Bates, Maggin, Swan and Oskner begin a four part story in Superman 296 (Feb. 76), which explores the different sides of Clark Kent and Superman, as well as paying off the mysterious Mr. Xavier set-up.
Xavier is really Xviar, an alien who landed on Earth at around the same time the infant Kal-El did. But Xviar is not here for the benefit of mankind. An ageless alien, he has access to extremely high tech gear, but is following orders from his far off commanders. It is made clear that he is behind the changes that Superman experiences in this issue, though exactly what he has done is not yet explained.
Clark himself is unaware that anything has changed with his life, when he dives in front of a speeding cab to save a careless Steve Lombard. The cab hits Clark, and sends him flying. Lois Lane is on the scene, and impressed with Clark’s heroism, and worried about his obvious injuries. Clark, unconscious, is taken to the hospital, and is amazed when he wakes to find an IV in his supposedly invulnerable arm.
At first he believes that he has lost his powers, but later finds that that is not exactly the situation. When he is dressed as Superman he maintains all his abilities, but when dressed as Clark he is merely human.
A Xviar reports on the success of his plan, Clark wonders if this is a sign that he should give up being Superman.
The story continues in the next issue.