The Man of Steel proves willing to get his hands bloody when it comes to DC’s supervillains in the finale of Superman and the Authority.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Superman and the Authority #4, on sale now from DC Comics.
The comic book miniseries Superman and the Authority provides a vision of an older Superman contending with his advancing years and diminishing powers while growing frustrated that he has not yet saved humanity from itself despite decades of superhero work. Realizing his time is running out, Superman decided to form a more proactive and no-holds barred superhero team in this world’s version of the Authority as his last, ambitious plan to institute real change and carry out the heroics he no longer could as his powers continued to fail him. And when Superman finally gets his hands dirty in the miniseries’ epic showdown, it shows just how brutal the Man of Steel is willing to get in order to save the day this time.
More interested in overseeing the Authority’s activities out on the field from the safety of the team’s new headquarters, Fort Superman, the Man of Tomorrow was ambushed when his original, recurring supervillain Ultra-Humanite infiltrated the base and overpowered him while using the body of Solomon Grundy. The Golden Age enemy revealed that he intended to transfer his consciousness into Superman’s body to make himself the ultimate pinnacle in human evolution, intending to use Kryptonian technology from the bottled city of Kandor to make such a procedure possible. However, in Superman and the Authority #4 (by Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire and Tom Napolitano), the Man of Steel brutally fights back, demonstrating just how much he means business.
Revealing that he had been feigning defeat and the full extent of his diminished powers all along, Superman is accompanied by Lois Lane as the two quickly turn the tables against Ultra-Humanite. With the villain’s consciousness controlling Grundy through a transplanted brain in the undead enemy’s skull, Superman rips off Grundy’s head, with Ultra-Humanite’s brain still intact. Superman reasons that as Grundy can regenerate back in Slaughter Swamp from virtually any mortal injury, the zombified villain was not truly killed by this drastic move while his link to Ultra-Humanite has been permanently severed, forcing Ultra-Humanite to find a new host body to continue his agenda.
Even beyond Morrison and Janin’s miniseries, Superman has recently taken a harder stance than usual against the prominent supervillains of the DC Universe. In Action Comics, Superman has decided that the interstellar despot Mongul has ruled over Warworld unchecked for too long, and is determined to confront the powerful villain. In a moment echoed in Superman and the Authority, the Man of Steel decides to leave Earth with his version of the Authority to overthrow Mongul personally on his own turf, setting up an epic showdown as the ties between Action Comics and Morrison and Janin’s story become evident.
The Authority and Superman are unafraid to take more extreme measures in order to defend the DCU and enact more lasting change than Superman ever had on his own or with the Justice League. This leads to a truly violent moment for Superman when he directly confronts Ultra-Humanite through the body of Solomon Grundy, a brutal moment not seen from the main DCU iteration of the superhero in recent memory.
If this showdown with Grundy is any indicator, Mongul may not be prepared for what is coming his way. Superman is now dangerously focused, and seems willing to do more than ever to ensure that his worst enemies are defeated.
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