- 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
Born on the planet Krypton, Kal-L was sent off his homeworld by his parents in the wake of it's impending destruction. Landing on Earth, the infant boy was taken in by a couple in Kansas and raised imbued with heavy respect for the American way of life. With his exceptional character and indomitable moral center, Kal-L, renamed Clark Kent by his adopted parents, took up the role of the world's first superhero, dubbed Superman. As Clark Kent, he would move to Metropolis and become a reporter for the Daily Planet, finding close friends in co-workers Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, the latter of whom he would become romantically involved with.
During the Second World War, Superman fought for the Allies and became associated with well-known heroes who took part, including Wonder Woman, whom became another one of his closest friends. Together, they would join the heroic team the Justice Society of America, and with their help, turned the tide of the war and eventually played a part in it's end.
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 refused to cooperate with the government's policy, most specifically the Batman, who he'd grown at odds with in the wake of the implementation of McCarthyism. At the behest of Dwight D. 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 Green 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 female villagers to kill their captors in retribution for the sufferings the soldiers of the foreign regimes enacted on them and their loved ones. Superman reprimanded her on this, explaining enacting justice on their own was the reason the government had grown so paranoid of metahumans, but Wonder Woman rebuked him, explaining how meaningless the government's jurisdiction was given the state of conflict and atrocities that ran rampant throughout the country and furthermore chastising him for his participation in the increasingly authoritarian methods they used, asking him to leave.
Clark later attended Diana'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. Clark visited Diana on 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 met 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 help. Diana then informs Superman that the Centre attacked her island as it was passing through and warns that it is heading for the United States, appearing off the coast of Florida. The two briefly kiss but she falls unconscious.
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 advocated cooperation between them. He was surprisingly seconded by King Faraday, who introduced Superman to Martian J'onn J'onzz. Superman then attempted to recon and communicate with the Centre, but only to be attacked by the being's creatures before the Centre blasted Superman with a massive energy beam, sending the Man of Steel falling into the sea.
A long and extensive search was made for him, but nothing was found indicating he had survived. As Lois Lane reported his apparent death, she emotionally broke up. Jimmy Olsen comforted her and criticized Rocky Davis for trying to use sympathy to obtain her, stating she loved Superman.
After the Centre was destroyed, it was revealed that Superman has been hospitalized by Atlanteans and was returned to the surface by Aquaman who introduces himself and states Superman was asking for Lois. The two reunite and hug each other. In the wake of the battle, Superman and the veteran heroes formed a new super-team: The Justice League. Shortly afterwards, his cousin Kara Zor-L arrived to Earth and joined the Teen Titans.
Powers and Abilities
- 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. Supermans 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 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.
- Longevity: Superman can live longer than regular humans, remaining at his prime as long as he was under the exposure of the "yellow" sun.
- Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Superman possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the comic book stories considered to be set on Earth-21. It is an adaptation of Kal-L/Clark Kent/Superman. The original character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in Action Comics #1.
- 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.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: Son of Kal-El (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- 9 Appearances of Kal-L (Earth-21)
- 19 Images featuring Kal-L (Earth-21)
- 1 Quotations by or about Kal-L (Earth-21)
- Character Gallery: Kal-L (Earth-21)
Superman Family member
|Justice League member|
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.
Daily Planet Staff member