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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Default More power doesn’t mean more interesting,

    I feel this has been an issue with Superman. I fail to see any story that has been made better by having planet busting characters in it. Their comes a point were power levels become so abstract they become amorphous and unrelatable. Can you really tell the difference between a planet level And cosmic level strength.
    Last edited by mathew101281; 05-09-2021 at 11:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Amazing Member Gitagon's Avatar
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    Nerfing already powerful characters doesn't make them interesting either.

    If comics retained consistency like most manga do, this wouldn't be an issue in the least bit. And I always use Toriko as an example for this since that's a manga with lots of planetary characters.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    I feel this has been an issue with Superman. I fail to see any story that has been made better by having planet busting characters in it. Their comes a point were power levels become so abstract they become amorphous and unrelatable. Can you really tell the difference between a planet level And cosmic level strength.
    I'd also point out that making him weaker doesn't necessarily make the character more interesting, either. It really depends on the writer and the story.

    I think there is a happy medium. Probably a lot of the Pre-Crisis stuff was too powerful, but anything weaker than Byrne's reboot minus things like Morrison's "T-shirt and Jeans" Superman is also too weak. From the "let's make him weaker" crowd, the argument that really kills me is whenever someone says iteration X of Superman is too weak and the default response always seems to be "Would you want to see him juggling planets?" as if there's nothing in between.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DochaDocha View Post
    I'd also point out that making him weaker doesn't necessarily make the character more interesting, either. It really depends on the writer and the story.

    I think there is a happy medium. Probably a lot of the Pre-Crisis stuff was too powerful, but anything weaker than Byrne's reboot minus things like Morrison's "T-shirt and Jeans" Superman is also too weak. From the "let's make him weaker" crowd, the argument that really kills me is whenever someone says iteration X of Superman is too weak and the default response always seems to be "Would you want to see him juggling planets?" as if there's nothing in between.
    No but it gives him more options story wise. The kind of things that can challenge Batman, and Spider-Man are much more varied then the kind of stuff that can challenge Superman and other uber powered charactered. You either have to match him up against ever more abstract and on physical threats( which can read as quite boring in an action genre like superheroes) or you can just keep matching him up with ever more powerful enemies( what I call the Dragonball method) which can also become quite repetitive.

  5. #5
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The power need only be proportionate to the story you wanna tell. He's got a much high ceiling than most characters even with contrivances like Spider-Man being powered by Captain Universe or whatever. He also finds his strength level nearly irrelevant against a Mxy or a Prankster. At one point Brainiac was knocking out New Gods with psychic blasts while Luthor was literally a husk, and they were both his greatest enemies, you know?
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  6. #6
    Mighty Member Ra-El's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    No but it gives him more options story wise. The kind of things that can challenge Batman, and Spider-Man are much more varied then the kind of stuff that can challenge Superman and other uber powered charactered. You either have to match him up against ever more abstract and on physical threats( which can read as quite boring in an action genre like superheroes) or you can just keep matching him up with ever more powerful enemies( what I call the Dragonball method) which can also become quite repetitive.
    Thor is just as powerful, if not more, and he doesn't face the same problems as Superman. Why? Probably because the writers don't have Thor fighting a bald guy he can squash like a bug every other arc like they do with Superman.
    The scenario is also important, Thor fight against other gods in space, a couple punchs have them brawling in Jupiter a couple more and they are out of the solar system, while Clark appears to fight everyone of his enemies in a ten mile radius from the Metropolis.

  7. #7
    Breaker of Worlds Immortal Hulk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ra-El View Post
    Thor is just as powerful, if not more, and he doesn't face the same problems as Superman. Why? Probably because the writers don't have Thor fighting a bald guy he can squash like a bug every other arc like they do with Superman.
    The scenario is also important, Thor fight against other gods in space, a couple punchs have them brawling in Jupiter a couple more and they are out of the solar system, while Clark appears to fight everyone of his enemies in a ten mile radius from the Metropolis.
    Couldn't agree more.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member HsssH's Avatar
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    Very good point on bald guy. This probably could be another topic entirely, but I think there is fundamental problem with Luthor being the primary antagonist.

    As for power levels, I don't think that people really want Superman to push around planets and things like that. What people really want, obviously in my opinion, is for Superman to be protected so that whenever some epic new villain (or even a hero) comes around he doesn't beat up (or trick) Superman. Batman has no powers, but you'll rarely see someone getting an upper hand against him. Superman? For all his powers he is often used as a punching bag to establish another character.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    No but it gives him more options story wise. The kind of things that can challenge Batman, and Spider-Man are much more varied then the kind of stuff that can challenge Superman and other uber powered charactered. You either have to match him up against ever more abstract and on physical threats( which can read as quite boring in an action genre like superheroes) or you can just keep matching him up with ever more powerful enemies( what I call the Dragonball method) which can also become quite repetitive.
    I think i will never understand why so many people want to turn Superman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and so on into Spider Man, Batman, Captain America, and so on, the latter characters all exist already and were created to be like that, while the former characters typically just suffered from the many nerfed appearances they had if it was not clearly temporarily from the start. Did anyone truly see a rise in quality with Wonder Woman in the most comics since Flashpoint as example, because i did not, and that was not even as extreme as turning such characters into Spider Man let alone Batman or Captain America.

  10. #10
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ra-El View Post
    Thor is just as powerful, if not more, and he doesn't face the same problems as Superman... The scenario is also important, Thor fight against other gods in space, a couple punchs have them brawling in Jupiter a couple more and they are out of the solar system, while Clark appears to fight everyone of his enemies in a ten mile radius from the Metropolis.
    I feel a big part of this is the freedom allowed to Thor's writers as well as Thor not being as shackled to a strict formula and setting as Superman has become.

