Kal-El is the last survivor of the planet Krypton. His father Jor-El, Krypton's greatest scientist, realized the planet was on the brink of destruction, and placed his son in a spaceship to escape certain death. Landing on Earth, Kal-El was found by Martha and Jonathan Kent in Smallville, who adopted him as their own and imbued him with a strong sense of purpose, morality, and compassion. The yellow sun orbiting Earth interacted with his Kryptonian genetics, and gives Superman his immense powers.
Kal-El was born on the doomed planet Krypton to Jor-El and Lara.
Jor-El's warnings that Krypton would soon explode were not heeded. Unfortunately, because of an ancient device known as the Eradicator, all Kryptonians were genetically bound to their planet. Jor-El managed to devise a cure for his son, who was still a fetus (as Kryptonians were never born naturally, but rather in articial wombs known as matrix chambers)
Although Jor-El had hoped to send his pregnant wife away from the planet in a test rocket to avoid its destruction, Kal-El was born earlier than expected, and the ship's life support system could only support one passenger. Therefore, the baby was sent alone to Earth, the last son of Krypton.
Jor-El and Lara placed their son's birthing matrix into a rocket ship and fired him off. Kal-El'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.
Clark's powers developed very slowly--he could not fly before he was eighteen, although varying degrees of invulnerability and super strength existed as he aged.
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.
While Clark was still a youngster, the amnesiatic Daxamite Lar Gand arrived in Smallville. Clark was excited to find someone like himself, even theorizing that he was his older brother and naming him "Mon-El". However, after accidentally exposing the Daxamite to lead, his memories returned. Clark sent him to the Phantom Zone until a cure for his lead poisoning could be found. After becoming the star football player and being voted "most likely to succeed," Clark finally learned his true otherworldly origins from his father. He eventually managed to awaken an ancient recording from Jor-El and learn the full nature of his Kryptonian heritage.
After he graduated from high school, Clark divulged to Lana Lang his secret. He was not in love with her the way she was with him, and he did not know for years that she was so utterly heartbroken by his leaving. Clark then decided to travel the world for a number of years, learning about its many cultures, languages, and customs. He would secretly help people when he could, although he never had a costume or a superheroic 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. Clark eventually moved to Metropolis to attend Metropolis University. 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. A rivalry with his co-worker Lois Lane eventually blossomed into a romance and marriage.
While in college, Clark met Lori Lemaris and the two became briefly involved, until he learned her secret.
After graduating college, Clark later moved to Metropolis full time.
He made his public debut when an experimental space shuttle began to crash over the skies of Metropolis. Clark took to the skies and helped the shuttle to land, meeting Lois Lane for the very first time. It was her byline which first named him Superman. Returning home to Smallville, his parents convinced him to adopt a superheroic identity (inspired by the Justice Society of 1940s and 1950s). Martha Kent helped make his suit for him.
When Clark returned home to Smallville, he began openly using his emerging talents and powers in the costumed superhero identity of Superman.
His first major scoop as a reporter came in delivering the definitive story on Superman--which involved one-upping Lois Lane, something that took several years for her to completely get over.
During his earliest time as a public superhero, Clark was visited by a team of other super-powered youths from a thousand years in the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes; they brought Clark to their time and inducted him into their membership, sharing many adventures with Clark during his youth. Clark occasionally traveled between this future and his own native time, before permanently returning to the present.
Early in his adventures, Superman met Lex Luthor during an event Luthor was holding on his yacht. Luthor created a dangerous situation just to get Superman to turn up, gauge his abilities and offer him a job. Superman was not impressed, and neither was the Mayor of Metropolis, who officially deputized Superman to arrest Luthor for public endangerment.
This humiliation began what would become one of the legendary rivalries of the DC Universe.
Luthor soon became obsessed with destroying the Man of Steel. Beyond the humiliation that resulted from their first meeting, Luthor became very embittered towards Superman for stealing the love and attention of "his" city from him. Luthor hired Doctor Teng to create a clone of Superman, the first Bizarro, although this Bizarro was more synthetic than biological. In a confrontation with the real Superman, it was destroyed.
