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Superman is the last son of Krypton, sent as the dying planet's last hope to Earth, where he grew to become its protector. Though he was apparently killed shortly after the Darkseid War, his essence merged with the New Earth Superman in Rebirth, creating a new, merged timeline for Superman.

New 52

Origin

Baby Kal-El's escape from a dying planet

Baby Kal-El's escape from a dying planet

Kal-El was born on Krypton to Jor-El and Lara. After Jor-El discovered that the planet was doomed to destruction, he attempted to escape with his family into the Phantom Zone but was repelled by the criminals who had been imprisoned there. With no other choice, he and Lara resigned themselves to their fates, placing their son in a prototype evacuation rocket, activating its Brainiac intelligence, and sending it to a place with a yellow sun: Earth.[1]

The crash site was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who had just learned that they could not have children. Seeing this alien orphan as their chance, they gathered him up and took him home, leaving a stillborn calf in his place in the hopes of throwing the government off their trail.[2] They raised him as Clark Kent in Smallville, Kansas, teaching him their values. Eventually, Jonathan revealed Clark's true parentage to him, but left it to him to decide what it would mean. On the night of his prom, however, Clark's adopted parents were both killed in a car accident.[3] After their funerals, Clark sold Kent Farm to a neighbour and moved to Metropolis to become a journalist.[4]

Becoming Superman

Superman debuts in Metropolis

Superman debuts in Metropolis

Upon moving to Metropolis, Clark took a job at the Daily Star, and prepared himself to act as a vigilante by having several shirts printed with the S-Symbol that had come to Earth with him emblazoned on them. His attempt to rescue a young boy caused him to reveal himself before he expected to, and the city came to know of the superhuman man.[5] Within six months, he had fully revealed himself, and was targeting corrupt businessman Glen Glenmorgan when General Sam Lane and Lex Luthor took an interest in him. They staged several emergencies to trap him, finally succeeding with a train crash that endangered the General's own daughter Lois.[6] In collaboration with the military, Luthor tortured Superman while his Kryptonian Rocket was studied. Upon his escape, Superman discovered it and sealed it away for protection, but too late to prevent its Kryptonian signal from alerting the Collector of Worlds to its location - and unaware that Luthor was complicit in making that happen.[7]

After the district of New Troy had been secretly shrunken down and abducted by the Collector of Worlds, Superman made a giant leap from Metropolis into outer space, catching hold of the retreating space-ship. The Collector tried to force Superman to choose between the lives of those in the city of Kandor and of New Troy, but he refused to choose, instead donning a Kryptonian suit of armour from one of the bottles, and promising to protect both.[8] Defeating the Collector and returning New Troy to its original place, Superman then came out officially to the people of Metroplis as an alien and promised to remain on the side of good.[9]

Superman and Batman met for the first time while Clark was investigating a series of murders in Wayne Enterprises. The two new heroes were unexpectedly whisked to a parrallel reality by Kaiyo the Trickster where they met older and more experienced versions of themselves. When they were returned back to their Earth however, Kaiyo wiped their memories of the whole interaction.[10]

At some point, some of Superman's DNA was collected by both the organization N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and Lex Luthor to produce clones of the Kryptonian, in five years creating Superboy and Bizarro respectively.

Justice League

The Justice League is formed.

The Justice League is formed.

Superman had his real first encounter with Batman and Green Lantern after they'd pursued a Parademon to Metropolis.[11] He assumed they were villains because they had a Father Box, overpowering both of them, even after Green Lantern called the Flash for help.

Batman convinced them all to team up, but they were too late to stop the Father Box opening a Boom Tube to Apokolips.[12] The four of them were forced to battle an army of invading Parademons, but they were fortunate to receive assistance from Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg - the last of whom had just assimilated the Father Box technology into his cybernetic body.[13] Their resistance attracted the attention of Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, who came to fight them personally.[14] Darkseid incapacitated Superman with an Omega Blast, and the Parademons carried him off to Apokolips. Batman followed to rescue him while the rest of the group remained to battle Darkseid.[15] Superman was tortured by Desaad and Steppenwolf until Batman managed to save him. They returned to Earth and Superman punched Darkseid back through the Boom Tube as Cyborg closed it.

