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Headscratchers: Superman
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    Comic 
  • There's plenty of times that Superman is on a date with Lois or talking with some one only for his super hearing to pick up a disaster that he goes to respond to. But aren't there disasters happening all the time? How can he hear the screams and just continue to make out with Lois? Or even if we assume that his super hearing isn't that good or he can turn it off, he must know that there's always disaster happening. He must know he can't save everyone, but how isn't he driven insane by the knowledge that during a 2 hour visit with his parents he could have stopped hundreds of crimes instead?
    • Perhaps he only drops what he's doing when he knows no one else is going to go there? Like, he hears a volcano but then hears Wonder Woman whisper "I've got this, Clark" so he leaves it be because he knows Diana can handle it. If he's on patrol he'll stop any crime or disaster he comes across, but during his down time he only gets involved if he has to.
      • There was an episode of Smallville that showed Clark prioritizing, deciding (for example) that he wasn't needed at the site of a fire as the fire department was already on its way, while deciding to go after a bank robbery upon hearing the police radio indicate they were still a ways away.
    • He's got just as much chance of being driven insane by being on-call 24/7 and never giving himself a break ever. Even paramedics and firefighters and cops need to take a few days off now and then just to recharge their batteries, and they don't have to fight alien invasions and stop meteorites single-handedly. If Superman runs himself ragged trying to stop a lot of comparatively 'little' stuff — especially since, as noted below, it's something that could easily be handled by someone else, then he risks having nothing left in the tank when something big that only he can deal with shows up, with potentially devastating consequences. So, unless it's something only he can handle, he takes some time off to visit his folks, go on a date with his wife, watch the game, and lets someone else take over for a bit.
    • A big part of Superman's character is the conflict between his desire to be the god people want him to be and the relatively simple man he actually is. He has tried to monitor the whole world and solve every problem before, but it's always failed because even a super-man has limitations. Big Blue has had to figure out how to balance the time he gives to the world and the time he has for himself to keep himself from forgetting that he is a mere mortal. The fact that his world is crawling with other superheroes ready and willing to pick up the slack (and get annoyed when he infringes on their territory) probably helps him understand the importance of delegating the world-saving.

  • Related to the above question, how does Superman decide who to save? For example there's a touching scene in All-Star Superman were he stops a girl from committing suicide. But there are countless suicides every day, how does he pick just one person to help?
    • Superman has learned to tune it out to a degree, ignoring those than could be solved by police, firemen, etc.
    • The speed of sound is not instantaneous, it still presumably takes time for Superman to realize something is happening even if a "normal" man would have never noticed a thing in the first place. He likely only saves who is closest or who he thinks has the best chance as he learns of their situations.
    • Superman also picks up on that particular instance because he overhears the girl's therapist desperately pleading with her over the phone not to harm herself; in other words, he's alerted to the situation and can act accordingly, and since the girl is about to throw herself off a building it's easy for him to find her and intervene. Someone who is lying on their bed having swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills or is sitting on their couch with a gun to their head is a lot harder to detect, however, since they're in the privacy of their own homes and he's got no reason to suspect anything's wrong until it actually happens. Similarly with crimes of impulse and passion and other similar matters he'd need to be precognitive to some degree to determine. Simply put, there's probably some things even Superman doesn't notice. He's not omnipotent.

  • Why in the name of all that is D or C do Metropolis criminals even bother pointing guns at Superman anymore? This is a man who they've most likely seen thwart at least two city wrecking threats a week and had thousands of tons of lead bounce off his chest. Do they really think that they, as Random Group of Thugs #4098 will magically have bullets that do more than annoy him?
    • They have to at least make the token effort, or they won't be allowed to collect unemployment insurance.
    • On the one hand, they don't have much to lose. They're as good as caught anyway, and they know Superman won't really hurt them, so hey, try shooting him and see if you get lucky. On the other hand, as invincible as he is, you think the mooks would try less shooting and more running...
      • Running has approximately the same probability of success as shooting, though. We are talking about the guy who regularly ties in races with the Flash.
      • Actually they have more to lose by using guns. Discharging a firearm during a felony automatically gets you bonus jail time. Quite a lot of it, actually; as in 25-to-life instead of 5-to-10. It doesn't matter if the person you're shooting at is bulletproof. Sure, the mass murderer who's going to get the chair anyway might as well try it, but your average bank robber would be better of surrendering. Or, you know, moving to a new city.
      • And how many armed and dangerous criminals hold back from shooting at the cops because firing a gun would mean extra time behind bars? If the crooks are already committing armed robbery, it's a pretty safe bet that discharging a firearm is an acceptable course of action in their minds.
      • Not necessarily. The threat of the gun is why most criminals bring it, not that they actually think they're going to use it.
      • And yet people, especially cops, do get shot by criminals every day. Only the most suicidally reckless person would ever act on the assumption that a criminal with a gun drawn on him is bluffing, especially in a comic-book setting where mooks firing guns at cops is part and parcel of any crime.
      • And yet, every day, other criminals with guns are arrested without shooting anyone—probably more than the converse. I report on a fair sized city myself, and in the last couple years, I've written at least a dozen stories about perps being arrested while carrying either guns or knives on their person or within easy reach when the arrest happened. I have yet to write one story about a police officer being shot, or even shot at, with one possible exceptionnote .

        I'm quite clearly not talking in absolutes here, so please don't argue as if I am—I never said it never happens, nor did I ever say you should act on the assumption it's a bluff.

        Again, I said "most" (not all) criminals who bring guns (i.e., those engaging in things like robberies, burglaries, muggings, etc.) would bring guns for the threat they represent (i.e., "Put all the money in the bag, or I shoot"). This doesn't necessarily mean they expect to actually discharge them, or even that they think it's "acceptable" to actually start shooting someone. Murder is a whole different crime from robbery, so I think it's a bit much to assume that most criminals would just think, "Well, I've already committed one crime, might as well go all in."
      • This is COMIC BOOK WORLD. Crooks are bad guys. It is that simple. Superman is usually dealing with crooks who have already shot at the police and guards they were trying to flee, only to then run into him. Why would they hesitate for a second to shoot at the probably-invulnerable guy for any legal reason when they've already shot at the people who are most definitely not invulnerable? It's like you're so bent on winning some totally irrelevant side point that you're not even thinking about how it actually applies to this discussion.
      • Hm, let me check the original Headscratcher post...Nope, nowhere does it say that it's talking about only (or even usually) those criminals that have already shot at someone. Only Superman is mentioned as a past, present, or future target. It just says "criminals" as a general term, so you're apparently assuming that he's talking about exactly and only the criminals you have in mind. And you're making assumptions as to the types of crooks Superman is "usually" up against.

        In point of fact, we have seen criminals shoot at Superman who have not, up to then, shot at cops or anyone else, in the comic books, in the movies, in the TV shows, in the cartoons, and in any video games. Superman gets to a bank robbery before the cops? They shoot. Superman comes upon a random mugger, who up to then had been only threatening with the gun? He shoots Superman.

        Shooting at Superman is the default response of crooks in superhero comics, yes, as a device to demonstrate his invulnerability. The point of the original question is to ask why they do that when they have to know it's not going to work. The fact they'd also get more jail time for an obviously futile action does, in fact, factor into why it's a Headscratcher, since it's yet another good reason to not shoot Superman, so yes, I am thinking about how it applies to the discussion.
      • THIS IS COMIC BOOK WORLD. Nowhere have they ever said that the DC universe felony laws actually work that way (clearly their legal system is very different than ours, given, for example, how mind-boggingly easy the insanity defense works on a jury as compared to its miniscule success rate in the real world). The very fact that they do try to shoot Superman with nobody making any statement about how they're making it worse for themselves is pretty good evidence that it doesn't worth that way. At the very least, it is proof positive that in each particular crook's mind, he thinks the trade-off is worth it. Maybe he thinks shooting will make it easier to flee while Superman's distracted. Maybe he thinks he has nothing to lose because he's not aware that "discharing a firearm" would make things any worse. Maybe Metropolis has a three-strikes law, he's on the third strike and he's legally screwed no matter what if he gets caught. Maybe he's just a desperate loser with a lifetime of making bad decisions who's making one more because he doesn't think he's got anything to lose. No matter what reason you want to believe, it's very obvious the crooks generally think it's worth it because otherwise they would not be shooting at him. The very fact that the crook is shooting invalidates all your hypothetical reasons for why he shouldn't, just by the plain and simple fact that he's actually doing it. You are literally arguing against the likelihood of something that happens on a regular basis in the story.
      • For the most part the status quo tends to be Like Reality Unless Noted, so you'd need a closer look at the DCU's legal system before we can make those kinds of assumptions.

        And all of those "maybes" are, indeed valid points, and would indeed be good motivation to shoot at Superman. You should've just said those to begin with and we could've avoided this wall of text.

        And no, them shooting Superman doesn't at all invalidate my, or the other tropers' points for why it's a bad idea, because the whole point was to ask why they would do those despite those factors. Nobody is arguing that it doesn't happen, they were asking for what reason it happens in story—so "IT'S A COMIC BOOK!" is not a suitable response—given the obvious and numerous reasons not to do it. That's the whole point of Headscratchers, to ask why things happen in fiction despite readily apparent reasons they should not.
      • I didn't say all that to begin with because I thought I was just making an idle comment, not launching the opening salvo in a battle over said comment. This whole thing began with: "On the one hand, they don't have much to lose. They're as good as caught anyway, and they know Superman won't really hurt them, so hey, try shooting him and see if you get lucky." It was just an offhand opening to the question of "why don't they run from Superman" — I wasn't intending to throw down a gauntlet over the legality of shooting at Superman. Anyway, "it's comic-book world" isn't so much "don't question it" as it's shorthand for "barring a deconstruction story, petty crooks in comic books are typically violent, impulsive Stupid Evil / Always Chaotic Evil mooks who'd put an orc to shame." While there admittedly are sound reasons for not shooting at Superman, I wouldn't expect the typical crooks in a Batman/Superman story to be savvy enough to think of them. Come to think of it, maybe the smart ones just surrender immediately, but the reader hardly ever gets to see them because there's no story to tell in those cases.
      • I added a brief counterpoint to your argument, not the attack on your rights that you seem to have interpreted. It's a discussion. If I see an answer I think is inaccurate or wrong in some way, I'm going to say something about it, simple as that—just because it's "an answer" doesn't mean it's automatically right, or that there aren't counterpoints to that answer. There was no intention to "tear down" anything, or have a "battle"—I made a small contribution to the discussion, and left. Hell, I wouldn't have come back to this discussion right now if you hadn't PM'd me about this perceived slight.
    • Force of habit? When you're an armed criminal, a good way of ensuring compliance from the people around you is to point a gun at them; unarmed civilians will do anything you tell them to, and even armed members of the police may slow down what they're doing in order to prevent innocent casualties. It's just an automatic instinct that kicks in, even though it's completely useless when tried with Superman.
    • Could be they figure he's got a weak spot, like if you shoot between his muscles or in his eye? That he's Made of Iron because of his amazing muscles or nigh-impenetrable skin, not because of nigh-impenetrable skin or a force field that coats his entire body, respectively.
    • Everyone may have heard that bullets can't hurt Superman, but what exactly does "can't hurt" mean? A superhero who was merely invulnerable, not impervious, might be driven back or slammed around by bullets even if he isn't wounded by them. Not that the criminals are thinking it through that much, but if that's what they pictured when they heard the story ...
      • Because trying to punch him would be an even worse idea.
    • As put in Lorne Michael's (really pretty awful) 1988 TV special celebrating Superman's 50th birthday, "There's just something about that "S"...you just want to shoot it..."
    • Maybe they're just checking to make sure he's really Superman and not just another, weaker DCU flyer in disguise.
      • Or an ordinary human for that matter, if they haven't seen him use any powers prior to the attempt to shoot him. There are bound to be plenty of Superman costumes for sale in DC Universe stores, every Halloween: he's a celebrity as well as a crime-fighter.
      • Then again, smarter mooks have used Kryptonite tipped bullets to devastating effect. Superman of course thinks they are regular bullets, thus doesn't dodge.
    • Can Superman be killed if he gets shot in the mouth? Or does his force field also protect the inside of his body?
    • In the off chance that Kryptonite is nearby or Superman has lost his powers for whatever reason, why not try shooting him? Though, if he does have his powers, one of the bullets might bounce off and go right back at you.
    • They could just simply be panicking; this is a high-stress, high-adrenaline situation they've got themselves embroiled in, they've already committed a major felony and have the police on their tail, and now the most powerful superhero in the world, the guy who can punch through concrete and incinerate things by looking at them and freeze things by breathing hard at them, standing right in front of them? Under such circumstances, their mental processes are much less like to be a calm, rational stream of solid logic like "Right-ho, well, I haven't got a chance of stopping Superman with this pea-shooter of a gun I have, might as well just give up quietly, hey?" and much more likely to be something more along the lines of "Ohshitit'sSupermanfuckingSupermanisfuckingstandingrightinfuckingfrontofmedosomethingdosomethingDOSOMETHING!!!!" BANG BANG BANG.
      • We can also take that as the answer to the other ages-old question — why they insist on THROWING THE GUN AT SUPERMAN after they're out of bullets. What is more inexplicable is why Superman (or at least George Reeves) ducks when they throw it.
      • Special Effects Failure.

