This article contains spoilers from the most recent DCEU film. You have been warned.
Clark Joseph Kent, born with the Kryptonian name Kal-El, is an incredibly powerful alien superhero of the House of El, one of the extremely few survivors of the destruction of Krypton, and an investigative reporter of the Daily Planet. In addition, Kal-El is the first (and last) Kryptonian of natural birth in centuries and the host of the Kryptonian Growth Codex.
When Kal-El's father, Jor-El, realized that Krypton was doomed, he and his wife Lara sent their son to Earth, where he would be found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Using his super powers, he defends the people of Earth from threats, such as the terraforming attempt by the Kryptonian war criminal General Zod, using the moniker Superman.
Two years later, Superman grew increasingly wary of the vigilante Batman, and was ultimately forced into a fight with the Dark Knight by a new and greater enemy, the malevolent supergenius Lex Luthor. However, the two of them would ultimately settle their differences and team up with Wonder Woman, together managing to take down the unleashed monster Doomsday, though Superman was killed in the process. Earth's greatest hero was honorably buried in Heroes Park, with the world mourning his passing, and his heroic sacrifice inspired both Batman and Wonder Woman to begin establishing the valiant Justice League in order to battle any future threats to the world.
Amanda Waller cited the emergence of the Superman as the reason the government needed to employ metahumans before they were used against the government, as there would be no way to predict the allegiances of "the next Superman". Thus, Superman was indirectly responsible for the formation of not only the Justice League, but also Task Force X.
A year following Superman's death, Batman would employ the Flash and Cyborg to resurrect him from the dead with a Mother Box. With the team now fully assembled, Superman greatly contributed to the successful offensive against Steppenwolf, forcing the latter's attempted invasion into retreat. Afterward, Superman officially joined the Justice League as their leader and returned to his life of superheroism, now unanimously accepted by the world.
Last Son of Krypton
Kal-El was born on February 29, 1980, in the outskirts of Kandor on planet Krypton to Jor-El, a scientist in the Kryptonian Thinker Guild, and his wife Lara Lor-Van in the wake of a military coup d’état led by his father's lifelong friend and commander in the Warrior Guild, General Dru-Zod. Following a difficult birth, Kal-El's first cries were heard by the nearby Rondors outside the House of El Citadel.
The first Kryptonian conceived from natural birth on the planet in centuries since the end of the age of Krypton's cosmic expansion, Kal-El was Jor-El's proof that their race could continue on past the planet's demise. In the time leading to Kal's birth, Jor-El made preparations to save his son, developing a specialized pod to deliver him to Earth, located many light years away from Krypton. Jor-El deduced his son would develop astonishing abilities during his time on the planet, becoming a godlike figure he'd hoped would lead the planet's population to greatness. Moments before bidding his son farewell, Jor-El bonded the genetic information within Krypton's Growth Codex to the cell's of Kal-El's body, after which he finally placed a command key into the starship.
As his parents started the launch sequence for his ship, however, General Zod and his forces invaded the Citadel and engaged his former friend in a fierce duel, desperate to retrieve the Codex and abort the launch. Lara, however, succeeded in launching the starship, inducing an enraged Zod to mortally stab her husband through a gap in his armor, killing him. Determined to retrieve the Codex, Zod ordered Kal-El's pod shot down, but at that moment the Sapphire Guards overtook the Sword of Rao, destroying their aircraft. This gave just enough time for the Phantom Drive of Kal-El's ship to activate, allowing Kal-El to escape to his freedom.
Raised in Kansas
On June 18, 1980, the starship emerged near to the gas giant Saturn, and continued on its course to Earth. It landed undetected in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas, where it was found by local farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent. The childless couple decided to adopt the infant Kal-El inside the pod, and hid his true origins from everyone for most of his childhood.
Guidance from Martha
When he was 9 years old, Clark attended Weisinger Primary School One day during class, Clark's tacher, Ms. Rampling, called on him to answer a question about the founders of Kansas, but got no response as Clark's enhanced senses began manifesting, terrifying the young Kryptonian.
As she got closer, Ms. Rampling noticed Clark's panicked behavior and asked if he was okay, but Clark ran out of the classroom in an attempt to escape the sights and sounds around him. Clark went to hide in a janitor's closet, refusing to leave, causing his teacher to calle his mom for assistance. When she told him this, Clark's heat vision was triggered by his frustration, heating up the closet's doorknob and burning Ms. Rampling's hand.
At that moment, Martha Kent arrived outside the closet, where the rest of Clark's class had gathered. When Clark still refused to open the door, Martha asked her son how she was supposed to help him if he wouldn't let her. Distraught, Clark told his mom that the world was to big for him, so Martha instructed him to "make it small" by focusing on her voice, drowning out everything else. Finally able to control his senses, Clark came out from the closet and asked his mom what was wrong with him, but Martha just held him.
An Act of God
- "When the world finds out about what you can do, it's gonna change everything. Our beliefs, our notions of what it means to be human. Everything. You saw how Pete's mom reacted, right?. She was scared, Clark."
"People are afraid of what they don't understand."
"Is she right? Did God do this to me? Tell me!"
- ―Jonathan and Clark Kent[src]
One day, when Clark was 13, he was riding the bus when Pete Ross, a bully from school, started pestering him about a football game. Lana Lang, one of Clark's classmates, told Pete to leave Clark along, but Pete continued to bother Clark, insulting him. However, at that time, one of the bus's tires blew out and the bus driver lost control, crashing off a bridge and into a river. As the bus was sinking, Clark decided to save his classmates by pushing the bus onto the river bank. Lana, recovering from the shock of the crash, looked around for Clark and spotted him outside, realizing what he had done. Clark went back into the water to retrieve Pete before he drowned as his classmates watched.
Learning the Truth
- "You're not just anyone, Clark, and I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason. All these changes you're going through, one day you're gonna think of them as a blessing. When that day comes, you have a choice to make. A choice of whether to stand proud in front of the human race or not."
"Can't I just keep pretending I'm your son?
"You are my son. But somewhere out there you have another father who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason, Clark."
- ―Jonathan and Clark Kent[src]
Later that day, Pete’s mother confronted Jonathan and Martha about the incident, and Martha attempted to convince her that the whole situation wasn't as serious as she'd made it out to be. Back at their home, Jonathan told Clark that he had to hide his gifts from the world if he were to be safe, even if it meant letting people die, as not everybody will be as understanding as they are, but Clark questioned why he shouldn't help people if he can. Inquisitive as to his place in the world, his father decided to divulge to Clark his origins by revealing the Kryptonian ship he and his wife found him in to him from under the floor of the barn, proving Clark is an alien. He hugged Clark and said he will always be his son, but Clark owed it to himself to discover who he really is and the reason he was sent to Earth.
Death of Jonathan Kent
At age 17, Clark was driving with his parents on a highway when a tornado swept through the area. People began abandoning their vehicles with Jonathan telling Clark to get his mother to safety. Clark realized he could help people with his abilities but his father told him not to use them, safeguarding his secret. As Jonathan was helping other people, Clark carried a little girl to safety. Jonathan went back for the dog who was still in the car, but upon rescuing it, he injured his leg. Just as Clark was about to step in and save his adoptive father, Jonathan held up his hand and signaled for him to stay put before getting subsequently swept away in the tornado and dying, lending much guilt to Clark.
Searching for Purpose
Not long afterward, Clark followed Jonathan's bidding as well as following his own growing desire to find himself, leaving Kansas in pursuit to find the reason he was sent to Earth. He traveled across North America for years, surviving on the borders of civilization, helping others in need and swiftly disappearing shortly afterward.