The heroes were congratulated by the President for saving the planet, and they decided to become an official team. Historian David Graves would later call them the Justice League.[16]

Death of "Clark Kent" and Fighting Vyndktvx

After faking his death as Clark Kent to shake off someone who was investigating too closely into his secret identity, Clark took the alias of Johnny Clark and joined the fire department. Still he began to regret killing Clark Kent off and sought advice from Batman, who promised to deal with it.

After discovering an alien named Captain Comet who foretold of Earth's extinction by alien attacks, Superman managed to fight him off but, in the process, caused his Johnny Clark identity to be thought dead as well. Luckily, Superman's former landlady, Mrs. Nyxly, who knew of his former secret identity as Clark Kent, revealed to him that she was from the Fifth Dimension and used one of her three wishes she had saved to wipe Clark Kent's death from everyone's minds. Nyxly continued to tell Superman that everything bad that ever happened in his life was the doing of someone else from her home.[17] She explained that Lord Vyndktvx, from her home Dimension had attacked Clark at multiple points in his history, to the point that certain memories he had might have happened otherwise before those attacks.[18]

Lord Vyndktvx finally made a play for Superman's life in the present with his assembled Anti-Superman Army.[18] Finally understanding Vyndktvx's weakness, Superman used a telepathic connection set up by Lois Lane's psychic niece Susie Thompkins to convince everyone in the world to say their own names backwards. The sound of this five-dimensional utterance caused Vyndktvx to retreat to his own dimension, where he was immediately arrested.[19]

H'El on Earth

Superman vs H'el

Superman vs H'el

Soon after, the Daily Planet was bought out by businessman Morgan Edge, initiating a major change in the reporting style of the Planet. Unhappy with the changes, Clark quit working for the paper and, to make matters worse, found out that his love interest Lois Lane was now in a serious relationship with another man named John Carroll.[20]

Later, in his hero identity, Superman was confronted by another Kryptonian called H'el, who wanted to recruit him by force to join his unholy crusade of saving Krypton. After learning that H'el wanted to use the Fortress to go back in time to save Krypton, Superman called in the Justice League and his teenage clone Superboy to fight H'el and prevent the destruction of the solar system.[21]

Unchained

While investigating the shady government group known as Ascension, Superman uncovered the beast known as Wraith, an alien with very similar powers that was captured and trained by the US government to bring down terrorist. After learning about their common purposes, Superman and Wraith agreed to work together to stop Ascension.[22]

Superman and Wraith defeated a small faction of Ascension, but Superman was soon betrayed by Wraith, who sought what was known as an Earthstone. Following a colossal battle, Superman defeated Wraith and not long after this, Lex Luthor informed him that Wraith's species was planning to attack Earth and the only weapon that could used against them would kill Superman.[23] Superman chose not to use the weapon and confronted the aliens without aid, but Wraith soon redeemed himself by using the weapon against his own species, killing himself in the process.[24]

The Psi-War

Main article: Superman: Psi-War
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Krypton Returns

Main article: Krypton Returns
Superman and Jor-El

Superman and Jor-El

After battling a group of mentally enhanced psychics known as the Twenty in a sort of "Psi-War" [25], Superman learned that H'El had survived and had managed to bring Krypton back to life. However, H'El also altered the timeline and they had to stop him from destroying the universe. With the help of Faora, Superman traveled to Kryptonopolis a few months before Krypton's destruction, where he meets his mother Lara.[26][27] Superman witnessed Lara telling Jor-El that she was pregnant, but then, Superman was confronted by a mysterious person who was aware about his travel in time.[28]

