Superman Beyond....

SUPERMAN BEYOND - The Greatest Superman Story Ever Told
Part One - The Story of SUPERMAN BEYOND

Toward the end of FINAL CRISIS #2 (an entry will follow [one day] about FINAL CRISIS specifically; however, in short, FINAL CRISIS is the story of a devil god losing a war in Heaven and, as this dark, evil god falls, he tears the fabric of the universe, the multiverse, apart and FINAL CRISIS is the story of the last of the heroes of the conquered Earth0 uniting to defeat him) a bomb went off in the Daily Planet, killing some and critically injuring Lois Lane-Kent.

In the hospital, in the next issue, it is revealed that Clark is keeping Lois alive with his heat vision, which he is using to massage her heart. Lois is one heartbeat away from death.

Enter, stage right – Zillo Valla....

Cut to SUPERMAN BEYOND #1 – time stops and Clark is visited by Zillo Valla (in a reprise from the same scene in FC #3). Zillo Valla is a member of a race of Monitors – ancient, unending, hyper-gods – the Monitors of Nil, masters of the Overvoid – beings who watch and monitor all the worlds in the multiverse through the Orrery of Worlds.

Zillo Valla, who has frozen time on Earth–0 (“our” Earth) tells Clark that she knows he’s Superman and that she knows of a way that Clark can save Lois – if Superman agrees to go with her and the Super-Champions of the multiverse that she has recruited. If they succeed, Superman’s reward will be “the universal medicine, the secret substance of life itself” – Ultramenstruum – the Bleed, which is the space, the arteries, between the universes. Bleed can only be touched, bottled and held by the Monitor race.

Superman and Zillo Valla travel through the Bleed in Zillo Valla’s ship – the Ultima Thule.

On the ship we meet Ultraman, Superman’s anti-matter opposite; Captain MarvelSuperman’s magic powered counterpart from Earth–5; Captain AdamSuperman as the epitome of scientific engineering and knowledge on a quantum level from Earth–4; Overman – the Nazi Superman – raised in extreme difference to “our” Superman – from Earth–10.

The Ultima Thule is being perused by the destroyer, “Echo of Midnight.” The Ultima Thule passes through the Bleed and other worlds in the multiverse before crashing in the graveyard universe – Earth–51. Back in the Bleed, the Ultima Thule travels to Limbo, where the passengers meet the citizens of Limbo – the forgotten; beings that have faded from everyone’s memories.

Superman and Captain Marvel make their way to the Library of Limbo where they find a book with an infinite number of pages all occupying the same space. They reach into the Infinite Book book and the Story of the Monitors follows. [I have my own theories about the Story of the Monitors, which I’ll share in a subsequent entry.]

Previously. There was MONITOR only. And then. Then is a flaw found at the heart of MONITOR perfection. MONITOR makes a concept to contain the flaw. MONITOR examination reveals within terrifying, unforeseen complexities and contradictions. Magnification reveals a structure of infinitesimal rippling manifolds upon whose surface intricate germ-like processes thrive and multiply.

Superman and Captain Marvel realize that MONITOR is a conscious, living void. Superman states that what he and Captain Marvel are reading is the “primal origin story of Zillo Valla’s kind.”

MONITOR extends a probe….Designed to blend with its surroundings, the probe secures contact….with something MONITOR has never before encountered. Inside the flaw – a chaotic froth of events.

Lives. Deaths. Heroes. Villains. Lovers. Stories.

This two passages above are told against the backdrop of the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

With no precedent for the concept ‘story…’ no understanding of the damage ‘story’ might do to an immense awareness without limits or definition…. MONITOR has zero defenses.

Blinded, split in two,” [into the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Monitor and Anti-Monitor] “the probe withdraws. The flaw is sealed, scabbed over. With divine metals. Made safe until all that remains of that ill-fated first contact is a vast, uncanny form.

A Thought–Robot.

The mystery of the silent sentinel haunts MONITOR, infects the immaculate intelligence with questions, speculating, pestilential, crawling narratives.

Legend takes root….and story, like contagion, spreads unchecked. Becomes this history of a once-mighty race of hyper-gods, direct descendants of the first immense, unknowable MONITOR.

This epic elegy for a doomed civilization, declining from splendor to squalor.


This last-ditch attempt to save creation itself from a loathing and greed beyond measure.

But first….eons pass of peace and plenty while the haunting relic of first contact rusts, neglected.

It has always been. It will always be.

Yet its shadow grows ever longer, ever colder in a deepening twilight.

After extensive study, the circle of Monitors makes its evaluation.

The Monitors are referring to the Thought–Robot, which they describe as a “doomsday machine engineered by genius to defend us against some ultimate enemy.”

Dread of the thing grows. Rumor spreads. Only on the last day will it yield up its secrets, it is said.

Only then will the story of Novu’s final gift be understood.

Dax Novu, the Radiant One, the first son of MONITOR and bravest of the Science Gods.

The race of Monitors were born from the rebirth of the multiverse in INFINITE CRISIS. Dax Novu was the first Monitor “born” with the rebirth.

