Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Episide # 24: Superman #300, June 1976, "Superman 2001"

The only reprint I have been able to find was in Best of DC #19, December 1981. Superman 2001 was another "imaginary story". To commemorate this special issue of Superman, co-writers Cary Bates and Elliott S! Maggin retold Superman's origin as if he landed on Earth today, in this case the bicentennial year of 1976. What makes this alternate story of Superman's origin so interesting is how different it is from traditional continuity, yet haw much Superman satys the same.
Instead of growing up in a loving foster home in a midwestern small town, Kal-El grows up on secret U. S. military bases as the Pentagon's secret weapon. Yet the young Skyboy, his military codename instead of Superboy, proves himself a world hero and not just government propertywhen he averts nuclear war himself. When the U. S. and USSR, this is 1976 after all, are tricked by a third world power, Skyboy captures every nuclear missle at super speed. He gathers them together and hurls them into the sun. When the general who served as a father figure to Skyboy dies immediately after the end of the averted nuclear war, the young superhero turns his back to superheroics and even throws his costume into the ocean. Taking parts of the names of the general and the U. S. diver who claimed his rocket years before, Skyboy becomes Clark Kent and embarks on a career as a television journalist. When a strange four armed man appears on Times Square in 2001, claiming to be the hero who saved the world from nuclear holocaust, Clark Kent is forced into action, this time as Superman, to defeat this fraud, and take his place as a hero for the enitre world. And he shows what makes Superman such a hero, when, instead of dominating the world as a ruler, inspires humanityto rise to the best of their potential.

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