Rescue at the Oil Rig
Sixteen years after Jonathan Kent's sacrifice, Clark's journey continued as he landed a job on the Debbie Sue fishing boat as a greenhorn. One day while on the job, Clark heard reports over the captain's radio of an oil rig at critical meltdown in need of evacuation and, without hesitating, jumped overboard to try and help the remaining crew. After securing the crew members aboard the rig, Clark escorted them to one of the helipads where a Coast Guard rescue helicopter was passing by to transport the crew to safety. As the helicopter landed and the rig's crew boarded, the drilling derrick collapsed, weakened from the conflagration. Moving swiftly, Clark seized the derrick and held it up, giving the helicopter enough time to get the crew to safety while he stayed behind, though he was visibly strained by the feat. As the helicopter got clear, an explosion sent Clark flying into the water, where he drifted below the surface the oil rig collapsed, watching in peace as a whales passed by. Shortly thereafter, Clark swam to shore and stole some clothes hanging nearby, deciding to move on from the town.
Incident at Cassidy's Pub
- "Wait a second, aren't you here for the exercise?"
"No, there was a change of plans. I guess somebody found something strange on Ellesmere. Aircom's making runs out there all week."
"That rat hole? You gotta be kidding me."
"I know. It's crazy. The Americans are there too, lots of them."
"They're calling it an 'anomalous object', whatever that means."
- ―Canadian Airmen's conversation[src]
Later, Clark got a job as a busboy at a truck stop bar in Canada. One day, Clark overheard a pair of soldiers talking about a discovery made on Ellesmere Island, where even the American military came to observe the "anomalous object" buried under the ice. However, at the same time one of the bar's patrons, a drunk trucker named Ludlow, began harassing his coworker, a waitress named Chrissy. Clark intervened, suggesting that Ludlow leave Chrissy alone, but Ludlow instead got confrontational. Clark then asked him to leave, but Ludlow instead retorted that he'd leave when he was "good and ready", proceeding to throw an entire pitcher of beer into Clark's face.
As Clark prepared to retaliate, Chrissy instead told him that it wasn't worth the trouble. Agreeing, Clark began to leave when Ludlow commented that he'd forgotten his 'tip', throwing a beer can at his back. After pausing for a moment, Clark then left Cassidy's Pub. While Ludlow was still drinking in the pub, Clark destroyed his rig, impaling it with numerous logs from its haul.
Discovering the Scout Ship
Following the lead from the two soldiers, Clark got a job working for the Arctic Cargo helicopter company near to the base camp for the discovery site, going by the name "Joe". While on the job, Clark briefly met Lois Lane, a Daily Planet reporter who was there to write a piece on the mysterious object. Clark and Jed Eubanks escorted Lois to the site, with Clark carrying her heavy bags.
Later that night, Clark snuck away from the military to investigate the ice himself, unaware he'd been discovered by Lois. After finding a spot to begin tunneling, Clark used his heat vision to make a path through the ice to the object, revealing it to be an ancient Kryptonian vessel.
After boarding the ship, Clark was marveling at the sight when a console rose from the deck with a port for what he realized was the key he'd been given to him by Jonathan Kent long ago. Inserting the key, Clark became aware of the Kryptonian service android behind him, which began to attack him with a whip-like appendage. Struggling against the android, Clark managed to successfully insert the House of El command key into the console, deactivating the ship's security measures as the android ceased its atack.
As the android drifted off, Clark noticed a man in one of the hallways and followed him around the ship. During his pursuit, Clark came across the bodies of its former crewmates, long dead, though one of them was missing from their habitation pods. At the same time, Lois Lane entered the ship and was also attacked by the android, causing her to shout in pain. Hearing the commotion, Clark arrived and crushed the android with his bare hands, saving Lois' life. As he went to check her wounds, Lois was hysterical, but Clark merely waited for her to let him help. her taking her back to the surface revealing to her his special powers, by using his heat vision to cauterize an internal wound, saving her life.
An interactive projection of Jor-El appeared and welcomed Clark, referring him by his birth name, Kal-El. Jor-El enlightens him of his heritage, why he was sent to Earth and the obligation to test the limits of his powers. The Scout ship then activated after thousands of years of dormancy and landed on a mountaintop. Jor-El then displayed to Clark the coat of arms of the House of El, which consists of a stylized letter "S" enclosed within a diamond-shaped outline, and showed him the history of Krypton and the dangers of other Kryptonians, before giving Clark a Kryptonian skinsuit, which the latter put on. Due to Jor-El's explanation, Clark was now finally able to accept his alien heritage as Kal-El, and embrace his powers, finally able to overcome his weakness of mental power suppression, and so he went outside and began to test the limits of his powers, gradually learning how to fly.
Clark returned to Smallville and visited Martha after several years of being abroad. He described to her the explorations he went on and that he found the answers to the questions he had, before Lois Lane showed up at the farm with questions about Clark. Clark found Lois at the Smallville Cemetery over Jonathan's grave, where he told her that he died in order to protect Clark from the world. His sacrifice convinced her to not publish her story revealing him to the world.
General Zod's arrival and surrender to humanity
Meanwhile, General Zod, the maniacal Kryptonian military leader, sent a message to the people of Earth to hand over his missing citizen or suffer his wrath. Recognizing that he couldn't put people in danger after a discussion with a Smallville priest, Clark voluntarily handed himself into military custody wearing his new suit.
Lois arrived shortly after wanting questions from Clark and was about to give him a name, but was interrupted by Dr. Hamilton and General Swanwick, who made their intentions regarding delivering Kal-El to General Zod clear. Shortly thereafter Sub-Commander Faora-Ul arrived in a dropship for Kal-El, but she also unexpectedly requested for Lois to join them as well, much to the dismay of both Kal-El and Colonel Hardy.
Once aboard the Black Zero starship, Kal-El came face to face with General Zod, who had him tied down, as the atmosphere aboard was replicating Krypton's, leaving Kal-El practically helpless, due to it rendering him unable to access his stores of solar energy. Zod's leading scientist Jax-Ur then proceeded to take some of Kal-El's blood, before Zod exposed him to mental probing.
General Zod attempted to sway Kal-El to his side, requesting the location of the Kryptonian Growth Codex that Jor-El had sent with the latter to Earth. Kal-El, however, promptly refused to sacrifice his adopted planet, even if that meant restoring his native one.
Lois, however, had brought Jor-El's key aboard the ship and he helped her escape using an escape pod before changing the atmosphere for Kal-El to re-claim some strength to break free. Joe-El instructed Kal-el to beat a hole in the ship for yellow sun rays to get through, for Kal to recuperate his full strength, while Jor-El imparted his final words to his son, encouraging him to save mankind. Kal-El then raced after Lois in the falling escape pod, reaching her just before the pod exploded on impact.
Kal's super hearing alerted him to General Zod, already at Kent Farm and threatening Martha. He flew over and attacked Zod. They subsequently collided into a gas station, which exploded. Zod's breather mask was damaged and all his senses were subsequently overwhelmed, causing him to collapse from the mental strain of trying to process the sudden information from his senses. Faora and Nam-Ek followed and confronted Kal-El, with the pair outnumbering him, beating him to the ground and cautioning him that he won’t prevail.
He was thrown through numerous buildings in Smallville by Faora, while Nam-Ek went to confront the incoming military forces. Before Faora could kill Colonel Hardy, Kal-El tackled her and eventually defeated them both. General Zod's forces retreated back to space to begin their plans for terraforming Earth, while Kal-El flew home to check on his mother.
Hardy, after witnessing Superman's efforts to save them, then proclaimed that Superman was not mankind's enemy, much to the former's thanks.
- "If that thing is making Earth more like Krypton, won't you be weaker around it?"
"Maybe. But I'm not about to let that stop me from trying."
- ―Lois and Superman[src]
Lois then told Kal-El that Jor-El’s AI gave her directions to use his starship against Zod’s, with Kal-El then promptly taking his infant starship over to the Northcom base, handing it over to Colonel Hardy, before flying to the Indian Ocean to destroy the World Engine that General Zod had unleashed. At the US Military Northcom base, General Swanwick gives a green light to the operation against Zod, with a soldier under his command telling him that the alien Kal-El (who has now been dubbed by others in the military as "Superman") and Colonel Hardy are on the way.
