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  1. #1
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    Default The old abilities of Superman

    Does anyone want them back? The ability to shape shift and hypnotize others. Those are really cool, all introduced during Siegels writing of the character (1938-1948). He still didnt have Silver Age power levels then. Even with these abilities, he still feels balanced. Theres a sort of perfection, in ability and personality when he's written under Siegel. Everything feels right. Those are very cool and I'd like to see them return.
    Last edited by Cypher; 03-15-2015 at 06:10 PM.

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    That awkward silence will be a no.

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    The shape shifting was not often used. I don't think it really counts as a power-it's one of those lapses in continuity like Batman carrying a gun. Hypnosis was a thing for a very long time. I didn't know it was taken off the list of Superman's powers. I just figured it was something he doesn't do anymore--but he could, like the Mentalist, do it if he wanted to.

    What else is off the list? Does he still have super-intelligence, super-cold breath, super-hearing, super-loudness, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, super-whistling?

    Superman's super-ventriloquism was an odd one. Real ventriloquism is an illusion. A person can't actually throw their voice and make it come from the other side of the room. But they can create the illusion that their voice is coming from somewhere other than their throat/mouth/nose. Whereas, Superman seemed to actually throw his voice. Maybe Superman can create the illusion that his voice is coming from somewhere else--which like hypnotism wouldn't require super-powers, as ordinary people can do those things. But maybe Superman can do them exceptionally well thanks to his other powers.
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  4. #4
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    The shape shifting was not often used. I don't think it really counts as a power-it's one of those lapses in continuity like Batman carrying a gun. Hypnosis was a thing for a very long time. I didn't know it was taken off the list of Superman's powers. I just figured it was something he doesn't do anymore--but he could, like the Mentalist, do it if he wanted to.

    What else is off the list? Does he still have super-intelligence, super-cold breath, super-hearing, super-loudness, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, super-whistling?

    Superman's super-ventriloquism was an odd one. Real ventriloquism is an illusion. A person can't actually throw their voice and make it come from the other side of the room. But they can create the illusion that their voice is coming from somewhere other than their throat/mouth/nose. Whereas, Superman seemed to actually throw his voice. Maybe Superman can create the illusion that his voice is coming from somewhere else--which like hypnotism wouldn't require super-powers, as ordinary people can do those things. But maybe Superman can do them exceptionally well thanks to his other powers.
    He still has all those (bolded) powers, though certain writers tend to forget/ignore the super-intelligence, and the loudness, cold-breath and whistling are generally grouped under what I suppose could be called "super lungs".

    Any telepathic, telekinetic, or otherwise purely mental power, along with things like shape shifting, are all long gone. He's a flying brick with heat vision and highly enhanced senses, and that's it.

    As for the obscure and weird powers of yester-year, Im honestly okay with them being gone. I mean, a lot of them were just really ridiculous even by comic book standards (shooting mini-Supermen from his hands and the Super-Kiss come to mind) and many of the others just seem needless for the character. Cool powers, but not ones that really enrich the mythos in any meaningful way.

    However, I wouldnt be against Clark's powers being re-defined a bit. I always liked the idea Bryne had; that Clark's powers are psychic in nature despite their physical manifestation, which explains how he breaks physics so easily. That's what allows him to lift ocean liners without them crumbling under their own weight, or hear a gunshot from three States away before the bullet actually reaches its target. And I'd love to see a writer take that concept and run with it. The idea that Superman actually breaks the laws of the universe....there's a lot of potential in viewing his powers like that, a lot of ways they could be looked at and exercised that simple, straight forward super-strength cant be.
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    I don't know if I'd want his powers to be psychic in nature, but I think they could operate according to some super-science that is beyond our understanding--and possibly extra-dimensional. But Superman should know this. It wouldn't make sense for Superman to use his powers without understanding how they work (otherwise he looks stupid). Maybe Superman knows but he's not telling, because why would he tell others how his powers really work--that's just giving Luthor and Brainiac information they can use against him.
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    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    Of course, I want all the Superman powers. Superman could manipulate his breathing, so that it was essentially telekinesis. But it wasn't, it's Superman using his skill set, all his five senses to the nth degree. That's why Batman has been such a juggernaut in comics, he's pure unadulterated Superhero. That's Supermans job.

