The infant Kal-El was sent to Earth by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, prior to the destruction of their home planet, Krypton. Kal-El's capsule landed near Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents adopted the young Kryptonian, naming him "Clark", after Martha's maiden name.
Clark began to discover his powers while growing up in Smallville, and was sometimes frustrated by his need to hide them from the public.
When Clark encountered Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Chameleon Boy from the future superhero team, the Legion of Super-Heroes, he did not use his powers very much. During this incident, he aided the trio in stopping Brainiac (from the 30th century) from destroying the Legion of Super-Heroes by killing Clark before he could become Superman. However, after Clark said his goodbyes to the team, Saturn Girl removed all memory of the events of that period from his mind. Nevertheless, this incident depicted all the strength and courage Clark would imbue as Superman.
Hero of Metropolis
As an adult, Clark moved to Metropolis and found employment as a reporter for the Daily Planet. An early appearance in costume, saving a young girl, attracted the attention of Lois Lane—as the story replaced one of her own. It was Lois who subsequently gave Clark's costumed persona the name "Superman." Superman gave Lois an exclusive interview, his motivation being to alleviate public fears by ensuring that people knew where he came from and why he was here—or, as his adoptive mother put it, so that people wouldn't think he was like "that nut from Gotham City."
Shortly after his arrival in Metropolis, Superman met Lex Luthor, who would become one of his greatest and most persistent adversaries, and defeated terrorist John Corben. In the following months, a variety of costumed criminals—some with metahuman abilities—began to appear in Metropolis to oppose the Man of Steel. A by-no-means complete list would include the Toyman, the Parasite, Livewire, Metallo, Bizarro, Volcana, and Luminus.
Superman would also encounter various beings who, like himself, hailed from other worlds, such as the renowned bounty hunter Lobo and the warrior queen Maxima, or even other dimensions, like the mischievous imp Mxyzptlk. He would even meet a few fellow survivors of Krypton: the Phantom Zone-exiled Jax-Ur and Mala, and—most chillingly—the artificial intelligence known as Brainiac.
Even as his roster of enemies continued to swell, Superman would also encounter many individuals whom he would come to consider staunch allies: the Flash, Batman, Dr. Fate, Steel, Aquaman, Robin, and the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. He also discovered, on Krypton's sister world Argos, a young woman who would become not only a loyal ally but also a new (if adoptive) family member: Supergirl.
In time, Superman would also come into periodic contact with beings from the planet Apokolips, the realm of the malevolent entity who would become another of the Man of Tomorrow's most dangerous opponents: Darkseid. It was the diabolical Lord of Apokolips who would deal Superman many of his most humbling defeats; these included killing Superman's friend Dan Turpin, and brainwashing the Man of Steel and manipulating him into leading an assault on Earth. Although Superman recovered himself and defeated Darkseid, the immense damage to his reputation with Earth's populace was harder to repair. It would be some time before Superman could regain the people's trust entirely. In spite of this, he would continue his never-ending battle for truth and justice, although he would soon find that he would not need to continue it alone.
Protector of Earth and Other Worlds
After responding to the Imperium invasion, Superman joined with Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and J'onn J'onzz to form the Justice League. During this time, Superman and the Justice League would face off once more against Darkseid, who this time was seemingly destroyed by Superman.
After the Thanagarian invasion, Superman and the other founding members (minus Hawkgirl) reorganized the League and recruited the majority of Earth's costumed heroes, in what became loosely known as Justice League Unlimited.
After a failed U.S. Presidential bid by Lex Luthor, Superman and the Justice League found themselves at odds with Project Cadmus. Cadmus was formed after the brainwashed Superman's invasion of Earth, and claimed its only goal was the defense of humanity. However, several members of Cadmus would have their own personal agendas separated from the alleged greater goal.
Luthor became obsessed with resurrecting the destroyed Brainiac, going so far as to overthrow Gorilla Grodd as the leader a virtual army of supervillains that Luthor would now use as his pawns. Brainiac's thought patterns were now intermingled with Luthor's, tempting the obsessed human with their knowledge and power. In his mad quest to resurrect Brainiac, Luthor would instead bring Darkseid back to life by accident. Darkseid launched a final massive attack against Earth, which required the mobilization of the Justice League's entire extended roster. After an incredible fistfight, Darkseid resorted to a secret weapon to disable Superman, but before Darkseid could complete his victory, he was diverted by Luthor, who had found the prized Anti-Life Equation. Superman's two greatest enemies disappeared in a flash of brilliant light, and have yet to be seen again in the present day.