    As you say, Superman seems confined to Metropolis these days (yes, I know the War World thing is coming).

    My favourite era of Superman was with Loeb/Kelley and co. There were big and long-running plans, he'd travel the world, space and greater DC Universe, the status quo shifted and changed, the supporting cast grew, his interactions with other DC characters (heroes and villains) grew, there were huge crossovers and smaller events just for fun (such as Return to Krypton), villains such as Luthor and Zod were used more as supporting characters which gave the eventual confrontations more weight.

    The status quo was still in place but things seemed to progress.

    Yet DC gave Superman a son and it felt like nothing has changed.

    I hate to say it, as I know many on this board are not fans, but I was enjoying Bendis' run (on and off) more than any since Rebirth as at least he had plans to make Superman and his world bigger. The supporting cast grew. He brought in new villains. We got Lois, Jimmy and Legion of Superheroes spin-offs (I've been reading Jimmy the last few days and it is a blast). Pity his end goal was apparently to replace Clark with Jon.
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  11. #11
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    No but it gives him more options story wise. The kind of things that can challenge Batman, and Spider-Man are much more varied then the kind of stuff that can challenge Superman and other uber powered charactered. You either have to match him up against ever more abstract and on physical threats( which can read as quite boring in an action genre like superheroes) or you can just keep matching him up with ever more powerful enemies( what I call the Dragonball method) which can also become quite repetitive.
    I submit that more options as fact, but I respond by asking if all such options are really appropriate. Each hero is different and has different appeals. Since we bring up Dragonball, I don't want to watch Goku face the same challenges as Batman. Also, one of the weaknesses of Batman stories (IMO, of course) is that to many people, the appealing factor of the character is that he's "just a human," and while I think it's cool he gets thrown into all these unique situations, the balance between "just a human" and being forced to stop a lot of threats gets completely thrown out of whack.

  12. #12
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    Less power does not equal better stories, the character that sells the most of Dc is Batman, a human who is the most intelligent, most skilled and prepared man in the universe, a universe with gods, writes a human Batman and does not sell even half. what it sells is taking the hero to the limit, in an unlimited universe it is something very easy. Lex, a Clark villain. the metropolis is for the lesser villains. Mongul (stronger than Superman) and War World, Superman has to use his power and technology to face him. Brainiac, villain of the entire superverse. I can go on, but I think you understand what I mean.

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Lower power levels don't make for better stories. They're just easier for writers without big imaginations to handle. And who wants that kind of writer on Clark?

    I can point to dozens of awful stories from the comparatively weaker post-Crisis era as "proof" that lower power levels will still result in bad stories when the writer isn't suited to the character. And I can point to stories from the Silver Age when Clark's powers were at their zenith that are just as bad.

    Likewise, I can point to amazing stories where Clark's very weak or very powerful. And it's almost never the power level that makes the story good or bad; Clark's god-like power level isn't the reason All-Star is so amazing, and his mid-tier power levels aren't the reason the t-shirt era is amazing. The writer and creative team is the reason.

    And saying that Clark requires big giant cosmic threats....that's just thinking too small. You need conflict and drama, not just a bad guy for Clark to punch, and a lot of the time a foe that Clark *can't* punch is more interesting. Clark in a major hurricane trying to save everyone; doesn't matter how powerful he is, if he's holding up a bridge full of people and welding it back together, he can't save the little girl drowning two miles away. Clark trying to find a cure to a plague; he can't punch that (unless it's the Doomsday virus anyway) but the stakes are as high as any typical adventure. Clark playing a game of chess with all of Metropolis on the line; a philosophical battle of wits between Clark and the Ultra-Humanite sounds fun right? Clark talking someone off a (literal) ledge; one of the best moments in All-Star has nothing to do with anything except Clark taking the time to talk to somebody who needs it.

    I can dream up tons of ways to legitimately challenge Clark and point to even more examples where it's been done successfully; the fact that so many of his writers can't make it work just shows us that DC doesn't put the right people on the character. It's not the power, it's DC not understanding him or how to apply the character, and therefore hiring the wrong guys to write the comic.

    As for the street level guys having more narrative freedom? That's BS too. Clark can struggle investigating a mysterious murder, struggle to take down organized crime, struggle to keep inner city kids from going down the wrong path, just like Daredevil and Spidey and Bats. But those guys can't really go to the other side of the 5th dimension, negotiate a peace treaty between the Khund and a sentient race of energy beings, or fix the timeline after being accidentally sent back to the Jurassic period and stepping on a butterfly.

    Or, well, those characters "can" do those things, but you're breaking them out of their mold to do it.
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  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I tend to see his power level as a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is STAS. On the other end is the silver age. Most versions fall somewhere in between. The only exception I would make is the GA Superman and that's largely because he was just starting out and it's unfair to compare him to what came after. And most of his villains were humans. Not monsters and aliens. Can you tell good stories with a weaker Superman? Sure. As long as his stories are more grounded. But I wouldn't want to put that version up against Mongul, or Darkseid, or a speeding train headed for someone who can't get out of the way. As a practical matter, you would want a Superman who can at least lift a skyscraper. The problem with versions like STAS is that they appear to be done because the writers don't know what else to do with him. The writers of the show even said so in interviews. A Superman who can barely lift an armored truck over his head is a little less than impressive when compared to one who lifts a tank over his head with one hand.
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  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Prime's Avatar
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    All Star Superman.

    Also Lucifer Morningstar is basically invincible yet he is an interesting character. Besides,Superman isn't as powerful as he was in the SA and even then writer still managed to make it work

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