  • Related to the above: how do kryptonite bullets manage to pierce him anyway? They should either bounce from him like regular ones or splatter on him. Super-fast radiation?
    • Wave-based radiation (as opposed to particle-based) moves at the speed of light, so yeah, it's already "super-fast".
      • And even particle-based radiation moves much faster than a bullet. That said, I think the question isn't about the speed of the radiation itself, but rather about how quickly it would take effect — i.e. would Superman lose his invulnerability in the split second before the bullets actually hit and either penetrated (if so) or bounced off (if not)?
      • It's consistently shown that Kryptonite automatically negates both the invulnerability forcefield and the natural durability of Superman's flesh when it is used as a projectile or melee weapon. So clearly those two things are more vulnerable to the radiation than anything else. Its effects afterwards are inconsistent, as to be expected with a long-running character that every writer has a different idea of the "right" way for his powers to work. Kryptonite either runs the risk of almost instantly killing him, dropping him down to near-human, or very, very slowly degrading his powers and eventually killing him as if he'd been bitten by a mildly deadly poisonous snake. (Basically, "dead within the next five minutes", "dead within an hour or so", and "dead if I don't get this taken out sometime in the next two weeks, month or so if I get particularly busy".)
  • Why doesn't Superman just take the Phantom Zone projector and release Mon-El on a planet that is not filled with lead?
    • Because he would die. The lead poisoning he's already suffered isn't cured by removing lead from his vicinity. This was explained back in his origin story.
  • Electric Superman. They never properly explained how he got the electric powers, they could have even tied it into the (terrible) Genesis storyline that happened a few months later with a little "he was in space and was glanced by the godwave and this changed his powers", but they didn't even do that. Not to mention that it was plainly Executive Meddling, and terrible. And the ending was hideously stupid.
    • I always assumed it was a late-emerging side effect of having his powers restored by the Eradicator (an energy being) at the end of The Return of Superman. The real shame about the whole "Electric Superman" thing, though, is that Superman's electro-powers were actually really really cool. They were a lot more versatile from a practical standpoint and in some ways they were actually superior to Supes' old powers (ex: using magnetism to block an entire hail of bullets at once from a distance). They could have gotten some really great stories out of that if they had put any effort into giving a coherent explanation about where he got them. But sadly, They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot and squandered the opportunity.
    • I think it was more like the Lobo versus Wolverine fight in Marver Vs. DC — you are being forced to write it, there is no reason to put too much effort into explaining it. If you were a writer and the higher ups decided that you need to write something that you know is going to royally annoy the fans, would it really be worth your time to try really hard to explain it? Even if there was a well written, rational reason for it, the fans still knew that it was just another publicity stunt.
      • Superman can actually change into that form under the right circumstances. He does it by exposing himself to a massive amount of electricity in order to fight Brainiac. I guess it's hinted that Superman might eventually evolve into an energy being through some way or another.
    • The real explanation requires going back to Pre-Infinite Crisis. The bottled city of Kandor was a non Kryptonian city consisting of a bottle housing a hidden pocket dimension or a tesseract. One time when Superman was exiting the portal, there was a power surge and he was affected on some basic level. It took a while for the effects to catch up with him.
  • A lot of people didn't like "John Byrne's Weak Superman", but before Byrne retooled Superman the fact that scrubs like the Toyman or the Prankster bothered him or event made him break a sweat without a half-ton of Kryptonite considering how his powers were before the Crisis is beyond ridiculous. (He could move planets FFS!) Hell, even after he shouldn't have had much of a problem with the scrubs considering how fast he can move, even though half of the time he forgets that he can move really really fast and save hostages before the people who took them even realize it.
    • And while I am at it, why doesn't the moron just make his suit with lead lining so Kryptonite doesn't hurt him? Or at least a lead-cotton weave fiber to at least lessen its effects.
      • Lead has a fairly low melting point; given how fast Superman flies, a lead suit could burn up from friction.
      • Make the outside titanium, like the animated series, or some Kryptonian Unobtanium. The lead lining inside can melt all it wants, what's it going to do, burn him?
      • If there is anything Superboy Prime has taught us it's that supersuits, no matter how well-built, will not last long in Superman-level fights.
      • Full-on lead suits were used by the Silver Age version. All but one had a critical flaw: Lead blocks X-ray vision as well as kryptonite radiation. If he let himself see, the kryptonite could affect him. And the only one that didn't have that problem (used a television and camera to get around the stunt) I think did die of friction. Not counting the story where the suitalong with everything else on earth, got turned to glass. The Silver Age had some weird plots.
      • Lead suits might interfer with Superman's natural ability to synthesise and use light.
      • Further more lead isn't a magic "instantly stop all radiation with just a thin sheet" substance. It takes 2 inches of lead to reduce incoming radiation to 1/10 of it's original value. So depending on just how much Kryptonite radiation it takes to weaken Supes he'd need his entire body surrounded by 2-4 inches of lead, or more. And while the weight wouldn't be a factor for him, the bulkiness would make having all but the most basic of joint movements imposable without leaving gaps for the radiation to get through.
    • I always found it hilarious that a portrayal that had Supes soakiyng a 40-megaton nuke hit, casually lifting aircraft carriers, and flying around the world in an eyeblink was still considered "weak". Sure, he can't move planets anymore, but that was boring.
      • When you fly faster than light, you are not superstrong and fast, nor you are a God. You are just laughing in the face of physics.

  • Wonder how Superman got circumcised if he's a man of steel.
    • He wasn't a Boy of Steel (in current continuity). How do you know he's circumcised anyway?
      • Can we assume so because he was created by two Jews and intended to be a Moses figure? OTOH, how many Jews farm in Kansas?
      • Moses wasn't circumcised until he was an adult man.
      • Plenty. Read up on the Kansas Jewish Colonies. Also, "Jews in Kansas: Strangers in a Strange Land."
      • No, we cannot. 1) The Brit Milah is to a religious Jew much more than just circumcision. 2)Krypton is not Israel, to have Kryptonians copy the Brit Milah would suggest that there had already been a Moses on Krypton, and that would involve a much more elaborate back story than originally present. 3) Krypton is a highly advanced world, if male Kryptonians have to be foreskinless they would be born that way. 4) Do you assume that ALL characters made up by Jews are circumcised? Even the ones who are not human, and in a way of looking at the word Superman suggest a being that is Beyond Man and thus not human, ergo not Jewish . 5) OK, I agree Kal-El sounds somewhat Jewish. But unless you can show that the ritual is performed on Krypton, there is no reason to assume that that has any bearing on the issue. 6) Some Jews are intact 7) Kal-El's Kryptonian loving parents (or at least his father) are highly advanced scientists. 8) The Kents were loving parents too, their name, location and profession make it more likely that they had no religious reasons for the procedure and they had good reasons to avoid all unnecessary medical treatments.
    • He could have it done as a baby on Krypton.
      • It is possible. There have been multiple representations of Krypton, at least one of which presenting it as a largely sexless society. Circumcision caught on in the United States (partially) as a method of keeping sex drives down in males: evidently babies with foreskins play with themselves more than babies without. It would make sense.
    • He's also shown to have a pretty strong healing factor, so even if he was circumcised, would he necessarily stay that way?
      • But he does not recover from scars and wounds he had before his powers manifested, so the circumcision would probably stay.
      • That would also explain how he has a bellybutton... he does have a bellybutton, doesn't he?
    • To answer the original question, some continuities, including the Byrne one, portray him as not getting his powers until adolesence, not infancy. He would've still been weak enough in infancy for that procedure, especially since he hadn't been under the sun for that long by that point.
    • He had to do it himself. With his laser vision.
    • Circumcision doesn't just have to be a religious thing. It's easier to clean down there afterwards.
  • This just struck me after a long time: Does Lex Luthor have a death wish? For that matter, does any villain who's ever come up against Superman? They're all trying to kill the guy who saves the world on daily basis and the universe every couple of years. If they ever succeed, who do they think will punch away the next Earth-shattering asteroid?
    • Well, a few of Superman's rogues are legitimately insane, so there's that. As for Luthor, it's not that he has a death wish so much as his colossal ego simply will not allow him to tolerate the existence of anyone or anything more powerful than him (which in itself could be a sign of a mental illness). Superman's godlike power makes him clearly superior and Luthor can't stand not being the biggest, baddest m* ther-f* cker on the block. Also, it's not like the DCU has a dearth of powerful superheroes. The non-insane, non-Luthor villains who're always trying to kill Superman may just assume that if Supes isn't around to "punch away the next Earth-shattering asteroid", some other hero would pick up the slack.
    • Plus, if you're powerful/smart enough to kill Superman, there's a good chance you're powerful/smart enough to destroy an asteroid. Also, while it's true that Superman saves the world, there have been occasions when he's posed a threat to it - taking the DCAU alone, there was the time Darkseid brainwashed him, the alternate universe scenarios where the loss of a loved one made him go off the deep end and become a Knight Templar, the times the Parasite absorbed his energy and became massively dangerous, the time he got cloned and we ended up with the threatening Bizarro and the time he got controlled by Starro. Maybe the villains' logic is that killing Superman could have a good or bad effect on the world in the long run.
      • All the rest of those aren't spoilers but getting controlled by Starro is?
    • I'm glad someone else has mentioned this problem, although when it struck me, it was more that I was thinking that it's incredibly foolish for random thugs to try to kill Batman, considering that he often seems to be the only thing protecting them from the Joker and co.
      • Especially if killing Batman would piss off the Joker....
    • Villains and random thugs rarely think that far ahead. All they care about is that right now some large man in colored underwear is standing between them and what they want, and they can't allow that now can they? If they gave a damn about the greater good, they probably wouldn't be involved in villainy in the first place.
  • Why does any non-supervillain even try to rob banks in Metropolis anymore? Its been fifteen years, guys, you should have gotten the word by now. Its not even like being a street criminal in Gotham, where you can at least take comfort in the fact that if Batman is busy busting somene's head on the other side of the city, that means he can't also be busting yours. Its Superman. He can be stopping a kid from falling in the river 30 miles over, hear you shooting at the bank teller, and be up in your face catching the bullet before its even halfway across the bank. What, did Cleveland or Buffalo or some other nicely non-superhero-possessing city run out of money to go steal or something?
    • Super Hearing doesn't mean he can hear stuff before the sound can reach him.
    • From an economic standpoint, there's probably more money in Metropolis banks due to both the presence of Lexcorp and of the world's greatest hero. As such, some enterprising criminals are willing to take the (high) risk of being stopped by Superman on the off chance he might be somewhere else doing League business, in which case they make off like kings.
      • In JLA/Avengers a Genre Savvy criminal named Loophole actually takes advantage of a Justice League emergency to knock over a few Metropolis banks, knowing Superman will be occupied for the time being. A good plan, and it would have worked if the Avengers didn't happen to coincidentally pop out of a boom tube right next to them...
    • To quote from the Friendly Enemy page:
    In one annual collection of short stories, it's made into a gag where a member of a gang of bank robbers' opening question "Why Metropolis?" (of all cities to rob a bank in), is answered, after a long discussion about those assholes in Star City, Keystone City, and Gotham, when Superman catches them and politely hands them over to the police while recommending the Metropolis reform program to get their lives back together: "Because when he catches you, he's not a jerk about it."
    • If Superman can be killed by some desperate criminal/low-level villain, then he wouldn't be able to stop cosmic-level threats. And event then, there are guys like Shazam, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern who could fight them off instead. Plus guys like Luthor could make their own versions of Superman to protect humanity.
  • You know, I actually read a Marvel anthology a few years back where the Circus of Crime finally got the message. It opens with the Ringmaster reflecting that Daredevil never gets to Peoria, and that the Hulk, for all of his tendency to wander, has never been sighted in Poughkeepsie. There's much less money to be had, but the odds of getting arrested are slimmer.
    • Well, while Batman has to be on the other side of the city, Superman often has to be on the other side of the planet fighting a giant gorilla with kryptonite vision or on the other side of the galaxy dealing with cosmic villains. He doesn't have time to personally prevent every single robbery.
    • Didn't the Ringmaster then promptly get his butt handed to him by Howard the Duck?
      • Never underestimate a master of QUACK FU!
  • Why does red sunlight immediately weaken him? I can see him slowly depowering as his charge of yellow runs out, but red is usually depicted to immediately render him a weakling. Would he completely shut down immediately if you locked him in pitch darkness? Like, say, an interred coffin?
    • It's more native to his cells so it pushes the yellow sunlight out?
      • IIRC, it was explained in one comic that the light from a red sun disrupts his cells from releasing the power they absorb from yellow suns. So, he still has all his power, he just can't use it until he's out of the red light.
      • In fact, that's probably why he gets his powers back immediately after recovering from the effects of Kryptonite.
      • Also, unless they changed it back yet again, Post-Crisis Superman no longer immediately loses all his power under red sunlight. What does happen is that he's no larger recharging energy (as he's not getting any yellow sunlight), so he will gradually get weaker and weaker the more he exerts himself until he's run out of all the yellow sun energy stored in his cells, as per the "slowly depowering" scenario of the original poster.
  • When Superman is dressed as Clark, what happens to his cape?
    • He probably keeps it in his briefcase or tucks it into his pants.
    • He actually keeps his costume in a super-compressed ball (about the size of a marble) hidden on his person, probably in his back pocket or something. The only time when he still wears his costume under his clothes is when the writers just plain forgot and wanted to do a dramatic shirt-rip.
      • The super-compressed costume is far from univerally-accepted canon in every story. Cape or not, he's shown wearing the costume under his work clothes in virtually every Superman story, thousands of times more than he's shown with it as a super-compressed ball. It's in no way a case of "just plan forgot". In fact, I have only heard the concept of super-compressed clothing used to explain what happens to his work clothes when he changes into Superman.