The World Engine’s defenses attack Superman with many huge tentacles of molten-hot Liquid Geo, but he eventually manages to break through them, and destroy the World Engine by flying up the colossal gravity beam. Taking a few seconds to lie in direct sunlight to recover from the battle, Superman then flies to Metropolis on the other side of the planet, to stop General Zod who had unleashed his Black Zero starship upon the city at the same time.
While Superman flies back, Colonel Hardy and Lois are under attack from General Zod, the latter attempting to shoot their plane out of the sky with the Fortress of Solitude. Superman, however, returns right in time to collide with the Fortress (incapacitating it's targeting systems) and destroy its Genesis Chamber, much to Zod' dismay. The Fortress is thus swiftly brought down onto the ground in Metropolis, colliding with many skyscrapers in the process. Meanwhile, thanks to the efforts of Colonel Hardy and Dr. Hamilton, the Phantom Drive of Superman's infant starship is activated, and the plane successfully collides with the Black Zero, creating a temporary Phantom Zone energy singularity that sucks in the Black Zero and the plane.
At this time, Superman emerges from the crashed Fortress, and flies up, just in time to catch Lois, who had fallen from the place shortly before the collision. Due to him also having been once exposed to Phantom Zone energy, Superman struggles to escape the tremendous gravitational pull of the singularity, which he ultimately succeeds in doing. He then proceeds to put Lois beside Perry White and Jenny Jarwich and in a moment of adrenaline, Lois kissed Superman, who responded, before confronting General Zod, who was revealed to still be on Earth, having been too far from the singularity.
Final duel with General Zod
Superman went to face Zod, who speculated how he could have built a new Krypton out of Earth if Superman hadn't betrayed them. Vowing to avenge his people on Superman, Zod promised that he would take away all whom Superman loved, and then attacked him. Superman, seeing no other way to reason with Zod, Superman vowed that he would stop him no matter what it took He fought General Zod in the intense and incredibly destructive Battle of Metropolis, destroying buildings, vehicles and property, including the Wayne Financial Building brought down by Zod's heat vision, much to the dismay of Bruce Wayne, who witnessed it occur from the streets.
The battle intensified once Zod managed to master his heat vision and Superman struggled to counter the Kryptonian's superior experience and skill in honing his abilities. Zod efficiently gained the upper hand in the fight, before ripping off his armor and finally grasping his flying ability, now on even footing with Superman.
The two then clashed climactically in mid-air, with Zod hurling Superman through numerous skyscrapers, and tackling him into outer space, destroying a Wayne Enterprises satellite in the process. The two mighty aliens then crashed in Metropolis Central Station, where General Zod, feeling that he was beginning to lose the fight, opened his heat vision on innocent civilians. Superman grappled Zod, trying to divert the latter's heat vision away, before resorting to breaking Zod's neck to save the civilians, causing him to scream in brief trauma. However, he was then consoled by Lois, who had just gotten to the station by that time.
New Career at the Planet
Superman flew back home to see his mother in Smallville. To his relief, she was fine, with the only damage she commented on was to the house. Later, Clark began a new job in Metropolis as a junior reporter at the Daily Planet. Upon arriving, he was introduced by Perry White to his new coworkers, including Lois Lane. Lois smiled at his new glasses and shook his hand, welcoming him to "the Planet" (both the Daily Planet as well as Earth) to which Clark laughed at.
A Beacon of Hope
- "A man I knew used to say that hope is like your car keys: easy to lose, but if you dig around, it's usually close by."
- ―Superman to kids[src]
In his first days of openly being a superhero, Superman took to dealing with natural disasters (notably the wildfires in the home forests of the state of Senator Stearns, that had almost claimed hundreds of lives), crime and humanitarian missions, but he notably avoided getting involved in controversial political disputes, such as wars between the nations of Earth.
As such, a massive silvery statue of Superman is built in Metropolis (on the epicenter of what was left after General Zod's terraformation attack on the city, in the new commemorative Heroes Park), and online message boards are created, with numerous people from all over the world using them as a means to ask Superman for help, regarding both trivial (helping to pay their rent) and severe (curing their cancer) matters.
At one point, Superman also prevents a missile strike, rescues victims from a building explosion, and prevents a devastating earthquake (by shifting an entire tectonic plate).
As Clark Kent, he is quickly promoted from just a junior reporter, quickly rising through the ranks at the Daily Planet after promptly displaying exceptional insights and investigative skills, which leads to Perry White assigning him bigger and bigger stories for the Planet. After only a year working as a reporter, Clark had already twice received the Elliot Prize for Investigative Journalism, being the first of any of the reporters on the Daily Planet staff to earn such prestige so quickly.
At the same time, a number of survivalist militias also emerged, who believed Superman to be the advance scout for a future, larger alien invasion of Earth. Lex Luthor, a prolific philanthropist in his own right, later claimed that he was as much a hero to Metropolis as Superman, going on to state that the Kryptonian was a figure too mysterious and controversial for him to be a good comparison. In light of The Man of Steel's debut, Lex criticized that recognizing the importance of the ordinary citizens of Metropolis (such as rescue workers, first responders, and countless ordinary others who helped save others in wake of the Battle of Metropolis) had become more important than ever. Thus, Senator June Finch believed that before a decision regarding Superman could be made, the discovery of his existence needed to be handled objectively, and therefore advocated for the creation of a committee to study and learn more about the Superman.
One day, Lois and Clark swiftly exit the Daily Planet newsroom, as Lois heads off to expose the corrupt Hanford Technologies CEO Mark Hanford (who had been illegally profiting from the sale of Kryptonian weapons on the black market), while Clark heads off to help with floods in Bangladesh as Superman, warning Lois to be safe in his absence.
Rescuing a train
Some time later, Superman saves a runaway train full of passengers. As he uncouples the cars, he runs out of track and has to settle the front cars on the desert by lifting them up. Shortly thereafter, video footage of the event is recorded, and studied by Professor Garcia, after which he discusses it with a woman named Teri and another man. Garcia goes out of his way to argue that Superman tries to save lives, with the superhero having done so even in the infamous Battle of Metropolis. Garcia also defends Superman's decision to avoid getting involved in wars, as intervening in political disputes (such as unilaterally disarming a country's military) could actually make the situation worse. Teri appears to agree with the professor, but as it turns out, she is only speaking the words spoken to her through an earpiece by Lex Luthor.
S.T.A.R. Labs Field Trip
Some time later, Clark took a school class from Metropolis on a school trip to S.T.A.R. Labs Metropolis branch. At the facility, the S.T.A.R. Labs team display their Tachyon Transfer technology, that can send objects vast distances across space. They proceed to open the portal, but grotesque alien creatures, called the Ko'erst came through. They were controlling Dr. Forsythe to keep it open, so that they could invade Earth. Clark managed to swiftly leave in the confusion, and return as Superman, after which he managed to swiftly overpower and tie up the Ko'erst, before they were sent back through to their home world.
Trip to Wayne Enterprises
Some time later still, Superman, having learned of criminals attempting to steal Kryptonian technology from the Wayne Enterprises Research & Development Facility, promptly arrives and confronts them. While they initially make him retreat with Kryptonian plasma rifles (due to Superman's unwillingness to hurt them), Bruce Wayne gets a hold of a Kryptonian Signal Jammer, and utilizes it at a high frequency to incapacitate them all, though Superman recovers much quicker than the criminals, and thus, he manages to hand them over to the Metropolis Police Department, though not before confiscating the stolen Kryptonian tech.
