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Characters / DCAU: Superman

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Click here to see him in Justice League 
Click here to see him in Batman Beyond 

Real name: Kal-El / Clark Kent

Species: Kryptonian

Abilities: Solar energy absorption, vast superhuman strength, speed, stamina, near invulnerability, super hearing, super breath, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, heat vision, flight, voice synthesization

Voiced by: Tim Daly (Superman: The Animated Series), George Newbern (Justice League/Justice League Unlimited/Justice League vs. The Fatal Five and Static Shock), Christopher McDonald (Batman Beyond; old man), Jesse Batten (Superman: The Animated Series; baby) Jason Marsden (Superman: The Animated Series; teenager), Kevin Conroy (Superman: The Animated Series; impersonating Batman), Shane Haboucha (Justice League Unlimited; magically rejuvenated)


Voiced in Latin-American Spanish by: Orlando Noguera (Superman: The Animated Series), Luis Miguel Pérez (Batman Beyond, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited), Víctor Hugo Aguilar (Static Shock), José Durán (Justice League vs. the Fatal Five)

Voiced in French by: Emmanuel Jacomy (Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Static Shock), Damien Boisseau (teenage Clark Kent in "The Last Son of Krypton Part II"), Pascal Germain (Batman Beyond), François Bourcier (Justice League Unlimited), Tanguy Goasdoué (Justice League Unlimited; magically rejuvenated), Adrien Antoine (Justice League vs. the Fatal Five)

Voiced in Japanese by: Hikaru Hanada

Appearances: Superman: The Animated Series | Batman Beyond | Justice League | Static Shock | Justice League vs. The Fatal Five

"I always try to help people whenever possible."

Superman is the quintessential Cape and Flying Brick of the DC Animated Universe.

He was a Kryptonian orphan named Kal-El who was launched to Earth as an infant to avoid suffering a cataclysmic death on his home planet of Krypton. His spacecraft landed in a Kansas field, where he was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raised the boy as their son under the name "Clark". As Clark matured under Earth's yellow sun, he gained the Flying Brick powerset. As an adult, he moved to Metropolis to work as a newspaper reporter at the Daily Planet. It was here that he became aware of the corruption and evil in the world, deciding he must use his gifts to right these wrongs and taking the name "Superman" after a story of his deeds is published in the Daily Planet by Lois Lane, who uses the term.

After having to work long and hard to regain the world's trust in him as of a result of being brainwashed by Darkseid into leading his second invasion of Earth, Superman was the one who first suggested that he and other superheroes form the Justice League in order to deal with future threats as great as the Imperium. He was shown to be the face of the Justice League as well as the peacemaker for the other members.

