Clark Kent (currently missing)


Living Solar Battery – Superman’s powers rely on his cells’ ability to absorb and metabolize solar energy from local stars. His Kryptonian body is a living solar battery that absorbs solar energies and converts them for fuel for his powers. His cells also store yellow sun energy so he can use his powers under objects, at night, in dark places, and in space. If there were no stars, Superman would have no powers.

Superhuman Strength – Enhanced strength much greater than that of a human and even most superhumans, making him “more powerful than a locomotive,” is one of Superman’s signature powers and has often been described as chief among his other abilities. While not infinite, depictions of the upper limit of how much weight he can lift have ranged from being able to do the work of several laborers in half the time, crush diamonds in his grasp, lift objects hundreds of times his own weight including any sized vehicle over his head, bend and/or break steel with his bare hands, lifting mountains, and all the way up to in the Silver Age and Modern Age where he is seen moving entire planets. This makes him arguably the strongest superhero in the DC Universe. After being saturated with yellow solar energy in All-Star Superman, his strength was tested as exceeding the force of 200 quintillion tons (or 2×1020 tons, in scientific notation, i.e., two hundred billion billion tons), enough to pull the Earth away from the sun.[volume & issue needed] As of The New 52 reboot, his strength now exceeds 5.972 sextillion metric tons.[volume & issue needed] Explanations include being adapted to the heavier gravity of Krypton, and his muscles using the power of the solar energy which fuels all his abilities. Superman’s stamina has also been shown as limitless (whilst he remains in yellow sunlight).

Invulnerability – Immunity to almost all forms of harm and ailments, including extreme force and extremely high temperatures. Effectiveness has ranged from his skin being piercable by nothing less than a “bursting shell” to being completely unharmed by a star going supernova. Explanations for this ability have ranged from Kryptonians having a molecular structure with a density superior to that of titanium and emitting an unbreakable aura of solar energy. His invulnerability has enabled him to withstand Darkseid’s omega beams, a feat originally thought to be impossible. In the rare instances, however, Superman has required medical attention, this resistance to injuries has complicated necessary procedures such as surgery. For instance, when a criminal shot him with kryptonite ammunition, a surgeon was forced to give Superman a controlled exposure to the mineral in order to temporarily weaken his skin enough to make the incisions necessary to remove internal fragments of the bullet.[volume & issue needed] In some versions, this power greatly retards his aging and increases as he gets older, sometimes rendering him effectively immortal. The epilogue to the Justice Society of America storyline “Thy Kingdom Come” (a sequel of sorts to the Kingdom Come limited series) showing Superman surviving 1,000 years into the future, albeit as a very elderly, hunched-over man. Another version in DC One Million lives through the 853rd Century, some 83,200 years from now.

Healing Factor – Superman is shown to possess remarkable recuperative powers that allow him to quickly heal from wounds and makes him immune to all forms of human or Earthly diseases, illnesses, viruses and toxins.

Flight – The ability to naturally defy and operate independently of gravity and propel himself through the air at will. Originally, he only had the power to jump great distances, as stated by the 1940s Superman cartoons (“Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”). Has ranged from simply being able to jump great distances using his vast strength, to beginning in late 1941 being able to accelerate, float in midair, and change direction while traveling. Later he became able to traverse interstellar distances without stopping. Lex Luthor once theorized that Superman had to stem from a gigantic planet with enormous gravity, where his species had developed natural anti-gravity organs to be able to function; on Earth, this would allow him to control his own gravimetric field in order to fly.1

Superhuman Speed – Another one of Superman’s signature abilities is his superhuman speed, allowing him to move, react, run, and fly extraordinarily fast. Originally classified as being “faster than a speeding bullet”, allowing him to catch bullets in mid air before they hit him, or anyone else. Top speeds have ranged from nearly a hundred miles per hour when he was first created in the 1930s to speeds far greater than the speed of sound. His thoughts, perceptions and reflexes are also greatly accelerated to be able to control his actions while moving at high speeds. Superman’s running speed has oftentimes been shown to be on par with that of The Flash’s.

X-Ray Vision – The ability to see through solid objects, usually with the exception of lead. Early stories assumed that hiding objects in lead would prevent him from finding them, however, more modern stories have Superman being able to take advantage of lead’s opaqueness to do a wide scan of an area with his X-Ray vision in which the lead objects become immediately visible and then narrow his search to those specific locations.2 Explanations for how this power works vary, but rarely include the emission and perception of actual X-Rays, as such high-energy radiation would actually be dangerous to living things he uses it on. A more common theory involves being able to see and concentrate on the patterns of natural cosmic radiation as it reverberates off objects. X-Ray vision was first used by Superman in Action Comics #11 (April 1939), where it was called “Superman’s X-ray eyesight.”

