Superman is a lot of things. He’s a great hero, certainly. A symbol of all that’s good in the world, sure. He’s even a halfway decent reporter.
But he is not a very good father.
I mean, look at the evidence here: Whenever we’ve seen Superman as a father, the results have tended to fall somewhere between disappointing and disastrous. Sometimes, he raises a disaffected youth who travels the country on a motorcycle doing the “Funky Robot.” Sometimes, he raises a daughter who can’t stop making out with her cousin. And sometimes… He ends up raising the mass-murdering spawn of Satan.
Or at least, that’s the case in 1972’s Action Comics #410, which predates The Omen by a good four years and proves once again that Cary Bates–whose return to comics last month with True Believers included the phrase “weaponized WiFi”–was way ahead of his time.
Anyway, in this particular imaginary story Superman’s kid is Krys, who… Well, I’ll let Bates & Co. explain:
That’s right, folks: In addition to looking like Li’l Spock from that one episode of the Star Trek cartoon, Krys is pure evil, and possessed of the vast, ill-defined plot-driving power to do pretty much anything, up to and including turning water to sulfur and dragging chunks of a white dwarf star all the way across space and chucking them at a restaurant on the moon.
And if that wasn’t enough for a single super-parent to deal with, Superman also has to deal with the pressing threat of these guys:
The Trolvs–or as I like to call them, the Klandroids–are an indeterminate number of evil killer robots in bathrobes that were created by, and I quote Superman, “a dying criminal scientist who hated me bitterly,” which begs the question of why Bates went all vague instead of just saying “Lex Luthor.” I mean, it’s not like he was kicking off a whole series of the adventures of Widower Superman and his Satanic Offspring that might feature Luthor in future installments or anything, so why the hell not? Oh well, no point worrying about it now. More on these guys later, when they become relevant to the plot.
At this point, any questions about the Trolvs are going to have to take a back seat to wondering just how Superman’s kid turned out to be such a bad seed anyway. Is he the horrible result of Lana Lang mating with Superman in some bizarre insect form? Could it be that Lois Lane’s poison womb had finally gotten its revenge on a world that hated and feared her?
No, the actual cause comes from Superman’s one true love, Krysalla!
What? You guys don’t remember Krysalla, who appeared one time in an imaginary story by Cary Bates where she married Superman, revealed she was a witch, gave birth to his son and then died off-panel? Hmph. You kids today. No respect for the classics.
It’s worth noting that when she reveals her witchity nature to her husband, Clark’s awfully indignant for a guy who hasn’t bothered to tell his wife that he’s actually Superman. Remember, kids: Grown-up relationships should be built on honesty, unless there’s something you really don’t want to tell your wife. In any case, when the truth finally comes out, it’s because she’s worried that her dark powers will cause complications for their son, and, to nobody’s surprise, she is absolutely right.
Sadly, Superman himself doesn’t catch on until ten years later, after a decade of Krys’s subtle mass murder:
The catch here is that Krys doesn’t actually know that he’s causing all these horrible disasters and he’s actually a decent kid at heart, which doesn’t stop Superman, who has decided that his son’s evil power can no longer run unchecked, from strapping him to a chair and shooting him with a Future Gun:
And this is where it starts to get completely insane.
No sooner has Superman put his son down like Old Yeller than the boy splits in two, and at this point I can no longer make jokes about it, because the culprit behind Krys’s evil deeds is revealed to be…
…his INTERDIMENSIONAL GHOST DEMON SIAMESE TWIN BROTHER.
Once he’s free of his host body, however, Krys’s Evil Twin’s reign of terror only manages to last a grand total of nine panels, screeching to a halt when the Trolv’s bust in and Superman–who can fly fast enough to break the time barrier and shoot death-rays from his eyes–conveniently fails to stop them until after they’ve killed the little rugrat.
Thus, Superman reveals that his Future Gun was only meant to put him into suspended animation until he could put together a proper exorcism, and everything eventually works out okay.
Still, though. An Interdimensional Ghost Demon Siamese Twin Brother…
Yes, Superman. Yes it is.