      • Compromise time! He wears the costume under his clothes, but keeps the cape in a super-compressed ball in his back pocket or tightly wrapped up on his shoulder wherever. That way, he's got the suit on underneath if he needs it and, after doing the dramatic shirt-rip and suit removal, can just quickly whip the cape out, attach/dramatically unfurl it, and get down to business.
    • When I went to Hooters with a Superman cape and t-shirt (to look like the New 52 Superman) under my dress shirt, what I did was I wrapped the cape around my torso and tied it.
  • Didn't Krypton have any astronauts? Seriously, every living Kryptonian but Kal-El was on the planet when it blew up?
    • Some comics have gone around to answer this- Krypton is sometimes portrayed as an isolationist society, because the immense pricks who ran it were convinced they were the greatest civilization and species that could ever come into existence, and going to "lesser" words could be degrading. This refusal to leave their homeworld and arrogant self-image is why they refused to accept Jor-El's warnings. Other stories however do have Kryptonian astronauts- most notably an issue of All-Star Superman.
    • According to the Ultimate Guide, Krypton had a space program, but because of their superior attitudes, they abandoned it long before their planet's destruction.
    • In the Silver Age, since the Science Council would permanently nix ANY scientific program that had any failure no matter what the cause they permanently shelved space travel after a scientist's efforts to show off his latest idea (a rocket combined with a nuclear missile) accidentally went off course and blew up their inhabited moon instead of the worthless asteroid he had in mind. This got him his sentence to the Phantom Zone and recurring villain status with Superman, he's also the same one who created Jewel Krytonite.
    • According to some stories from late in the Silver Age, Superman's mother Lara had been an astronaut prior to getting married. What's more, on Krypton only women could be astronauts (for reasons that were never explained). Then the scientist mentioned above wrecked things for everybody.
    • None of which explains why they couldn't use some other method to save their population. This is a civilization that used another dimension as a jail cell. If they could do that, why couldn't they open up another one as an escape route? Heck, even joining their exiled criminals in the Phantom Zone ought to be preferable to just standing around awaiting extinction.
    • An additional point: if Kryptonians were so superior, why didn't they all move to a star system with a yellow star. There are a few dozen billion in this galaxy alone? Then they would be REALLY superior.
      • In most continuities, Jor-El is the one who discovered the yellow-sun effect while investigating options for saving his family.
    • In the recent storyline "H'El on Earth," his opponent H'El is a Kryptonian astronaut.
  • Superman doesn't age at the normal rate, correct? So doesn't that mean he'll eventually have to give up being Clark or reveal his secret identity?
    • Depends on the continuity. It's happened in a few stories, like in Batman Beyond.
    • Due to the rolling timeline it's unlikely to ever come into play in canon.
  • How does Superman cut his hair? I know we've seen him shave his beard with his heat ray vision, but how does he actually style the hair on top of his head if scissors couldn't cut it?
    • Highly focused heat-ray lasers and a mirror to cut it, a comb and gel to style it like everyone else. Just because it won't cut doesn't mean it won't bend. Otherwise his elbows wouldn't work.
    • Alternatively: You know how the hair on your eyebrows only grow out that long? Like that.
      • This was the Pre Crisis explanation—-his hair didn't grow under a yellow sun, thus he didn't need to shave/get haircuts (unless he was under red sun conditions for an extended period of time).
    • Maybe his hair isn't as invulnerable as his skin and muscles? Because in "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way?", he got a lot of his hair burnt off in his battle with the Elite. And in Superman: The Animated Series, he's shaved with a regular razor at least once.
      • That was when he was depowered from red sunlight, though. Otherwise we saw him do the mirror trick.
      • Smallville had scissors break when Isobel/Lana tried to cut his hair for one of her spells.
    • After the Bryne relaunch, it was revealed that Superman has an Aura of Invulnerability. (Cadmus tried to replicate this power when they cloned Superboy from Paul Westerfield, not Lex Luthor, this is how he had Tactile Telekinesis.) It is possible that when his hair gets too long, it goes past the aura, and thusly can be cut. That, or Jor-El packed a Kryptonian Flowbee in the rocket ship...
      • Actually Superman didn't have an aura of invulnerability, the aura was just a side effect manifestation of his invulnerability, and its only purpose was to explain why the his uniform didn't get destroyed in his fights or didn't burn from friction when he flew. That's why we often saw him with his uniform intact but his cape turned to rags, in Bryne's version, Superman's uniform was made of normal fabric. Also, since Cadmus couldn't replicate kryptonian DNA, they gave Superboy tactile TK to simulate some kryptonian powers: strenght, flight and physical invulnerability (Superboy was still vulnerable to energy). Of course, that too was retconned, and now he's a half-kryptonian, half-human clone.
      • The aura also explains how Superman can fly with yachts in impossible positions without having the yacht collapse under its own weight or slip out of his hands (see Man of Steel #4). The idea is that Superman is holding the yacht up with TK, his field having extended over the yacht. Byrne first used the idea of a field being used in this manner for an X-men character he created called Gladiator.
  • Pre-Crisis Question: How did Supes know Gold Kryptonite would take away his powers for good? It's not like the stuff would work on Krypton (no powers anyway) or there were any other Kryptonians for him to learn it from.
    • Top-secret Kryptonian science included in Jor-El's lessons?
    • Pre-Crisis Earth was swarming with Kryptonians, many of whom were evil. Maybe Clark exposed them to different Kryptonite colors to catalouge the results. Also, Post-Crisis, Luthor was able to accurately theorize the effects of Gold-K by studying its wavelengths and effects before he saw it in action, so being a scientist himself, Superman could arguably do the same (luckily, Post-Crisis Gold-K isn't permanent).
      • Don't recall if it's the first use of it or not, but the earliest I've found for pre-crisis Gold K had a phantom zone prisoner plotting to use the stuff against Superman, then getting caught by it himself. Dunno how the prisoner knew about it, though. Phantomzone Gold K?
  • The Parasite. It makes no sense that he's considered a second rate villain in the DCU. It makes sense that the fans think of him as such, since he's not as iconic as Luthor or The Joker. But Rudy Jones regularly commits acts of mass murder when he gets bored, and is, if you think about it, one of the most powerful beings in the DCU and technically more powerful than Superman. The only reason that he loses to the guy is because his tactics amount to little more than "punch it 'till it dies," which won't win you a fight against Superman, but will still get thousands of people dead before the fight is over. It makes no sense that the DCU doesn't collectively shit a brick every time he shows up.
    • There are a lot of heroes and villains more powerful than some of the big names, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're better. Parasite's a horrific monster, but he's perpetually drunk on his stolen strength. He's a thug with a fancy ability, any hero or villain with a brain and a cool head can take him down if necessary. Luthor, however is so brilliant that it takes forever to decipher enough of his plans to begin to stop them. Aside from that, popularity does mean everything in comics and Rudy's kinda obscure.
  • If Kryptonite is so common that, as noted on the Plot Tumor page, it's cheaper for a movie company to use real Kryptonite than to make a prop, and if Kryptonite (or at least, some varieties) are actually dangerous to Superman's health instead of merely taking away his superpowers, how has Clark Kent managed to avoid inadvertently revealing his identity by coming into proximity of Kryptonite?
    • Likely he moves slow enough as Clark that he could feel the stuff at a far enough distance that he could avoid getting into "Ugh! Kryptonite" range. Remember, most bad guys either shielded the Kryptonite so Supes would get close enough or he already knew they had it and had no choice.
    • There are a few times Clark is exposed to Kryptonite because someone like a cop he's interviewing is carrying a piece or something. He always sorta buckles and then finds an excuse to leave in a hurry, as the oblivious guy nearby says, "You don't look so good."
    • In Superman: The Animated Series, Lois waves a piece of kryptonite in Clark's face, and it basically follows the above formula. In Smallville, kryptonite is everywhere; regarding Lana's necklace, people just assumed that he is naturally clumsy when it makes him drop things or fall over. Pete once mentioned Clark always get sick on their tree house (littered with kryptonite), and he told Chloe that he doesn't think it is structurally sound.
    • The vast amount of Kryptonite on Earth has come up in stories, ranging from "Hey, let's help Superman get rid of all the Kryptonite on Earth, hey, there's a lot of it" to "Oh no Superman is bringing all this Kryptonite to Earth to um do something bad" which nonetheless, still makes you wonder, how big a planet was Krypton anyway?
      • This one's easy; there can be a hell of a lot of rock and mineral in a planet. Even a relatively small planet like Earth is full of rocks and minerals. As a species, we've collectively mined billions of tons of minerals out of the Earth, and that's just the relatively thin crust we're talking about here. When we start getting into the crust and the core, we can start get molten lava and magma which, when cooled, turns into yet more rocks and minerals. Plus, most of the Kryptonite we've seen tends to show up in pretty small fragments, so there's doubtlessly a lot of them about.
      • Okay, here's the thing. Until the end of the Luthor Administration, there wasn't that much Kryptonite on Earth. There were only a few pounds that made the trip to Earth from Krypton, and most of that was in a chunk that attached itself to Kal-El's ship. It never was that common Post-Crisis; generally, only Luthor and Batman had access to any fragments. Then Luthor discovered an asteroid-sized fragment on a collision course to Earth, which Captain Atom destroyed. Then another meteor storm showed up when Kara Zor-El reached Earth. After that, Kryptonite fragments showed up everywhere until much later, Superman and Batman made a determined effort to track down and eradicate or confiscate every piece of Kryptonite on Earth (though they didn't get it all; a few rogue scientists and shady government black ops types managed to acquire a small amount).
      • Also, canonically Krypton is fifty percent larger than Earth and less than fifty light-years away. It's conceivable that a few hundred thousand tons could have made its way here (how it does so given that this egregiously violates the speed of light is another issue). Hell, during Infinite Crisis, we saw that most of Krypton is still orbiting its sun in the form of an asteroid belt.
      • Last time I checked, Krypton is in another galaxy. Superman: The Animated Series explains the abundance by having Kal-El's ship dragging along large amounts of kryptonite through a wormhole to Earth. It is never explicitly shown in Smallville, but it is mentioned somewhere that a meteor shower is the perfect cover for a spaceship landing.
  • Given that the idea of a secret identity is to protect your loved ones from being targeted, wasn't it kind of a stupid move for Superman to get close to the same people in both of his personae?
    • Lois is an investigative journalist, she was always at risk. Anyway, it clearly doesn't bother her or anyone else enough for them to stop hanging out with Superman, so it's fair enough for Superman not to stop hanging out with them.
    • Superman doesn't keep a secret identity to protect his loved ones, he keeps a secret identity because he doesn't want to be Superman 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He was raised up as a human and he wants to keep his human lifestyle, and to do that he needs a human identity.
      • Exactly. But the secret-identity does still keep his loved-one's (relatively) safe. If people knew Superman was Clark Kent, and they made the connections to Lois and Jimmy, they'd be in danger even more than usual.
  • Connor Kent bugs me. Combined clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, right? Created by Lexcorp? Doesn't this mean that Lex has Superman's DNA on file? Then why the heck doesn't he try and use that to discover Superman's secret identity?
    • He was made by Cadmus Labs, who were using Lex Luthor's DNA. Presumably Cadmus is good enough to keep their DNA files out of Luthor's hands, although not good enough to stay out of his machinations entirely.
    • One, Cadmus security is a running joke, and two, Lex Luthor was at one point President of the United States, and Cadmus is (or at least was) a US government agency.
    • Even if he had access to Superman's DNA, he doesn't have that of Clark Kent, so he can't compare them.
    • The Superboy Retcon always rubbed me the wrong way. In a Wizard Superman special (it was put out around the Death of Superman and his return storylines), one of the facts mentioned in the magazine was that Kryptonians have a different number of chromosomes than human beings which is why Lois could never have a child with Clark. Was this very important tidbit forgotten by the everyone in the DC editorial team, or did Superboy Prime punch the universe again? And don't get me started on Superboy Prime...
      • If I recall correctly, most of the efforts to create Superboy were secretly spearheaded by Dabney Donovan (the mad genius who cloned Luthor's new body once he developed cancer by Kryptonite poisoning). Donovan was basically the Mister Sinister of the DCU; seriously, half the Cadmus freaks are Donovan's creations. If anyone could figure out how to kludge together a human-Kryptonian hybrid, it'd be him. Also, Luthor had his agents secretly substitute his DNA for that of Project Director Westfield, who was intended to have been the human "parent."
  • Where do all these villains keep getting Kryptonite? It's a chunk of a planet that exploded on the other side of the galaxy more than three decades ago. Even if a good sized piece of Krypton followed Kal-el's pod, it should not be so easy to find or cheap enough to afford. Is Lex Luthor manufacturing and passing out the stuff for free just to screw with Supes or something?
    • Lex Luthor is the guy who wastes billions of dollars every month 'doubling the anti-Superman budget'. I can entirely believe in Lex scrounging truckloads of kryptonite and then passing that shit out cheap to any supervillain who wants to go harass Big Blue today.
    • See above—Luthor still hasn't managed to synthesize Kryptonite, but early in Post-Crisis continuity, he tried to collect every piece on Earth that he could find once he discovered its effects on Superman. Post-Crisis, most appearances of (green) Kryptonite existed either as Metallo's power source (which Luthor later stole and fashioned into the original Kryptonite ring) and Bloodsport's bullets (supplied by Luthor).
    • My own fan theory is this: Kryptonite is a substance. It's stuff, it gets formed by natural processes, so any place where those natural processes exist should produce Kryptonite. It's like helium in real life—helium is formed in the sun, was first discovered in the sun, and it was even named after the sun. Does that mean that the sun is the only place where it comes from? Of course not. Besides, every so often someone makes artificial Kryptonite. If that's possible, it should exist in nature too.
    • Kryptonite is shown to exist before Krypton exploded in Smallville, but that is probably just a Plot Hole.
      • Not exactly. Post-Crisis, green Kryptonite can only be formed by subjecting fragments of Krypton to some sort of nuclear bombardment and fusing it into a new element. At least in the 90s, green Kryptonite just didn't make nearly as many appearances as people assume it does.
      • A couple of explanations have been given, in different eras. Under John Byrne, a hidden doomsday weapon created by the Kryptonian terrorist group Black Zero was slowly converting the planet into Kryptonite and ultimately caused Krypton to explode. A Silver Age explanation had different chunks of Krypton pass through various radiation belts/energy clouds, which transformed them into the various types of Kryptonite.

