Superman's supporting cast is detailed here.
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note , Lois Lane is a skilled and determined reporter for the Daily Planet. Her typical subject of writing is Superman: she reports on his exploits and occasionally tries to puzzle out his real identity, but she's always foiled. She has a hidden crush on Superman, and less so on Clark Kent, creating a Love Triangle out of two people, though she sometimes suspects that they're one and the same...You can find out more about her in her own article.
Jack Kirby, and was notable for two things: introducing Darkseid and being really flippin' weird. You can find out more about him in his own article.
Jack Kirby, and was notable for two things: introducing Darkseid and being really flippin' weird. You can find out more about him in his own article.
A cynical, former boxer, turned bartender of the Ace of Clubs, who was inspired by Superman's example that everyone can make a difference. He donned a Superman T-shirt and patrolled the city, roughing up street punks and similar threats, but he isn't really considered a superhero.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: The dude actually managed to land a punch on Superman's jaw, and made him stagger a bit.
- Hidden Depths
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: When Lobo had the upper hand in a fight against Superman, Bibbo cheered for him. He went back to cheering for Superman when he won.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Retired Badass
The commissioner of the Metropolis Police. Originally Inspector Henderson, Bill was an occasionally-appearing supporting cast member in The Bronze Age of Comic Books who acted as Superman's liaison with the police. Post-Crisis, he became the city commissioner. He was a mentor and close friend to Maggie Sawyer. His cousin, Mike Henderson, is the head of the Metropolis Metacrimes Division.
- Canon Immigrant: From The Adventures of Superman via the George Reeves TV show.
- Demoted to Extra: Since John Byrne's 1986 "Man of Steel" miniseries, his role has been reduced somewhat in favor of newer characters like Dan Turpin and Maggie Sawyer.
- Reasonable Authority Figure
In the Post-Crisis era, when Superman allowed more of his hidden qualities to show as Clark Kent, gossip columnist Cat Grant showed up as a rival for Clark's affections. A bit shallow and a shameless flirt, Cat became more serious after her son was murdered by Toyman. In the '00s, she's shown up again in her old job and is cast as a "cougar" having had surgery done to maintain her good looks. She shamelessly hits on the then married Clark in front of his wife. Clark believes she is reinventing herself to mask the pain of her loss.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Cat is instantly attracted to Clark Kent. They become fast friends, and even become romantically involved for a time, but eventually this ends, as Clark really loves Lois Lane, and seems more interested in helping Cat fix up her life than dating her. Jimmy Olsen in turn is attracted to Cat, but she seems to either not notice or not care.
- Breast Expansion: She has her breasts surgically augmented.
- Broken Bird: Recently divorced from Joe Morgan, a husband who had driven her to drink, Cat was initially a single mother with a young son named Adam Morgan, trying to get a fresh start and stay sober.
- Entitled Bastard: Cat launched a smear campaign against Supergirl with the intention of driving her away Metropolis. Cat called Supergirl a reckless, out-of-control teenager. Cat accused her from spearheading a Kryptonian Alien Invasion. Cat complained about her out-of-fashion dress and the length of her skirt. During one year she told over and again that the world doesn't need a Supergirl. And then she ran into troubles and blackmailed Kara into helping her because she couldn't find Superman. And as they teamed up, Cat kept insulting her.Supergirl: "The hero the world doesn't need," Cat wrote about me. Some days, though, it sure feels like it does. Though, if there weren't three kids missing, I'm not sure I'd help her. You can't say those kinds of things about a person then expect them to just fly up and give you a hand.
- Flanderization: She was introduced as sort of a Good Bad Girl Broken Bird. Someone who had a bit of an immoral past that she was trying to move beyond, and was looking for a good man like Clark Kent to be her anchor. Nowadays she's portrayed as a Lovable Sex Maniac at best and just Really Gets Around at worst. It's been mentioned that this is a facade Cat is using because of the pain of losing her son so many years ago.
- Hidden Depths
- Jerkass Façade
- Loves My Alter Ego: Actually, she's only attracted to Clark, not Superman.
- Intrepid Reporter: Not exactly to the degree as Lois Lane, but still. In an occasion, Cat goes undercover at Galaxy Broadcasting to help Clark expose Morgan Edge's links to Intergang.
- The Tease: During a conversation with Clark, she openly flirts with him and implies that she has had breast implants.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Supergirl in Sterling Gates' last story arc. Due to Supergirl carelessness in a fight with a group of Metahumans, Cat was slightly wounded. Cat runs a slander campaign against the would be super heroine causing a large portion of Metropolis' population to turn against Kara. But her relationship with Supergirl got better when Kara saved Cat from the Dollmaker.
- The Vamp: Tries to be this after she returned to the Daily Planet, though not in a whorish or vapid kind of way.
Dan "Terrible" Turpin
A cop who was initially skeptical of Superman, fearing that he was making the police obsolete, though he eventually came around. He was the partner of Maggie Sawyer, and fell in love with her, but was heartbroken when she came out of the closet. Sadly, during Final Crisis, Darkseid used him as his host body, seemingly killing him.
- Badass Normal: His Crowning Moment was taking on Kalibak, son of Darkseid, with a machine gun, getting beaten within an inch of his life, and then giving the signal to channel all the electrical power in Metropolis straight into Kalibak, knocking him out and arresting him!
- Brooklyn Rage
- Expy: In The Animated Series, his appearance was based on his creator, Jack Kirby.
- Nice Hat: His signature brown derby (bowler).
- Retcon: A recent retcon claims that he is the grown-up version of "Brooklyn" from the Boy Commandos (another Kirby tough guy character with a derby hat and a Brooklyn accent).
