It has always been a dream of mine to be a comic book writer and while I have my own comic, it’s really cost prohibitive to continue producing it. I would love to work for a legit comic book company like Marvel or DC, even as a guest writer, writing a mini-series.
My favourite comic book characters are Superman, Spider Man, Batman, and Nightwing so to have the freedom and budget to use these IPs and play in their toy boxes so-to-speak would be a dream come true.
In this post, I’m going to pretend I’m pitching an idea for a Superman mini-series. So this is what I would hope to write in a perfect world where DC allows me complete freedom with this beloved character.
I have a ton of ideas, which I’ve written down over the years so it was hard to pick just one. I really like the Earth One series because they are grounded in reality so I would go that route. I also like how Superman is young so I may want to continue in that narrative at some point. However, for this pitch, I’m going to go in the opposite direction — old man Superman.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, nobody wants to see their grandfather punch a dude in the throat. Well… actually, a lot of you probably do want to see that. Anyway, usually old people don’t make for interesting content, but hear me out.
The Set up
Okay, picture this if you will — Superman with a long grey beard, not unlike the kind you might find on the face of an old ship captain. He’s still buff, but not as ripped. Instead, he has that stocky old man muscle tone. He has long grey hair and a dope scar across his face, implying he’s less invulnerable and has been in a battle or two.
One of the challenges with Superman is that he has amazing abilities, almost too good. So to put him up against a common thief or petty criminal isn’t that interesting. Even really powerful threats don’t stand much of a chance without Kryptonite.
So in my story, as Superman ages, his powers diminish. He’s not as fast, as strong, doesn’t heal as well, etc. He’s all but retired from his duties as Superman and is enjoying a quieter life with his wife Lois.
Metropolis has new heroes — not the super powered kind, but just teenagers and MMA fighters who take to the streets and want to do right by Superman and carry on his legacy.
Perhaps there’s also a little resentment with Superman, a tiredness if you will from a life of helping citizens of Metropolis. While rewarding, it requires so much from him, so much sacrifice. It has taken away from his family life and he’s now ready to move on from that old life, and enjoy his retirement years with Lois.
In the opening act, we see Clark and Lois on vacation in the tropics. They just look like regular snowbirds getting away for the winter and enjoying the typical tourist life of drinking margaritas on the beach.
They travel via plane because Lois is too old to fly around with Superman. He’s also not as fast so it’ll look weird if some old man has an elderly woman under one arm, a bunch of luggage under the other, and wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt and cargo shorts.
On that trip, Lois falls ill and Superman flies her back to Metropolis as fast as he can. She’s admitted in the best hospital in Metropolis and undergoes a series of tests and treatments by the best doctors the city has. It’s also well known that Clark Kent is Superman and Lois is his wife, so the doctors, perhaps more so than ever, feel beholden to do everything in their power to save her.
After several days, the results come back and it is determined that Lois has cancer and doesn’t have much longer to live. Perhaps being exposed to all the x-ray vision and heat vision is what caused it, so Clark has to deal with that guilt.
In the second act, some threat hits Metropolis and the local heroes are on the scene. Clark doesn’t want to leave Lois’s side at the hospital because he knows she doesn’t have much time left.
On the news, there’ coverage of a school shooting as a group of masked men storm a private school and hold the kids hostage. The men, four in total, appear to have super powers. They easily defeat Metropolis’s new superheroes as well as the police. Citizens of Metropolis are sending out a beacon, hoping Superman will come to the rescue.
Lois encourages Clark to go, but he’s reluctant. “There will always be a threat,” he says. “We have police and military to deal with these issues. I’ve come to terms a long time ago that I don’t owe anything to anybody.”
The sheer fact of him being in Metropolis and ignoring the rest of the world’s problems is evidence of that.
Lois convinces Clark to go because there are kids in danger and this is almost like her last wish. She tells him that nothing would make her prouder to have her last memory of her man saving a school full of children.
Superman whooshes out of the hospital and flies into action. He has this badass uniform, not the typical one. I would do a new one. Maybe looks like an old king or something.
Superman breaks into the school and expects to disarm some troubled kids, but when he arrives, he’s met with a group of misfit teens with powers. They give this weakened version of Superman some trouble. They essentially beat his ass. He’s driven into the lockers, smashed through a wall, thrown into the basketball backboard in the gymnasium.