  • Krypton, in every continuity I know of, has much more gravity than Earth does, even with their red sun. Superman has been depowered by exposure to red sun radiation before. When that happens, shouldn't Superman still be several times stronger than the average human due to the relatively low gravity of Earth? I know he wasn't on Krypton long, but you would think that that would be enough.
    • He was sent to Earth as an infant, and did most of his physical development here. Granted, genetics would play a role (and it probably contributes to the bodybuilder's physique he sports despite being thoroughly unable to get an adequate workout from any earthly source), but the environment he was brought up in is totally different from that of Krypton. It's not out of the realm of possibility that, without the yellow sun energy, he'd only have the strength of a mortal man.
    • Krypton being much more massive than Earth was mainly just used pre-crises when there was less emphasis on the whole yellow sun radiation thing and more on Kryptonians just being much more evolved.

  • Why did Jor-El send Kal-El to Earth,when the technologically more advanced and probably safer Rann was in the same region (distance about 4.3 LY form Earth).Also:Why weren't Jor-El and Lara in Argo with Zor and Allura when Krypton blew?
    • For the first, remember that Krypton hadn't had much of a space program for millenia; he had no idea where inhabited planets were, and its rather impressive that he happened to find one, period, by sheer luck-its unreasonable to expect him to find every inhabited planet in 2814 with so little manpower and such little time. As for why they were where they were... they saw the End coming. They wanted to spend their last moments on Krypton with family,
      • Neither of those answers are reasonable.Krypton had an Inter Galactic Empire within living memory,and probably within Jor-El's lifetime (ended by the peace party winning the elections),and Earth and Rann at the time were within seconds or minutes of each other at the speeds needed to have an intergalactic empire.And a desire to be with family would be a reason for Jor-El to be in Argo,not out of it.
    • To answer the first question, Jor-El probably wanted to send Kal somewhere where they didn't know about Krypton, hence didn't think of Kryptonians as either xenophobic isolationists or superhuman conquerors (read: somewhere where they wouldn't be predisposed to kill Kal-El the moment they realized what he was). Think a literal life-or-death version of Harry Potter ending up with the Dursleys.
    • Alternatively, destiny. There's also Smallville's explanation of Jor-El having been on Earth and, being impressed by the love he could see between Hiram and Jessica Kent, he later decided that his son would be sent to Earth when he knew Krypton was about to be destroyed. He even made sure that he would end up with the Jonathan and Martha, specifically.
    • There was a story somewhere that said Jor-El made contact with Thomas Wayne (just don't think too hard on how) among dozens of other sentient species across the galaxy to access which planet would be ideal. I don't remember it too well, but Wayne said that he would love and care for Jor-El's son like his own, which won him over as the others offered glory, greatness and more but not love.
    • In Superman Returns, Lara asks, "Why Earth? They are primitives. Thousands of years behind us." Jor-El replies, "He will need that advantage. To survive he will need that and more. He will be odd. Different. But he will be fast. Virtually invulnerable."
  • Why does Ras al-Ghul refer to Supes as "Icon?"
    • A lame attempt at a counterpart to his always calling Bats "detective"?
    • I've also seen him call Supes "The Alien" which works much better.
    • "Icon" is a Superman Expy character somewhere.
  • Would a Death Note affect Superman? And if it did, which name would one use to kill him? Clark Kent or Kal-El? Or would either one suffice?
    • Depending on which version of Superman it is, it'd be either. Currently, I'd say Clark Kent.
    • Since Death Notes specifically affect humans, it would not affect him.
      • Was it ever even tried on something mortal besides humans? I think Superman is close enough, in which case it would totally work. Superman isn't any more immune to magic than anyone else, after all.
      • If it did work, the name Clark Kent would probably be fine since he was given that name before he was 3 years old, which seems to be the rule. That said, I don't think there's any chance it would work on him at all. His physiology is too different - a heart attack is not going to kill him, and neither is anything else you are likely to write into that book. Also, notably on Smallville that kid that could see deaths could not see Superman's - so his lifespan is either infinite or unknowable because he's outside of fate - or something like that. At any rate, Superman is not 'close enough' to being human; despite his vulnerability to magic, I don't see any way a Death Note could affect him.
  • Superman gets his powers from yellow sunlight. On Krypton he's just like any other human. Does this mean that if we travel to say, Antares, we can get superpowers?
    • No. Kryptonians get powers from yellow suns because their own red sun was so cold that they needed to store heat in their cells. When they come to Earth, they get powers because the much hotter sun supercharges them.
    • Pre-Crisis there was apparently a planet whose twin suns gave humans the same powers Superman has.
  • So, in quite a few of the old Silver Age comics, Superman goes to talk to the citizens of the bottled city of Kandor, apologizing for not being able to return them to their former size. However, he enters using a shrink ray, and leaves using a ray specifically designed to make things that have been shrunken down larger. Does he not see how he could use that on them, or is there something I'm missing?
    • Is it not possible that Superman's growth ray only works on things shrunk by HIS shrink ray?
      • It's a question of scale and molecular stability. Superman's Silver Age ray only works on human-sized targets (and that was after R & D occurred, originally it had to transpose a Kandorian and an Earthling with each other to work) In Superman #158 "Superman in Kandor," Supes has to fight off virtually the entire population of the city when they mistakenly try to enlarge Kandor with a defective ray that would have caused fatal molecular dispersal in their bodies and the city's structures.
  • If someone wanted to use True Name Magic on Superman, would they need to use Kal-El (his birth name, but not one he uses often IIRC), Clark Kent (his adopted name), or Superman?
    • Silver Banshee is this Irish ghost chick who has the power to kill you if knows your real name and screams at you. She needed to find out Superman's real birth name to be able to wipe him out.
    • Most uses of the whole True Name thing tend to focus on the name you associate with yourself. (Harry Dresden, for example, is only at risk if he tells someone his name is "Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden", and if his personal identity shifted significantly from that, his Name would be useless.) Thus, in most modern depictions of Superman, his True Name would be Clark Kent since that's how he thinks of himself and who he really considers himself to be... Superman's just a costume and Kal-El is a bit like an heirloom.
  • Is there an in-universe explanation to Superman's costume? Doesn't he find it embarrassing to wear his underwear over his pants?
    • The suit is mostly symbolic, intended to convey a sense of hope or comfort. Bright primary colors, so you can see him coming a mile away and dont feel threatened by his presence, no mask to convey a sense of trust, cape to convey authority and dignity, etc... The shorts are a result of the times, I believe. From what I understand, they were created so that characters like Superman and Batman would look less naked when printed in black and white. They became part of the iconography and stuck.
      • They were right, too. Costume redesigns for characters like Superman and Spider-Man that eliminate (in Superman's case) the underwear on the outside and (in Spider-Man's case) the belt that breaks it up into "top and pants" do look rather uncomfortably nude somehow. Especially since (especially for Spider-Man) they're now molded around the actor's wedding tackle.
    • Actually, they're taken from old school circus strongman outfits, which were the original inspiration for the Superman costume. Then it just sorta stuck as a 'superhero' thing once circus strongmen became a Forgotten Trope.
  • In Action Comics 176, it becomes apparent that Superman has started charging money for catching criminals and doing good deeds (like seeding farmers' fields). He earns so much money that he hoards over a million dollars in a massive vault he carves into the side of a mountain. Later it is revealed that he was just hoarding the money publicly so he could lure some famous criminals out into the open. My question is: Once the criminals are caught, what happens to the money that Superman has earned during all this? It is his now. Does he give it back to all the people who were happy to pay him? Does he give it to charity? Is it still in the vault gathering dust? The comic ends without addressing this.
    • The second to last panel in that comic said he returned all the money he earned.
  • The first guy to see Superman... why did he feel the need to point out what he thought was a bird flying overhead?
    • He didn't. The proper way to look at the exchange is:
    Guy 1: Look, up in the sky!
    Guy 2: [Dismissively] It's a bird.
    Guy 3: It's a plane.
    Guy 1: No, it's Superman!
  • Superman, the most iconic superhero, the paragon. His Arch-Enemy? A bald businessman. To be fair, he's very intelligent to contrast Superman's brawn, but what exactly makes Lex Luthor the Arch-Enemy? Both Braniac and Darkseid are very intelligent as well, and generally seem like better foils.
    • He's the Arch-Enemy because he's Superman's opposite—where Superman is an alien with unsurpassed physical strength, Lex is an earth-bred human with unsurpassed intelligence and savvy, and even without the strength, Luthor is quite often untouchable to Superman.
    • Thanks to his Villain with Good Publicity status, Luthor is indeed "untouchable", and beating him up would only result in backlash towards Superman. In a sense, then, he represents the limit of Superman's strength: Superman can defeat cosmic powers by physical ability alone, but he can't change society or the public's mind.
      • He could easily make it look like an accident though, using his speed flight and ice breath to cause Lex to slip down a flight of stairs. The ice melts, no evidence. Unfortunately, Superman is something of a boyscout who does not fight "dirty".
      • How would he hide the ice while it melts? Then he has to mop up the water. Using his heat vision on it would also burn the floor. He might also, with his breath, freeze the door, or the walls.
    • As a site somewhere pointed out, Lex Luthor is just a human fighting agaisnt a Physical God. He is a villain we could identify with.
    • Lex is usually the first major villain Superman meets; in some versions he actually comes from Smallville and was friends with Clark. And unlike either Brainiac or Darkseid, Lex is an Earth-based villain, plus as mentioned he is a Villain with Good Publicity. All of this means that Lex is simply the most frequent enemy of Superman who can pose a legitimate challenge to him. He even lives in the same city. That he can boss around or manipulate most of the other Earth-based bad guys doesn't hurt either.
    • Also, when it comes down to it, Clark thinks of himself as very gifted human being, finds that humbling and dedicated his youth to wondering what he would do with his abilities, deciding he would spend his lifehelping people. Lex was in the same boat but is an egomaniac who chose to spend his life selfishly pursuing money and power and crushing anyone who got in his way. When they look at each other, they see the path not taken- and both are utterly convinced that they chose right and the other chose wrong.
    • Also, Lex represents the ultimate test of Superman's will and his code to not kill. Clark cannot defeat the dark god of Apokolips, but he could turn Luthor to dust in seconds anytime he wanted. The only thing that keeps Luthor alive is the code that Clark has put up for himself, and the world would be arguably better off for it too. Joker, an unpowered, omnicidal clown is Batman's nemesis for the same reason.
      • Its actually worse for Superman- if Batman kills the Joker, then he goes from a crimefighter to a vigilante killer; if Superman kills Luthor, then he goes from a superhero to a god smiting a puny impudent mortal. In other words the temptation might be much worse for him, not to mention that since Lex is generally seen as a Villain with Good Publicity and, at the very least, less hated and feared than The Joker, Superman might have to either cover the crime up (which wouldn't be hard but could fall into Crime After Crime territory) or try and explain to the public that this supposed Honest Corporate Executive is actually an evil, mass-murdering sociopath. Like the Joker too, Lex mocks Superman for not killing him because he knows damn well that Superman would see that as a moral victory for evil, and that destroying anyone in his way is exactly the sort of thing Lex himself would do if he had Superman's powers, which is one of the main reasons Lex feels Superman doesn't deserve them- because he is too "weak" or "alien" to have such "human" responses.
  • It's been brought up before that Superman is a Christian. Yet how could he still believe in God when he knows the Greek gods and the New Gods exist?
    • Maybe he views them as merely Sufficiently Advanced Aliens? They can certainly be punched out, and he of all people knows that merely having amazing powers doesn't make you a god.
    • In the DCU the Christian god is shown to exist as well. Besides, the rule is "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me", not "Thou shalt not believe that other Gods exist at all". As long as Clark doesn't actually start praying to Zeus he's fine.
    • In fact, the Christian God is same entity as The Source, the same being at the heart of the New Gods mythos (or at least, The Source is an aspect thereof). He is also the power behind The Spectre, the single most powerful superhero in the DC universe. In other words, the New Gods also believe in and worship God.
  • In 1985, DC Comics created a storyline known as Crisis on Infinite Earths. Following this, many superheroes got overhauls in their backstories and Superman was such an example, although most of his reboot took place years earlier, so he’d been around a while before his regular series’ resumed. Problem is, there were still many stories with Superman that were important for other heroes, but not so consistent for Superman. More importantly, Crisis on Infinite Earths failed to explain how Superman’s backstory changed, and by the end of the story, there’s no indication that it had.
    • Toward the end, the Superman and Lois of Earth-2 enter some other dimension where they’re supposed to live throughout eternity and Superboy Prime (Earth Prime being a world that’s supposed to resemble the real world) and Alexander Luthor Jr of Earth-3 go with them. They’re supposed to be out of sight/out of mind, but not “dead.”
    • Supergirl dies in Crisis on Infinite Earths and it’s a momentous-enough event inasmuch the villain’s armor is destroyed in the battle. In the Post-Crisis continuity, it’s established that she never existed, so if she never existed, who fulfilled her function in the story?
      • A number of Superman comics published immediately after her death deal with her.
    • Incidentally, the last time we see Superman, he’s heading toward the Fortress Of Solitude with Power Girl. A handwave might be in order, but not only does the Fortress look like the one from the Pre Crisis comics, but no Fortress of Solitude would be established in the comics until 1991!
      • As well, Power Girl’s origin is completely altered so that she was an Atlantian and she and Superman weren’t especially important to one-another...until she wasn't.
    • Superman comics continued being published after Crisis on Infinite Earths but before the series was officially relaunched, with stories taking place after ‘’Crisis’’, but consistent with the Pre Crisis history.
      • Billed, as it was, as an “Imaginary Story,” “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” was an example, as it makes reference to Supergirl’s death, but is very much a “farewell” to the Superman of Earth-1.
    • With that, ‘’Man of Steel’’ was released and not one difference in the backstory is ever explained in ‘’Crisis’’. It’s not even worth listing.
    • Many villains were retconned out of existence only to be reintroduced (and reimagined) in the new DC Universe.
    • The most significant change in Superman’s backstory was that he was never Superboy. They try to explain this in a crossover with ‘’Legion of Super Heroes’’ but not only do they establish that he lived in an alternate time-loop (the kind of Plot Device ‘’Crisis’’ sought to put an end to) but Superman even makes mention of the Superboy of Earth-Prime, which further implies that characters remember the Pre Crisis universe.
    • DC started publishing “Elseworlds” tales similar to the ‘50s “imaginary stories,” but with the implication being they happen on parallel Earths (again: exactly what Crisis was supposed to put an end to) but it had no impact on the regular comics.

  • As there were many Continuity Snarls with ‘’Crisis’’, DC put a similar story into motion with ‘’Zero Hour’’ in 1994. The changes it made were intended to help, but they seemed to confuse people even more. Anyway, for once, it didn’t effect Superman too drastically.
    • Still, Superboy introduced Hypertime (a similar concept to the multiverse) and in Supergirl (which originally featured… oh, just look it up) elements of the pre-Crisis Supergirl were reintroduced and she even eventually teamed up with a version of herself from another dimension almost identical to Kara in 1959.
    • In 2003, Superman’s origin was given another reboot in the form of ‘’Birthright’’ which began as an Elseworlds’ tale, but became the “new origin” despite not directly following a ‘’Crisis’’-like crossover.
      • Evidence that ‘’Birthright’’ had been adopted as the new “official” origin could be found in “Supergirl,” a saga in ‘’Superman/Batman’’ not to be confused with “The Supergirl Saga” from years earlier.

  • In 2005, DC Comics decided to play the reboot game again with ‘’Infinite Crisis’’ which ran until 2006, and WOW, I have no idea where to begin.
    • Many events that were inconsistent with characters’ backstories were attributed to Superboy Prime punching the walls of reality and often occurred as early as 2003.
    • The moment the saga ended and everyone’s adventures picked up again, we got yet another overhaul of Krypton’s nomenclature and past events in Superman’s life. However, the actual origin story, as it occurred would not see the light of day until 2009, and wouldn’t be wrapped up until the following year. It’s worth noting that much of the story was derivative of the Earth-1 Superman of the Pre Crisis years and that, interestingly, his meeting the Legion of Super Heroes is treated as part of his origin.

  • Then because that period sucked the mighty one, DC rebooted once again with ‘’Flashpoint’’ and the "New 52" universe.
    • Because they were the company’s two most popular franchises, Batman and Green Lantern were not rebooted, but we’re supposed to believe that the events in their comics took place over a period of about five years instead of ten or however it works.
    • As with the 1986 reboot, Superman’s origin is set in the past (as are many if not most) but aside from the comics doing a poor job of establishing that, there are few continuity snarls so far, except that the Powers That Be inform us that the famous 1992 death of Superman “still happened.” But of course, Steel and Superboy were introduced in the aftermath of this story, and yet they’re re-introduced as fully different characters, so the particulars of the story must be very different like in so many post-Crisis stories.

  • Why do writers think that Superman can't have kids with Lois? I'm not talking about the physical methods that would be an inconvenience, considering red sunlight would solve this. I mean why do writers think they're genetically incompatible? Superman is a Human Alien, and there have been examples of Human Alien/human hybrids in the DC Universe(Nightstar, anyone?). The existence of the Daxamites show that Kryptonians can interbreed with other species. And most importantly, the current Superboy is half-human. Yes, he's a clone, but if they can make a stable hybrid of both human and Kryptonian DNA, it stands to reason Clark can make one naturally.
    • None of that logic holds up. Daxamites don't show that Kryptonians can interbreed with every other species. They show that Kryptonians can interbreed with Daxamites. It's like saying that you should be able to make a poodle-sunflower hybrid naturally because sunflowers can also mate with roses. And no, spending billions of dollars on comic-book-superscience to make a clone does not in any way at all come close to implying that the same kind of hybrid could be made naturally. Or does the existence of automobile manufacturers mean it "stands to reason" that Volkeswagons can be made naturally, too?
      • Fair enough, but the main point I'm trying to make is that if the suspension of disbelief allows Superman to ignore common laws of physics to use his massive powers through fancy photosynthesis, shouldn't it also account for Clois babies?
  • Yes, its a joke, but Pink Kryptonite turns you gay. What happens if you expose Pink Kryptonite to a gay, bisexual and asexual Kryptonian respectively?
    • The gay guy turns straight, the bi one turns asexual, and the asexual one bi.
  • How exactly does superman’s powers work
    • Superman's cellular structure is more dense, resilient and biologically more effective than human tissue. The human body is three quarters water, and all of the atoms in its body come from Earth because the human body replaces every cell every seven years. The cellular part of Superman, however, is extremely complicated, like a tight-weave of the atoms in his cells that gives him a tougher density, about thirty percent greater than a man of his general build. Strangely enough, he does not seem to possess superhuman strength levels despite his enhanced cellular ability without his cellular structure charged with yellow solar energy. This density allows his cells to act like solar collectors for a type of energy dubbed Bio-Solar luminance. It’s not an electro-magnetic phenomenon but some kind of life-force that converts power to the stuff that powers the human body beyond mere electrochemistry.
      • X-Ray Vision allows him to peer inside of seemingly solid objects that are of lighter density than Lead or Osmium. X-Ray vision is grossly mischaracterized as it is inaccurate and lacks any scientific validity. The ability actually has nothing to do with x-rays, which are an extremely energetic short-burst type of radiation whose wavelength measured at around 0.01 to 10 nanometers at intensities that are over 30 parahertz, which is slightly above the intensity of Gamma radiation. That is far too energetic for anything as delicate as a human eyeball to discern, even ones as enhanced as Superman’s own.
      • X-Rays, otherwise known as Rontgen energy, could be harmful to living tissues over long-term exposure, and if he were the one giving them off then even his own phenomenal regenerative capacity could not block off the mutagenic effect that this could produce.
      • His ability, like his telescopic vision and heat vision powers, and his so-called super-breath were entirely misunderstood by the common layperson in terms of 1940s-era Pulp Fiction pseudo-science in lieu of their actual function, which were nothing like their unfortunate misperception.
      • His abilities are actually a form of psionic projection similar to Clairvoyance and Clairaudience which allows him to listen in or focus upon things taking place at a great distance. His mind is so highly attuned to feeling the vibrational force of a type of energy that moved faster than light and is a part of the Morphic Life Field of the planet itself. He can actually hear the cries of people who are in peril and feel their emotional turmoil, especially if he focused his attention in a given area, though much of the time it is fairly random. This gives him the ability to perceive events that are taking place outside of the normal boundaries of space and time which is part of the reason he is able so often to appear at significant events in time to shape their outcome.
      • Similarly his Heat Vision is a type of Psychokinesis that could be focused upon a target with either broad-range effect or pinpoint precision, depending on the scope of his need. His eyes could hardly generate some laser-like beam energy form of attack the way so many persons tended to imagine, and does anyone realize exactly how dangerous it would be for him if he did have the ability to project X-ray beams from his eyes? What it would do to emit such dangerous radiation so near to his own brain matter that he would likely fry his skull from the inside? Let alone the potentially lethal effect it would have just focusing his gaze randomly on other people?
      • As for his Super-breath, did anyone ever stop to seriously wonder just how much lung capacity it would require for him to blow hard enough to freeze the molecules of even a small surface of water? That is simply another of his Telekinetic abilities, like his ability to project wind molecules by force of will, either out and away from him or inward to be collected like a balled-up mass that he could contain with moderate effort. Slowing down the vibrational rate of molecules to the point of freezing was no more difficult than exciting them to the point of catching fire.
      • As with his ability to fly, it was all perfectly within the framework of known Parapsychology and Noetic Sciences and hardly constituted anything supernatural or metaphysical beyond this.
      • Sort of like his ability to pick up massively heavy objects without them falling apart at this touch. His ability to control objects by the power of mind and muscle might appear superhuman to the average layman. But these are merely the effects granted to him by the life-giving Bio-energy of the Sun and well within the scientifically validated threshold of human capability, albeit peculiar to the Kryptonian variation of the Human species.
      • He can even manage some low-level Telepathy, though this is very hard for him to master as his brain is not quite wired correctly to be as good at this as someone like Saturn Girl. He can do minor feats of mental ability after having been trained in the esoteric arts by the likes of Zatarra the Sorcerer, father to his friend Zatanna, and Doctor Fate, though by no means does he have the knack for actual magic. Rather he had studied with them to discover the reason why magic had such a strong effect on his kind and came away with the understanding that his very ability to tap-into the Earth’s Noetic Field is what makes him so vulnerable. In effect his Chakra centers are kept permanently open, making him extremely vulnerable to any object or spell that operated on the right frequency of thought variation.
      • Needless to say he has done what he can to diminish his vulnerability in that area, but with only partial success as to totally render himself invulnerable to magic would also shut down his ability to metabolize Bio-energy altogether.
  • If the Ultra Humanite is the first super villain Superman faced, then why isn't he in many cartoons and games? You would think he would be popular as the first super villain(possibly the first DC super criminal).
  • In the Silver Age Superman comics, whenever a character became extremely emotional (which happened about once an issue) their speech balloon would show the word *CHOKE*, presumably indicating that they had a lump in the throat which made talking difficult. That's all very well, but the word appeared in their thought balloons too. How can a lump in the throat (a known physical condition) affect someone's ability to think?
    • A lump in the throat can also make breathing difficult or potentially even impossible (since, well, that's how air reaches the lungs). For most people, being unable to breathe is pretty damn distracting.

