Synopsis for “The Super-Merman of the Sea”
Preparing for a well-earned two-week vacation, Clark Kent says goodbye to Lois and Jimmy. What they do not realize however, is that even though “Clark” is taking some time off, he will still be active as Superman.
While flying across the Atlantic, Superman spots a rocket ship that slams into the ocean. Investigating, he finds two mer-people trapped inside. Superman tears the metal door off, allowing the man and the woman to swim free. The man introduces himself as Vul-Kor and his companion is his daughter Lya-La. As the two alien mermaids cannot breathe normal air, Superman decides to exile himself undersea to help them acclimate. He uses nameplates from sunken vessels to create a floating message to explain his absence. A passing mariner finds the signs and alerts the world that Superman is now living under the sea.
No one can understand why Superman would elect to exile himself. One scientist theorizes that the air may contain Kryptonite dust particles, thus forcing the Man of Steel underwater, but upon further testing, discovers that no such particles exist in the atmosphere. The scientist is just as perplexed as everyone else.
Jimmy Olsen takes it upon himself to find out why Superman left. He hires a deep-sea diver to loan him some equipment, and begins searching beneath the waves. Jimmy finds that Superman has created an underwater Fortress of Solitude. Superman sees him, but waves Jimmy away. He obviously wishes to be left alone.
Lois decides to look into the matter as well. She rents a bathysphere and travels towards Superman’s new undersea kingdom. She sees Superman arm in arm with Lya-La, and it is apparent to her that the two are in love. She even notices a placard above his new fortress that reads, “Home of Mr. and Mrs. Superman”. Broken-hearted, Lois returns to the surface.
News of Superman’s exile reaches the United Nations, and the assembly decide that it is necessary to bring Superman back by force; if for no other reason, than to at least find out why he left. They order a sea dragnet, and a submarine armed with a Kryptonite-tipped torpedo forces Superman to react. He uses the inky discharge of a nearby octopus to avoid the torpedo, then hides inside of a giant mechanical whale (that he created to help him with his underwater studies). He then uses an old ship propeller to force other bathyspheres away from him.
Superman returns to Vul-Kor who is building an Infra Coil that will melt the polar ice caps. By flooding the world, he will make the planet more habitable for his people. Superman, professing to harbor no love at all for humankind, agrees to help him. When construction is completed, Vul-Kor asks Superman to activate the machine. He does so, but the Infra Coil does not perform its prescribed task. Instead of generating a deadly beam that would melt the icecaps, the Coil instead only produces a dazzling rainbow of lights. Suddenly, both Vulk-Kor and his daughter begin to feel ill. They suspect that the high salt content of Earth’s oceans was the cause, and that no one from their home world could ever hope to live on Earth. With no choice but to leave, the two aliens climb into their rocket ship and blast off.
Superman never intended on allowing Vul-Kor’s plan to come to fruition, but he needed to gain the merman’s trust, or else Vul-Kor might have been inclined to summon his home world’s war fleet. During his courtship of Lya-La, Superman secretly stockpiled large volumes of salt and hid them throughout his “kingdom”, producing a much higher salt content than this region of the ocean would normally contain. Theorizing that excess salt would prove detrimental to the aliens, he counted on the fact that their sudden illness, would force them leave.