Jor-El and Lara
Superman's birth parents on the planet Krypton. Jor-El was a wise scientist and member of Krypton's ruling council. Lara's job has varied over the years (an astronaut pre-Crisis, librarian post-Crisis), with stories from the 70s to the present showing Lara's a match for her husband's scientific skills. Convinced of their planet's impending doom, Jor-El devised a plan to save his people on a fleet of spaceships, but the council scoffed at his warnings and denied him funding. Left with only his prototype rocket, he and his wife Lara made the fateful decision to save their only child, Kal-Elnote , from Krypton's destruction. Jor-El and Lara perished with the rest of Krypton.
- Adaptational Badass: Man of Steel has the most actionalized version of the character.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the elseworld, Superman: The Dark Side Jor-El intends Kal-El to conquer the universe in Krypton's name using the Anti-Life Equation.
- Aerith and Bob: Lara is a human name, Jor-El isn't.
- Age Lift: Originally, both were young, about the same age as Clark. The movies cast middle-aged actors due to Rule of Perception (even if they both died as Kal-El was a baby, makes sense them being older than him in the present), and the comics follow suit at the times◊.
- Canon Immigrant: Superman: The Movie came up with the idea of having him as a hologram in The Fortress of Solitude.
- Cassandra Truth: In nearly every version of Superman's origin. The classic story is that he tells the Kryptonian High Council (or something like that) that Krypton is doomed and they must evacuate, but nobody believes him, so he's forced to send his infant son to Earth in a small rocket.
- Death By Child Birth: An early draft of John Byrne's Man of Steel would have had a pregnant Lara being sent to Earth but dying in childbirth thanks to a piece of kryptonite embedded in the ship's hull.
- Death by Origin Story: Jor-El and Lara died, of course, when Krypton blew up.
- Fling a Light into the Future: They sent their only son in a rocket to Earth.
- Happily Married
- Honor Before Reason: The only reason they didn't leave Krypton is because they promised the kryptonian council that they wouldn't. They didn't mention their son though.
- Huge Holographic Head: How Jor-El's hologram usually appears but some comics and Man of Steel give him a full body.
- Identical Grandson: Pre-crisis Jor-el looks identical to Superman.
- Ignored Expert: Jor-El is the former trope namer, in fact.
- Some versions subvert this by having Zod actually believing him and trying to take over krypton as to try to save it from it's destruction.
- Pre-Crisis (and in a recent Supergirl origin version), Jor-El's brother Zor-El did believe his predictions, and (depending on continuity) eventually sent his own child Kara to Earth.
- Mr. Exposition: Their holograms in the Fortress Of Solitude exist mainly to explain things.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: They only seem to have one spaceship that can reach Earth, though in early continuities this was a prototype and Jor-El couldn't get the time or the funding to build more rockets.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Pre-crisis Jor-El seems to have invented half the things on Krypton.
- Posthumous Character
- Robot Buddy: Jor-El has one called Kelex. The Man of Steel movie give Lara one called Kelor.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Though it seems Jor-El's the only one at the time of Krypton's destruction. Some tellings of the origin story alternately suggest Jor-El's findings aren't conclusive.
- Remake Cameo: In Smallville, Jor-El's played by Terrance Stamp, who played General Zod in the first two movies.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The elseworld, Last Family of Krypton has the two of them travel to Earth with their son.
- Straw Conservative: Jor-El became one in For the Man Who Has Everything, Superman's trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where Krypton never exploded.
- Virtual Ghost: Jor-El gets this treatment through recordings.
Another of Clark Kent's ex-girlfriends. They broke up when she was revealed to actually be a mermaid, as she considered their differences too great, though she still holds a torch for him. She also knows Clark's secret.
- Alliterative Name
- Glamour Failure: She cannot maintain human form if she gets wet.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Lori is a descendant of the people of Atlantis that would evolve into the people of Tritonis, a sect of undersea humans whom adapted to have fish like tails. Being a mermaid, Lori can develop human legs on land and the lower half of a fish when in water.
- Ret Gone: The original version was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the first Crisis. Another version appear briefly, but is not more an ex-girlfriend of Superman.
- Seashell Bra: Averted in the original version. Played in post-Crisis.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: In this case, the unlucky childhood friend is Superman.
Shrunken by Brainiac and imprisoned in a bottle, the Kryptonian city Kandor is eventually recovered by Superman. In The Silver Age of Comic Books, Kandor was stuck in this state with Superman able to go back and forth into the city but unable to re-enlarge them for a long time (since Brainiac's technology was not designed to work in reverse.) He finally managed to do it in 1979, and the whole Kandorian population settled in the planet Rokyn.When reintroduced in 2009, Superman recovers Kandor and is able to re-enlarge it near his fortress. Humanity does not take kindly to the arrival of 100,000 people with superior technology and all of Superman's powers, so they pick up and leave to build a planet on the opposite side of Earth's orbit. General Zod and Superman joined them.Unfortunately, Earth and New Krypton didn't get along so well and the two planets waged a war killing the vast majority of the recovered population while the rest had to be imprisoned in the Phantom Zone by Superman himself. The original Kandor was Supergirl's birthplace.
Jonathan and Martha Kent (or John and Mary, depending on the version) were simple farmers who found a crashed spaceship by the side of the road; examining it, they found a baby alien inside. Raising him as their own (and naming him Clark after Martha's maiden name), they instilled in him their simple virtue and respect for all living things. Their status has varied from decade to decade. In The Golden Age of Comic Books and The Silver Age of Comic Books, they both died before Clark became Superman; Post-Crisis, they were both alive and well. Lately, Jonathan has passed away, leaving Martha and Clark behind. In The New 52 Universe they both died before Clark became Superman once again.
- Badass Normal: Some portrayals of Johnathan will have him as a veteran, and will cross the line into this.
- Death by Origin Story: Originally they both died shortly after Clark's high school graduation, marking the passage between Superboy and Superman.
- Averted in post-Crisis Superman, where both of them are alive in the main continuity as supporting characters until Pa Kent's death during an attack by the supervillain Brainiac.