This stranger was in fact Jor-El, who came from one of the alternate futures created by H'El. Realizing he was the one who created H'El, Jor-El came to the past to stop H'El from conquering Krypton. Superman and Jor-El travelled to Krypton's core and fought H'El. At first, Jor-El wanted to kill H'El but Superman instead used H'El's own chronal powers against him and froze him with his super-breath, locking H'El in a state of eternal limbo. Superman and Supergirl were reunited in the present, but they learned that Superboy sacrificed his life to stop H'El. Mourning the loss of their friend, Superman and Supergirl returned to Earth.[29]

Trinity War and Forever Evil

Main articles: Trinity War and Forever Evil

In the hopes of ridding the world of evil, Pandora tried to have members of the Justice League open her box for her, believing that their virtuousness would prevent the calamity that occurred when she opened it.[30] However, this backfired, and the active Justice Leagues took sides, fighting over the "correct" method to open the box.[31]

While trying to understand the escalating tension of opening the box, Superman and Wonder Woman were ambushed by Dr. Light and, during their fight, Superman accidentally killed Light with his heat vision.[32] Superman asked to be locked away for his outburst but started getting sick in captivity.[33] Upon investigating further, Firestorm, the Atom, and Element Woman discovered that there was Kryptonite in Superman's nervous system, which caused him to attack Dr. Light unintentionally.[34] However, before they could save him, the Crime Syndicate came to Earth from their world and trapped the Justice League inside the Firestorm Matrix.

After being freed by Lex Luthor and his group of rebellious criminals, Superman was eventually saved by Luthor, who was volunteered to remove the Kryptonite from his brain.[35]

Doomed

Main article: Superman: Doomed
SuperDoom

SuperDoom

After discovering Doomsday wrecking havoc and harboring a dangerous toxin within his body, Superman ripped the beast in half and used his super-breath to inhale the toxin to stop it from spreading.[36] After recovering, Superman realized that he was slowly turning into a Doomsday-like creature.[37] Superman's girlfriend, Wonder Woman tried to help him, but the transformation was becoming stronger[38] and Superman had no choice but to turn himself to the authorities.[39] Superman was locked in a special facility but he soon was needed by the Teen Titans to defeat an enemy, which he eliminated ruthlessly.[40]

The military declared Superman an enemy of the state and they sent Metallo and Atomic Skull to eliminate him. Steel tried to help Superman fight the enemies, but, after a suicide attack with kryptonite by Metallo, Superman became weak and his transformation into "SuperDoom" was accelerated.[41] Wonder Woman then took Clark to outer space where he could escape into its depths until they found a way to save him.[42]

While in space, SuperDoom tried to help an alien colony but lost control and attacked their leader.[43] He was then warned about an incoming invasion of Earth by Braniac's forces and he confronted its commander, a cyborg with Superman's appearance.[44] After a brief fight between them, SuperDoom returned to Earth and joined the Justice League to fight Braniac's forces and after their victory, the Justice League remove the kryptonite from Earth's atmosphere, making Superman temporarily change back to normal.[45][46]

When Brainiac's forces returned with reinforcements, Superman attempted to turn back into SuperDoom to fight them. Unfortunately, Superman lost control of his body completely to the virus.[47] Once defeating Brainiac, Lois Lane helped Superman steal Braniac's powers and finally cure Superman of the Doomsday virus. Once free, the hero captured Braniac and took him inside a black hole,[48] returning back to Earth sixty days later.[49] Once back, he was reunited with Wonder Woman, and the two resumed their relationship.[50]

Men of Tomorrow

Superman and Ulysses

Superman and Ulysses

During an alien attack on Metropolis, Superman was assisted by a stranger called Ulysses and together they defeated Klerik, one of the alien soldiers. Superman then learned that Ulysses believed himself to be the last survivor of Earth.[51] With Superman's help, Ulysses found the truth about his past,[52] but they were soon confronted by "The Machinist", a man responsible for creating destructive robots.[53] The criminal managed to escape and shortly afterwards, Ulysses revealed his plan of taking millions of people to his home planet, "The Great World" in order to save mankind from what he believed was Earth's doom.[54] This lead to a confrontation between Superman and Ulysses, with the latter winning and taking Superman prisoner.[55]

On their way to Ulysses' home planet, there was another confrontation between Superman and Ulysses[56] and the fight was brought to Metropolis, where Superman unleashed a new power he didn't know he had: a super flare of solar energy, beating Ulysses for good. Unfortunately, the solar flare drained his powers for a day, leaving him as a normal human until they slowly began to come back.[57]

Darkseid War

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Superman and the rest of the League become involved in a war with Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor. He gets overcharged by an unusual solar energy.