Back in Smallville, an ancient message from Jor-El was suddenly activated, explaining to Superman his Kryptonian origins. Superman felt that while his alien roots gave him his powers, his upbringing on Earth truly made him human.
Superman and Batman meet each other for the first time. Batman is on the trail of the criminal known as Magpie. He is interrupted in a lead by Superman who regards him as an outlaw. Rather than risk capture, Batman informs Superman that should the latter make any attempts to come near him, a signal will be activated that will trigger a bomb and kill a person somewhere in the city. The two are forced to work together and eventually capture Magpie. In the end, Batman reveals to Superman that the endangered person is Batman himself. Superman departs cautioning Batman against crossing any further lines. Batman admits to himself of a respect for Superman’s innate goodness and wonders if, in a different reality, they could have been friends.
In keeping up his secret identity, Clark Kent misses the train to take him to work, something he does three times a week. A gunshot is heard from that train and Clark appears as Superman and finds the victim: the train's driver. As the train speeds up uncontrollably, Superman tries to grab the side of the train but it already plummets off the curve toward the ground. But Superman manages to catch it, before it hits the ground. Superman tracks the trajectory of the bullet that killed the driver, but finds nothing. In the distance, shadowy figures track his movements, and later that night, those figures break into S.T.A.R. Labs. They make sure Superman is not around to stop them, but a shadow appears and stops them anyway. The media believes Superman was the one who stopped the thieves, but wonders why he decided to leave them hogtied. In Antarctica, other shadowy figures track down and dig out a creature created by Lex Luthor: Bizarro. Clark receives a tip from an old friend, and he meets him in his limousine. Bruce was the one who captured the S.T.A.R. Labs thieves, as he explains that he has been on the trail of an exclusive cartel that can obtain any type of weapon calling themselves "the Purge". The thieves were after kryptonite, and Bruce needs his help in the decryption of a LexCorp disc, where the thieves will steal next.
An Amazon woman, who calls herself "Diana", passes her "audition" by fighting several shadowy figures. A man from the shadows offers her a position with The Purge. Clark breaks the code on the disk and discovers that The Purge was after something called "Project Replica". He knows what it means, and goes to one of the locations to see it gone. Covered in heavy, thick chains, Bizarro sits as the shadowy man enters: Ra's Al Ghul. Calling Bizarro his "friend", he talks him into joining the Purge and adds that no one will ever harm him again. He is unlocked, and is given a medallion that says "Bizarro #1". In the Batcave, Batman informs Superman that the man behind The Purge is Ra's Al Ghul, an eco-terrorist. Bats once had connections inside Ghul's network, but they disappeared. He knows whatever he's doing, it's big. Bizarro steals a nuclear sub, when he is attacked. He shakes the sub and kills all the soldiers, with one of the missiles launched and detonated near Themyscira. Above the Daily Planet, Superman is greeted by Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman. She has come to talk about the missile that fell, whom the Amazon believe that Superman did it himself. When it is revealed that Bizarro did it, someone who wears something similar to Superman's costume, Diana feels embarrassed that they thought it was Superman. They decide to take down the sub, and Superman and Wonder Woman take a ride in her in invisible jet.
Tracking the sub down at the Sahara Desert, they find a camp where they investigate an underground facility. Soon, the two heroes get attacked, but Diana is already fast enough to be deflecting the bullets. The commander orders Unit A to fall back and Unit B to advance. Realizing Unit B are suicide bombers, Superman can do nothing but shield Diana as they all explode. The dust settles, and after Superman takes care of the nerve gas, they go to the commander who has locked himself in a vault. Inside, the commander activates a bomb and kills himself just as Superman and Diana burst in. With no time left, Superman gets Diana out as he spins at incredible speed to get the bomb underground as it explodes. As she leaves, Diana sees a knot on a crate that is an Amazonian Bridle Knot. Diana tries to find Superman as his hand breaks through. With Diana mentioning the crate to Gotham City, Superman knows who to ask for help.
