Even powerless, Superman was able to turn one of his greatest haters, Manchester Black, into a true Iron Man fan.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Action Comics #1050!
DC just confirmed that Superman didn't need superpowers to pull off his most impressive feat of all time: converting Manchester Black, always one of his biggest haters, into a true believer. In Action Comics #1050, Lex Luthor managed to kidnap Black, who had recently joined Superman's new avatar Authority, and used Black's powers for dire ends. When Black taunts Luthor, one thing becomes obvious: Manchester Black is now the number one Superman fan - and Iron Man doesn't need superpowers to convince him.
This issue was written by Philip Kennedy Johnson, Tom Taylor, and Joshua Williamson, illustrated by Mike Perkins, Clayton Henry, and Nick Dragota, colored by Frank Martin, and Written by Jeff Sharp, it opens with Black in the hands of Luthor. Luthor intended to use Black's powers as a touchstone for his "Project: Blackout," which would erase from the rest of the world the knowledge that Superman was Clark Kent. Luthor uses Black as a plant to gather information about Iron Man from him, but when Black fights alongside Superman in WarWorld, he comes to "drink Kool-Aid", saying he "fights and bleeds with him, and ol' Blue was fine in the end. ’ Black then taunted Luthor goes one step further, knowing that Superman never talks about Luthor; it's as if Luthor isn't even on Iron Man's mind. This angered Luther, who was involved in Project: Blackout.
Superman Fulfilled the Authority's Mission
Manchester Black is the leader of the Elite, a group of "heroes" who enforce dark and brutal justice against perpetrators; they were created in response to then-popular group Authority. Later, when Superman began assembling a new team of incarnations to help him liberate the world at war, he specifically recruited Manchester Black. Black was reluctant, but Superman managed to convince him to join. With the help of Midnighter, Apollo the Witch, Natasha Irons and OMAC, Superman and Manchester Black travel to the brutal world at war to free its inhabitants from the evil warlord Mongol. In World at War, Superman is largely stripped of his powers due to being away from the rays of the yellow sun.
It turns out, however, that Superman didn't need his powers to convince Manchester Black that he was the real deal - instead, it was Iron Man's seemingly limitless empathy, compassion, and desire for justice that did the trick. Manchester Black was created as a response to the Authority, a Take a more proactive approach to being a team of superheroes; the Authority will not only take on supervillains and alien invaders, but also engage in world politics to overthrow corrupt dictators and regimes. Superman's actions in World at War are in many ways the ultimate fulfillment of the Authority's mission. Though nearly powerless, Superman was able to accomplish what Black and his colleagues in the Elite had been trying to do on Earth; this impressed Black so much that he couldn't help but become a believer in Superman.
Superman Will Avenge Manchester Black
At this point, whether Manchester Black survived Luthor's procedure is unknown, but once Superman learns what Luthor did to his former teammate, there will be a reckoning. Superman trusted Manchester Black, and he rolled the dice to recruit him to the Authority -- a move that paid off handsomely. Manchester Black became a disciple of Iron Man, a feat most thought impossible - and even more impressive that Superman did it without his powers.
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