After Lois is kidnapped by the Nairomian warlord Amajagh (who also had his bodyguard Anatoli Knyazev murder CIA agent Jimmy Olsen), and threatened with death, Superman flies to her rescue, flying right through the incoming missiles and drone of the CIA on the way. He smashes right through the roof of the building that Amajagh has Lois trapped in, arriving just in time. When the warlord holds a gun to Lois, she approvingly nods to Superman, so he responds by tackling Amajagh away from Lois in the blink of an eye, right through two walls. However, moments before Superman's arrival, Anatoli Knyazev and his men murder Amajagh's men, and Knyazev then proceeds to mutilate the corpses with his flamethrower, making it appear as if they had been murdered by Superman's heat vision.
This incident generates quite a bit of controversy throughout the world, with Senator Finch and her committee (responsible for studying Superman), after interviewing Nairomian Kahina Ziri (actually an actress hired and blackmailed into testifying by Lex Luthor), hold Superman responsible for what occurred in the North African desert. However, Kahina pretends to take little solace from this, claiming that the US government would never be able to force Superman to answer to them, since he seemingly answers to no one, not even to God.
Conversation with Lois
Returning home to his and Lois' apartment, Clark sees Lois in the bathtub and said he wanted to surprise her by cooking up something. When the subject shifts to the controversy surrounding his actions in Nairomi, Clark makes it clear that he is unconcerned, as Lois could have been killed; also adding that he didn't actually murder anyone. When Lois questioned if it was possible for him to love her and be a hero, Clark responded by giving her one of the roses he'd brought her, followed by joining her in the bathtub.
"End of Love Affair with Man in the Sky?"
On the morning news, while cooking, Clark hears Nairomian Kahina Ziri being interviewed regarding Superman, and she states that had Superman been in her presence she would ask him how he decides: "which lives count, and which ones do not?" Clark is visibly uncomfortable at the accusation.Later that same day, Clark is assigned by Perry to travel to Gotham City and cover the Metropolis vs Gotham football game (being given the headline "Underdog Dreams Dashed - 10 Yards Between Gotham and Glory") when the news reports on Wallace Keefe vandalizing the Superman Statue by spray-painting the words "False God" in red on the chest before he is arrested. Clark is visibly saddened about this hate crime. Perry, while also quite upset, gives Jenny the headline "End of Love Affair With Man In the Sky?" Before Clark departs, Perry advises the former to watch himself in Gotham, due to the city's high crime rate.
He first visits Kahina Ziri's apartment complex, but is told by her neighbors (who initially mistake the reporter for a police officer) that she left some time ago. One of the neighbors, an old man, claims that Kahina made the right choice by leaving Gotham, and recommends that Clark leave soon as well before the night, unless Clark wishes to run into the infamous Batman, who, according to the old man, is imbued with "a new kind of mean". Kahina's other neighbor, however, adamantly disagrees, stating that Batman should be feared only by those to have a reason to be fearful. Dismayed at this news of brutal terror-based vigilantism, Clark heads back.
Conflict with Perry
Somewhat upset, Clark confronts Lois shortly thereafter, inquiring as to why she had kept the bullet a secret from him until now, also remarking that her "digging up snakes" is bound to be dangerous. She responds stating that this is exactly why she didn't tell Clark.
As Lois walks away, Clark has a worried expression on his face, but he is promptly approached by Perry, who states that some influential billionaire (actually Lex Luthor) had insisted that Clark be the reporter to attend and cover his Metropolis library fundraiser event.
While listening to Luthor's greeting speech, Clark's super-hearing quickly picks up on the voice of Alfred Pennyworth, coming from Bruce Wayne's earpiece. Clark notices Bruce sneaking away from the crowd, as per Alfred's instructions. Hence, a suspicious Clark is quick to use his reporter status to interview Bruce Wayne, as soon as the latter returns, asking Bruce about his position regarding Batman.
Bruce initially attempts to brush the reporter off, condescendingly referring to the younger man as "son", and sarcastically asking if the Daily Planet belongs to him. Clark persists, claiming to have personally seen how Batman considers himself to be above the law and causing civilians to live in fear, despite having never seen Batman in action. Bruce is quick to point out the hypocrisy in Clark's words, noting that every time Superman carried out a trivial deed, journalists like Clark are quick to shower him with praise, and instead argues the godlike alien should instead be feared, as there would be seemingly no way of stopping him, if Superman were to suddenly decide to go rogue. Clark is angered by this unexpected and personal criticism, but calmly points out that most of the world doesn't share Bruce's opinion on the alien superhero, but Bruce responds by claiming that perhaps his view is based on the bad history that Gotham has with "freaks dressed like clowns."
At that precise moment, however, they are abruptly interrupted by Lex Luthor, who enthusiastically introduces himself and invites Bruce to visit the LexCorp Industries research and development facilities. However, Mercy Graves comes up and lets Lex know that a governor wants to speak to him. As Bruce walks off, a suspicious Clark attempts to follow him, having heard Alfred's voice in the earpiece again, but he suddenly sees a TV news report of a girl stuck in a burning factory in Mexico, and instead chooses to save her over pursuing Bruce.
The Superman Question
After saving the Mexican girl, Superman descends into the crowd of people in Díos de los Muertos apparel, and the civilians all surround and stretch out their hands towards him, eager to touch the godlike alien.
As the days go by, Superman continues his heroic career, notably saving a family from a flooded house, rescuing Russian astronauts from a rocket that collapsed during launch, and towing a half-sunken steamship through Arctic ice.
Meanwhile, however, the world continues responding to Superman and what his existence means to the world (much like how Jonathan Kent had once predicted), with the media referring to it as "The Superman Question". The question sparks quite a bit of controversy worldwide, with many being quick to express their opinions.Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson, while seemingly not opposed to the alien superhero, remarks that Superman's very existence challenges humanity's sense of priority in the Universe. Openly negative views on "The Superman Question" are held by Internet blogger Glen Woodburn and author Andrew Sullivan. Wodburn's concern is based on humanity having a track record of following people with great power, down paths that led to huge human monstrosities. Sullivan questions whether there are any moral constraints on Superman, and that, due to there being International Law, every one of Superman's acts is a political one.
Finally, Senator June Finch is interviewed on the matter, with her interviewer wondering aloud if it is really surprising that Superman, as the most powerful man in the world, is viewed as a figure of controversy. He proceeds to ask her if she would be personally comfortable with saying to a grieving parent, that Superman could have saved their child, but couldn't because the government had not wanted him to act. Finch admits that while Superman's engagement in state-level interventions should be cause for concern, she proceeds to explain that the problem is not Superman's actions, but that he should not be carrying them out unilaterally. This makes her interviewer conclude by saying that the overall question is in fact, “must there be a Superman?”; to which she simply replies that “there is”. Clark himself sees this interview on television, and is visibly dismayed, feeling more unsure of his place than before.
Shortly thereafter, Clark calls his mother, Martha Kent. Not having it in him to tell her about his problems right away, he instead asks her why Jonathan had never left Kansas. A bit confused, Martha says that this was so because her late husband had felt that he was "already there", and he thus had no need to travel. Clark sighs, saying that he wished things were simple. Martha, however, gently disagrees, claiming that "nothing was ever simple."
Bat Brand of Justice
The next day at work, Clark comes across an online page of a Gotham Free Press article, on how being branded by Batman is a death sentence among Gotham City prison inmates, with there having been 18 reports of people getting branded with "bat-brands" by the ruthless vigilante. An angry and frustrated Clark then becomes determined to take an active initiative.
Second conflict with Perry
Shortly thereafter, Clark is confronted by Perry, who is furious with him for having not covered the Metropolis football match or Lex Luthor's fundraiser for the Metropolis Library. Clark argues by saying that the press has the responsibility of showing integrity and exposing Batman for the criminal that he is, bringing up the fact that the Daily Planet had an upstanding reputation for displaying such character at its foundation. Perry responds by mocking Clark’s values, saying that “it’s not 1938” and life is no longer simple enough for someone like Clark to be admired for upstanding character alone; therefore, he is ordered to cease his pursuit of Batman, as no one will find such a thing interesting. Clark is agitated, but undeterred.
Investigating Cesar Santos
While still pondering over this theme while working at his cubicle, Clark receives some anonymous mail. Inside are pictures of Cesar Santos' corpse (as he had been murdered by his fellow inmates), with the words “judge", "jury", "executioner", and "justice?” written at the bottom of them. At this moment, a frustrated Clark finally decides on a different, more direct approach. Unbeknownst to him, Santos' murder and the murders of the other branded convicts were all a setup orchestrated by Lex Luthor (through Anatoli Knyazev), in order to incriminate Batman in Superman's eyes.
Clark travels to Gotham City once more, intent on learning more regarding Santos' murder. When unable to obtain information from the penitentiary, Clark comes across Santos' girlfriend Adriana (with her baby child), and promptly interviews her. Adriana angrily complains about Batman's brutal methods, claiming that one man deciding who gets to live cannot be justice. As a reporter, Clark implores her to tell him more, so that he might change things. Adriana, however, declines, saying that words from Clark's pen cannot stop Batman, as the only method to actually do so is "a fist", implying that only severe punishment is an effective deterrent against Batman.
An infuriated Clark thus decides to take a more direct approach to dealing with Batman, this time as Superman.
Meeting the Batman
That evening, while Batman was intercepting Lex Luthor's men transporting Kryptonite, Superman interrupted the chase, damaging the Batmobile after Batman tried running him down, and again when Superman tore the doors off. With Cesar Santos' death (and subsequent orphaning of the latter's son) being the last straw, Superman threatens the Dark Knight, warning him to give up his crusade, to ignore the Bat-Signal the next time it lights up, and that he should consider Superman's warning a mercy. As he turned to leave, Batman countered with a threat of his own, expressing his determination to make the godlike alien "bleed". Not impressed with Batman's threat, Superman flew off, while Batman promptly drove back to the Batcave in the damaged Batmobile.
In an alternate future (shown to Batman by that future's Flash), Superman is unhinged with grief at the death of either Lois Lane or Martha Kent, and thus becomes dark and malevolent, taking over the Earth as its tyrant ruler, and founding the Regime Stormtroopers to aid him in his totalitarian Regime of Earth, mercilessly killing anybody who opposes him. Batman promptly founded the Insurgency in order to combat this new threat, thus beginning a long war.Batman, in desert clothing, exits a bunker, and watches his Insurgency allies approach. He meets with them and asks for the Kryptonite rock, the only remaining hope of defeating Superman. However, they open the box to reveal only green light bulbs. They apologize to him and hold Batman at gunpoint. He follows through with their commands as the undercover Regime Stormtroopers reveal themselves to Batman and the Insurgents. They execute them, as Batman watches helplessly. Angered, he begins a killing spree and guns down multiple stormtroopers, while helping some of his surviving Insurgents escape the area. Although he manages to take down most of the Regime Stormtroopers while Parademons invade the area and abduct many humans there, Batman is eventually overwhelmed by the remaining stormtroopers there who could barely restrain him. He snaps one of their necks, but then is brutally (but barely) beaten by the other stormtroopers. Seeing the damage that Batman was inflicting on the stormtroopers and their inability to restrain him, a Parademon knocks Batman unconscious.
Batman recuperates chained up in the bunker with his few remaining Insurgent allies, eyeing them helplessly. Superman himself then lands in the bunker, and his Regime Stormtroopers reverently kneel before their leader. He approaches Batman, swiftly murdering the other Insurgency members with his heat vision. Superman then unmasks the horrified and visibly scared vigilante. He expresses his anger at Bruce for letting "her" die, as she was "his world". Superman gives Batman one final sinister sneer, and ruthlessly kills him by tearing Batman's heart from his chest, thereby ending the war.
Hearing in Washington
While the rest of the world is still busy debating on "The Superman Question", Clark returns home to Smallville to visit his mother Martha. There, she advises him that either way, he shouldn't be concerned with what others think of him, assures him that he is neither a threat, nor a killer, and that ultimately, he doesn't owe planet Earth a thing.Despite much media speculation to the contrary, Superman arrives to speak and answer at Senator Finch's committee, at the US Capitol in Washington DC. While there are notably quite a few anti-Superman protesters gathered there (with banners labelled "SuperDeath", "Thanks for the "Help"!", "Earth Belongs to Humans", "God Hates Aliens" and "Aliens Doom Nations", a House of El glyph with a Nazi swastika, as well as an alien-shaped head on a pole), Lois stands there as well, for additional support. The trial is also attended by Lex Luthor's personal assistant, Mercy Graves. Right before the trial, Kahina Ziri approaches Senator Finch, revealing herself to be an actress that Lex had hired to lie, so Finch resolves to mention this in the trial as well, intending to clear her name. When Superman enters, Finch starts out by pointing out to him a witness/victim of Superman's actions, Wallace Keefe, who lost his legs during the Black Zero Event. After suddenly noticing a distasteful note left for her by Lex Luthor (a jar of urine, labelled "Granny's Peach Tea"), a startled Finch stops in mid-speech, before a bomb (hidden inside Keefe's lead-lined wheelchair by Lex) explodes, killing her, Graves, Keefe, and everyone else present, except for the invulnerable, but mortified Superman.
Right after the explosion, Superman stays to help, carrying an injured woman to safety. He begins to look around him and sees dozens of dead bodies and injured civilians, he begins swelling with guilt and self-doubt, and throws a glance of sorrow and regret at Lois, before launching into the air.
That evening, Superman flew back to Lois' hotel room and spoke to her on the balcony. While Lois assured him that he was not to blame and was about to tell him of Lex Luthor's involvement (having learned it from S.T.A.R. Labs weapons and ballistics specialist Jenet Klyburn), Superman insisted that he hadn't been able to prevent the bombing because he hadn't been looking for a potential bomb in the first place. Now, mortified at how his actions had so far consistently lead to horrible consequences, Clark claims that the whole idea of "Superman" had never even been real in the first place, with it only ever being "the dream of a farmer from Kansas." Lois insisted that this "dream" is all that most people have to give them hope, and she pointed to his House of El glyph, stating that it still means something. However, Clark sadly replies that while it did on Krypton, that world no longer exists, and he then promptly flies off, into self-imposed exile. Meanwhile, in the news, many are suspecting that Superman might have been involved in letting the Capitol bombing happen, so a mob of protesters assembles outside the building's wreckage, burning a large ragdoll of Superman while chanting in outrage.Superman flies to the faraway mountains dons civilian clothing, and hikes up the snow-covered slope. He passes some people, with an old man remarking (in Mexican Spanish) that since Clark knows that the mountain he's climbing isn't passable, the logical conclusion is that Clark has come to die.
Much to Clark's surprise, he suddenly experiences a vision of his adopted father, Jonathan Kent. The vision spoke to Clark, telling him of how he himself had once believed himself to be a hero after saving his farm from a flood during the age of 12, yet inadvertently thereby flooding the Langs' farm. He encouraged Clark, and let his son know that he both loves and misses him.
Superman returns to Metropolis and rescues Lois just in the nick of time after Lex Luthor throws her off of the roof, and flies back up to deal with him. Superman angrily vows to bring the malevolent supergenius in "without breaking him". However, Luthor confidently retorts by revealing that he knows Superman's secret identity, and proceeds to tell Clark about his views on both him and God, stating that "God is tribal." Lex then reveals that his father, Alexander Luthor Sr., while seemingly affable in public, was egregiously cruel and evil behind closed doors, abusing his defenseless son with both fists and "abominations." Due to there having been no "man in the sky" to protect Lex from this unjust suffering, he subsequently became a misotheist, burdened by the theological problem of evil (that if God is truly all-powerful, then He cannot be all-good, and vice versa), and concluding that power cannot be innocent. When he shows Superman the bandaged-cut on his right hand and said "the blood on your (Superman) hands", Superman realizes that he and Batman were deviously framed by Lex the whole time. Hence, Superman, due to his own godlike power, has the same problem of evil applicable to him in Lex's eyes, and Lex is now determined to prove this to the world by having him engage Batman in a mortal duel.
