Kal-El/Clark Kent (Superman)

supermanfilmWith another official poster for Man of Steel released, I think it’s time to speak about the first superhero ever, the character who gave birth to the word “superhero” itself: Superman. Superman is one of the most portrayed character in both cinema and television, live action and animation alike, and earned the title of most famous superhero of all times. His most famous portrayals are the ones of George Reeves, who starred in the first movie dedicated to the hero, Christopher Reeve, the protagonist of the four movies started with Richard Donner‘s one, and maybe Tom Welling, who gave his face to the character for ten seasons (!) of Smallville. The latest addition to the long (long long) series of actors is Henry Cavill, who will portray the Man of Steel in the namesake movie from Zack Snyder. Let’s see where all of those movies and tv series came from.

We all know the history of Superman, even if, of course, it has been retold more than once during the years, changing some details in the process. The fact that in the DC Universe there are many Supermen depending on which reality you’re looking at doesn’t help at all. Anyway, there are some common traits. Everything began on the planet Krypton, a distant world on the verge of disaster (depending itASSMv1 p1-32.qx on natural causes, the intervention of the artificial intelligence Brainiac or the terrorist Black Zero, the fact remains that Krypton was about to explode). Two scientists, man and wife, Jor-El and his beloved Lara Lor-Van, since they failed to convince the Kryptonian council of the approaching catastrophe, went against the pillar traits of their culture (which preached sterility) and conceived a son, Kal-El, who they wanted to save from the end of their world. Jor-El built a rocket for his son, entrusted the on-board computer with the memory of Kryptonian culture and history and digital copies of his personality and his wife’s, and sent the baby in open space, aimed to Earth, a distant and primitive planet. Once on Earth, the radiations from its yellow sun would have granted Kal-El powers unknown to the local population, and would have made him a god among mortals (on Krypton a red sun made everyone like normal “human” beings, apart from intelligence). Kal-El’s rocket landed in SmallvilleKansas, a small rural town: in here, he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, an elderly couple (or not so elderly, depending on the continuity you’re reading in) without children who chose to adopt him, presenting him as their own to other towners. They named him Clark Kent, and raised him teaching him the most human of values, such as compassion, humility, love for every living creature, respect for life. Growing up, the boy developed outstanding powers, that made him one of the most powerful beings on planet. When he was 18, the Kents revealed him his alien origins, and showed him the rocket. Clark acknowledged his origins, and, following his putative parents’ teachings, he decided to use his powers for justice.

He went to Metropolis University, and saved the day in his spare time, always avoiding to be seen. When he was 25, anyway, while saving a falling spacecraft, he made his first public appearance. Believing that his real identity had to remain secret in order to allow him to live among people, understand them and their needs without being recognized as an almost almighty being, Clark decided to create a symbol, a new identity to show in public as the world’s savior. He transformed Clark Kent in a nerdish, clumsy, shortsighted, shy and awkward man, while Martha created a costume for him. A Metropolis young reporter, Lois Lane, who witnessed his debut, nicknamed him supermancomics2Superman, and that remained the official name for the world’s most powerful superhero. While Clark Kent started working at the local newspaper Daily Planet, befriending many colleagues (including Lois), Superman became a world-wide known hero, some sort of benign god who saved everyone who was in need, in every part of the world. More than convinced to be Earth’s guardian angel, Superman founded, along with some other heroes, the Justice League of America, a super team that would have faced treats that were too much for every single one of them alone, including Superman. His amazing powers attracted the attentions of many ill-motivated people, the first being Lex Luthor, a powerful industrialist who started to hold a personal grudge towards Superman, trying to kill him in many ways (and sometimes succeeding in it) wanting to punish him for not sharing his powers with normal human beings. Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton, began a real double life: while Superman lived in his Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole, Clark Kent lived in Metropolis, coming back to Smallville from time to time; the first one was an always present hero, the second an unreliable absent-minded journalist. Things got easier the moment he revealed his secret identity to Lois Lane, who eventually became his wife: with Lois covering him, he was able to have Clark Kent disappear without raising too many doubts.