"Diana" and members of The Purge meet with a street gang in Gotham. Inspect the "merchandise", Batman takes down the Purge, and soon does the same with the gang. When he goes after "Diana", Batman is able to fend off most, but not all, of her attacks. Finally, "Diana" knocks him out and escapes. Recovered, Batman uses one of the Purge members to get answers. Not able to get anything, a golden lasso wraps around the man and he starts spilling his guts. Diana doesn't approve of Batman's aggressive methods, but he isn't seeking approval. Superman tries to play peacemaker while he introduces one to another, and why they are here. After bringing him up to speed, Batman gives the two heroes a psychological sketch of Ra's and wants to question the Purge member further, using Wonder Woman's lasso. She agrees, if he doesn't brutalize the suspect. After getting the man's name, rank and serial number, the three learn the missile is in Gotham, but doesn't know the location. When they're finished, Batman breaks the man's jaw.
Batman and Wonder Woman get at each other's throats over Batman's brutality toward the man they question. Diana is taken aback, though, when Batman reveals the "Diana" wearing an eagle crest like Diana's. Batman departs, leaving Wonder Woman to question how Superman could consider such a man a friend. Before she leaves, she hands him one of her ear rings that is also a transmitter. Below Gotham, Ra's enters his Lazarus Pit, where "Diana" learns he is much older. Ra's learns from her that she is from Themyscira, and her name is Artemis. In the Batcave, Batman explains to Superman that the total of missiles are half a dozen, meaning there is four left. He is also informed that in twenty-four hours, 95% of the world's communication satellites will pass within in five cubic miles of each other. Something no one, except Ra's, is aware of. If Ra's detonates a missile in the center, the world will be thrown into a communications blackout. As Superman goes out to take care of the missile in Bulgaria; Batman reveals something he didn't tell him: the location of Ra's Al Ghul.
In her jet, Wonder Woman sits impatiently until she picks off a signal: Bizarro. Following him to Ra's lair, she learns that the missile is still prepped and ready, so she reveals herself. As she gets to Ra's, Bizarro appears and gets the upper hand, even breaking Diana's lasso, before completely beating her. Superman reaches the silo in Bulgaria and plans to stop the missile as it launches. Grabbing the warhead, he throws it into deep space as it explodes. Wonder Woman awakens in the same chains that held Bizarro with Ra's next to her. Exchanging words, Ra's reveals that one of the missiles will destroy Gotham, while the others will give something bigger for Superman to worry about: all part of his plan to save Earth from man. Seeing a group of guards out cold, Artemis is attacked by Batman, and finally gets the upper hand against her. Just as Bizarro is about to kill Diana, Batman appears and hurts Bizzaro with an explosive that hurts his eyes. Blinded, he files off as Batman fights Ra's and beats him. Until, Ubu surprises Batman in order for Ra's to escape. Freeing Diana, Batman and Wonder Woman make their way deep into the complex until Diana gets weakened from the fumes of the Lazarus Pit. Batman goes to work on the missile as one of Ra's followers, Sybil, attacks him. Diana, still weak, fights her but is stabbed. Batman cries for the Amazon, just as Sybil falls to her death and Batman stops the missile. Diana enters the Pit just as Superman arrives. When she emerges, the fact that the Pit causes anyone to go insane at first leads Diana to go out against Superman and Batman just as she leaves.
Worried about her, Superman and Batman travel to Themyscira to see how Diana is doing. Breaking off the harness and gliding down, Batman finds Diana after taking her bath. Overcome by her beauty he rushes forward and kisses her, but Diana, surprised, decks the Dark Knight. Suddenly, Amazonian soldiers surround Batman, but Superman descends before a fight can break out. Diana informs them that these men are here to speak to her, and they need to do so in private. On the atoll, Diana apologizes for her hasty departure from Gotham and assumes the Purge is still active. Batman is quick to realize that Ra's will have to change his plans. Superman is go find Bizarro and Diana will try to find anything she can. In the Gobi, Artemis learns that Ra's new plan is to find a new remote location as their headquarters: Themyscira. Diana asks her mother, Hippolyta, about the rogue Amazon, and she reveals a group of Amazons known as the Bana-Mighdall. Superman finds out where Bizarro is when Batman's tracking device is being interfered by extreme cold. Wonder Woman meets Batman, as Bruce Wayne, indicating that she knew who he really was. And it is with him that she figures that with a rogue Amazon as his ally, Themyscira would be the perfect target as Ra's new location.