Novu, whose brilliant, rebel intellect first probed the flaw and mapped its horrors. Who wrestled the angel of contamination. Who brought knowledge and the riches of the Bleed. Who gave his life to chain the beast in darkness. Who knew the day of holocaust would come again.

Deep within the sepulcher of Mandrakk there is a restless stirring. In the Plague Pit, the Prime Eater of Life senses its freedom.

An unstoppable countdown to cosmic revelation has begun.

Feedback from the Infinite Book knocks Superman and Captain Marvel back, changing Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson, who cannot remember his magic word.

Superman carries Billy into the Ultima Thule, where Superman catches Zillo Valla draining blood from Overman. Zillo Valla tells Superman that the Dark Monitor, Mandrakk, wakes.

Captain Adam tells Superman that the sky over Limbo have shattered. Outside the Ultima Thule, Superman and Captain Adam see Ultraman holding the Infinite Book as warships appear in the horizon.

Ultraman reveals that he read the final chapter of the book and found something greater than himself – Mandrakk – who is “building a bridge from the void into the multiverse.” Superman sees this as a challenge. Merryman, a citizen of Limbo, declares that they (the Limbo citizens) are not going to take it anymore and take up arms against the arriving forces.

In the Ultima Thule, Overman tells Billy Batson to stay away from the vampiric Zillo Valla. Overman reveals his origin and that he agreed to go on the journey to find his cousin, Overgirl, who we saw crash to Earth–0 in FINAL CRISIS #3.

Billy Batson discovers that the Ultima Thule is fueled by Bleed. Billy, a reporter for WHIZ Media, notes that he smells a “love story.” Zillo Valla gives Billy his magic word.

As the citizens of Limbo battle the warships of Mandrakk, Merryman asks Superman to promise that he’ll remember them.

Ultraman declares that he is taking the Ultima Thule to spread the gospel of Mandrakk to all worlds. Superman tells him that he’ll have to go through him first. As they are about to throw down, Captain Marvel enters and keeps them apart.

Captain Marvel reminds Superman of the ultimate weapon created by the Monitors that was revealed to them through the Infinite Book. Supes tells Captain Marvel to take the Ultima Thule and go into the multiverse warn everyone that Mandrakk is coming.

Captain Adam reveals that Thought–Robot requires the unleashing of tremendous energies to be activated, which can only occur during the “collisions of fundamental opposing qualities.”

Captain Adam allows Superman and Ultraman to touch and the resultant release of energy activates the Thought–Robot, which has the visage of Superman.

The Thought–Robot now activated, Zillo Valla tells Superman that It is a living weapon, “capable of adapting instantly to counter any future threat. A sentinel-suit designed for a single purpose. To protect all existence against the ultimate enemy.” It was the final gift left to them by Dax Novu, the Radiant One.

The Superman Thought–Robot meets Weeja Dell, lover of the exiled Nix Uotan, who leads him through the Funeral Gardens of Yivaroth. The Superman Thought–Robot sees a meeting between Monitors and as he looks around their decaying world, the Superman Thought–Robot comes to the realization that the Monitors are vampires, feeding off the Bleed and the stories of existence.

Zillo Valla reveals that the Monitors locked Dax Novu/Mandrakk “in the pit, in the sepulchre of the abyss.” A wholly vampiric Rox Ogama announces that “the master, my brother, wakes!”

The doors of the tomb open and Mandrakk steps out, holding a phial of Bleed. Mandrakk tells Superman all he has to do is take the phial from him. Mandrakk strikes and the battle between the Superman Thought–Robot and Mandrakk begins.

As Mandrakk fires upon the Superman Thought–Robot, he mentions the “sound of the space between now and her final heartbeat.”

Zillo Valla steps up and scolds Mandrakk, telling him that she has found, “deep within the germ worlds”, “a better story; one created to be unstoppable, indestructible! The story of a child rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet…”

Mandrakk kills Zillo Valla, at which point it is revealed that Zillo Valla was the lover of Dax Novu. The Superman Thought–Robot and Mandrakk battle again. As they battle, the picks up the staff of Prime Monitor Tahoteh and runs it through Mandrakk, tells him that he was Dax Novu and then blasts Mandrakk with his heat vision, knocking Mandrakk into the abyss.

Badly damaged from the battle, the Superman Thought–Robot is handed the phial of Bleed and advised that it cannot be taken back to his world. Superman tells the Monitor that he’ll “find a way.”

The Superman Thought–Robot begins to wind down. Ultraman and Superman are separated and fall to the surface, with Bleed raining down around them.

Captain Marvel reveals that he found his treasure – a shard of the Rock of Eternity. Silently, “in the space between one heartbeat,” Superman, Captain Marvel and Overman destroy Mandrakk’s warships.

Rox Ogama finds the bruised and angry Ultraman and brings him before Mandrakk, who transforms Ultraman into a vampire, his “first knight of terror.” Mandrakk states that he will return, with his armies of millions, when Superman is at his weakest “and we shall talk.”

Back on Earth–0, Clark goes to Lois hospital room and kisses her, giving her the life saving Bleed, which he carried back to his world in his mouth. Lois is healed and tells Clark she had an amazing dream and she needs to tell him about it….

Part Two, my analysis of the story, which spanned two oversize, 3D issues, will follow in a few days....

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