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Superman is Earth's premiere superhero and the stalwart protector of Metropolis. Born Kal-El on the distant planet Krypton, he was sent to Earth as a child to survive Krypton's destruction. Raised with high moral ideals, he uses his extraordinary superpowers to fight evil and protect the innocent. In his civilian identity he is Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter working for the Daily Planet in Metropolis.
Kal-El was born on the distant planet Krypton to the scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van in the midst of a planet-wide war. Kal-El was a naturally-born child, which is outlawed on Krypton where all children are genetically engineered to become a more efficient being. When the planet was about to explode and to ensure their son's survival, his parents sent Kal-El away in a ship designed to carry him to safety away from the planet, sending him to Earth, where Jor-El knew of a scout ship sent prior where Kal-El would grow up with extraordinary abilities and where he would look identical to the planet's natives. His ship landed undetected in Smallville, Kansas and he was found by a local farming couple, Jonathan Kent and his wife Martha. They took him in and illegally adopted him renaming him "Clark Kent" after Martha's maiden name.
When Clark was nine years old, his body began to change in a way that would define his life forever. To the shock of Jonathan and Martha, Clark began developing super powered abilities, the extent of which none of them knew. When Clark's super-hearing and x-ray vision first developed and all the noises he could hear manifested at once, it was troublesome for the young Kryptonian to handle. He ran out of class and into a closet. Martha was called to school and helped Clark control his new abilities.
When Clark was thirteen years old, whilst traveling on a school bus with his class, the bus crashed into a river. With the bus overturned, Clark decided that he must use his abilities to save everybody on the bus and using his super-strength pushed the bus to the safety of the river bank. Several children saw Clark do this Lana Lang and two bullies who relentlessly bullied Clark over the years, Whitney Fordham and Pete Ross. Pete's mother, Helen, confronted Martha and Jonathan about the unusual events that occur around Clark, but they defended their son claiming there was nothing special about him.
Jonathan finds Clark sitting on an old broken down truck gazing into the fields and tried to convince him that he had to hide his abilities from the world if he was to be safe because not everybody would be as understanding as they were, but Clark argued that he should not hide if he can help people. Questioning his place in the world, Jonathan decided to reveal to Clark how he came to them. In the barn, under the floor, Jonathan revealed Clark's ship to him along with the House of El Command key confirming that Clark was an alien and came to them from the stars. Shocked and afraid, Clark asked if he could still pretend to be Jonathan's son who simply hugged his adoptive son and said he would always be his son. Jonathan said that Clark must, in time, find the reason he was sent to Earth.
A short while later, a group of kids led by Ken Braverman and a reluctant Pete confronted Clark when he was waiting for his father while reading a book in his their family's pick-up truck. Ken dragged Clark out of the truck and throws him to the ground to try and prove there was nothing special about the quiet young boy. Clark desperately wanted to hit the bully, but managed to stifle the urge by crushing the steel post of the fence behind him. The group of bullies rushed away when they realized Jonathan was a short distance away watching them with the owner of a shop; except for Pete who held his hand out to Clark to help him up and calmly walking away when Jonathan approached. Clark admitted that he wanted to hurt Ken, which Jonathan could not help but agree with; but explained it would accomplish nothing in the end and that one day Clark would change the world.
When Clark was seventeen years old, he was out with Jonathan and Martha, stuck in a traffic jam on a highway, when a tornado swept through the region. People began evacuating their vehicles with Jonathan telling Clark to get Martha to safety. Clark realized he could help people with his abilities but Jonathan told him to to not use them and to keep them secret. As Jonathan was helping other people, Clark came to help, taking a little girl to safety. In the ensuing chaos, Jonathan died filling Clark with guilt. Shortly after this traumatic episode, Clark heeded his fathers wishes and left Smallville on a quest to find the reason he was sent to Earth.