At Ra's headquarters, Superman comes out of nowhere and fights Bizarro and buries Bizarro into a mountain side. Ra's meets with Superman and tells him of two airplanes that are about to be destroy in Metropolis. Not wanting to believe him, Superman leaves to make sure things are well in his city. Ra's and Bizarro resume prepping their forces to invade Themyscira. Superman arrives in Metropolis in time to see two airplanes preparing to crash into the Lexcorp building. He grabs one plane and manages to maneuver it into the second one and the two planes crash into the lake. Superman takes off once more. Ra's forces reach Themyscira, and the Amazons prepare for battle. A sonic device knocks Bizarro out as Wonder Woman and Batman descend onto the scene. As Batman battles Bizarro, and Wonder Woman and Ra's duel, Artemis leads the attack against Themyscira. However, she can't fight her own people, so she fights against Ra's forces. Soon, Superman comes in and disables all the helicopters and finds Artemis. Wonder Woman finally defeats Ra's and helps Batman against Bizarro until Superman comes in, burns Bizarro's hand off, and punches off several times into a volcano. The battle ends when the three disable all the remaining weapons and send all to the bottom of the water.
Returning to their homes, Superman can't believe how they almost had a disaster, as Wonder Woman can't find the rogue Amazon, and Batman knows Ra's Al Ghul will return as it has happened before. But all of them agree that without each of them meeting the others, would it have happened differently. Each of them consider the others friends. In an epilogue, Ra's Al Ghul's body is found by his daughter, Talia Al Ghul. Artemis begins her journey home after spending a few months on the other side of Themyscira aka Paradise Island. And below the ocean, the severed hand of Bizarro glows an eerie red, becoming red kryptonite.
The JLA was formed by Black Canary (Dinah Lance), The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter after Applaxians attacked Earth. Superman joined the team, along with Batman and Wonder Woman, after some pleeds by the team to join.
Note: Most of the information supplied from this point onward is common to both the Post-Crisis and Birthright interpretations of Superman's history.
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 the power of Superman would ever pretend to be a mere human like Clark Kent. Superman also has his first encounter with the New God Darkseid, who teleported him to Apokolips. Superman remained 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. Howver, 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 with 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 had 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, taking on the role of judge, jury and executioner, 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 shapeshifts into Clark's image, briefly posing as him. 
After several adventures in outer space, Superman is captured 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 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 into 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, accepts the Managing Editor position 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 adventure 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 to 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!
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 to 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 heroes 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, 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' 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 visit 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).
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." Jonathan Kent, suffering from a heart attack, is rushed to the hospital in Smallville where he is remains in critical condition. Jonathan 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 Jonathan awakes and tells Lois and Martha Superman has returned, sightings of four different beings, 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 (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 to use Superman's body as a new vessel. Sensing Superman's soul was still lingering, he fashioned a new body from concrete in Superman's image and placed Kal-El's body in a regeneration matrix 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 was 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.
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 too 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 that 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 to 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 Dr. 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. Happersen, 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, as 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.
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, after 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 robots 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 know 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.
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 to 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 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, angry and still 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.
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 a 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.
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 those traditionally associated with the Man of Steel. Furthermore, when he changed back into Clark Kent, he was rendered powerless.
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 found that 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 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 needed 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.
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 the 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 top of 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 yellow sun. He is even framed for the murder of Cerimul, Ceritak's father. He soon learns that the Cyborg Superman is there and is 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 after visiting her 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 creating 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 ruins. 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, Superman 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 Asmodel 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 forced Neron out of his body, and the soul of Hal Jordan became the new Spectre instead of Neron.
