Robot 6

DC Comics charts ‘Superman’s first new power in decades’

super flare

Ahead of the debut of the Man of Steel’s new power and costume in Wednesday’s Superman #38, DC Comics has released a graphic charting the history of his abilities, from super-speed to flight to, now, super flare.

The conclusion of the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, the new issue apparently climaxes with the unleashing of what the writer calls “the most destructive power Superman has.”

“And he’s not exactly excited about it because it is so dangerous and there are consequences,” Johns said.

DC bills super flare as Superman’s “first new power in decades,” which, judging from the rather incomplete graphic, may be a reference to the addition of heat vision in 1949. Of course, the Man of Steel has sported new abilities since then — as recently as 1998’s Superman Red/Superman Blue storyline.

superman powers



What? This isn’t even the first time Geoff Johns has given him a new power (see Bizarro World arc in Action Comics).

Damn, I was hoping Superman would have the ability to make the “brown note”.

I’m sorry, As much as we’d like to forget that Era almost entirely, we can’t forget about the Electric Blue Superman of the 90’s. Whether or not they stuck, they were still “new” powers in the regular continuity, not Elseworlds.

Ummmm, I hate to throw the wet blanket on the fire of excitement but since the New 52 – SUPERGIRL has shown this power a few times already.

New power to Superman, not a new power to SuperGIRL!!!


February 3, 2015 at 7:13 am

I’m pretty sure they are referring to the permanent powers he’s maintained. He’s had new crappy powers that we would all like to forget over the decades, and thankfully writers have let those one-off moments fade from memory. Time will tell if this new one will stick or be ignored by future writers as well.

Super flare at the same time of a new costume? Those must be some swanky bell-bottoms.

i think supes gonna pull a super saiyan vegeta and went exploding something

the most destructive power Superman has.” . Because following”Man of Steel”, that’s what people REALLY want to see — Superman be MORE destructive! lol.

No mention of microscopic vision, telescopic vision, time travel, super breath, super hypnosis, super ventriloquism or being able to fire a little Superman out of his fingertips?

Seriously? They’ve given Superman new abilities even since the beginning of the New 52! In Action #2, he states that his eyes emit various forms of radiation, including microwaves. Microwave vision again appears in an early issue of Superman Unchained. They play this off as just a variation on already existing vision powers but, although 1950’s Superman used X-ray vision to cook food and 1990’s Superman used heat vision to cook food, I don’t recall the Man of Steel from any era using his eyes to microwave food – therefore, as far as I’m concerned, new power. The Metropolis Marvel also uses something that I like to refer to (not in any way admiringly) as “Computer Vision” in an early New 52 story where he uses his vision powers to “read” the contents of a flash drive given to him by Batman. So, while this “Super Flare” sounds interesting and is something I might be able to accept – especially since opportunities for it’s use would be limited due to the consequences involved – it is by no means the characters first new power in decades. Not even the first new power in the last four years.

I’m glad superman got a new power. With only having super strength, super speed, flight, heat vision, super/cold breath, and invulnerability… He seemed like such a wuss before getting a new power. I’m glad they finally made it so it seems like this guy has a chance to win.

That doesn’t seem right — didn’t Superman turn get a blue costume and become an electrical current in the 90s?

I love Superman, but I agree with “THAT GUY”. Shouldn’t they make Superman LESS powerful…Geez. It seems that the Johns and Romita names were not enough to attract people to the title. Now, they’re pulling out all the stops to garner the attention. Sometimes LESS is MORE.

*rolls eyes* Yay. Might as well just give him the ability to alter the physical properties of the fabric of the universe, all forms of perception and all forms of energy and matter. Also, time. Also, like Godfire/Hellfire. Also every Lantern spectrum.

Be kinda cool if he had the fourth wall power, like Deadpool.

Always wondered, is Supergirl super sensitive during that special week of the month?

So basically Superman doing a smartbomb right? Not really a power-see the Human Torch going Super nova and how much mileage they got from that. Not really the same as super speed or x ray vision is it?

My issue isn’t with the new power set. My issue is that I’ve yet to read a Superman story that isn’t an Elseworld type story that is actually good.

Otto Binder Silver Age Superman stories is still the best

Still couldn’t get my eyes used to the JRJR Superman.

I really wish Morrison had stuck with depowering Superman back to his 1938 powerset longer instead of just using it as a lead-in to Silver Age zaniness.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Silver Age zaniness too. But there have been plenty of callbacks to that over the years (including, yes, Superman-Red and Superman-Blue), and a lot fewer to Siegel and Shuster’s original high-jumping, bulletproof socialist crusader.