Quest for knowledge
Clark found work on a fishing boat, soon encountering danger as an oil rig exploded. Clark took it upon himself to save the people that were caught in the flames. He then swam to shore and found a new job in a bar. While at work, Chrissy, a waitress, was getting harassed by a local to the bar, Ludlow. Clark stepped in only to have a beer thrown in his face. Clark was tempted to hit the trucker, but Chrissy persuaded him that it was not worth it. Ludlow continued to taunt Clark as he left and destroyed Ludlow's truck by putting several pieces of timber through the vehicle.
At the bar Clark overheard of a military site being set up in the Antarctic. He got a job working near to the site and carried Lois Lane's bags to her living quarters. Clark then went to investigate the artifact for himself, unaware the reporter was following him. Using his heat vision he melted his way through the ice down to a massive alien ship. As he wandered around the enormous ship he finds a port to which fits the Command key, but is attacked by the ship's automated defense system. He uses the key to give himself access to the system. He explored the ship, finding four pods, three containing long dead bodies and the other completely empty.
During Clark's exploration, Lois entered the ship and accidentally activated the defense system, getting injured in the process. Clark saved her by destroying the defense robot and cauterizing her wounds with his heat vision, revealing his existence to her before she passed out. Leaving her outside in an area she would be safe and found quickly by the military, Clark returns to the ship which automatically takes off for a remote area of Antarctica.
An interactive projection of Jor-El appears and greets Clark. Jor-El informed him of his true name Kal-El, his people's history on Krypton and its downfall thanks to Zod. Jor-El shows him technology on the ship, including the Genesis Chamber; a technology Kryptonians used to procreate. Jor-El then showed Clark their family crest, the symbol of "Hope" for the Kryptonian people and Kal's unique nature as the first naturally born child of Krypton in generations, a being who can choose his own purpose. Jor-El finally gives him a suit he had the ship create for Kal-El before imploring his son to keep pushing his limits to be a symbol of hope for the people of Earth.
Clark then began testing his powers, trying many times to fly before taking off and soaring high into orbit of Earth. Clark returned home to Smallville and greeted his mother with a hug. He explained to her the travels he went on and that he found the answers he was looking for. Meanwhile, Lois was investigating her mysterious savior and eventually found her way to the farm with questions about Clark, leading her to the cemetery where Jonathan was buried. Clark found her at the cemetery where he revealed the reason he died to protect Clark from the world, convincing her to not publish a story revealing him to the world as Clark Kent.
Battle with General Zod
Whilst in the farm house General Zod, the Kryptonian Military leader from his home world his father had told him about, arrived on Earth with his army and sent a message to the world to hand over Kal-El or suffer the consequences. Realizing his existence on Earth was no longer a secret and that he could not put people in harm's way after a discussion with Father Leone, Smallville's priest, Clark decided to hand himself over to the military in his new suit in order to protect his mother. Flying outside a military base he knew was imprisoning Lois, he confronted the base's military leader General Swanwick and his army, offering to hand himself over into their custody in exchange for Lois' freedom. Clark attempted to assure the military he only wanted to help and posed no threat to humanity. Unfortunately the military had orders to hand him over Zod, who sent his second in command Faora Hu-Ul to collect Clark and Lois, whom Zod specifically requested join them on his ship, Black Zero. On route to the ship, Clark slipped Lois his House of El Command Key as Faora acquired a respirator for Lois so she could process the Kryptonian environment on the ship.
Aboard Black Zero, Clark came face to face with Zod, but started to cough up blood and struggle to breath as Black Zero's life support systems were replicating Krypton's atmosphere, an environment he had never known. The effect left Clark virtually powerless so Zod could subject him to mental probing. Zod learned all about Kal's life and showed him plans to destroy the human race to resurrect Krypton with the genetic codex of the Kryptonian race that his birth father Jor-El had stolen and sent with Kal to Earth. Clark broke free from the probing to see Zod standing above him, explaining his remorse for killing Jor-El, but declaring there was nothing that could stop him from resurrecting Krypton. Jax-Ur took some of Clark's blood and ran tests on it which would later reveal that the Codex that Zod was searching for had been embedded in Kal-El's genetic structure, making him a living repository of the Kryptonian race. Lois however, had brought Jor-El's AI aboard Black Zero and it helped her escape using an escape pod before changing the atmosphere for Clark to regain some strength to break free. Punching a hole in the ship for sun rays to get through, Clark regained full strength and had final words with Jor-El, who encouraged him that he could save humanity. Clark then raced after Lois in the falling escape pod, catching her just before the pod exploded in a corn field.
