There is a MASSIVE amount of superheroes available for the general public to read, watch, and post about in the world. From tiny independent comic labels to the big three, the world has become almost overwhelmed by how many options you have for who is gonna save you from a burning building or an exploding train, or a crashing plane. Pretty much any dangerous situation your imagination can conjure. But one hero can save you from…well, darn near everything. I’m talking about Superman.
Now, while this may not be a popular opinion, I have always had a sort of immediate dislike of Superman for a variety of reasons. Not that being as strong as he wants to isn’t a great power, but there’s a lot more to this superhero than a strong pair of fists. With that out of the way, let’s get into the details.
Too Many Powers (Garbage)
If you tried to look up all of the superpowers this Kryptonian possesses, you probably went a little mad trying to figure them all out. Not only does his list include the creation of psychic battlefields, but he can also change and affect his body’s natural electrical signals for a MYRIAD of uses. The bottom line is, if this guy has ALL of these powers, then the world shouldn’t need the likes of… well, ANYONE else to be honest. But the whole Justice League is still very necessary.
Sometimes, You Just Need the Biggest Gun (Incredible)
When all else fails, when every hero is broken and lying on the battlefield, Superman is still fighting. In every case, against every villain, he just keeps going. When the battle seems like it’s over, but then an even bigger bad shows up, grab Kal-El. He’ll fight anything!
God Complex (Garbage)
From killing Zod to using heat vision for a lobotomy (in another reality, but still), Kal-El has shown us that he has literally no qualms about making unilateral decisions that affect countless other lives. It’s not just ‘SHOULD’ he do it, he’s only ever worried about if he CAN. Seeing as he CAN do just about anything, there should probably be more of a guideline to live by on this one.
Keeps Justice League In Check (Incredible)
There is definitely something to be said for being constantly being picked as the leader of an international group of superheroes. Not only has every single iteration of The Justice League included him on their roster, Superman always ends up being the leader. This isn’t due only to his massive power, he also has shown an ability to lead others into being better versions of themselves. Considering how good they are at being themselves, that’s definitely saying something.
“Everyman” Mentality (Garbage)
On the other side of the coin, Superman has a sort of ‘I am everyman’ way of thinking that is completely out of place in anything he does. Sure, in theory, this would allow him to not squash the little guy while he’s out there punching space villains or moving moons with his bare hands, but it’s never used in this way. He generally uses his ‘farmboy’ appeal to get himself out of trouble and play the innocent savior he wants us all to think he is. How good can an Everyman Complex be when you are literally different from EVERY single man, woman, and child on Earth?
Stronger Than… Well, Anyone (Incredible)
Recent DC events aside (the Strong force… insert side-eye here), Superman has a strength that is literally as big as the situation, every situation. If he needs to leap a tall building one minute, awesome, and yet the next minute he can punch a moon hard enough to crack it. Strength isn’t everything, but if you’re stronger than everything… that’s definitely something.
Worst Disguise EVER (Garbage)
Yeah, I DO have to address this, because BASICALLY INVISIBLE GLASSES ARE NOT AN ACCEPTABLE WAY TO HIDE YOUR SECRET IDENTITY!!! breathes Okay, so I got that out of the way. But honestly, I’m supposed to believe Lois Lane, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist who has battled corruption and secrets her whole life is going to be spelled by a pair of wireframes?
Yeah, aside from the fact that this is completely preposterous, we are also lead to believe that Lex frickin’ Luthor has a multi-billion dollar tech/media company and doesn’t possess facial recognition software? Sure, in 1938 this premise MIGHT have been excusable, but not for a long, LONG time since then.
Even Batman Listens to Him (Incredible)
The list of people Batman listens to is even shorter than the list of people he trusts. Not many save the original seven members of The League can hope to bend his pointed ear. But Clark has always enjoyed a camaraderie with him that has allowed them to see each other as equals. This means that when Clark says something, the most powerful people in existence listen. There’s definitely something to be said for anyone with the ability to gain that kind of attention and respect… unless that’s another superpower he’s keeping secret.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if Superman is THAT powerful, then WHY do we need other heroes? Well, that’s because Superman does insanely irresponsible things like, dating a REPORTER who could reveal his only barely hidden secret identity. Not to mention he completely eggs on Luthor about half the time, often helping to create the disasters he then gets credit for cleaning up.
All of that aside, he also has about fifty-seven different world-ending things hidden up in his Fortress of Solitude. None of which he usually understands fully or knows how to properly contain. But yeah Kal, you keep collecting your souvenirs.
Only Uses One Power At A Time (Garbage)
With a list of abilities that would put most TEAMS of superheroes to shame, Superman somehow has only figured out how to use them one at a time. At least, that’s what I have to believe after reading enough of his comics. Sure, he can fly and punch, or fly and use heat vision at the same time, but why use normal speed when fighting… like, anyone ever.
If you have the ability to punch some bad guy 6,000 times before he blinks and you don’t… then any chaos that ensues is on you bud. Not to mention, he has the ability to bring ANY combatant into his mind for a psychic brawl instead of a physical one. This means, that ALL collateral damage that’s ever happened while he’s been on the Justice League, is Kal’s fault.
Well, in reality, the only real conclusion is that while Superman benefits from being a fictional character, he is, in practice a very limited one. There is a LOT of himself that doesn’t have anything to do with his powers, but oftentimes the writers simply want to add to his list. That’s where the real problems happen. Why be the first guy to analyze Kal-El psychologically, if you can just add another power to his list?