Possessed by Parallax, Superman is confronted by Sinestro. Once partners, the leader of the Yellow Lanterns and the fear creature battle it out for Superman's soul.
The Green Lantern-turned-villain, though, has back-up. Transported to the world of Qward by the lightning bolts of its warrior Weaponers, Superman is trussed up by Sinestro. He wants to control Parallax, but if the beast remains in Superman, it's hiding, or dormant.
Sinestro concludes that Parallax is indeed close by.
As for what happens next, read this issue and, if you skipped part one because we're technically in fill-in territory, go back and buy it now. Yes, Superman #30 is by creators other than the regular team, but it fits right in and delivers some classic moments. Writer Keith Champagne captures the best of our hero in a packed, pacy conclusion that finds room for the odd delightful surprise. From defiance in the face of nightmares through compassion towards his enemies to a truly inspirational speech, this is prime Superman. Sinestro, meanwhile, with his yellow energy cat o'nine tails and dismissive attitude towards the Man of Steel, is a terrific foil.
And while the art is occasionally inconsistent - compare Sinestro's henchwoman Lyssa Drak from panel to panel - its good-looking, dynamic work from illustrators Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham and Philip Tan and a trio of colourists, presumably done on a deadline crunch. Sinestro has that satanic look I enjoy, Parallax is scary despite the goofy design and Superman utterly heroic. My favourite piece of art shows Superman's fears - it's likely too small here to show the detail, but try clicking on it for a larger view.
Oh, and look at the way Superman's cape blows above his head, something we should see occasionally, but never do - can anyone recall another example?
Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza and Wil Quintana's regular cover is a classic movie poster composition, deftly executed, while Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez's variant is another take on the main conflict that works almost as well.
With these two issues, Keith Champagne makes a great case to be the first choice fill-in writer on the Superman books - I hope he returns soon.