     Film 
  • Lex Luthor. The greatest criminal mastermind on earth. And after getting out of prision, his great comeback plan is... boning an old, sick woman? he really couldn't find a more dignified, less pathetic way to get back in bussiness? REALLY?
    • The idea of it may seem pathetic, but it's funny for one good reason: No matter how superior he thinks he is, he will sink to any depth necessary to get what he wants. Besides, that is a hell of a yacht.
    • Besides, he knew she wouldn't be around long (he might have helped that, too). He even forged her signature (but no one else knew).
    • Remember that it's Luthor who says Luthor is the greatest criminal mastermind on Earth. And remember that while he does manage some truly amazing stuff, at the heart of it he's really just a petty scam artist. And big-time plans or no, a scam artist can't work without seed money, and the bigger the scam, the more seed money you need. He was doing a whole lot of crap in Superman Returns that needed a ton of money to finance, so yes, boning an old woman for her money was both necessary and crafty.
      • You can't deny it, for a man who stole nukes and made pacts with alien conquerors, boning an old woman is a bit degrading.
  • Superman Returns picks up from Superman II, and Jason is the son of Clark Kent. I use that name intentionally because Kal-El was de-Kryptonized so that he could ethically marry Lois and live as a human. Boy does their de-Kryptonization suck! In Superman Returns, Jason (late in the game) starts to exhibit superhuman powers. You'd think they would have bothered to do something about possible offspring; otherwise, what's the point of de-Kryponization in the first place?
    • He wasn't de-Kryptonized. He was bathed in red sunlight, which took away his powers. Later on, he's bathed in the energy of yellow sunlight, which recharges his powers. He was still Kryptonian throughout the whole thing. There was no changes made to his physiology of DNA. Essentially, he had the batteries pulled out of his powers.
      • Why does depowering him make him human-level? Even without Kryptonian powers he should still have a much more advanced physique than humans.
      • Define "advanced physique". In nearly every version of the mythos since the Silver Age, Clark is more or less human without his powers. Sure, the comic book version is also pretty damn muscular, but that aside, how is his physique any more "advanced" than a human?
      • Beside, Lois (and pre-embryonic Jason) were exposed to the Krypton rays. Sure, it de-powered Zod and co. but...
    • On a side note, exactly how were Lois and Clark planning to get back from the Fortress of Solitude? It's in the freaking arctic!!
      • The Fortress/Jor-El.
      • Similarly, how did de-powered Clark Kent manage to make it back there, on foot, with no specialist equipment, arctic clothing, or even food supplies?
      • By being in a movie based off of the Silver Age where no one thought particularly hard about the logic of what they were writing. Think of Spider-Man and consider that Stan Lee seriously thought his powers, including danger sense, were powers spiders had. That sort of thinking was basically across the board among comic writers at the time.
  • Okay, so Superman can fly around the world really fast to go back in time. That's plausible enough, considering who we're talking about. But Superman: The Movie doesn't show him DOING anything different. In fact, it sure looks like the only difference is that Lois's car runs out of gas at a different place. Donner's cut of Superman II takes this to further heights of ridiculousness. There is no indication that he undid anything. The tough at the bar recognizes Clark as the weakling he downed in one punch, and everyone BUT Lois seems to know something happened.note  The "super-kiss" may have been weak, but the time travel simply makes no sense, let alone the lameness of repeating the exact same gimmick.
    • And this is why the Crisis was the best thing to happen to Superman. No more time travel or amnesia kisses after the retool.
      • There was only the one amnesia kiss before the Crisis. And only in the same movie series which brought you Great Wall Of China Vision.
      • Actually, in the aforementioned director's cut of Superman II, he gives Lois another one after Luthor is dragged off to jail. Which means, as far as Lois is concerned, she woke up pregnant one day.
      • Why Superman doesn't just take one for the team and give Lex Luthor a smooch to make him forget his years of scientific research?
    • Now if, as Luthor says, even Superman can't fly fast enough to stop both missiles, and if the film proves that he doesn't, how does it then make sense that he later flies fast enough to turn back time? Wouldn't time travel require flying faster than stopping a mere missile?
      • He was probably at the fastest speed he could safely go in the atmosphere while chasing the missiles- he goes into space to turn back time, and could go much faster.
      • And it is stupid. Atmosphere is not so thick, some kilometers around the Earth. If the atmospheric speed is topped to "Air burst and everyone dies" (could make sense), it's easy to do a vertical climb to space, zoom before the missile and dive to intercept it. It's like having to cover a long space swimming near the shove: you can cut lot of time simply exiting the water, running, and diving back.
      • And how's Luthor supposed to know how fast Superman can move, anyway? All he'd admitted to the public about his powers was what-little he'd told Lois in one conversation.
    • The whole thing was summarized fairly well here. Kryptonite, red sunlight, and magic are no match for Superman's true weakness.
    • Superman's speed is never consistently shown, but then again, neither are any of his other powers. We sometimes see him appear to strain to lift a bus, but he can lift California from sinking into the ocean or push a Kryptonite continent into space. I think all of his powers can be summed as, "Strong as the plot demands." That said, here's a possible Fan Wank explanation for the time travel: Superman didn't make the earth spin backwards - he himself went back in time, and the image of the Earth spinning backwards is merely how Superman would have perceived it. How'd he do this? By flying faster than the speed of light. The Earth's about 25,000 miles around, and Superman's flight in The Movie is a good 2 or 3 diameters larger than earth, meaninging that he was flying in loops anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 miles - in less than a second. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. At the speed at which he's depicted flying, Superman is flying much faster than light, and given the dubbing from Jor-el about relativity, we can probably assume that Supes was just traveling back in time, and seeing events play out in reverse.
    • Said Fan Wank doesn't hold up based on what's present in the actual scene, however. People often overlook that after Superman reveres time / the rotation of the Earth, he then flies in the opposite direction to return the planet to its proper rotation again. If all he was doing was flying back in time at a speed faster than light, and the Earth's reverse-rotation was merely a visual metaphor, then he wouldn't need to fly in the opposite direction once he had already made it back to the point where he could save Lois. He'd just need to stop flying, go down and save her.
      • It's worse than that, even. Ultimately, it makes no difference whether he's reversing time or traveling through time—either way, he lands in the past, right at the moment the earthquake started. But for 'no discernable reason', the earthquake doesn't happen this time. There is just no superpower in the world that can make sense out of this. I don't care what his mechanism for time-travel is; it just doesn't add up.
    • One possible explanation for the speed question: Superman is trying to save Lois from death. It's one thing to try to save nameless thousands from doom, but it's another thing to save the one person you love the most. He was just trying harder to go faster, pushed along by his emotions. And it's a good thing he did try traveling in time; in the state he was in, he could've also flown to Metropolis and ripped Luthor apart one atom at a time.
    • This video depicts one possibility of what Superman did once he landed in the past. However, it also adds a moment of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero that contradicts the Donner and Lester cuts of Superman II. First, he grabs the missile headed for California. The missile blows up before he can finish hurling it into space, but he at least gets it far away enough so that the destruction doesn't become as widespread. After he saves Jimmy, he still has enough time to grab the missile headed for Hackensack, New Jersey, since he doesn't have as much damage in CA to repair. The earthquake in CA never becomes large enough to engulf Lois, making her still safe and sound when Superman finds her. Unfortunately, since Superman saves Hackensack at a different time than before, the missile flies into the Phantom Zone, freeing Zod, Ursa, and Non...

  • Now that I think about it, did General Zod actually have a plan in Superman 2? He busts into the White House and demands that the President kneel before him, which he does. Later on, we see him and his goons lounging around in the Oval Office, bored out of their minds. Governing takes work, and Zod was just sitting around. Did the governments of the rest of the world submit? If so, would anybody actually obey them?
    • If I recall correctly, the President announced that he was submitting on behalf of all governments, after conference with all heads of state.
    • Zod a bad leader? This surprises you why, exactly?
    • Well, the Kryptonians judged him and his henchmen to be so dangerous that only exile to the Phantom Zone would be suitable punishment. These are the idiots that posed a danger to the very fabric of Kryptonian society? Come on.
      • Same group of super-advanced aliens that died because of an easily predicted earthquake on one planet.
      • Their planet exploded. Earthquakes were a mere sideeffect.
      • More to the point, Zod and his cronies caused the explosion. That is why they were sentenced to the Phantom Zone.
      • Nowhere does it say Zod and co had anything to do with Krypton exploding. It's implied they attempted some sort of hostile coup d'etat.
      • It's a lot easier to wreck a society than to run one. Zod & Co. could have easily had the capacity to do the former on Krypton and lacked the ability (or inclination) to do the latter on Earth.
    • When you have yourself and two more evil Kryptonians vs. a normal planet Earth and one depowered Superman, do you really need clever plans?
      • No, but you do need them when you have yourself and two non-powered Kryptonians against a whole bunch of other non-powered Kryptonians. As above, how exactly did they threaten Krypton again? Or plan to run it afterward?
      • So far as we know, Zod might've been a brilliant leader and military tactician. He just never needed to use any of those skills on Earth, since he could wipe out any threat apart from Superman by just scowling at it.
    • I would have loved to see what would really happen with Zod after he "takes over" Earth. Next scene: "Supreme Leader, what do you want to do about the price of gasoline? Or our health care system? Or the roads? Or inflation? Or the fact that riots have broken out in every major city as people refuse to recognize your leadership? The newspapers are calling you a tyrant, and the military is refusing to submit to you. What do we do?"
      • Ignore the complaints and single-handedly put down any insurrections? The idea of people's voice in government relies on the supreme leader not being able to personally beat up all of his subjects combined.
      • Of course, he can only beat up a few people at a time. Nobody, not even a superhuman can single-handedly bully six billion people into compliance. At least, not for long. It just can't happen.
      • And, as soon as he realizes that, he'll just reduce the human population to something more manageable.
      • "Kill all those who oppose Zod" would probably work sufficiently well. He might not be able to kill everyone, but he can make examples of enough people at a time to make people think twice about organising that protest march or writing that snide article about his lack of effective economic policy. Totalitarian dictators without solid ideas for social management have been able to quell resistance and opposing voices without be able to reduce entire protest marches to ash with a single look or knock down entire armies single-handedly. And he also has Ursa and Non right next to him, and between them they could probably destroy an entire city, possibly more.
      • You're forgetting heat-vision. He could just burn everyone who protests against him into ashes.
      • Zod seemed so uninterested in humans that, so long as everyone's paying tribute to him, he most likely wouldn't even bother with ruling the world himself. Lex was already lined up for Australia, so Zod probably would've just set up similarly loyal autocrats all around the world and just let them handle things while he sits around eating grapes and getting fanned.
      • Of course, if Kryptonite was nearly as common in the movie universe as it was in the comic-book universe of the day, all it would take was an underground military working in secret making a few hundred Green-K-radiation bombs to bring Zod's reign to an end.
    • This issue doesn't strike me as particularly problematic. 1) Power-hungry egotistical villains land on a planet and discover they now have super powers that render them invulnerable and able to curb stomp any and all military forces sent against them. 2) Having demonstrated their power and threatened to exterminate any cities belonging to anyone who resists them, they whole world capitulates. 3) They then discover that ruling the world is actualy rather boring, especially conquering it (and putting down any potential rebellion) isn't actually a challenge, and when you don't actually care about the world enough to want to do anything with it.
    • Exactly right. Zod's Informed Ability is that he's a military genius, right? Once he's on Earth, he wins any fight merely by showing up. Ruling the world can't possibly be interesting for him, which is why he's screaming for Superman to fight him. Without Superman, there's no threat to him. Even if there's a lot of Krptonite on the planet, no one except Lex and his minions seem to know that it could harm Zod - and it's apparently hard to find even for Lex Luthor, since he knew about it but didn't try to get it in Superman II as trump card to contain Zod. The one sample known to exist was probably confiscated from L's lair by the FBI after Luthor's arrest in the first movie, and neither Luthor nor Superman would be eager to explain exactly what was going on with the big green necklace. Long story short: Without Superman, Zod can do anything he wants on earth. No rebellion could succeed, since those 3 had all the same powers, meaning that they could hurl continents into space and travel back in time. Only Superman (or similarly powerful hero) could stop them.
    • Who says Zod even had any intention of staying on Earth, in the first place? Zod grew up on Krypton. So far as he's concerned, Earth is like some primitive tribal village in the middle of the jungle. He only bothers bullying the natives long enough to play out his petty revenge fantasies with Jor-El's kid; most likely, if they'd defeated Clark, he'd have let his thugs trash the planet for kicks, then headed back into space to conquer a more-civilized planet or ten.

  • Considering how happy Sir Richard Branson was to let the producers paint the Virgin logo on the shuttle in the rescue scene of Superman Returns and get a cameo, am I the only one who thinks they really screwed him over? The system isn't anything like what Virgin Galactic's actually going to do, the flight is stated as being controlled from Cape Canaveral and never indicated to be private spaceflight at all, if Superman hadn't showed up, it would have ended in a horrible disaster, and you can't even see the logo without freezing the frames!
    • That poor, abused billionaire. How awful it must be for him to have such anguish heaped upon him.
      • I see his point. Being a dick to a rich person doesn't change the matter of fact of said dickery.
      • 'Dickery' is probably being a bit harsh. I'm fairly certain that Branson, who is by no means an imbecile, was (a) savvy enough to at least read the script in advance to get a sense of what he was in for and could easily refuse permission if he disapproved, (b) is probably familiar enough with the overall character of Superman to realize that if a plane / space jet / whatever has a significant role in a Superman movie, it's probably going to involve Superman rescuing it from disaster at some point, (c) realize that he and his proposed flights were appearing in a superhero movie (which in turn was going to involve some creative license with how they were being presented), (d) realize that he and his proposed flights weren't appearing in a commercial for said flights and that he ultimately had little say in how it was presented, (e) clearly believes that any publicity is good publicity, given his rather flamboyant approach to public relations and (f) if he didn't like any of the above was perfectly and rightfully able to refuse permission for his brand to appear in the movie. So chances are that Branson himself was fine with how he and Virgin Galactic was being portrayed, or at least was able to take being 'screwed over' in relatively good humour. Not least given that Virgin Galactic is still pretty much in the development phase; he's not exactly going to be too upset about his product being tarnished when he doesn't even have a product yet.

