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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
    • Bad things happen all the time, but bad things on the end of the scale that reads only-Superman-can-save-us-from-this-one don't happen all the time. If someone else can handle it successfully without him getting involved, then he leaves it up to them, but if it would be quicker and safer for him to take care of it then he does.
  • 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?
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    • 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, he generally seems to respect someone's privacy unless given a reason to suspect something's wrong, and usually 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.
    • Superman can also move faster than the speed of light. Who says he has to choose one person or the other? He can save more than one person at a time (assuming, as noted above, that he's aware of what's going on).
    • Superman likely prioritises based on the kind of factors that influence anyone's decision-making process; proximity, time, possible effects, whether or not his input will help, etc. For example, if there's a choice between intervening in a bank robbery in Metropolis or stopping an exploding power plant in Vietnam, he'll probably opt to help out with the power plant because that's a bigger problem that could have more disastrous consequences, and the local police can take care of the bank robbery. If a woman's about to jump off a bridge in Metropolis and there's a forest fire burning in Canada, he'll likely take care of the woman about to kill herself first because she's more immediately in peril, she's closer, and he can help with the forest fire after he's helped her. And so on.

  • 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.
      • There was actually a comic where someone shot at Superman and Superman had to catch the ricochet.
    • 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 "Oh shit it's superman fucking superman is fucking standing right in fucking front of me do something do something DO SOMETHING!!!!" 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.
      • Actually, there's a reasonable explanation for why Superman ducks when the crook throws a gun at him — Kryptonians probably have the same basic defensive reflexes as humans (evolved in their native environment where they're just as vulnerable as humans). Those reflexes include "duck if something is thrown at you", but don't cover being shot at because they latter threat is much too new, evolutionarily speaking. Ergo, unless Superman consciously suppresses the reflex, he'd duck.

  • 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 Marvel 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.
      • Actually, he only transformed into his electric form in that instance because Brainiac 13 absorbed him into an energy conduit while he was trying to disrupt the system, but Brainiac 2.5 had gained enough access to his future self's systems to recreate the electric Superman's energy matrix and transfer Superman's consciousness into the copy while he hacked the system and restored Superman's real body to stop his future self.
    • 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.

  • 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.
    • Has it been confirmed anywhere that the character actually is Jewish, and therefore has been circumcised? Granted, his creators are Jewish and the Moses parallels are, well, pretty glaring, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the character is also Jewish.

  • 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.
    • As for Lex Luthor specifically, his whole thing is that he believes he can Superman way better than Superman ever could. As far as he's concerned, as soon as Superman's in the ground he'll be the one stopping meteorites and Darkseid and all that jazz.

  • 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.
      • Proximity most likely. Usually when he gets hit by red sunlight it's right in his face and as such that whole disrupt power release effect kicks in right away. When on a planet with a red sun he would be able to keep enough of a charge until his solar reserves run dry because the red sunlight is further away.
  • 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 Kryptonite.
    • 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.
      • Exactly Jor-El's point in Superman: The Animated Series. It does sound slightly crazy to put everyone in the Phantom Zone, and Brainiac lied about the unstable core because he reasoned there is not enough time for an evacuation so he'd rather save himself. Cue Krypton Shattering Kaboom.
      • The Phantom Zone was used in lieu of a death penalty for Krypton, they considered it A Fate Worse Than Death. Makes sense they wouldn't see it as a viable survival option.
      • Smallville had Jor-el send his lab assistant Raya there for survival and a key problem comes up. Namely that the Phantom Zone is a Crapsack World and there would be no way of returning without outside help, which a destroyed planet wouldn't be able to offer obviously.
    • 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.
    • Post-Crisis actually explains this. One Kryptonian took the whole the isolationist thing as far as he could and genetically altered all other Kryptonians so they would die if they left the planet. Superman survived because his father was able to remove that issue, which was only possible before his birth and not applicable to the rest of Krypton.
    • Isn't it also explained, at least in some tellings, that by the time Jor-El could convince anyone else of the danger the Krypton, it was too late to do anything about it? That he literally sent Kal-El off minutes before Krypton exploded and that was literally all he had time for? And no other Kryptonians were paying any heed to his warnings because they refused to believe that anything at all could destroy their perfect civilization?

