Superman 413 – where did everybody go?

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Bates, Swan and Williamson conclude the Luthor storyline in Superman 413 (Nov. 85), which also leads in to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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So many former workmates of Clark are concerned about him that Lois Lane calls up Steve Lombard, and enlists him in a plan to lift Clark’s spirits, getting him to come to a supposed charity event that night.

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Clark agrees to go, unaware of the true purpose of the event.  But then he gets very distracted as objects around him begin disappearing.

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The effect continues, eliminating buildings and people, as Superman flies around frantically, trying to understand, and not sure whether this is real or not. Luthor follows, taking huge pleasure in it all.

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Arriving at the Daily Planet, he sees Perry, Jimmy and Lois all vanish, as well as the building itself.

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But we see that there is nothing at all wrong them.  They, as well as Morgan Edge and Lombard, are all at the banquet, hosted by Lana Lang, to show Clark that people still love and care about him.  It’s a bit awkward, as Clark is not there, but they proceed with it anyway.

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Superman thinks that he is seeing the entire world disappearing, and hearing Luthor gloat about being behind it. The gloating is real, but Superman has really been in Lex’s clutches for quite a while now, experiencing the hallucinations Lex implants into his mind.

The only thing that breaks him out of this is his super-hearing, and so many voices he recognizes expressing love and concern for him at the banquet.  This defies the reality that he is living through, and the contradiction breaks him out of Lex’s spell.

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Superman is furious.  Probably even moreso as this is the second time this year that a villain has taken control of his mind. His pursuit of Luthor is cut short by a mysterious funnel cloud, that spirits the villain away, and takes him to Brainiac, although neither we, Luthor, nor Superman know that that is what’s going on.  But it’s made sort of clear in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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With Luthor out of the way, and the situation over, Superman arrives at the banquet to clear Clark’s name, and explain that the phony story was designed to draw Luthor out.  Everyone is so happy that no one questions this, and Clark gets his job back.

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