Action Comics #658 (October 1990)
The Sinbad Contract, Conclusion: Sinbad saves Metropolis! And Superman helps a little, too.
Sinbad, as seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, is a Muslim teenager named Davood Nassur who finds a metahuman-enhancing belt that makes him so powerful, he makes Superman look like a chump. A group of mysterious flying robot guys are after the belt, and in this issue we finally find out what’s up with them: they are an arms-dealing group called D.M.T. who stumbled upon some alien technology after last year’s alien invasion and used it to create crazy weapons, like the robots and the belt. Lex Luthor tried to steal the belt so he could use it against Superman, and that’s how it accidentally ended up on Davood’s hands. Waist. Whatever.
Now Lex and the D.M.T. guys have made a deal: he’ll help them recover the belt if they kill Superman with their giant UFO. It looks like that won’t be necessary, though, because (per last issue’s cliffhanger) Clark/Supes is about to be murdered by some pissed off Quraci immigrants, for no reason.
However, not all Quracis hate white people and Clark is “saved” by a random guy, who happens to be Davood’s uncle. In return, Clark later helps Davood’s family fight off some fake cops hired by Luthor to arrest them for terrorism, the evidence being that they’re brown. Luthor also paid some dudes in turbans to blow stuff up all over Metropolis so everyone will think Davood is evil — Davood actually stops the terror attacks, but he still gets shot at and tear gassed by cops (it’s unclear if these are fake cops too, or just assholes). Once again, Superman saves Davood’s sister from a certain death, and once again, Davood repays him like this:
Now that Superman is on the scene, though, Luthor forgets about Davood and brings out the UFO, which is rigged to explode over Metropolis. Superman takes it as far as he can, but ultimately it’s Davood who contains the blast of the explosion by pushing his powers to the limit… thus frying the belt and losing all his abilities.
The story ends with Luthor pinning all his crimes on his secretary, and commending Davood’s courage on TV. Meanwhile, we see that Davood is back to being a regular teen, albeit one who can levitate stuff with the power of his mind — the implication being that one day he’ll grow up to be a proper superhero!
Or not, because sadly, we only saw Davood/Sinbad one more time, in 1993. In 2011, Superman writer Chris Roberson actually planned to bring him back as an adult, but DC pulled the completed issue at the last moment and replaced it with Krypto story, presumably because flying dogs are less controversial than Muslim people.
That’s too bad: I thought the kid had a lot of potential, particularly because he came with a built-in supporting cast. It’s kind of refreshing that he told his whole family (and there’s like 20 of them) about his powers right away instead of doing the secret identity thing. Another missed opportunity: at the end of the issue Clark mentions that Davood’s sister Soraya is interviewing to become a secretary at the Daily Planet (she quit her LexCorp job after the CEO tried to murder her), which would have added some diversity to the Planet staff. She either didn’t get the job, or she met Keith the Office Racist and quit right away.
- One of the TV reporters covering the standoff because Sinbad and the cops is Cat Grant, working for WGBS, even though she quit months ago after the CEO tried to murder her (a disturbingly common problem in Metropolis). I think this was probably a continuity screw-up, but the other writers will actually run with it.
- And speaking of Keith the Office Racist, he appears again but Clark finally gets him to shut his fat mouth with this zinger, which is actually a testament to how much Superman’s relationship with Batman has improved recently:
"The message is from the Wayne Foundation. It just says OH SNAP."