The Lawless League’s domination of the whole world continued to grow until Alexander Luthor could stand it no longer. He had waited in his hidden Fortress of Science and planned and plotted with Brainiac, alias John Smith, until they had developed a few new weapons that might enable them to bring down the terrorists who mastered their world.
“Prognosis: grim and likely failure if we attack them now. We need more time and better alternatives,” calculated Brainiac.
Lena hugged the artificial man she had come to love. “Oh, John, don’t risk yourself too soon. Even Alexander can only do so much against such brutes. I lost my parents to one like them, and I could not bear to lose you, too.”
John smiled. He had Lena’s love, even though he had been made and not born. He was as human as he could ever have desired. “My love, I cannot stand by and let my friend risk his all alone. I have my own inborn gifts, and our technology may yet be enough for us to win the day.”
Lois Luthor grunted. “Hmmm… I agree with Lena. You two may be smarter than them, but they are killers. You mustn’t think that they won’t go for your lives at first sight.”
Alexander nodded. “True, my dear. But how can you respect me if I don’t fight them? How can you look at your husband without feeling scorn if I merely sit here and hide? I became a hero reluctantly, but I won’t relinquish the job when my world needs me more than ever. I’ve been working here for nearly a year now. They have conquered the whole world. I must try to defeat them and take back our world.”
Lois hugged him and prayed that his brilliant mind could overcome their ruthless power.
Brainiac spoke up. “Alex, I have studied our photos of this League over the last few months, and I notice that there are actually six of them. See how this photo shows a Hypernion in Greece, while this one captured his image over California at the exact same time? They have a shapeshifting ally who poses as one or another of them. Notice the same type of thing happened with two Amazon Princesses on the fourteenth, one in the White House and one in Maine.”
“Great Scott! I assume they aren’t clones,” offered Luthor.
“No,” said the green man. “My sensors detect a distinction between their genetic makeup. One in both shots is genetically identical. I theorize that such a being would develop on Mars.”
“A man from Mars?” said Luthor. “Strange. We know that the others appear to identically match the power signatures of the Earth-One JLA. It is as if the Leaguers are some alternate Earth’s versions of the JLA. If the Earth-One Superman had not shared his Earth’s data files with me back then, we’d be totally lost.”
“If their world has a Mars with life forms such as that one upon it, why couldn’t we also have life on our Mars?” suggested Brainiac.
“And if so, why couldn’t we enlist their help?” concluded an eager Luthor.
“We lack space travel technology, with your armor now almost powerless, but perhaps we could bring the Martian to us,” suggested Brainiac.
“That’s it. We will teleport our own Martian here, or die trying,” vowed a determined Alexander Luthor.
The loss of identity suffered by Ultraman came to a head around ten months after his defeat at the hands of the Lawless League. He had wandered dazed into the town of Smallville, Maryland, where an elderly farmer couple had taken him in and allowed him to do hired hand work in exchange for food. He was obviously strong and never seemed to tire. The couple’s family name was Kent, and he came to enjoy their kindness and hospitality.
“Cal is my name. That’s the only thing I can recall,” he had explained. “That and a need to be active and in action.”
Martha Kent said, “My Jonathan was like that as a young man, always on the go at our old store or on this farm.”
Jonathan Kent led Cal out to the front porch one starry night after the drifter had been staying with them for around three months. “Cal, I reckon you have a better purpose for yourself than just helping out on this farm. Is there any way I can help you reach that goal?”
Cal smiled. He had responded with a real appreciation to the paternal man’s interest. “If only my own father had been so open and encouraging. Not that I can recall his name — just a face, an attitude, and an alien world.”
They gazed up at the stars, and he said, “Sir, I guess I could find my destiny in the big city. A place where things happen fast.”
“Well, I would try Gotham City — or Metropolis,” said Kent. “They say anything is possible in big hubs of activity like that.”
Cal agreed, and with a reluctance born of a real affection for this elderly family who had offered his troubled soul a place of rest, he soon left for Metropolis.
He wasn’t there long before he wandered into the heart of the city with no particular expectations. He made his way through the streets and saw what seemed impossibly far away — a woman in peril from a speeding car. He moved, compelled by some whim he could not understand, and shoved the pretty redhead to safety.
The movement had been all a blur, but he stayed to help her to her feet.
“You saved me! How can I thank you?” she asked. He looked at the woman, who was wearing a pink skirt and white top, with her red hair blowing alluringly in the breeze. “I guess I was daydreaming and walked right in front of that car. My dad always says, ‘Lana, you’d lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on tightly enough’.”
Cal shook hands with Lana Lang, WGBS TV newswoman. She offered to buy him lunch, and they stopped by her office, where fate stepped in when her boss, Morgan Edge, spotted Cal.
“Lana, who is this hunk? He would look great on camera,” said Edge. “Can you read?” he asked him. “Try him for a screen test, Hal. He would bring in the females. Hmm… Perhaps with glasses for a more cerebral look.”
“Of course I can read,” said Cal. “Never thought about the news game. I do need work.”
Thus was born WGBS TV newsreader Clark Kent, a name borrowed from the Kents. He added glasses to his slicked-back hair, and a star was born. Things were going well for the former Ultraman during his amnesia.
Clark Kent’s new career soon earned him a nice salary and a romance with Lana Lang. He often wondered about the past he could not recall except in dim flashes. A father’s disappointment in his lack of high intelligence and a desire to prove himself and avenge any slights to his ego were etched within his character so firmly that he never quite shook them, even in this altered state. He continued to grow close to Lana, and she smoothed many of his rough edges until they became a popular news team.
The stories he read about the Lawless League’s gradual climb to world domination and the mysterious absence of Alexander Luthor tugged at something within his fractured psyche. He still questioned his loss of memory. And then, one day in Fall, 1986, he found what he had lost.
He and Lana had been hiking around the park trails outside of the city — something the elegantly dressed Miss Lang did not do with any relish — when he unearthed a glowing green rock.
“Luv, that is one weird meteorite you’ve found,” cooed Lana. “It would make a lovely necklace in the right setting.”
Clark felt odd as he neared the stone from space. It gave him a fever that passed into a sudden rush of energy, and all at once his memory returned.
“Great Krypton!” he roared. “How dare those fools rob me of myself! I’ll make them pay!”
Lana cried out, “Clark, what’s wrong?”
He looked once at her and remembered their romance, then he turned and flew off, bent on violent revenge. He did not stop until he slammed directly into the White House as alarms echoed and the woman called Green Gladiatrix challenged him.
“You again?” she said as he deflected her energy blast and melted the roof above her flying form.
The wood and plaster rained down on her without any harm befalling her until a yellow sliver fell inside her bubble. Ultraman noticed and took advantage of it. He ripped up a yellow beam and rammed it directly through the woman’s midsection. She died instantly, and he crushed her ring to powder.
Then an invisible fist slammed into him, and he fell beneath the blasts of Hypernion. “You murdering savage! You killed Gladiatrix!” shouted Hypernion as he and the invisible Martian Warlord beat down their foe.
Ultraman rose again and shoved them down with brute force. “You haven’t seen the extent of my power.”
Atalanta’s rope then snagged him, and she ordered him to sleep. The magic robbed him of his awareness, and he fell at her feet.
“Men. I wonder what you’d do without me,” she smirked as she placed her hands on her hips.
“The better question is — what do we do with him?” asked Darknight.