Kal overhears her from the other side of the scaffolding, and asks her to ignore Zod's last order.
The plan is a success, and Greyline is taken into custody. The Green Lanterns prepare to take him back to Oa to be imprisoned for past crimes, but Zod arrives and points out that New Krypton has jurisdiction - and Oa has no extradition treaties with New Krypton. Hal is set to argue, but John Stewart gets him to back off on the condition that Zod not execute Greyline, and the Green Lanterns go home to make their report. That night, Greyline is behind a force field, already swearing revenge on Kal (who is surprised to see Zod kept his word) and the rest of the Military Guild. Zod is impressed at his skill, but he orders Kal and Nar to be taken into custody and charged with treason. 
Kal-El has been arrested and charged with treason, as seen last issue. Kal-El meets his court-appointed attorney, Dyn-Xe. They discuss the details of Kal-El's upcoming trial and his defense. Kal is facing the death penalty if found guilty. Dyn-Xe plans to argue in court that Kal-El's arrest and prosecution is just part of a pattern of behavior reflecting Zod's long-standing vendetta against the house of El. The trial begins with the introduction of the jury. (They are called arbitrators on New Krypton.) It is revealed that arbitrator selection is based on the guild system, so that the major guilds are equally represented. As the courtroom drama unfolds, Dyn-Xe, as planned, alleges that that Zod's actions are motivated by the desire for vengeance against the El family. In response to those charges, Zod withdraws as the prosecuting attorney against Kal-El, but stays on for the initial phase, the prosecution of Lieutenant Nar.
Nar and Kal-El both show mutual loyalty and selflessness during the trial. Nar claims sole responsibility for disobeying Zod's orders; attempting to take the fall and protect Commander El. Meanwhile, Kal-El unselfishly speaks up; confessing that he was the one to countermand Zod's order; and asserting that Nar is completely innocent. On those words, Nar is acquitted, and Kal-El's situation grows more dire.
The trial recesses for the day, and we see reactions from Dyn-Xe, Asha Del-Nar, and Tyr-Van, Superman's friend from of the Labor Guild. Dyn-Xe, who hates to lose a trial, is miffed at his client's confession in the courtroom. Nar and Tyr-Van are gravely concerned that Kal-El likely will face execution. Nar again shows great loyalty to her commander, offering to deliver a message to Commander El's troops, saluting, and wishing Kal-El Rao's blessings.
After Nar leaves, Tyr-Van reveals he has smuggled in a device which will allow Kal-El to escape his prison cell and leave New Krypton. It is immediately clear that Kal-El will not take this option; preferring to remain and stand by his principles. Kal-El feels deeply that he did nothing wrong; so he is not inclined to flee like a guilty fugitive.
After Tyr-Van leaves, it is revealed that Tyr-Van has acted on behalf of Zod and Ursa who secretly want Kal-El to try to escape. Tyr-Van has essentially been a spy for Zod and Ursa since the beginning. Tyr-Van feels remorse for betraying his friend; as if Zod is compelling that betrayal through coercion of some sort.
Kal-El's restraining force-field is disabled, and Kal stay put to face his trial, as Zod and the others look on with great interest. Zod orders Ursa and Tyr-Van out of the room; and seems to be in deep thought as he carefully considers his next move. At his trial the next day, Kal-El is found guilty. It is a split decision, as one juror dissents. In his closing words, Kal-El expresses the strong feeling that he did the right thing by refusing to kill the criminal Val-Ty. He asserts that New Krypton was not harmed in any way. Kal's execution seems imminent. Yet there is another plot twist, as Zod suggests that the religious guild consider exercising their option to pardon Kal-El.
The scene switches to a holiday celebration. The Nova Cycle is a major holiday on New Krypton celebrating birth and rebirth. Kal-El and Zod are walking together, discussing recent events. The discussion focuses on why Zod prosecuted Kal, why Zod now seems to want Kal alive, and what Zod is learning about Kal-El's character. Zod, as a military man, seems to admire that Kal-El declined to flee to safety, and chose instead to stand by his principles and face death. Zod asserts that Kal-El's presence makes the New Krypton army stronger.
Supergirl and Alura arrive. Supergirl expresses great joy that her cousin is safe. This implies that the religious guild has acted favorably on Kal-El's behalf; although we the readers did not see that occur.
At the celebration, the ceremonial removal of the dome over Kandor begins. This is possible now that the atmosphere on New Krypton has regulated. Intermittently, a mysterious individual is seen lurking about. He wears a hooded robe. His face is hidden but appears to be glowing. He carries a staff with a sharp pointed end that appears to be a weapon. He was an ominous presence during Kal-El's trial; and may have been the executioner or perhaps the security guard in the courtroom. He appears menacing; and looks sort of like the angel of death.
The crowd at the celebration chants Zod, Zod, Zod in obvious adulation for their military leader. But someone in the crowd screams "Death to Zod", and fires an Archer rifle at Zod, causing what appears to be a critical injury; as Superman, Supergirl, and Alura look on in shocked disbelief.
Zod is lying in his own blood, the wound is still smoking, and Commander El calls for a medic. In the crowd, the shooter shouts "For my people"; his gun still smoking. Members of the crowd converge on him and attempt to capture him. The shooter fights back using his heat vision; but there are just too many people fighting him, and the shooter is taken down rather forcefully. Kal-El exclaims that the crowd may tear the shooter apart; and moves in to prevent that. Commander El and the Red Shard disperse the angry mob; and then discover the shooter lying in his own blood, looking half dead.
We learn that the Kryptonian chain of command dictates that leadership falls to the commanders: Kal-El, Gor, and Ursa. But Ursa seems too upset by Zod's shooting, and only wants to be by his side. So Kal-El and Gor are in charge of the military; with Kal-El appearing to take the lead.
Kal-El and Gor disagree about what to do with the shooter. Gor wants to throw him back to the mob, so they can continue ripping him apart. Kal-El wants to interrogate him, to ascertain if the shooter is part of a larger conspiracy. Kal-El convinces Gor that interrogation, not annihilation, is the right course of action.
We learn that the shooter's name is Ral-Dar. When Kal-El and Gor ask him if he acted alone, he is evasive. When Kal-El is summoned by Alura, he tells Gor to put Ral-Dar back in his cell, for further questioning later.
At the medical facility, Kal-El learns from Alura that Zod's condition is not good. Whatever he was shot with did tremendous damage on a cellular level. The doctors' efforts to arrest this effect only seem to amplify it. They have had to put Zod in stasis to keep his health stable. Alura says that Zod regained consciousness just before he was put in stasis, and asked for Commander El. Kal-El seems surprised by this news. Alura is told by a subordinate that the crowd is growing fearful due to the assassination attempt on Zod. That fear is amplified by memories of Brainiac's attack on their city. Alura goes outside to speak to the crowd; to calm them and allay their fears.
Kal-El compliments her on her speech; and in a moment of candor, Alura admits that she hates public speaking. Alura looks to Kal for assurance that the shooter acted alone. Kal-El indicates that they are still trying to make that determination. Alura asserts that if it is revealed that the attack originated from outside of New Krypton, things could get ugly.
At Alura's urging, Kal-El heads back to continue the interrogation of Ral-Dar, with Kara by his side. They discover that Ral-Dar has escaped, using the same Sunstone device that Tyr-Van used last issue to disable Kal-El's prison cell. Kara observes that the device may have been used outside Ral-Dar's cell; implying that he had assistance in his prison break.
Nar indicates that, using their surveillance hardware, they spotted Ral-Dar. He was seen leaving New Krypton and heading on a course towards Earth. Relations between New Krypton and Earth are already fragile; and Kal-El is concerned that an appearance by Ral-Dar on Earth could move things closer to war. Kal quite sensibly orders the Red Shard to stand down; since an appearance on Earth by a Kryptonian military unit will inflame things. He indicates that he and Kara will handle this mission alone. Kal also correctly observes that appearing on Earth dressed as Commander El will be inflammatory. So he heads back to his apartment; reaches for the familiar costume; and utters very familiar words, that "This is a job for Superman".
Superman and Supergirl pursue Ral-Dar to Earth. A pair of fighter jets intercept them and Ral-Dar destroys them. Superman, Supergirl and Mon-El rescue the pilots while Ral-Dar escapes. Superman and Mon-El meet Guardian and the SciPol to explain Ral-Dar's plot and the attempted assassination of Zod. Guardian listens and is very cautious of Kara who is still on the planetary blacklist. Superman brings up his past relationship with Jim and Earth but Lois arrives to break up the tension. Mon-El provides an excuse for Lois and Clark to share some time together and during their strained reunion Lois reveals much to Clark's shock, that Chris Kent is back on Earth.  Superman and Guardian go to brief the Science Police about Ral-Dar. 
Superman pursues Ral-Dar all the way to Markovia, where the United States President is meeting with the Markovia 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 battlesuits. 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.
Superman is flying back to New Krypton, carrying the body of Ral-Dar, who lost his life while on Earth, at the hands of General Lane and his subordinates (as shown in Superman #691). Superman is heading back to New Krypton quickly, due to an urgent request from Alura. On New Krypton, Commander Gor is calling for war with the planet Earth. He argues that the weapon that was fired at Zod was apparently from Earth. Gor's words cause spirited discussion on the Kryptonian ruling council. Several members refute Gor's angry rhetoric, and point out that the shooter was Kryptonian, not Terran. Superman arrives, and lands in the middle of this discussion. Superman of course argues passionately for peace. He warns that such a war could lead to genocide, either for New Krypton or Earth. He also points out that even if some on Earth have been acting against New Krypton, it is unfair to punish all for the actions of a few. The Council continues to argue the pros and cons. Concern is expressed that there are spies and saboteurs undercover on New Krypton. There is some squabbling between the different guilds represented on the Council.
General Zod, although extremely weakened from the assassination attempt, arrives to join the spirited conversation; and specifically to make two key points. (1) He promotes Commander El to the temporary rank of General and Commander of the Armies of Krypton; pending the return of Zod after his convalescence. (2) Zod declares that New Krypton must not make war with Earth (at least not yet). Zod passes out and is returned to stasis before he can explain his "not yet" comment. Over a week has passed, and we see the emblem of the House of El flying over the headquarters of the Military Guild. This is not Kal-El's idea. Rather, it is a Kryptonian tradition for the General who leads the Military Guild to be honored in this way. Since Kal-El is still in charge, we know that Zod's recovery is proceeding slowly.
Lieutenant Nar, Commander Gor, and others leave on an important mission in space. The leaders of New Krypton have determined that their young planet needs a moon. Since creating a moon from scratch is not feasible, the Kryptonians are planning a very ambitious and tricky maneuver; to capture one of Jupiter's moons, transport it, and place it in orbit around New Krypton. Councilor Qin of the Science Guild has done the math himself, and confirmed that gravitational consequences of this maneuver for the surrounding bodies in our solar system will be negligible.
The mission to relocate a moon of Jupiter has a name: Operation Callisto.
General El has summoned Tyr-Van, his friend from the Labor Guild. Tyr-Van was Kal-El's first friend (other than family) when he initially arrived on New Krypton. Kal-El reveals that he knows that Tyr-Van has been a spy for Zod since the beginning (as shown in issue #5). Kal-El explains how he was able to figure this out; and expresses that he feels betrayed by this revelation. Kal-El breaks off the friendship, and requests that Tyr-Van not see him anymore. This is an emotional moment for both of them.
Suddenly, General El is told that Operation Callisto has hit a major snag. The Kryptonians have been attacked while carrying out the mission. Details are sketchy because the enemy is jamming communications. But it appears that the size of the attacking force is quite large and intimidating, that there have likely been casualties, and that Commander Gor was injured in an explosion.
General El gives the command for several military units to leave immediately on a rescue mission. Kal-El joins them as they head out into space. All members wear oxygen masks to allow them to breathe while in the vacuum of space; but as Kryptonians, they need no other protection from extreme temperatures and other conditions as they travel through the solar system towards Mars, the vicinity of the ambush.
Without warning, General El and his soldiers come upon the scene of the attack, and immediately find themselves in the thick of battle. We learn that the attackers are Thanagarian. Superman mops up a few Thanagarians while reconvening with Lieutenant Nar.
She tells Superman that the Thanagarian attack disrupted the guidance system for transporting Callisto; and as a result, the Jovian moon is out of control and hurtling directly towards New Krypton.
The skirmish between the Kryptonians and the Thanagarians continues. For the first third of this book, we see things from the point of view of the Thanagarians; specifically, from the command post of Wing-Master Vetalla Dae aboard her ship. A multitude of Thanagarians all speak at once, issuing commands or reporting status as the battle rages on. This produces quite a cacophony until the Wing-Master orders the other voices to be filtered out so that she can be heard. The reader has to work a bit to decipher all the Thanagarian military jargon. Nevertheless, some things are very clear: The Thanagarians are a very militaristic and aggressive society. In battle, they tend to refer to their adversaries as "meat". They dislike and distrust the Kryptonians. They allege that the Kryptonians were the ones to attack first. We are reminded that the Thanagarians have disabled the Kryptonian lead ship which was guiding Callisto, the Jovian moon, on its course towards an intended orbit around New Krypton. The moon is now out of control and hurtling towards a collision with New Krypton.
A Kryptonian strike on Dae's ship, the Gryfalcon, initiates a chain reaction in the engine's power core that will soon cause an explosion which will destroy the ship. Out of loyalty and military honor, Dae and her subordinates express their intention to stay put and go down with the ship.
Meanwhile, General El and members of his team have boarded the Thanagarian space craft. Under Kal-El's orders, the Kryptonians have managed to cool the reactor and avert the impending explosion. Wing-Master Dae goes to confront the Kryptonians. Dae asserts that it was foolish military strategy for the Kryptonians to rescue their adversary (and thus forgo an easy victory). However, she takes it for the good will gesture that it is, and orders that the Kryptonians are no longer prisoners.
General El insists that the Kryptonians bear no hostility towards the Thanagarian people. He is told that the Kryptonians attacked first. Superman pledges that the Kryptonians will act peacefully, and negotiates an end to the hostilities. After Kal-El and his team leave, Wing-Master Dae is told that the Kryptonians lost control of Callisto only because the Thanagarians disabled the ship that was controlling the Jovian moon's trajectory and acceleration.
Back out in space, General El and his troops attempt to use their own brute strength to slow Callisto down, but find it to be a monumental task. Suddenly, the moon slows, thanks to some help from the Thanagarians using beams that transmit Nth Metal energy.
Superman heads to New Krypton and returns with perhaps every inhabitant of the planet. The combined might of 100,000 Kryptonians is enough to control Callisto and place it in proper orbit around New Krypton.
Kal-El and Alura talk. She reassures him that updated math calculations again indicate virtually no gravitational consequences from Operation Callisto. When asked, Kal-El says he thinks he knows how the battle with the Thanagarians started; he just has no proof yet.
Wing-Master Dae is invited to speak before the Kryptonian ruling council. Overtures are made toward establishing diplomatic relations between the two planets. Suddenly, we see the arrival of Jemm, Son of Saturn, and his henchmen. They are members of another super-powered race. They muscle their way into the council chamber and confront the Kryptonians, speaking words that are hostile and arrogant.
Kal-L of Earth-2 is turned into a Black Lantern, and rises from the grave. In Smallville, Pete talks about the price of grain with locals. They scan the skies, and think they see something in the black clouds, but decide they see nothing after all when it disappears. A policeman talks to his superior about leaving for Metropolis. As they do, a black blur smashes through the superior and kills him. The power levels of Black Lantern Superman go up to 3.44 percent as he watches the policeman turn yellow in the spectrum of fear. A local diner filled with patrons talk about a local man losing a few fingers. We see them turn yellow from Black Lantern Superman's POV, and the diner goes dark.
A drive-in is assaulted similarly.
Superman, Conner, and Ma talk over dinner. They hear something, and Superman and Superboy go to investigate. Kal-L has dug up Pa. Kal-L takes Conner toward space, saying Conner should be dead. Conner turns yellow with fear and green with will. Superman, in pursuit, turns to many of the colors of the emotional spectrum, fear, will, rage, love, and hope.
Krypto rushes outside in the absence of his two masters, and is thrown hard back into the house by Lois of Earth-2, now a Black Lantern.
Kal-L mocks Superman for not saving Pa. Superman lashes out, taking out a chunk of Kal-L's face, which grows back. Superman lets Kal-L go to save Conner from re-entry.
On New Krypton, Zor-El rises from the dead in front of Alura and Kara.
Superman and Superboy seek Ma when they find the farm wrecked. In town, they find her, in the hands of Kal-L and Black Lantern Lois.
Superman and Conner fight Kal-L above Smallville. On the outskirts of the battle, Psycho Pirate appears, and begins to sow confusion among the people present.
Kal-L tells Black Lantern Lois to kill Ma Kent. Conner moves to stop Lois from doing so, taking her arm off with heat vision. Ma Kent flees into corn, and Lois pursues.
Conner finds Psycho Pirate among a bunch of rioting Smallville citizens.
Black Lantern Zor-El confronts Kara, and Kara attacks him in response, realizing it's not her father.
In Smallville, Lois hunts Martha. Martha steps out of the cornstalks ready to fight, with a "It's on!"
Krypto wakes up and disappears at superspeed. Kara fights her father on New Krypton, realizing that he's not her real father.
Psycho Pirate continues to sow chaos.
Conner attacks Superman under Psycho Pirate's influence.
Ma Kent tries to light Black Lantern Lois on fire, but it doesn't work. Krypto shows and takes Black Lantern Lois out. A scientist goes to Alura and says he has a device that can repel Black Lanterns, but it will trap them on the planet. Alura goes to get Zor-El away so her daughter can stay on the planet.
Conner starts to see Superman losing in his battle with the Black Lantern Superman, and that snaps him back from Psycho Pirate's influence.
Conner steals Psycho Pirate's mask and uses it to restore people to normal. He also uses it to disperse Psycho Pirate and Black Lantern Superman.
Last Stand of New Krypton
As Brainiac's warship flies overhead, the Kryptonians remember Brainiac's attack on old Krypton years ago. Zod ruminates about that first Brainiac attack, and how the knowledge from that defeat will make him more prepared this time around. He also acknowledges that their yellow-sun-induced powers will make the Kandorians much more formidable than last time. Zod vows to lead his people to victory over Brainiac.
The Kandorians' initial shock turns to determination, and the citizens rise up and use their powers against Brainiac's robotic "probes".
Commander El takes time out to rescue Lan-Drom, a young teenage boy who is under attack from several of the probe bots. A couple of his Red Shard team members are there to help out.
Zod gives orders for the Red Shard to stay away from Brainiac's ship, so as not to interfere with Zod's plan. Kal-El, watching from a distance using his telescopic vision, is horrified to see Zod giving the order to arm his Global Defense Canons; horrified because so many soldiers in the vicinity will likely be killed if that WMD is fired.
Zod does fire the weapon without hesitation, looking very self-satisfied. But when the smoke clears, the soldiers have become the victims of collateral damage, but Brainiac's ship does not even have a scratch.
Zod's reckless behavior sets Kal-El into a bit of a rage. Without hesitation, Kal-El flies to Zod and unleashes a verbal assault, scolding Zod for his recklessness and murderous actions. Kal-El holds nothing back. Zod chides Commander El for his "insubordinate" remarks. But Kal-El, still furious, resigns his military post; tossing his military insignia on the ground. Then, Kal-El rip off his military uniform in defiance, to reveal a familiar outfit underneath. Gone for good is Commander El, replaced by the famous hero, Superman.
Superman explains to Nar his plan to get past the force field on Brainiac's ship, using a technique based on his knowledge from past encounters with Brainiac's technology. Alura speaks to Zod in an attempt to get military protection for the members of the Council that are still alive. Supergirl, wondering why her battle with the bots is not easier, discovers that the probe bots are using red sunlight in battle to weaken the Kryptonians.
Help arrives for Supergirl in the nick of time, in the form of Superboy (Conner Kent), Mon-El, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. But when Zod shows up, he sends Kara off to help elsewhere, and Mon-El tags along. With them out of the way, Zod orders the arrest of Superboy and the Legionnaires, calling them "maniacs".
Superman breaches Brainiac's ship and is inside doing considerable damage until he gets slowed down by a burst of kryptonite radiation. Superman looks up and gets a very unpleasant surprise in the form of Brainiac standing alongside Lex Luthor, who is holding the smoking kryptonite weapon.
Superman and Mon-El continue to try and free the trapped cities and break out. Brainiac however re-energizes and fights Superman. During the brawl, Superman is able to get hold of the telepathic Lanthian's but Brainiac teleports away with all the others. The Legion manages to enter Brainiac's ship thanks to Brainiac 5's help. But even this does not seem to help and New Krypton is put back into a bottle. Superman is pummeled by Brainiac's weapon's system and is declared dead. But Zod says that Brainiac has lost.
Superman recovers and tries to fight Brainiac again. During the fight, Brainiac's ship is damaged and begins falling towards New Krypton. Eventually, with the help of several Kandorians, the ship is destroyed before hitting the ground. However, Luthor has begun growing one of Brainiac's bottled cities. Superman is also mortally wounded by pieces of Brainiac's ship, but manages to fully recover with the help of Brainiac 5. The attack on New Krypton ends when Zod defeats Brainiac and steps on to kill him, but Brainiac 5 appears and teleports Brainiac and himself away. Later, Zod gathers the entire Kryptonian army to finally attack Earth.
War of the Supermen
Superman has come to stop Zod, after he just told 100,000 Kryptonians to declare war on Earth. Zod tells him that his opinion doesn't matter to him, since he gave up his position in the Kryptonian Military Guild. Superman punches Zod, but other Kryptonians come and help him up. Zod then has his wife Ursa attack him. She uses a Kryptonite knife and slashes Superman in the chest. She reveals to him that even though it hurts, it gives her a lot of satisfaction. Superman shatters the knife by using his heat vision. Just as Superman is about to continue his attack on Zod, Non crashes through the roof on top of Superman, and manages to hold him down, with Ursa putting the Kryptonite knife right by his neck.
Zod tells Kal-El that he is no longer a superman anymore, now that there is a whole planet full of people with the same abilities as him, which has leveled the playing field between him and New Krypton. He reveals to Superman that when he first came to New Krypton and renounced Earth, he allowed Kal-El to join the Military Guild, so that he could keep an eye on him, which was exactly what Superman was trying to do, get close to Zod so that he can spy on him. He also tells Superman that he is going to level Earth and kill everyone on the planet, especially the one he loves the most. Kal-El tells Zod that he was wrong on one thing, he never renounced Earth and breaks free and attacks Zod, but Ursa and Non hold him down again. He tells Zod that a war between Earth and New Krypton would spell the destruction of both worlds, and that he will stop him from attacking Earth. However, Zod asks Superman how he's going to stop him from attacking Earth, when he has already sent the order to attack, as we see the Kryptonian military descending on Earth.
Superman frees himself from Ursa and Non's hands and goes into space to fight them. Meanwhile, in Zor-El's tomb, where Alura is torturing Reactron for information about what Earth is planning against New Krypton. Her daughter Supergirl walks in on her actions, realizing what her father's last words meant about her mother. Both discuss the current actions. Then Reactron then tells both of them that it was planned that he be brought to New Krypton, also telling them that they could have killed Supergirl in Los Angeles, but did not do it sot that she captured him and bring him to their planet. Also during the battle against Brainiac, Lex Luthor went to find him and left a present to him, which he tells that it already feels it is about to go off. Alura quickly puts her daugther into a safe room to protect her while she tries to stop this. But it is too late, and the explosion not only destroys the city of Kandor, it destroys New Krypton completly along with the Kryptonians on the planet, all of this being watched by a stunned Superman, Zod, Ursa and Non. Superman searches in the debris of New Krypton, managing to find a sad Supergirl, devastated by the destruction. She grieves with Superman as she holds up a piece of Alura's shield. Alura perished along with the rest of New Krypton. After finding the weapon that Luthor brought to the planet drifting in space in the form of a gold skull, enraged Kara grabs the Kryptonian flag, heading for war. Meanwhile in the Kryptonian fleet, carrying the remaining members of New Krypton, are filled with grief about what has happend. Zod comes forth and declares that even thought their planet is lost, they are still there and the war against Earth shall continue and they will win it.
Up in space Supergirl and Superman tussle through the field of kryptonite meteors until they crash into Callisto, New Krypton's moon. Kara cries it's her fault, and Superman sadly reveals she's the Last Daughter of New Krypton. They realize they are the only two that stand between Earth and the Zod's forces and decide they will do whatever it takes to save them both.
Sam flips a switch to see Lex on a video screen. Luthor reveals he's harnessed the power from Jax-Ur's botched Rao corpse and the government's time pool technology to launch their counter attack. He then launches a missile housing a huge store of red kryptonite to the sky through the black hole/time pool tech directly into the sun making it a huge red sun. This strips the Kryptonians of their powers.
Flamebird turns the sun yellow again. This gives Superman and Supergirl their powers back, but several Kryptonians die in space. Zod and his army attack Earth, but Superman begins to fight him above the Daily Planet.
As Superman and Zod clash, Superman refuses to allow Zod to destroy humanity while Zod has resolved to turn "Earth" into a new Krypton. Superboy manages to recover the Phantom Zone projector from the Fortress of Solitude, stating that the Phantom Zone "got better" in response to Zod's claims of having destroyed it, using it to send Non to the Zone as he attacks the Justice League. After narrowly defeating Ursa, Supergirl flies into the military base to confront General Lane, willing to kill him in revenge for the death of her people, much to Lane's satisfaction as it would prove him right about the Kryptonians, only for Lois to talk Supergirl down. Refusing to face judgement for his crimes, Lane commits suicide. As Superboy arrives at Superman's fight with Zod, Superman attempts to drag Zod into the Zone with him, willing to sacrifice himself to ensure that Zod is imprisoned for good, only for Nightwing to interrupt his efforts, sending his adopted father back to Earth so that he can continue to defend it while remaining behind to ensure that his biological father remains trapped. Chris reverts to a young boy, encounters Mon-El, and the two journey off together within the Zone. In the aftermath, Clark and Lois reflect sadly on how New Krypton's appearance resulted in such a pointless war, Clark 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.
Superman returns from a meeting with Congress about the situation with New Krypton. As he's answering questions from reporters, a woman slaps him. She berates him for spending time on New Krypton, because in the time Superman was gone, her husband died of a brain tumor. She tried to reach him, but Superman was off doing something "important." Superman looks at the man's picture, and others tell the woman that Superman can't be everywhere at once. Superman flies off without answering any more questions. Superman and Batman look down on Earth from a satellite, where Batman indicates they can now see through cloud cover. Superman ponders this, and leaves suddenly. Superman stands under a tree as the Flash goes by. He asks Flash what it's like to see the world around him at superspeed, and Flash indicates that it's a blur unless he slows down to look. Superman goes into space and examines the photograph of the man he couldn't save. He recalls Pa Kent telling him that crops have to be rotated, and that you have to do things differently to bring things back to where they belong. Superman lands next to a game of baseball being played by kids, picks up some dirt, examines it, and starts to walk.
Superman's first stop is Philadelphia and the media are following him every step of the way. Amongst the journalists and bewildered public is Clark Kent's wife Lois Lane. She asks Clark for his cover story at the Daily Planet, after all he's been on 18 months bereavement leave. They decide he'll also be 'on the road' covering Superman's soul search. Clark does a few good deeds; with the past few years of cosmic level threats he hasn't really paid attention to the more 'mortal level' threats since he first put on the cape many years ago. He helps a messy diner clean up, kicks a drugs gang out of town, urges a sick man to seek medical attention and talks a woman down from a suicide drop. Then Superman leaves town for his next destination. 
Superman walks through a neighborhood, and a man nods off on his porch and completely misses him. Some kids playing basketball are bagging on one of their friends, Markey G. Superman arrives and starts to play without using his powers. Markey G gets a basket on Superman, and earns the approval of his friends. Superman then hears a vibration and approaches a seemingly normal looking man at his house. The man is revealed to be an alien, and when he leads Superman into the house a large, black creature attacks Superman. Superman defeats the creature, and theplead with Superman not to reveal them to the public, given how hard their life is back home. They point out that he too was an alien. Superman points out that it's a bad time to immigrate illegally in the United States. The alien points out that they're self-sufficient, and have enough gold to not make an impact on Earth. Superman asks them what they're giving back to their community. He decides to think for a while before making his decision. Superman encounters an old shut down factory, and meets an elderly man who provides security. He describes the plant as it used to be, and asks to see Superman fly. Superman obliges, then as he's leaving, the man collapses. Superman takes him to the aliens, who heal him, and then he has them open up the factory again with the technology to kill two birds with one stone, employing all of the workers who were formerly at the plant. Clark Kent, on assignment to cover Superman's walk, writes an article on the whole thing. Lois talks with Superman on the phone about this as he keeps walking. Unknown to Superman, he is being watched by Batman.
Superman holds an ex-convict at mid-air, forcing him to stop stalking a waitress. Later, Batman meets Superman and the two talk in a rooftop. Batman believes Superman is endangering innocent lives in his journey. The two go separate ways. Later, Superman flies to Cincinnati to investiage a piece of debris from New Krypton that fell nearby, thanks to information received from Lois. Superman talks to a police officer about the debris, but he is attacked by Willy Trask, a town drunk that obtained superpowers. After a short fight, Superman subdues him, and Trask's powers disappear. However, the city has been left devastated during their fight. Although Superman rebuilds it, this leads the public to make negative comments against him.
Superman finds Lois as she walks across Rushmark, waiting for his arrival. There, she admits that she has been having doubts about her choices in life and asks if he needs her. Superman replies that one of the things that makes him human is her. With her spirit rekindled, Lois kisses Superman and he takes her to Chicago.
Superman walks across Chicago, and he sees that people are uneasy about his stay in the city, due to the incident in Ohio. He is also aware that Jennings is spying on him. Superman then meets with Lois in a park, and they go to an apartment to spend the night together. He then dreams about a three-headed creature destroying Chicago, and of Jennings taunting him with his failure to protect the people. Superman wakes up and sees that his face has real injuries from his fight against the three-headed creature in his dreams. Lois covers his injuries and Superman leaves the apartment without being seen. Later, Superman walks across a neighborhood and sees a boy and his mother being brutally beaten by his father. Superman captures the father and takes him to the police station. There, he is informed that mother and son will be taken by child protective services to a safe places and the police will file charges against the father. Superman gives a phone number to the boy, telling him to call him everyday. Superman then leaves Chicago, but not before telling the police that the only thing needed to stop the violence was "someone, anyone, with a pair of eyes, a voice, a phone and ten cents' worth of compassion."
Superman later hears about the Daily Planet's recent problems with the blog Urbanitis and decides to help. Meeting Perry White in the Planet's rooftop, Superman asks him if there is anything he can do to help. Perry declines his offer, saying that Superman's involvement would only make things worse. Superman accepts this and flies away. Perry would later solve things with Jack Hoffman, the creator of Urbanitis, and offer him a job at the Planet.
Superman arrives to Des Moines, Iowa, and does several heroic deeds. However, the people still distrust him. He calls Lois to and confides in her his doubts about what he is truly fighting for. When she replies that he is fighting for "Truth, Justice and American Way," Superman replies that things are not as simple as they used to be. Suddenly, Lois hears an explosion, and she sees that a chemical plant is burning. Superman quickly saves the workers and puts out the fire.
As he goes to see if the workers are injured, Superman sees that Manuel, Lois's friend, arguing with one of the plant's owners. Lois explains that Manuel used to work at the plant, but he was fired when he started raising a stink about the lax environmental standards. Manuel says that the plant is polluting the environment, and its environment protections have been used since the 1950s. Whenever new standards are put in place, the plant owners bribe the inspectors into letting them use the old ones rather than make any changes. However, the workers claim that the plant is the only major employer in town, since Lexcorp shut down the aircraft factory and shipped the jobs overseas. While Superman and the others are talking, they are being watched by the mysterious Lisa Jennings.
Superman say that not everything is all black and white as it seems. Even though he is not happy about the environment, Superman does not want to put an entire town out of work either. He promises to leave the workers alone if they make a better job at cleaning up after themselves. He also says that he will be checking in on them. Lois and Manuel are surprised by Superman's decision. The workers also say that if Lois publishes her story, the authorities will shut the plant down. Superman tells Lois that she cannot publish her story. Angry, Lois and Manuel walk away, while the workers praise Superman.
Later, Superman tries to call Lois, but she doesn't answer. Superman decides to continue his journey, when he is suddenly met by a mysterious group of people dressed like him, calling themsleves the "Superman Squad."
The Superman Squad take Superman to their homebase, the Fortress of Solidarity, in the future. There, they explain that the Superman Squad is formed of several superpowered beings inspired by Superman's heroic acts. Some members include Superman's own descendants, either through blood-relation or adopted; beings that share his Kryptonian heritage, and unrelated beings who all decided to fight for justice. Some of them include non-human or non-Kryptonian members, such as Titano, protector of the Gorilla Galaxy; Superstar, a sentient star system, and Superego, a "good idea" who protects the realm of the collective unconscious.
The Superman Squad explain Superman that his recent emotional crisis is not just a matter of indecision, he is actually in danger of losing himself. During the events of New Krypton, Superman recovered his people and lost it again. In the aftermath, he suffered a depression and began doubting his own ideals and principles. Making matters worse, an outside influence is reinforcing that depression. The Superman Squad are confident that Superman will move past his doubts and be the hero he was.
The Superman Squad then leave Superman in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the present, where Superman will have an encounter with a woman who will be inspired by his heroic actions. Superman then flies to Lincoln, where a devastating storm is happening. Superman saves a school bus full of children, as he is being watched by Wonder Woman. Then, Superman notices that the storm is creating a flood. Also, a tornado is coming to town, forcing Superman to choose between stopping the tornado or saving the people from the flood. Fortunately, Diana appears and Superman asks her to save the people while he goes to stop the tornado. Although confused, Diana agrees. Superman uses a powerful clap to create a supersonic boom that dissipates the tornado.
After the people is safe, Superman thanks Diana for helping him. Although Diana admits she wasn't here to help since she is on a quest for vengeance, she was inspired by him to act like a hero. Diana then flies away, but not before warning Superman of a woman in black. Superman thinks that the woman in black may be the one she saw on his dream on Chicago. However, Superman puts those feelings aside so that he can help the panicked citizens. He is watched by Jennings, who says that Superman's descent is only beginning.
As Superman reaches Boulder, Colorado, he helps Saganowahna catch two criminals. After delivering the two criminals to the police, the two part ways, but not before Saganowahna tells Superman that the Manitou Stone may be Kryptonian in origin. Superman then reaches the city and a blur suddenly puts a Kryptonian armor on him. Superman takes the Kryptonian armor off and watches as the blur establishes Kryptonian structures across the city. Using his superhuman senses, Superman discover that the one behind all of this is the Flash, who is wearing a Kryptonian headband. Apparently, the headband is making Flash put Kryptonian structures over the city. Superman reaches the Flash and manages to take the headband off him. With the Flash free of the headband's influence, the two get the city back to normal.
The two go to a restaurant, where they see the race between Superboy and Kid Flash. Superman explains to the Flash that the headband he was wearing contains a Kryptonian sunstone. During his time in New Krypton, Superman saw an interrogation device that could extract memories directly from a prisoner's mind. The Flash believes that the device was not meant to be worn by anyone other than a Kryptonian. The Flash explains to Superman the he found the headband in a crater in Central City. As he put the headband on, his mind was overwhelmed by Kryptonian knowledge.