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  • The Ace: Of the Justice League and to all heroes in the DCAU. His apparent death in "Hereafter" presented a huge blow to the League with several members questioning if they could continue to handle future threats. Also in JLU, he's often requested for missions only to already be away handling another mission. In "Patriot Act", a super-powered General Eiling demanded to fight Superman because he was the League's poster boy.
  • Action Hero: He's Superman, after all. He is willing to use violence when the situation calls for it.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the comics and most versions, Superman has blue eyes. In the DCAU, he has black irises as a result of being portrayed with a transparent sclera. However, he does have blue irises as a result of being presented with a white sclera in the Static Shock episode "Toys in the Hood".
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Superman's greatest fear is the prospect of losing control of his powers. In "Legacy", he felt he couldn't win back the trust of the planet after being brainwashed by Darkseid and attacking the earth. In "Only A Dream", Superman's nightmare caused by Dr. Destiny featured his powers increasing beyond his ability to control them and he accidentally causes massive destruction and kills all those he loves.
  • Alternate Self:
  • And This Is for...: Darkseid got one for Dan Turpin in "Legacy". Unfortunately, Darkseid is merely amused and bewildered.
  • Animorphism: In "Dead Reckoning", he is transformed into an ape by Grodd's Evil Plan, but Superman manages to destroy the generator, turning everyone back into humans.
  • Arch-Enemy: Lex Luthor and Darkseid, as always.
  • Art Evolution: In Justice League, Superman was initially redesigned to appear larger in physical girth than he was back in Superman: TAS, along with a bit of a squint to his eyes and pronounced cheek bones that were meant to make him look older in addition to having a change in coloration and a noticeable shining streak to his hair. Fans did not like the older appearance and in the second season, he received another redesign (which he retained in the Unlimited seasons of the show): the streak was toned down to the point of almost disappearing and the age lines and pronounced cheek bones were removed, making Superman to resemble how he looked back in Superman: TAS (although his design still retained the bulk, hairstyle, and coloration of the design he had during the first season).
  • Badass Arm-Fold: He does this in "The Last Son of Krypton, Part 3" while in midair no less.
  • Badass Cape: His iconic red cape.
  • Badass in Distress: In "Feeding Time", Superman is kidnapped and has his powers drained by Parasite
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Averted in this continuity. When Superman goes into space, he's consistently wearing some kind of space suit. An exception occurs in "Little Girl Lost, Part 2," when he goes into space to deal with the comet without a suit. He's clearly above the atmosphere and grunting out air without a suit.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In "Mxyzpixilated", Superman deceives Mxy every time the rules are set, especially in their last battle.
    • In "Double Dose", a powerless Superman takes a swipe at the electrically-powered Parasite with a broom. Gloatingly, the supervillain zaps it, setting the end on fire. Just what he counted on, the Man of Steel raises the broom to the smoke detectors, which activates the sprinklers, dousing Parasite with water and giving him a massive electrical shock.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: After "Legacy", Superman decides Darkseid is a permanent exception to his no-kill rule. He also, in a fit of desperation, tries to pull a heat vision lobotomy on Doomsday in a similar move to his Justice Lord version. It fails, causing Superman to Take a Third Option though Batman himself finds himself disillusioned by Superman’s actions.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Against Darkseid, see It's Personal below.
    • Against Mongul, see Unstoppable Rage below.
    • Against Doomsday in "The Doomsday Sanction". Superman has taken a savage beating from Doomsday and is desperate enough that he tries the unthinkable: Burning into Doomsday's brain with his heat vision. This isn't so different from Justice Lord Superman. However, this doesn't work and Superman changes tactics, grabbing Doomsday and hurling him into the volcano.
  • Beware the Superman: The Cadmus story arc takes place partly due to the events of "Legacy", when Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid and attacked the earth.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He's good at being there for young people, usually Supergirl or Jimmy Olsen. With Supergirl and him refering to each other as cousins. He even managed to be this for Robin when forced to substitute for Batman in "Knight Time".
  • Big Good: Of the Justice League. Several heroes have admitted that they looked up to him. His "death" in "Hereafter" presents a huge loss and concern to the Justice League's future heroics. The Flash admitted he didn't always have to worry about the situation with Superman around, and Batman showed his respect admitting he learned from Superman that justice didn't always have to come from the shadows.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Twice. First, he was brainwashed by Darkseid in "Legacy" and then he was possessed by a parasite creature for several years by the time of "The Call" (the Batman Beyond two-parter episode).
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • In "Legacy", after being brainwashed and attacking the earth, nearly everyone refuses to trust Superman, thanks to the lies spread by Luthor, with only his closest friends defending him. Superman is also afraid at the prospect of losing control again and feels he can't win back the trust of the planet.