Kal-El is easily one of the most powerful beings in the universe: with incredible super strength and speed, invulnerability, the ability to fly, x-ray vision, heat vision, freezing blow, a longevity that could possibly be real immortality, superhuman senses, a healing factor working with sunlight, a genius level intellect, a good training in combat and many other powers and skills, Superman is virtually invincible, his only weaknesses being magic, a force that affects every living being, included gods and aliens, and Kryptonite, a rare mineral composed of the fragments of his destroyed planet, that weakens him to the point of killing him. Kryptonite has various effects on Superman depending on its specific conformation (and color), but it never has pleasurable effects. With right values and solid principles, Superman never uses his powers to dominate over other beings, quite the opposite, he uses them to serve, and sacrifices his own life to protect humanity, just as a god would do with his people. The world’s mightiest hero is also the world’s greatest man, the most human and compassionate person ever lived.



  1. […] in the comics, but they’re a couple of metahumans with shapeshifting abilities who idolize The Blur. Unfortunately, while trying to help him in doing something good for Metropolis, they actually put […]

  2. […] as next in line we have the Kryptonite Man, one of the less used (and less memorable) among Superman‘s enemies. As for now, this glowing green goon received a single live action appearance in […]

  3. […] had to be fought, one even more important than Vietnam, a war for humanity. The enemy was but one: Superman, the alien that was humiliating humanity with every single breath he took. Kimberley equipped […]

  4. […] all, it was Green Arrow, not Diggle, the one who could fight shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Superman, and it was him he had to best. When Green Arrow finally arrived, Richard Dragon explained his […]

  5. […] by Alexz Johnson: she comes back in time with her teammates Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad to help Clark in dealing with Brainiac, who’s successfully possessing Chloe Sullivan. Now, let’s take […]

  6. […] to her (on Prime Earth, she keeps guiding her son as a hologram, much like the way Jor-El does with Superman). Now, let’s take a look to this secondary, but yet important character in Cyborg’s […]

  7. […] the Apokoliptian monster Brimstone. This obviously got him some attention, and after the death of Superman, a Justice League desperately needing new members contacted him and offered him to join, something […]

  8. […] by Callum Worthy, and he’s one of the three Legionnaires coming back in time to help Clark…and he’s quite an overzealous fan of Superman, nearly disappointed by “how […]

  9. […] and the alien Despero to take the symbolic places of, respectively, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. Morgaine rewrote history, creating a new timeline in which she and her allies ruled supreme over […]

  10. […] to human level, Streaky tested his powers, and during his first, clumsy flight he crashed against a Superman action figure he took his cape from. From that day, Streaky assisted Supergirl in many of her […]

  11. […] a rural town not far from Metropolis, there was a young hero more powerful than anyone seen before, Superboy. Realizing how much Metropolis could use his help, Henderson traveled all the way to Smallville, […]

  12. […] trapped under some lead debris, while the other two abandoned him and tried to make an escape. Superman intervened, and while he successfully apprehended Grand and Moore, he failed to locate Tryon, as […]

  13. […] Supremacist Movement, a xenophobic terrorist group; he comes back to the XXI Century to kill young Clark Kent, so ensuring Brainiac‘s survival and making so that he doesn’t inspire other aliens to […]

  14. […] Siobhan McDougal was born in Ireland, the daughter of Garrett McDougal, patriarch of Clan McDougal and master of an unnamed island between Ireland and Scotland. The McDougals, isolated from the world, maintained their ancient traditions even in the modern world, refusing to embrace any form of modernity and living as if it still was the age of clans and wars, but the girl sought to open the clan to the new world. For this reason, Siobhan grew up far from her homeland, traveling the world to learn and make experience, and she came back to Castle Broen only when she was reached by the news of her father’s death. Being the firstborn, she was supposed to take the lead of the clan and to submit to the ritual that would have proven her worth, but her uncle Seamus believed that no woman would have ever been worthy of leading his people, and he wanted Siobhan’s little brother Bevan, unhappy with his sister’s modernism, to become the new patriarch. Siobhan was allowed to undergo the ritual, that summoned unnatural forces she had to prove her strength to, but just in the middle of it, when Hell itself had presented to meet the new matriarch, Bevan provided a lethal distraction, disrupting his sister’s focus and letting her be dragged away into the netherworld. Tortured by unspeakable spirits and demons, Siobhan was finally found by The Crone, a mysterious mystic being that offered her the power of a banshee and thus the means to obtain revenge, but for a price: she wanted a very powerful occult book, that belonged to her father. Siobhan accepted the deal and came back to the land of the living, only to find out that Garrett’s entire book collection had been sold by her brother and shipped to the United States. She tracked the book to Metropolis, where she used her newfound powers to kill anyone who stood between her and her prize. Unavoidably, this attracted the attention of the city’s protector, Superman. […]

