Things are great. This is terrible.
Jimmy Olsen, the photographer for the Daily Planet, an American metropolitan newspaper, was on an all-expense-paid trip to the heart of Africa to...take pictures of animals. Because that's something that newspapers need: stock photos of animals with no words or stories. Anyway, when he was on this trip, he was kind of wearing his bias on his sleeve when he voiced his annoyance that Africa was so civilized now and there weren't any violent, scary animals. Yes. People weren't getting eaten by animals as much. How difficult for you, Jimmy.
Anyway, he quickly got his wish when a giant ape attacked he and his guides in their Jeep. Now, giant apes were having a moment in the 50s and 60s. Batman, Wonder Woman, and others fought them. Basically, if you never fought a giant ape, could you even call yourself a hero?
Well, now it was Superman's turn. But the Man of Steel can't go up against just any giant, rampaging ape. He could just laser eye them in half. Nope, he needed...a Super Gorilla. A discovery Jimmy documented when the bullets of his guide bounced off the charging ape. They were in trouble. Good thing he had a watch Superman had given him that let out a signal Superman could hear from a continent and also ocean away.
Superman, using his vision that can apparently also loop around the curvature of the earth, he saw from the United States that Jimmy was in trouble in Africa, and before Jimmy's Jeep crashed to the ground, Superman caught it. Like, good thing Clark Kent wasn't in the bathroom or else Jimmy would be dead.
A marvel of modern science. It must die.
Superman chased off the gorilla, but Jimmy and the guides were adamant about catching it. Imagine the science they could do killing and dissecting this magnificent creature. Well, Superman humored them, but the next day he found...the ship.
It was one he recognized as similar to that on a farm back in Smallville, Kansas. The same type of ship he had arrived in. A Kryptonian ship.
Superman quickly figured it out: like we have used apes in the past as test pilots for space travel, so must the Kryptonians. When the ape veered off course and found its way to Earth long ago, it had the same superpowers as Superman.
After Jimmy Olsen made the best case for him being a photo-journalist when he said they should name the giant ape "King Krypton", Superman went to work putting down another remnant of a home he would never know.
Or, try to. The ape aped Superman, and King Krypton discovered that he also had laser vision and frost breath. They had to do something about King Krypton, and if he had Superman's strengths, then he would also have Superman's weakness. Where there was one remnant of Krypton, there was another. They had to find some Kryptonite.
Because there's no such thing as too much detail, ancient Romans had once explored Africa and, becoming lost, decided to, as the old saying goes, when in Africa do as the 1950s American comic book writers think Africans do. They formed a tribal system, wore loin cloths, and then just...kind of hit the pause button and stopped there for two thousand years.
This is the Way (of the ancient Romans who are also, I guess, the modern Romans)
The reason for the Roman thing becomes clear when King Krypton, fresh from a bath in lava, entered the Roman settlement slugging it out with Superman...and both of them collapsed.
You see, the descendants of the Romans had inadvertently crafted their spear tips out of kryptonite. The guides and Jimmy said whew. Thanks. They were glad the Romans could help them subdue the beast and not be overcome by their ancestral urging and put both King Krypton the Super-Gorilla and Superman in a coliseum they had constructed.
Oh, wait. No. That's exactly what they did.
The Romans decided that it...just felt right to make them fight, so that's what happened. Neither Superman nor King Krypton could flee, but only one of them really wanted to, and King Krypton, having all the powers of Superman but none of the restraint, absolutely wiped the floor with the Man of Steel.
Like, I'm not condoning gladiator battles, but, you know, spear point to my back like Jimmy Olsen? Sure. I'd watch Superman fight a giant Super-Gorilla.
And things were going really badly for Superman. The ape was pummeling him with trees, smashing him with boulders, and straight up punching him in the face. This would have been the death of Superman...if not for Kryptonite.
Which, yeah, usually means the death of Superman, but King Krypton, feeling affected the same way...staggered toward the Kryptonite meteorite they had accidentally unearthed in the fight. Also, how are there so many chunks of Kryptonite on earth? Like, Krypton is, at closest, forty light years away, but Earth is replete with chunks of it.
Anyway, yeah, King Krypton threw himself over the Kryptonite boulder and revealed that he wasn't King Krypton after all. He was...some guy.
Well, a scientist from Krypton, long ago, who had been working on an evolution ray to see what the future held for the Kryptonians. Maybe because that's not how evolution works, maybe because they didn't check that the machine wasn't in the reverse position, but I guess Kryptonians evolved from gorillas. The kryptonian scientist turned into his evolutionary ancestor: the gorilla.
Not knowing what else to do, the Kryptonian scientists locked their boss in a space capsule and shot him off into the void, putting it on their to-do list to get him back when they discovered a cure for being turned into a gorilla. That to-do list, along with most of the planet, blew up, leaving Kal-El, King Krypton the super gorilla, and an ever-growing list of characters as the only survivors.
The scientist said that the Kryptonite had given him his mind back and reversed the reverse evolution. He sacrificed himself, so Superman could live.
Jimmy, not reading the room, walked up to the rigid, green Kryptonian. Wow. So that's how Superman could die someday. Crazy. Also, he failed to get any shots of Superman battling a super-gorilla.
Congrats, Jimmy, you're both insensitive toward your friend and bad your job.
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