The White Hot Rat

February 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

Because powers make the hero, right? If the writers stretched their imagination a bit and found more innovative ways for himto use the power set he already has the book could become more interesting to me. Supes fights the same way and uses pretty much the same strategy.

Super Flair sounds like something the waiters at Tchotchke’s compete for.

Didnt Graduation day (DCNu52 Supergirl #7) imply female Kryptonians have the solar flare power?

Geoff Johns. pfft………

Super Flare is a Pokemon ability isn’t it?

This is a very stupid move by DC. That last thing Superman needs is more power. What he needs is more PERSONALITY. If they want to make him interesting, focus on his character, NOT his power set. The last thing we need is yet ANOTHER storyline that focuses on Superman coming to terms with his vast power and how to keep it under control. Didn’t we just experience variations on this cheap plot device with Doomed?

It really shows you how insecure DC feels about their premier hero when they feel they need to give him another super power. If Johns is having manhood issues, he should buy a Monster truck, not compensate by ‘Flaring up’ Superman.

Im with Boom

I will be in the Minority but I just wish that the Anti Montior would come back and wipe out the NEW 52 Universes.. These are not the Superheroes I grew up Reading. They are pale copies.

oh nu52, you so wacky.

A minor correction, if I may: The article refers to Superman’s heat vision being introduced in 1949. Perhaps that’s a typo. To the best of my knowledge (and I’ve written extensively on pre-New 52 Superman), throughout the 1950s, the character was still melting things “with the heat of my X-ray vision” until the Cold War-era readers were being taught so much hard science at such early grade-levels that they started bombarding editor Mort Weisinger with embarrassing letters that pointed out that X-rays don’t generate heat. So, rather than eliminate a power that was a necessary story gimmick, heat vision was born. This was around 1960, I believe. BTW, it was never fully explained how even an alien optic nerve or retina could create intense heat beams, but, then, there wasn’t even a story containing an event that spawned the power; it just quietly showed up one day, without explanation.

Lastly, the phrase “first new power in decades” is a bit misleading. First “permanent new power” would probably be more accurate, considering that in the Silver Age Superman often acquired bizarre temporary abilities as a result of exposure to Red Kryptonite, and, as one commenter up-thread pointed out, Mike Carlin’s team did that Superman-Red / Superman-Blue arc in the 1990s.

Geoff Johns is painting himself into a corner again. Lazy writing, that’s what that is.

They omitted Super Ventriloquism from the graphic

Seriously wish that Superman got the power to shot a mini-Superman out of his hands again. That one had me laughing all day.

They forgot to list Silver Age Superman’s power of superdickery…

Is it just me or does Romita Jr.’s Superman look an awful lot like his Ikaris from his and Gaiman’s Eternals limited series for Marvel a few years back?

Hey, remember the time they did a story that said nobody ever figured out that Clark Kent was Superman because he was HYPNOTIZING EVERYONE WHO SAW HIM into thinking Clark was older, shorter and slighter? And that this ability somehow worked over TV (Clark was a news anchor at the time) and even through still photos? Superman #330, December 1978. The howls from readers were enough that they just said, “Let’s all forget this story ever happened.”

So now he looks like Marvel’s Sentry?

I enjoyed everyone pointing out the other powers which are not listed. Even just limiting it to the New52, Snyder and Lee just added one in Superman Unchained remember?

Yes, Superman is now Sentry and Luther will be the Void.

Ah, because Superman isn’t obscenely overpowered already, let’s give him another power!

Cynthia Anne Womack

February 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm

He loses powers easily,too. Lest he be seen as ‘overpowered’,some traits seen as non-essential are jettisoned and even picked up by other characters. We may hear that this or that gift belongs to the Superman analog of an alternate reality. (Example: The original Superman wasn’t as fast,strong or invulnerable as his successors but he had strengths that recent Kals have lacked. J’onn J’onnz and Icon appeared with origins similar to the first Superman in that he arrived on the scene as an adult who used his shape-shifting abilities to take on the structure of a Terran human while possessing super-strength,flight,etc.

