DC comics finally rebooted their entire comics franchise to make it more continuity-accessible for their fans after they rebooted it almost 30 years ago to make it more continuity-accessible for their fans. This would have been a fresh start for the line and a way for creators to build the character from the ground up. I’ve read a handful of DC comics over my years, and the one that consistently bored me the most was Superman.
Everyone loves the under dog. We want our heroes to persevere and bleed and sweat and come out on top. That’s why the Cleveland Cavaliers was still the 7th most watched NBA team after Lebron James took his talents to South Beach. Yeah, they sucked balls and that was the worst the team’s been in years…but we wanted them to overcome. We wanted King James to eat crow. We knew it wasn’t going to happen, but we still rooted for them. That’s why Superman is a boring character. On top of his portrayal as the perfect moral agent, his list of powers include: flight, super speed, super strength, super memory (eidetic), super intelligence, super vision, super hearing, super smelling, super breath, ice breath, x-ray vision, heat vision, and oh yeah FUCKING INVULNERABILITY!
Superman lucked into the goddamn Konami Code of super powers. It’s like unlocking infinite health and weapons in GTA III and blowing shit up for hours just because you could.
It also made the game boring because it was no longer challenging. Sure, I didn’t need to put the code in, but I could so I took the path of least resistance. It’s our natural built in inclination. So what do I want Superman to be? For starters, redefine his powers. He has too many (and you’ll notice I didn’t even count his movie powers). It’s a deus ex machina for any situation he might be in. Make the man sweat a little, make him have to over come. Take away some of his powers and redefine the ones he does have. Here’s what I’d like to have seen done:
Flight: Okay, who doesn’t want to have the power of flight? My favorite book as a kid was Peter Pan. But one thing about characters that fly is how little effort they have to put into it. I mean, Jesus, they’re only fighting against the force of gravity 100% of the time! Even birds use the wind to soar because staying in the air is exhausting! Explain his power however you want; fairy dust, telekinesis, thermal gas propulsion (fart joke!), he has to be using a ton of energy to keep off the ground, and that loss of so much energy should tire him out. Decrease the amount he can fly and go back to showing him jump really far/high (using the same line of reasoning. He’s not going to be able to jump from New York to London).
Super speed: Being able to travel at the speed of light? No. I’ll give him the speed of sound. That’s 1,126 feet per second. Hell, round it up to 1,500 feet per second. Then he’ll have the super ability to take back the last thing he said by bitch slapping the sound waves.
Super strength: Most super heroes can lift a car over their head. Fine. I’ll concede Superman needs to be incredibly strong. Hell, even moms have been known to move a car a little when their adrenaline goes crazy. At max strength, using every ounce of energy he has, jacked up on Red Bull and steroids, Superman can lift 60 tons for a very short spurt. That’s a tank.
Super memory & intelligence: I don’t have a problem with eidetic memory or above average intelligence. Intelligence comes in various kinds. Just because he might be book smart due to his memory doesn’t mean he can solve every issue that comes his way. My wife is street smart, but she wouldn’t even know where to begin if she had to build a computer from scratch or repair the drive frame on a copier, whereas I would but I’m mentally retarded when it comes to not hanging a picture crooked. Superman may know pi to the millionth decimal but that doesn’t mean he can build a machine to turn Lois Lane black for a day.
Super vision and hearing: No, he can’t turn his eye into a goddamn microscope/telescope but he does have very sharp vision. He can catch something moving from far away, but he can’t zoom in on it. Likewise with his hearing. Whenever he’s shown listening in on someone what he hears is happening the exact same time as they speak it. Uh no, physics do not work that way. How often do you hear thunder and see lightning simultaneously? Almost never. It’s because the sound takes time to reach you. Not only that but there should be breaks in the sound. All energy loose strength the further it travels. If Superman tries to eavesdrop on a whisper from 20 feet away, by the time it gets to him it should sound like inaudible breathing.
Super smelling, super breath, and ice breath: Okay, his senses are sharper so his sense of smell is better. That would make him a professional wire connoisseur or at the least on par with the drug sniffing dogs at the airport. As for super breath and ice breath…a human can blow air out of the lungs at about 3 psi, not counting sneezes. My version of Superman would not be able to churn out hurricane-force halitosis winds. The only use of this power would be that he can spit gum farther than you. And don’t even think about the ice breath! Unless he has a natural refrigerant in his lungs (which would be obvious by the fact that you would constantly see his breath. ) forget it. That would be a dead give away for his secret ID (Uh, Clark? It’s 90 degrees outside and I see frost coming from your mouth every time you breath…).
X-ray and heat vision: Ok, these powers need to be completely revamped with x-ray vision completely scrapped. The way his x-ray vision is portrayed is it’s not x-ray vision. Let’s say naked Lucy Pinder lives on the other side of your bedroom wall. Your wall is object A, the object that reflects light to your eyes allowing you to see it. Naked Lucy Pinder is object B, the object that you want to see. The way Supermans x-ray vision works is his eyes completely ignore the light being reflected from object A but somehow capture the light coming off object B. As awesome as that power would be, my Supermans “x-ray” vision and heat vision would be related. Superman will be able to see in the infrared spectrum and his mind would be able to filter it for everyday use. This wouldn’t be a new phenomenon in nature, as the mantis shrimp can see exactly what we see, plus ultraviolet, infrared and polarized light. So looking at the photo below, where we’d see the top 2 pictures…
…Superman would be able to turn his filter on and see the bottom 2 pictures. This gives him a similar power but removes the fact that he can see through everything but lead. And I almost forgot his heat vision! Honestly, he has too much focus. This power should be less precise since it’s coming from his retinas. Everything in Supermans field of vision should burn. Heat vision should only be used when Supermans situation is so desperate he has no choice but to use scorched earth tactics.
Finally, we come down to the reason I hate Superman the most:
Invulnerability: I hate this power. No threat in the universe can harm Superman. Drop a nuke on him? It’s cool, he’ll get better! Fly into the sun? He won’t even get a tan! Kill him? Death is his bitch! So what do we do about this? How about make him very tough but not invincible. Currently bullets bounce off Superman’s chest without so much as tearing his clothing. In fact, they probably feel like tiny pebbles. Have you ever been shot with an air-soft gun? You definitely feel it, and you’re even left with many welts and bruises to show you exactly how many times you’ve been hit. I found this out after a very fun party and a lot of Irish car bombs. And anyone who’s played paint ball knows those things hurt like hell. So how about bullets that would kill us normal people inflict a lot of pain and discomfort on Superman? He gets shot, he gets welts and bruises to show for it.
And while falls from a great height may not kill him, they’re definitely going to mess up his insides. So Superman’s flying at a half mile up for a while, completely exhausted. His body gives out and he plummets to the earth below. Come on, the guy is at least breaking some bones, probably a few ribs and his arms.
I’m not even going to comment on his moral superiority, I’ll leave that to you . So what you would change about the Man of Steel? Leave your comments below!