Realizing that Zod most likely knew his ship was located in Smallville, Clark flew off quickly to his family's farm. Upon his arrival, he found Zod and a group of soldiers threatening his mother to locate the Codex. Enraged Clark picked Zod up and flew him through several grain silos and repeatedly punching the General's helmet, damaging it. Their fight led them to Smallville's Main Street, where Zod's soldiers rescued him. Clark was forced to battle two Kryptonians sent as a diversion, managing to hold his own with the veteran warriors. Clark also managed to save some of the US military personnel led by Colonel Hardy. The Kryptonians eventually withdrew after a devastating battle. Recognizing Clark's contribution to protecting them, Colonel Hardy allowed Clark to leave by citing him as an ally. Clark flew to his family's farm to check on his mother who was unharmed and was reunited with Lois, who was told by Jor-El that they could use Clark's ship to open a focused black hole which would send the Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone. By that time, the military began to openly refer to Clark as "Superman."
Superman delivered his ship to the military and flew to the Indian Ocean, where Zod had deployed a World Engine to terraform Earth and make it into a new Krypton. After some struggle, Superman was able to fly through the gravity beam the ship was emitting, destroying it while also knocking himself unconscious. After regaining consciousness, Superman flew to Metropolis to find Zod attacking the military with the scout ship that Superman had found. After damaging the ship and entering it, Superman ignored Zod's pleas to spare the ship, stating that Krypton had had its chance. Unleashing his heat vision, he damaged the ship causing it to crash into the city.
The military unit led by Colonel Hardy and Lois fell under attack from Faora, who disabled most of the crew before the Colonel managed to crash into Black Zero. Lois was thrown from the ship as it crashed and Superman caught her before trying to fly away from the singularity caused by his ship colliding with Black Zero. He placed Lois beside Perry White, Steve Lombard and Jenny Jurwich and in a moment of adrenaline, Lois kissed Superman who reciprocated before flying off to confront Zod. Having mastered the ability to fly, Zod engaged Superman in a battle that almost destroyed what was left of Metropolis. The two then crash-landed in Metropolis Central Station where Zod unleashed his heat vision upon an innocent civilian family. Superman grappled Zod trying to divert his heat vision away, even pleading with the other Kryptonian before having no choice but to snap Zod's neck, killing him. Shocked at what he had to do, Superman let out a bellowing scream of pain as Lois arrived and consoled him.
Returning home to his mother in Smallville after saving his adopted planet, Clark wishes Jonathan had lived to see who he had become and is consoled by his mother as the two think back to a moment Jonathan stared with awe at a young Clark playing as a child in the garden of the farm with a red sheet as cape. Superman also confronts General Swanwick, who had been using military drones to search for Superman. Explaining he is here to help, but it needs to be on his own terms, he tells the General he is trusting him to make the US Government understand.
Clark then got a job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, having concluded that journalism gave him a career that would allow him to keep an ear out for dangerous situations while also giving him an excuse to head towards that trouble. Arriving on his first day, he decided to wear glasses to conceal his identity as Superman before being welcomed to "the Planet" by Lois.
Conflict with Batman
After Lois and photographer Jimmy Olsen were sent on assignment to Nairomi, Africa to interview General Amajagh, Jimmy was exposed as a CIA operative undercover by Anatoli Knyazev. Knyazev kills Amajagh's men and flees while Amajagh himself takes Lois captive. Superman soon arrives, bursting through the ceiling before taking out Amajagh and saving Lois.
Back at their apartment, Clark arrives with flowers and food for dinner as Lois is in the bath. She tells Clark about the hearing held by Senator June Finch on the Nairomi incident, but Clark tells her he doesn't care what they think about his actions when her life was in danger. He then jumps in the bath with her and kisses her fully clothed.