    • He served the role as this for Captain Marvel in "Clash". It was Lex Luthor's plot to make people distrust Superman and it worked well for Captain Marvel, that even Superman thought what he was doing was wrong, but the other founding members immediately showed that it was all a ploy.
    • For Professor Emil Hamilton revealed in "Question Authority". Hamilton explains that he joined Cadmus to protect the world from people like Superman.
      Superman: Humanity doesn't need protection from us.
      Hamilton: I used to believe that. I thought you were a guardian angel come to answer our prayers, but Lucifer was an angel, too, wasn't he?
      • He also reminds Superman of how he himself once threatened Hamilton personally for initially refusing to give medical treatment to Supergirl when she was injured in "Legacy".
  • Brought Down to Badass: He can handle himself well enough in situations where he can't use his powers.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Whenever he is exposed to red sun radiation (such as in "Solar Power"), Superman rapidly loses his powers, reverting to the stature of a normal human. This is a nod to the comics that Superman derived his power from the yellow sun of Earth.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Obviously.
  • The Cape: The original and still the best.
  • Character Development: Across the DCAU, Superman loses some of his innocence and lightness as he transitions from Naïve Newcomer at Metropolis during the early episodes of Superman: TAS to becoming hero for the planet (which also leads to him being confronted by Darkseid, a force who can't simply be beaten in a fight or with all his powers). By the time of Justice League Unlimited (especially during the Cadmus arc), Superman becomes increasingly paranoid to the point that even Batman and Lois are concerned and receives a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Captain Marvel. Superman's development is also influenced by the Justice Lord Superman. While several characters fear him becoming the Justice Lord, he chooses to adhere to being the The Cape, despite the tough choices he has to make.
  • Chest Insignia: The iconic big S. In "Clash", the Chest Insignia is destroyed by Captain Marvel's lightning bolt to symbolize Superman not upholding his values in that episode and Captain Marvel's loss of respect of him.
  • Chick Magnet: Clark Kent was irresistible in high school and Lana Lang even complained about his ability to attract every woman in the area. As Superman...well, the villainesses all want a piece of him.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Lana Lang when he was a teenager, as in the Post-Crisis comics.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Trope Namer. He wears a suit, glasses, hair slicked back without the sylized curl, etc.
  • Clark Kenting: Lampshaded in "My Girl". Clark's friend Lana Lang does not buy his act for a second. She also has the advantage of having known him for nearly his entire life.
  • Clothing Damage: In "The Doomsday Sanction", Superman takes a savage beating from Doomsday while fighting in a volcano, leaving him shirtless. This is the only instance in the DCAU where his costume is destroyed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Superman will use just about any trick play he can to bring down foes who can fight against him.
    • In "Blasts from the Past, Part 2," he uses a chunk of Kryptonite and the Kryptonite-Proof Suit to bring down Mala.
    • In "Double Dose", Superman wears a rubber suit to combat against Livewire and Parasite's powers.
    Livewire: Well, what do you know? The boy scout brought protection.
    Parasite: That ain't fair!
    Superman: I didn't realize there were rules.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: In "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman leaves his dream world because of his belief in his responsibilities as a hero.
    "You are everything I ever wanted in a son. This... this is everything I ever wanted in a life... But I've got responsibilities Van, and I... have to go now."
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted. Throughout the entirety of "Twilight", Superman insists that Darkseid can't be trusted despite his seeming sincerity about stopping Brainiac. Superman turns out to have been right as Darkseid and Brainiac were working together the entire time. Likewise in season two of Justice League Unlimited, Superman doesn't buy that Lex Luthor was making a legit Heel–Face Turn. As it turns out, he was right again.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Being Superman, he long ago had to come to terms that being protector of earth meant that he was going to witness some pretty horrible things like alien invasions, demonic take overs, and even witness horrible crimes and natural disasters, and try to see a silver lining in any of these situations.
    • Played for laughs in "Mxyzpixilated". When Mxyzpixilk first arrives on earth, Clark has no idea what to do and becomes incredibly agitated, but after inadvertently tricking Myxy into saying his name backwards, Supes' just waits for him every three months, and somehow manages to trick him in under a minute. In their final encounter of the episode, Myxy makes his presence felt with his Reality Warper powers, and all Clark can do is let out a bored "here we go".
  • Costume Evolution: By the time of Batman Beyond, he's since switched to a capeless black and white outfit with an abstract S-symbol.
  • Cursed with Awesome: As a teenager, Clark viewed his powers as him being a freak. These powers included flight, super-strength, super-speed, heat vision, and super-hearing. All with no drawback.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Anyone close to him dying is at risk of becoming this: there are at least two alternate realities where someone being killed led to him becoming a Knight Templar. Even in the main reality, hurting his loved ones is the fastest way to enrage him. If Superman has one shortcoming, it's that he doesn't handle death too well, especially if he feels he should've been able to prevent it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He can go toe-to-toe with Lois and come out on top.
