Superman

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Superman is the one of the most prominent and powerful superheroes in the DC Universe.

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Superman (Pre-Crisis, Earth-2)

The Superman of Earth-2, during the 1940s.

Originally Kal-L, last survivor of the planet Krypton, he was rocketed to Earth as his planet destroyed itself. Raised by John and Mary Kent, a farmer family, as their son Clark, he discovered as he grew older that Earth's lighter gravity and yellow sun gave him superhuman powers. Clark's good upbringing gave him a desire to help others, so in 1938 he become the first costumed superhero, Superman.

At first, he was superhumanly strong, could execute incredible leaps taller than the tallest buildings, was faster than a speeding bullet and was invulnerable to weapons weaker than a bursting shell. However, as he grew older and absorbed more solar energy, his powers increased until he could fly and use a variety of vision powers, including x-ray vision, heat vision, telescopic vision and microscopic vision. He also gained powers such as super-breath and super-hearing. Working in Metropolis as a reporter for the Daily Star, Clark met his life-long love, Lois Lane.

Superman fought many villains, including the Ultra-Humanite and the criminal genius Luthor (who made extensive use of kryptonite, a substance that could weaken or kill him; magic was the only other thing that could especially harm him). He served with distinction as a member of the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. Later in his career, he built his Fortress of Solitude.

The JSA disbanded in the 1950s, and Clark Kent settled down with Lois (although he continued to battle evil). Eventually, by the time of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kent was the editor of the Daily Star.

Post-Crisis

Unfortunately, the Crisis obliterated his existence on the new merged "Earth-Sigma" in favor of his younger Earth-1 counterpart. Nearly driven mad by his loss, Clark ultimately opted to stay behind in the anti-matter universe along with Earth-Prime's Superboy to defeat the Anti-Monitor. Just as he thought his end was near, however, Alexander Luthor offered an alternative- he could be with his wife in a pocket dimension. The original Superman accepted, but despaired for a time about being trapped there and unable to return to normal reality. However, he recently learned that hypertime offers a pathway back, one which he might take- eventually.

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Superman (Pre-Crisis, Earth-1)

The Superman of Earth-1.

Largely identical in origins, powers and motivations to the Earth-2 version, except that his real name is Kal-El and that he had his full complement of powers from childhood on, fighting crime in Smallville as Superboy. He met Lana Lang and Pete Ross in Smallville, his first love and his best friend, and also had a kryptonian dog, Krypto as a pet. His cousin Kara Zor-El, another survivor of Krypton's doom, came to Earth and became Supergirl.

Clark Kent worked for the Daily Planet, his boss was Perry White, and his co-workers included Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Later, Clark would work for WGBS-TV, with his boss Morgan Edge, and Steve Lombard and Lana Lang as co-workers. This Superman's Fortress of Solitude was much more elaborate, locked with a huge key. He also had a broader range of vulnerabilities, including numerous varieties of kryptonite.

The mightiest incarnation of Superman, his enemies included Lex Luthor (an enemy from his days as Superboy on), Brainiac and Metallo, among many others. The leader of the Justice League of America, Superman was recognized as the world's greatest hero, and his legend would endure for centuries.









Superman (Post-Crisis)

Largely identical to the Earth-1 version, except that Clark's powers were not fully attained until he was an adult (no Superboy era) and were much less than that of his Earth-1 predecessor. This Superman's version of Krypton was also very different. A Kryptonian artifact known as the Eradicator came to Earth with Kal-El, and influenced his life on several occasions. Superman was not a member of the original Justice League of America, but he has since become the leader of the newest incarnation of the JLA.

This incarnation's foes include businessman Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Brainiac-13 and more. Years ago, Superman died in battle against the destructive beast Doomsday, and was replaced by four ersatz Supermen (one of which, the Cyborg, was a villain in disguise) before being restored to life by his Fortress of Solitude.

Later, Lois and Clark married, although their marriage has been rocky at times. Still later, when the sun was snuffed out temporarily and he lost his powers, Superman acquired energy-based powers and even split into two beings, Superman Blue and Superman Red. However, those powers were exhausted battling the Millennium Giants. Superman continues to serve as the epitome of the superheroic ideal.

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Kingdom Come

In an alternate future, the staff of the Daily Planet were killed by the Joker, who was in turn killed by Magog. Superman became disillusioned after public opinion overwhelmingly supported the anti-hero's murder of the Joker, and went into self-imposed exile. He was eventually drawn back after the nuclear destruction of Kansas indirectly caused by Magog's Justice Battalion, forming the Justice League of the World to rein in the new, violent generation of "superheroes." However, this eventually developed into a war between superhumans, many of which were killed by a fearful United Nations.

