Since his introduction in the 1930s, Superman has had a variety of powers, and power levels. All of this is pulled from the Superman fandom Wiki, so credit to them.
In the 1930s, Superman, aka Golden Age Superman, had:
- Super strength, which at this point was the ability to move large vehicles (the first comic is the famous picture of him lifting up a car).
- Super speed, which at this point was the ability to run faster than a locomotive.
- Enhanced leaping, which at this point was the “leaps tall buildings in a single bound” idea.
- Super durability, which at this point was the ability to be highly resistant to injury, but not heavier blows, like regular firearms and such.
- Super senses, which at this point was eyesight and hearing better than a human’s, but not yet x-ray vision, heat vision, and super hearing.
Between the 1940s and 1980s, Superman’s powers were enhanced to the point of him becoming darn near unstoppable, aka Silver/Bronze Age Superman:
- Super strength, to where he can now move PLANETS.
- Flight, so he can fly now.
- Super speed, to where he’s able to travel faster than the speed of light, and can easily travel our solar system in minutes. He’s still not faster than the Flash, which I think is BS. I’ll expand on why one day.
- Invulnerability, to where he can withstand an atomic explosion and fly into the core of a star. His only real weakness is Kryptonite.
- Vision and hearing, so he has x-ray vision and heat vision now, and his overall vision and hearing is enhanced to the maximum levels, both macro and micro.
- Super breath, so he can use his breath to freeze objects and create hurricane-force winds. He also uses his breath to put out fires. He can hold his breath indefinitely as well.
- Mental powers, which I don’t see talked about much, but Superman is considered a genius because of his ability to rapidly taken in information. I feel like people sometimes see Superman as a “dumb jock” cliche brute.
Some of the other powers during this time, one I didn’t even know about, was super ventriloquism (the ability to throw his voice great distances and confuse his enemies), which I’m glad they did away with; hypnotism to safeguard his identity, which I’m also glad they did away with; stamina, as in, the ability to not need food, water or rest; healing factor, like regenerating his body after a nuclear device detonated on him; memory-wipe kiss, which sounds like what it is and again, I’m glad that’s gone; and at times, he’s had enhanced touch and smell.
After the 1980s, his power to move planets and withstand anything was reduced.
Since I’m watching Smallville, let’s focus on his power for that show:
- Super strength, the extent of which hasn’t been tested yet. I’m not sure how strong he is on Smallville, but it seems closer to the Golden Age, where he can move heavy objects with ease, but I’m not sure if he’s going to catch an airplane or something like in 2006’s Superman Returns.
- Super breath, again, we’re not clear the extent of this power, but he’s shown the ability to clear clouds to create a sunny day.
- Heat vision, with the greatest extent of this ability we’ve seen in the macro is him stopping a raging flood, and on the micro level, to precisely cut into Chloe Sullivan’s chest to remove a GPS microchip.
- X-ray vision, and in the show, it mostly seems like he can see through things (besides lead) and see the skeleton of people.
- Super speed, and like other iterations, he’s slower than Flash, which is BS, but there was one scene, where he was miles away from Lana, who was on the phone, and through the phone, he heard a gunshot. He was able to super speed from where he was to stop the bullet in time, so that’s even faster than being faster than a speeding bullet.
- Invulnerability, besides magic and various kinds of kryptonite. Also, other Kryptonians and beings (not human) are able to make him bleed with a good pounding.
- Healing power, he’s able to heal from most things, and they’ve played up the power of the yellow sun to help him, and make him stronger.
The main thing he doesn’t have in this show yet: He can’t fly! And they’ve actually given him a fear of heights, so that’s fun.
He seems to forget all of his powers except for super strength during his fights! When he’s fighting someone powerful or with some sort of meteor rock-granted powers, he always tries to overpower them with strength or get into a boxing match with them.
Meanwhile, I’m over here going, Superman, you have heat vision, super breath and super speed! Use those! You could stay back 100 miles and use your heat vision with precision to end the fight before it even begins. Come on! Granted, that wouldn’t look cinematic or uh, television-matic, but there’s ways you could incorporate his other powers, so he’s not always going in swinging.
So then there’s always a moment in the fight when Superman seems like he might lose, and then it dawns on him, hey, I have other powers.
I just want him to remember all of his other powers! He can bring a lot more to the fight than simply trying to out-punch the guy or girl in question.
What do you think? What is your favorite Superman power? What power of his would you want to have?