  • Determinator: He will never give up on someone who needs his help, even if he seemingly has no chance of winning.
    Doctor Fate: You went back. You didn't stand a chance and you went back. Till then, I thought it was only the forces of evil that wouldn't give up. I was wrong.
  • Deuteragonist: He is the second most important and prominent character in the DCAU after Batman. While Batman has the edge in terms of volume (more episodes and more appearances), Superman becomes more central to the expansion of the Shared Universe and is likewise the leader and main protagonist of Justice League aided by the fact that his enemies (Brainiac, Luthor, Darkseid) and subsidiary Rogues Gallery appear more frequently in the later seasons owing to the Bat-Embargo.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: During Justice League's first season, Superman sported cheek bones and a line under his eye in an attempt to make him seem more mature. After fan complaints that he looked too old, the design of his face was altered by the time of the second season to be more akin to his face in the design that he had back in Superman: TAS (which he retained in the Unlimited seasons).
  • Endearingly Dorky:
    • In "Comfort And Joy", Superman is eager to light the Christmas tree, tries to use his X-ray vision to sneak peaks at his presents, and still believes in Santa Claus.
    • His excitement in trying to convince Bruce and Diana to try milkshakes at his favorite diner after work is pretty palpable.
  • Enemy Mine: With Lex Luthor in "Destroyer".
    Lex Luthor: Let's be clear about this: we're not here to help you save the world — you're here to help me get revenge on Darkseid. When this is over, it's back at business as usual.
    Superman: (glares at Lex for a long moment) Wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In "The Last Son of Krypton, Part 2", a teenage Clark Kent is going through some serious personal problems related to his powers developing quickly (most likely due to the onset of puberty as, though he was strong enough as an infant to break a man's finger, he was nowhere near as powerful as he started to become in his teen years). Clark feels like an outsider and is dealing with feelings of isolation not sure of his place in the world. Then, suddenly a camper crashes into a gas station and without hesitation or even conscious thought, Clark speeds in to help, tearing the camper apart and saving the people inside while rescuing their little girl at the last second. This version of Clark may have more doubts and insecurities (in other words, more human qualities) than previous versions to that point, He is still Superman, the Big Good who will always step up to save the day.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In "Question Authority", he discovers Professor Hamilton, one of Superman's most valuable allies in Superman: The Animated Series, has been working for Cadmus, insisting that the world needs protection from Superman and his kind.
  • Eternal Hero: He's still very much active by time of Batman Beyond and leading the Justice League, as a result of the fact that he has only aged slightly with greying hair on the sides.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: He spins rapidly quite a bit in Superman: TAS, often to drill through the ground.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: He has this reaction after first encountering the Justice Lords in "A Better World".
  • Extremity Extremist: Whenever he fights, Superman almost exclusively uses his fists - the exceptions usually being enemies it would be extremely unwise to touch with his bare hands.
  • Eye Beams: His famous heat vision, which is useful for heroics and shaving.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Either he, or the jets in his space-suit (it's not clear why he has the latter, but he does), can travel between star systems.
  • The Fettered:
    • Exploited in "Absolute Power." Superman obeys lawful authority, which becomes an issue when Mala and Jax-Ur point out that they are the lawful authority on New Krypton and he has no jurisdiction to interfere with their rule. He doesn't entirely buy it, but he stands down for other reasonsnote . Of course, they didn't tell him they were building an armada to attack Earth with. Once he learns about that, all bets are off.
    • This is discussed in "A Better World". After witnessing Justice Lord Superman's actions, Superman admits that he has the same urges and temptations as his Justice Lord counterpart. The difference is that Big Blue doesn't allow himself to give in to them.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: A couple of times.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: He did it to Grodd at the end of "Secret Society", knocking him across a football stadium. This also adds a little Crap Under the Radar since Superman uses his middle finger to do it. He did the same thing to Ten in "Wild Cards".
  • Flash Step: He uses his Super Speed like this frequently.
  • Flying Brick: The Trope Codifier.
  • Foil: To Batman, as per usual. They both have their own animated installment in the DCAU. Superman averts Deceased Parents Are the Best while Batman deals with Orphan's Ordeal. Superman won the Superpower Lottery and Batman is an exaggerated Badass Normal. Superman gave Lois an exclusive interview as his motivation was to alleviate public fears by ensuring that people knew where he came from and why he was here or, as his adoptive mother put it, so that people would not think he was like "that nut from Gotham City".
    • In "Hereafter":
      Batman: I've got some things to say. I should've said them when you were here, but... despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew... know that. You showed me justice doesn't always have to come from the darkness. I'll miss...
      (explosion in distance)
      Batman: What did you always call it, Clark? "The Never Ending Battle"?
  • Freakiness Shame: Teenage Clark wasn't very happy to learn that he's an alien at first.
    Teen Clark: It's not true. I'm not a freak. I'm not. (punches a wall) I'M NOT!!

  • Genius Bruiser: It doesn't get as much play as with Batman, but Superman is a trained scientist capable of analyzing such things as alien lifeforms and technology, allowing him to contribute effectively when he can't punch through a problem. The bruiser part goes without saying.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Usually pretty good at averting this, but after defeating Darkseid directly in front of the populace he subjugated and enslaved, he's dumbfounded to see that they're so broken that they immediatley come to their oppressor's aid.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In “Destroyer”, he objected to trusting Luthor and the Legion of Doom in helping the Justice League to combat Darkseid's third invasion of Earth.
    "Oh, come on, it's Lex-flippin'-Luthor!"
  • Guile Hero: In "Mxyzpixilated", Mr. Mxyzptlk seeing Superman as the ultimate challenge began playing various pranks on Superman using magic. In order to come out on top, Superman would get him to say, spell, or otherwise reveal his name backwards so he would leave for ninety days. Superman outsmarted him several times in a battle of wits until they both reached a conclusion where Superman came out the victor.
  • Happily Adopted: Granted, he didn't know he was adopted until later in life, but his interactions with Ma and Pa Kent make it clear that they were loving and supportive raising him and that he had a happy life growing up. Indeed, they are one of the reasons he has such a good-hearted and heroic nature.
  • Heat Vision: Just like most versions, he is able to project massive amounts of solar energy stored within the body through his eyes in focused beams of heat. When he was under Darkseid's control, Superman disintegrated the main wall of an alien fortress with his heat vision, then used it to make the building explode. He also killed a whole army of parademons with a huge blast of heat vision. After being released from the Black Mercy's fantasy, Superman got so angry he released a burst that set Mongul's chest on fire.
  • The Hero: Of the DCAU as a whole. Compared to his distinguished colleague, Superman is a more traditional type of hero.
  • Hero Does Public Service: In "Speed Demons", Superman competes with the Flash in a charity race to determine who is the Fastest Man Alive.
  • Hero of Another Story: Superman was often absent in JLU due to this trope. In "Patriot Act", Eiling accuses Superman of being a coward when he doesn't show up. Shining Knight informs Eiling that Superman is billions of miles away, saving a star system of alien lives from a planetary crisis.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In "Destroyer", as Darkseid prepares to kill Batman, Superman who now has his second wind, knocks Darkseid through a wall and starts unleashing his full power against Darkseid.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: The main quality that keeps Superman from going dark. He has a sense of humor and is aware of his failings and willing to apologize for his mistakes. He admits to Flash that he never earned his first Boy Scout merit badge, that he let Luthor push his buttons too many times and that he was a jerk to Captain Marvel. This also leads him to be more forgiving of Hawkgirl after her betrayal (noting that "I believe in second chances") and to Captain Atom who briefly sided with Cadmus but who Superman still considers Justice League. Indeed, his alternate universe Evil Counterpart shares the opposite trope of Can't Take Criticism and Never My Fault.
    • This backfires in "The Doomsday Sanction" when he responds to Batman’s concern over how they could be stopped if they went rogue by jokingly reminding Batman that he still has kryptonite. This only pisses Bruce off as he feels Superman isn’t taking the matter seriously. Superman apologizes and reaffirms he’d never go rogue.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Gets hit by this at the end of "Legacy", thanks to Darkseid's brainwashing. It takes him years to fully regain people's trust by the time of Justice League.
  • Human Aliens: All the Kryptonians are outwardly indistinguishable from humans, despite obvious biological differences.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: During his fight against Doomsday in "The Doomsday Sanction", he takes a brutal beating until he's forced to go all out. And in "Destroyer", he unleashes all his strength on Darkseid.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In "The Doomsday Sanction", after Doomsday is exiled to the Phantom Zone:
    Superman: He left us no choice.
    Batman: Spoken like a true Justice Lord.
  • Ideal Hero: Deconstructed and Reconstructed throughout the DCAU.
    • During the Cadmus story arc, he does what’s right, not what’s easiest. Consider the fact that Superman is powerful enough to end Cadmus right away. Why doesn’t he? He tells Huntress why in "Question Authority". Later, despite his understandable anger and frustration, he talks about it with the rest of the Justice League (who he knows will disagree with attacking) instead of than after Cadmus. As J’onn points out, Superman came there to be talked down.
    • In "Divided We Fall", after stopping Luthor, he admits the League has been guilty of arrogance, and has alienated the people it was trying to protect. He decides to disband the League. Green Arrow and the crowd convince him otherwise and it becomes a turning point for Superman: After so many years, he feels he has finally regained the trust he lost back in "Legacy". Superman and the League decide to continue their heroics with cooperation with the people.
      Lois Lane: I've been as tough on the Justice League as anyone, especially on Superman. That's just because he's always set such a high standard. I'm gonna cut him a break. He's only human. (pause) You know what I mean.
      Clark Kent: Yeah, I do.
  • The Idealist: In "Wake the Dead", explaining his tie-breaking vote that allowed Hawkgirl to stay in the Justice League.
    Superman: I believe in second chances, I believe in redemption, but, mostly, I believe in my friends.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: His greatest fantasy is to live as an ordinary farmer in a world that's free of the problems that require a Superman. His Black Mercy fantasy in "For the Man Who Has Everything" essentially combines both his life on the Kent farm with his potential life on Krypton had it not been destroyed.
  • Informed Attribute: Supposedly one of the most powerful superheroes, and is usually the one who is defeated first.
  • Intrepid Reporter: As always, Clark Kent is a newspaper reporter at the Daily Planet, but he also gets involved in stories to help solve cases as well. In "The Late Mr. Kent", while investigating a murder case, he becomes the apparent victim of a murder attempt, and cannot reveal that he survived without exposing his secret identity..
  • Interspecies Adoption: He is a Kryptonian raised by a kindly human couple.
  • Interspecies Friendship: With Jimmy Olsen as shown in "Superman's Pal".
  • Interspecies Romance: He (a Kryptonian) eventually begins a romantic relationship with Lois (a human).
  • It's Personal: With Darkseid after the events of "Legacy". In "Twilight", Superman would rather let his homeworld be exterminated by Braniac than help Darkseid, and in a fight between the two Darkseid is the one exception to Superman's restraint.
  • Kryptonite Factor: He is the Trope Namer of course.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: The Anti-Kryptonite suit was a full-body jumpsuit created by Emil Hamilton to protect Superman from Kryptonite radiation. It was usually kept in S.T.A.R. Labs for safekeeping and maintenance. He donned the suit to face enemies who he knew carried Kryptonite like Metallo and The Joker.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Lampshaded in "Knight Time", where he poses as Batman and a few characters notice that his chin seems to be much larger.
  • Last of His Kind: He is the last Kryptonian, as per usual.
  • The Leader: Subverted, despite his Charismatic personality. Although he is the Justice League's public face, they make decisions by consensus and other members (especially the Original Seven) tend to ignore Superman and do what they want if they disagree with him about something.
  • Leitmotif: The opening theme song of the Superman: TAS (or a shortened variation of it with the same melody) is the music that tends to play whenever Superman is around and/or does something heroic and/or awesome in the DCAU.
  • Living Lie Detector: Clark Kent, using his superhuman senses, can gauge heart rate and eye level to make a fairly accurate deduction of a person's honesty.
  • Love Interests: With Lois Lane, as always.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Lois isn't at all interested in Clark Kent while at the same time develops feelings and eventually a relationship by the time of Justice League Unlimited with Superman. However, Word of God stated that Lois does have a crush on Clark; she's just in denial about it.