Keep Superman SUPER. I don’t mind the concept of fictional extraterrestrial superheroes with powers and abilities beyond those of ordinary mortals and there are a plenitude of characters significantly more powerful than the “overpowered” Superman, including fellow DC hero, the Spectre and Marvel’s Silver Surfer. There are comics featuring non-powered street-level crimefighters such as Batman and Green Arrow, Punisher and Hawkeye. Why not a Superman? The power set is not the entirety of a character in an episodic format anyway. Writers can improve supporting casts, the characterization of the headliner, the threat posed by the arch-nemeses, and plotting. Kal-El is already vulnerable to green kryptonite and magic and can be incrementally de-powered with red solar radiation

Superman is now 100% just a cypher. Utterly hollow and meaningless, devoid of character or creativity. How about a new super power that allows him to die, but only if he’s on his knees and via a double-barreled shotgun blast to the back of the skull? At least now everyone can relate to Lex Luthor finally…

Well If Geoff Johns wanted to give me a reason to hate his arrogant ass and his “I can do whatever I want with DC’s characters cuz I’m the boss at DC” attitude, this is it.

First Azzarello gives Wonder Woman the stupid power to appear weapons out of nowhere and now this. It will never be canon Johns!!! So F-U.

Thanks DC for making it easy for me to absolutely stop reading your garbage with this news. NEW NEW Superman suit and a stupid add trying to justify a sh¨t idea for a super power are all I needed to want to close the book on my hopes for a better DCU and stop reading their sh*t for a good couple of years.

…let’s see… Marvel, Image, Darkhorse…yeah, I’ve got enough to keep me away from DC for a while. ;)

Looks like a Super Saiyan powering up….Anime/ DBZ inspired?

Superman needs FEWER powers, not more.

Strength, speed, flight, invulnerability should be plenty. Xray vision and super hearing do add some interesting twists.

But super flare? Heat vision already makes Superman way too “OP.”

Back to the 1950s, where DC is out of ideas and delving into the extreme/absurd.

I bet issue #50 has Lois trying to prove Clark is Superman…

When Mark Schultz wrote Superman: Man of Steel, he introduced a new power, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was called or how it was spelled. Surely someone could reach out to him and ask him. So, no, this is not the first new power DC has given Superman in decades in the span of 13 – 15 years, sure, maybe, but not decades plural.

So, Superman became even more lame is what you’re saying.


for those who are complaining that superman is overpowered, how come you are not saying anything about darkseid, wonderwoman, and the flash, when superman gets a power there is hatred but when a villain darkseid gets new powers, no one says anything. personally I have no problem with superman getting a new power since other characters are getting new abilities.

They left off the roofie kiss.

Superman​ goes Super Saiyan?

Heywood Jublowme

February 4, 2015 at 5:41 am

Looks like The Sentry lol. Also could be an homage to Super Saiyans

Those powers Schultz introduced were “Torquasm-Rao — An ancient Kryptonian meditation technique.
Torquasm-Vo — An ancient Kryptonian martial art.” Thanks to Steve Younis for the refresher.

By the looks of this, Johns and Romita Jr. may have been watching too much DragonBall Z

“Superman needs to be more exciting, what do we do?”
“just give him a new off the wall power”

“Batman needs to be more exciting, should we give him a fun new story to follow?”
“Nah just use that homeless guy’s idea from this morning”

Bad calls all around.

Some of you people don’t understand that Superman is getting a new superpower and a new Vulnerability. Because once he uses the super flare he becomes completely human for 24 hours this makes this character even complex and more interesting. The Superman character is getting better.

Seriously though, the hunched posture, the levitating hair, the superflous output of yellow energy… the dude is CLEARLY going Super Saiyan. Did DC finally come across all those “Superman Vs. Goku” videos on YouTube and felt insecure? Everybody keep an eye out if Green Lantern starts trying to learn the Fusion Dance, or maybe Batman will replace his batarangs with Destructo Disks. I guess I’ll find out along with everyone else when Superman #28 hits the shelves. No matter what it is,it can’t be any dumber than Silver Age powers like “Super Ventriloquism” or that weird “Amnesia Kiss” from Superman II.

This power drains his body to the point where Yamcha could kill him with a Ki blast LOL,And I am not Even Joking When I Said It I Meant it

Superman is easily the most boring superhero BECAUSE HE CAN ALREADY DO ANYTHING but you give him more powers and expect him to be interesting?

REAL GENIUS WRITING THERE. There is a reason the modern age Superman became the most popular one in the late 80’s/early 90’s and that’s because John Byrne got rid of the invincible Superman and actually brought him down to everyone else’s level, which was still far and away more powerful than anyone.

This reeks of a teenager sitting back and saying, “you know what would be cool” and then shoe-horning it into an already boring story. No wonder Marvel is wiping the floor with DC.

Superman is not overpowered they’re a lot of other super heroes n villians thats over powered, look at the silver surfer or martian manhunter I say its about time superman gets a new power now they should take away his vulnerability to magic and that would be the superman I would call my favourite super hero once again

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives