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Superman: Last Son

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Superman: Last Son
December 2006 — July 2007
Writers Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
Artists Adam Kubert
Comic Book Story Arcs
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Superman: Last Son is a five-issue comic book story arc featuring Superman in the monthly Action Comics. This story introduces the original character, Christopher Kent and adapts the classic Superman film villains, General Zod, Ursa and Non into the regular DC Universe continuity.

This is the first appearance of General Zod, Ursa, and Non in their post-Infinite Crisis incarnations. All three are influenced by the characters' appearance in the films Superman and Superman II. Since Crisis on Infinite Earths, there have been several characters bearing the name of Zod in the Superman comics. However, in current continuity, Superman meets the true Zod for the first time in "Last Son".

In Action Comics Annual #10, Clark Kent's life as a child in Smallville is shown in detail for current continuity. Also, in this issue, continuity returns to having multiple versions of kryptonite. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the decision was made to have only the poisonous green variety. Now, more color variants from the Silver Age of comics have returned to the modern mythos.

Chris' fate at the end of the story creates a continuity paradox. Due to the delays in the completion of the story, Chris Kent's appearances in the Superman title during the interim time between "Last Son"'s fourth and fifth parts appeared to take place after "Last Son". This would be impossible, however, since Chris returned to the Phantom Zone at the conclusion of the story. Due to the pronounced scheduling problems with the arc, a line of dialogue was incorporated into Action Comics Annual #11 ("I even got to meet Robin.") that insinuates that the invasion of Zod's army took place after Chris received his power-dampening wristwatch, which would place the events of Superman #664, 668, and 673 chronologically before those of Action Comics #846 despite the fact that the latter was released earlier.

Chris Kent's fate was unknown until Action Comics #875, where it was revealed that he is the new Nightwing after the events of "New Krypton".

Action Comics #844

Action Comics 844
  • Date: December 2006
  • Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
  • Pencils: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Adam Kubert
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Cover by Adam Kubert

Superman travel to the Fortress of Solitude to confer with the artificial likeness of his late father, Jor-El. Jor-El reminds his son, that although he may look like an Earthling, he is not truly one of them.

Later at the Daily Planet, Perry White tears into Jimmy Olsen for his sub-par photograph work during an incident involving Superman and Gorilla Grodd. Clark is present and tries to defend Jimmy, but Perry sends the boy out of the office to get him some coffee.

Suddenly, a strange meteor plummets through the sky towards downtown Metropolis. Clark races off to change into Superman, and stops the meteor before it can cause any widespread damage. With the danger averted, Superman realizes that the meteor is actually a space-ship. Inside the vessel, a young boy emerges.

The boy is taken to the Metropolis lab of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, where Sarge Steel coordinates a series of examinations. The child begins speaking in an alien language, which Superman immediately recognizes as Kryptonian. To further demonstrate his origins, the child effortlessly lifts a three-hundred pound entertainment center above his head. Superman takes a personal interest in the child's well-being and wants to make sure that the government doesn't decide to turn him into a lab rat.

Sarge Steel transfers the boy to the Department's headquarters in Washington, but neglects to inform Superman. Enraged, Superman speeds down the transfer route and extricates the child. He brings him back to Smallville, Kansas, where he asks his parents how to go about adopting a child.

Action Comics #845

Action Comics 845
  • Date: January 2007
  • Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
  • Pencils: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Adam Kubert
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Cover by Adam Kubert

Superman brings the Kryptonian child to his Fortress of Solitude in the hopes of finding answers to explain his sudden arrival on Earth. He consults with the disembodied Jor-El, who knows nothing of the boy's true origins. Afterwards, he flies him back to Smallville, and talks with Lois about adoption. Lois is uncomfortable with the idea, and is concerned whether Clark and she could really be ideal parents to a Kryptonian child.

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor secretly monitors broadcasts of the Department of Metahuman Affairs and learns about the Kryptonian's existence. Having somewhat domesticated the backwards being known as Bizarro, he sends him out to retrieve this "Super-Boy".

Later, Superman attends a full press conference on the steps of the Daily Bugle, and publicly announces that he is leaving the child in the care of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Sarge Steel is present and asks Superman why he created such a media circus around the affair, to which Superman replies, "It'll keep you and your scientists honest, Steel".

Suddenly, Bizarro arrives and pummels Superman through the pavement. They fight briefly underground, and just as abruptly burst upwards to continue their fight in the sky. Bizarro swoops down and snatches up a child, whom he mistakenly believes is the Kryptonian. He quickly realizes his error when the boy's arm snaps in his grasp. Discarding him like a broken toy, Bizarro continues tearing up the city street in the hopes of finding the Kryptonian. Superman catches the child, and brings him safely to the ground before resuming his fight with the mad, backwards creature. During the carnage, Bizarro hurls a school bus which plummets down, landing directly on top of the Kryptonian's head. Fortunately, his invulnerability proves to be just as strong as Superman's and he emerges without a scratch. Superman finally defeats Bizarro with several strong gusts of Arctic Breath.

Later, after everything has settled down, Clark and Lois walk the boy through the park and discuss their future. Lois decides that they should give the child a proper Earth name, and chooses Christopher.

In the Arctic North near the Fortress of Solitude, three meteor pods land on Earth. Emerging from them are former Phantom Zone criminals, General Zod, Ursa and Non. Zod embraces his newfound freedom and tells Ursa that it is now time to locate their son.

Action Comics #846

Action Comics 846
  • Date: February 2007
  • Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
  • Pencils: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Adam Kubert
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Cover by Adam Kubert

General Zod, Ursa and Non enter the empty Fortress of Solitude. Zod activates a Sunstone crystal, which projects a holographic image of Superman's father, Jor-El. Upon request, Jor-El reveals the history of General Zod, and the events that led to his exile in the Phantom Zone.

In Metropolis, Clark and Lois bring Christopher Kent to the Daily Planet to introduce him to the staff. They go over their cover story with one another, and Clark fumbles to find the forged paperback showing that Chris is his cousin's son. Just as they formally introduce Christopher to Jimmy Olsen, multiple bolts of heat vision streak through the Daily Planet windows, smashing glass and starting fires. Jimmy activates his Superman signal watch.

Clark turns to change into Superman, but doesn't get the chance as Non smashes into him, driving him out the window of the building. They land on the ground, and Clark sheds the torn remains of his civilian attire. He punches Non across the jaw, breaking one of his teeth, which Non then proceeds to spit out. Zod arrives and punts Superman across the street with a super-kick.

Ursa flies into the Daily Planet in search of Chris Kent. Lois tries to escape with him down the stairwell, but Ursa blocks her path with several shots of heat vision. She then knocks Lois over with a flick of her finger.

Outside, Zod and Superman continue to battle one another over the skies of Metropolis. Suddenly, dozens of stasis pods rain down from the sky, smashing into the ground. Each pod contains another Kryptonian exile from the Phantom Zone. One of them, a scientist named Jax-Ur, emerges from his pod with a Phantom Zone Projector. He directs it at Superman and transports him into the Zone.

Action Comics #851

Action Comics 851
  • Date: August 2007
  • Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
  • Pencils: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Adam Kubert
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Cover by Adam Kubert

Though trapped in the Phantom Zone, Superman witnesses the Kryptonian invasion taking place on Earth. He sees other known heroes attempting and failing to stop the Phantom Zone criminals. Suddenly, Mon-El appears before him. Superman was forced to exile Mon-El to the Phantom Zone to save his life many years ago. Mon-El brings Superman to Fort Rozz, a former Kryptonian prison that had been physically displaced into the Phantom Zone. He tells him that he will be able to use one of the ships inside to escape the zone and return home.

Waiting for Superman inside is Kryptonian prisoner Dev-Em. Dev-Em elected to stay behind at Fort Rozz to take care of Superman should he try to escape. The two fight and Dev-Em nearly kills Superman with his blade. Fortunately for the Man of Steel, Mon-El enters the old fort to give Superman a hand. He slams Dev-Em against a wall, knocking him out. Superman takes the Kryptonian ship and leaves the Phantom Zone for Earth.

Arriving back in Metropolis, he sees that the Kryptonians have practically enslaved the city. They are slowly transforming the city into a Sunstone structure, and have defeated heroes such as Power Girl, Supergirl and Green Lantern. Lor-Zod, son of General Zod, turns against his father and burns his hand with heat vision. When Zod asks him what he thinks he is doing, Lor-Zod responds, "What Superman would do".

Superman knows that he does not have the power to take on multiple Kryptonians simultaneously. He needs help. He finds Lex Luthor, knowing that Luthor likely has a cache of weaponry designed to defeat Kryptonians. Lex has put together a new team of villains however - the Superman Revenge Squad, which consists of Bizarro, Parasite and Metallo.

Action Comics Annual #11

Action Comics Annual 11
  • Date: July 2007
  • Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner
  • Pencils: Adam Kubert
  • Inks: Stéphane Roux
  • Colors: Edgar Delgado
  • Cover by Adam Kubert

The escaped Phantom Zone Criminals observe the city of Metropolis in ruins. The only thing that can possibly stand against them is the Superman Revenge Squad. Oddly, Superman needs their assistance in stopping the renegade Kryptonians. They are all armed with Kryptonite weaponry and firearms that project red solar radiation. Superman and Lex Luthor argue with one another, but both understand that they must put aside their differences if they are to defeat the common threat.

The U.S. military mobilize in the streets of Metropolis, but there is nothing they can do against the Kryptonians. General Zod is willing to kill his own son to show that he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Superman speeds onto the scene and barrels into Zod. The rest of the Superman Revenge Squad take positions throughout the city and begin selecting targets. Metallo and the Parasite begin picking off targets from a rooftop while Bizarro embroils in a slugfest with the brutish Non. Managing to slip away from his fight with Zod and Ursa, Superman is able to free the other heroes held inside the Kryptonians' base.

Luthor meanwhile, sneaks into the criminals' Sunstone hive. A Zoner attacks him, but Luthor is able to kill him with his specialized arsenal. Afterward he muses, "So this is what it feels like to kill a Kryptonian. Feels good". Lois Lane enters the hive and finds Luthor fast at work on one of Zod's rocket pods. He explains that the Zoners (and everyone connected to them including Clark) are connected to the zone by an invisible tether. By reversing the rocket's warp drive, he seeks to snap the tether like a rubber band, instantly transporting everyone back to the Zone. He coyly confesses that he neglected to tell Superman exactly how his plan works.

Although Lois renders him unconcious on the head with a Sunstone, Luthor's plan works and suddenly a giant vortex opens up in Metropolis, sucking the Zoners back into it. As he is sucked in, General Zod screams that there is something lurking inside the Phantom Zone, and when he next escapes, he will unleash that upon Earth. Superman grabs a hold of Chris, but the boy believes that he is the only one who can close the portal. Unfortunately, it also means that he must return to the Phantom Zone with the others. Superman is unwilling to sacrifice Chris to such a life, but the boy is adamant. He is doing what Superman would do. With an "Up, up and away", Chris flies into the vortex and the portal closes behind him.

In the following days, life returns to normal across Metropolis. Clark and Lois discuss the events with Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, saying that Lor-Zod was just a good kid with bad parents. Perry asks when the two of them will have children, and Clark sadly says that it looks like children aren't in their future. Although it was Lex Luthor who truly saved the city, the newspapers only acknowledge Lor-Zod's heroic sacrifice, and Luthor can only rage in prison. Metallo and Parasite are recaptured in Gotham City, but there is no sign of Bizarro. Saddened over the loss of Chris, Superman retreats to the Fortress of Solitude to consult with Jor-El. Jor-El tells him that a Kryptonian and a human are genetically incompatible, and cannot reproduce. Kal-El is the last of the House of El.

Superman then contacts Mon-El who is still trapped in the Phantom Zone. Mon-El says that Zod and his forces have retreated back to Fort Razz, but there is no sign that Chris is with them. Mon-El promises Superman that he will never give up searching for Chris.

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