  • Here's a real head-scratcher. Point 1: We know that at least some Kryptonians are aware of the fact that yellow sunlight gives them fantastic super powers. Point 2: We know there are ways of simulating yellow sunlight (Supergirl's rocket was specially designed to emit solar radiation so she'd be fully-powered when she made it to Earth, Superboy-Prime built himself a suit that stores solar radiation and channels it into his body, etc.). So...why didn't the people of Krypton take advantage of this? Why doesn't every Kryptonian household come pre-installed with some kind of solar radiation emitter? Why doesn't every citizen of Krypton walk around in a solar suit? The things should be as common as coffee machines.
    • An entire civilization where absolutely anyone can obliterate a continent with a single punch? That's going to be easy to police/govern. It's clear that access to yellow-solar radiation and the means to generate it would be strictly limited, and probably banned outright for the civilian population. Granted, that doesn't explain why no one thought to apply it to military or emergency services (and of course criminal) applications, but I think "common as coffee machines" is a bit unlikely. It's for the same reasons (aside from logistical/economic) that everyone in the Western world doesn't have their own nuclear reactor for their home- it's too much power to trust with just anyone.
      • That's a horrible example. People don't keep nuclear reactors in their homes because no nuclear reactor on Earth would fit into any person's home. The safety issue is entirely secondary to that. A yellow sunlight generator would be completely safe and very easy for any ordinary citizen to create, given the level of Kryptonian science. In order for your suggestion to work we would have to assume the Kryptonian government is most dystopian, fascistic, totalitarian regime in the history of the universe. Not that that's impossible, mind you, but I'm not sure there's enough evidence to support that conclusion.
      • I think he's more referring to everyone on the planet being powerful enough to destroy entire cities than to how safe the technology itself would be. Even with superpowered police, if Superman's battles with Kryptonian-level powerhouses are any indication, giving everyone access to these powers would be completely catastrophic.
      • If I recall correctly, in the modern age, it took time for Superman to absorb enough yellow sun radiation to get powers, so you couldn't just turn on a device and get them instantly. In the Silver Age and Bronze Age, it was instant—but everything was affected. You couldn't gain super-powers and smash a city because the city buildings would become super-tough just like Superman's costume did. (And Krypton had such high technology that you wouldn't need superpowers just to do things like fly.)
      • Also, in this connection, the Silver Age and Bronze Age had X-Kryptonite, which gave non-Kryptonians super-powers. A tiny piece gave powers to Streaky the Super-Cat. But then, there was a Supergirl story in Superman Family where a girl exposed to this substance went into a coma for years because her body couldn't handle the super-powers. It may not necessarily be safe to just get powers.
      • I'd be skeptical of just about any detailed description of Krypton these days, but since they've always seemed to have a global government, I can see why they'd want to keep the yellow light effect secret. Think of it this way: if the Earth's government (and let's pretend there's only one) discovered that simply exposing humans to a certain microwave frequency turns them into Physical Gods, there's no way in hell they'd let that knowledge go public. Every would-be bank robber, spree killer and terrorist would suddenly be unstoppable. Even giving the police the same powers would end up wrecking entire cities every time a suspect resists arrest. Turning every single citizen into a Person of Mass Destruction would be the end of civilization: for the sake of the human race, the government would have to make sure the public never, ever finds out about it. Krypton's leaders probably kept it secret as well, with only a select few academics and leaders knowing about the effect. Jor-El happened to be one of them.
      • Thinking about it further, it wouldn't even be in the Krypton government's best interest to have their own squad of supermen or sanctioned superhero. The moment they let one man fly around and perform superheroics, people would start asking how that's possible. And when the answer's as simple as "shine a certain color of light on you", that's the one question they can't afford to let anyone wonder about.
      • It's not the color of the light, it's the radiation of a yellow sun. The color is just a handy way to tell which is which. Shining a flashlight with yellow saran wrap on it isn't going to supercharge Superman, nor is a flash light with red wrapping over it going to de-power him. It has to be the special radiation from either type of sun.
      • Color's just another way of describing the wavelength. Any society that's invented lasers can create a beam of light with the right wavelength easily enough. It's just a matter of figuring out exactly what the right one is. One possible explanation for the secret being so well-kept on Krypton is that it's a very, very precise wavelength that doesn't naturally occur there (but does naturally occur in solar light), one that's nearly impossible to create by accident.
      • The only thing I can think of is that it's hugely time consuming and easy to lose the powers. If it takes years for a kryptonian child growing up in a sun rich Kansas farm to develop superpowers, it must take even longer on Krypton with the potentially power draining red light. Even if it's only "does not recharge" as opposed to actively weakening, it would mean anyone(s) wanting superpowers would basically have to live in climate controlled rooms and walk around in environmental suits to avoid losing their nascent powers— for years — before the first signs of power manifest. Granted, with such a huge payoff there would be those willing to make the sacrifice, possibly even making their brainwished Tyke Bomb children go through this. On the other hand, the time and energy required to pull this off would at least give the authorities time to detect the "PMD" threats before they're ready, but this is still an imperfect deterrent.
    • My first thought was to agree that lack of superpowers on Krypton was pretty ridiculous, but Krypton apparently is something of a facist state, at least in the movies. Although Jor-el could build a spaceship in his house, the Council could apparently stop him from leaving until the planet was about to explode. They probably had the ability to stop people from building solar suits to gain superpowers, if such things could even be built. The bigger question is why Kryptonians weren't already immigrating to similar stars. I can only imagine that the Yellow Sun phenomenon just wasn't very well known by anyone, except for Jor-el.
    • It's really not all that hard to guess why not: what else comes super powers under a yellow sun? A crippling weakness to Kryptonite. What is the planet Krypton apparently full of?
    • In some versions it is said that Jor-El is the one who found out the power of a yellow sun right before Kal-El is sent to Earth.
    • In one Elsworlds story, Superman's ancestor Gar-El figured out the solar radiation gives you superpower, and traveled to Earth in the 18th century and ruled it with an iron fist after helping the British defeat the colonial forces.
  • In Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Clark and the landowner come across a crib with a hole through it, which according to the landowner was baby Clark's. Is it just me, but when the Kents found Clark in the first film he didn't look like the age kids sleep in cribs.
    • You're pointing out a hole in Superman IV. How is this fact surprising?
    • Hate to come to the defence of Superman IV, but note that it is the landowner saying that it's Clark's childhood crib, not Clark himself. It is possible, if not likely, that Ma and Pa Kent, in order to keep up the ruse that Clark was their child, bought or made up some baby furniture in order to keep up the pretence that Clark was their natural-born child, and that the landowner merely assumed it was Clark's.
  • The scene from Superman returns in which a bullet bounces off of Superman's eye kind of bugs me. I understand that it's justified by Rule of Cool, but seriously... what is his eye supposed to be made of? In order to deflect a bullet like that, it would have to have been completely solid... so if his eye is made of steel, how can it contain any photoreceptors? And why do Kryptonians have eyelids?
    • The whole "Man of Steel" thing...isn't literal...but Kryptonians have eyelids for precisely the reason humans do: to protect their powerless eyes (assuming they are powerless, which they are on their own planet).
      • I know he's not literally made of steel, it's just a common hyperbole. My point was that if his eye is rigid enough to deflect a bullet, it would have to be too solid to be functional as an eye.
      • Oh god, not a debate on Superman's physiology... okay, why wouldn't something rigid work for an eye? Cameras aren't exactly viscous, yet they work fine.
      • "My point was that if his eye is rigid enough to deflect a bullet, it would have to be too solid to be functional as an eye." Um, why? I mean, yeah, an eyeball is full of fluid but it still resists a certain amount of pressure (that's why you can push gently on your eyeball without puncturing it). Superman's super-eyeballs are just a few million times more resistant to pressure than a human being's.
      • Human eyes change their focus using little muscles that change the shape of the lens. If Superman's eyes work the same way, no problem — the lenses are super-tough, but the muscles are correspondingly super-strong.
      • If Superman's skin can function perfectly as well as skin despite being rigid enough to stop nukes, then why are we worried about his eyeballs?
    • It's not Superman's skin. His invulnerability comes from an extremely thin but nigh-unbreakable forcefeld he projects just over his skin. It wasn't bouncing off the actual eye, just the field around it. Yes, that's the in-canon explanation for his invulnerability.
      • Not anymore. The current canonical explanation is that he's just that tough. Not to mention that the whole electrochemical field was never really an explanation of his invulnerability, but of why his supersuit doesn't get destroyed. In Byrne's day, his uniform was Earth-made, not kryptonian. That's why you often saw him with his uniform intact but his cape ripped to tears - his field protected the uniform because it was skin-tight, the same didn't happen to the cape.
      • I'll have to say I prefer the kryptonian fibre explanation. But more on topic, I've never doubted his disguise, but how in the name of Rao could you hide invulnerability? A friendly slap on the shoulder would feel as jarring as striking steel with bare hands.
      • For what it's worth, there was an episode of The Adventures of Superman where Clark did that classic "finger to a crook's back to make him think you have a gun" routine. When Clark admitted that it was only his finger, the crook didn't believe him: "I know what steel feels like!"
      • Well, no. His skin and flesh still clearly has some give to it, like yours or mine would. You'd have to slap him really, really hard to notice the difference, to the point where you're probably trying to actually hurt him.
      • I always imagined that like his hair, his flesh couldn't be cut but it could bend; when he wants to look extra badass, he tenses his muscles so bullets bounce off him without making the slightest dent.
  • So, in Superman II, Superman renders Zod and his minions powerless in the Fortress of Solitude. Then he and Lois throw the powerless enemies into bottomless pits. I can't remember if they survive or not, but either way, Supes tried to kill them and then everyone laughed about it. Helpless enemies much? What happened to Thou Shalt Not Kill?
    • I believe there is a deleted scene of Zod and the others being led away in handcuffs by police, so they just fell down some shafts and were defeated but alive.
    • And that's not even counting his going back and humiliating the diner bully. The end of Superman II was a bit of a wall banger for many viewers.
      • People complain about him humiliating the same diner bully who completely beat the crap out of Clark? The guy who was a complete jerk and had it coming?
      • Yes the bully was a jerk, and yes he deserved it, but that's beside the point. This is a case of the Man of Steel taking petty personal revenge on somebody weaker, i.e. being a bully.
      • Not really; there's a bit of a difference between 'taking revenge' (petty and personal or otherwise) and 'being a bully'. If Clark routinely went to the diner to pick on the same guy, or if he routinely went around picking on people who were weaker than him just to enjoy being able to beat them up (and oh, guess who that description actually fits better? Hint: between Clark and the guy in the diner, it's not Clark), you'd have a point about him being a bully. It's fairly clear he's not doing this, however, but is taking the opportunity to settle a score — which, considering the guy very seriously beat the crap out of Clark on very-flimsy-to-no-pretext-at-all the first time they met, isn't that petty — and maybe teach him a lesson or two, which he certainly had coming. Teaching a bully a lesson they won't soon forget is a valid reason to do what Clark did, and despite having superstrength Clark still leaves the other man in a much better condition than the guy left Clark in the first time they met.
      • And it's not just petty personal revenge, either; if that diner bully is willing to pick on and severely beat up Clark Kent just because the guy happens to cross his path and looks like a bit of an easy target, then he's willing to do the same to any innocent bystander who happens to cross his path and who he thinks he'll get away with picking on, and he'll keep on doing it. Unless, of course, someone — say, a prior victim — goes back, stands up to him, hands him his ass in turn and shows him that picking on people and throwing your weight around might backfire unpleasantly on you. Clark's teaching him that no, you really won't get away with pulling that kind of shit on innocent people while he's around. Who would expect anything less of Superman?
      • The very idea that some people seem to think Clark is the bully in that situation is the real headscratcher here.
    • And something of a wasted opportunity. Though the writers probably just didn't want to deal with the We Will Meet Again potential of leaving them alive, how much more humiliating a defeat would it have been for Zod and his gang to be brought to justice by Superman, to face a trial and find themselves powerless and now at the mercy of the puny humans they'd brushed aside like gnats? And how much more appropriate would it have been for Superman to reaffirm that nobody, not even his fellow Kryptonians, is above truth, justice and all that stuff the American way?
      • Not to mention that he could have, using the crystals containing Kryptonian knowledge, re-create the Phantom Zone and re-imprison Zod & Co. for eternity. It would have been a great conclusion to the "father and son" theme of the movie.
      • The Directors Cut had a slightly better ending. Superman saw the scars of his battle and decided to undo the whole thing with Time Travel, effective putting the Zod and Gang back in the Phantom Zone and making sure the bomb from the beginning didn't detonate it's vicinity. Granted, its the Reset Button and thus a copout but at least he doesn't kill (of course, he goes back far enough to undo his encounter with Lois, so it doesn't mesh with Superman Returns but decanonizing that movie would be good for the franchise.)
  • The original line. You know the one. "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman!" I understand finding Supes exciting, at least the first couple times, but...come on. Even for tourists, "Look, it's a bird"? Really? And who registers shock at a plane since there were commercial airlines?
    • I think it's meant to be said by two or more people. Sorta like.
    Person1: Look, up in the sky! [points]
    Person2: [looking] It's a bird.
    Person3: [looking too] It's a plane.
    Person1: No, it's Superman!
    • Except they still shouldn't be cheering for the bird or the plane. Though one could assume early on it was just a nice quote and then it mutated memetically. I always imagine the original like this:
      Alice: [excited] Look! Up in the sky!
      Bob: [dismissive] It's a bird.
      Charlie: [Nah, i]t's a plane.
      Alice: No! It's Superman!
    • They see something they can't identify flying around and are trying to figure out what it is.
  • Okay, so why hasn't anyone mentioned the fact that after so many encounters with Superman and Clark Kent, no one ever says, "Hey, those two guys look alike. I think they're the same person."?
    • We've gone over this. A lot and often. No, you're not the first person to cleverly think of this. Short answer: There's probably about a dozen or so people, tops who know Clark Kent personally in Metropolis. Of those people, three or four probably have semi-regular contact with Supes.

      Longer answer: Superman deliberately cultivates the persona of Clark Kent as a major dork specifically to throw out the idea that he might be Superman. Just watch Brandon Routh as Kent, and your first overriding impression will be, "Dear gods, he's a friggin' dork." Superman, by contrast, is the physical ideal of Man. Basically...could you see Screech as Superman? There have been incidents in the comic books where someone has thought about it. Hell, once, Luthor hired a private investigator who did conclude that Superman was Clark Kent. Luthor laughed it off because the idea was simply ridiculous that Superman, a Physical God, would go around posing as that dork Kent.