  • 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.
    • In Superman & Batman: Generations he started using make-up in his Clark Kent identity to make his appearance match his calendar age. Of course, that only puts the issue off a few decades.
  • 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 (or that he's utterly flummoxed by the incomparable beauty and perfection of Lana Lang). 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.
      • It's actually explicitly shown in Smallville that the meteor shower that accompanies Clark's ship is meteors from Krypton, explaining why Smallville is literally littered with Green Rocks, and a second meteor shower later in the series is more pieces of Krypton. Granted, they don't explicitly show that the meteors were dragged through space by a wormhole or some such, but the first meteors did actually come with Clark's ship (and the second batch came with another Kryptonian spaceship).
      • Silver Age stories explained the warp drive on Kal-El's rocket dragged with it a large amount of debris, explaining how kryptonite and other Kryptonian artifacts wound up on Earth/in Earth's solar system.
    • The whole point of Clark Kent is that he's a weak, sickly dork. No one is surprised when Clark Kent suddenly and unexpectedly takes ill, because Superman spends a lot of time convincing people that Clark Kent is the kind of person who frequently falls ill for numerous reasons. When people see Clark Kent fall ill when in the near proximity of Kryptonite, they simply assume that one of his many weaknesses or allergies is playing up, not that he's Superman. It just so happens that when Kryptonite is around Superman actually is falling ill and not pretending for once.