The Flash knew that Superman was the only one who could help him, so he made several references to the House of El while he was in Colorado. As the Flash finishes his explanation, Superman remarks that the Kryptonians believe morality to be a natural law. He tells Flash about something his adoptive father and a classmate of his told him during high school. Clark was grounded for skipping classes. He actually skipped classes to put out a fire in a neighboring county, but he did not tell anyone because he knew no one would believe him. As he was in detention, another kid was sent to detention: Lex Luthor. Clark would later figure out that Lex was sent to detention for trying to steal forty cakes from the school's bake sale. Lex had done this in revenge for not being allowed to enter a fission-powered toaster in the science fair. As Clark and Lex talked, Clark said that his father told him that "There is right and wrong in the universe, and the distinction isn't hard to make." However, Lex replied that the real distinction was between what works and what doesn't. Lex then left the detention room, but not before telling Clark that he didn't want to be punished for something he did. Clark would later learn that Lex was talking about pragmatism, about what's expedient instead of what's true.
As Superman and Flash leave the restaurant, Superman asks the Flash if he has wondered if he is doing the right thing by leaving a legacy behind. Flash admits that it was a little overwhelming at first, but now he is comfortable with the fact that if something happens to him, there will always be a Flash. He also says that Superman will also leave a legacy. Before the Flash leaves, Superman reminds him of what he said earlier, that he only saw a blur when he ran. Flash admits that he was joking. When he runs, he actually sees everything and everyone. Superman admits his recent feelings of self-doubt to Flash, who tells him that everything will be alright. The Flash then leaves, but not before telling Superman that he let Superman catch him and that he is still the Fastest Man Alive.
Superman saves Helen Phelps, an archeologist, from being hit by a truck in Ogden, Utah. He takes her to her trailer near Mt. Krowak. There, she and her crew had begun a dig on the mountain to find artifacts left by a civilization that established itself in the mountain before Paleo-Indians had. However, their research is being hampered by Centum Industries, a company that recently bought the montain, wanting to use it as a radioactive waste site. Suddenly, Superman sees an S-signal in the sky, only visible to those who can see the ultraviolet end of the spectrum.
Superman flies to the source of the signal and finds Batman, who says that they haven't had the chance to talk after his return. They remember the time when they met in Bhutran. There, Clark and Bruce met with Terri, Clark's friend. After her father's death, Terri had become the new Rhana Bhutran. She had asked for Clark and Bruce's help to defend Bhutran from a group of Chinese soldiers led by Vandal Savage.
Vandal Savage had received information from Hassan-I-Sabbah, another immortal. Vandal believed that the inhabitants of Bhutran knew the location of Nanda Parbat, and he also believed that the monks of Rama Kushna could cure him from his cancer. To stop Vandal, Clark used rocks to block the pathway to Bhutran while Bruce used hypersonic speakers to summon a group of bats and attack the soldiers. After defeating the soldiers, Clark and Bruce expressed hope in working together again.
Superman and Batman then discuss about Superman's recent emotional crisis. Batman believes that Superman can get past his doubts. Also, Batman says that he just bought Mt. Krowak, allowing Dr. Phelps and her crew to continue their research. Superman compliments Batman for creating Batman Incorporated, and Batman replies that Superman can also create his own squad of supermen. Batman then says that he will work in the shadows while Superman works in the light. The two then part ways.
The mayor of Provo, Utah, gives Superman the key to the city. Suddenly, Superman hears a frequency emitted by Jimmy Olsen's watch. Superman goes to Las Vegas, where Jimmy is, and sees that Livewire has trapped hostages within an electric field. Among them are Iron Munro and Lisa Jennings. Superman gives Jimmy the key he received from the mayor and goes to stop Livewire. Superman is confused on why is Livewire has returned to open villainy when she decided to begin a new honest life after helping Superman defeating the Auctioneer. Superman tries to reason with her, but Livewire attacks him with lightning bolts. Also, she transforms into pure energy and moves through the city's power grid to escape from Superman.
To help Superman, Jimmy calls Dr. Serling Roquette of S.T.A.R. Labs and asks her for a way to stop Livewire. Dr. Roquette tells Jimmy that Livewire's increased power is affecting her mind and that the only way to stop her is using a containment suit to dissipate Livewire's excessive power. Superman interecepts the call with his super-hearing and goes to the Fortress of Solitude. There, he finds the suit he used when he was an energy being. He takes the suit to S.T.A.R. Labs, and Dr. Roquette modifies to suit to contain Livewire.
Livewire attacks Jimmy, but he straps the key to a wire and throws it to her. This weakens Livewire and dissipates the electric field, allowing the hostages to escape. Jennings escapes in the confusion. Livewire tries to attack the hostages, but Iron Munro protects them with his invulnerabilty. Superman then puts the modified suit on Livewire, which returns her power levels to normal.
Livewire is arrested, but she may not receive a hard sentence since she was only damaged property and there were not wounded people, and also Superman spoke in her favor. Iron Munroe also chooses to use his influence in the justice department to help Livewire. Jimmy asks Superman why is he helping Livewire, and Superman answers that in America, everyone deserves a second chance.
Final Encounter with Luthor and Reign of the Doomsdays
Quickly speeding towards Metropolis, Superman arrives and quickly asks for Doomsday's whereabouts. Lois confronts Superman and tells him of Doomsday's fight with Steel. Though Lois worries about the fact that Doomsday killed Superman before, he reassures everyone he'll win this fight.
Then, Luthor brings Superman to space for a final fight. Superman notices that where they are has very little in terms of civilization and that Luthor's infused with Phantom Zone energies. Realizing that last bit, he finds a portal and attempts to enter it (possibly to save Chris Kent), only for Luthor to pull him back. Asking where Luthor got this power, Luthor revealed the power's origin - that of a creature that was harmed by negative emotion and was freed by Lex, intending on purging that emotion. Luthor shows his displeasure at Superman still "ignoring him" and roars that he should not turn his back on him. Binding him, Luthor decides to finally bring justice to Superman, inflicting him with human emotion (which he believes Superman does not possess, being an alien).