      There's also the subtler implication that, as a man who doesn't wear a mask, Superman doesn't have a secret identity to hide, so some people won't even think about it.
    • Okay, those are some good attempts at explanations, but they don't explain why someone like Lois or Jimmy would ever be fooled. If you're close to either Superman or Clark and then you see the other, you'd have to have some seriously-impaired skills of observation to not tell they are the same person. Sure, Clark can slouch, wear his hair differently, and wear glasses, but that doesn't change the structure of his face or the shape of his eyes or the general tone of his voice. I think someone who was supposedly a trained investigative reporter like Lois would have figured it out immediately, especially with all the times Clark is present and Superman isn't and vice versa.
    • In some stories, he have the precise muscle control to subtly change the structure of his face and the tone of his voice is an octave higher as Clark.
    • Seriously, just watch the first Superman film, then come back, look me in the eye and tell me that Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent and Christopher Reeve as Superman look the same. Facial features matter some in recognition and they, of course, are the same. Posture, attitude, demeanor, clothes and voice also matter, and they are completely different. At best, someone might think "Hey, Clark looks kinda like Superman", but since Clark and Superman are, and act, so fundamentally different, there is no way someone is even going to consider that they might be the same person.
      • I'm pretty sure everyone watching the movie says, "Hey, that's the same person." If the audience isn't fooled, even a little bit, how can someone standing two feet away be fooled? My suspension of disbelief can only go so far.
      • That's because you're watching the movie. You know, the movie that you heard about before ever seeing it as featuring Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman, and the franchise for which you already know the secret identity. They're not trying to "fool" the audience because the cat's been out of the bag since 1939. You already know the secret. The people in Clark Kent's world do not. They have little reason to suspect that there's any connection to the Physical God Superman and the clumsy, whimpy, pathetic country bumpkin Clark Kent.
    • All-Star Superman does something similar: Clark Kent is clearly the same size of Superman, and has the same color hair, but that's where the resemblance ends. Clark is noticeably pudgier and his face is less chiseled. He slouches. He stutters and trips over his own two feet. And as Lex points out, Clark may look similar to Superman, but lots of people purposely emulate Superman, like cutting their eyebrows in the "Superman Swoosh."
    • Most people, upon seeing someone who looked like, say, Brad Pitt, dressed in a t-shirt and bermuda shorts with a bad haircut, at a hot dog stand in Peoria, Illinois, aren't going to immediately assume "Hey, that's Brad Pitt! Incognito!" They're going to assume it's some dork who looks like Brad Pitt. Humans are creatures of expectations.
    • Jim Carrey rather famous pulled off a bit of Clark Kenting at an awards show, where he showed up dressed (and acting)like a hippie caricature with waist-length hair and full beard. Until he went up on stage to accept his award, no one, not even the people sitting next to him in the audience, knew he was there. If he can do it, so can Superman.
    • Except that every time I see Clark Kent or Superman, I say, "Yep, that's him." I can't pretend that I don't recognize him. The same goes for Wonder Woman, especially in the 1970s TV series. There are times when she's standing in a crowd, runs off, changes into Wonder Woman, comes back, and no one even suspects it's her. I just think there's a different level of suspension of disbelief when something is in a comic book and when something is on a TV or movie screen.
      • Again, you already know the secret—that renders your point of view on whether or not you can "see through it" invalid. The fact you're seeing the Wonder Woman TV series means you know and expect that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman, and you know the camera wouldn't be on Diana Prince at all if she weren't Wonder Woman. It's like how a joke isn't funny when you already heard it once. You really can't judge how well Lois Lane should recognize Clark as Superman based on your own point of view, because you already know the secret, and that's going to skew your perceptions dramatically.

        As the previous troper pointed out, people have pulled this in real life, just by not being expected. Just because you, the reader/viewer, who A. knows the secret already and B. know that the top-name actor is playing the role(s) of Superman and Clark Kent, can tell who he is, doesn't mean someone in the verse should.
      • Although I still can't agree, I will say that you've put forth some good arguments and presented as good examples as I've ever heard.
    • I've thought about this a lot, and these are the several reasons that I've come up with: 1. People noticing that Clark Kent looks a bit like Superman will assume that this is exactly how things are; Clark Kent is a person who resembles Superman and that's all there is to it. 2. The fact that he could spend his time working as a reporter out looking for crime and stopping it will make people think "Why would Superman be sitting in an office working when he could be out saving lives?" This is my best argument; nobody who knew what a caring and self-sacrificing person Superman is could possibly believe he'd spend a single second writing newspaper articles if he could have been using that second saving an innocent child. 3. There are other people whose facial features resemble Superman's. There's no reason at all to pick Clark Kent as the guy to compare to Superman; surely there are other men who look a bit like the Man of Steel. 4. With Clark Kent's different way of speaking, behaviour, and hairstyle (plus the specs), the difference just isn't noticeable unless you've spent time with both Clark Kent and Superman for a long time. You'll just assume that Kent and Supes share certain characteristics, but not more since you don't know that there is anything to look for. 5. I think there has been stories where Clark Kent has been seen together with Superman through some trick or other. 6. Can't mention this enough: One doesn't notice that kind of thing unless one's looking for it! If you're at a party and you've been told that one of the guests is Al Pacino in disguise, you'll find him after a while. But if you haven't been told, you'll probably just miss it. 7. If people notice he looks exactly like Superman, they won't think "Wow! It's Superman in disguise!" They'll think "Wow! A normal man who looks just like Superman!" The idea of a normal man being Superman is just too darn implausible unless they see some superpower-related activities.
      • Ironically enough, many of the people who look sort of like Superman are Batman, Captain Marvel, Black Adam and other guys who are themselves superheroes or supervillains. Clark might have the strongest physical "resemblance" of course.
    • Beyond what's been said about people finding nothing exceptional about the similarity in appearances between celebrities and normal people, consider that no one even seems to know that Superman *has* a secret identity. Remember, Superman just appears one day and starts saving lives. His first public communication is an interview with Lois Lane in which he announces that he's from another planet. To almost everyone, there's no reason to suspect he's Clark Kenting because no one on the entire planet has done it before. Further, everyone knows that Superman has supervision, superhearing, and superspeed, so there's no reason for them to think that he needs or uses a human alias to find out when people need saving. Since Clark can dash off and become Superman instantly, it looks to normal people that Superman is simply always around, and probably wouldn't even have time for a secret identity.
    • The pilot of Lois & Clark offers an amusing possibility that has the added value of explaining the point of his costume's most baffling aspect: he wears tights, so nobody ever looks at his face.
    • This was canon for a time during the Curt Swan era: Clark Kent's glasses, with lenses made from the glass from the rocket that brought him to Earth as a baby, enhanced a form of subtle super-hypnotism that Superman himself didn't realize he was subconsciously emitting. He finally realized it when a criminal who had tried to attack him from behind in his Clark Kent identity later told the cops that he thought Clark looked bigger from behind than he did from the front. The glasses were made from those lenses in the first place because they wouldn't melt when Clark used either his heat vision or X-ray vision when he was in disguise. So, yeah, Superman had a super-hypnotism power he wasn't aware he had and couldn't control.

  • In the first film, Jor-El's recording mentions, during Kal-El's space flight, Einstein's theory of relativity. By way of confirming this theory, he later states, in the Fortress of Solitude, that he has been dead for thousands of years. So...how did he know who Einstein was?
    • Translation Convention, and he was referring to a Kryptonian physicist?
      • The "recording" also acts more like a holographic AI in later movies. In Superman 3, the Jor-El recording steps out of his crystal to have a heart to heart with his son.
      • Or maybe a "year" on Krypton is kinda short. Look how close it is to their sun toward the beginning.
      • "Thousands of your years" is what he says, actually. Translation Convention, it's gotta be.

  • Superman can time travel.He uses it to save,basically,one woman (and incidentally save millions of other people) on Earth. Why doesn't he use it to save Krypton?
    • What, exactly, could Superman do, once he got there, that his dad couldn't?
      • "Hi, I'm from the future. In my past, Krypton exploded. I came back to stop it."
      • How, pray tell, would he do that? With the superpowers that don't work under a red sun? With all the science at Jor-El's disposal that didn't do any good the first time around?
      • Besides, in current continuity, you'd still have to contend with Brainiac outright lying to the ruling council about Jor-El's findings. You they'd believe "Guy from 'The Future' who happens to be wearing Jor-El's family crest" over the supercomputer who runs the entire planet?
      • I do believe you mean "Guy Claiming to be From The Future", since the lack of a future for Krypton and its destruction means he won't have all that much foreknowledge that couldn't be obtained by sufficiently advanced subterfuge by a native of the era.
      • Yeah, any attempt by Superman to try to convince the council that he's from the future is probably going to be answered with "wow Jor-El, we know you're really obsessed with your pet doom-and-gloom theory, but hiring this guy to pose as your time-traveling son from the future? That is just sad."
      • The Silver Age comics used to be better about that. Superman could travel back in time, but once he got there, he couldn't interact with anything, being completely invisible and intangible. The few times he thought he did physically go back to Krypton, it turned out to be either a dream or an elaborate hoax.

  • Ok, this is a bit silly on my part, and I'm sure you can you guess I just finished watching an episode of Robot Chicken, but while when Superman was first created, a random couple in Kansas could reasonably expect to claim they had a child, and set up paperwork for their son without anybody worrying. Especially if it was winter, and they were on a farm. Maybe they spent some time isolated on their farm in the snow, and then brought the boy to town after a few weeks. Not too impossible for the early 1900s, even up to the 1920s. But here's the problem, Superman is on a sliding scale, with his arrival continuously pushed forward to closer to modern times. At this point, you wonder about his records. I suppose if he didn't get his invulnerability till later he could at least get his shots, but still, I suppose that's why Smallville had Kal-el arrive during a meteor shower, so they could handwave past it by having everybody believe that his parents were just unlucky blokes passing through who got blown up. The same could be applied to all other versions of Superman if you wanted. And I believe that some DC comic declared Superman had honorary citizenship as an international gesture of support. However there's one slight issue, Clark Kent's never officially become a citizen. Would a lawful good type like him vote with his status being in doubt? So...
    • In at least one version of the comic origin, he was technically a fetus while in-transit, and the spaceship doubled as an artificial womb, so from a medical standpoint, his exit from the spaceship counted as being "born", giving him American citizenship. I know that was the main story post-Crisis, and I think they've changed it since, but nevertheless.
    • Yes he'd still vote. Being a "lawful good type" doesn't mean he has to strictly adhere to every letter of the law Or Else. He is not (repeat: Not) a DnD style Paladin, or a DnD character at all. Ergo, Character Alignment means exactly nothing.
      • Character alignment is a reasonably useful shorthand for communicating the idea that Superman is committed to certain principles without having to go into details. For most people, I thought it would have some meaning. But if you found what I said confusing, or to have no meaning, well, it can be rephrased as "Would a person like Superman who is so openly committed to honesty and integrity be willing to vote when his status is so much in justifiable doubt?" He was adamant in refusing to state any position in the last comic I read about an election, perhaps it had a deeper reason. Like not actually voting because he didn't consider Clark Kent to be a lawful citizen.
      • It probably meant more that the publishers didn't want to risk offending part of their fanbase by having Superman, who generally serves as the paragon of all that is Right and Good pick a political party and thus imply that whoever he didn't pick was wrong. What irked me before is that I see people taking the DnD alignment as if they're actual constrictions that apply to the character in question. Useful shorthand? Yes. Rules a non-DnD character has to follow? Not at all.

        As for the US-citizen-or-not question? Whether or not he was technically born on US soil, he's spent his entirely life in the US. It takes 14 years (I believe) to qualify for citizenship, and if anyone's going to know enough to pass the citizenship exams, it's the big blue boyscout himself. Even if Clark won't take the exam, he clearly considers himself an American (truth, justice, the American way), and would likely think those qualifications were close enough.
      • Indeed, the superficial reason for him not taking a position was a refusal to influence the outcome at all. But there could be a deeper reason for that commitment. And sure, if Clark Kent were to fill out the appropriate paperwork, he could certainly become a bonafide American Citizen, heck I'm sure if he asked he could get Congress to declare him (as Clark Kent) a citizen. But he hasn't done that, so with his given commitments to principles of abiding by the law and general quality of integrity, he may feel it appropriate to avoid exercising certain prerogatives of that status. Besides voting, he'd probably avoid Jury Duty, though as a journalist he could probably expect to be excused anyway. I wonder if it's ever been a story though. As for use of alignment terms? No different than use of the term decimate.
      • I could see Clark refusing to let himself get too strongly into politics, though, for the same reason Batman won't let himself cross the line and kill criminals. Superman has the power to easily enforce his opinion onto the world. If he decides that any particular political cause is absolutely just and needs to happen, he can effortlessly turn it into an ultimatum. To hold onto his ideals of democracy and respecting the public will (even in cases where he totally disagrees with it, like President Luthor), he may have a self-imposed taboo on getting too strongly attached to either side of a political issue. Just like Bruce Wayne knows how easily he could become a Serial-Killer Killer if he lets himself cross the line, Superman is aware of how easily his patriotism could lead to a Beware the Superman dystopia if he lets himself get too personally involved.
      • Yes, see Red Son for an example where Superman does take that role.
      • The mini-series published around the 2008 election, where all the superhuman community start announcing their political preferences and kind of acting like partisan dicks towards each other, follows the 'Superman should be above partisan politics' model, but has him add in a pointed fashion that in a society like America 'freedom of thought' means the right to not have to express your own political preferences just because everyone's loudly demanding and hectoring and bullying and cajoling you to do so. In short, Superman also seems to take the 'it's none of your damn business what I think about this if I don't want to tell you' approach as well.
    • During the Millennium crossover, part of this plot hole was fixed: the Manhunters tried to capture his spaceship and created a blizzard to keep people from reaching the crash site, but the Kents found him anyway and ended up stuck in a blizzard for five months. It was plausible that Martha could have given birth during that time.
      • I thought I had seen that idea somewhere, thanks.
    • In the Post-Crisis Superman reboot, he was sent to Earth in a "Kryptonian Birthing Matrix". He never was a baby on Krypton; he was born on Earth in the United States which would make him a US citizen. This means that Superman is technically an anchor baby.
      • "Anchor baby" implies that the parents are illegal aliens, and that the fact that the baby is a citizen benefits other members of the family. Neither of these is true for Superman.
      • Whether or not he is an anchor baby, if the birthing matrix is still canon, if Superman was indeed born on American soil, he is an American citizen. It's automatic. If you are born on American soil you are an American citizen.
    • Little known fact: In the very first Superman comic baby Supes wasn't actually adopted by the Kents. He was found on the side of a road by a passing motorist who took him to an orphanage. Under federal immigration law, that makes him an American citizen. Incidentally, the comic you're thinking of where Superman has an honorary US citizenship is probably World Without A Superman. Short Version: After Doomsday "kills" Superman Cadmus tries to take possession of his body since studying alien lifeforms is their mandate. But a bureaucrat from Washington shows up and gives the Cadmus director a major dressing down, saying something to the effect of "Superman may be an alien, but as far as the President is concerned he's an American!"
      • From 1948 to the End of the Silver Age the anonymous motorist was replaced by the Kents discovering the child, reporting to the proper authorities the finding of one foundling, male, and a desire to adopt said foundling. Different versions of that part of the origin exist, in the original Kal-El survived the crash, while the rocket was totally destroyed, later on the rocket survived and so on, but Clark Kent became that way a citizen of the United States of America. He had as Superman for part of the Pre-Crisis Age honorary citizenship of all members of the United Nations.
    • Reality check, here: Under federal law, a living infant who's found abandoned inside the United States, and whose identity or place of origin can't be verified, is legally considered a native-born American by default. So long as the Kents don't mention that he was lying inside a space capsule at the time, they can openly confess that they found Clark rather than gave birth to him without imperiling his American citizenship.
      • Actually, under the laws about castaways they could actually admit that they found Clark in a space capsule and still not imperil his American citizenship. An infant found on a boat already within American territorial waters at the time it was found, whose exact time and place of birth or country of origin couldn't be verified, would also be granted American citizenship by default.
    • In addition to all of this, the point is entirely moot. Let's assume that some nefarious individual, who we shall call "Wex Wuthor" for convenience's sake, manages to find out the exact legal circumstances of Superman's birth. And that US law is so differnet in the DCU that it actually does qualify Superman for loss of citizenship, when IRL it wouldn't (see the bullet points directly above). And then Wex manages to get proof of it he can take to the authorities. And then Mr. Wuthor takes it to the authorities, and actually gets a federal court or the INS to agree to invalidate Superman's citizenship and order him to be deported. Let's assume that all this happens. So what? If you're the President of the United States and you get up one morning and see on the TV news that the INS has issued an order of deportation for Superman, how quickly are you going to just grab your pen and sign some immigration paperwork for Superman? Two seconds? Three? Superman is so off-the-charts powerful that him changing nations of residence is a major shift in the global balance of power all by itself. Any government with an IQ above that of a herring's, if confronted with the situation "Hey, you know that part where the world's most powerful superbeing likes living in your country, likes helping save your citizens from supervillains and natural disasters, and doesn't even charge you for it? Well, he's about to not be doing that anymore." is going to immediately grab whatever bureaucrat signed the deport order in the first place, find him a new position more suited to his (lack of) talents, and very apologetically hand said superbeing a green card, a thank-you card, and maybe a complimentary fruit basket, and beg him to stick around a little while longer. Like, for the next hundred years or so. No government will screw itself blatantly against its own self-interests just because the letter of the law allegedly requires it — not when it would actually be easier for the government to just change the law. (Or, in this case, simply issue an individual waiver to it, as they already have the power to do.)
      • Of course, during the time period Lex Luthor actually was the President, it was a good thing for Superman that Lex didn't know about any of this. But that's a special case.