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    As for the oddball super-powers, such as those shown in the early comics or in the movies, red Kryptonite could easily explain those away. Since every chunk of red K has a different effect on a Kryptonian, the writers were only limited by the supply of red K as to what new power or weird transformation might appear in a Superman yarn.

    Superman did have telepathic powers in the Night of March 31st. And I could tell you why, but then there would be no need to read my blog or my post about that.
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    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I will read the blog post, I always figured it was Superman comics showing their range. DC out Zanying Mad Magazine.




    I cant say enough great things about Rod Serling. I am midway through the 3rd season of Twilight Zone and floored by the number of episodes he wrote. He covers it all and there are dozens of movies working with ideas he works through in under 30 minutes.
    Last edited by Johnny Thunders!; 03-16-2015 at 09:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    The shape shifting was not often used. I don't think it really counts as a power-it's one of those lapses in continuity like Batman carrying a gun. Hypnosis was a thing for a very long time. I didn't know it was taken off the list of Superman's powers. I just figured it was something he doesn't do anymore--but he could, like the Mentalist, do it if he wanted to.

    What else is off the list? Does he still have super-intelligence, super-cold breath, super-hearing, super-loudness, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, super-whistling?

    Superman's super-ventriloquism was an odd one. Real ventriloquism is an illusion. A person can't actually throw their voice and make it come from the other side of the room. But they can create the illusion that their voice is coming from somewhere other than their throat/mouth/nose. Whereas, Superman seemed to actually throw his voice. Maybe Superman can create the illusion that his voice is coming from somewhere else--which like hypnotism wouldn't require super-powers, as ordinary people can do those things. But maybe Superman can do them exceptionally well thanks to his other powers.
    Well the super ventriliquism doesnt make sense and it was more of a Silver Age thing. But shape shifting is very neat, either done physically which is how it was done, or otherwise. I can see it being done mentally, since Superman can practically see DNA and genetic structure, so he can alter it or will it. A useful ability thats very badass quite frankly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    He still has all those (bolded) powers, though certain writers tend to forget/ignore the super-intelligence, and the loudness, cold-breath and whistling are generally grouped under what I suppose could be called "super lungs".

    Any telepathic, telekinetic, or otherwise purely mental power, along with things like shape shifting, are all long gone. He's a flying brick with heat vision and highly enhanced senses, and that's it.

    As for the obscure and weird powers of yester-year, Im honestly okay with them being gone. I mean, a lot of them were just really ridiculous even by comic book standards (shooting mini-Supermen from his hands and the Super-Kiss come to mind) and many of the others just seem needless for the character. Cool powers, but not ones that really enrich the mythos in any meaningful way.

    However, I wouldnt be against Clark's powers being re-defined a bit. I always liked the idea Bryne had; that Clark's powers are psychic in nature despite their physical manifestation, which explains how he breaks physics so easily. That's what allows him to lift ocean liners without them crumbling under their own weight, or hear a gunshot from three States away before the bullet actually reaches its target. And I'd love to see a writer take that concept and run with it. The idea that Superman actually breaks the laws of the universe....there's a lot of potential in viewing his powers like that, a lot of ways they could be looked at and exercised that simple, straight forward super-strength cant be.
    The mini-Supermen and a couple others were also Silver Age mostly, same with the Super Kiss. Thats all 50-70s. Hypnosis I dont see much as a mental power, read below (since I typed out that reply first);

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Thunders! View Post
    Of course, I want all the Superman powers. Superman could manipulate his breathing, so that it was essentially telekinesis. But it wasn't, it's Superman using his skill set, all his five senses to the nth degree. That's why Batman has been such a juggernaut in comics, he's pure unadulterated Superhero. That's Supermans job.
    I personally havent read much with super man using TK, but along these lines is how I picture an explination for the hypnotism, since the man can shoot heat and x-ray from his eyes, an entrancing frequency ray emanation from his eyes makes just as much sense.