  15. […] of Lucy W.‘s request. Today we meet another iconic villain, Ultraman, the evil counterpart of Superman. So far, he only appeared in Smallville, always portrayed by Tom Welling: this version of the […]

  16. […] removed his arm from the bomb, it would have exploded, releasing the Mutajek 9-9 on the city. When Superman finally arrived, he could do nothing to save his friend but to cut his arm off, something that […]

  17. […] a new motorcycle. After fighting alongside the League against some alien invaders, and even saving Superman from a werewolf, Greg Sanders came to the decision that time had come he put the Vigilante mask […]

  18. […] When finally his time was over, he was freed, but not on Krypton by Jor-El, but rather by his son, Kal-El, on an alien planet called Earth. The same planet had been reached by Rog-Ar as well, who once […]

  19. […] the rescue. Lord Crucifer proved to be more than a match for the heroes: he successfully hypnotized Superman, making him a personal slave, and he nearly turned Faith into a vampire as well. He then faced the […]

  20. […] to shrink a plane, and escaped capture by dropping explosive balloons all over the city, forcing Superman to save civilians instead of pursuing him. He then used a similar plan to steal a nuclear […]

  21. […] Religious Guild and joined the Military one, and when Kandor was finally freed from its prison by Kal-El and rebuilt on Earth, Kal’s adoptive planet, Thara was entrusted with the position of head of […]

  22. […] investigating on the new Public Enemy #1. Two journalists from the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, proved to be pretty persistent, and thus dangerous. He tried to kill them in a couple of […]

  23. […] him with a tiny bomb hidden in one of the tournament’s balls; Prentice, however, was saved by Superman, who intervened even later, when he tried to have the champion killed by his marksmen. Realizing he […]

  24. […] to exchange blows with some superheroes, but not even the perspective of facing a powerhouse like Superman made him falter from his intent. He had found a home for his ideals and his values, and nothing […]

  25. […] Marvin “Cube” Stone, son of Cyborg, Hunter Prince, the son of Wonder Woman adopted by Superman and Lois Lane, and Eldoris “Serenity” Curry, daughter of Aquaman and Mera. As soon as […]

  26. […] the Legion. This way, however, he could be with Nura Nal in the Legion of Substitute Heroes. When Superboy and Supergirl left the Legion, Dream Girl and Star Boy stepped him and reclaimed their seats. Years […]

  27. […] The Seven are a pastiche of the Justice League of America, let’s start with their version of Superman, that is The Homelander, the blonde guy in a cape portrayed by Antony Starr. We can see the leader […]

  28. […] of civilian collateral victims, Manchester Black was contacted by the greatest hero on the planet: Superman, the one he believed to be the incarnation of all the hypocritical values that he so much despised, […]

  29. […] the alias Green Fury. During her career she often helped the Super Friends, but it was meeting Superman that changed her life: although she first battled the Man of Steel since he was mind-controlled […]

  30. […] he is the son of the leader of Intergang, and an old friend of Perry White; he manages to corrupt Superman with Red Kryptonite, but he’s eventually arrested along with his father, both of them […]

  31. […] his debut in Season 4 episode Run, where he’s introduced as a teenager even faster than Clark Kent, who does pretty much what he wants with his speed, until he changes his ways thanks to Clark. […]

  32. […] to exchange blows with some superheroes, but not even the perspective of facing a powerhouse like Superman made him falter from his intent. He had found a home for his ideals and his values, and nothing […]

  33. […] a new motorcycle. After fighting alongside the League against some alien invaders, and even saving Superman from a werewolf, Greg Sanders came to the decision that time had come he put the Vigilante mask […]

  34. […] they were radioactive and dangerous, as in them the center had stored some space matter brought by Superman returning from one of his trips out of the atmosphere. The cosmic radiation rewrote Maxwell’s […]

  35. […] a character exclusive to the Earth-30 (previously Earth-1598) continuity, a reality in which Superman‘s pod landed in Soviet Ukraine rather than in Kansas, causing an entire different situation. […]

  36. […] and futuristic devices, most notably a will-deadening beam that could break the will of even Superman. Like many others before him, though, Dee couldn’t prevail over such powerful foes, not with […]

  37. […] were nowhere as pure as the one Neron needed, and while most of the heroes believed he was after Superman‘s soul, he actually was targeting Captain Marvel, a mortal with the power of a god and the […]

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