Lex Luthor makes his first appearance in this book in Batman 293 (Nov. 77), the third installment of “Where Were You on the Night Batman was Killed?”, by Reed, Calnan and Blaisdel.
Lois Lane has a cameo as well, and Luthor wears the most garish outfit he ever has, as he explains to Two-Face and the court how Batman was merely a sidelight in his plot to kill Superman.
Using a satellite and a gang to lure Batman into the right location, Lex Luthor claims to have switched the minds of Superman and Batman, leaving Superman in a powerless and vulnerable body.
Then, using his amped up gloves, Luthor beats Batman to death, in order to kill Superman.
Unlike the previous two stories, we learn, from Superman, that all this did occur just as Luthor explained. At least, so far as Luthor knew. Batman had infiltrated Luthor’s gang early on, and learned the entire plan. He kept his eyes insulated from the satellite’s effects, so the heroes brains were never switched, and Batman only pretended to let Luthor kill him, with his suit also reinforced against the power gloves. Superman gives the rest of the villains present immunity (which is a darn good hint that something much bigger is really going on in this story arc), but takes Luthor away.
The storyline concludes in the next issue.
Robinson and Chang bring the Last Stand on New Krypton towards its conclusion in Superman 699 (June 2010).
Battles take place left right and centre in this issue. The Legion of Super-Heroes who are in the present: Element Lad, Sensor Girl, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Tellus, Quislet and Chameleon Boy are fighting Brainiac’s drones and the various alien races from the previous issue. They are aiming to free Mon-El, although once again the hero frees himself.
They manage to retrieve Kandor, which Brainiac has shrunk and bottled once again, this time with Superboy trapped inside. Brainiac 5 and Supergirl take the city to expand it again.
Brainiac is too busy to stop them, being all caught up in a fight with Zod.
Luthor, never one to miss an opportunity for destruction, chooses a bottled city at random and enlarges it while it is still on Brainiac’s ship.
As the issue ends, the enlarging city rips through the hull of the ship, which is located directly above the restored Kandor.
The story concludes in the final issue of Last Stand of New Krypton.
Superman returns to his own book with issues 698 (May 2010), as the Last Stand of New Krypton pits him and Mon-El against Luthor and Brainiac in a story by Robinson, Pina and Chang.
Brainiac has sent robotic drones to New Krypton, slaughtering the citizens as Zod and Ursa try to determine how to strike back.
Superman is being held captive aboard Brainiac’s headship, and Mon-El comes to the rescue. But before he reaches the hero he has to face much nastier versions of Brainiac’s classic pet Koko.
Brainiac tries to draw all the knowledge Superman has gained about New Krypton, but the hero manages to break free of his restraints.
Mon-El winds up not only fighting against the white apes, but also the four alien races from the 1960s origin of Ultra – The Multi-Alien. The telepathic aliens in one of Brainiac’s bottle cities send out a plea for help.
But before they can do anything about the bottled cities, Superman and Mon-El have to face a horde of killer robots.
The story continues in the next issue of Adventure.
The battle between Superman and Atlas just keeps going in the Robinson, Guedes and Magalhaes story from Superman 679 (Oct. 08).
Both Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen head out to watch and cover the battle between Superman and Atlas.
Lana Lang attempts to send Lexcorp troops out to help Superman, but in doing so activates a holographic program left by Lex Luthor. She has violated her contract. No Lexcorp properties must ever be used to help Superman, and Lana loses her post as CEO.
Jimmy Olsen spots a mystery man watching the fight from above, but the man disappears.
Supergirl arrives to help Superman, but gets injured by a ray that blasts down from a satellite. Superman sends her away for her own safety, which leaves him crushed by Atlas.
The story ends as Krypto shows up. To save the day?
The story continues in the next issue.
Vito Delsante, Julian Lopez and Javier Bergantino have a one-shot story that pits Superman against his old (70s) foe, Solomon Grundy in Superman 676 (July 2008). There seems to be a bit of a 70s revival in these issues.
The story has Luthor send his men after Grundy, finding him in the sewers of Gotham City. They later release him in Metropolis.
Clark Kent happens to be interviewing Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, getting his views on the modern heroes. This gets interrupted by a crazed horde running in terror. Green Lantern shoots into action against Grundy, but gets taken down.
So Superman gets some solo play fighting the marshland monster. One might expect Superman to do a bit better in this struggle.