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 as a 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 near 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 foreign 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 programming 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 to 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.
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 parents' 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 childhood 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 Steel and 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 sacrifices herself 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 the world. (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 Imperiex 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 "Jokerized" versions 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.
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. Zod is weighing heavily on his mind. 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 ahold 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.
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, etc.) 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 to 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.
Cir-El turns out to be a ploy of the Futuresmiths. 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.
For Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello: Superman befriends 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 returns 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, demands that Superman turn over the device, but refuses. After a short chat with the Justice League, Superman heads 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 activates 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.
Chuck Austen became the lead writer for "Action" starting with issue #814. While his storylines received mixed reviews, he received some sharp criticism for the way he portrayed Superman, which many felt was too much like Spider-Man than the Man of Steel.
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 Dibny, 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 Justice 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 Loring, is nearly hanged, Superman is the first on the scene and identifies the knot used, though it ends up being a red herring. After the attack on Loring, 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.
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, Replikon self-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 versions 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 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 not 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--however, 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 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 wrap Lord up in her Lasso of Truth, demanding 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. Though weakened, 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 to 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 (New Earth) 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 sun. 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, destroying the kryptonite fragments 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.
After living a normal human life as Clark Kent for a year, they suddenly came back. 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 him, 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 truly 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 awakens, 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, Supergirl's father, 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 cannot 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 from 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 fatal 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 that Darkseid is possessing 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.
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.
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 was 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 Science Police 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. (FYI: Nth Metal is the Thanagarian anti-gravity metal that allows Hawkman and Hawkgirl to fly.)
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.
At the end of last issue, Jemm, Son of Saturn and his henchmen had burst into the Council chamber unannounced, interrupting a meeting of the ruling Council. Specifically, the Council was engaged in peace talks with Wing-Master Dae, commander of the Thanagarian military, when the Saturnians muscled their way in. As we begin, there is general chaos as a result of the violent and abrupt intrusion. Several of the security guards are down. Indignation is expressed by everyone present. Wing-Master Dae is highly insulted at being interrupted during this important meeting.
Jemm and his thugs are in attack mode. The Saturnians' powers include super strength, flight, and the ability to fire powerful energy beams from their forehead. We see them use those powers aggressively as Jemm taunts the Kryptonians rather arrogantly. But when the Saturnians pull their weapons, General El has seen enough. He disarms them at super speed, and then responds with a little bit of force of his own; although it is very restrained considering the provocation. General El confronts Jemm, and introduces himself as Superman; since he and Jemm have had dealings in the past, but Jemm may not recognize Superman out of costume. Superman tells Jemm that this is not the time for fighting, and convinces Jemm to stand down.
But the war of words continues. Jemm is angry because the Kryptonians felt entitled to move one of Jupiter's moons around as if they owned it. Wing-Master Dae is angry because the Saturnians sided with the Rannians against the Thanagarians in the recent war. And General El is just trying to keep a lid on everything. Jemm does put in a good word for Superman, calling him noble, and thanking Superman for helping Jemm in the past during a time of need. It is out of gratitude for Superman's past good deed that Jemm, having spoken his peace, agrees to withdraw with his henchmen. He warns that the Saturnians "will be watching".
But on the way out, Jemm does a curious thing. He bows before the member of the religious guild who is present, and graciously gives praise to Rao as a "majestic God". Jemm and the other Saturnians then depart.
As Wing-Master Dae prepares to leave, General El asks her if they have established peaceful relations. Dae replies that no, they only have an accord. She indicates that this is as much of a concession as you ever get from the Thanagarians. On her way out, Dae tells General El that the Thanagarians also "will be watching". Superman must feel like he is hearing double. With the battle in the Council chamber over, things seem to get back to normal. Superman is invited to join the Council during recess, and he gets to see a member of the Artists Guild and a member of the Military Guild having a very heated exchange about militarism versus peaceful coexistence. We learn that these arguments are a daily occurrence within the Council. When Superman weighs in with a message of peace, his words are lost on the Military Guild Member.
