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Author Topic: Earth-2 Superman question  (Read 11246 times)
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NotSuper
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« on: August 29, 2005, 09:10:11 PM »

We all know that the Earth-2 Superman didn't receive his powers from a yellow sun, but instead had them due to his species being far more evolved than our own. Originally, he could only leap and not fly, and he didn't have the vision and hearing powers. His invulnerability was also limited. My question is as follows: What was the in-story reason for Superman's new powers and the increase of his existing ones? Was this ever explained in a story? I don't recall it ever being mentioned.

Any help on this matter would be appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2005, 09:16:35 PM »

I could be wrong, but I believe the original story was what you wrote, along with the sidebar about many earth species (like ants) having these powers (nothing else at the time?)...I'm not sure when the gravitation of the earth was officially introduced or hinted at...
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Gary
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2005, 09:26:41 PM »

The Earth-2 Superman isn't quite the same as the Golden Age (i.e. original Siegel-Shuster) one. See here.
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NotSuper
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2005, 10:16:34 PM »

I think my question is being misunderstood.

I'm asking how the Earth-2 (not the Golden Age) Superman gained his additional powers in the context of the story. I'm not asking why the writers had him gain different abilities, I'm asking how the new abilities were justified in the story.

To explain further: The Earth-2 Superman could originally only leap rather than fly and had no vision or hearing powers. However, in the later stories, it was stated and shown that Superman's powers had been increased and he'd gained some new ones as well. How did this happen?
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2005, 10:43:49 PM »

I wonder if the point in the stories where the new powers begin to be defined (late-40s?) is also the point where we would say the Earth-2 adventures end (ie, the Silver-Age, Earth-1 Superman is the only Superman who's Yellow-Sun-based powers are ever explained).

End, that is, until the 1960s JLA/JSA and 1970s Superman Family stories.
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2005, 10:44:12 PM »

To my understanding, no attempt was ever made to explain the increase in powers in the Golden Age.  Lois never asked, "Hey, how come you're flying now when you used to leap?" and Superman never thought to himself, "Since Luthor exposed me to that rare metal, I find I can see through walls..."

The truth is, the writers were making it up as they went along.  When Superman started it was enough to be able to lift a car over his head.  A year later, with hundreds of Superman wannabes on the newsstands, they had to up the ante to keep Supes a step ahead.

Don't forget some powers actually disappeared after the earliest stories; originally Superman could mold his face to assume the features of other people!

It took a few years for things to settle down.  Mort Weisinger practically invented the concept of continuity in comics, and once the letter columns showed up, editors really started minding their P's and Q's lest they get called out by nit-picky fans.

I'm not even sure an explanation is needed; it could just be that Supes learned his limits the moment we did.  For example, they may have started out saying "Nothing less than a bursting shell can penetrate his skin" because that's the worst that had been launched at him up to that point.  Then one day he actually got hit with a bursting shell and realized, "Hey, that doesn't hurt, either!"  Similarly, maybe he just jumped until one day he had to do a REALLY BIG jump and realized he didn't have to come down at all, unless he wanted to.  Or "gosh, I wish I could see through that wall...hey wait!  I CAN!!" And so on.  In other words, maybe his power levels weren't that different, they just hadn't been fully tested at the beginning.

Incidentally, the real reason he started to fly was because the cartoon makers thought he looked dumb leaping around like a jackrabbit.
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NotSuper
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2005, 10:47:31 PM »

But I'm not talking about the Golden Age Superman. I'm talking about the Earth-2 Superman. He gained powers as he got older and was nearly as powerful as the Earth-1 Superman during the Crisis. Did DC ever explain why his powers increased?
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2005, 11:00:23 PM »

It was explained but not in a story.  Editor Julius Schwartz had stated in some lettercol or other how it worked.

The key event that kept everybody stumbling around was how the two Supermen came up absolutely even and knocked each other out in the JLA/JSA crossover "Negative Crisis on Earths One/Two".  E-2 Kal even staggered the powerful Aquarius on his home Earth-2.  It's very clear in that story that the two Supermen were equals.

How did they reconcile this with the earliest E-2 lower powers?

Easy.

Kal-El was two years old before coming to Earth.  He'd already learned to walk and adapt to Krypton's environment.  Thus, he rapidly discovered his powers and the extent of them.

Kal-L was a babe in arms when he was sent to Earth.  Thus, he learned to walk and grew up in our environment.  Thus, he discovered his powers far more gradually than the E-1 model had.  He hadn't even discovered all of them or their full extent by the time he started his costumed career.  He didn't fly because he never tried before.  He was never injured by anything less than a bursting shell but he got hit by many of them in WW2 and they did no damage.

I hope that answers your question.

BTW, I've always held that Byrne kept to the above tradition in his reboot.  His Kal never even experienced Krypton at all having been born on Earth so he'd be even less likely to discover the full extent of his powers.  IMHO
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