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Kal-El, also known as Clark Kent and Superman, is one of the major characters from the DC Comics.

Rocketed to Earth as an infant from the doomed planet Krypton, Kal-El was adopted by the loving Kent family and raised in America's heartland as Clark Kent. Using his immense solar-fueled powers, he became Superman to defend mankind against all manner of threats while championing truth, justice and the American way!

Personality

Superman is commonly seen as a brave and kind-hearted hero with a strong sense of justice, morality and righteousness. He adheres to a strict moral code often attributed to the small town American values with which he was raised, thanks to his adoptive parents. His commitment to operating within the law has been an example to many other heroes but has stirred resentment among others, who refer to him as the "big blue boy scout." Superman can be rather rigid in this trait, causing tensions in the superhero community, notably with Wonder Woman (one of his closest friends) after she killed Maxwell Lord.

To protect his secret identity, Superman has constructed a persona in his civilian identity as Clark Kent. To the world at large, Clark is a mild-mannered and clumsy person. Only Lois Lane, his wife, knows that this attitude is just an act.

Having lost his home world of Krypton, Superman is very protective of Earth, and especially of his family and friends. This same loss, combined with the pressure of using his powers responsibly, has caused Superman to feel lonely on Earth, despite his many friends, his wife and his parents. Previous encounters with people he thought to be fellow Kryptonians, Power Girl (who is, in fact, from the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe) and Mon-El, have led to disappointment. The arrival of Supergirl, who has been confirmed to be not only from Krypton but also his cousin, has relieved this loneliness somewhat.

Abilities

Solar Battery

As a Kryptonian, Kal-El possesses the ability to absorb the solar energy from yellow stars. His Kryptonian body is constantly absorbing and storing energy from Earth's yellow sun (allowing him to retain energy under roofed structures and even at night) which in turn grants him incredible powers, including superhuman strength, enhanced senses, impenetrable skin, and the ability to defy gravity.

His body is also able to absorb the energy of a blue sun, which also grants him increased strength and various other powers (although not to the same degree as under a yellow sun). Superman has also demonstrated the ability to absorb certain other forms of energy, such as the anti-sunlight of Mageddon.

Super-Strength

Superman has the ability to physically lift impossibly massive amounts of weight. Superman's strength easily surpasses the Class 100 strength level (this is the ability to lift over 100 tons under normal conditions) which is the ability to lift in excess of 100 tons with absolutely no effort at all, and has no known limit. Superman's strength is aided in lifting/supporting the most massive objects--especially when flying--by the bio-electric force field his body produces.

His strength is usually portrayed the same way as most other characters in the Class 100 tier, but his high-end showings indicate his might may be well in excess of planetary levels. While the limits of Superman's strength vary from writer to writer, he is commonly considered in-universe to be one of the most powerful beings on Earth, with some even considering him to be the most powerful.

Super-Speed

Superman has the ability to move and fly incredibly fast. He possesses the ability to achieve speeds faster than light, although this is usually only seen in the vacuum of space as he is known to limit his velocity on Earth to prevent environmental damage. The upper limits of his speed are not quantified, but he is usually considered to be slower than the Flash.

Superman is also capable of combining speed with dexterity to pull off complicated tasks in a short time frame. In battle, he can move so fast his opponents seem much slower relative to him, creating time to avoid attacks and plan his next action. He can also move his limbs at incredible speeds, allowing him to dish out dozens of strikes in a second or less, in a manner similar to the Flash. Superman's mind is similarly accelerated; he can process and understand vast amounts of information nearly instantly.

Vision/Optic Powers

Kal-El is able to see over great distances and perceive even the smallest of objects. This vision also allows him to see through the atomic structure of an object, though he is unable to see through lead.

Superman’s physiology can convert stored solar energy into beams of highly concentrated thermal energy which can reach temperatures comparable to those produced by stars. The two beams of energy which are released from his eyes are bright red in color, but at lower temperatures can be made invisible, allowing him to work undetected.

Super Hearing

Kal-El has the super human ability to hear all sounds at any volume or pitch and across any distance, presumably as long as there is atmosphere to carry the sonic vibrations.

