Superman: Unchained is one of the most interesting stories of Superman in the New 52. The story is written by Scott Snyder. And according to the writer this story was written to challenge Superman to his limits. He wrote the story in a way that all of Superman’s strengths would become his weaknesses. The story was released on the 75th Anniversary of Superman. And consists of 9 issues that were released over the span of a year. The first issue was released in June 2013 while the last was released in November 2014.
The writer even compared this story to the “Court of Owls” storyline of Batman. In Superman: Unchained, the boy scout takes on an unknown terror group and also gets to know about the presence of another Alien that was like him but even more powerful. Superman is forced to make a decision. In this article, we will look at the complete summary of this storyline. And also look at how Superman took on these threats.
Superman Unchained: Prologue
In the prologue of this comic book we see that the bomb called “Fat Man” that US dropped on Nagasaki was actually a Superhuman that caused destruction of the city at such a catastrophic level.
The story then shifts towards Superman flying towards the falling International Space Station, that has been knocked out of orbit. Superman arrives just in time to save the astronauts but in doing so he splinters the structure. And eight satellite objects fall from it.
Superman saves all the astronauts and intercepts seven of the eight objects but lets the last one crash into an abandoned area. He does so to save the astronauts in time. Superman suspects that Lex Luthor is behind this attack and arrests him while he is flying on a helicopter. But Lex tips him to investigate the terror group called “Ascension”. And declares his un-involvement in this event.
Superman then writes the story about this event as Clark while stating that Superman saved seven satellites from crashing while allowed one to crash. Lois then calls on him to say that he needs to check his facts as all eight objects were intercepted by Superman.
On hearing this he got really confused and went on to investigate the wreckage of the fallen satellite. And notices a handprint larger than his on the satellite. Meanwhile, he is hit with two torpedoes with soldiers telling General Lane that they accidentally hit Superman who overhears their conversation.
Superman Unchained: Meeting Batman
The next day Superman fights a construction robot taken over by Ascension. And heads to the Batcave after defeating it. Batman is testing a suit that can not be detected by Superman in the cave. Batman tells Superman after examining the wreckage of the eighth satellite that whoever did this is more powerful than Superman and also tells him about his worry about Ascension being able to take over anything even remotely related to technology.
Superman confronts General Lang in the Salt Flats where he shows Superman the weapons that he had designed to defeat Superman. As Superman destroys these weapons a creature appears and kicks Superman so hard that he falls in Detroit. The creature then takes Superman to Lane’s base where it is revealed that the creature is actually called “Wraith“.
Lane then further tells Superman how Wraith has helped them over the years and has taken down every single threat against the US. While rebukes Superman calling him a coward for not doing what is necessary. He further says that not interfering in politics makes Superman the biggest mass murderer.
This dialogue ends when they receive news about Ascension’s attack in Tokyo. Wraith and Superman head over there and defeat the robots but Superman notices that these robots were made to hurt him. While Superman asks Wraith about his planet of origin he receives news that Lois’s plane has crashed.
Superman Unchained: Lois’ Kidnapping
Meanwhile, Lois is saved by a man with a crystal who hands the crystal over to Lois for safekeeping. The man is killed by Ascension and Lois is kidnapped by them. It is then revealed that Ascension is actually a secret branch of the US military that is under General Lane’s direct command. And reveals the crystal to be an Earthstone powered by the equation that wraith brought when he fell on Earth. They can use the crystals to control any kind of technology and they will do so to protect the US.
On the other side, Superman can not track down Lois and brings Wraith to the Fortress where they have a chat about their approaches. The conversation ends when Wraith captures a weapon from the Fortress and asks the General to kill Superman.
But a message from Batman and Wonder Woman interrupts them. Batman tells Superman that Ascension has launched every single nuke in the world at once. And also reveal Lois’ location and that she is kidnapped by Ascension. While Wraith flies away to General Lane.
Superman Using The Earthstone
Superman finds Lois and notices that Earthstone held by Ascension is similar to Kryptonian technology. And saves Lois but the leader of Ascension hits the self-destruct button to destroy the facility. With Superman and Lois barely escaping the explosion with the Earthstone.
Superman holds the stone and tells Lois that this is not going to be the end and flies over the Earth and makes a force-field by using the stone around the globe which the nukes strike and explode saving the planet. Superman reveals that he heard a voice from the stone telling him to do so in order to save the planet.
Wraith vs Superman
At this moment Wraith arrives and attacks Superman with the intent to kill him. But Batman had already predicted that this would happen. And had given Superman a ring to make Wraith weak so that Superman can defeat him. And Superman attacks and subdues Wraith with Batman smiling while watching the scene from the satellite. Wraith flies away vowing to return.
Superman takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude and begins to study the crystals but is interrupted by General Lane’s unit attacking the Fortress with weapons specially designed to take Superman down. While Wraith is attacking the Batcave and fights both Wonder Woman and Batman.
General Lane’s machinery neutralizes Superman even when he is wearing Alien technology-made armor. but he is saved by Lois using the Earthstone. She destroys all the weapons made to attack Superman. And also confirms that there is indeed a voice inside the crystal. Superman rips open General’s tank and demands to know Wraith’s location. And arrives just in time to save Wonder Woman and Batman from Wraith.
Both of them engage in an epic fight over the entire planet. Wraith punches Superman into the arctic. And in response, Superman punches him into space. but Wraith changes into a Kryptonite Like being punching Superman into the core of the planet. But the electromagnetic radiation at the core blocks Wraith’s powers and Superman then fights and defeats him in a level flight.
Hen then places the Earthstone with other Kryptonian crystals, but it takles over the fortress and shuts everything down.
Superman Unchained: Ending
At this time, Lex Luthor informs Superman that Wraith’s initial plan was to advance the planet quickly over 75 years so that his race can take over it. And the voice that he heard in the crystals was actually the armada that is headed towards Earth.
He further tells Superman that he has designed a nuclear reactor that could power Metropolis. And the needle from this reactor can change him into a live bomb to destroy the armada but will take his Superman’s life in the process.
Superman takes the needle and attacks the armada by flying through their ships. But their technology weakens Superman and just when he is about to inject himself. Wraith appears and throws Superman back to Earth and injects himself instead. And destroys the attacking armada and the machine with killing himself in the process.
In the end everything goes back to normal and Wraith turned out to be a hero revealing that he was always good at heart and it does not matter how and why he came. But its how he chose to end his story, that matters.
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