Hah yes, it's ALMOST as if you just had a contest where the loser had to do exactly what Luthor just did. But, no...this is a mystery that will be forever unsolved.
Superman's doubts were not unfounded however, as the contest was merely a distractionary measure to allow Luthor's henchmen to steal the earthquake machine without Superman's interference. Of course, if Luthor would simply learn to hold his tongue and stop telling Superman every time he's going to steal something then he wouldn't need to arrange these games.
This is amazing. Do you see that panel there? What idea do you think the professor's words gave Superman? Do you think maybe it's to use the professor's self proclaimed ability to recreate the machine in some way? Perhaps to build another one and fight fire with fire?? Well NO, the idea it gave Superman was to destroy the original machine.
Yeah, I'm serious. He needed outside input to come up with that.
So with that plan having been formulated, the professor tells Superman that Luthor held him captive in Satan's Canyon. Arriving at the canyon Superman is met by falling boulders triggered by Luthor's earthquake machine! These pose no threat to our hero. Following that he falls into a pit and is beset by wolves, which post no threat! Emerging from the pit he is hit by a gas which... knocks him out immediately? Well, okay I guess.
Here things get really rushed: Superman's lifeless body is shot with the Earthquake machine causing him to be buried, he once again uses his ability to "flail about" to burrow to freedom, once above ground he kicks a wall which destroys the earthquake machine which was theoretically sitting on top of it but there is no time to show that because Superman has to pose majestically while wishing he could kill Luthor who somehow disappeared but there's no time to dwell on that because now we're back at the professor's lab and he's committed suicide, hold on suicide? Why would he com-THE END!
All he can see is miles of red fabric.
They probably should have devoted the entire issue to those goofy trials instead of shoving them into a story about an earthquake machine, at least then the ending wouldn't have had to be rushed onto a single page. But hey, at least Superman's plan worked.
Next time: Luthor! Again!?