  • Manly Tears: In "For the Man Who Has Everything", Kal-El, now realizing he is simply imagining his new life, tearfully says goodbye to a son who can never exist.
  • Meaningful Name: He was given the moniker of Superman by Lois due in part to the Kryptonian crest of the House of El resembling an "S" and in reference to the works of the Ubermensch of Nietzchean texts.
    Lois Lane: He's strong. He flies. He's the Nietzchean fantasy ideal all wrapped up in a red cape. The Superman.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • In "Mxyzpixilated", Superman uses his heat vision to shave.
    • In Comfort and Joy, he attempts to use his X-ray vision to peek on his presents. Key word being "attempts"- he's been doing it so long that the Kents have gotten wise to him and wrap his presents in lead.
  • Name From Another Species: Inverted. Clark, a Kryptonian, is adopted by humans and given a human name. His original name is Kal-El.
  • The Needs of the Many: A more selfless example in "The Doomsday Sanction", Superman tells Wonder Woman to stay with the evacuation rather than help him fight Doomsday.
    Superman: This isn't important. Getting those people to safety is.
  • Nerd Glasses: He wears them as Clark Kent.
  • Nice Guy: He is courageous, idealistic, noble, and benevolent and treats everyone with kindness and respect.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In "The Doomsday Sanction", Doomsday clobbers Superman for much of the episode, but the Man of Steel reverses it in the end.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: His speech at the end of Justice League Unlimited is the former Trope Namer.
    Superman: [to Darkseid] That man won't quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I've got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose and show you just how powerful I really am.
  • Not So Above It All: During Christmas in "Comfort And Joy".
  • "Not So Different" Remark: About his Justice Lord counterpart, as it really wouldn't take much to push him in the direction as the prime Superman himself admits:
    Superman: I knew you wouldn't be able to change his mind.
    The Flash: Yeah, how?
    Superman: Because I've felt the same temptations that he has. They're pretty strong.
    The Flash: So you’re not such a Boy Scout after all?
    Superman: Never even made it to my first merit badge.
  • Not So Similar: In "Divided We Fall", proving once and for all...
    Superman: (to Lex Luthor after Flash's apparent death) I'm not the man who killed President Luthor. Right now, I wish to Heaven that I were, but I'm not!
  • Older Than They Look: It's revealed in Batman Beyond that, due to his Kryptonian physiology, Superman will age at a much slower rate than humans, looking like he's still in his late 40s or 50s despite being about the same age as Bruce. It's never revealed how this will affect his secret identity.
  • The Paragon: He is just, strong, and a very good leader.
    • In "The Hand of Fate", Doctor Fate was inspired by Superman's effort fighting a magical monster even though he didn't stand a chance. This proved to Fate that the forces of evil weren't the only ones that would never give up. Superman was also the first to suggest that the Justice League work together.
    • In "Hereafter":
      J'onn J'onzz: The Man of Steel possessed many extraordinary gifts, and he shared them with us freely. None of these gifts were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done, and his unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost.
  • One-Man Army: The first scene in "Legacy", a race of aliens desperately fight an army of Apokoliptian soldiers. At first it seems that they have won, as the army has stopped its advance, but then a lone soldier bursts into the ceiling of the palace throne room. All attempts to stop him are futile and the king of the planet, seeing that his forces have been defeated, hands over his scepter: his symbol of power to a brainwashed Superman.
  • Out of Character Is Serious Business: Superman is generally a very kind and compassionate man. That all goes out the window whenever Darkseid is involved, due to Darkseid brainwashing Superman and using him to enslave Earth, something that destroyed Superman's reputation for years. When Darkseid approaches the Justice League for help as Brainiac was planning to scan and destroy Apokalips, Darkseid's planet, Superman just says "Good" to the shock of the rest of the league. Darkseid is also the one person that Superman has zero qualms about killing if he gets the chance.
  • The Paragon: His example proves that multiple species can work together and build something greater. A thousand years in the future, this inspires the founding of the Legion of Super-Heroes and an age of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
  • Perpetual Frowner: He gets this reputation during the Cadmus arc as a combination of bad PR, betrayal by Hamilton, Luthor's Presidential campaign takes a toll on him. It's gotten so bad that the the other League, including Batman, gravitate to Captain Marvel because "he's sunny". This culminates in a hilarious exchange between him, Green Arrow and The Flash, where Green Arrow defends his criticism of the League and understanding for Cadmus' position, with Green Arrow noting that he's playing the Devil's Advocate role that Batman recommended:
    Superman: Do I look like Batman to you?
    The Flash: Actually you kinda do. Especially when you get all scowly.
  • Physical God: This becomes part of the conflict with Cadmus after their encounter with the Justice Lords.
  • Power Incontinence: His greatest fear, as revealed in "Only a Dream", is losing control over his powers to such an extent that he can no longer function among people and be among the ones he loves. As he tells memorably to Darkseid, he lives in a world made out of cardboard and if he loses control of his powers, people will die.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: He memorably has this in "Hereafter".
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • In "Twilight":
      Darkseid: You really are a glutton for punishment. Time and again, I've beaten you, humbled you. What makes you think today's outcome will be any different?
      Superman: Because this time, I won't stop until you're just a greasy smear on my fist. Let's go.
    • In "The Doomsday Sanction", after failing to lobotomize Doomsday with heat vision...
    Superman: Then I guess I'll need a bigger fire.
    (beats and tosses Doomsday into a volcano)
  • Primary-Color Champion: His traditional blue and red costume. Eventually, he ditches the primary color part by the time of Batman Beyond.
  • Properly Paranoid: During his tenure on the Justice League, Superman tends to be very distrustful of villains coming with olive branches such as Darkseid in "Twilight" and Lex Luthor in "Clash". And he’s usually right. He also takes the existence of Cadmus as a personal affront to his very being and is the Leaguer with the most emotional investment in bringing them down.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Whenever he faces someone as strong as he is, he'll resort to this. Just ask Darkseid, Braniac, Captain Marvel, Mongul and Doomsday.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: At the start of Justice League, many people on the World Council saw him as a Broken Pedestal after the events that occurred back in "Legacy" (the Superman: TAS finale) when Darkseid brainwashed him into leading the charge against his adopted home world. He only got proof that his efforts to fix his image paid off after Green Arrow stood up to him in "Divided We Fall".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When he uses his Eye Beams.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Superman's a big believer in Thou Shalt Not Kill and will usually Save the Villain, but there's a limit. In "World's Finest," when the Lexjet is going down, he and Batman save Lex and Harley but leave the Joker to die (he survived, of course). And in "Fish Story," he at first tells Aquaman not to finish off Luthor's ship - and then the captain fires a harpoon gun at Aquaman's back after he agreed to stand down. Superman does nothing to stop Atlantis from going lethal in response.
  • Robot Me: It's emphasized in "A Better World" that Superman has robot duplicates of himself to keep things in check when he's not around. His Justice Lord counterpart uses his robot duplicates to maintain order at Arkham Asylum (and presumably elsewhere as well).
  • Rousing Speech: Even more than his comic book counterpart, Superman knows how to talk the talk as much as he can walk the walk (all over your face). If he can't beat the bad guy without killing him (because he most certainly can), then he'll be Talking the Monster to Death.