The Later Adventures
Superman was captured by the Preserver, an alien who collected creatures that were the last of their species. He managed to escape and brought the creatures he was imprisoned with to his Fortress of Solitude. One of these creatures, a starfish-like parasite, seized control over Superman in the 2050s and held sway over him for several years.
Controlled by the parasite, Superman attempted to destroy the Justice League Unlimited and take over Earth. However, through the efforts of Bruce Wayne, Terry McGinnis, and the League, the parasite was defeated and Superman regained control of himself. Terry McGinnis told Superman that he declined his offer to join the Justice League. Proud of Terry, Superman told Terry that he was like Bruce Wayne.
The older Bruce Wayne made comments that suggested Superman's Kryptonian DNA had slowed his aging. Whether this had detrimental effects on Superman's relationship with Lois Lane or upon his Clark Kent identity is unknown.
Powers & Weaknesses
Superman possesses the powers of flight, superhuman strength, x-ray vision, heat vision, cold breath, super-speed, enhanced hearing, nigh-invulnerability, and a computer-like mind. He can speak all Earth languages and most alien ones. In "Last Son of Krypton", Lana Lang refers to him as a "boy genius."
While Superman is immensely strong both in terms of muscle power and ability to take physical punishment, he is not invincible. He can be injured, bleed, and conceivably be killed, and sometimes been known to strain and sweat when performing superhuman feats of strength. For example, in "Apokolips Now!", Superman is ambushed by Darkseid while catching his breath after using his own body to drill several holes in the ground to vent the magma from a volcano.
At full power, Superman is shown to be physically equal or superior to the resurrected Darkseid. In the JLU series finale "Destroyer", he finally cuts loose for the first time in a long while, revealing to Darkseid that the world is like cardboard and tissue paper to him before proceeding to send him across the city and through at least three or four skyscrapers with one punch. In the Superman episode "Little Girl Lost", Superman was able to hurl a huge comet through space to stop it from hitting Earth.
In addition, Superman never used all his powers to their full extension. In the Superman series finale "Legacy", the main wall of the defender's fortress disintegrates under Superman's heat vision; he was wearing battle armor with his face hidden by a war helmet. Superman then makes the building explode with his heat vision. He has also killed a whole army of Parademons with a huge blast of his heat vision.
Superman derives his power from the yellow sun of Earth. Forced under a red sun akin to that of his homeworld of Krypton, Superman rapidly loses his powers, reverting to the stature of a normal human. Artificially created red sun radiation will have the same effect. (S:TAS - The Main Man, Part II; S:TAS - Solar Power; S:TAS - Legacy, Part II)
Aside from red sun radiation, Superman's main weakness is Kryptonite, radioactive shards of his destroyed home planet. Exposure to Kryptonite will rob Superman of his power, and prolonged exposure will kill him. (S:TAS - A Little Piece of Home)
Superman's only other known weakness is magic, which can injure him as easily it can any other being. In fact, Superman seems even more vulnerable to magic than an average human. (S:TAS - The Hand of Fate; JL - The Terror Beyond)
|Members of the Justice League|
|Batman • The Flash • The Green Lantern • Hawkgirl • J'onn J'onzz • Superman • Wonder Woman|
|Aquaman • The Atom • Atom-Smasher • Aztek • B'wana Beast • Black Canary • Blue Devil • Booster Gold • Captain Atom • Captain Marvel • Commander Steel • The Creeper • The Crimson Avenger • Crimson Fox • Dove • Dr. Fate • Dr. Light • Dr. Mid-Nite • Elongated Man • Etrigan • Fire • Green Arrow • Gypsy • Hawk • Hourman • Huntress • Ice • Long Shadow • Metamorpho • Mr. Terrific • Nemesis • Obsidian • Orion • Plastic Man • Question • The Ray • Red Tornado • Rocket Red • Sand • Shining Knight • Speedy • Stargirl • Starman • Steel • S.T.R.I.P.E. • Supergirl • Johnny Thunder • Thunderbolt • Vibe • Vigilante • Vixen • Waverider • Wildcat • Zatanna|
|Members of the Justice League Unlimited|
|Aquagirl • Batman (Terry McGinnis) • Big Barda • Green Lantern (Kai-Ro) • Micron • Static • Superman • Warhawk|