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"Do what you do best. What you were born to do: save the world."
Vandal Savage[7]

Superman, birth name Kal-El and adopted name Clark Kent, was the premiere hero on Earth, often considered the first among equals of the founding members of the Justice League.


Early life

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. In keeping with his civillian identity of Clark Kent, Superman maintained a high rise apartment and automobile of his own. Regarding the dual nature of his identity Superman says it this way "I am Clark, I need to be Clark" His adoptive father Pa Kent says "Superman just helps out now and then" These things would seem to indicate that he spends the majority of his time in his guise as Clark Kent. 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.[8] During this time, Superman and the Justice League would have many adventures, such as defeating Mongul on War World[9] and expose Lex Luthor as a criminal[10]. Two of the more significant adventures for Superman would involve meeting an alternate universe team of the Justice League called the Justice Lords[11] and face off once more against Darkseid and Brainiac, who were seemingly destroyed by Superman.[12] Both events would come back to haunt Superman in time.

During the Thanagarian invasion, Superman and the other founding members (minus Hawkgirl) were imprisoned, but managed to escape thanks to Wonder Woman. Going underground, Batman revealed that he knew Superman and Flash's secret identities, and told them to meet at Wayne Manor. After Hawkgirl gave them information on the Thanagarians' plans to build a Hyperspace Bypass Generator, Superman helped assault Hro Talak's mothership, but left to save Batman, who was driving the Watchtower into the Generator. With the threat passed, the Justice League debated on whether or not to allow Hawkgirl to stay. Superman wanted to believe her, but he feared the risk of further betrayal. Ultimately, Superman broke the tie...allowing Hawkgirl to stay in the League. However, Hawkgirl resigned before they could announce their decision. After that, the founding members reorganized the League and recruited the majority of Earth's costumed heroes, in what became loosely known as Justice League Unlimited.[13]

After a faux 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 the Justice Lords incident, 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. Ultimately, Luthor hijacked the Watchtower's binary fusion cannon, making it appear as though the Justice League was responsible for attacking Cadmus' base.[14] Superman decided that the best way to lower tensions was to turn themselves over to the government. However, Batman convinced Amanda Waller that Luthor was responsible.[15] Confronting Luthor, Brainiac revealed that he was in control of Luthor, and merged with him. Flash managed to destroy Brainiac, but appeared to die in the process. Though he nearly killed Luthor, Superman realized that he wasn't a Justice Lord. After that, Superman decided that the Justice League had to be disbanded, but an impassioned speech by Green Arrow convinced him that the world needed the Justice League, and that the League needed Superman. The outpour of appreciation also convinced Superman that he had regained the trust he had lost after being brainwashed by Darkseid, and Superman stayed on.[16]

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.[17]

The Later Adventures


In the 2040s, Superman's costume becomes more Kryptonian.

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 2040s 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 & Abilities

"This looks like a job for Superman!"
— Popular catchphrase

Superman possessed the powers of flight, superhuman strength, telescopic/microscopic vision, x-ray vision, heat vision, super-speed, enhanced hearing, super breath, nigh-invulnerability, and a computer-like mind. He could speak all Earth languages and most alien ones. Lana Lang referred to him as a "boy genius.[18]

While Superman was immensely strong both in terms of muscle power and ability to take physical punishment, he was not invincible. He could be injured, bleed, and conceivably be killed, and sometimes been known to strain and sweat when performing superhuman feats of strength. In one notable instance, Superman was ambushed by Darkseid while catching his breath after using his own body to drill several holes in the ocean floor.[19] In addition, a being hit by the outer fringes of a blast from the JLU Watchtower's space cannon, was sufficient to both cause severe pain, and leave Superman floating unconscious in space, to the point where he had to be retreived by another Justice League member while still incapacitated. Additionally, there appears to be at least some discrepancy in Superman's power levels, particularly his durability, between S:TAS and the later Justice League shows. For example, in the first episode of S:TAS, Superman is shown to have considerable difficulty stopping a passenger jet from crashing, but in a later episode of JLU he is shown to lift an entire crashing jumbo jet with little difficulty. Also, bullets fired from a powerful weapon such as a helicopter mounted Vulcan cannon were shown to cause Superman significant discomfort on several occasions during the run of S:TAS but by the time of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, all forms of gunfire seemed to be utterly ineffective against him. (Some of these discrepancies could be explained as Superman becoming more powerful as he aged, due to continuous long term exposure to yellow sunlight.)

At full power, Superman was shown to be physically equal or superior to the resurrected Darkseid. On one occasion, he finally cut loose, revealing to Darkseid that the world was like cardboard to him before proceeding to send him across the city and through at least three or four skyscrapers with one punch.[20] He was also able to hurl a huge comet through space to stop it from hitting Earth.[21]

In addition, Superman rarely used all his powers to their full extension. When he was under Darkseid's control, Superman disintegrated the main wall of the an alien fortress with his heat vision, then used it to make the building explode. He also killed a whole army of parademons with a huge blast of heat vision.[22]


Superman derived his power from the yellow sun of Earth. Forced under a red sun akin to that of his homeworld of Krypton, Superman rapidly lost his powers, reverting to the stature of a normal human. Artificially created red sun radiation had the same effect.[23][24][25]

Aside from red sun radiation, Superman's main weakness was Kryptonite, radioactive shards of his destroyed home planet. Exposure to Kryptonite would rob Superman of his power, and prolonged exposure could kill him.[26]

Superman's only other known weakness was magic, which could injure him as easily it can any other being. In fact, Superman seemed even more vulnerable to magic than an average human.[27][28]

Appearances and References

Superman: The Animated Series

Batman Beyond

Static Shock

Justice League

Justice League Unlimited

See also


External links

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