- I feel like I live in a world made out of cardboard. Always taking constant care not to break something. To break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control, even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare oppurtunity for me to cut loose, and show you just how powerful I really am!
- -- Superman src
- -- Superman src
The infant Kal-El was sent to Earth by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, prior to the destruction of their home planet, Krypton. Kal-El's capsule landed near Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents adopted the young Kryptonian, naming him "Clark", after Martha's maiden name.
Clark began to discover his powers while growing up in Smallville, and was sometimes frustrated by his need to hide them from the public.
When Clark encountered Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Chameleon Boy from the future superhero team, the Legion of Super-Heroes, he did not use his powers very much. During this incident, he aided the trio in stopping Brainiac (from the 30th century) from destroying the Legion of Super-Heroes by killing Clark before he could become Superman. However, after Clark said his goodbyes to the team, Saturn Girl removed all memory of the events of that period from his mind. Nevertheless, this incident depicted all the strength and courage Clark would imbue as Superman.
Hero of Metropolis
As an adult, Clark moved to Metropolis and found employment as a reporter for the Daily Planet. An early appearance in costume, saving a young girl, attracted the attention of Lois Lane — as the story replaced one of her own. It was Lois who subsequently gave Clark's costumed persona the name "Superman." Superman gave Lois an exclusive interview, his motivation being to alleviate public fears by ensuring that people knew where he came from and why he was here — or, as his adoptive mother put it, so that people wouldn't think he was like "that nut from Gotham City."
Shortly after his arrival in Metropolis, Superman met Lex Luthor, who would become one of his greatest and most persistent adversaries, and defeated terrorist John Corben. In the following months, a variety of costumed criminals — some with metahuman abilities — began to appear in Metropolis to oppose the Man of Steel. A by-no-means complete list would include the Toyman, the Parasite, Livewire, Metallo, Bizarro, Volcana, and Luminus.
Superman would also encounter various beings who, like himself, hailed from other worlds, such as the renowned bounty hunter Lobo and the warrior queen Maxima, or even other dimensions, like the mischievous imp Mxyzptlk. He would even meet a few fellow survivors of Krypton: the Phantom Zone-exiled Jax-Ur and Mala, and — most chillingly — the artificial intelligence known as Brainiac.
Even as his roster of enemies continued to swell, Superman would also encounter many individuals whom he would come to consider staunch allies: the Flash, Batman, Dr. Fate, Steel, Aquaman, Robin, and the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. He also discovered, on Krypton's sister world Argos, a young woman who would become not only a loyal ally but also a new (if adoptive) family member: Supergirl.
In time, Superman would also come into periodic contact with beings from the planet Apokolips, the realm of the malevolent entity who would become another of the Man of Tomorrow's most dangerous opponents: Darkseid. It was the diabolical Lord of Apokolips who would deal Superman many of his most humbling defeats; these included killing Superman's friend Dan Turpin, and brainwashing the Man of Steel and manipulating him into leading an assault on Earth. Although Superman recovered himself and defeated Darkseid, the immense damage to his reputation with Earth's populace was harder to repair. It would be some time before Superman could regain the people's trust entirely. In spite of this, he would continue his never-ending battle for truth and justice, although he would soon find that he would not need to continue it alone.
Protector of Earth and Other Worlds
After responding to the Imperium invasion, Superman joined with Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and J'onn J'onzz to form the Justice League. During this time, Superman and the Justice League would have many adventures, such as defeating Mongul on Warworld and expose Lex Luthor as a criminal. Two of the more significant adventures for Superman would involve meeting an alternate universe team of the Justice League called the Justice Lords and face off once more against Darkseid and Brainiac, who were seemingly destroyed by Superman. Both events would come back to haunt Superman in time.
During the Thanagarian invasion, Superman and the other founding members (minus Hawkgirl) were imprisoned, but managed to escape thanks to Wonder Woman. Going underground, Batman revealed that he knew Superman and Flash's secret identities, and told them to meet at Wayne Manor. After Hawkgirl gave them information on the Thanagarians' plans to build a Hyperspace Bypass Generator, Superman helped assault Hro Talak's mothership, but left to save Batman, who was driving the Watchtower into the Generator. With the threat passed, the Justice League debated on whether or not to allow Hawkgirl to stay. Superman wanted to believe her, but he feared the risk of further betrayal. Ultimately, Superman broke the tie...allowing Hawkgirl to stay in the League. However, Hawkgirl resigned before they could announce their decision. After that, the founding members reorganized the League and recruited the majority of Earth's costumed heroes for the reformed Justice League.
After a faux U.S. Presidential bid by Lex Luthor, Superman and the Justice League found themselves at odds with Project Cadmus. Cadmus was formed after the brainwashed Superman's invasion of Earth and the Justice Lords incident, and claimed its only goal was the defense of humanity. However, several members of Cadmus would have their own personal agendas separated from the alleged greater goal. Ultimately, Luthor hijacked the Watchtower's binary fusion cannon, making it appear as though the Justice League was responsible for attacking Cadmus' base. Superman decided that the best way to lower tensions was to turn themselves over to the government. However, Batman convinced Amanda Waller that Luthor was responsible. Confronting Luthor, Brainiac revealed that he was in control of Luthor, and merged with him. Flash managed to destroy Brainiac, but appeared to die in the process. Though he nearly killed Luthor, Superman realized that he wasn't a Justice Lord. After that, Superman decided that the Justice League had to be disbanded, but an impassioned speech by Green Arrow convinced him that the world needed the Justice League, and that the League needed Superman. The outpour of appreciation also convinced Superman that he had regained the trust he had lost after being brainwashed by Darkseid, and Superman stayed on.
