After years of failed attempts to end the life of Superman, one by one the villains of Metropolis gave up and moved on to other, more rewarding, endeavors. Brainiac went back to school, attained multiple PhDs, and is now approaching tenure at Columbia. Bizarro eventually became a Sous-Chef at one of Chicago’s hottest downtown nightspots. Predictably, Lex Luther died of a stress-induced aneurysm, while General Zod went into politics. You may be more familiar with his life now, as Senator John Zod (R-OK).
But, as we all know, crime never sleeps. And it didn’t take long before a new breed of supercriminals moved in to fill Metropolis’ vacuum of villainy. While each was skilled in the craft of crime, this contemporary generation of criminal masterminds seemed to learn nothing from their predecessors. After a few failed efforts to kill Superman himself, Professor Doomsday – an evildoer as smart as he is deadly – called together a Secret Meeting of Doom…with only one item on the agenda.
Professor Doomsday: Gentlemen! You have all been called here today because you are the best at what you do. In the past, each and every one of you has shown an impressive knack for creating chaos and disarray throughout this city. It is my firm belief that many of you would have been successful – some of you may have even come close to world domination – if not for one simple fact.
Evildoers, there is a man out there who foils all of us, each and every time. You all know to whom I am referring. I have brought you here this morning in an effort to pool our collective resources, our collective talents, toward one common goal. Gentlemen, the question I pose to you is: How do we kill Superman?
Generic Villain No. 1: Kryptonite?
Professor Doomsday: Stop right there. Together we are a most bright and evil group. In fact, we are some of the most intelligent supervillains the world has ever known! Surely, as a collective, we can think of something a little more elaborate than Kryptonite. Christ, half of you have enlarged brains. Do you see that?…You, you, and you!…All three of you have gigantic brains, and–
Destructor: – Professor Doomsday? …My brain isn’t any larger than it’s supposed to be. This is…this is just a tumor.
Professor Doomsday: Jesus Christ!
Destructor: My doctors said that it was probably from that abandoned power plant I used to use as my hideout in the eighties. There was a lot of nuclear waste that I never bothered to clear out of there, and the doc told me that’s probably what did it. Lesson learned though, right?
Professor Doomsday: Well, yes, I suppose that would explain it. But let’s not get sidetracked here! We have got to think of a better plan. Kryptonite won’t work. We know Kryptonite won’t work. Kryptonite’s been done. Kryptonite never works.
Electricity Man: What if we trick him into eating a cake with Kryptonite baked into it or something?
Professor Doomsday: Electricity Man, were you not just listening? It doesn’t work. Ever. And I’ve been meaning to ask you this for some time – what the hell kind of a name is Electricity Man?
Electricity Man: All the good electricity-oriented names were taken.
Professor Doomsday: You couldn’t have chosen anything else? Deceive your enemies or something?
Electricity Man: Huh?
Professor Doomsday: Well, say you call yourself Dr. Aqua. So, when your enemies are expecting water, you juice ‘em with electricity. They’d never see it coming.
Dr. Crabs-for-Hands: There’s already a Dr. Aqua, out in St Louis. He’d have to call himself something else, like Aquario.
Electricity Man: Well now how’s that any better than Electricity-Man?!
Destructor: You know, while we’re spit-balling on this, I find it harder and harder to have a superpower these days. You constantly have to worry about the legacies of the past. There aren’t all that many superpowers and a lot of them do overlap. And there are only so many names to choose from.
Generic Villain No. 1: Yeah, he’s right! We have to deal with all of these new problems that our evil ancestors never had to consider. For instance, did you know that you can use the Internet to track global villains that are multiple-time offenders –
Professor Doomsday: – that’s how I found most of you –
Electricity Man: – And we can’t just disappear to our island hideouts anymore! Thank you very much, Patriot Act. Our forefathers in villainy never had to deal with these sorts of obstacles to tyranny! Instead, they just took all the good names and left their contemporaries a short list to choose from, where the best options were either Zap Volt or Electricity-Man!
Professor Doomsday: Villains! Villains! Focus! Ideas! How do we kill Superman?
Dr. Crabs-for-Hands: What if we get him hooked on heroin?
Generic Villain No. 1: I think it could work.
Professor Doomsday: Nope, no – I don’t like it. Last thing we need is a junkie Superman running down the street screaming, Give me back my baby! and shooting his heat vision everywhere. But you’re thinking outside of the box, Dr. Crabs-for-Hands. I like it. Roll with it.
Dr. Crabs-for-Hands: What about oven cleaner?
Professor Doomsday: Not bad. He must have some organs that would be doomed to fail if he drank oven cleaner. As far as I know he has no spider-sense that would go off if he were about to ingest oven cleaner.
Electricity Man: No. No, that won’t work either. Superman is never drinking anything in public. I remember trying to hatch a similar plot some years ago. It involved cyanide-laced champagne and a sexy lady alien clone. Not only did he not fall for it, but he busted up my lair and literally threw me several light years until I landed at the front steps of Intergalactic Jail. Do have any idea how humiliating that is?
Generic Henchman No. 1: If only we knew who he really was!
Evil Steve: Excuse me, but what if we just gave him AIDS?
Professor Doomsday: Wait, what was that? Who said that?
Evil Steve: Thank you, Professor. It was I, Evil Steve.
Professor Doomsday: Ah yes, Evil Steve from East Metropolis. Okay, so how do we give Superman AIDS?
Evil Steve: I was thinking that we use cobras, professor. Cobras with AIDS.
Professor Doomsday: …Cobras…with AIDS…Go on…
Evil Steve: Well, perhaps we make an army of robotic AIDS cobras. This way we can fill them with a whole bunch of AIDS, and control their movement from a remote location. Now, follow me here, we set up an old lady getting mugged and screaming for Superman’s help – that old chestnut – but this time we have several robotic AIDS cobras standing by and ready to bite. Remember, if we fill those cobras with enough AIDS, all it takes to infect Superman is one bite.
Professor Doomsday: Robotic AIDS Cobras. Are we capable of manufacturing such a thing?
Generic Henchmen No. 1: We are, sir.
Professor Doomsday: Brilliant. See if we can get the tech. department to draw up some schematics.
Generic Henchmen No. 1: Right away, sir.
Professor Doomsday: Now…gentlemen…please join me…in a toast…to the death of Superman!
And so, the Co-op of Doom unleashed their robotic AIDS cobras upon the city. While the plot did succeed, and Superman was bitten several times by the ambushing HIV-positive army of snakes, his immune system was so strengthened by the Earth’s yellow sun that AIDS had no devastating effects upon his body. Once again evil was foiled.
As per usual, Superman easily deduced the rogues behind the infected cobras and immediately returned Electricity Man to Intergalactic Jail. Dr. Crabs-For-Hands was killed by debris while fleeing, and Superman simply decided to throw Professor Doomsday directly into the sun.
On a sad note, Destructor died of complications from his brain cancer a mere three days before the cobras were unleashed. He is survived by his ex-wife and two stepchildren from a previous marriage. He will be missed.