Truth

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Injustice

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Savage Dawn

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Final Days of Superman

After his last fight with Vandal Savage in his depowered state, the events of the Darkseid War, and his fight with the Kryptonian god Rao, Superman learned that he was dying and asked for Batman's help to find him a successor.[58] As part of his legacy, Superman told the whole truth to Lois Lane and asked her to publish everything in the Daily Planet in order to have his history and identity revealed to the world before his death.[59] Superman told the truth to Diana, and they shared a moment before they were needed back in Metropolis, where the "Energy Superman" they had caught days earlier had escaped Stryker Island and was destroying everything.[60]

Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman together tried to stop the Energy Superman and, while doing so, were assisted by the mysterious "Black Superman", who chose to remain unidentified for the time being. Superman took the Energy Superman to space, where he used his solar flare power to finish the threat and the Energy Superman evaporated in the cosmos. Superman's body fell down to Earth and as he was surrounded by his friends, he asked the "Black Superman" to take his mantle and become the New Superman of Earth. After this, Superman's body died and turned to ashes.[61]

Rebirth

Superman Reborn

Main article: DC Rebirth

In order to escape Mister Oz, Mr. Mxyzptlk brainwashsed himself into thinking he was Clark Kent.[62] He harrassed the New Earth Superman and when he was found out, kidnapped Jon Kent and made his parents forget about him. Trapping all of them inside the Fifth Dimension, Mxyzptlk revealed that both the New Earth and Prime Earth Supermen were actually two halves of the true, complete Superman, who was split into two separate people during the Flashpoint incident. The same was true for Lois.[63] Out of love for Jon, Clark and Lois merged with the essences of the other two and each became single, complete Prime Earth version; fixing their conflicting histories and bringing the world back to normal.[64]

Afterwards, Clark felt the need to investigate the changes to his past[65] and reach his cousin out to warn her about his unknown enemy, Mister Oz, and ask her help to fight him.[66]

Revenge

Main article: Superman: Revenge

As Clark and Lois get ready to move back to Metropolis, Hank Henshaw puts together a new Superman Revenge Squad.[67] Stealing a mystical item from Superman's Himalayan backup Fortress, Henshaw turns himself back into Cyborg Superman and allies himself with Metallo, Blanque, Eradicator, Mongul and Zod. Superman tries to stop them, but exposure to the energies of Belle Reve's Black Vault has rendered him blind.[68]

Superman is forced to retreat, taking Lois, Jon and Krypto to the Fortress of Solitude. The group of villains assaults his Fortress before he can come up with a plan, but the Superman Family -Kara Danvers, Lana Lang, John Irons, Kong Kenan- and Lex Luthor turn up, ready to help him.[69] During the ensuing brawl, Zod manages send most of Superman's allies to the Phantom Zone and freeing his wife Ursa and their son Lor-Zod. The trio leaves Earth for the present time. Superman and his family -Supergirl, Lois, Superboy and Krypto- defeat the rest of the Squad and free Superman's friends. However Cyborg Superman got stuck into the Zone, and Superman decides against getting him out of there.[70]

The Oz Effect

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Superman discovers that Mister Oz is his father Jor-El and wants him to leave Earth.