The scene shifts, and we observe members of the Red Shard, Kal-El's military unit, gossiping about their members. They observe that Non follows General El around very closely, and ridicule him for doing that. They then mention that Lieutenant Nar similarly spends a lot of time with General El. They speculate rather derisively that Lieutenant Nar has strong romantic feelings for General El, and is trying to make it with him. Nar walks in on this discussion, and is visibly annoyed. She scolds them, telling them to respect their General, and to respect themselves.
Another scene shift, and we are watching the military in combat training. Commander Gor is aggressively bullying and hurting other members of the Military Guild, when Non jumps in and gives Gor a powerful and well-deserved taste of his own medicine. General El seems to really appreciate this, and uses it as an example to his troops; telling them never to be cocky, because there is always someone stronger.
Yet another scene shift, and we observe members of the Labor Guild complaining that they never got representation on the Council, as they feel they had been promised. Someone asks Tyr-van to talk to General El, and ask him to put in a good word to the Council on their behalf. Tyr-van expresses severe regret that he no longer has clout with General El since their falling out.
We switch to General Zod, still in stasis and recovering from his wounds. Zod requests a private conversation with Kal-El. They talk about Non, and why he sticks so close to General El. Kal-El suspects that Non may be keeping an eye on him out of loyalty to Zod; to protect Zod against an attack that Non imagines Kal-El is planning. But Zod reveals that the opposite is true. Non sticks to Kal-El because Kal-El reminds Non of Jor-El, who was Non's very close friend on Krypton before Non had his lobotomy.
Zod also asks Kal-El if New Krypton is ready for war. Kal-El indicates that while New Krypton is ready to defend itself if necessary, he is tired of hearing talk of war, and has no taste for it.
Suddenly, General El is alerted to a new security threat. Kal-El goes to investigate at the home of Council member Mar-Li (the member of the Artists Guild we saw quarreling earlier), and finds the Council member down, covered in his own blood, and apparently dead. Standing over him, much to Superman's shock, is his old friend Adam Strange. 
As we begin, council member Mar-Li is lying dead on the floor in his own home while the military bursts in only to find Adam Strange standing over the dead body. Commander Gor has already decided that the intruder is guilty, and is ready to kill him on the spot, when General El orders him to hold on. When Gor protests, wants immediate revenge, and demands justification for restraint, General El reminds Gor that he is obliged to follow orders from his superior officer. No further justification is needed. Adam Strange proclaims his innocence, which gets one of the soldiers very agitated. The soldier, Lancepe-Sade Vol, gets further irritated when the intruder calls General El by his Earth name, Superman. But General El orders Vol to stand down before he can do bodily harm to Adam. General El orders the military to leave, so that they do not tamper with evidence and taint the crime scene. General El asks Lieutenant Nar to secure the room and get the Science Guild busy scanning for clues to the murder.
General El takes Adam to speak directly to the Council. Adam explains that traveling by Zeta beam is not an exact science. Since Adam cannot control the exact location of his arrival, it was random bad luck that caused him to arrive in the wrong place at the wrong time, making him appear guilty of the murder. When the Council asks his reason for teleporting to New Krypton in the first place, Adam explains that he is there to protest the accord that the Council reached with the Thanagarians. The Rannians have recently been on the losing end in a war with the Thanagarians; and Adam questions the judgment of the Council in reaching this accord.
General El advocates on behalf of his friend, asking the Council to free Adam on the condition that Adam assist in solving the murder mystery. In making this appeal, he refers to Adam's reputation as a "solver of problems". The Council gives its consent.
As the two of them head out, Adam seems rather ungrateful that Superman went to bat for him. Superman earned Adam's freedom, but Adam resents that there were conditions attached, and would prefer to leave immediately for New Rann, his home. But Superman needs Adam's help in solving the crime, and Adam reluctantly agrees to help him.
Superman and Adam Strange make the rounds; heading first to the crime scene, and then to the morgue, to check in with the Science Guild and learn the interim results of their investigation. The inspection of the corpse has yielded some evidence that the murder weapon is a tool used by the Labor Guild to fire red sun energy bursts to help prune and control the thick vegetation of New Krypton.