At the Daily Planet, Clark watches on the news showing criminal trafficker Cesar Santos who had been captured and handed over to the Gotham City Police Department by the Batman, who had branded him as well, something considered a death sentence for people going to prison, as Batman only brands the worst kind of criminals. Clark takes the Ferry over to Gotham to report on the football. While he is there, he decides to interview Kahini Ziri, the woman on the news who claims that Superman murdered the people in Nairomi. She isn't home but her neighbors instead notify him of the activities of that Batman.
At the Daily Planet in a daily briefing, Clark asks Perry if he can report on the crime in Gotham City after looking into the Batman's history. A sarcastic Perry shoots Clark down as crime in Gotham is something common and not worth reporting on. At work, Perry gives Clark the story of Gotham City University Football team's recent glory hopes dashed. Clark asks Perry if he can cover a story on the Batman and his victims, but Perry insists that he stay on sports. On the news, Wallace Keefe is shown being arrested for spray painting 'False God' onto the Superman statue as a deflated Clark looks on.
Clark is sent to cover Lex Luthor he is hosting at the Metropolis Library. As Luthor begins his speech, Clark's Super Hearing begins to hear somebody with an earpiece on talking about stealing files from Lex, and detects it as Bruce Wayne. Clark makes a B line for Bruce and introduces himself to him and begins asking Bruce about his views on the Bat vigilante in Gotham, deducing that Bruce himself is Batman. Bruce smugly shrugs off his question, instead turning it on it's head pointing at the hypocrisy of the Daily Planet and their editorials on Superman. They are both interrupted by Luthor who introduces himself before being ushered away by his assistant Mercy Graves.
Clark then follows Bruce down the stairs as he makes his way to retrieve his hacker he placed to steal Lex's files. As he does, he sees on the news a disaster unfolding at the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico and quickly leaves the party as Superman. Flying to Mexico, Superman enters a huge fire burning building to find Carmen, a girl trapped in the fire. He finds her and safely gets her out of the building, flying her to her mother as most of the people at the celebration gather around Superman to touch him. Undeterred, Clark continues to investigate into the Batman's criminal activities and proceeds to write up a piece for it at work. When Perry checks Clark's dropbox for his write up on the Football, he confronts Clark about it. Clark says that the Press needs to be doing the right thing and exposing the Batman for the criminal that he is but Perry shoots Clark's pleas down.
Superman, over the next few weeks, continues to save the world, saving a family from a flood in Colarado and Russian Cosmonauts from an exploding rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, as his presence on Earth is discussed on various talk shows around America.
Clark is at his desk at the Daily Planet as his post arrives, an envelope full of newspaper clippings on the Batman, portraying him as 'judge, jury & executioner' towards criminals and the poor. Feeling that Clark Kent is getting the job done exposing the Batman for his criminal activities at the Daily Planet, Superman tracks Batman to the Gotham City Docks where he finds Batman in his Batmobile chasing a half destroyed lorry down. He catches Batman off guard around a corner standing directly in front of his Batmobile, sending the custom built vehicle careering into a gas pump. Superman stands on the Batmobile and rips off both doors with his hands, throwing them to the side and warning Batman to end his activities, before flying off.
At the United States Capitol, Senator Finch has called a hearing on the 'Superman Incident' in Nairomi, asking for Superman to appear as he is blamed for the deaths of General Amajah's men. Feeling lost, Clark flies home to see his mother Martha, asking for her advice. She tells him that he doesn't have to continue to be Superman as he owes the world nothing.
Superman flies to the Capitol anyway, hovering above to see crowds of hundreds outside, some supporting his actions some against him. He flies down and enters the Capitol building and walks into the hearing room, as people stop and turn heads. Senator Finch begins by thanking Wallace Keefe for turning up to the hearing and as she continues to begin her opening speech, begins to stumble in her words. Superman looks on as if something is wrong, when a bomb from Keefe's wheelchair explodes killing everybody in the hearing room and nearby rooms. Superman, unaffected opens his eyes to see dead bodies and flames all around him.