Luthor brings Superman back to the day he died and shows him Lois' grief. Superman snaps at him and tells him he knows how that feels. Luthor brushes it off and tries the destruction of Krypton, thinking that this reasoning for doing what he does is nothing. Superman yells out in anguish at that scene and starts breaking down as Luthor shows him scenes of Chris sacrificing himself to put away Zod and New Krypton exploding. In anger, Superman tells him that if he looks deep inside enough, he'll see what causes him the most pain. Luthor starts to brush it off as another world exploding, only to find out it's the death of Jonathan Kent. As he realizes who he's seeing, Luthor finally puts it together: Superman is Clark Kent. When Superman tells him that they're both similar, Luthor snaps, vowing to finally break Superman for apparently mocking him all these years. When Superman dares him, Luthor lashes out to strike him, only to find out Superman isn't dead. Mister Mind, in control of the Lois robot, warns Luthor that the Zone Child has woken and is limiting the power Luthor has. Luthor brushes it off and declares he's going to get back that power and use it to kill Superman..
In space, Luthor battles the Zone Child. The Zone Child tells Luthor he came to eradicate negative emotions, but learns it's much more different here. He tells Luthor he can have his power, but only do with it as he would. With that full power, Luthor creates eternal bliss. On Earth, Death talks to a man who would have died at the moment and reveals that this was what the child wanted - to end entropy. Everyone - from Vandal Savage to the Red Lanterns to the Thangarians; to Batman, the Daily Planet crew, Larfleeze, Deathstroke, Gorilla Grodd and Braniac - are experiencing this bliss. Superman tries to tell Luthor that things have to change, that he can use the power he has to do what he should have done so long ago. Mister Mind explains to Luthor that to keep the power, Luthor cannot do anything negative, like destroy Superman.
Sadly, Luthor's ego refuses to listen to that train of thought. Even as Superman apologizes for everything he's done to him, Luthor still wants Superman dead. With the Zone Child dead, Mister Mind is free and he bails on Luthor. When Superman realizes Luthor is getting weaker as he gets angrier, he allows him to keep attacking, draining him of his power. When Superman refuses to fight back, Luthor attempts to provoke him to do so. Superman, in turn, tells Luthor that the way he does things will never work and that he had the power to do good and heal, but he didn't have the courage to change.
Superman's fight with Luthor finally causes the man to lose the power forever. Even worse, Luthor had lost his memories, unable to remember who he was. As Luthor starts coming to, his ramblings cause Superman to realize he was behind the Doomsday attacks. However, before Superman can pull him away, Luthor falls into one of the Phantom Zone holes, seemingly forever. Superman confronts the Lois bot and asks if he wants to return with him, but she declines.
Taking Luthor's ship, Superman makes it to where the others are captured and busts in, only for the lair's strange effect to take hold. He reunites with Kara, Conner, Steel and the Cyborg Superman. The Cyborg Superman reveals his findings: another Doomsday. The Cyborg deduces that they thought they were all attacked by one singular Doomsday, but when Superman reveals that this was all Luthor's doing and that he could have had access to him during his time with General Lane, the Cyborg surmises, as three Doomsdays arrive, that Luthor had put into place the "Reign of the Doomsdays."
• This summary is based off of the Superman: Secret Origin Story line.
- ↑ Action Comics #850
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #1
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #2
- ↑ Action Comics Annual #10
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #0
- ↑ Superman #656
- ↑ Superman (volume 2) #12
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #3
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #4
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #5
- ↑ Superman: Secret Origin #6
- ↑ Superman #1
- ↑ Superman #2
- ↑ Superman #3
- ↑ Action Comics #586
- ↑ Action Comics #600
- ↑ Superman #21-22, Adventures of Superman #444
- ↑ Superman #27
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #450}}, 453
- ↑ Superman #32-33, Adventures of Superman #454}}-456, Action Comics Annual #2
- ↑ Action Comics #643}}-644
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #459}}-461
- ↑ Superman #42
- ↑ Action Comics #652
- ↑ Action Comics #653}}-654
- ↑ Superman #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 #71
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #494
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #438
- ↑ Action Comics #647}}-649
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #9
- ↑ Superman #65
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #488
- ↑ Superman #66
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #489
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #14}}
- ↑ Superman #69
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #492
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #18
- ↑ Justice League America #69, Superman #74
- ↑ Action Comics #684}}, Superman: Man of Steel #19
- ↑ Superman #75
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #498
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #20
- ↑ Superman #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 #81
- ↑ Green Lantern #46
- ↑ Superman #82
- ↑ Adventures of Superman #505}}-506
- ↑ Action Comics #692}}-693
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #27}}-28
- ↑ Superman #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 #87, Adventures of Superman #510}}, Action Comics #697
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #32, Superman #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 #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 #21-22
- ↑ Superman #0, Action Comics #0
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #38
- ↑ Superman (Volume 2) #94
- ↑ Superman #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 #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 #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 #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 #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: Doomsday Wars #1-3
- ↑ Superman #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: The 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
- ↑ Superman: Emperor Joker #1
- ↑ Superman #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 (Vol.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 #184,Adventures of Superman #606, Superman: Man of Steel #128, Action Comics #791
- ↑ Green Arrow (Volume 3) #4, 16
- ↑ Superboy (Volume 4) #100
- ↑ Superman #186-187, Adventures of Superman #608}}-609, Superman: Man of Steel #130}}-131, Action Comics #795}}-796
- ↑ Superman: Man of Steel #134
- ↑ Superman/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 (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 (Volume 1) #658
- ↑ Action Comics #844
- ↑ Action Comics #845
- ↑ Action Comics #846
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #1
- ↑ Superman: World of New Krypton #2
- ↑ 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 v.5 #44
- ↑ Superman #691
- ↑ Superman World of New Krypton #7
- ↑ Superman World of New Krypton #8
- ↑ Blackest Night Superman #1
- ↑ Blackest Night: Superman #2
- ↑ Blackest Night: Superman #3
- ↑ Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #1
- ↑ Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2
- ↑ 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 Superman #4
- ↑ Superman Vol 1 700
- ↑ Superman #701
- ↑ Superman #702
- ↑ Superman #703
- ↑ Superman #704
- ↑ Superman #705
- ↑ Superman #706
- ↑ Superman #707
- ↑ Superman #708
- ↑ Superman #709
- ↑ Superman #710
- ↑ Superman #711
- ↑ Action Comics #900