Superman: Speeding Bullets was one of the first, if not the first, Superman story under DC Comics' Elseworlds imprint. It was published on September 14, 1993, and the cover proce was $4.95 for a 48 page single issue story with a cardboard cover. The cover and story was drawn by Edwardo Barreto, written by J. M. DeMatteus and colored by Les Dorscheid. I could find no information about the letterer on the web sites dcindexes.com or comics.org.
The cover was a recreation of the cover of Superman #1 from 1939, but with much darker colors. And Superman struck the same pose as in the classic cover, except that in this case he was dressed in a Batman costume. The only difference was that the cowl was a full face mask, and the bat symbol was inside a yellow pentagon shaped shield.
The story opened with a familiar scene of baby Kal-El's rocket, which is shaped like the rocket from John Byrne's Man Of Steel #1. It flew away from a planet Krypton which has been reduced to green glowing rubble. The rocket flashes through space in another familiar scene until it landed on Earth. But instead of being found by the Kents, the rocket was found by none other than Thomas and Martha Wayne. The rocket in this story had apparently landed near Gotham City instead of near the Kent farm in Kansas.
The Waynes retreat from Gotham's high society to raise their unusual son. This scene was told in several pages which resembled pages from a photo album. Martha indulged Bruce, in a good way, nurturing him with an unconditional love. Thomas served a good counterbalance by developing Bruce's mind. The scene shifted to years later and the familiar and tragic scene outside the Monarch Theater when the Waynes were murdered in front of their son. The story took a different turn from the traditional Batman origin when the grieving Bruce lashed out at the murderer Joe Chill with heat vision. He would be found dead in an alley the next day, burned almost beyond recognition.
After the funeral Bruce was shown years later, sitting in his father's study. Alfred brought his breakfast, at 9:00 p. m., as was Bruce's longstanding habit apparently. Bruce read the nespaper, which prominently carried an article about Lex Luthor moving to Gotham, a year after a tragic chemical factory accident in which he had been injured, and been in seclusion ever since. Bruce then went into a room he kept locked, which was wallpapered with newspaper articles of violent crimes over the years. He was overcome with grief and ran outside the mansion. When he heard an unfamiliar noice inside, he found two hooded burglers with machine guns who threatened Alfred. Bruce threw one out the window and zapped the other with heat vision. The violent scene brought back the memories of his own parents' murder, and he asked Alfred what was he.
Alfred took Bruce into a cavern under the mansion, where Dr. Wayne had put the spaceship that had brought his son to Earth, as well as his journals filled with his speculations about his son's origin. Bruce flew into the cavern, sure about his life for the first time.
The next scene occurred in a dark office. Two henchmen were trying to tell a mysterious person who sat behind the desk what went wrong with the rbbery at the Wayne mansion. Tired of their excuses, the mysterious person breoke the necks of the henchmen. The scene ended with a darkened face, whose only visible features were green eyes and an unusually large red-lipped mouth producing an insane laugh.
Several months later the Gotham Police Swat Team were responding to a sniper on a rooftop. The sniper if foiled by Batman, wha made his first appearance. This Batman was invulnerable to bullets and prevented property damage by holding a live grenade and allowing it to explode in his hands.
The next day Bruce Wayne interrupted a business meeting to stop a takeover of the Wayne corporation. Bruce then went to another of his holdings, the Gotham Gazette, led by Editor-In-Chief Perry White, with none other than Lois Lane as staff reporter. Bruce became as clumsy as Clark Kent around her.
Lois was picked up by Luthor's limosine, who wanted to have a talk with Lois. We learn that Luthor bought the Daily Planet after the Metropolis paper published stories alleging that Luthor had murdered his own parents as a teen, and lost the subsequent libel suit. After Lois rejected Luthor's pass, she was dropped off in the worst part of Gotham, and was about to be attacked by a gang. she was rescued by Batman, but rejects her savior because of his brutality.
That evening Lois is writing a column criticizing the brutality of Batman, stating that he had the potential to be much more. She was met by Bruce, who informed her that he did his best work at night. After a short conversation they kiss for the first time.
The next day Luthor barged into the Gazette offices into Bruce's office, exposing himself as the Joker, transformed by the chemical disaster the year before. Luthor used his disguised umbrella to blast Bruce out the window. Luthor/Joker kidnapped Lois and took her to the top of a building, thanks to a small helicopter-like contaption on his back. Batman swooped out of the sky and carried Luthor away, tearing off the portable holicpter. He then dropped Luthor to his doom. When Batman heard Lois whisper "No," he flew down and caught Luthor, taking him to jail. Batman flew back at super speed to defeat Luthor's heavily armored commandos. He flew back to Lois, who admonished him that with his great powers, he could be a symbol of hope, then pulls off Batman's mask and seemed to indicate that she knew Bruce was Batman.
The story ended with a red-caped figure flying over the daytime sky of Gotham, instead of the night. the last page showed Bruce Wayne in a familiar yet slightly different costume as Superman.
Next week: for part VI of an imaginary summer, 2009: The Death Of Superman!
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