A disheartened Superman later flies to Lois' hotel room balcony where he waits for her. He tells her that he has decided to give up being Superman, as it was just a dream of a Kansas farmer and that it wasn't real. He then flies way, telling her that he is leaving humanity behind.
Clark travels to the Arctic region, where he walks for days trying to find his purpose on the planet. He comes across a vision of adopted father Jonathan, who is throwing rocks into a pile. Jonathan tells Clark of a story of a flood on the Kent Farm where he diverted the water from one farm to another, and that it was wife Martha who supported him in his time of crisis. Realizing he shouldn't give up on Lois and the world yet, Jonathan's vision disappears and Clark decides to return.
Flying back to Metropolis as Superman, he hears Lois screaming for help as she is pushed off of the top of LexCorp by Luthor. Superman grabs her and safely places her on the ground before flying back up to confront Luthor. Lex is sat on the ground with a timer in his hand and he begins telling Superman of how he has manipulated the Batman into hating Superman as Lex resents his God like powers and his self righteous ideals of being all powerful. He then reveals that he knows Superman is Clark Kent and that he wants Superman to go to Gotham City and kill Batman and bring his head to Lex, otherwise Lex will kill Superman's dearest in one hour. Superman tells Lex that Lois is safe on the ground, but Lex reveals he has Martha kidnapped in an unknown location to Lex and that any harm to him will result in Martha dying. Lex then departs in his helicopter telling Superman he has under an hour. Superman flies to Lois who is getting into a taxi and tells her that "men don't stay good forever", before flying off to Gotham.
With the Bat-Signal lighting up the sky above Gotham, Superman flies to find Batman waiting for him, in his new armored Batsuit. Superman asks Batman by addressing him as Bruce Wayne to listen to him and the situation but Batman has already laid booby traps for Superman, with automatic guns all around that begin firing at Superman. Superman destroys them with his heat vision. He walks up to Batman and pushes him to the floor and again pleads with him to listen.
Sonic weapons then attack Superman which he destroys before picking up Batman and flying him through the building before throwing him into the Bat-Signal destroying it, telling him that if he wanted him dead he would've done it already. Batman then ignites a lead based smoke grenades to block Superman's vision before hiding and firing a Kryptonite smoke grenade at Superman, severely weakening his cells and nullifying his abilities. Superman, unaware of the Kryptonite's effects, attacks Batman but is overpowered and sent flying backwards before being kicked down into the building below. Batman begins beating Superman before the Kryptonite wears off and Superman stops Batman's kick and throws him through a wall. The two then charge at each other before Superman sends Batman crashing through many floors of the building into a rest room, before Batman fires another Kryptonite smoke grenade weakening Superman again. He then proceeds to beat Superman and throwing him off a balcony many floors below, with is body at the bottom in a pile of rubble. Batman ties his grappling gun to his feet and begins to swing him into the buildings structure before dragging his body next to a Kryptonite Spear he placed earlier.
He then marks Superman's face before preparing to fatally stab him. Superman tells Batman that what he is doing is letting Lex kill Martha his mother. Hearing his own mother's name shocks and freezes Batman, confused as to what Superman is saying. Lois arrives and tells Batman that Martha is Superman's mothers name. Batman throws the spear a safe distance away and helps Superman up. Lois informs both that the scout ship is draining power from the city and that Lex is involved. Superman says that he needs to find his mother first but Batman promises to find and save her, so Superman flies off.
Crashing through the roof of the Scout Ship to find Lex in the destroyed Genesis Chamber, Lex says he is disappointed that he doesn't have Batman's head. Superman tells Lex that his plan has failed but Lex says he has a back up plan, revealing he used Zod's dead body and his own blood to create an ancient Kryptonian deformity designed with the purpose to kill Superman, Doomsday. The creature bursts through it's birthing matrix roaring and goes to attack Lex, as Superman stops it as it punches Superman through the Scout Ship's roof, landing him in Heroes Park near to his own statue. Superman returns the favor punching Doomsday away and towards LexCorp Tower where it stands roaring over the Metropolis Skyline as it is attacked by military aircraft, causing the creature to adapt to the attack and release an energy burst as a result. Superman grabs Doomsday and begins flying him out of Earth's atmosphere as Doomsday wrestles Superman to release him from his grip.