Powers

  • Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Superman possesses the same potential powers as an average Kryptonian. These include:
    • Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of Superman's super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. His 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 his 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: Superman can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. He can vary the heat and area affected.
    • Super-Hearing: Superman's hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill and concentration, he can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency.
    • Enhanced Vision Superman's 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: Superman can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. He can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, he can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows him 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. Superman's can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. He 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: Superman's can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
    • Flight: Superman is able to manipulate graviton particles to defy the forces of gravity and achieve flight. This ranges from hovering to moving in any posture, in any direction.
    • Invulnerability: Due to the interaction of his dense molecular structure and supercharged bio-electric aura, Superman is nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, his extends this protection against toxins and diseases.
    • Superhuman Stamina: Superman is able to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. This based on his body converting yellow solar radiation directly to energy, but is limited by physiological and psychological needs to eat, drink, and sleep.
    • Superhuman Strength: Superman's strength is augmented by yellow solar radiation interacting with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of his musculature. His strength is more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables him 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.
    • Superhuman Speed: Superman is able to move at incredible speed by sheer force of will. This extends to his perceptions and allows for feats such as catching bullets in mid flight as well as covering vast distances in little or no time.
      This also confers:
    • Super-Breath: Superman is able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from his lungs. He can chill the air as it leaves his lungs to freeze targets. He can also reverse the process to pull large volumes of air or vapor into his lungs.

Abilities

Weaknesses


Weapons

Related


Footnotes

  1. Action Comics (Volume 2) #5
  2. Action Comics (Volume 2) #5
  3. Superman (Volume 3) #20
  4. Action Comics (Volume 2) #6 (backup)
  5. Action Comics (Volume 2) #0
  6. Action Comics (Volume 2) #1
  7. Action Comics (Volume 2) #2
  8. Action Comics (Volume 2) #7
  9. Action Comics (Volume 2) #8
  10. Batman/Superman #1
  11. Justice League (Volume 2) #1
  12. Justice League (Volume 2) #2
  13. Justice League (Volume 2) #3
  14. Justice League (Volume 2) #4
  15. Justice League (Volume 2) #5
  16. Justice League (Volume 2) #6
  17. Action Comics (Volume 2) #12
  18. 18.0 18.1 Action Comics (Volume 2) #15
  19. Action Comics (Volume 2) #18
  20. Superman (Volume 3) #1
  21. Superman (Volume 3) #15 - Superman (Volume 3) #17
  22. Superman Unchained #3
  23. Superman Unchained #8
  24. Superman Unchained #9
  25. Superman (Volume 3) #20 - Action Comics (Volume 2) #24
  26. Action Comics Annual (Volume 2) #2
  27. Superboy (Volume 6) #25
  28. Supergirl (Volume 6) #25
  29. Superman (Volume 3) #25
  30. Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1
  31. Trinity War
  32. Justice League (Volume 2) #22
  33. Justice League of America (Volume 3) #6
  34. Justice League (Volume 2) #23
  35. Forever Evil #7
  36. Superman: Doomed #1
  37. Action Comics (Volume 2) #31
  38. Superman/Wonder Woman #8
  39. Batman/Superman #11
  40. Superman (Volume 3) #31
  41. Action Comics (Volume 2) #32
  42. Superman/Wonder Woman #9
  43. Action Comics (Volume 2) #33
  44. Superman/Wonder Woman #10
  45. Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1
  46. Action Comics Annual (Volume 2) #3
  47. Superman/Wonder Woman #11
  48. Superman: Doomed #2
  49. Action Comics (Volume 2) #35
  50. Superman/Wonder Woman #12
  51. Superman (Volume 3) #32
  52. Superman (Volume 3) #33
  53. Superman (Volume 3) #34
  54. Superman (Volume 3) #35
  55. Superman (Volume 3) #36
  56. Superman (Volume 3) #37
  57. Superman (Volume 3) #38
  58. Batman/Superman #31
  59. Superman (Volume 3) #51
  60. Superman/Wonder Woman #29
  61. Superman (Volume 3) #52
  62. Action Comics #975
  63. Superman (Volume 4) #19
  64. Action Comics #976
  65. Action Comics #977
  66. Supergirl (Volume 7) #8
  67. Action Comics #979
  68. Action Comics #982
  69. Action Comics #983
  70. Action Comics #984



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