Reign of the Supermen #308: The Leader

Source: Lab Rats #4-6 (2002)
Type: Alternate futureLab Rats, John Byrne's short series about troubled teens drafted by the "Campus" to test unknown tech, wasn't particularly amazing, but it did have some fun ideas working for it. Issues 4-6, for example, has the Rats run a time machine 50 years into the future. As it turns out, breaking the laws of physics creates a universe-wide cataclysm. The Metropolis of 50 years hence is in complete ruin, though it's far from the worse place on Earth. As I will now spoil for you, when disaster hit, Superman was struck with amnesia and found by persons unknown - or to be more obvious than Byrne, by Luthor. And now three generations of Luthors have kept Superman thinking he is the "leader" of a group intent on finding Superman and punishing him for allowing all this to happen. A leather armor with an ugly mask and grains of kryptonite in the seams is really all it takes for the leader to never find out who he really is.

The cycle of unconscious self-loathing is broken when a wizened Jimmy Olsen allies himself with the Rats and shows Superman his original costume. And it's just in time, because aliens angry with Earth for, you know, blowing up time and everything, have just arrived. Superman convinces them to stop destroying our rubble for 12 hours while the Rats return to earlier in their timeline to prevent the launch that destroyed the world... by ramming into the machine with itself before they're ever called in. Timey? Meet Wimey.

And that's another "old Superman" from an alternate future. It could have been its own series.

4 comments:

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I have never heard of this book at all.

Delta said...

Who is that in the background of the picture? She seems dressed similarly, so is it Supergirl?

Siskoid said...

It's Lex's granddaughter, the latest in the line of people manipulating Superman.

Luis Olavo Dantas said...

Byrne claims in his forums that this series was better promoted by DC than "Hidden Years" was by Marvel.

Well, _someone_ promoted Hidden Years enough for me to learn of it several times while it was being published, while I only learned of "Lab Rats" in 2012, some nine years after it was cancelled. Byrne may be correct in his statement, but it sure doesn't look like it to me.

 

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