  • 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.
    • Don't forget that Lex doesn't even think that Superman has a Secret Identity. In his mind someone as powerful as Superman would never lower themselves to being like ordinary humans.
    • 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.
    • He calls him that in the same vein of respect he views Batman. He calls Batman "Detective" since Batman is one of the world's greatest detectives and views him as a worthy individual. One can take a similar route with Superman. At its definition, icon means "a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something." He views Superman as a paragon; an icon of virtue and such. Despite his plans against the world, he does respect the power and strong morals of the Man of Steel. The superhero known as Icon was from a different comicbook-verse before it was assiilated into DC.
  • 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.
    • And post-crisis, it's been shown that a blue star actually increases Superman's powers even more than a yellow star already does (and in addition gives him "Superman-vision" which allows him to give normal humans powers equivalent to his powers on Earth). It therefore stands to reason that if a normal human were be exposed to blue solar radiation, then they would gradually gain the same powers that Superman normally has on Earth.
  • 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 (though everything from Robin Series, Red Robin, Batgirl (2000) and Batgirl (2009) is wiped from continuity) 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?
    • As is states elsewhere on this page a Wizard Superman special full of Superman facts states Kryptonians have (had anyway, as he and Lois have a son now) a different number of chromosomes than human beings which is why Lois could never have a child with Clark.
  • 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.
    • Also, we're not necessarily supposed to assume the character in question is literally choking. *CHOKE!*, in this case, is just a shorthand for something along the lines of "I am so amazed/horrified/aghast at the events I am witnessing that I am momentarily unable to fully process them!", or a synomym for *GASP!* that sounds a bit more dramatic.
  • I notice every time Lex Luthor gets exposed to the public, the writers always find some way to bring Luthor back to his "kind-hearted business man" status. Seriously?! This rich man in their city commits murder and do shady things and they take him back?! The citizens are too dumb to live.
    • Michael Vick literally murdered dogs with his bare hands while running a dog fighting ring, and now is back in the NFL. Yes, this sort of thing happens.
    • In fairness to the OP, participating in a sadistic dog-fighting ring — while hardly a particularly nice thing to do — is pretty small peanuts compared to some of the things that Luthor's gotten away with.
    • As of 2006's Up, Up and Away!, that was no longer the case. He may regain his fortune, but the general public is well aware he's a monster.
  • A troper made a good point. Why do bad guys always pick a town/city that is inhabited by a super hero? Why not move to a town where there are no super heroes? Do they enjoy being humiliated and captured by a guy in a cape on weekly basis?
    • Same reasons bad guys in real life operate in towns and cities that are inhabited by police departments that could arrest them on a weekly basis; they might not have the funds or the ability to relocate (criminals tend to be from the lower income side of society), the police / superhero can't possibly arrest all of them, and the risks are presumably outweighed by the potential rewards. After all, while you might be 99.9% likely to be caught by Superman if you try knocking over a bank in Metropolis, I'm willing to bet that if you happen to be in the 0.01% that manages to get away you'd make an absolute fortune.
    • Furthermore, in the DC / Marvel universes it's not as if people deciding to put on a cape and fight crime is exactly a rare occurrence. Chances are, if all the criminals decide to relocate to Cleveland and throw their weight around there, they'll just inspire someone to put on a pair of tights and start beating them up in Cleveland instead.
  • Why do some human villains think threatening to kill Superman's friends and family is a bright idea? Let's say a mob boss kill Lois Lane, Martha Kent and Supergirl right in front of him, how does he know Superman won't crush his skull in a fit of rage? Okay, making a god-like man obey you by threatening his love ones is not a bad idea, but the villain would be screwed if he decides to pull the trigger.
    • If they were capable of making good decisions about their life they wouldn't be supervillains. Plus people like that are used to being able to threaten others by threatening their loved ones. Generally most people will comply if you threaten people they care about, its a pattern of thought born of force of habit. They just do not really realize just how powerful Superman really is. Plus Superman is a moral enough person to try and find a way to resolve things without snapping their neck (well, most of the time) or crushing their skull or giving into rage. He sees it as his calling to help everyone, even the bad guys.
    • The point is never to actually kill them. The point is to threaten them, so that the threat makes Superman comply. It's really not that difficult a concept to grasp — Superman doesn't want his loved ones to die, but he's also too moral to kill the villain outright, so his loved ones are used as leverage.
  • This one is more focused on Lex Luthor, but as of this writing he does not have his own Headscratcher page, so this seemed appropriate enough: We all know the myriad of reasons that Lex hates Superman, whether they be true reasons or just the lies he tells himself and/or others. However, it appears to me that all the reasons normally given aren't exclusive to just Superman. Some say he's jealous of his power, but Superman isn't really the most powerful superhero, and in certain areas is matched or even surpassed by other characters, such as Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Captain Atom, while others say it's because he believes Superman's a threat to humanity, either because he's a powerful alien or because his acts of heroism may cause humanity to gradually fall back on him and stagnate, but Superman's not the only powerful alien (Martian Manhunter seems most obvious) or superhero. So the question is: why does Lex Luthor focus so much of his hatred on Superman in particular?
    • Maybe it's because Superman is the one who's in his neck of the woods most of the time?
      • So if history in the DC universe had gone a little differently (if Clark had chosen to be Superman, or Lex decided to be... Lex Luthor, in some other city, Superman and Lex Luthor might not be the enemies they currently are? Could the famous conflict between them have just as easily been, say, Martian Manhunter or Wonder Woman in Superman's place, and Gorilla Grodd or Maxwell Lord in Lex's?
    • Superman's also the paragon of the DC universe. He might not be the best warrior, the most powerful being or the one with the most superpowers, but he is the one that pretty much everyone in the world respects, admires and looks up to. Luthor's whole thing is that he thinks that everyone should be looking up to him instead. So even if Luthor lived in Gotham or Coastal City, it would still probably rankle him that there was another being in the world that was better and more admired than him without, in Luthor's mind, doing anything to deserve it. So he'd still probably be trying to take Superman down a peg or two whether they lived in the same city or not, they just live in the same city for narrative, storytelling and symbolic convenience.
  • If Krypton's technology was extremely advanced, how is it that only one person detected it was going to explode?
    • Because in many depictions, Kryptonian society was also incredibly hubristic. They didn't believe anything was going to destroy them because they were so powerful and hyper-advanced that anything that suggested otherwise had to be wrong. Jor-El was just able to see through the societal blinders to the truth.
    • There is also often a secondary reason on top of just pride. At one point (Several times retconned) Kryptonions literally couldn't leave Krypton, or they'd die, due to something that happened generations prior. Part of why Kal-El was the last was that Jor-El was able to come up with a "cure" just in time, but as Kal was essentially the test subject, he was the only one who could leave. The animated series had Brainiac directly and purposefully discredit Jor-El's research so he could escape. According to Superman: Rebirth, there was a straight up government cover up.
  • Putting aside the possible Doylist explanation that doing so would make him too much like a certain villainous Doctor over at Marvel, magic is one of Superman's few actual known weaknesses, so it seems odd that his greatest enemy always relies on the other two, kryptonite and red solar radiation, and completely neglects the third. Has Lex Luthor ever tried learning magic, or given a reason why he doesn't or can't?
    • I don't know if it's ever been explicitly discussed (and I'd be surprised if in 80-odd years of super-villainy Luthor hasn't tried magic at some point), but in the Magic Versus Science debate he tends to take the 'science' side. In his modern incarnations certainly, he also tends to be characterised (and generally seems to be) the kind of humanist-scientist-technocratist type of person who'd view 'primitive superstitions' like magic with a certain degree of disdain; perhaps he views it as being under his dignity.
    • Doctor Doom is able to flip back and forth because he's studied both disciplines. Luthor has a lifetime of studying science and no experience with magic. This leaves only two options: starting over in a new field, which would mean admitting he couldn't beat Superman with his science, or subcontracting, which would mean admitting he couldn't beat Superman without help. In other words, he'd be admitting defeat.