When Superman attempts to refuse, Lex reveals that the former's mother, Martha Kent, is held in captivity in a top-secret location by Knyazev (producing several photos of a horrified tied up Martha as proof). An incredibly furious Superman seems ready to destroy Lex with his heat vision, but the latter says that if Superman attempts to kill him or flies away, Martha will be burned alive, and the only way for Superman to save her, is to fly to Gotham City, fight and kill Batman in a vicious duel to the death, and subsequently bring the vigilante's head to Lex. An incredibly furious Superman is left with no choice but to comply with Lex's orders, and flies off, much to the delight of Lex.Superman is shaken up by the power Lex's ultimatum hold over him, since despite his disapproval of Batman's morally gray methods, Superman recognizes him as a good (albeit misled and unnecessarily brutal) man, so this conflicts with his morality even more than the murder of General Zod. Hence, Superman flies to Lois and briefly explains the situation to her, but then adding that he will instead try to convince Batman to help. He then sadly concludes by saying that "no one stays good in this world", before flying off.
Duel with Batman
Superman arrives in Gotham, where Batman is waiting for him. Superman tries to reason with Batman, beginning with an apology for wrongly accusing him of being a criminal and trying to explain what Luthor has done, but accidentally triggers a pair of sonic emitters, stopping him in his tracks. Superman rips a manhole cover in half and flings the scraps of metal into the emitters, destroying them. Now visibly frustrated, Superman once again attempts to reason with Batman, who refuses to listen, resulting in Superman giving him a light shove, sending him tumbling across the concrete for over 60 feet. Batman activates another trap: a pair of .50-caliber machine gun turrets. Superman puts up his guard for a moment, before flying above them and incinerating the turrets with his heat vision.
As Batman regains his footing, a very angry Superman grabs him and hurls him down the street. The Dark Knight rises to his feet again. Frustrated at his adversary's resilience, Superman grabs hold of Batman and pushes him through the side of a building. Emerging through the roof, Superman violently hurls Batman right through the Bat-Signal. He again tries to reason with Batman, telling him that if he wanted to kill him he could easily and would have done so already.
Batman gets up and activates a smoke grenade before tossing it towards his opponent. Superman dashes through the lead-smoke cloud to find Batman gone. Now behind him, Batman fires a round from his riot gun, only for his opponent to catch it. However, it releases a cloud of Kryptonite gas, severely weakening him.
Batman taunts him as he writhes in pain. Superman attacks Batman, who easily counters his attacks thanks to his superior fighting skills. Batman kicks him against a skylight and stomps down on him, crashing through it and onto the top floor of the building. Superman tries to regain his footing, but Batman gives him no such respite. He beats his foe senseless, flooring him with a powerful left cross. However, Superman senses the return of his powers and counters one of Batman's kicks, throwing Batman through a wall.
The two combatants charge at one another. Batman swings Superman back against the wall and pummels him repeatedly, however Superman's invulnerability begins to return, rendering Batman's assault ineffective. Batman eyes his steel glove and backs away nervously, knowing the tables have turned yet again. Superman shoves him down through the floor into an abandoned bathroom. Batman attempts to get up, but even in his weakened state, Superman easily overpowers him. Getting a hold on Batman's armored suit, he picks him up and flings him through several rows of urinal partitions.
Batman, in extreme pain, lifts his head and loads another round in his gun. Superman races to beat him to it and leaps into the air, fist drawn back. He takes the next Kryptonite round full in the face, but not before landing a brutal punch to the side of Batman's head, shattering his helmet and sending him flying through the air.
Batman recovers from the shock and gets to his feet, while Superman rolls over helplessly, engulfed by the toxic mist. Batman wrenches a sink basin from its porcelain pedestal and brings it down hard on the back of Superman's head, momentarily knocking him unconscious.
The Dark Knight's redemption
Batman carries Superman to a staircase balcony and drops him over the edge, leaving him to plummet a dozen stories to the floor below, flat on his back. After grappling to the floor, Batman binds Superman's feet with a cable, then slams a button on his grapnel gun, pulling Superman towards him. He uses the momentum to swing Superman around, smashing him through a ring of concrete pillars. The badly wounded Superman is then placed on his back and taunted by Batman, who claims that Superman was not only never a God, but never even a man, before cutting the latter's cheek with his Kryptonite spear and raised it for the killing blow.
Aware of his impending death, Superman implores Batman to save "Martha". Batman, confused and shocked by this (as "Martha" was the name of his own late mother), pauses his killing blow, and yells at Superman, demanding to know why the latter had uttered that name. At that moment, Lois finally arrives, and explains to Batman that it is the name of Superman's mother. Batman then realizes his own hypocrisy — that he has allowed Lex Luthor to twist his anger from the Black Zero Event and turn him into the very monster he swore to fight. Hence, Batman hurls the spear away in disgust, horrified at what he had almost become, and he is now prepared to help Superman, whom he now better understands, while also redeeming himself in his own eyes in the process.
The two then converse, and Superman reveals Lex Luthor's plan, meaning that his mother is losing time every second. A repentant Batman, now finally seeing Superman for the selfless person that he is (instead of an inhuman alien threat, since when threatened, Superman had pleaded to save his mother, rather than his own life), tells him that they should work together to stop Luthor, the true enemy that had been deviously manipulating both of them this whole time. After some persuasion from Batman, Superman resolves to confront Luthor, while Batman promises him that he will save Martha.
Having partially recovered from the Kryptonite gas and exposure, Superman flies to the Fortress of Solitude and smashes through the starship's hull to face Lex Luthor, letting the latter know that Martha is safe, Batman is now an ally, and that Lex had lost. The malevolent supergenius, however was unfazed by the news of his failed plan, claims not to know how to lose, and he is quick to finally reveal his far more grandiose and extreme contingency plan - a massive hybrid Kryptonian monster grown from General Zod's corpse and Lex's blood (in an ancient Kryptonian ritual, long forbidden by the Law Council), Superman's "Doomsday". Lex gleefully added that now Superman was "as good as dead".
Doomsday then proceeds to swiftly break out of the ship's birthing matrix, loudly roars, and hurls a monstrous punch at Lex, but Superman intervenes and catches his massive fist before beating him back into the network of cables. Doomsday catches Superman in his giant hands and leaps out of the Fortress of Solitude and pummels Superman, sending him hurtling into Heroes Park.
As Superman struggles to his feet, Doomsday lands nearby. He eyes the face of his enemy in the giant Superman Statue, then looks down at the smaller real-life version standing below.
Doomsday's strength and durability surpass that of Superman, momentarily stunning the Man of Steel and sending him flying into a building. Doomsday is then shot at by military helicopters, but his body takes it all, adapting and only becoming more durable, generating a huge electrical shockwave.
In desperation, Superman tackles Doomsday and takes him into space. The US President intends to shoot the alien monster down with a megaton nuke, and it is carried out, despite the protests of Calvin Swanwick. Superman defiantly holds Doomsday in place as he sees the missile approach, determined to have the monster destroyed. The resulting explosion is so gigantic that Batman can clearly see it from Earth's surface.
Doomsday's body lands on the abandoned Stryker's Island, but he is far from dead, as the megaton nuclear explosion seems to have only made the monster stronger and more durable still, with its body once again regenerating, and generating another electrical shockwave, considerably larger and stronger than the first.
In the meantime, Superman, appearing undead, and withered, is floating in space being extremely weakened by the nuclear missile blast that knocked him out completely.
