Reign of the Supermen #276: Superman, Son of Darkseid

Source: Superman: The Dark Side #1-3 (1998)
Type: ElseworldsWhat if Superman's rocket landed on Apokolips?
Based on: Action Comics #1
The true history: Oh, I think you know it
Turning point: What if Krypton had discovered the Anti-Life Equation?
Story type: Phoenix Forced
Watcher's mood: Judgmental
Altered history: For reasons that will become clear only later, Metron boom tubes Baby Kal-El to Apokolips where he is found by a couple of Lowlies named - wouldn't you know it? - Marta and Jono. They don't raise him.
No, that task is taken on by Darkseid who trains the alien boy in the depths of the planet, away from prying eyes. They've build an armor for him, an armor that takes the geothermal energy of the planet and allows him to use it to fuel his unique powers. Darkseid finally shows him off to the world in gladiatorial battle with Kalibak (because this is an Elseworld, Darkseid's son looks like Doomsday):
When your daddy is Darkseid, you don't want to disappoint daddy. What does Darkseid need with an heir anyway? He's immortal! Still, he's got another son, Orion, traded off to New Genesis as part of a truce. His opposite number, Highfather, sent his own son Scott Free to Apokolips in the same treaty and he's set to escape the hellish planet any day now. Darkseid allows this to happen because it'll mean the end of the treaty and he can attack New Genesis with his new toy. Scott successfully escapes through a Boom Tube, but not before being maimed by Darkseid's Superman. His legs crushed, and his body broken, he is not destined to become Mister Miracle, nor does his hasty escape allow Big Barda to follow him to Earth. Superman and the forces of Apokolips then attack New Genesis and NUKE IT! Plenty of New Gods die, but Highfather sends a good number of them to Earth to protect the Anti-Life Equation, and he sends Superman there too after exposing him to the Source's vague prophecies. On Earth, Superman is found by Lois Lane and takes off his armor, which is weighing down something awful. He can't use Apokolips' energies anymore, but he'll soon have a new power source: The sun!
Superman's absence from Earth has had many effects. Jimmy Olsen became Bibbo's pal instead, never pursuing his career as a photographer. The Metropolis Special Crimes Unit is bagging giant apes on a weekly basis. And Lex has found and befriended Scott Free, and is using his tech knowledge to build weapons that can stand up to Apokolips, which is why he bought STAR Labs.
He'll soon be able to use them, too, because New Gods are showing up all over Metropolis, and Intergang is growing bolder. From studying Kal-El's craft, Darkseid has discovered that the Kryptonians had found the secret of the Anti-Life Equation and that Jor-El, hoping his son could use it to subjugate humanity, had coded it in his DNA. Darkseid kills Metron for having screwed him on the long game. Meanwhile, Superman is remorseful for having destroyed a planet and finds his groove helping Lois against Intergang, and rescuing people from fires. He also finds a Mother Box on Fastbak's dead body, which adopts him and becomes his new "S" shield.
Darkseid comes to Earth, where Luthor immediately tries to make an alliance. Darkseid, the ultimate badass, just omega beams his sorry ass to Apokolips where he is next seen as Granny Goodness' dog(!). In exchange for Metron's Mobius Chair, Scott Free sells Superman out (revenge or just playing Metron's long game himself?). Soon, Darkseid has extracted the Anti-Life Equation from Superman's cells and Earth is subjugated.
Rebels remain, like Lois Lane armed with a Mother Box and Bibbo with that metal plate in his head. And the New Gods and Forever People, of course. Superman escapes DeSaad's laboratory and returns to Earth to help. Despite the New Gods' righteous anger, they decide to work with Superman. While Scott Free enters the Source Wall to get some answers, Earth is the site of the final battle. Lots of New Gods are killed on both sides, and Superman fights his adoptive father to a standstill. It's only when Lightray boost Superman's powers with pure solar energy that the tyrant is felled. Because he can't easily die, the Gods send his soul somewhere to purge his evil.
How transcendental! Scott Free then returns, aged and wise, and informs the survivors they are meant to rebuild the Earth and protect humanity's potential. And that's the story of how Metropolis gained a new, flying borough, led by a bearded Orion (becoming a new Highfather), holding hands with Lois Lane (gasp!).
Apokolips too, needs to be rebuilt, and Superman, in a new, less totalitarian costume, restores some greens to the planet.
Lois-less? Don't worry, he and BIg Barda have gotten close over the course of those three books, and once they're done on Apokolips, they'll go and seed a new New Genesis. It's almost a better world than the one we have. Well, aside from the bit where Darkseid into an Armaghetto (but see These things happen, below).
Books canceled as a result: While a New Gods book set in Metropolis could be published, Superman not settling there likely means no books for him.
These things happen: In a story written before this, Superman WAS brainwashed into thinking he was Darkseid's son, but it didn't last (in Legends). The deaths of many New Gods would wait another decade, but would happen, as would Darkseid bringing the Anti-Life Equation to Earth (in Final Crisis).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Siskoid, is there a reason you don't list the writers and artists when you do these? I know I'm often curious who they are (and yeah I'm sure I can just google it, but I usually don't).

Siskoid said...

No reason. The What If format never had it, so it doesn't show up here.

The story is by John Francis Moore with art by Kieron Dwyer.

 

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