Heat Vision – Ability to emit solar energy from his eyes. Usually resembles bright red or orange laser-like beams, which may be invisible at low temperatures but extremely bright at high ones. The effective range of his beams are hundreds of feet. In addition varying the beam width, height, and intensity, Superman has demonstrated a high degree of skill and accuracy in manipulating his beam able use this power with surgical precision and at microscopic levels. Since the power can be used invisibly, Superman often takes advantage of that to perform tasks subtly without needing to get into costume. In some version, these beams can also be used to produce great concussive force rather than heat. The beams are tremendously powerful, and can be used to rupture steel plates and pulverize rock. Also in some stories, it can be reflected like a true laser, able to use great skill and accuracy in manipulating the blasts off multiple targets in rapid succession, or more commonly to remove his very durable facial hair. Sometimes shown to be one of his more physically draining powers to use, as it uses such concentrated solar energy. In the pre-Crisis stories, Clark wears glasses with lenses made of Kryptonian glass (initially cannibalized from his rocket ship’s transparency dome) so he can fire his heat vision through them without damaging them. In the stories from the 1986 relaunch onward had Clark wearing regular glasses and then with the revision in Superman: Secret Origin, he wears glasses with Kryptonian glass that are intended to contain unwanted firings; in this situation, Clark is forced to momentarily lift them out of his eyes’ firing arc to use his heat vision effectively.

Superhuman Breath – Ability to inhale and exhale huge volumes of air with great force, capable of extinguishing large fires and moving heavy objects such as cars. Also allows Superman to hold his breath for extended periods in airless environments. The release (exhalation) of highly compressed air through a valve (such as pursed lips) causes it to drop radically in temperature. This is known as the Joule–Thomson effect, and when Superman does this, it is usually referred to as Freeze Breath, and can cool objects to sub-zero temperatures and freeze air moisture solid.3

Superhuman Hearing – Can hear far more sounds with far more detail and at far greater distances than normally humanly possible, including sounds on frequencies undetectable by humans such as dog whistles. Superman is able to mentally screen out most of these sounds to be able to function normally, even in a noisy environment, and can focus in on specific things, like a person’s voice or heartbeat, even if they are in another part of the city. He can even hear sounds on other planets, which makes it likely that his hearing is fundamentally different than that of a human, as sound cannot travel through the vacuum of space. Like humans and most animals, he is skilled at automatically noticing his own name out of the jumble of several overheard conversations, making him adept at quickly responding to calls of distress all over the city.

Superhuman Vision – His senses grant him the ability to see farther and with greater accuracy and detail than humanly possible. Sometimes includes the ability to see EM frequencies invisible to humans, such as radio transmissions, infrared light, the bioelectric aura which surrounds all living things, even in pitch-black darkness. Offshoots of this power include Telescopic Vision, which allows him to “zoom in” on far away objects, sometimes hundreds of miles away, and Microscopic Vision, which allows him to zoom in on objects that would normally be too small to see, like those on a cellular or molecular level.

Superhuman Olfaction – A heightened and highly accurate sense of smell comparable to some animals such as dogs. Can be used to detect things like the chemicals in a bomb hidden somewhere in a crowded room.

Eidetic Memory – Superman is occasionally shown to have flawless, total recall of everything he has ever seen, read or heard. In turn, he is often depicted as being fluent in many of Earth’s languages and cultures.

Master Combatant – While most authors prefer to portray him as having mediocre combat prowess in favor of showing the magnitude of his powers in battle, there have been some exceptions. Some stories portray Superman as a very capable fighter with or without his abilities, as he has been trained by both Wildcat in boxing and Mongul (The second) in the fighting arts. He has fought and learned from Wonder Woman and has also learned more advanced martial arts techniques from Batman.


Superman is commonly seen as a brave and kind-hearted hero with a strong sense of justice, morality and righteousness. He adheres to a strict moral code often attributed to the small-town American values with which he was raised. His commitment to operating within the law has been an example to many citizens and other heroes but has stirred resentment and criticism among others, who refer to him as the “big blue boy scout.” Superman can be rather rigid in this trait, causing tensions in the superhero community, notably with Wonder Woman (one of his closest friends) after she killed Maxwell Lord, and Booster Gold, who after an initial icy relationship with the Man of Steel, grew to respect him.

Having lost his home world of Krypton, Superman is very protective of Earth, and especially of Clark Kent’s family and friends. This same loss, combined with the pressure of using his powers responsibly, has caused Superman to feel lonely on Earth, despite his many friends, his wife and his parents. Previous encounters with people he thought to be fellow Kryptonians, Power Girl (who is, in fact from the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe) and Mon-El, have led to disappointment. The arrival of Supergirl, who has been confirmed to be not only from Krypton but also his cousin, has relieved this loneliness somewhat.


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