Soon, however, he is exposed to radiation from earth's yellow sun, which reinvigorates Superman's cells, returning him back to life and full power. He then proceeds to fly back towards the Earth's surface, and joins in the battle against Doomsday by flying towards the monster, sending Doomsday flying into a gas tank, generating a massive inferno explosion.
The Trinity Unites
Superman and a recently arrived Wonder Woman then proceed to jointly attack Doomsday in tandem, while Batman tries to expose the monster to Kryptonite, which would exploit its only known vulnerability. Wonder Woman soon manages to cut off the monster's right arm, but that only results in a sharp bony protrusion growing back in its place.In the meantime, Lois is in Gotham City, trying to retrieve the Kryptonite spear from underwater. Superman is able to hear her drowning, and flies off to rescue her, retrieving the spear in the process, while Wonder Woman manages to temporarily restrain Doomsday with her indestructible lasso. Superman sees that the only way to stop Doomsday will end up putting his life at risk, since brute force alone had been proven ineffective. Hence, he says a tender goodbye to Lois, before taking hold of the spear and flying back to the battle scene, exposed to the substance himself in the process, though he manages to temporarily bypass the Kryptonite's weakening and superpower negation effects with a tremendous amount of willpower and determination.
The Death of Superman
A weakened Superman returns back to the battle and stabs Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear, causing more electrical energy than ever before to pour out of Doomsday, making Wonder Woman momentarily lose her footing. This allowed Doomsday to slip out of the Lasso of Hestia binding him, and plunge his bony arm protrusion into Superman's chest. Superman, however, is undeterred by his impending death, and defiantly fights against the incredible pain, plunging the spear deeper into Doomsday's chest with his last ounce of strength, as well as letting the monster's bony protrusion sink deeper into his own chest, thereby allowing the spear to pierce Doomsday's body completely. The two give one final joint bellow of agony, before their lifeless bodies hit the ground.
Superman's unexpectedly human sacrifice visibly shell-shocks and saddens Batman (as it again proved Batman's image of Superman wrong), and he promptly retrieves Superman's lifeless body, enveloping him in his own cape, and giving the body to Wonder Woman (who was astounded to have finally, after 100 years, met a person who had both the phenomenal godly might of Ares, and the self-sacrificing morality of Steve Trevor, and was equally saddened at his death), who gently places it on the ground, seconds before the arrival of a devastated Lois Lane. Lois proceeds to cradle weep over her fallen beloved as Batman and Wonder Woman stand next to her in respectful lamenting silence (recalling having been in Lois' position when witnessing Steve Trevor die). Batman is guilt-ridden about being so devastatingly wrong about Superman and wasting 2 Kryptonite gas grenades on him, while they might have instead been used to kill Doomsday without having to lose Superman.
Dawn of Justice
In order to posthumously cover up Superman's secret identity, Lois reports that Clark Kent has also died during the heroes' devastating battle with Doomsday, having chosen to carry out his duties as a reporter and cover it, and ultimately getting caught in the crossfire.
Perry White prints a special edition of the Daily Planet paper in honor of Superman and his efforts (still thankful to the superhero for saving him during the Black Zero Event), headlining it "Superman Dead: Night of Terror, Morning of Loss".
Superman is honorably buried in Heroes Park in Metropolis, in a grandiose military ceremony (that is attended by Secretary of Defense Swanwick and Carrie Farris), with Superman's black coffin (with a silver House of El glyph) being wrapped in the US flag. Afterwards, Swanwick is presented the folded American flag. So many devastated people attend the citywide funeral, that all of the usually crowded and busy streets of Metropolis are empty.Later, numerous visibly saddened, remorseful and repentant people of Metropolis come with candles to Superman's resting place, to pay their respects to Earth's greatest hero, who had selflessly died saving the world from its greatest threat, a Hero that so many of them had failed to properly accept during his life. Hence, while Superman's monument is still broken (in the aftermath of the great battle with Doomsday), his tomb (also decorated with the Kryptonian glyph) reads: "If you seek his monument, look around you", emphasizing how Superman's heroic sacrifice guaranteed that the entire world and humanity are still around, first saved from General Zod's terraformation apocalypse, and then from Doomsday's unstoppable bloodthirsty rampage of apocalyptic proportions.
However, the coffin in Metropolis is actually empty, as the funeral of Clark Kent is held in Smallville (being anonymously paid for by Bruce Wayne), with Father Leone presiding over it and delivering a eulogy (containing the biblical resurrection prophecy from Isaiah 26:19), and with Bruce, Diana, Perry, Jenny, and Lois in attendance, along with Pete Ross and Lana Lang. An afte function is held at Martha's home. Lois is in Clark's bedroom when Martha enters (after having placed a photo of Jonathan in Clark's coffin). She gives Lois a letter, revealing to her that Clark had intended to propose to her.
Still, at the cemetery, Bruce expresses his guilt and remorse over his crimes against Superman, and by extension, the world. He and Diana share a conversation about bringing the other metahumans together, in order to fill the void left after Superman's death, and protect Earth in case a threat of that scale ever should arise, honoring Superman's heroic sacrifice. Diana questions the necessity and inquires why Bruce is proposing it. He replies that it is simply due to a feeling he has that things will imminently get worse (in reality, he was following the instructions given to him by the Future Flash, who appeared in one of his "dreams", as well as heeding Lex Luthor's enigmatic warning).
Superman's coffin is then shown, with the handful of dirt scattered on it by Lois beginning to rise into the air, implying that Superman might still, in fact, be alive.
Even after his death, Superman still continues to have a profound impact on the world — his alien heritage and usage of his powers for selfless heroism make Superman a beacon of hope and inspiration for metahumans like the Flash, inducing them to also more openly use their powers and come out into the light, with the Flash notably apprehending Captain Boomerang as a result. Humans were also significantly impacted, with a vendor on the street exemplifying their deep posthumous respect for Superman.
ARGUS Director Amanda Waller however, has a much more negative view on Superman after his death, since while she posthumously respects Superman himself for his benevolence and selfless heroism, she recognizes that there could very well be other godlike beings out there, coupled with far less friendly intentions, which leads to Waller advocating for the creation of Task Force X, which could be forced to battle against such formidable threats as a contingency, whereas a normal non-disposable human army would be powerless. When Waller first meets up with Admiral Olsen and Dexter Tolliver, Olsen reprimands her for looking cheerful in light of Superman's recent death, since he considers him "a national hero."
Waller's fears ultimately prove to be valid, as a pair of incredibly powerful, but far less benevolent metahumans: Enchantress and her brother Incubus would also be inspired by Superman to come out into the light, attempting to use their vast mystical powers to conquer Earth and subjugate its inhabitants to their will. Thus, the Suicide Squad's implementation became necessary.
- "You won't let me live, you won't let me die."
- ―Superman to Batman after his resurrection[src]
Shortly after the formation of the Justice League, and their failed battle against Steppenwolf, Batman comes to the conclusion that they needed Superman if they truly wished to save the Earth. Flash and Cyborg were sent to retrieve Superman's body and bring him to the Kryptonian ship in Metropolis.There, Cyborg guided the Flash on using his connection to the Speed Force to jumpstart the Mother Box and power the Genesis Chamber in order to revive Superman. They succeed and Superman's wounds are healed as he reawakens and burst out of the ship before stumbling before the shattered statue at Heroes Park. Disoriented, Clark paced around the fragments of the statue, trying to gather his thoughts.The League then arrives to meet him; however, Clark is still disoriented and unsure of the situation, picking up on Aquaman's rapid heartbeat, as the Atlantean was growing anxious due to sensing Clark's disorientation. Clark's hesitation causes Cyborg's security protocols to activate and launch a missile at him, which he quickly dodges and returns fire with his heat vision. The League attempts to restrain him but are easily shrugged off. Wonder Woman tries to snap Clark out of his rage by using the Lasso of Hestia and referring to him by his Kryptonian name. While her words causes him to hesitate, Clark quickly re-engaged, now fighting off and overpowering the combined might of Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Flash attempts to flank Clark, however, Clark is able to keep up with the speedster and eventually knock him down.
