Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet, angrily lays into Charlie Kweskill, for falling asleep on the job. Kweskill groggily tries to comply with White, and finish his task, but, instead, collapses to the floor. Joe Garrity makes sure Kweskill gets home safely. Upon entering his apartment, Kweskill begins violently hallucinating. In his delusion, Kweskill finds himself observing history on the long dead planet, Krypton. Kweskill sees Jor-El, who has come before the Science Counci, to demonstrate his newest invention, the Phantom Zone Projector. Jor-El projects his wife, Lara Lor-Van, into the Phantom Zone, then brings her, safely, back.
Gra-Mo is next to unveil his invention to the Science Council, an android, to replace the city's robot labor force. Gra-Mo's android, however, is completely non-functional. Gra-Mo accuses Jor-El of ruining his invention, with emissions from the Phantom Zone Projector. Kweskill witnesses Gra-Mo take possession of the city's robot police force, and spitefully wreak havoc with it. Gra-Mo is swiftly arrested. Gra-Mo is the last criminal to be sentenced to exile in space. The Science Council has approved Jor-El's petition to use the Phantom Zone projector to incarcerate future criminals. Kweskill bears witness to the crimes of each of the multitude of criminals sentenced to the Phantom Zone.
The first is Jax-Ur, who accidentally destroyed Krypton's moon, Wegthor, killing over 500 people, while testing a new guidance system for atomic missiles. Kweskill sees the arrest of Va-Cox, who altered the evolution of marine creatures, polluting the Great Krypton Lake for decades. Kweskill sees the arrest of Doctor Xadu, for using suspended animation in medical research, resulting in several deaths. Kweskill sees the arrest of Faora Hu-Ul, a serial killer responsible for the grisly deaths of twenty-three men. Kweskill watches as General Zod leads a military coup, on Fort Rozz, using imperfect, inorganic soldiers. The coup fails, and Zod, too, is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone.
Next Kweskill's eyes pass over the city of Erkol, where Az-Rel and Nadira uses their horrific powers to casually murder their victims. Both are sentenced to the Phantom Zone. Then, Kweskill's eyes are drawn to Kryptonopolis, where Cru-El, a cousin of Jor-El, is arrested for stockpiling forbidden weapons. Jor-El, himself, brings Cru-El to justice, and personally sentences his cousin to the Phantom Zone. Finally, Kweskill's eyes settle on the last man to ever be sentenced to the Phantom Zone, Quex-Ul, for slaughtering the endangered Rondors, then selling their medicinally valuable horns on the black market. Kweskill is disturbed by how much he resembles Quex-Ul.
As Quex-Ul enters the Phantom Zone, so, too, does Kweskill. There, Kweskill sees Krypton's Most Wanted combining their collective will to influence Jor-El. Suffering from a fever, Jor-El is vulnerable to the criminals' psychic assault, and very nearly lets them all back out. Lara shakes Jor-El from his trance, averting disaster. The Phantom Zone projector is launched into space, to prevent further such escape attemtps. Days later, Krypton explodes. Kweskill awakes from his dream, to find himself stealing electronic equipment from S.T.A.R. Labs. Incredibly, Kweskill has seemingly overpowered all the guards.
Unbeknownst to Kweskill, he truly is Quex-Ul, robbed of his memory, and his Kryptonian powers, by exposure to Gold Kryptonite. Due to his long years imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, he is especially vulnerable to the telepathic manipulation of his fellow prisoners. Mon-El tries to garner information, from Az-Rel and Nadira, only to be shunned. Mon-El approaches Jer-Em, the mad prophet who destroyed Argo City, but can gain no new insights from Jer-Em either. Mon-El knows the Phantom Zone villains are involved in some new scheme, but cannot uncover it's nature, nor warn Superman. Jimmy Olsen speaks to Clark Kent about a series of electronics robberies.
Kent learns about Kweskill's situation from White. To be on the safe side, Kent checks on Kweskill, as Superman. Not finding Kweskill at home, Superman returns to work, as Kent, just in time to go on the air, with Lana Lang. The Phantom Zone villains telepathically coerce Kweskill into building a crude Phantom Zone projector. Checking on Kweskill one last time, Kent, as Superman, sees what Kweskill is building, and tries to stop him. Kweskill's Phantom Zone projector explodes, but not before it releases all of the Phantom Zone villains, while simultaneously trapping Superman, and Kweskill in the Phantom Zone.