This leads Superman and Adam to confront the Labor Guild members at work. Kal-El is looking to find and speak to Tam-Or, the unofficial spokesman of the Labor Guild. But General El and Adam get a very chilly reception. Tyr-Van is very verbal about their unhappiness with lack of Labor Guild representation on the Council. As he expresses this, other Labor Guild members shout out their concurrence.
In the meantime, we learn that Labor Guild members are contracting a mysterious illness. General El looks to get medical help for Sura, a young laborer who has been stricken with the disease. We learn that she is a close friend, or perhaps the girlfriend, of Tyr-Van.
Superman's kind gesture does not seem to be appreciated; because in the next instant, things get ugly. When Adam spots Tam-Or, General El attempts to pursue him, but the Labor Guild members assault and restrain him. The military members arrive just in time to watch their general receive a punch to the face. Tempers flare, and it appears that a full-scale riot is imminent. General El takes command of the situation. He directs the Red Shard to pull back. He then uses a combination of persuasive rhetoric and an effective retaliatory strike against his attacker to deter the members of the Labor Guild. Meanwhile, as Adam pursues Tam-Or, he calls out to him, suggesting that perhaps Tam-Or is being framed, and that he wants to help. But Tam-Or does not stick around to hear the details.
Lieutenant Nar initiates the use of orbital scanners to continue the search for Tam-Or. In the meantime, Superman and Adam Strange debate whether Tam-Or fled because he is guilty, or just because he was scared. They consider whether the attack was directed personally at Mar-Li, or whether it was a politically motivated attack against the Council. If so, then instead of calling this a murder, it might be more accurate to label it an assassination.
General El arrives as the Council members are arguing about the murders and who caused them. The Council members express fear at being targeted. Tempers and emotions are spiraling out of control. Alura's pleas for calm go unheeded. In their discussions, Council members focus their suspicions on two groups: the Labor Guild, and the people of Earth.
As he enters the chamber, General El notifies the group that the murder weapon has been found, and that it contained genetic residue from Tam-Or. Councilor Zo demands that Tam-Or be arrested, and General El replies that the Military Guild has been unable to find Tam-Or, although orbital scanners have confirmed that Tam-Or did not leave New Krypton. These revelations cause the tension level in the room to rise. Harsh words are exchanged between Kal-El and Councilor Zo, as Zo accuses General El of shielding Tam-Or and secretly favoring the Labor Guild. When Zo makes a comment about Kal-El's mom, things get personal, and the tension level is ratcheted up further. Zo wants to send troops into the Labor Guild sector, while Alura argues that this will inflame the situation. Zo continues to hurl verbal threats at General El.
Superman and Adam Strange head towards the medical facility. As Adam questions him, Superman tries to justify the poor behavior of the Council members by saying they are frightened and believe they are being hunted. Kal-El is headed to see Tyr-Van, but must make another stop first.
Kal-El visits General Zod, to check on Zod's progress as he continues to heal from his own assassination attempt back in issue #5. They discuss the recent murders and the ongoing investigations. Zod speaks with conviction when he declares that Tam-Or is innocent. Zod says that everybody is hunting the wrong man. Kal-El replies that perhaps Tam-Or can help lead him to the real culprit.
Kal-El goes to talk to Tyr-Van, who is despondent about his girlfriend's serious illness. Tyr-Van is also quite bitter. He recounts the recent events that have caused suffering and humiliation for the Labor Guild; and somehow seems to blame Kal-El for most of it. Although this is extremely unfair and undeserved, Superman accepts the criticism.
Kal-El and Adam Strange tell Tyr-Van they suspect Tam-Or may not be guilty. This revelation seems to soften Tyr-Van's harsh mood a little. When Kal-El asks Tyr-Van to take them to Tam-Or, Tyr-Van agrees.
They arrive at a secret military installation that Kal-El is completely unaware of. The Labor Guild has built this facility, which is lead-lined and soundproofed. This explains how Tam-Or could stay hidden on a planet where everybody has x-ray vision. Kal-El receives what sounds like an urgent communication from Lieutenant Nar; but unfortunately, due to the soundproofing and shielding, her message is garbled and unintelligible.
