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Author Topic: Original Superman power-limits *attn: Al Schroeder III*  (Read 7115 times)
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Captain Kal
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« on: October 26, 2005, 06:22:31 PM »

Action Comics #1 stated he could easily leap and 1/8th of a mile, hurdle a 20-story building, run faster than an express train (about 80 mph for 1938), raise tremendous weights, and nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. As Al Shroeder III pointed out in his well thought out articles, the key word here is 'easily'. These are not his upper limits for that time but what he could easily do. In the second issue of his first story, he leaps from the ground to the top of the Washington Monument which is about 55 stories which certainly is higher than 20 stories. He outraces a bullet for the first time in AC #7.

Given the correlation between his two leaping factors, that suggests he could lift over 12.4 tonnes and run over 109 mph. But remember those are his 'easy' feats.

If we factor in his obviously straining to outrace that bullet (assume 1000 - 1100 mph speed for a 225 lb man), that suggests that under extreme adrenaline rush he could lift 1,260 tonnes and leap 7.67 miles upwards (well into the stratosphere as noted in a later story with Luthor), or a combined leap that's 3.83 miles high and 15.3 miles long. And, yes, a man who could outrace a bullet would indeed be more powerful than a locomotive -- at least for a brief time.

Assuming peak effort is 1/10th of his adrenaline rush effort, we get a lift of 126 tonnes, and a combined leap capability of 202 stories high and 1.5 miles long. That would be his normal peak operating level and seems to jibe with many of the early stories.

I'm not factoring in his ability to withstand a bursting shell here.  If he's durable enough to do that, then his strength, speed, and other physical attributes must be at least of a comparable level.  Minimum level for a bursting shell was the old American Civil war ones with about 10 lbs of TNT in them.  That translates into being able to take a punch over 300,000 x that of a normal man of his height, weight, and build.  That would mean for being able to take a mere 10 lbs TNT blast that he should be able to lift over 22,000 tonnes, and so on.  Given the much greater artillery of WW2 with shells averaging over 250 lbs of TNT and Blockbusters peaking around 5 tons of TNT, these are probably conservative estimates.

Since Birthright, Superman: Last Son of Earth, and Superman: Last Stand on Krypton have brought back these levels for the gravity-based Kryptonian abilities, I thought it would be interesting to analyze and discuss what they might be.
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Captain Kal

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RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2005, 06:54:37 PM »

Even this Superman could make the Hulk eat his own feet it looks like.

This is why I have some minor nags with some other stuff. Smallville Clark by his own admission can run approximately 1000 mph, he does so easily, yet he's gotta get a good superspeed boost before he does any huge jumps. One example is when he leapt from the roof of the Daily Planet into the LuthorCorp building, he charged at superspeed to make a jump which he just barely made. Sorry but anyone with legs powerful enough to go that fast, doesn't need any kinda speed to pull off such a meager feat. Another example is when he leaps off an overpass to land on a truck Lois and Lucy are held captive in, there's no way that distance was even an 8th of a mile and yet we see another superspeed jump. I understand the "cool factor" of it, and like I said it's just a minor nag but still.

Another thing is Spider-Man, he's lighter than Clark by far, and almost as strong as the original Superman, his practical strength being 10 tons (he's lifted 15, 20, and even 30 tons under stress). Yet they have him in cannon as only being able to leap 5 stories straight up, which while impressive, isn't anything close to the similarly strong Superman.
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"...and as the fledgeling Man of Steel looks for the first time over the skyline of this city, this, Metropolis, he utters the syllables with which history is made and legends are forged: This, looks like a job...for Superman."
Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2005, 01:39:20 PM »

Quote from: "RedSunOfKrypton"
Even this Superman could make the Hulk eat his own feet it looks like.

Of course, the Hulk's leaping abilities -- he could leap his way into Earth's orbit -- suggest he's potentially far stronger than he's depicted in a fist fight.  The relationship between strength and leaping in the comics is sketchy.
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RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2005, 02:03:45 PM »

What about the "3 Mile Limit" various sources use to cap the Hulk's leaping abilities?
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"...and as the fledgeling Man of Steel looks for the first time over the skyline of this city, this, Metropolis, he utters the syllables with which history is made and legends are forged: This, looks like a job...for Superman."
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2005, 02:52:44 PM »

Even in the '80s, the Hulk was shown as being able to leap into orbit.  Of course, there's little physics problems starting with "what surface does Hulk leap from", etc.  There's often a huge disconnect between "demonstrated strength" and "leaping ability" with these super-strong characters, which is really all I was saying.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2005, 04:39:07 PM »

Well, depending on which era and incarnation you take of Superman and the Hulk, you'd get different results.  I'm inclined to match contemporry versions with each other.

The original Hulk was injured by a jeep or something and it took him about a day to heal from that.  The original Superman could take a bursting shell which is far beyond a truck for destructive effect.

The Byrned Supes would be smoked by the version(s) of the Hulk contemporary with him.

Fortunately, Post Crisis Superman didn't stay Byrned and the outcome after Unca Johnny left is a bit more debatable.

But let's not turn this into a Superman vs the Hulk thread, if you please.
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Captain Kal

"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
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RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2005, 08:38:44 PM »

Haha, my bad, though that wasn't my intent. I was just using it as comparison as Hulk is one of the noted "major leapers" in comics.
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"...and as the fledgeling Man of Steel looks for the first time over the skyline of this city, this, Metropolis, he utters the syllables with which history is made and legends are forged: This, looks like a job...for Superman."
Captain Kal
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2005, 08:53:26 PM »

Here's something that to my knowledge has always been overlooked by everyone else.

In AC #1, Superman overtakes then hoists Butch's car overhead and shakes out the occupants before smashing it to pieces.

People usually, if not always, speak of the strength needed to lift that great weight, which is perhaps 2 tons.

What is overlooked is what it takes to catch up to and stop a speeding 2 ton automobile.  Assuming a modest 60 mph when Butch floored the accelerator, that means Superman had to have exerted enough braking power in the opposite direction to counter the auto's forward energy.  He'd have to be capable of lifting over 73 tons to do so.  It's interesting how this comes close to the 126 ton figure mentioned earlier in this thread.

The fact that a human-sized being should have to slow such a car down over several miles no matter how strong he is does suggest that Byrne's psionic effect should probably be retrofitted to even the very first AC #1 tale to explain this.
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Captain Kal

"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
-- The Dalai Lama
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