- Played straight again in the New 52 where both she and her husband are deceased having been killed by a drunk driver.
- Eagleland: A rare Type 1 example.
- Fangirl: Martha turns out is a fan of the original Green Lantern in the Post-Crisis continuity.
- Good Parents: The best considering they took a alien orphan could have become an Evil Overlord with his sheer physical power and raised him to become the ultimate The Cape.
- Granny Classic: Martha is not a grandmother, but she certainly fits the image and personality; loving and supportive, loves to cook, and designed Clark's costume.
- Happily Married
- Muggle Foster Parents
- Parental Substitutes: The Ur-Example in comics. While Kal-El would always have powers by virtue of being Kryptonian by birth, the comics stress repeatedly that it was the Kents' values that made Superman the hero he is. Lampshaded in the "Reign of the Supermen" series with regard to the Jerk Ass Superboy clone:Jonathan Kent: "No son of ours would act like that, powers or no!"
- Retcon: Saved by a couple of these. Originally they were largely anonymous characters but when Superman was retconned to have been Superboy during his childhood, they got plenty of character development and fans didn't want them Doomed by Canon. So in the Post Crisis reboot, Clark's parents find him much younger and are late middle aged in Superman's adult career (though Pa Kent did eventually die.)
- Upbringing Makes the Hero: It is a major theme in the Superman mythos how their upbringing of Clark, and the values they have instilled into him are instrumental in shaping him into who he is.
Dan Turpin's partner. Like him, she feared Superman was making the police look bad, but eventually, she became a valuable ally. She came out of the closet. Sawyer eventually moved to Gotham City, where she became a captain in the GCPD and a sometimes-ally to Batman. Though there were initial tensions, Maggie became a central member of the GCPD and eventually entered a committed relationship with Kate Kane, unaware at first that Kate is actually Batwoman.
- Badass Gay: A lesbian and an extremely capable cop.
- Badass Normal: In Metropolis, she joined the Special Crimes Unit, working in situations that would normally require Superman but without the assistance of the Man of Steel.
- Butch Lesbian: She often shifts back and forth between this and Bifauxnen Depending on the Artist.
- Incompatible Orientation: She was married to a man for a brief time, but pretty quickly realized that she was lesbian and that it just wasn't going to work out.
- Lesbian Jock: Which was rather impressive for a character to be when it was revealed in 1988.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Dan Turpin.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: A good example of this was the time Superman's power's were increasing beyond his control leading to a series of accidents. When she arrived just as Superman was about to turn himself in, she cut him off and apologized "for arriving to late to help catch the bad guy" saying that she was "distracted because her friend was sick and needed help." Superman promised her friend would get that help.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She was already an existing character in her own right, but many fans noted that she was slotted into Batwoman's story after Renee Montoya, Kate's previous badass lesbian cop girlfriend, was Put on a Bus.
- Team Mom: Sometimes takes this role for the GCPD.
- Transplant: Used to be a Superman supporting character, but became a firmly Batman character for a long time, particularly because of her high-profile (out of universe) association with Batwoman. As of DC Rebirth, she went back to Metropolis and appears in the Superman books once again.
Once a famous crusading reporter, Perry White is now the editor-in-chief of that great American newspaper, the Daily Planet. A gruff, tough, cigar-chomping curmudgeon, White is nonetheless fair, brave, and honest, fostering close relationships with his employees. He plays a fatherly role to Lois and Clark, but finds Jimmy a constant annoyance.
- Benevolent Boss
- Berserk Button: As every employee of the Daily Planet can tell you, he hates being called "Chief".
- Canon Immigrant: The name "Perry White" was first used in the radio show.
- Catch Phrase: "Great Caesar's ghost!" and "Don't call me 'chief'!". In the 90's he also experimented with "Great shades of Elvis!"note
- Da Editor
- Intrepid Reporter: In his youth.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Sometimes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure
Clark's best friend in high-school. He married Lana Lang, but got divorced. He was Vice President for President Lex Luthor; after Luthor went rogue, Ross became President for a few months to finish Luthor's term, but did little of note in office. After his term—and marriage—ended, Ross retired back to Smallville to get away from all the drama and opened a barber shop.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Until recently, he was oblivious to Clark's secret. (Modern age)
- Secret Secret-Keeper (Silver/Bronze Age)
- Unwitting Pawn: He was pretty much just a tool for Luthor. Also, while President, he inadvertently funded Project 7734, the anti-Kryptonian conspiracy.
Ron is introduced shortly before Superman's "death" and takes a reporting job during Clark's extended absence. He dates Lucy Lane and gets her pregnant leading to a story arc touching on the abortion issue; they were later married, but their relationship seems to have been Retconned away. Ron has been recast more recently as the Daily Planet's intellectual liberal opinion writer.
- Foil: To Steve Lombard, the Planet's sports writer. Ron is a quiet and introverted liberal, while Steve is a loud and outgoing conservative.
- Straight Man: He's arguably the most "normal" person on the Daily Planet.
Steve LombardA former high school athlete and prankster, he became the Daily Planet's sports writer. He shamelessly flirts with Lois, Cat, and other beautiful women he meets. He enjoys picking on the more bookish Clark, which sometimes comes back and bites him in the ass if Clark is feeling mischievous with his superpowers.
- Casanova Wannabe
- Foil: To Ron Troupe.
- Jerk Jock: A former one, now a jerk sports columnist.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Subverted when Clark's inner monologue talks about what lies beneath his tough guy exterior. Basically it's the exact same thing, only worse.
- Meaningful Name: Steve played football in high school, college, and, briefly, the pros; Vince Lombardi is one of the most famous football coaches of all time.
- Straw Conservative: Should be obvious just from the descriptions. Steve is written as though all the research done by the writers for the character's political positions is based on bumper stickers.