Kal-El and Adam Strange confront Tam-Or. When asked why he fled, Tam-Or indicates that he had believed that Kal-El was going to kill him. Apparently, somebody else has been feeding bad information to Tam-Or.
Suddenly, members of the Military Guild arrive. Councilor Zo and Commander Gor have followed Kal-El because they question his loyalty. Kal-El proclaims that Tam-Or is innocent; but this statement falls on deaf ears. When Zo and Gor openly threaten Kal-El and Tam-Or, Kal-El attempts to assert his military authority as General. However, he is told that Zod has just returned to active duty, and Kal-El has been demoted. This is the message that Lieutenant Nar was trying to send him.
Archer rifles are aimed at Kal-El, Adam Strange, Tam-Or, and Tyr-Van. All four are bathed in red-sun radiation, instantly removing the Kryptonians' powers; and Gor gives the order to "FIRE!"
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 (yellow), will (green), rage (red), love (violet), and hope (blue).
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.
Kryptonian Physiology: Superman's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than human tissue. Strangely enough, he does not seem to possess superhuman strength levels despite his enhanced cellular ability without his cellular structure charged with yellow solar energy. Without such charging, his strength seems on par for a human of his height and weight who engages in regular physical activity. As an alien he possesses several organs whose functions are not yet disclosed or understood but are believed to be part of and perhaps even the source of his biomatrix force field and reclamation aura. Superman's body also stores energy actively within his bio-cellular matrix as an energy pattern that is linked to his body's electromagnetic field. This energy powers most of Superman's electromagnetic capabilities such as flight and heat vision.
Energy Matrix: The radical mutation that had taken over Kal-El had turned him into an energy based life form that didn't normally exist wholly within this plane of reality.
Genius-Level Intellect: Superman has shown incredible intelligence and computational abilities; his mind works sharply and with extreme speed relative to earth-humans. His analytical powers are impressive — he is able to use his senses to read information directly from machines (and, with careful usage of his heat vision, he can even reprogram machines). Recently after he regained his powers in the "One Year Later" arc, his brain's intelligence has increased and it operates with much greater speed, procession, and analytical prowess, to the point he can recall things in such detail that he knows the ballistic of every shot by Bloodshot before, the vector and mass of each and every one of Riot's bodies, he can see into one of the most advanced Kryptonian Sun Stone Battle Ship and watch energy patterns shift and change, trace command signals at light speed down branching, maze-like pathways whilst, at the same time, finding one small knot of circuitryIndomitable Will: Superman has shown to have a powerful Force of Will, completely free of evil or temptation. Having been raised by a kindly Kansas farmer and his wife, Superman was taught to protect life and help others.
Superman has built Superman robots, which can act as security for the Fortress of Solitude as well as stand in for him temporarily.
Currently, there are two distinctive histories regarding Superman since the re-introduction of the character in 1986. The origin and early history of Superman following the Crisis on Infinite Earths was developed by writer/artist John Byrne and completely re-imagined Superman's background, supporting cast and culture. In 2003, Mark Waid authored the twelve-issue Superman: Birthright limited series, which completely rewrote Superman's origin. Unlike other retcons, there was no in-story reason for the changes, many of which are entirely incompatible with previously established history. According to DC Comics executive editor Dan DiDio, the two histories are both part of the official canon, but despite this, the discrepencies between the two are too dramatic for adequate documentation.
Because DC decided to not completely abandon every bit of pre-Crisis history, and because several older heroes were merged into the new continuity, it was necessary to skip forward after Superman's immediate re-introduction and the beginning of the regular modern series. This skip covered a period of about 4-5 years and included the early days of the modern heroes adventures (every bit of pre-Crisis continuity that still applied). Some of these early adventures were eventually retold or re-imagined (see JLA: Year One and JLA: Incarnations for more details.
Superman Family member
Justice League of America member
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
Legion of Super-Heroes member