  • 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' also 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 different 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 hypothetical situation that President Luthor did decide to do this, in addition to the same thing happening above he'd very quickly see his popularity polls drop to 0% and pretty much all his political allies suddenly desert him in the face of their popularity polls starting to quickly head the same direction. Even a Villain with Good Publicity has limits, and it's been shown time and time again that in the battle of popularity between Superman and Lex? In the DC Universe, Superman wins every time.
      • And even if President Luthor stubbornly refused to sign such an order, how long do you think it would take Russia, China, North Korea, and any number of enemies and rivals of the United States to seize upon such a pig-headed and nakedly spiteful move to graciously and gratefully extend the offer of complete and permanent citizenship to the brave global hero Superman? I mean, Russia was happy to give Edward Snowden asylum just to embarrass the United States, and he was basically just a whistle-blower; even if Superman wasn't exactly rushing to embrace them with open arms, it'd be the geopolitical propaganda coup of the millennium just waiting to happen, and even making the offer would be sufficient enough to diminish the US government in the eyes of the world. And even if that wasn't enough to change President Luthor's mind and Superman wasn't exactly happy resettling to an authoritarian state, then America's allies would be more than happy to seize a chance to change the balance of power a bit by offering the world's most powerful man a new home, and it's not like President Luthor can stop them from offering citizenship to whomever they like.
    • Besides, where would you deport Superman to? His home planet is a radioactive asteroid belt in another galaxy.
    • Pre-Crisis, 1981's "New Adventures of Superboy" #12 shows Congress granted Superboy (very early in his super-career) an honorary American citizenship. Earlier in the story, Superboy tells then-reporter Perry White in an interview that President Eisenhower had reassured him that he wouldn't be deported. ("After all, where could I be deported, since Krypton no longer exists?") I'd presume Congress doing something similar could've happened in other continuities, for the reasons others noted above (even a xenophobic politician might find deporting America's most popular superhero troublesome come re-election time...).

  • How the hell is Superman vulnerable to his own planet?
    • We are also vulnerable to portions of our own planet that are radioactive.
      • Between Crisis on Infinite Earths and The New 52, it was established that part of the process of Krypton going BOOM was internal chemo-nuclear reactions resulting in the formation of Kryptonite. The natives called it the Green Plague. The New 52's take on it has yet to be revealed.
    • Kryptonite has been subject to so much Fridge Logic over the years (like how you can just about buy it on any street corner on Earth by now, etc..) that it's best to mutter Bellisario's Maxim and move on...
    • Symbolism-He's an immigrant to America, kryptonite is the old country.
    • Sometimes (most notably, its first Post-Crisis appearance), kryptonite very painfully drains the solar energy from Superman's cells, hence why it weakens him as well as hurts him, and also why it glows. Of course, how this works opens up a whole new can of Fridge Logic.
  • Every time Superman misses with his heat vision, it means he failed to look at the target.
    • Not necessarily. Your eyes don’t sit rigidly still when you look at something, instead making minor involuntary adjustments that could easily through off the aim of Supe’s heat vision (see the Analysis page of Required Srcondary Powers for a more detailed explanation.)
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