- This country was founded on the notion that a person should be free to follow their destiny. Many of us here have devoted our lives to defending that freedom. Many who would be here tonight gave their lives for that grand notion. So tonight, that's what I intend to do. Follow my destiny.
- -- Superman src
The sole survivor of planet Krypton, Kal-L lived in his adopted homeworld of Earth, and taking the identity of Superman. During the Second World War, Superman fought for the Allies and became associated with well known heroes who took part, including Wonder Woman.
By the 1950s, Superman and some other heroes registered and sworn their loyalties to the United States government at the height of the Cold War. Superman was tasked in capturing other heroes and vigilantes that didn't cooperated with the government's policy, and most specifically the Batman. On the behest from President Ike Eisenhower, Superman came to Gotham City to (reluctantly) arrest the Dark Knight. However, Batman was prepared for him and exploited many effective tactics that overcame the Man of Steel, including a stolen piece of Kryptonite. Their battle ceased at the Batcave when Wonder Woman intervened and brought to their senses that there is no actual need for them to fight each other given that their government had become too afraid and unreasonably paranoid of their own heroes. Superman then earned Batman's trust after he revealed his identity as Bruce Wayne. And with Wonder Woman the three orchestrated a mock public battle between Superman and Batman that allows the latter to 'win' and be free from federal interference. Thereafter, Superman tried his best in changing the government's strict policy from within.
In 1955, Superman and Wonder Woman later participate in providing humanitarian relief in war torn Indo-China. There Superman discovered to his horror from Wonder Woman that she allowed captive women peasants to kill their captors in retribution for the sufferings they have done to them and their loved ones. Superman knew that he has to report this, but Wonder Woman told him that reporting this is meaningless given the state of conflict and atrocities that is running rampant throughout the country.
Kal later attended Wonder Woman's citation for her heroic services in front of a White House press conference. However, the conference abruptly ended when the Amazon recapped the atrocities she had seen in Vietnam, and was subsequently forced to return to Paradise Island. Superman visit Wonder Woman to her island, and discovered the reasons why she departed for life as the American government was growing too conservative and downplaying her ideals, and see her not useful for their own purposes. This revelation came as a depressing shock for Superman. In 1958, while after fighting a giant robot in Tokyo, Japan, Superman saved Challengers Red Ryan and Rocky Davis from the destruction of spaceship Flying Cloud.
He was later contacted by Batman concerning the threat of the entity known as The Centre. He meet up with the Dark Knight outside of Gotham where Superman was given the burden to confront this threat. Eventually this threat sent a giant mutant pterodactyl to attack Cape Canaveral. Superman was called in and subsequently subdued the creature. While examining the dinosaur with the Challengers, Superman witnessed an injured Wonder Woman in her invisible plane crashed landed at the base. He quickly saw to her for medical needs. Diana then recalls to him that the Centre attacked her island as it was passing through and warns that it is heading for Cape Canaveral, which it then appears off the coast.
After being motivated by Diana's urging to unite the heroes and people that came to fight against the entity, Superman ceased the infighting between the soldiers and heroes, and advocates cooperation between the two sides. He was surprisingly seconded by King Faraday, who introduced Superman to Martian J'onn J'onzz. Superman then attempted to recon and communicate the Centre, but only to fight against the being's creatures. However, this was reveal to be a distraction and the Centre blasted Superman, and sending him into the sea. Everyone on land believed him to be dead after a long extensive search for him.
After the Centre was destroyed, it was revealed that Superman has been hospitalized by Atlanteans and was returned to the surface by Aquaman, where he is then reunited with his love interest Lois Lane.
- 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
- Superman was also known as Spaceman by Wonder Woman and Bishop Six by King Faraday.
- In the animated adaption of Justice League: The New Frontier Superman was voiced by Kyle MacLachlan.
- Creator Grant Morrison noted in a Newsarama interview that this Superman was intended as a member of the Supermen of the Multiverse.
- 8 Appearances of Kal-L (Earth-21)
- 17 Images featuring Kal-L (Earth-21)
- 1 Quotations by or about Kal-L (Earth-21)
- Character Gallery: Kal-L (Earth-21)
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This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.