May 1958 brings in yet more expansion of the Superman mythos by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, in Action Comics #242. The villain Brainiac makes his debut, arriving to Earth and stealing the city of Paris (Eiffel Tower and all!), while Clark and Lois are hitching a ride on the first experimental spaceship.
Clark sneaks out of the spaceship to confront Brainiac, only to have Brainiac’s super-science re-buff Supermans’ attacks.
Superman eventually gets shrunk as Metropolis is captured and is able to sneak onto Brainiac’s ship. While there, he is startled to discover that Brainiac also has captured and miniaturized a city from his homeworld, Krypton. The city of Kandor was Krypton’s capital city and has been on Brainiac’s ship for years, having been captured and shrunk before the planet exploded.
After Brainiac is put to sleep for a century-long spaceflight, Superman with the help of Professor Kimda, a scientist and college roommate of Jor-El’s, is able to escape Kandor’s gravity, regains his powers, and puts all the Earth cities back. There is only one charge of the “hyper-force” ray, so Superman makes the decision to enlarge Kandor instead of himself.
This makes sense, since there are a million Kryptonians on Kandor who can now help protect the Earth as full-sized Kryptonians living on Earth. But Professor Kimda has other ideas and doesn’t want to deprive Earth of its greatest hero. Kimda uses a rocketship to escape Kandor and uses the last charge on Superman, enlarging him to regular size. Instead of figuring out a way to re-charge the hyper-ray or stop Brainiac permanently, Superman takes the bottled city of Kandor to his Fortress of Solitude and lets Brainiac’s ship stay the course through space.
I realize this story was meant to introduce Kandor as a plot element in future stories, and I do love Brainiac as a Superman villian, but an ending where Superman tried to act more responsibly would have left a better taste in my mouth.
Known surviving Kryptonians: 1,000,005. (It is stated that a million people would be saved in Kandor, plus Krypto, three villains imprisoned in space, and Superman himself).