    No one has said much about shape shifting. And to be honest, hypnosis can be perfectly explained, these arent that far out like some of the SA abilities. Supermans physical levels as well play a part in this, since he cant do everything like SA.

  10. #10
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    I like the trickster Superman. In a lot of classic stories, the Caped Kryptonian plays pranks on others and I think that shows a fun side to his character. Also with Steve Lombard, when he would try to play a prank on Clark, the Man of Steel would use his powers to prank Stevie Boy instead.

    I'm sure, being a smart fellow, as soon as he saw someone like Zatara do a stage trick, Clark figured out how to do it--and he made it that much better with the help of his super-powers. So that's how I see him using ventriloquism.

    In the very early stories, Clark seemed to run across a fair number of hypnotists. And in some of those stories they put him under their spell. But then in other stories, Clark is resistant to their influence. And then a bit later we see Superman using hypnotisim on others. So maybe after the first few times a hypnotist got the better of him, Clark learned to resist mesmerism, then studied it and learned how to do it himself.

    Neither ventriloquism nor hypnotism require that Superman have an actual super-power to do this. They just require that Clark is clever.

    Also in the very early stories, Clark is able to push the muscles of his face around to change his appearance. But a few years later, in one story, he shows the ability to completely shift his appearance to look like a weird alien. It's one thing for Clark to alter his appearance by manipulating his facial muscles, but I draw the line at him shifting into a completely different form.

    I think giving Superman actual psychic powers would soon overshadow every other power he has. Why use super-senses or physical might, when every problem can be solved with pyschic abilities. There are enough other heroes whose specialty is psychic powers, so why should Superman cut their grass.
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  11. #11
    Mighty Member LifeIsILL's Avatar
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    Pre-Crisis Superman was the best depiction of Superman ever.

    They didn't try to make him weaker, they didn't try to nerf the character, DC fully embraced the character and he was 100% true to himself.

    You don't see him getting beat up by Batman or Green Lantern or whoever, there was nobody who could mess with him.

    He wasn't some "dark" or "edgy" Supes like we see these days, he was what he is supposed to be, a symbol of hope.

    I miss that guy.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member adkal's Avatar
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    Super-ventriloquism is 'merely' Superman using micro bursts of heat vision in a pseudo-Morse-Code kind of way, shunting wavelengths to discernible sound.

    You know how some people say that so-and-so's 'eyes spoke volumes'? heh

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    Quote Originally Posted by adkal View Post
    Super-ventriloquism is 'merely' Superman using micro bursts of heat vision in a pseudo-Morse-Code kind of way, shunting wavelengths to discernible sound.

    You know how some people say that so-and-so's 'eyes spoke volumes'? heh
    One new power I'd give Superman is the power to access the internet.

    I think in the old days he could pick up radio. He should be able to see radio waves, but maybe he can process that information and hear it. So would it be so impossible for Superman to see cybernetic communications? and then process them with his intellect to read the internet. It wouldn't even have to be a new power--it would just be him using his existing powers in a creative way.

    It would come in handy given so much is now happening in cyberspace rather than real space. So Superman would be plugged in.
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    Mighty Member adkal's Avatar
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    I've always imagined him being able to 'project' what he has seen - it's not exactly 'television-vision' but that's probably the easiest description. It uses his super-memory and couples it with his various vision abilities. (Of course, I figured he used it at least once as evidence against Lex but some 'experts' discredited the veracity of the 'replay' and so it was never used in a court room again (and that's why Superman is almost never called to give evidence), but still... )


    Electro-Supes could do what you have suggested - and Lex used it against him over in Morrison's JLA

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    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    Superman in those old comcs, he seems like he's made of something else. Invulnerable meant, even if you hit him hard enough to send flying, in those 50s comics he seems more surprised than hurt.

    Super ventriloquism, he can see, hear, speak, and affect almost any spot in the planet without leaving where he's located. Everything's all perceivable wave lengths to Superman, that's awesome! That's cosmic awareness as far I'm concerned .

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