The United States decide to fire a Nuclear Missile at the both of them to destroy them which Superman sees approaching, so grabs and holds Doomsday directly in front of it taking a hit along with the creature. The blast sends Doomsday crashing back down to Earth where he lands on Stryker's Island, as Superman's body floats in Earth's orbit in a severely weakened state, skin pale and peeling off his body and his muscles reduced. The Yellow Sun shines on his body and begins to rejuvenate Superman quickly.
After his body has restored itself, Superman returns to the battle finding Doomsday stood facing down Batman in his crashed Batwing and the mysterious Wonder Woman, as he sends Doomsday flying into a nearby factory which explodes. Superman asks Batman if he has obtained the kryptonite spear, but Batman says he's been a little busy. Diana remarks that the creature is feeding off of energy and Superman tries to explain that it is from his world, but Diana just calmly says she's killed being from other worlds before.
The trinity then begin to attack the creature as a unit, with Diana and Superman attacking Doomsday head on as Batman watches on. Doomsday proves to be too powerful, and knocks the two off before turning his attention to Batman who uses his grappling gun to evade Doomsday's heat blasts. As Superman prepares to attack Doomsday again, his super-gearing picks up Lois' cries for help, so he leaves to find her trapped under rubble trying to obtain the kryptonite spear. He pulls her from the water before swimming down for the spear himself. He obtains it but being too close to it makes him faint and his body floats to the top of the water as Lois pulls him up and throws the spear away.
As he regains his focus, he looks on to see Diana and Batman both failing to stop Doomsday. Realizing he is the only one strong enough to stop the creature, he tells Lois that "she is his world" and flies off and grabs the Spear and flies straight into Doomsday with it, who in turn releases huge energy loosening Diana's Lasso of Truth which was holding him allowing him to fatally stab Superman in the chest. Superman uses Doomsday's spike as leverage to further impale Doomsday killing the creature before dying himself.
A huge funeral procession is held for Superman in Heroes Park with a memorial constructed in his honor replacing the Superman Statue that was destroyed in his battle with Doomsday earlier, while Clark's body was taken to Smallville and buried there. As the funeral finishes, Clark's gravity force that allows him to fly activates, levitating the dirt on top of his casket.
Growing up as the only person of his kind and very different and alienated by his peers, Clark grew up a very confused, lonely and lost person. Instilled by his parents, he grew up to care for other people and to do the right thing. Realizing he could help others with his powers, he went against his father's wishes to help others.
With the passing of his adopted father, Clark went on a journey of discovery in which he had to control his pent up anger, instead of releasing his awesome power on mere humans, he instead found a different means, like wrecking a truck instead. He also showed impressive anger when Zod threatened Martha tackling him off and releasing incredible rage upon him. His anger was again shown when Zod threatened innocent bystanders and had to snap his neck to prevent his madness from continuing any longer. After committing murder, Clark screamed out in tears at what he had to do, fully remorseful of the necessary act he had to commit.
Whilst in the presence of Lois Lane, Clark seems to enjoy life a bit more with her spunky and sometimes flirty personality having a kind effect on Clark. Despite having felt isolated from humanity for most of his life due to his powers, when he learned about Zod's plans to restore Krypton, Clark immediately chose to protect humanity over Krypton, refusing to sacrifice his adopted people for the sake of a planet he had never known in life.
- Kryptonian Physiology
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the film Man of Steel and is an adaptation of Clark Kent/Superman. The original character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in Action Comics #1.
- Clark Kent/Superman is portrayed by Henry Cavill. Clark as a youth was portrayed by Cooper Timberline, at age 9, and Dylan Sprayberry, at age 13.
- 9 Appearances of Kal-El (DC Extended Universe)
- 40 Images featuring Kal-El (DC Extended Universe)
- Quotations by or about Kal-El (DC Extended Universe)
- Character Gallery: Kal-El (DC Extended Universe)
Superman Family member
Daily Planet Staff member