  • In the first movie, why does Lex Luthor plan to set off a 300 megaton nuclear bomb right next to where his new premium ocean-front property will be? The fall-out of such a bomb would probably contanimate the entire continental US, and then some. Why was the military testing such a weapon anyway? The most powerful thermonuclear device ever test-detonated by the US in real life was Castle Bravo at 15 megaton (and any tests done inside the continental US never even got into the megaton range). The most powerful device ever detonated, period, was the Russian Tsar Bomba at 57 megaton. A 300 megaton warhead detonated in California would probably break windows in New York! And Jimmy Olsen sees this thing go off at a distance where he should've been hit by the blast (even if it was a more reasonable size, like maybe 20 kiloton, which is what the mushroom cloud size he sees suggests), but he isn't even phased! In fact, the nukes appear to have no consequences whatsoever besides breaking the fault line. Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, I guess.
    • ...He's insane.
    • Honestly? Because none of the Superman movies are all that well written. It's especially obvious with Lex Luthor, who in the comics is a shrewd and calculating genius but in the movies is, frankly, a bumbling idiot with a thirst for power who just happens to have a ton of money to play around with.
    • 300 megatons is nothing to sneer at, but there've been plenty of more powerful explosions in history. Mt. St. Helens was a bigger blast, for example.
    • The real problem with this plan is that, even assuming he had managed to destroy California without irradiating the new coastline, what makes him think he's going to profit from it? Has Luthor never heard of Emminent Domain? Even though the Constitution requires "just compensation" for property, Luthor's already a known criminal - Otis was being tailed to the lair so police could catch Luthor before Superman is even on the scene. There's no way he's going to keep the new coastline if Phase 1 of his plan worked.
      • Probably he'd bought all that desert property through a whole series of shell companies, to ensure its ownership can't be traced back to him. Naming everything after himself could've just been a private ego-stroking joke, not an actual plan; that, or the bogus "owner" of his shell companies might've had "Luthor" as his first name of record.

  • How did Lois live to adulthood without the aid of Superman to save her from her gross disregard for personal safety? In the movie, she would have been dead three times in the few short weeks after she met Superman, so how did she manage before? Superman saves her from being shot by a mugger. Her purse was obviously more valuable to her than her life (and Clark's). Next, she falls from a helicopter. Finally, Superman turns time back to save her, which leads to my next gripe...
    • In the comics, at least, its said that she lets herself get into so many insanely dangerous and fatal situations because Superman is around to save her. Before she met Mr. Perfect Fallback Plan, she did have survival instincts, its just that she's smart enough to know that with Big Blue around, she doesn't need them.
      • In the good-ol-days of the Golden and Silver Ages, yes, that was the explanation. Lois became a suicidal risk-taker because she knew Superman would be around to save her (also, in the Silver Age it was often the most convenient way to kick off one of her zany schemes to trick Superman into marriage). However, in modern continuity Lois has always been a risk-taker willing to go to any lengths to get a story.
      • Even some Silver Age stories pointed out that Lois' curiosity has led her to get into risky situations her entire life.
      • The film in question was released at the tail end of the Silver Age, so it still fits.
    • To be fair, in the movie she falls out of a helicopter which has crashed into the side of a building and is dangling over the street through no fault of her own. Hardly seems fair to berate her for her lack of survival instincts in that case; that's an out-of-the-ordinary calamity which has befallen her, it's not as if she was being careless or planned for that to happen.

  • How is it that Superman turns back time (forget the science behind it for a minute), but then when he moves time forward again, how is it that Lois doesn't die, but nothing else changes? All we see is Superman turning time back, then forward again, then he lands near Lois and she's still alive. How does that happen?
    • Don't question it. Just...don't. You'll go cross-eyed. It doesn't make sense. To anybody. Even Richard Donner probably wakes up scratching his head thinking "That made no sense! WTF was I thinking?!"
      • How's this? As others have theorized, Superman didn't turn back time; the shot of the Earth turning backwards was his point of view as he himself went back. He went back well before the moment of Lois' death, then went forward to a more precise moment before. Then, all he has to do is get her out of the car, so she won't get swallowed up by the crevice, which he does. The aftershock occurs after he leaves her and Jimmy. As for not changing the rest, he's not dumb enough to try and alter history to such a major extent.
      • As pointed out above, doesn't work. The "it's just a visual metaphor" excuse fails because once he's turned the Earth backwards enough, he flies back around it to get it going the right way again. They literally had him turn back time by spinning the Earth backwards, end of story.
      • Possibly he just overshot his intended date, so had to reverse course to move ahead in time a bit?

  • In Superman II, we find Lex Luthor in prison making license plates after the crime he attempted in Superman I. All well and good except for one little problem: HE THREATENED THE STATES OF CALIFORNIA AND NEW JERSEY WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!! At the risk of understating the matter, being threatened with nuclear annihilation isn't something people will easily forgive or forget, so I'm rather baffled that no one in either state was screaming at the feds to sit Lex down in Old Sparky and give him the juice.
    • It's not clear how long it's been since I, but II could still have Luthor in the midst of his criminal trial. This makes particularly good sense after Superman Returns, where we learn that Luthor is free because, without Superman's testimony, he was acquitted of his crimes. So in II, Lex is probably just in prison while the government tackles the insanely difficult problem of building a case against a guy whose crime was at least partially undone by time travel.
    • Forget the state criminal courts: if Returns was supposed to have retooled the storyline to take place in recent times, why wasn't his ass tossed into Guantanamo as a freakin' nuclear terrorist? Even if Superman erased the damage, he still stole those nukes and set up the means to launch them.
      • Because you can't send a US citizen to Guantanamo, even if he is a terrorist. Even Jose Padilla never actually made it there, the court system put in an injunction to keep him in custody within the continental US while his case spent all those years being argued back and forth. Of course, there's still several plot holes in this sequence - a prisoner who committed nuclear terrorism on the scale that Lex did would be in the single worst cell in the entire US prioson system even if he had the IQ of a carrot. Given the escape risk posed by someone as brilliant as Lex Luthor, they should have had him in isolation 24-7, in a "supermax" facility like Marion or Leavenworth, and quite possibly surrounded by half a battalion of Marines.
      • Also, the retcon of 'without Superman's testimony, he walks' makes no sense. If the events of Superman 1 are still canon, then there's at least half a dozen US soldiers who can pick Lex out of a police line-up as the guy who helped steal their nuclear missile truck; Lex wasn't wearing any kind of facial disguise during that one scene, just a silly truck driver's hat. Also, Lex Luthor is on record as the guy who bought all that 'useless desert' property, so even his motive is traceable. And lastly, Miss Tessmacher face turned to help Superman — what, she wouldn't turn state's evidence too?
  • I know this is a minor gripe, the kind of thing you put in a Justbugsme page but when other Kryptonians show up on Earth why are they instantly a threat to Superman in physical combat? Here's the thing they get equal strength, sure I get that. But they don't get equal experience and skills, or rather they shouldn't. Zod's a good example of someone who should have gotten curb stomped because of his military experience. The vast majority of martial arts in the real world and presumably on Krypton where they were more or less ordinary humans is based on the idea of gravity and "solid" opponents. Learning a punching combination loses a lot of it's usefulness when your second punch launches the guy three hundred feet and you gotta catch up. Likewise a wrist lock doesn't work if you can fly. Superman (and other similarly powerful characters) should be destroying these guys in curb stomp battles until they at least acclimate to the difference for the same reason why a martial artist is more than capable of beating opponents physically on par or even superior to them. I suspect that boxing would be a vastly different sport if everybody could shoot lasers from their eyes, move close to the speed of light, and use buses as weapons. So different in fact that any experience you had going in would work against you for all the reasons just listed.
    • The fact that he's trying to avoid collateral damage and civilian casualties likely limits what he can do. In a fair fight, he probably could wipe the floor with other Kryptonians but in a typical, mid-Metropolis super-fight, they can distract him by flinging a bus full of orphans at a puppy dog factory or lasering away the support cables on a nearby bridge. Also, they're usually trying to kill him, using the full extent of their powers to do so, whereas Clark will have to pull some punches.
    • Plus, he's just plain outnumbered. Three against one is bad odds. And while he's had more experience using his powers himself, confronting those same powers in other people is just as new of an experience to Clark as it is to the villains.

  • In Fortress of Solitude, in the first film, Jor-El says that he has probably been dead for thousands of years. Later, Luthor says that Krypton was destroyed in 1948, and that it took Superman's spaceship 3 years to reach Earth. So who was right and who was wrong? Let's see our options:
    • a) Jor-El sucks at math. Unlikely, considering he is a genius scientist.
    • b) Jor-El intended for his son to hear the message after already living on Earth for thousands of years. Makes no sense.
    • c) Luthor confused Krypton's destruction with that of another planet, closer to Earth.
    • d) Krypton's destruction opened a wormhole which transported Kal-El's ship closer to Earth.
    • e) When he said "many thousands of your years," he meant Kryptonian years. While it's still hard to believe that a year would be THAT MUCH quicker on Krypton, it would make sense for it to be at-least a little shorter if Krypton is closer to its sun as seems to be the case.
      • You forgot f) there were two different answers in two different drafts of the script and no one paid enough attention to notice that conflicting facts from both of them made it into the final cut.
      • g) Jor-El knew that Earth was mostly covered in oceans, so his son's space capsule would most likely splash down and sink upon arrival. Baby Kal-El would be placed into suspended animation by the capsule's safety systems, to be discovered many centuries later, when humans' technology advanced to the point where we can image thousands of square miles of seabed well enough to spot a spaceship the size of a compact car.

  • Upon finding Lois' body trapped in her car during the first film, why didn't Supes attempt CPR? I mean, it probably would have failed, but wouldn't it have been worth trying?
    • He'd blow her up with his super breath.
    • Less hilariously, his compressions probably would have shattered her ribs and pulped her internal organs. Broken ribs and heavy bruising are commonplace when normal people do CPR, even with fine control Superman would probably have a hard time... even if he wasn't emotionally devastated when trying to do so. Plus CPR as we know it wasn't even beginning to be promoted until the seventies, which is when the movie was made, the "big blue Boy Scout" would have learned an entirely different and not very useful method when he was in the Boy Scouts. Alternately, with X-ray vision he would have seen that she was already dead and was smart enough to know that CPR isn't really a resurrection ritual. Alternately alternately, the filmmakers considered it, but decided it would make the film drag and decrease the drama to have him huff and puff and do some compressions for a few minutes before his wail of anguish and turning-the-Earth-backwards.
    • Lois wasn't just suffocated, she was physically crushed by dirt and the collapse of her car's chassis. Superman would have used X-ray vision to locate her, so he'd probably already seen that her internal organs were too damaged for survival. He was only so frantic to dig her out because he was in denial.

  • First film again, and easy to miss. When Superman arrives for his "date" with Lois Lane, she interviews him and asks a few very minor questions - his age, weight, where he's from, and what color underwear she's wearing then they fly around for a while and Superman leaves the moment Lois gets dropped off. The next morning the editor drops the Daily Planet on his desk with a full article written by Lois Lane - how the heck did she stretch what she had into a feature piece? Man, Lois must REALLY be some journalist to do that.
    • News articles, especially feature pieces, aren't just what the person told you. Her article probably spoke a lot about Superman's manner, what he did, and her own experiences in flying around the city. It probably also included a lot of background along the lines of, "I first met Superman when he caught me falling out of a helicopter," or "We've all seen Superman going around the city, such as blank blank and blank."
      • You get an A+ in journalism. Also, we don't know that they didn't engage in a bit more Q&A while they were flying around.
    • Related question: the article includes a photo of Superman with his arms folded, but she was never seen to photograph him onscreen. How was that picture obtained?
    • She took the photo offscreen. Or it's a stock photo. Or he gave her the photo.

  • In the first film, there's a scene where Clark jumps out of a window and he suddenly morphs into his Superman outfit. And I mean literally morphs, he regular suit just changes to his Superman one. Just... how?
    • He's changing at Super Speed, and as a result, it looks like his clothes morph into his supersuit to the naked eye?
    • Plus, again, the movies are pure Silver Age, they pulled that sort of crap all the time.
    • One of the really neat things about the entire body of work is that they never showed Clark changing to Superman the same way twice.

  • The scene where Lex figures out about Kryptonite is one part Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale, one part Insane Troll Logic, with a dash of Bat Deduction and Contrived Coincidence. Based solely on the evidence of Krypton exploding, Lex figures out that 1. Bits of Krypton are deadly to Superman and Superman alone (with no explanation as to how he would know that) 2. A piece somehow drifted all the way to Earth in a couple decades despite the vast distance between the two planets (stated to be in separate galaxies), 3. Managed to hit Earth instead of missing, burning up in the atmosphere or simply heading in a different direction altogether (guess he forgot that space is big. Really big) and 4. it would just happen to be the unidentified meteorite that landed in Addis Ababa. Oh, and 5. It would kill him AND sap his strength while doing so (as opposed to hurting him long enough for him to throw it into orbit.). That's a lot of assumptions that just turned out to be accurate. Those kind of odds can't be explained away by Lex's intelligence either; to know all that one would have to be omnipotent. That many coincidences simply stretch the suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.

  • One that can't be stressed enough: The whole time-travel thing. Let's see how it plays out:
    • Superman takes care of one missile, but the other missile still hits the faultline, causing a LOT of damage, which Superman at least attempts to repair.
    • After the earthquake is all done, Superman finds Lois, who has been crushed to death.
    • Superman then interferes with Lois's body. There is no indication that he is able to re-set everything here.
    • In fact, it seems as though he leaves right after laying the body out. He then briefly removes himself from the space-time continuum to get back to a point where he can get at the second missile. We're never told whether or not he does this any other way.
    • Now, no matter whether or not the second missile actually hit, shouldn't the damage he didn't repair still exist? And what of the first missile, which he managed to get away from Earth's orbit beforehand? This gets dumber in the Donner cut, where a second go-around makes it so Zod, Ursa and Non never escaped the Phantom Zone.

  • In the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, Superman does the whole spin the Earth backwards thing —- BUT! He goes back to that diner to beat the bully up! If he reset history, then the diner fight doesn't happen in the first place! So how does the bully (and the diner owner) remember Clark from a fight that never happened? And by that point, Zod, Ursa and Non had done Monumental Damage, including knocking down the Washington Monument and knocking down most of the White House — so did Superman only undo the stuff that happened to Metropolis? But then, Lois no longer remembers that Clark is Superrman, so he would have had to undo EVERYTHING. So, again, how does the diner bully remember Clark?
    • What must have happened in the "final" timeline is that first Clark did everything he did originally, and towards the end of his "original" actions his time-travelling self shows up elsewhere and saves Lois. Then the first Clark leaves to go back in time, leaving only time-traveller Clark.

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