While in a time pool, the Atom witnesses Superman's death and, once he gets back to the present time, tries to prevent it from occurring, in "Rendezvous with Death."
Rendezvous With Death
The Atom journeys into the past, via Professor Alpheus Hyatt's Time Pool. Upon arrival, the Atom suddenly becomes immaterial. Worse, he sees Superman about to be executed by a group of aliens. The Atom attempts to intervene, but in his invisible and intangible state, he can only watch as Superman is disintegrated. Rapidly shrinking himself down even smaller, the Atom is able to, briefly, charge the molecules of his body enough for the Time Pool's magnet to take hold of him. Returning to the present, the Atom finds himself solid again. Transporting up to the satellite headquarters of the Justice League of America, the Atom is stunned to find Superman alive, on monitor duty. After the Flash relieves him, Superman joins the Atom in Hyatt's laboratory. Hyatt produces the piece of alien technology he recovered from the past, via the Time Pool, that prompted the Atom's investigation. Superman recognizes the device as one seen in his Great-Grandfather Var-El's laboratory. Superman recounts an adventure, that he shared with Hawkwoman (DC Comics Presents #37), that strongly suggested that Var-El's death had been accidental. Now, Superman isn't so sure. Despite the Atom's fears that Superman will die in the past, as he previously witnessed, Superman is resolved to go. Rather than argue with the Man of Steel, both the Atom and Hyatt insist on going with him. Superman carries the Atom and Professor Hyatt back through time, and straight to Var-El's laboratory. There they are attacked by a war party of Native Americans. Superman saves Hyatt's life, only to be brought down by their Shaman's magics.
Once the Atom lays out the Shaman, Superman quickly recovers. Outside of Var-El's laboratory, Superman and the Atom encounter the Orgons, a hostile alien race known for their thievery of technology. Once the Orgons realize that Superman is Kryptonian, they bring him down with a red sun radiation projector. In short order, they best the Atom as well. Hyatt flees into the countryside. Hyatt is attacked by a grizzly bear, but Var-El saves his life. The Atom awakes to find himself in the Orgon ship, held in place, atop a microscope slide, by a gravity field. Superman is also imprisoned, within a field of red sun radiation, just as he was when the Atom witnessed his execution. Meanwhile, Hyatt is filling in Var-El on Krypton's fate. Var-El reveals that he had been rescued from certain death by the Orgons. When their true nature was revealed to him, Var-El escaped and returned to Earth. Hyatt urges Var-El to assist Superman and the Atom against the Orgons, but Var-El is reluctant to intercede. Using his telescopic vision, Superman spies the Orgon's solar collector in orbit around the sun. The collector is drawing the Sun's energies to Earth, to power the Orgon's weapons. Along with the power to fuel their weapons, the Orgon's collector is also drawing immense amounts of microwave radiation into Earth's atmosphere, resulting in a wave of sickness affecting the nearby tribes of Native Americans. It is this dire illness that prompted their attack on Var-El's laboratory. Var-El attacks the Orgon ship, and draws their fire away. The impact weakens the gravity field holding the Atom, enough for him to activate the weight controls in his glove.
Increasing his weight to normal shatters the microscope slide, allowing him to fall outside the sphere of the gravity field. The Atom races to free Superman, but the Man of Steel casts the Tiny Titan away. Once again, the Atom watches history unfold as Superman is disintegrated. Returning to the Orgon ship, the Atom accesses the guidance controls for the solar collector. Shrinking to the size of a photon, the Atom rides the laser telemetry beam into space. Superman, alive and well but reduced in size, races to stop the Atom, but arrives too late. Superman flies faster than the speed of light to catch the Atom before he hits the solar collector. Once the Atom is safe within Superman's protective cape, the Man of Steel destroys the solar collector. Superman reveals that he used his heat vision to seal off several chambers of the Orgon's solar cannon. so that it only bombarded him with ultraviolet and white dwarf radiation. The same radiation mixture that allows the Atom to shrink. Back on Earth, Superman uses the size controls in the Atom's belt to return to his normal height. With no sign of the Orgons, the two heroes return to Var-El's laboratory, only to find the entrance protected by a Kryptonian Flame-Dragon. The creature, though, is merely a hologram. Inside Var-El's laboratory, the Orgons are holding Hyatt hostage. Hyatt though is no shrinking violet, and takes action against the Orgons himself. Superman and the Atom finish taking out the Orgons, then Superman hurls their ship into deep space. Scouting the area, Superman can find no sign of Var-El. The three men return to the present. After Superman and the Atom take their leave of Hyatt, Var-El reveals himself.
Fate is the Killer
Zodac arrives on Eternia. In the Royal Court of Eternia, celebratory festivities are already under way, when Prince Adam, finally arrives. Flanked by two comely lasses, Prince Adam proposes a toast to his parents, the King and Queen of Eternia. Zodac disrupts the festivities, demanding Eternia's greatest champion be brought before him. As Teela leads the Royal Guard against Zodac, Prince Adam slips out of the palace. Gathering up his faithful cat, Cringer, Prince Adam journeys to the cavern of the Sorceress. Already her falcon flies over the skies of Eternia, a harbinger of coming doom. Prince Adam and Cringer are transformed by the Sorceress' magics into He-Man and Battle Cat, the protectors of Eternia. The Sorceress sends them out to thwart Skeletor's latest scheme. At that moment, Skeletor and Beast-Man are meeting with Mer-Man. Skeletor charges Mer-man with recovering the lost half of his power sword, believed to be resting at the bottom of Eternia's deepest sea trench. On Earth, Superman is finishing up a recovery operation at sea, when he is attacked by an unbelievable tentacled horror. Superman carries the creature far out to sea, away from any land masses, then dumps it. His attention is then caught by three glowing meteors streaking across the sky. Superman follows the meteors as they descend into the ocean. Suddenly, Superman is caught within a powerful underwater vortex that draws him ever downward.
En route to confront Skeletor, He-Man finds his way barred by Zodac. The two men begin an epic struggle against one another. Despite his great power, He-man seems unable to truly harm Zodac. Superman finally pulls free from the vortex, to find himself in Eternia. Recognizing the land from his previous visit, Superman flies to Castle Grayskull. Having discovered that the lost half of his power-sword was actually on Earth, Skeletor released the tentacled monstrosity on Superman, to keep the Man of Steel busy, while Skeletor collected the sword. Now, with both halves of the sword in his possession, Skeletor waits for the stars to reach their proper alignment, so that he may, at last, gain entry into Castle Grayskull. Superman arrives, and snatches both halves of the sword from Skeletor's grip. Skeletor's magic causes the swords to burn in Superman's hands. Superman drops one half of the sword at Skeletor's feet, but hurls the other half away with all his strength. The sword finds it's way to He-Man, who immediately abandons his fight with Zodac, to go after Skeletor. Seeing Superman at Skeletor's feet, He-Man charges. Skeletor fells He-Man with a spell, just as He-Man runs Skeletor through with his half of the power sword. Zodac arrives too late to prevent He-Man's death. Skeletor is consumed by the power of the sword. That same power floods into He-Man, reviving him. With the conflict over, Superman finds himself full of questions.