Superman’s Powers and Weaknesses – What makes him Weak?
Superman is one of the most iconic superheroes of the world. He has been acting as a major representative of the DC world since the 20th century. Most of the people in the world love Superman because he is the only character with flaws as well as too many perfections. While he’s a Superman, the flaws are which that makes him incredibly human. Superman is known as the best icon in the history of humanity when we consider the superheroes.
Again saying, it is only obvious that no man is perfect, Superman is introduced to us as an alien who got stranded on another planet on this Earth while he was a baby. Coming from other planet has given him immense powers which he did not realize in his earlier years. After growing up to the tall and muscular man, as he is; he has realized that he has amazing abilities to fight, the heat vision and as well as the super strength. However, here lies the problem. While most of the superheroes in DC have a single power like Flash with speed, Aquaman with water control and even the Marvel heroes; Spider-man with web shooting, Hulk with the giant figure, Ant-man with shrinking ability; Superman has multiple powers. While all these singular powers have limitations, the multiple powers are putting him at a difficulty. All the superheroes tend to get creative with their limited powers by pushing themselves on the edge and as a result, they become metaphorical models.
However, Superman is not like that. Because he doesn’t have any limit. During the earlier days, Superman was shown to lift the cars but later his power got escalated to lifting trains, flights, asteroids and now even the planets. Initially, he was faster than the speeding bullet and then rose to a point where he can turn the time back. He was used to leaping the buildings, but within period he could just fly in the vacuum; however without any explanation at all. With each writer who has written his arcs, the arsenal of Superman grew and it has become exponentially high to a point where things started falling apart. His limit, however, is broken based on the number of times he is pushed to his maximum limit. Every time, we see him confronting a threat, we see that it is nothing less than a Doomsday or Darkseid that we all are scared of. At times, he even has to face villains who mirror him in power. Bizarro and Zod are the examples of those villains who are as powerful as Superman but not as brave as him!
It is not realistic to make a man so perfect without even a flaw. As a result, the writers have come with an element which is the only weakness for the most powerful being in the universe. They have introduced us to Kryptonite, through which Superman can be weakened. In order to reduce or stand against his unbeatable powers, the only way to beat Superman is to use Kryptonite. However, it is a cheap writing that the writers have created in order to twist the plots. Unlike the other superheroes, Superman’s SWOT analysis is a bit poor. Like Vibranium in Wakanda, Kryptonite is known to be a rare mineral that can normalize the power of Superman. However, it can’t be used in whatever way in order to weaken Superman. This is not like Achilles’ heel which is used in order to defeat Achilles. Kryptonite should be placed in the surroundings of Superman in order to limit his powers. However, in the recent edition that has been released ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’, we can see that Kryptonite is not actually as rare as it appears to be and definitely doesn’t have the characteristics that are needed for it to be a superweapon.
It is obvious that all of our superheroes have a dual identity in order to keep their people safe. Most of the superheroes wear masks for the same reason in order to save their identity and to prevent people from knowing them. Bruce Wayne is known for wearing the Batman uniform to become Batman, and in a similar way, Clark Kent has disguised himself in order to prevent people from knowing that he’s Superman. His human ego is secondary when compared to his Superman form. However, if we dig into the details of Clark Kent, he is not very interesting with a subtle personality like Peter Parker. Peter Parker, on the other hand, had to deal with bullying in school, homework, relationships and also his Aunt Jane. Clark Kent doesn’t have any of these human issues or relationships that placed him in jeopardy. The only important human connection that he has ever established is with Lois Lane. Also, he hasn’t kept his identity secret for most of the times like Steve Rogers. Lois Lane along with few people has known his identity in his films like ‘Man of Steel’.
Superman has morals that go beyond the comparison. This exactly is why we had Batman vs Superman because both of them have different morality compass. Unlike Batman, who seldom shifts from the character and shows us gray; Superman is kind, responsible and extremely honest. We can draw comparisons between Captain America and Superman because both of them are known to be serious characters who don’t know to be witty and quirky. Benevolent as he is, Superman always managed to choose the right path even if it requires his own sacrifice. However, the perfection in his character design has made him extremely bland and that he lacks nuances which flesh out characters like Flash/Batman. If we observe both the Marvel and the DC world, Superman is the only hero who is very much unlike the rest of the characters. Superman, in his comics, wasn’t ever given the situation where he has to save one person because he is capable of saving both. He was never shown to break laws for the good because he can manage to defeat the evil before it reaches the edge. Therefore, there are no internal or external conflicts in the case of Superman. While Batman has to chase the criminals all by himself, Superman is hunted by police in order to provide justice for the vigilante and the commoners. Superman is further even supported by the government also so that he can focus on catching the bad guys and them alone. He also doesn’t have any other characters like Flash’s with, Batman’s agony, Spiderman’s quirk or Deadpool’s Banter. All he has is some deeper emotions and that makes us respect him with the extreme powers.
Death is one of the most targeted problems that we consider when we talk about Superman. This phenomenon is considered mainly in ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’. Like in other comic books, Superman in this movie is high on the impossibility to kill. While he can be absolutely normalized with the use of Kryptonite, it is not possible to kill him because of his imperative capacity. While he was killed in comics, it is a shock that the fans think it is merely a fake-out. He is also known to escape from the Doomsday claws, while Superman was dead and he has remained in that stage for a longer time. This incident has had a long effect on the Batman vs. Superman in which Superman has been brought to life even after being buried, that too within a few minutes. Therefore, Superman is not possible to be dead because of the immortality concept that lingers around him. The amazing visual in Batman vs Superman where his coffin has remained there with dirt and in the next second, we see the dirt back. While I thoroughly enjoy this concept, the cowardice and the eagerness of the writers make Superman a bit more perfect than he actually should be.
Concluding, Superman is like that top model with all the other superheroes in America’s next top model. He is not only the icon of superheroes but it also the icon of the comic world, from which all the other superheroes and the subgenre of comic films have been derived. He is a character which has been written with the immense effort so that he can be fleshed out into the reality with minute detailing. His array of kindness, powers and even the magnitude in the contemporary world make him more than what he is. He remains the favorite superhero of many people because of these ‘goody good’ characters with no flaws with his amazing transcending from superhero to God, with a pantheon of his own. With the trend of packing powers growing; it is only obvious that Superman will one day retire while hanging up his cape. If that day comes, I am sure that most of us will be left with unknown agony for not being able to see the perfect superhero in this world.