Dirk ArmstrongA character that existed for a few years in the late nineties. A conservative columnist that was basically meant to be an Expy of Rush Limbaugh, same political views, same build and general appearance. At first an annoying unsympathetic character.
- Big Eater: Frequently seem chomping down junk food, especially donuts.
- Hidden Depths: He is shown to have a blind daughter and his interactions with her help soften the audience and the other characters to Dirk.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: This character was clearly a Rush Limbaugh expy. This was before other similar pundits reached widespread audiences. Though its a bit of a dated Expy. Rush has lost a lot of weight since then and audiences today would find Dirk's physique to be an exaggeration bordering on parody.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mild version of this seemed to be what they were going for. Dirk is a fat doughnut chomping conservative loudmouth (less obnoxious and more informed than Steve Lombard) but really cares for his daughter, really believes what he's saying and generally praises Superman because of the Man of Steel's effectiveness as a crimefighter until Superman's electric powers kick in and Dirk briefly becomes critical as Superman's lack of control of his powers causes come property damage. As far as Dirk is concerned, he's just telling it like it is and while Superman is irritated with him, he acknowledges that Dirk has a point.
AKA: Linda Lee Danvers / Kara Zor-El (pre-Crisis); Matrix (1st post-Crisis); Linda Danvers (2nd); Cir-El (3rd); Linda Lang / Kara Zor-El (4th)Superman's cousin. In the Silver Age, her city split off from Krypton but was subsequently doomed leading her to be sent to earth where they knew she'd find Superman. After dying in Crisis on Infinite Earths, she was eventually reintroduced. This time, she left Krypton as a teenager at the same time Superman left, charged with protecting him. Her ship then got knocked off course, and by the time she arrived baby Kal-El was a full grown superhero. In between versions, there was a synthetic being who became a fire angel and adopted the same name. You can find out more about all of this in her own article.
Alexander Luthor, Sr.
The greatest scientific genius of Earth-3, a world ruled by the villainous Ultraman and the rest of the Crime Syndicate. Luthor was inspired to become the world's first super-hero after seeing Ultraman defeated by his good counterparts, the Supermen of Earths-1 and -2. He was also shocked to learn that each of these heroes fought against their own evil versions of himself, Lex Luthor of Earth-1 and Alexei Luthor of Earth-2. Luthor married crusading reporter Lois Lane and together they had a son, Alexander Luthor, Junior. Luthor and his wife died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but not before they sent their son to safety in a rocket.There is also a heroic Alexander Luthor in the Anti-Matter Universe. He also fights that world's Ultraman and Crime Syndicate (including Lois Lane, who in this world is the evil Superwoman) and is very similar to the Earth-3 Luthor except for an arrogant streak.In the New 52's Forever Evil, another version of Alexander was introduced. This one, however, despite claiming to be a hero was every bit as villainous as the Crime Syndicate. Since he has yet to encounter Superman, tropes about him should go on the page for Forever Evil.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Inverted. Pre-Crisis Alexander was very upset and aghast when Superwomen died, noting that while they had fought many times, he never wanted her to die like that.
- Archenemy: Of the Crime Syndicate and Ultraman in particular.
- Badass Beard: Pre-Crisis.
- Badass Moustache: Also Pre-Crisis.
- Badass Normal: An unpowered human who fights all five members of the Crime Syndicate (the evil counterparts of Superman, Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern) all by himself and who wins more often than not. For a minor character he is an immense badass.
- Bald of Awesome: Both versions
- Beard of Evil: Inverted! Pre-Crisis Alexander has a sinister looking goatee, but is the hero of the story.
- Big Good: On Earth-3 and in the Antimatter universe, in much the same way that Superman is in the regular timeline.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Had a giant "L" on his chest Pre-Crisis.
- The Cape: Hilariously yes. Pre-Crisis Alexander Luthor was a genuinely heroic, humble guy, who was channeling our Superman for all that he was worth.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Pre-Crisis Alexander derived all his powers from his costume. Post-Crisis Alexander also made physical alterations to himself, but was still reliant on his armour to do most things.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Averted Pre-Crisis. Alexander was well-known as a brilliant inventor and scientist, who avoided Reed Richards Is Useless.
- Enemy Mine: Pre-Crisis Alexander formed one with Ultraman in an attempt at saving their world from the Antimonitor.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Pre-Crisis Alexander's raygun.
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Genius Bruiser: Post-Crisis, when his Powered Armour and physical modifications gave him strength and durability to match that of Ultraman.
- Good Is Dumb: Completely averted. Alexander may actually be the smartest version of Luthor out there, given his ability to outmaneuver not only the entire Crime Syndicate, but both his Evil Twins.
- Good Twin: Of Earth-1's Lex Luthor and Earth-2's Alexei Luthor.
- Guile Hero: As a good counterpoint to Luthor this should be expected
- Happily Married: Pre-Crisis Alexander and Earth-3 Lois Lane
- Intangible Man: Pre-Crisis Alexander had a supersuit that allowed him to turn intangible.
- Mr. Vice Guy: As mentioned, Anti-Matter Luthor is unambiguously good, but very vain.
- Non-Action Guy: Toyed with and subverted Pre-Crisis. Alexander is a terrible fighter and has an average physique but his technological prowess helped him fight the likes of Ultraman on an even footing.
- Powered Armor: Anti-Matter Alexander Luthor (who is, truth be told, very similar to Iron Man) features a version of our Luthor's purple and green battlesuit. Earth-3 Luthor never had the full suit but he did have a jetpack and raygun, as well as the ability to become an Intangible Man.
- RetGone: The Crisis removed the original Alexander Luthor from history and we have yet to see him return in the new Earth-3.
- Science Hero: In contrast to the usual Mad Scientist portrayal of Luthor, Alexander uses his scientific brilliance to defend his world from the Crime Syndicate.
- Super Intelligence: And unlike Lex and Alexei, Alexander actually put that IQ to work for the good of his world.