Luthor became obsessed with resurrecting the destroyed Brainiac, going so far as to overthrow Gorilla Grodd as the leader a virtual army of supervillains that Luthor would now use as his pawns. Brainiac's thought patterns were now intermingled with Luthor's, tempting the obsessed human with their knowledge and power. In his mad quest to resurrect Brainiac, Luthor would instead bring Darkseid back to life by accident. Darkseid launched a final massive attack against Earth, which required the mobilization of the Justice League's entire extended roster. After an incredible fistfight, Darkseid resorted to a secret weapon to disable Superman, but before Darkseid could complete his victory, he was diverted by Luthor, who had found the prized Anti-Life Equation. Superman's two greatest enemies disappeared in a flash of brilliant light, and have yet to be seen again in the present day.
The Later Adventures
Superman was captured by the Preserver, an alien who collected creatures that were the last of their species. He managed to escape and brought the creatures he was imprisoned with to his Fortress of Solitude. Several years after the events with the Preserver Superman's temples turned white and he changed his costume to a black skin suit with no cape and a white "S". Not long after that one of these creatures, a starfish-like parasite, seized control over Superman in the 2040s and held sway over him for several years.
Controlled by the parasite, Superman attempted to destroy the Justice League Unlimited and take over Earth. However, through the efforts of Bruce Wayne, Terry McGinnis, and the League, the parasite was defeated and Superman regained control of himself. Terry McGinnis told Superman that he declined his offer to join the Justice League. Proud of Terry, Superman told Terry that he was like Bruce Wayne "And possibly aware of Terry's original parentage".
The older Bruce Wayne made comments that suggested Superman's Kryptonian DNA had slowed his aging. Whether this had detrimental effects on Superman's relationship with Lois Lane or upon his Clark Kent identity is unknown.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, The average Kryptonian possesses the potential for the following power set:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of their super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. Their biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and their bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
- Heat Vision: Kryptonians can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. Typically, the power is seen as two beams of red light emanating from the eyes. These beams can be made invisible, allowing the power to be undetectable. The maximum temperature of their heat vision is said to be around that of a nuclear detonation. They can also consciously determine the area affected, down to the microscopic level.
- Super-Hearing: Kryptonian hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill, practice, and concentration, they can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency. As such, they can identify a person by their heartbeat, or pick out a single voice in an entire city.
- Enhanced Vision Kryptonian vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
This umbrella ability includes the following:
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Kryptonians can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. They can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, they can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows them to see the aura generated by living thing.
- Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
- X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Kryptonians can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. They can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived - such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans - is unclear. this ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
- Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
- Infrared Vision: Kryptonians can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Kryptonians are able to manipulate graviton particles, in an unknown and apparently unconscious manner, to defy the forces of gravity. Under one Earth gravity, they are capable of speeds of multi-Mach speeds in Earth's atmosphere. Their control of their flight is very precise and they can perform aerobatic feats such as hovering, flying backwards and even lifting great weights while flying.
- Invulnerability: The bodies of Kryptonians are nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, their immune systems protects them from toxins and diseases. The most common explanations for this rely on the presences of a super-dense molecular structure, a supercharged bio-electric aura which acts as an invisible force field, or a combination of the two. With the aura, it is presumed to extend a few millimeters from the skin as well as within the body. A byproduct of the aura is that items close to the skin share their invulnerability. Using clothing as an example, loose fitting fabric would tend to shred or burn in adverse conditions, but skin tight outfits would not.
- Superhuman Stamina: Kryptonians have the ability to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. In theory they have unlimited stamina as their enhanced nourishment is produced from the yellow solar energy their cells process, which also provides the majority of the power for their superhuman abilities. However, their base physical structures do need to process food stuffs and they have a psychological need to eat and drink just as Earth humans do. They also require sleep on occasion so that they can dream. They can also hold their breath for an indefinite period of time.
- Superhuman Strength: A Kryptonian develops enhanced physical strength after absorbing a sufficient amount of yellow solar radiation. This radiation interacts with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of their musculature to trigger superhuman levels. While the exact magnitude of their strength is unknown, it is generally accepted that it is sufficient to lift 100,000 tons or more. The specific range is unknown as a their strength, like their other powers, may fluctuate over time. Their strength is also more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables them to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass. At full power, their normal strength levels are well into the multi-megaton range.
- Superhuman Speed: Kryptonians are able to move at incredible speeds by sheer force of will. They can match most other speedsters in super-fast movements, reactions, and processes. They can use this power to disarm opponents without heightened reflexes, catch bullets or shrapnel or cross vast distances in seconds.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Kryptonians are able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from their lungs. They can chill the air as it leaves their lungs to freeze targets in a variation sometimes called "freeze" or "arctic breath". They can also reverse the process and pull large volumes of air or vapor into their lungs.
- Vulnerability to Kryptonite
- Vulnerability to Magic
- This character was voiced by Tim Daly in Superman: The Animated Series and George Newbern in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
- Baby Kal-El was voiced by Jesse Batten in "The Last Son of Krypton, Part I".
- Teenaged Clark Kent was voiced by Jason Marsden in "The Last Son of Krypton, Part II".
- 283 Appearances of Kal-El (DCAU)
- 40 Images featuring Kal-El (DCAU)
- 20 Quotations by or about Kal-El (DCAU)
- Character Gallery: Kal-El (DCAU)
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