But it does take the two heroes together to take down Grundy. Alan is sure he will return, he always does. There is a nice touch in their final conversation, as Superman reveals that Green Lantern was Pa Kent’s favourite hero from the Justice Society. But Superman preferred Starman.
The story ends with Luthor and Dr. Teng, and the creation of Bizarro. This is sort of implied to have some connection with experiment on Grundy, even though that makes no sense in the chronology.
Busiek, Johns and Woods share the penultimate chapter of Up, Up and Away in Superman 653 (Aug. 06).
Luthor has taken control of a Kryptonian warship he has uncovered, and is using it to attack Metropolis, and Superman.
Superman, while fighting back, throws at Lex his constant refrain about all the good he could do if Superman were not around, pointing out than in the year he was gone, Lex did nothing but prepare to attack him.
The Justice League, Justice Society and Teen Titans come to enter the fray, but Luthor has a energy dome sealing off Metropolis.
And though the Kryptonian warship has plenty of nifty abilities, it was not designed to withstand the powers of a Kryptonian under a yellow sun.
Luthor reconfigures the craft into a battle suit, and amps up its kryptonite power source, shooting high intensity kryptonite beams. Jimmy Olsen runs interference for Superman, who still manages to smash the craft, sending both him and Luthor plunging into the harbour.
The story concludes in the next issue of Action.
Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns and Pete Woods launch the post-Infinite Crisis Superman, jumping One Year Later, as all the DC books do this month. The title also reverts to Superman with this issue, while retaining its numbering. In the intervening year, Superman has been without his powers, a result of his exposure to kryptonite at the end of Infinite Crisis. He has been living exclusively as Clark Kent.
A scientist, K. Russell Abernathy, has been working on an experiment to use kryptonite as a power source. What a surprise, the experiment goes horribly wrong.
Abernathy winds up converted into the new Kryptonite Man.
But this is not a job for the powerless Superman. It’s a job for Supergirl, as Clark observes the scene, to report on it for the paper.
Lex Luthor has been booted from his own company, after all the scandals that the Planet has been reporting about him. He blames Clark for this, and has his goons rough him up.
The story continues in the next issue of Action.
As the cover of Adventures of Superman 645 (Dec. 05) proclaims, the issue leads in to Infinite Crisis, and takes a few less artists to do so. Rucka is joined by Defilippis, Weir, Guedes, Kershl and Faucher.
The Daily Planet staff are shown, watching the endless loop of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord. The discussions that Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Ron Troupe and Clark Kent have about how to interpret the out of context material help to convey the attitudes of the people across the world seeing it.
The skies of Metropolis fill with OMACs. They aren’t taking action, just “protecting,” and making no one feel safe.
While Luthor, with Mercy and the female Parasite at his side plots with both the Secret Six and Ruin. No wonder he’s getting headaches.
Emil Hamilton visits Lupe Leocado, having deduced where Ruin must have his power supply. She heads out, although we do not see her again this issue.
Luthor draws out Superman for Ruin, in a broad daylight confrontation. Superman figures out that Ruin’s teleportation is physically draining him, and that he must be using Phantom Zone technology. But before he can unmask Ruin, he gets teleported away.
Superman winds up at the Moon, and the wreckage that used to be the Justice League Watchtower. Infinite Crisis 1 picks up from this point.
Superman turns to Zatanna for help in Adventures of Superman 644 (Nov. 05), by far too many people. Rucka, Nunzio Defilippis, Christina Weir, Darryl Banks, Karl Kerschl, Adam DeKraker, Wayne Faucher, Cam Smith and Robin Riggs are the creative team on this issue. Or a baseball team.
Superman worries about what programming might still be left in his head, and visits Zatanna. He wants her to use her magic to check his brain out, and fix anything that might be wrong. Zatanna is not happy about the request, and insists that she cannot and will not do those things anymore.
They both wind up getting involved in the Toyman’s latest child kidnapping, and we find out that Zatanna tries to fix the Toyman as well. We see the result, that his own perceptions of himself and reality bear little resemblance to what is really going on.
Zatanna casts a spell that breaks through this, making the Toyman understand his actions, which pretty much shatters the guy.
The story ends as Luthor and Mercy find the female Parasite from the twins, having survived by hiding in the sewers.
The story continues in the next issue.