  • Sarcastic Confession: He does this in "The Last Son of Krypton":
    Lois: How'd you get here before me?
    Clark: Well, I just flew.
    • In the first part of “The Main Man”, Clark tells Lois every single thing about his secret identity to explain why he always gets better scoops than her. Of course, she just blows him off.
  • Secret Identity: Clark Kent, obviously.
  • Shooting Superman: His comic book counterpart is the Trope Namer for a reason. As early as the first season of Superman: TAS, he tells a mook who pulls a gun on him, "You must be new in town." In "Question Authority", Doctor Moon pulls a gun on Superman, who shouts, "Don't be stupid! Drop it." Moon meekly drops the gun. The reason? Bullets are ineffective against him, thus the mooks are effectively wasting ammo on him
  • Signature Move: The famous single or double-fisted flying punch, actually called a "Superman punch" in real life. He uses it against Darkseid in "Destroyer".
  • Skilled, but Naïve: He is this during the early point of his career, always thinking the best of everyone and often having people take advantage of him. Because of this, he gets a lot more cynical as time goes on to the point of receiving a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Captain Marvel in JLU. Eventually, he finds a middle ground, though some alternate versions of himself took it to much more extreme lengths.
  • Still Believes in Santa: When Martian Manhunter spends Christmas with the Kents, he learns that Superman (an otherwise mature superhero) genuinely believes Santa Claus is the one who wraps his presents in lead (so he can't see through them with X-Ray vision). This is an indicator of Clark's down-home wholesomeness as a person. Of course, given the world he lives in, it's about even odds that he's right.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Somewhat justified by his famous "World of Cardboard" speech, where he explains that he's almost always holding back.
    • Superman's strength seems to be all over the place sometimes. In "Paradise Lost", Wonder Woman was a match for him and there was no cause to hold back as they were both seeing each other as monsters. In "For the Man Who Has Everything", Wonder Woman gets curb-stomped by Mongul, whom Superman nearly beats to death right afterwards.
    • Depending on the chapter, Superman can vary between being the most powerful member or the Worf of the team.
    • In the final episode, he beats up Darksied with a level of power that he has never shown before.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He looks (and, at the proper age, sounds) almost exactly like his Kryptonian father Jor-El.
  • Superhero: As always, he is the Trope Codifier and Trope Namer.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Just like most versions, he is the Trope Codifier.
  • Superpower Lottery: He is Earth's most devastating Flying Brick and has a generous helping of additional powers. In general, his only serious challenges are beings of the Dimension Lord or galactic conqueror level.
  • Taking the Bullet: This is discussed in "Secret Society". Superman admits that he refuses to let the other Justice League members take any hits in a battle because of his superior invulnerability. In "Hereafter", Toyman takes aim at Batman and Wonder Woman. Superman throws himself in front of them and takes the blast, disappearing without a trace leading to his supposed death. Unknown to any of them, Superman had not been destroyed and was sent into the future.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: He is a very, very strong believer in this code, and most of the time he makes it work. "A Better World" revealed what he'd be like without it - essentially, Big Brother. There are a few cases where he felt obliged to use lethal force, but as he admits in "Divided We Fall" that he cannot bring himself to abandon his code - even though it's tempting. However, there are still exceptions: He will kill Darkseid and Brainiac if he gets the chance, and he comes extremely close to doing so to Mongul and Lex Luthor. He doesn't save the Joker, though he survives anyway. And he doesn't really try to spare his enemies under wartime conditions (when fighting the Imperium, Nazis or Thanagarians).
  • Time-Shifted Actor:
  • Tranquil Fury: In "Twilight", Superman's fight with Darkseid.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: In "War World"...
    Draaga: Pathetic. The whole lot of you. Not a real warrior in the bunch. And you, the Kryptonian, you're the biggest disappointment of all. (spits on Superman and walks away; as soon as he is out of earshot, Superman breaks out of his chains)
    Alien: Why didn't you do that when Draaga was here?
    Superman: It's called "turning the other cheek."
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Because of Executive Meddling (DC's then-current policy of taking Superman's nickname of "Last Son of Krypton" literal), Supergirl reimagined as an adopted cousins rather than a biological one.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In "For the Man Who Has Everything", nearly blind with rage after waking from his dreamworld, Superman batters Mongul, even using his heat vision to burn Mongul's chest. However, before he can strike the decisive blow, Superman is distracted by a statue-his parents holding Krypton aloft and is saved by Wonder Woman.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In "Clash", the purpose of the Kryptonite power source was to arouse Superman's suspicion and cause an incident that would tarnish the League's reputation. Superman and Captain Marvel's clash not only caused the destruction of Lexor City, but embarrassed Superman and boosting Luthor's "benevolent" public image as well.
  • Voice Changeling: Superman is able to mimic voices thanks to precise muscle control and a really good ear, which severely creeps out Robin when he demonstrates it in "Knight Time".
  • Weirdness Magnet: Wherever he goes, the weird stuff that probably wouldn't bother Earth comes in search of him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In "Twilight", to the shock of his teammates, Superman is willing to let Apokolips be destroyed due to his grudge against Darkseid, but Darkseid notes that Brainiac will not stop with Apokolips. Batman has to lecture Superman to help him stop Braniac.
    • In "The Doomsday Sanction", Batman calls him out for casting Doomsday into the Phantom Zone.
    • In "Clash", Captain Marvel is disgusted by Superman's actions and calls a meeting with the League founders.
      Captain Marvel: My whole life, I've looked up to the League. You were my heroes. Every one of you. And you [Superman]... you were more than a hero. I idolized you. I wanted to be you. Whenever I was out there facing down the bad guys, I'd think, "What would Superman do?" Now I know. I believe in fair play. I believe in taking people at their word and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Back home, I've come up against my share of pretty nasty bad guys, but I never had to act the way they did to win a fight. I always found another way. I... I guess I'm saying I-I like being a hero, a symbol, and that's why I'm... quitting the Justice League. You don't act like heroes anymore.
  • Willfully Weak: Superman has a tendency of holding back his powers during most of his battles in order to prevent people from getting killed, which also allows villains to get the best of him in some occasions. There is also the fact that the first season of Justice League subjected him badly to The Worf Effect.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Averted in Justice League and JLU.
  • The Worf Effect: Throughout the first season of Justice League, Superman was portrayed as being unnaturally weak and vulnerable to the point where he was was often the first to be defeated in battle. The writers apologized for it and did their best to make up for it in the second and Unlimited seasons.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Although, he's willing to put up with a lot more from them before he resorts to it.
    • In "Livewire":
      Livewire: At least we know you hit girls.
    • In "Secret Society", he hesitates against Giganta who brings this up, so Wonder Woman ends up hitting her instead.
  • Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper: This is often the case whenever Kryptonite is around and Superman needs assistance from an ally.
  • Your Heart's Desire: In "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman is subdued by a telepathic plant from a distant galaxy that renders its victims helpless and delusional in a dream world created from their heart's desires. Superman's fantasy is a Krypton that never exploded. He lives on a small farm, is married to a Kryptonian woman named Loana, and has a son named Van-El.


Video Example(s):


Happy to Spend the Night

After Lois is targeted by a stalker, Clark offers to spend the night at her apartment to keep her safe, prompting her to give him a knowing look.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThatCameOutWrong

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