- Super Strength: Post-Crisis Alexander modified his body to give himself superstrength.
AKA: David ConnorA creation from the Byrne era version of Krypton. It was a supercomputer created to preserve the purity of Kryptonian genetics and culture. It somehow ended up off world before the planet's destruction only for Superman to find it while he was lost in space. Once awakened, it resumed its mandate trying to recreate Krypton on Earth, building the first Post-Crisis Fortress Of Solitude and slowly exerting a mental influence on Superman to make him more Kryptonian. Superman broke the control with Ma and Pa Kent's help and threw the Eradicator into the sun.It came back as an energy being, then once again after Superman died, making a Superman-like body and carrying out a cold brutal version of his mission. Now the Eradicator is bonded with the mind of a then-dying scientist and the personality is effectively a hodgepodge of the human scientist and Kryptonian supercomputer, thankfully granting the creature a measure of empathy and making him one of Superman's allies.
- Heel–Face Turn: In The Death of Superman. From villain to '90s Anti-Hero to just hero.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Made one at the end of Reign of Doomsday, possessing the original Doomsday and using him to knock the Doomslayer into another dimension.
AKA: Thara Ak-VarA citizen of Kandor and childhood friend of Supergirl. She is the host to the mysterious Flamebird entity, granting her pyrokinesis. She is Chris Kent's partner and girlfriend. The name "Flamebird" has also been used by an ancient Kryptonian hero, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, and Bette Kane, a former member of the Batman family (she was Bat-Girl - with a dash - before Barbara Gordon was Batgirl - without a dash).
- Captain Ersatz: Of Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force.
- Combo Platter Powers: Thanks to the Flamebird entity, she has the option of using fire if she is stunned by kryptonite or red sunlight.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: It doesn't help that Chris gets mobbed by fangirls for being so hot.
- Culture Clash: Having grown up her whole life on Kandor, Chris helps her adjust to life on Earth.
- Defector from Decadence: She sides with Earth over the Kandorians.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She cast herself into the dying sun to reignite it, but was seemingly vaporized in the process.
- Legacy Character
- Superpowered Evil Side: When the Flamebird decides to control her directly. It isn't evil, but it doesn't have a problem with killing and has an even nastier temper than her.
- Superpower Lottery: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Thara possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. Plus..
- Playing with Fire: She possess and undefined connection to the mythic Flamebird entity that gave her pyrokinesis power.
AKA: Jose DelgadoA former teacher who put on a costume to protect his neighborhood from street gangs and other threats, hence his name. He dated Cat Grant, but they broke up, partially because he couldn't get along with her son, Adam.
- Badass Teacher: He went into teaching and ended up as a high school teacher in Metropolis.
- Boxing Battler: He is a skilled boxer.
- Deal with the Devil: When Jose was crippled on duty as the Gangbuster he was forced to accept Lex Luthor's agreement and treatment to return the function of his legs to him. However, Luthor's cybernetic components also allowed him to control Jose's movement if necessary.
- Over Shadowed By Awesome: He found himself a little out of his depth in the Crisis Crossover Trinity, but kept going and helped saved the day anyway, since his girlfriend was in danger.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: He packs a lot of non-lethal weapons, like nunchaku and guns with rubber bullets.
AKA: Jim HarperThe original Guardian was a Golden Age crime fighter and policeman. The modern Jim Harper was one of the early successes of the Cadmus cloning project. Like the original Guardian, he fights with an armored outfit and shield similar to Captain America.
Krypto the Super-DogSuperman's dog from the planet Krypton, Jor-El sent Krypto to Earth in a rocket as a test flight before sending his son, but the rocket was slower and took longer to arrive. Has the same powers as Superman and is generally shown to have a human level of intelligence thought he is unable to speak. These days, he is Conner Kent's pet. Has his own page.
Mon-El / Valor / M'Onel
AKA: Lar Gand / Bob Cobb / Jonathan KentLar Gand is a Daxamite, a race with similar powers to Kryptonians, but with a weakness to lead instead of kryptonite. When he crash-landed on Earth, he had amnesia, so Clark nicknamed him "Mon-El", and treated him as his own brother. Unfortunately, he was exposed to lead, and as this is fatal, Clark cast him into the Phantom Zone, where time has no meaning, to save him until a cure could be found. A thousand years later, the Legion of Super-Heroes provided this cure, allowing him join Earth's superheroes.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The "Man of Valor" subplot in the "New Krypton" storyline.
- Continuity Nod: The "New Krypton" storyline combined elements of his Preboot and Postboot character arcs.
- Continuity Snarl: Like a lot of Superman characters, Mon-El was written out of existence with Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was reintroduced in an early-'90s Crisis Crossover without any connection to Superman. "New Krypton" (or more properly, the stories leading up to it) restored his first origin... but the '90s version still exists as an alternate-universe character somehow. And so does a third Mon-El from the Threeboot Legion of Super-Heroes. In short, his history is a mess.
- Expy: Mon-El was Retconed to fill the same role as Superboy in the Legion after Crisis on Infinite Earths retconned the latter out of existence.
- Flying Brick
- God Guise: In the "Postboot" Legion continuity, he was worshipped as a god by many of the humanoid Planets of Hats he founded in the 20th century—which caused problems when word leaked that the Legion was freeing him from the Phantom Zone.
- Kryptonite Factor:
- Unlike Kryptonians, whose super-powers are driven from them by the radioactive remnants of their home world, a Daxamite's major weakness is his vulnerability to lead, which does not exist on their planet. Another difference is that, while Green Kryptonite can eventually kill Kryptonians after prolonged exposure, once it is removed the pain eases and the Kryptonian's strength and powers eventually return to him/her. For Mon-El, any exposure to lead causes pain and weakness permanently, even after he is taken to safety.
- Mon-El is also vulnerable to magic.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Daxamites tend to be xenophobic jerks.
