By keeping Kandor’s Bottle City a secret, Superman stole from Earth the knowledge of a society that overcame many of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Action Comics # 1030!

Superman She saves the planet from giant robots, magical supervillains and invading aliens on a regular basis, but she missed an opportunity to save humanity from her deadliest enemy – herself. A scene in the middle of Action Comics # 1030, Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Daniel Sampere and colors by Adriano Lucas, it gives readers insight into a method Superman could have used to bring about real change on Earth. Unfortunately, Superman realizes his mistake too late.

Superman’s power levels fluctuate dangerously and everyone around him is concerned. Batman suggests replacing Superman with Jonathan, Superman’s son, on the Justice League roster until the team can figure out how to restore Clark to normal strength. For his part, Jonathan is concerned that his father will become involved in what will later become known as Superman’s last documented appearance before his presumed death, disappearing from the history books the young hero read during his time in the future. . But Lois, knowing that Superman has escaped worse situations (even death itself) instead takes care of her job, visiting the libraries in the bottle city of Kandor; a miniature city that was once full of life. But now, all the Kryptonians are gone.

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Lois Lane, always the intrepid reporter, is writing a manuscript documenting Kryptonian culture. He marvels at the combination of artistic and scientific philosophies, noting that they no longer place disciplines such as mathematics and music in separate categories. “Although most people imagine the Kryptonian civilization at its zenith as far superior to Earth’s … a truer claim is that it was simply older.” she writes. “The Kryptonian Enlightenment, its Industrial Revolution, and its fossil fuel and water wars are far, far behind.” He then goes on to write about the loss of his technology, his art, and of course the Kryptonians themselves. Superman arrives and Lois wishes she had access to Kandor’s libraries years ago, while Clark admits he didn’t visit enough when the city was populated.

Superman Action Comics Kandor

The city of Kandor is an important part of the Superman myth. In most stories, the city was reduced by Brainiac and Superman keeps it in the Fortress of Solitude until he finds a way to restore both the city and its population to normal size. Lois’s manuscript detailing Kryptonian scientific breakthroughs and Superman’s admission of his absence from the city point to a missed opportunity: Kandor was essentially a living library of problem solvers. Here was a group of people who had solved their energy crises, their battles for resources. With Superman’s abilities (and the technology of the DC universe as a whole), it would have been trivial to ask any of the Kandorians to help humanity with the troubles on their horizon, both in a technological and a philosophical sense. Unfortunately, when Lois Lane identifies how similar Kandor’s story is to Earth’s, the city is empty.

For all his might, not even Superman can solve Earth’s systemic problems like world hunger, poverty, disease, deforestation, and inequality, at least not without becoming a despot. The most pressing problem on Earth is that no devastating monster Superman can solve by punching him, but if he had been less secretive about Kandor and used his fame to build bridges between the thinkers of Krypton and the scientists and philosophers of Earth, it could have helped humanity anticipate and address its problem. deep-seated problems before they cost countless lives. Kandor’s tragedy, and Lois Lane’s belated realization of just how much she had to offer, may haunt Superman for a long time.

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