The Original Superman

Origins/Bio – Kal-L, The Golden Age Superman (Earth-Two, pre-Crisis)
The Original Superman

The first ever Superman’s origins are rooted in the earliest comics of DC history. On a world once called Earth-Two, Kal-L was born on a planet called Krypton. When his father Jor-L discovered Krypton’s imminent doom, he sent Superman to Earth in a specially designed rocket ship moments before this alien world was destroyed. The infant Kal-L’s rocket landed in a small town on Earth called Smallville, where he was found and placed in an orphanage. A loving couple named John and Mary Kent adopted him and named the boy Clark. He soon discovered his powers and received training from a hero named Superboy from another world. Kal-L was faster than a speeding bullet, strong enough to lift a car over his head, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sadly, Mary Kent died as Clark grew older, and when John Kent also grew sick, he had Clark promise to use his superpowers for good.

Taking heart from this advice, Kal-L adopted the identity of Superman and became the first true superhero of this world, beginning his career sometime in the 1930s. Compared to the Supermen of other worlds, Kal-L’s powers took a long time to fully develop. Yet by the Silver Age of Comics he learned to fly, gained abilities such as heat vision and frost breath, and experienced a massive increase in strength and durability, on a level comparable to other Supermen from other worlds. This hero became a popular defender of his beloved home, Metropolis, and the entirety of Earth-Two. Unique to other versions of Superman, Kal-L could also mould his face to look like other men of a similar build.

He was a founding member of the Justice Society of America and worked with such heroes as Batman, Alan Scott, and Jay Garrick. He served as a hero for many years, battling villains such as Alexi Luthor, Mister Mxyztplk, and the Wizard. As he grew older, Superman gradually began ceding this responsibility to other heroes, such as his cousin, Kara, who adopted the superhero identity of Power Girl. Kal-L met and married Lois Lane, a reporter who only discovered the man’s secret identity on their honeymoon. By and large, at this point, an aging Kal-L had largely retired his identity as Superman, living fully in secret as mild mannered reporter Clark Kent, who worked at a newspaper publisher called the Daily Star.

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Though famous for setting up much of the Superman mythos that would be explored for decades to come, this Superman started out much weaker than the others, only gaining strength in the Silver Age. By then, this Superman had grown older, and even married his longstanding love interest Lois Lane, while the main canon had moved on to the newer version of Superman.

The Crisis of Infinite Earths

One day, a being called the Anti-Monitor threatened all of reality. A Crisis across infinite earths began, during which Kal-L’s home of Earth-Two was destroyed. Enraged at the loss of his home and wife, Kal-L nearly went insane, but was of vital importance in saving reality, and landed the killing blow against the Anti-Monitor. In the aftermath of this battle, Alexander Luthor, Jr, of another world, managed to save Kal-L and his with, taking them and another hero called Superboy-Prime to a paradise pocket dimension where they could live in peace. The reality that remained had all but forgotten them.

Kal-L during the Infinite Crisis

From this paradise, Kal-L would watch the new Earth that emerged out of this crisis. This idealistic hero grew increasingly disturbed by what he was was a growing darkness in this new reality. Things weren’t simple and he began to view the Superman of this new earth as indecisive and hesitant, while the ills of this world were far more complex than the ones he endured. To Kal-L, the differences between right and wrong were always easy, but he watched as once great institutions faltered. Meanwhile, Lois Lane began to fall ill in this pocket dimension. They escaped this pocket dimension and emerged into this new world. Alexander Luthor Jr. meanwhile had begun to recreate the multiverse, recreating Earth-Two and sending Kal-L, Lois, and the heroes originally from there that had emerged on the new Earth back to their true home.

Sadly, Lois could not be saved, and she died in her husbands arms, happy to have lived such a long and unique life. Nevertheless, Kal-L was enraged, attacking his New Earth counterpart and blaming the other Superman for everything that went wrong. Eventually, however, Kal-L realized he was being used by Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor, and survived the events of another crisis, finding himself now an inhabitant of this new Earth. He worked with this other, younger Superman to defeat Doomsday, Bizarro, and later, Superboy-Prime. However the tormented and greatly empowered Superboy managed to defeat Kal-L, viciously beating the hero… and mortally wounding the man. While Superboy was eventually defeated by the other Superman, Kal-L died in Power Girl’s arms. He affirmed that the new Superman is as true a hero as he ever was, and declares he will always be with his cousin. His last word was but a whisper: “Lois.”

Death of Kal-L

Kal-L was honoured as a hero on New Earth, but his corpse was used by the Black Lanterns during the Blackest Night. He and a similarly undead version of his wife attacked Conner Kent before they were defeated. The corpse was placed and protected in the Justice Society headquarters for the duration of this event. After the events of Convergence, Earth-Two was restored and Kal-L was restored to existence. However, the location of this world, and Kal-L’s current whereabouts, are unknown.

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