The Superman Monster
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The Superman Monster is an Elseworlds tale, combining the elements of the Superman mythos with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It was written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, was pencilled by Anthony Williams, and was published by DC Comics in 1999.
At the Gotham City, Iceberg Lounge in 1888, newspaper editor Peregrine White entices his friend, Constable James Gordon, with a tale set five years ago in a small town in Switzerland, called Ingolstadt.
Philosophy student and scientist Vicktor Luthor is kicked out of Ingolstadt College after it is revealed that he had been conducting unorthodox and rather sacrilegious experiments as misguided attempts at reviving the dead. Afterwards, he began isolating himself from the world, and from his fiancé Eloise Edge, the daughter of Burgomaster Edge, in order to conduct his experiments away from prying eyes.
Two weeks later, Vicktor storms out of his engagement party when he witnesses a strange object fall from the sky and crash in the woods. The object is in fact a rocket from a doomed planet named Krypton, and inside is the dead remains of an infant. A recorded projection from the rocket reveals itself to be a projection of Jor-El, a scientist from Krypton who knew of his planet's certain destruction, so he sent in his son, Kal-El, to another planet in order for him to live. Jor-El programmed the projection to teach his son about Krypton's history, its science, and its technology. Vicktor decides to use this to his advantage, and constructs a Revival Matrix, meant to bring life into that which is dead. Buying body parts from a graverobber, whom he later kills, Vicktor builds a brand-new human being and brings it to life. Unfortunately, the process does not go as he planned, and his creation bears less a resemblance to a human being and more to that of a monster with chalky white skin. Horrified by his creation, Vicktor accidentally starts a fire in his lab, when the creature saves him from destruction using superhuman powers, and flies both his creator and himself away, only to be struck by lightning and cast into the forest.
The creature wanders off into Ingolstadt the next day, frightened by all the sounds and sights of everyday life, when he saves Elois Edge after her carriage loses control. She is not afraid of the creature, but the townspeople frighten him away, thinking him to be a savage brute.
The creature wanders back into the forest, where he meets Johan and Martha Kant, a kindly old couple whose only son had just died in a foreign war. The Kants take the creature in as their son. They feed him, cloth him, and educate him until he can function like a normal human being as his appearance slowly heals. They name him Klaus, and he uses his abilities to help them with their work, when a passerby witnesses Klaus' strength, and reports it back to town.
That night, Klaus discusses with his parents that he wishes to find his creator, when Vicktor brings a mob to the Kants home, and in the fight Johan dies of a heart attack and Martha dies inside their burning home. Klaus tries to attack Vicktor, but is weakened by a green stone that he wears on his cane, which came from Krypton. It is having an ill effect on Klaus because, as they say "like forces repel." That same night happens to be the night of Vicktor's wedding to Eloise, but Klaus interrupts the ceremony, wanting only for Vicktor to face justice. Vicktor fires a gun at Klaus, but the bullets ricochet off him and wound Burgomaster Edge in the arm and kill Eloise. Vicktor then beats Klaus with his cane until he passes out.
After the guests have left, Vicktor's friend, James Olafson, discovers Burgomaster Edge smothered to death. James returns to Vicktor's home, only to find Eloise's body suspended over the rebuilt Reviving Matrix. He tries to stop Vicktor, but he is shot and thrown into the cellar, where Klaus is subdued by a chain of the same green stones that Vicktor wears on his cane. James removes the stone, but Klaus is too late to stop Vicktor from reviving Eloise. Eloise and Klaus soon leave together, realizing that they were made for each other. At this point, James Gordon stops the story and asks Peregrine how he learned it. Peregrine reveals that when he was on a boat near the north, the crew discovered a babbling Vicktor Luthor wandering in the cold, until he finally died from exhaustion. Klaus then appeared to Peregrine, now angelic in nature, and took Luthor's body with him back to his home.
- "The Superman Monster" (by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with pencils by Anthony Williams and inks by Tom Palmer, one shot, Elseworlds, 1999)
- Batman: Castle of the Bat, the Frankenstein story as retold as a Batman story
- Batman: Two Faces, The Superman Monster is the sequel to this story
- Frankenstein in popular culture
- List of Elseworlds publications