What Makes Superman Super: Powers and Abilities

What Makes Superman Super: Powers and Abilities

Since the 1938 comic release, the catalog of Superman’s abilities and his strength has varied considerably over the vast body of Superman fiction.


Superman has superhuman strength since Action Comics #1 (1938) cover shows him effortlessly lifting a car over his head. Another classic feat of strength on Superman’s part is breaking steel chains. In some stories, he is strong enough to shift the orbits of planets and crush coal into diamond with his hands.


Superman has a highly durable body since Action Comics #1 (1938), invulnerable for most practical purposes. Bullets bounce harmlessly off his body and in some stories, such as Kingdom Come (1996), not even a nuclear bomb can harm him.


Superman In some stories, project an aura that renders invulnerable any tight-fitting clothes he wears, and renders his costume durable as he is despite being made of common human-fractured cloth. This concept was first introduced in Man of Steel #1 (1986).


Superman could not fly in Action Comics #1 and he traveled by extraordinary degree of running and leaping thanks to his strength. Superman gained the ability to fly in the second episode of the radio serial in 1940 (“The Adventures of Superman”, Episode 2, February 14, 1940), with words on radio: “Look! Look! There, in the sky! It’s a man! Why, he’s flying! It can’t be! It’s not possible!”


In Action Comics #11 (1939), Superman first uses the power which allows him to see through objects and project and perceive X-rays via his eyes. But certain materials such as lead can block his X-ray vision. By applying his X- ray vision at its highest intensity (Superman #59 (1949), Superman activates his “heat vision” and project beams of heat from his eyes which are hot enough to melt steel.


Superman can hear sounds in frequencies outside the human hearing range or too faint for a human to hear (Action Comics #11 (1939)


Superman possesses superhuman breath (Action Comics #20, 1940) which enables him to inhale or blow huge amounts of air, as well as holding his breath indefinitely to remain underwater or space without adverse effects. In Superman #129 (1959), Freezing Breath- Superman turns it for the first time into “freezing breath”, when he focus significantly his breath’s intensity to the point of freezing targets by blowing on them.


Superman has been getting more abilities since the “New 52” version appeared in 2011, like the Solar Flare (Superman #38) when he pushes his heat vision to its limit; he unleashes a massive amount of solar flare. But this superpower eventually led to Superman losing some of his powers. Superman will ultimately lose all of his powers after a coordinated attack by Vandal Savage.

Superman could recharge himself to full power and heal all injuries after bathing in the sun. Although this process was painful, absorbing solar radiation would also purge atomic radiation from his cells. The energy blasts of Apollo Phoebus would “supercharge” Superman as a pure source of solar radiation. Basically, this would enhance all of his abilities by an enormous degree, making him stronger, faster and his radiation powers more potent.

Superman’s strength was explained in Action Comics #1 (1938) that it was common to all Kryptonians because they were a species “millions of years advanced of our own”; but in later stories explained they evolved superhuman strength because of Krypton’s higher gravity. The light of Earth’s yellow sun activated his abilities such as strength, flight, durability, etc. as explained in Action Comics #300 (1963), but it can be deactivated by red sunlight similar to that of Krypton’s sun.