Super Stamina

Superman’s Kryptonian physiology allows him exert himself to peak capacity for an undetermined amount of time. When under the light of a yellow star, he is constantly replenishing his solar reserves. In an environment without the light of a yellow star, his solar reserves are gradually expended as he exerts himself.

Invulnerability

Superman possesses an immense degree of personal invulnerability, and is able to easily withstand bullets, missiles, bombs and other weapons without a scratch. Those without superhuman strength are more likely to hurt themselves than him by punching Superman, and even most characters who possess superhuman strength are not able to hurt him enough to take him down. Destructive power on a cosmic scale may knock him out, but he has survived such attacks and recovered from them.

Although hurting Superman with simple physical force is not an easy task, characters with sufficient superhuman strength of their own, such as Mongul, Darkseid, Doomsday and Despero, among others, are able to do so. Powerful energy attacks are also capable of hurting Superman.

Flight

While Superman's body is charged with solar energy he is able to emit a gravitational field that enables him to defy gravity. Kal-El has extreme mobility while he is in flight allowing him to fight, change course, and also carry great weights. While in Earth's atmosphere Kal-El is able to move at supersonic speed; while in space, he can move at superluminal speeds. Kal-El tends to avoid moving at superluminal speeds while in a planet’s atmosphere so that he does not harm the area around him.

Super Breath / Freeze Breath

Kal-El has the ability to suck in a large amount of air into his lungs and either hold it within him for a long period of time or create strong forces of wind with it. He is able to control the temperature with which he expels this power.

Longevity

In some interpretations, yellow sun-powered Kryptonians have been shown to live almost indefinitely.

Total Recall

Kal-El has the ability to instantly recall events that he pays specific attention to or that hold great emotional significance to him. When he has absorbed solar energy he has the ability to solve problems with superhuman speed.

Combat Experience

Superman is shown to have knowledge in hand to hand combat, the most basic being Boxing and Wrestling.

In Pre-Crisis, Superman knew a Kryptonian martial art called Klurkor, which he taught Lois Lane. Post Crisis, Superman was trained in Torquasm-Rao and Torquasm-Vo, 2 styles of Kryptonian Martial arts. Rao is more physical and offensive, while Vo is more meditative, fluid, and spiritual (the latter can produce a psychic or astral projection aspect, which Superman used to fight the Eradicator and psychic entities like Dominus).

He also displays a knowledge of pressure points, which even dates back to his Golden Age appearance, he claims he was taught this technique by Earth's greatest expert (possibly Batman). It is unknown if he still possesses these skills in the New 52 but Captain Comet has said that Superman's brawling skills are formidable.

Genius Level Intellect/Leadership

Superman is highly intelligent, with a natural IQ higher than humans. He's able to analyze and solve problems in top speed, due to his super speed. He has shown to be able to reprogram machines and apply science to his fighting. Superman has invented a few things from time to time and has solid knowledge on Kryptonian and Earth technology alike. He is also a fantastic journalist and writer, stated to be second best in the Daily Planet, first being Lois Lane.

Superman is also a strong leader. He serves as a symbol of hope to both superhumans and the common civilian. He sometimes uses a Kryptonian technique called "Torquasm Vo," which focuses his mental discipline in tough situations. It has sometimes been used to manipulated the minds of others. The technique of Torquasm Rao allows Superman to separate himself from his physical body, giving him the ability to fight on the astral plane and resist mental attacks.

Trivia

  • In 1940, Jerry Siegel wrote a story called "The K-Metal from Krypton," that would have introduced an early version of kryptonite and Superman revealing his secret identity to Lois. Siegel's publishers nixed this story as damaging to the franchise and made it clear status quo is God would hold while both story innovations would have to wait for years.
  • A man called Walter George Alton revealed in an interview that he was considered for the role of Superman but ultimately turned down for being too old. Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans may recognize him as the star of Puma Man.
  • Superman doesn't drink alcohol.
  • Superman is this by design as the prototypical flying brick with minimal drawbacks, though good writers try not make his problems too easy to solve. But special mention has to go to how he was originally written by Siegel and Shuster, when he was completely unstoppable, had no backstory or inner conflict, and spent all his time beating up and torturing different kinds of bullies whom the reader probably encountered or heard about in real life.

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