- The Power of the Sun: As a Daxamite, his cells function like a super battery, hyper metabolizing specific wavelengths of radiation as fuel to enable living functions and/or superhuman abilities. Different wavelengths of radiation have different effects on Lar Gand's physiology and well being, but his cells cannot absorb or utilize all types of radiation.
- Sealed Good in a Can
- Star-Spangled Spandex
- Superpower Lottery: Lar has got powers that are native to all Daxamites if they where in a solar system with a yellow sun, similar to Kryptonians complete of Eye Beams, Flying Brick, Super Breath, Super Speed and Super Strength.
AKA: Chris Kent / Lor-ZodA little boy that Clark and Lois found and adopted. He has developed into a true hero in his own right. Aside from taking their names from the same ancient Kryptonian hero, Chris has no connection with Batman's former protege, Dick Grayson, the original Robin who adopted the Nightwing name after hearing the stories of said Kryptonian hero from Superman. Later, he becomes the host of the mysterious Nightwing entity, granting him powers over darkness and allowing him to truly be Flamebird's partner.
- Abusive Parents: His biological parents, not Lois and Clark.
- Blessed with Suck: While his Plot-Relevant Age-Up was quite useful, he now has to wear a device to keep himself from continuing to age or else he will turn into an old man in a matter of days.
- Calling the Old Man Out: His actions against Zod and Ursa can qualify this.
- Canon Immigrant / Expy: Chris Kent first appeared a year or two after Superman Returns in which Superman was revealed to have a 5 year old son. Chris was about the same age when first introduced and had a similar hairdo but had a different origin.
- Chick Magnet: As an adult, to his girlfriend's chagrin.
- Combo Platter Powers: He has tactile telekinesis, darkness manipulation, and Kryptonian powers.
- Defusing the Tyke Bomb: Clark Kent and Lois Lane acted this way toward him. Everyone else -including his abusive birth parents, Lex Luthor and the USA Government- wanted to capture him and control him. Lois and Clark adopted him and raised him. Chris eventually became a hero and fought alongside his adoptive father and his cousin Supergirl.
- Happily Adopted: By Clark and Lois, to the point that he considers them his real parents are refuses to acknowledge his Kryptonian name.
- Heroic Sacrifice: On two occasions, he allowed himself to be trapped in the Phantom Zone to prevent General Zod from escaping.
- Kryptonite Factor: Zigazgged. He does not feel the effects of kryptonite exposure as severely as other Kryptonians and can withstand its effects for much longer periods of time, an ability he has used offensively and defensively in combat. It is not known if prolonged exposure to kryptonite would eventually kill him or not.
- Legacy Character: The Nightwing persona is used by Dick Grayson, who got it from Superman, who got it from Kryptonian legends.
- Likes Older Women: Well, he's still chronologically a boy and seeing an adult (Thara).
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He is General Zod and Ursa's son.
- Mind over Matter: He is able to dismantle objects similarly to Conner Kent. He also displays the skill in a more traditional sense, such as moving objects without actually touching them. While this is considered base telekinesis, he seems to manifest this power through hand gestures instead of this ability emanating from pure thought.
- Power Limiter: He used to wear a red sunlight-emitting watch, to help him practice controlling his powers and doing things the old fashioned way.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: He became an adult due to the strange effects of the Phantom Zone.
- Inverted at the end of War of the Supermen arc. In the final confrontation between Superman and Zod, Chris pushes Zod back into the Phantom Zone. Once back in the Zone, Chris returns to being a young boy.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Both he and the Nightwing entity were trapped in the Phantom Zone for a while.
- Superpower Lottery: Chris has developed some of Superman's powers. His abilities are less powerful than those of the average Kryptonian, but the limits have not been measured. As Nightwing, he has also demonstrated additional abilities due to his birth in the Phantom Zone. His merging with the Nightwing entity has granted him further abilities which include:
- Casting a Shadow / Living Shadow: Chris displays this ability in the most rudimentary form, creating dark creatures, shadow shields, etc. His exact limitations are also unknown.
- Shadow Walker: He is able to merge with shadows and cross distances. The exact distance he can teleport remains unknown, but he was able to teleport or absorb a faulty artificial sun into the Phantom Zone.
- You're Not My Father: He considers Lois and Clark to be his real parents, since they raised him with kindness and understanding, while Zod and Ursa are total douches and only care about the strong. He insists that he be addressed as Chris, and not Lor-Zod.
Jay Garrick: I swear, P. G. — only you would have the gall to tell The Fastest Man On Earth-Two To "Hurry Up".
Karen: It's not "gall", Flash — It's determination!
Karen: It's not "gall", Flash — It's determination!
AKA: Karen Starr / Kara Zor-L of Earth-2Superman's cousin and Kara's alternate self on Earth 2.Kara Zor-L's parents sent their baby daughter to Earth before Krypton's destruction, but because her Symbioship was considerably slower than Kal-L's she spent several decades in suspended animation until her ship finally landed on Earth and she met her cousin. She was adopted by Clark Kent and Lois Lane and eventually joined the Justice Society of America.After Crisis on Infinite Earths, there was no Earth 2, and Power Girl's origins and powers were endlessly retooled. Joining the modern Justice Society before Infinite Crisis, the new Crisis revealed that Power Girl is still Superman's cousin from Earth 2 (the Pre-Crisis Earth 2) restoring her memories and stabilizing her powers.She is also Most Common Superpower incarnate.You can find out more about her in her own article.
