The Superman Comic That Was Part of Two Separate Crossovers!

This is "Can't Cross Over," a feature where I look at instances when comic book writers had to adjust their stories to deal with crossovers.

Today, we look at how Superman: Man of Steel had to work in an inter-company crossover into the middle of a Superman-centric crossover!

In 1994, Action Comics was nearing #700, which was also the end of Roger Stern's tenure on the title. Just like with how the Superman titles gave Jerry Ordway quite a send-off with Adventure of Superman #500 (the start of the Reign of the Supermen), Stern's send-off was also a big deal, which was namely the final takedown of Lex Luthor.

In case you are unfamiliar with what was going on with the Superman books of this era, Lex Luthor had been re-invented as basically a Donald Trump-like businessman who was secretly a supervillain. The people of Metropolis, though, think he's a good guy. Luthor was obsessed with Superman because until Superman showed up, Luthor was Metropolis' biggest hero. Luthor got his hands on a Kryptonite ring, but that turned out to be a bad thing for Luthor, as the radiation from the ring ended up with Luthor riddled with cancer. He "died," but then Lex Luthor Jr. showed up. An Australian young man, this new Luthor took over his father's company. Then we learned that this new Luthor was just a clone of the original Luthor with the brain of the original Luthor!

However, over time, Luthor couldn't help but do awful things just because he COULD. In a clever twist, the final issue of the "Funeral for a Friend" storyline, which was the final issue of Superman entirely for a few months before the books returned with the "Reign of the Supermen" ended with two awful things happening. One, Jonathan Kent appears to die of a heart attack and two, Lex Luthor murders his martial arts instructor because she embarrassed him in front of Supergirl and Lois Lane. It was this big ol' "Thing are awful without Superman" bit right before the series seemingly ended for good.

Well, as it turned out, the murder of that martial arts instructor was eventually leaked to Lois Lane, who proceeded to investigate Luthor even as he pulled all of his strings to ruin her life in the process, including blowing up her apartment to get rid of the videotape evidence of Luthor's crime.

The problem for Luthor is that his cloned body was starting to deterioate and so he basically declared war on Metropolis, sending various factions after each other to destroy the city and Cadmus (the cloning facility who he blamed for his clone body falling apart). Part of this is by unleashing a virus that is slowly killing any beings created by Cadmus, including Superboy (who was cloned from Superman).

In Superman: Man of Steel #34 (by Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke), we see Lois get a clue to her next step, but notice the comment that the mailman says about Dakota...

That plays a major role later.

In Action Comics #700 (by Roger Stern, Jackson Guice and Denis Rodier), Lois Lane finally finds her proof...

However, the slowly dying Lex Luthor won't go down without a fight! He reveals that he has bombs all over Metropolis...

Superman plays on Lex's love for the city to get him to agree not to destroy Metropolis, but Lex's assistant won't let Lex go through with it and he instead sets off the bomb sequences! Superman stops a lot of them but some of them still go off, including one near the Daily Planet!

The aftermath of Luthor's attacks was the crossover "The Fall of Metropolis," which began in Superman: Man of Steel #35. However, it was also the first part of ANOTHER crossover!

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