Superman fights back but is battered and bloodied, clothes ripped, but manages to save the day. He obtains some fabric from the main kid and takes it to Batman for analysis. Bruce Wayne is old and out of the game, but helps Superman. He has his lab and gadgets and is still a detective.
While with Bruce, Clark receives a phone call from the doctors, Lois has passed away. Clark is pissed. He races back to the hospital and is really distraught. These punk kids have robbed him of his last moments with his dying wife. He now feels all alone in the universe and needs some time for quiet reflection and contemplation.
He flies up to the Fortress of Solitude and reflects on his life. Being a hero comes with a lot of sacrifice. All the time he had spent saving others was time taken away from being with family, so he wrestles with that.
He flies back to Metropolis and gives Lois a proper send off. Everyone is at her funeral from Hal Jordan, Diana Prince, Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, Dick Grayson… they all comfort him and remind him that he’s not alone.
At the funeral, Bruce takes Clark aside and informs him that the results of the test came back. The DNA is part Kryptonian. “Impossible,” Clark says, thinking there’s been a mistake, or that Bruce analyzed his blood by mistake. There’s no mistake. The tests also reveal that the three other men with the main guy had trace amounts of Kryptonian DNA, but there was something else going on in their blood that was different than the main guy. Bruce would need to analyze it further.
In the third and final act, Superman goes to the one person he feels knows something about genetic manipulation and Kryptonite — Lex Luther.
Superman shows up, smashes through Lex’s penthouse and we see an old man Lex. He seems happy to see Superman, but Superman isn’t happy to see him. He flies across the room, grabs Lex by his lapels and slams him into a wall, he’s in full rage and about to beat Lex to death.
Next thing you know, the part Kryptonian kid shows up and smashes Superman through a wall and really has his way with him once again. The two battle it out and completely destroy Lex’s penthouse. Lex then decides to break it up and says to Clark, “I thought you’d be happier to see your son.”
Superman knows that he doesn’t have a son, so he’s confused. As it turns out, the child is a clone of Superman — a hybrid created by Luthor using Superman’s DNA. The kid learns about these origins for the first time as well.
Superman takes off and disappears for a while. Bruce reaches out and informs Superman that the kid is a hybrid, which confirms Luthor’s story, but the other two seem to be regular people with a sort of super serum derived from their friend’s blood. They receive super powers, but only temporarily and they are not nearly as strong.
Bruce has reverse engineered this concoction and made a batch of this super serum for himself and for Superman. He gives Superman a few canisters, but Superman refuses.
Later, a major threat hits Metropolis and the local heroes have their hands full. They’re receiving a major beating and it appears Superman is the city’s only hope. He acts purely on instinct and rushes to the scene where he does everything he can to stop the attack. This new creature is really powerful and beating Superman to a pulp.
But, Superman refuses to give up. He hears Lois’s voice and summons a second wind. He’s all heart.
The battle ensues back and forth as the whole world tunes in. Superman is bloodied and beaten into submission. Just when he’s about to be defeated, Batman shows up and injects Clark with the super serum.
Superman returns to his former glory and rises from the rubble. He becomes the hero we’ve all grown to love and beats the villain from pillar to post. The whole world cheers him on. Batman is also jacked up on the sauce and is doing flips and using gadgets to really lend a hand where he can.
But then, just when hope is all but restored, the serum begins to wear off. The threat has not been defeated. It returns and beats the piss out of Superman. Batman is thrown into a building and is no longer able to fight. Superman is now alone and is even more diminished than before he took the serum. He’s all but going to die and the world is watching. Hearts are broken, people are crying, it’s a really sad day.
Just as the villain is about to deliver the death blow to Superman, the Kryptonian kid shows up and helps defeat the threat. He and his squad take it down and save the day.
In the end, the last panel shows the kid standing over a beaten and bloodied Superman and he simply extends his hand. The words “To be continued” in the bottom right corner.
In the following books, we’ll see a passing of the torch so-to-speak as this new hero emerges to protect Metropolis. Perhaps this kid is a little impulsive, a little impressionable, opportunistic… Lex is able to get in his head and control him, but now that he knows of his roots, he wants to do right by that heritage and become more like Superman. Superman, while losing a wife, has gained a son, so this becomes his new focus as he continues on the rest of his life.
So there it is, one of my Superman ideas. Let me know what you think! 🙂
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