Superman eventually settled down with Wonder Woman, and they had a child, Jonathan Kent, whom they asked Batman to be the godfather to. However, they were targeted by Gog, who believed Superman was a false messiah. He kidnapped the newborn Jonathan and took him back to the past. During the ensuing battle with Gog alongside their past selves- which resulted in the discovery of hypertime- Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman from the future believed their history had been wiped out. Instead, Hypertime- and their adult son, who had the ability to travel through it- gave them a path back home.

Superman (Post-Infinite Crisis)

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Notes

  • In World's Finest v1 #63 (1953), he masqueraded as Dasher Drape a professional hitman who worked for Big Jim Paulson due to Clark Kent resembling the moustached criminal allowing for him to infiltrate the mob to capture its head
  • In Superman v1 #257 (1972), it was established that the name Kal-El was derived from Kryptonese with El meaning child and Kal meaning Star thus making it stand for Star Child.
  • In Superman v1 #42 (1946), he was forced to briefly adopt the civilian guise of Kenneth Clarkson after his Clark Kent persona walked by a sewer gas explosion making it appear that he had died.
  • In Action Comics v1 #178 (1953), he posed as a hoodlum named Harry Denver in an effort to infiltrate the Dreamorama.
  • In Superman v1 #89 (1954), he posed as a hobo named Charlie Kendall in order to uncover and apprehend a blackmailer.
  • In Superman v1 #124 (1958), he posed as a construction worker named Kirk Brent in an effort to uncover the illegal activities of construction manager Bart Benton.
  • In Superman v1 #126 (1958), after an experiment with Kryptonite he briefly lost his memory of his true identity causing him to adopt the guise of blonde haired Englishman Clarence Kelvin who was hired as a reporter at the Daily Planet.
  • In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane v1 #56 (1965), he briefly took the identity of a Ideal-Man.
  • In Superman v1 #163 (1963), Superman after exposure to Red Kryptonite was placed in a sanitorium and gave a false identity as Cal Ellis.
  • In Action Comics v1 #314 (1964), a computer simulation conducted by Jor-El showed him his son Kal-El's life on other worlds. On Xann, he became Birdman who was a pigmy among the giant inhabitants on the world. On Valair, he became a hero to its underwater dwelling people. On Ntann, he became a heroic archer without powers due to living under a world with a red sun. On Saruun, where he was raised by a retired lawman on a world without sunlight leading to Kal-El becoming a vigilante named the Diro after the winged bat-like creatures of the planet. On Gangor, he was raised as a scientist where he gained the powers of a speedster from an experiment and operated as a hero on that world. Ultimately, Jor-El concluded from the simulations that his son would never find happiness on these worlds leading to him sending Kal-El to Earth.
  • In Action Comics v1 #322 (1965), Superman was affected by a ray from the Superman Revenge Squad that caused him to be a coward in both his civilian and hero personas. This saw him create a new identity as the moustached Brad Dexter who worked at a newspaper in Chicago. The Dexter identity retained his brave nature and his work colleague Loretta Land was smitten with him.
  • In Action Comics v1 #372 (1969), Superman suffered from a loss of his memories and came to believe that his civilian identity was the wrestler known as the Masked Superman. He later came to learn that the real Masked Superman person was actually a fan who took on a motif in honour of his hero and operated as a pro-wrestler.
  • In Action Comics v1 #374 (1969), Superman suffered from a loss of his memories and came to believe his secret identity was that of the criminal king of the underworld known as Super-Thief. This led to him believe he led a double life as a hero and a villain but came to realise the truth and that the real Super-Thief had died a while ago in a police ambush.
  • In Action Comics v2 #11 (2012), he briefly adopted the civilian identity of fireman Johnny Clark after his Clark kent persona was seemingly killed publicly.

Alternate Versions

  • In World's Finest v1 #178 (1968), an alternate version of Superman was shown on a world that was designated as Earth-178. This version lost his powers but became inspired at the heroism of Green Arrow and Speedy who operated without superpowers. Thus, he adopted a masked vigilante as The Nova where he used a glider to fight crime but his secret identity was discovered by criminal mastermind Mr. Socrates who blackmailed him into fighting Batman and Robin.
  • In Superman v1 #423 (1986), a alternate version of Superman native to Earth-423 removed his powers through exposure to Gold Kryptonite and took the identity of Jordan Elliot where he married Lois Lane and had a son named Jonathan Elliot.

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