There’s a new Superman in town in issue 172 (Oct. 64).
Hamilton, Swan and Klein are the creative team on this tale, which sees a comet with gasses deadly to all, even Kryptonians, approach the Earth. Superman knows he may not survive the encounter with it, so he recruits a potential successor from Kandor, Ar-Val.
Superman diverts the comet, and survives his contact with it, but loses his powers. The panels of Clark Kent grieving as he hears the crowds cheer his replacement are excellent.
Ar-Val proves to be pretty useless as Superman, simply wanting the glory of it. He ignores Jimmy Olsen, who warns him that Brainiac has busted Luthor out of prison. Luthor got shot during the breakout, and Ar-Val simply insists that Luthor must be dead.
Superman wants to step up, but has no powers. Jimmy Olsen provides him some of his elastic serum, while Legion of Super-Heroes members Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Invisible Kid temporarily charge Superman with their powers. As he is no longer allowed to wear a Superman costume, he dons a really awful “Former Superman” costume.
It is fun to see the hero formerly known as Superman fight Luthor and Brainiac with a wildly different set of powers. But the villains get the best of him in the end.
Ar-Val finally shows up, but the Former Superman winds up sacrificing himself to save him.
Ar-Val finally realizes what a washout he is, and with the aid of Kandorian scientist Nor-Kan, he revives Superman, using his life force, but winding up turned to stone.
Superman indicates at the end that he wants to find a way to revive Ar-Val, but this never actually happened.