AKA: John Henry IronsA former weapons engineer who became disenchanted with his work and fled to Metropolis, taking a new identity and a new job as a construction worker where he fell after trying to rescue a coworker and was himself rescued by Superman. After Superman died, he got involved with a gang war where one side was using the same BFGs he designed. In order to fight them, her fashioned a suit of Powered Armor giving him flight, super strength, Rivet guns, and a hammer for good measure. He even took up Superman's "S" in order to honor the hero who saved his life, and was quickly given the term "The Man of Steel" to differentiate him from the other three heroes using Superman's name at the time (Irons himself never claimed to be Superman). When Superman returned, he gave him the name Steel. After Superman's return, Irons moved back to Washington DC to reunite with his family, but was attacked by armored goons sent by his former employers. Steel rebuilt his armor, though he removed the "S" shield as he felt he didn't quite deserve to wear it, especially given that he might have to go outside the law to fight his old employers.Even without the suit, Irons is a big buff individual with strength to match his brains. You can find out more about him in him own article.
AKA: Conner Kent / Kon-ElA clone with powers adapted from limited scientific understanding of Superman's genome. Meant to be a replacement when Superman was thought dead, Superboy was liberated from his pod before he could finish growing, leaving him a teenager. His power is tactile telekinesis: telekinetic influence over anything he touches, which allows him to simulate Superman's superstrength, flight and invulnerability but also lets him manipulate objects simply by touching them. Eventually, he started developing Superman's other abilities, and learned that he is only half-Kryptonian, and the human half of his DNA came from Luthor. You can find out more about him in his own article.
AKA: Vernon O'ValeronThe mighty defender of the distant planet Valeron. Vartox occasionally crosses paths with The Man Of Steel. Most of the time, they are friends, though they usually end up fighting because Vartox is brainwashed, trying to steal Clark's girlfriend, or some other reason.Recently, after the rest of his race was rendered sterile by a villain's "contraceptive bomb", he tried to seduce Power Girl in order to breed the next generation and save his people from extinction. She found him repulsive, but instead worked with him to cure his people's sterility.
- Achilles' Heel: His energy can be siphoned off.
- Always Someone Better: Pre-Crisis, his strength, speed, vision, hearing, etc were all superior to Superman's. Post-Crisis, they are roughly equal.
- Badass Moustache: In the Post-Crisis even his spaceship, that loooks like a human head, has big moustache.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Captain Ersatz: Vartox was originally based on the Sean Connery, with his appearance taken from the movie Zardoz and his over-the-top machismo from Connery himself.
- Carpet of Virility
- Casanova Wannabe: Post-Crisis.
- Chivalrous Pervert
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: While trying to woo Power Girl, he clarifies that he's not looking for love. His wife died and she can never be replaced.
- Friendly Rival
- Idiot Hero: However, despite his bluntness and lack of common sense, he is a Genius Bruiser and an expert when it comes to science and engineering.
- Invincible Hero
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Deep down, he is a true hero.
- Large Ham
- Lightning Bruiser: Especially Pre-Crisis, where his strength and speed are greater than Superman's.
- Lovable Sex Maniac
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Like being able to manipulate matter at a subatomic level, being able to turn intangible, etc.
- Older Than They Look: He's been battling evil ever since Superman was a little tot.
- Porn Stache: Played entirely serious in the character's first appearances, back when he was introduced to cash in on the popularity of... Sean Connery in Zardoz.
- Rated M for Manly
- Refuge in Audacity: Post-Crisis. The planet Valeron is ruled by the sexy superstud Vartox, assisted by Chancellor Groovicus Mellow, and Vartox wields his mighty moustache from his happening pad while fending off Yeti pirates. All in one issue!
- Story-Breaker Power
- Super Empowering: Can transfer a portion of his energy to others, temporarily giving them his powers.
- Superpower Lottery:
- The Pre-Crisis version of Vartox is described as a Hyper-man, possessing Hyper-powers. The origin of these powers is never revealed but Vartox did state he "acquired" his Hyper-powers as a young man.
- An Ice Person: He can generate hyper-frost to freeze a target. He can use this to freeze a person solid; this condition wears off within the hour leaving the subject unharmed.
- Energy Blasts: Vartox can emit a range of energy powers from his hands, eyes and in one case his foot. These have taken the forms of hyper-charges, which are capable of killing or rendering a target unconscious, the extremely powerful hyper-obliteration charge, as well as hyper-disintegration beams.
- Flying Brick: Vartox is capable of unaided intergalactic flight.
- Hyper Speed
- Hyper Strength
- Hyper Senses: These take at least two forms, though there are possibly more. Hyper-Vision, evidenced as analogous to telescopic vision, microscopic vision (at least to a molecular level) and the X-Ray Vision (unlike Superman's own X-ray vision which cannot see through lead). He also has some form of super-hearing as he was able to hear Jimmy Olsen's ultra-sonic signal watch and listen to a conversation taking place thousands of miles away.
- Hyper Breath: On one occasion.
- Mind over Matter: He possesses a very powerful form of telekinesis which he has used in many ways, to manipulate his environment, to rain "remote-control blows" on an enemy from a distance, to shape water into tidal waves, to choke Superman with his own cape and to repair a shredded parachute, amongst others.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Has no Kryptonite Factor and can shrug off magic attacks.
- Playing with Fire
- Psychic Powers: They are possibly the source of his other abilities.
- The Post-Crisis Vartox seems to be of a much lower power level. He possesses powers of flight, some degree of invulnerability and super-strength and hyperspeed a little below the Post-Crisis Superman.
- The Pre-Crisis version of Vartox is described as a Hyper-man, possessing Hyper-powers. The origin of these powers is never revealed but Vartox did state he "acquired" his Hyper-powers as a young man.
- Supreme Chef
- Third-Person Person: Lampshaded by Power Girl, who thought it was annoying.
- Underwear of Power: He doesn't shave his legs.
- World's Strongest Man
Kenan Kong, like Clark Kent, is a young man of humble means, being the son of an auto-mechanic. He's also a selfish, arrogant jerk. However, an act of bravery lands him on the radar of China's Ministry of Self-Reliance, who enlist him to act as China's New Super-Man. He works alongside China's Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man as part of a government attempt to curtail the rise of Western-style supercriminals in China.
