The Composite Superman

The Composite Superman

(pop culture)
While many supervillains of comics' Silver Age (1956–1969) attempted to defeat the valiant team of Superman and Batman, only the Composite Superman succeeded. As shown in World's Finest Comics #142 (1964) in a tale by Edmund Hamilton and Curt Swan, former daredevil Joe Meach wrongly blames Superman for ruining his career after rescuing him during a foolhardy high-diving attempt. Shunning the public as the night janitor at—of all places!—Metropolis' Superman Museum, Meach's life is transformed by a freak accident: lightning strikes the museum's statuettes of the Legion of Super- Heroes, inexplicably energizing the petulant Meach with each of the Legionnaires' vast superpowers. He transforms himself into an amalgam of Batman and Superman—with kryptonite-green skin—and as the Composite Superman assaults the heroes (and Batman's ally Robin) with a cache of capabilities that humble even the Man of Steel, bullying the heroes into exile in their alter egos. Were it not for the unexpected disappearance of the villain's powers, the world's finest trio might still be storing their tights in mothballs. When next seen in 1967, Meach had apparently undergone anger management and held Superman and Batman in the highest regard—until the vengeful extraterrestrial Xan restored him to his rancorous Composite Superman identity. Just as Xan attempted to annihilate Superman and Batman, the Composite Superman's powers faded and Meach sacrificed himself to spare the heroes' lives. Outside of the 1982 emergence of a Composite Superman impersonator, this peculiar but fondly remembered adversary's only other appearance has been as a retro-marketed action figure in 2005.