Pasko, Swan and Frank Springer begin a four part story in Superman 311 (May 1977) that will build to forcing Superman to make decisions that he would rather not deal with.
Usually I try to post the pics in the same order they appear in the book itself, but in this case I’m changing it up a little to make it easier to summarize this story, which is a bit more complex than usual. So I’ll start by showing the mysterious alien and his pet, Jevik, whose roles in the tale only become clear in later issues.
A big journalism convention is being held in Central City – the same location Lois Lane is considering moving to, with her relationships with Superman and Clark Kent both being pretty rocky right now. Steve Lombard is along as well, having brought his nephew, Jamie, who he has been looking after. The convention is taking place at a ski resort, which is sort of odd, as Central City is invariably shown as being in the prairies. Jamie finds a stray dog, and quickly adopts him.
Iris Allen, the reporter wife of the Flash, shows an uncharacteristic streak of jealousy, and is a real bitch to Lois, who she seems to consider a threat to her marriage. Barry Allen is none too pleased with Iris’ outburst, but then, the two of them are soon to start having marital troubles in the Flash’s own book.
A mysterious plague breaks out at the ski resort, inspired by the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak that had occurred the previous year in Philadelphia. And to the great surprise of Superman, he discovers that Nam-Ek is also there.
The story briefly recaps the World of Krypton tale that had introduced Nam-Ek, a Kryptonian scientist who had killed a protected animal, the rondor, to get it’s illness-curing horn. He devised an immortality serum from it, which transformed his body, and also made him survive the destruction of Krypton. Nam-Ek attacks Superman, and when the Flash tries to help out, sends the speedster shooting into space.
In his fight with Nam-Ek, Superman dumps a volcano on the guy, only to find that there were traces of kryptonite in the lava. With no sign of Nam-Ek, Superman believes that he has killed him. But we do see that at least the Flash is safe, having been rescued by Green Lantern.
Superman had assumed that Nam-Ek was somehow the source of the plague, but when Lois Lane collapses, he realizes that he was wrong.
The story continues in the next issue.