Reign of the Supermen #430: Satanic Superman

Source: Action Comics #534-541 (1982-83)
Type: TransformationIt was the late Bronze Age and Superman had been attracting some new bad guys, among them a married couple of wizards from the future who hated each other more than they wanted to take over all of time, named Lord Satanis and Syrene. (The former was re-introduced as a demon called Satanus, post-Crisis, and the latter was replaced by his sister Blaze.) After their last run-in with Superman, Lord Satanis had been relegated to some backwater in the Middle Ages by his wife, and there he hatched a plan to use some mystical artifact to gain ultimate power, and steal Superman's body because that was the only vessel that could contain all that power. (Can somebody call up Marv Wolfman real quick and ask why Superman's body is invulnerable to magical energies in this ONE SINGLE INSTANCE? Thanks.) So Superman is kidnapped from his home time and subjugated by Satanis' spells, and then Syrene shows up and tries to steal him for herself. Superman is literally torn apart between them.
In the next issue, one Superman is magically returned to his time to have a strange adventure that features both the Omega Men AND Cave Carson, and gets his ass kicked by some really lame villains because, you see, his powers were split between the two Supermen. He's got ice breath, but no heat vision, and his other self got the lion's share of the invulnerability so he can still serve as Satanis' vessel. Present-day Superman certainly can't fly fast enough to break the time barrier! So begins a quest to find a time travel method that will get him back to the Middle Ages to rejoin his other self, but time pools and cosmic treadmills can't pierce the veil of the time storm the wizards have put up. Meanwhile, Superman's other body is killed by marital strife, which temporarily kills Clark Kent in the present. Oh man.
Thankfully, he wakes up before the autopsy can go any further (good news), but it's because Satanis has resurrected the other body and has possessed it (bad news). Mostly, he uses it to fight Syrene. After a couple issues of that, she is apparently killed. Meanwhile, it's Lois Lane who gives Clark/Superman the answer. Because Daily Planet readers apparently loved her piece on Cave Carson, Perry's assigned her to track down all the Forgotten Heroes (not yet their name). Among these, one Rip Hunter - Time Master. Superman flies to find him (and gosh, he's really old) and borrows a time bubble to go get his body back. He does, there's more fighting, and his other self fights for control until Satanis is forced to release him from his spell. But now he's got to fight two Supermen! No, not two...
The third Superman is an astral being created by the taint of eldritch energies he had his Super-body absorb. The only way that thing can be banished is if Satanis merges all the Supermen back into one. Once his old self again, Superman escapes through the time stream on his own power and lives to fight another day. He does, but neither Satanis nor Syrene would ever appear again in pre-Crisis continuity.


Anonymous said...

Definitely one of my favorite pre- or post-Crisis Superman storylines . Too bad there is next to no chance it will ever be collected.

Once this storyline was completed, it lead right into the Post-Crisis Luthor prototype, Vandal Savage storyline.

Good times.


Siskoid said...

I wonder... will Showcase Presents eventually collect all of Superman's pre-Crisis appearances?

Marionette said...

At its current schedule, maybe around 2019. :/

Siskoid said...

That's not that slow. Consider: The first volume of Superman came out in 2005, 7 years ago. And 2019 is in... 7 years.

Martin Gray said...

I see that, happy surprise and all that, the upcoming Adventures of Superman: Gil Kane trade is collecting a fair chunk of this story:

I loved this Marv Wolfman run, he really used the wider DCU well. Though Lord Satanis is, of course, pants.

Siskoid said...

Well there you go.

There were enough recaps back in the day that the Gil Kane issues will make sense even if the story started some months prior with another penciller.

okdatapad said...

One of the first comic stories I ever read. Still can't believe how long it ran. Eight months felt like an eternity in those pre-Crisis days.

Siskoid said...

They used to stretch it out by not giving it the full page count because of back-ups.


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