- Attention Whore: He publicly outs himself as the New Super-Man in issue #2, and reveals the existence of the Justice League of China when a camera crew is put in front of him.
- Book Dumb: Despite frequently slacking in his studies, Kong displays several moments of ingenuity. He even impresses Bat-Man!
- Butt Monkey: Much of the humor in this series comes from the various ways Kong falls on his face.
- Casanova Wannabe: Kong flirts with almost every woman he sees. It never works.
- The Chew Toy: Kong's many injuries are played for laughs.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Kong was already a brave young man willing to stand up to supervillains. Now, he has superpowers to help him.
- Expy: Of the American Superman, natch.
- Iron Buttmonkey: Takes his shockings, beatings, and laser-shots to the face in stride.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kong is a cocky, belligerent bully who nevertheless is brave and goes out of his way to save others.
- Missing Mom: Kong's mother died in an airplane accident when he was twelve, something which haunts him to this day.
- Small Name, Big Ego: His opening pages have him describing himself as being "broad-shouldered, handsome like a movie star, and tall (but not in a freaky, Yao Ming kind of a way)." He is not broad-shouldered nor tall nor particularly handsome.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: At the end of the day, Kong just wants his father to notice him.
Other versions of Superman
Superman has been imagined in a number of different incarnations over the years. Here are the notable ones.
Superman of Earth-2
AKA: Clark Kent / Kal-L of Earth-2The original Man of Steel himself, Kal-L was a reserve member of the Justice Society of America. When the Multiverse was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, he and Earth-2's Lois Lane survived in a pocket dimension with Earth-3's Alexander Luthor, Jr. and Earth-Prime's Superboy but were forgotten by his teammates because of the Cosmic Retcon. Years later, in Infinite Crisis, he returned, only to be killed by Superboy-Prime. Kal-L had the same powers as "our" Superman, but many details of his life were different: his parents were named John and Mary (not Jonathan and Martha); his cousin was Power Girl (not Supergirl); his base of operations was the Secret Citadel near Metropolis (not the Fortress of Solitude in Antarctica); and he worked at the Daily Star (not the Daily Planet), where he became editor-in-chief after George Taylor's (not Perry White's) retirement.
- Alternate Universe: The original continuity from The Golden Age of Comic Books.
- Badass Grandpa: He fits the age,though isn't a grandfather. However, he still stopped the Anti-Monitor
- Cosmic Retcon: One of the most high-profile victims. His universe suffered a Ret Gone, yet he survived. No wonder he went along with Alex Luthor Jr.'s plan.
- Happily Married: To Lois, decades before mainstream Superman did it. This being a more traditional couple, she actually did change her name to "Lois Kent" and they were featured together in the Superman Family backup. His behavior during Infinite Crisis stemmed from him coping with her dying.
- Heel Realization: In Infinite Crisis ending when he realizes that the Superboy he condemned was a hero willing to die for others while the Superboy he supported became a murdering psycho.
- Informed Ability: An additional ability that actual Golden Age Superman possessed, which his modern counterpart does not, is an ability to "mold" his face to disguise himself, as chronicled in several Golden Age tales. This ability was never specifically ascribed to the specific Earth-Two Superman or shown in any specific Earth-Two Superman story, but was mentioned only in Golden Age stories.
- Redemption Equals Death: Superman-2 was initially on board with Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor but eventually realized they were wrong and fought them to the death.
- Retcon: How he came into existence in the first place. During The Interregnum the original versions of Green Lantern, and The Flash simply disappeared and were replaced with new versions who were explicitly not of the same continuity, yet Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman had remained active. This version of Superman was introduced to officially be the character those early adventures were about. The creation of Earth-2 itself springs from a Flash story.
- Ret Gone:
- His past was removed from the timeline along with his universe.
- A silver age comic featuring Superboy had the Boy of Steel travelling to this Superman's youth and training him in crime-fighting which likely erased his earlier, more brutal days as Superman.
- Skunk Stripe: This Superman is almost exclusively depicted as having grey hair on the sides of his head.
- Together in Death: He and Lois at the end of Infinite Crisis.
Superman of Earth-22Originally introduced in Kingdom Come as a possible future for the current Superman, retcons have since placed him in his own continuity on Earth-22 where the Kingdom Come storyline now canonically takes place. After losing touch with humanity, he left for years, returning from self imposed exile when the new generation of heroes had finally gotten completely out of control. However, his solutions only made the situation worse. Recently in a Justice Society of America story, this Superman was pulled to New Earth at the moment of nuclear detonation. Believing all he loved was dead, he opted for a new beginning with the JSA.
- Badass Grandpa
- Kryptonite Factor: Removed, explained as having absorbed too much sunlight to be affected anymore. He's also more powerful than the current New Earth Superman.
- Second Coming: His return from his self-imposed exile in the first book of Kingdom Come was seen as that at first to Norman McCay, but the visions he has seen indicate that Superman's return would catalyze the coming doom of the metahuman battle, not avert it. The whole series drew heavily on Biblical prophecy for imagery.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To the Earth-2 Superman in the sense that he is an older Superman and is a member of the Justice Society as Earth-2 Superman was on his world. He also seemed to bond with Power Girl as they both needed family.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: During his Kingdom Come phase. His solution to the Darker and Edgier generation was rehabilitation or imprisonment with rehabilitation. This had the effect of consolidating power and escalating conflict, though this is not solely Superman's fault.
Superman of Earth-30A version of Superman introduced in Superman: Red Son. He landed in Russia instead of America becoming a Russian operative at the beginning of the Cold War era and later the ruler of most of the globe. His continuity is now preserved as an official continuity of one of the 52 earths.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He successfully spread his revolution peacefully across the globe simply by running the "best" government, till the end when Luthor was able to finally make the U.S. a viable alternative.