Since destroying Doomsday, Superman has been experiencing strange physiological changes, attributable to his having inhaled the spores left behind by the creature. The changes have caused him to behave erratically; dangerously. As a result, the government and Senator Sam Lane have designated Superman an enemy of the state, reluctantly. Even Lois Lane has spoken out against him, given that he attacked her when she tried to question him. The Superman the world knows is gone, and he's being replaced by another Doomsday.
Concerned, Wonder Woman attempts to call Superman, only to find herself connected with Lana Lang in Smallville - who also called his emergency line. Once Lana determines that Diana still trusts Clark, she warns Diana that several people in Smallville have fallen into comas at once inexplicably. She picked up strange electrical readings coming from the victims brains which are being sent into space.
Elsewhere, Lois Lane is forced to make use of the crush that John Corben has on her to calm him and get Metal-0 on the government's side after waking suddenly from stasis. She explains that he has been removed from the control of any outside force besides his own agency, which means he has a choice in accepting the job offer her father has for him - and that job involves taking down Superman.
In the Atacama desert of Chile, Steel finally locates Superman, who is not eager to see him. Sadly, he explains that even in the desert, he is killing all of the life in his vicinity. It isn't safe to be near him. Lois is right about him. He can't be trusted. Steel explains that he doesn't intend to listen to that kind of talk. Together, they will go to the moon to contain Superman in the same organic steel that he wears until a cure can be found. Then they'll help everyone else. Superman places a controller for the Phantom Zone Projector into Steel's hand and warns him that he'll need to be trapped there if things turn for the worst. Steel assures him that all of Superman's friends still believe in him. As they shake hands, though, Superman's grip tightens to a painful extent, and with horror, Superman thrusts him away for his own safety. From afar, Lex Luthor warns Steel that he needs to stay back, because Sam Lane and his men have pillaged his S.T.E.E.L. facility of its weapons, and are about to attack Superman.
As Corben approaches the desert with the weapons, Lois warns him that Steel is coming to stop him, but Corben is determined to succeed regardless - for Lois' sake. Meanwhile, Steel realizes that Metallo has been accompanied by the Atomic Skull - also freed from his lab. Steel targets him, tearing off one of Corben's bomber's wings while he fights with Martin. Meanwhile, Lex warns Superman that with the time Steel's bought him, he needs to escape, not fight. Though he knows Lex is right, he still doesn't trust him, and so he has a look for himself at the bomber, and learns that it is designed to kill Corben before the mission is over. Feeling compassion, Superman crashes through the fuselage to free Corben, but the man is intent on dying and taking Superman with him. Angrily, Corben warns that as much as Superman wants to keep people safe, he endangers Lois Lane every time he lets her follow him. He has been hearing a girl's voice in his head for some time - and today, that girl is going to be free with his death. Soon, the compressed Kryptonite gas onboard the bomber explodes, searing away Corben's flesh, and the cloud spreads across the planet.
Desperately, Steel struggles toward the crater where Superman fell, despite the dense cloud of Kryptonite surrounding him. Angrily, Lex warns him that the Kryptonite has only weakened the part of Superman that was Superman. All that remains now is Doom.