Batman then appears and calls for Clark, who recognized his former foe and angrily moved toward him. Wonder Woman tries to keep him back, but he knocks her unconscious before swatting Batman into a nearby police car. Batman attempts to get through to Clark, but Clark responds with anger, believing that Batman wished to deny him his peace before echoing the Dark Knight's first words to him as he prepared to finish his assault.
However, at that moment, Lois Lane arrives, as Bruce had sent for her in case Clark's revival went astray and manages to snap him out of his anger. Clark's memories seemed to flood back to him as Lois embraced him, to which he then took off with her to the Kent Farm.
War on Earth
- "This guy still bothering you?"
- ―Superman to Aquaman and Wonder Woman[src]
After a day, Clark fully regains his memories and reunites with his mom after a tender moment with Lois. Lois then warns him about Steppenwolf and regretfully sends him away. Clark, supposing he owes Bruce, returns to the Scout Ship and find a spare skinsuit, before flying off to the Glasshouse, only to find Alfred, who tells him where he needs to go. Superman flies off and reunites with the rest of the League, stopping Steppenwolf when he was nearly about to kill Cyborg, and easily managing to overpower the New God.
After helping subdue Steppenwolf, Superman goes to Batman and Cyborg to try and help however he suddenly hears screams of innocent people and helps Flash save the civilians by loading up a building full of people and moving it to a safe distance. Superman returns to the battle and helps Cyborg separate the Mother Boxes which results in a huge explosion although fortunately, they both survive, Steppenwolf, however, is not down yet and Superman uses his new arctic breath to freeze Steppenwolf´s Axe allowing Wonder Woman to break it.
Superman and the rest of the league then watches as a defeated Steppenwolf was attacked by his own Parademons due to his own fear and a portal transports him and the rest of the Parademons away ending the invasion.
Joining the League
- "Glad I didn't miss this."
"So am I."
- ―Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman[src]
After the battle, Clark sees the work that Diana and Bruce had done with the team and gives thanks to them both for not losing hope in people, Clark gives thank to Bruce as the latter reacquires the Kent Farm for Martha. The two having now started a very close friendship, and as Clark returns as Superman, he is offered the role of leadership by Batman to lead the new mighty team of Earths protectors while Batman is now second-in-command of the group.
Racing the Flash
Superman is exceptionally kind-hearted, possessing a strong sense of justice, honor, honesty, patriotism, and selfless benevolence. Indeed, Jor-El foresaw how his son would become "an ideal" for humanity to strive towards, and even Batman, who had initially had his doubts, later claimed that Superman is a "beacon to the world", one who doesn't just save people, but also "made them see the best parts of themselves." Also, despite being an alien from Krypton by birth, Superman is utterly human in personality, with Batman even claiming that the former's personality and values make Superman more human than him.
In addition, Superman, as the son of Thinker Guild genius Jor-El, is himself a prolific and eclectic genius, having been a nerdy and bookish wunderkind as a teenager, and becoming a brilliant Daily Planet reporter as an adult (often labelled a "nerd" by Perry White), almost rivaling the far more experienced Lois Lane herself, with Superman able to instinctively tell that General Zod couldn't be trusted, and even able to deduce Batman's secret identity. Despite being a prominent eclectic genius, however, Superman was still in many ways considerably intellectually surpassed by supergenius Lex Luthor, who successfully manipulated Superman as a pawn in his grand scheme, successfully killing him in the end with Doomsday.
Growing up as the only person of his kind, thus being very different and alienated by his peers, Clark grew up a very confused, lonely, and lost person. Hence, this, as well as his inability to understand his superhuman powers, made Clark subconsciously suppress them, with him unable to reach his full potential for many years (until he finally met Jor-El). Instilled by his parents, he grew up to selflessly care for other people and to do the right thing. Realizing that he could help others with his powers, Clark went against his father's (Jonathan) wishes to help others. Clark would even go out of his way to save Peter Ross, a boy that had relentlessly bullied him not long ago. This selflessness and faith in others show that even before meeting Jor-El, Clark already strived to uphold what the House of El had always stood for.
With the passing of his adopted father Jonathan Kent, Clark went on a long journey of discovery, in which he eventually discovered his true name, and true purpose on Earth, going out of his way to always selflessly save people in need along the way, if it that meant exposing his alien superpowers and losing an acquired job, such as when Clark promptly abandoned his job on the "Debbie Sue" in order to rescue workers trapped in a collapsing oil rig. While he initially tended to be quite serious and sometimes even brooding, when Clark meets Lois Lane and receives empathy from her upon revealing himself as an alien (while also revealing his lingering guilt about heeding Jonathan Kent's request not to save him from death), Clark begins to enjoy life a bit more, with her spunky and sometimes flirty personality having a gradual effect on Clark. Lois, in turn, was so smitten with his selfless heroics, that she decided to drop what could have been the biggest story in human history for him.
Due to still not understanding his alien powers and heritage, however, Clark subconsciously suppressed his superpowers, and while still incredibly powerful, this mental block considerably limited Clark relative to his full potential and prohibited him from mastering the power of flight. However, once Clark finally meet the AI projection of his birth father Jor-El and learned of his Kryptonian heritage and true name (Kal-El), Clark finally permanently overcame this weakness and gained his full potential, becoming not only much more powerful than ever before, but also finally unlocking his power of flight, in addition to becoming more optimistic and confident as Kal-El. He now resolves to uphold what the House of El stands for: hope.
As he matured, Clark learned early on how to stay calm and collected in tough situations, to control his pent-up anger, instead of releasing his incredible alien power on mere humans, he instead found different means, like secretly crushing a metal pipe when aggressively dared by Ken Braverman to fight, and wrecking the truck of Ludlow when the latter insulted Clark and indecently groped Clark's female co-worker. As a result, Superman grew accustomed to holding back his incredible strength and powers quite a bit unless absolutely necessary, which is evident when Superman expressed his intention of taking in Lex Luthor "without breaking" him, and when Superman greatly held back while fighting the far weaker Batman. More notable instances of Clark holding himself together in angering situations are when he calmly confronts the obnoxious Ludlow (even when the latter insults and pours been over Clark's face), when he doesn't react to Byrne's insulting reprimanding (as the latter had just attempted to save his life), when he expertly interviews Bruce Wayne and answers the latter's accusations regarding Superman with calm objective statements (ignoring Bruce's condescending manner of addressing the younger reporter), when he calmly debates with his frustrated boss Perry White about the necessity of exposing Batman through the press (despite Perry being somewhat condescending), and when he does not get insulted when people (such as Perry and Kahina Ziri's neighbor) mistake him for a meek pushover (when he's disguised as a human) and advise him to be careful. Despite this, however, Superman is capable of terrifying displays of rage when provoked, shown when General Zod and Lex Luthor threatened his adopted mother Martha, with Superman promptly releasing his incredible rage upon and temporarily beating Zod into submission, and Superman seemingly threatening to destroy Lex with his heat vision, until told that his mother would die if he were to kill Lex.
Due to his indomitable will, great power, selfless morality, and natural birth, Jonathan Kent believed that his adopted son would one day "stand proudly in front of the human race" and ultimately "change the world", while Jor-El believed in his son's ability to represent "the best" of both Earth and Krypton, and to one day give the people of Earth "an ideal to strive towards", helping humanity "accomplish wonders", especially since Kal-El Krypton's Growth Codex within his cells. Both of Kal's fathers are ultimately proven right, since despite having felt isolated from humanity for most of his life due to his alien superpowers, when Kal-El heard General Zod's menacing message to Earth, he immediately chose to protect humanity by finally revealing himself to them, even allowing himself to be handcuffed before he is brought before Zod. Upon hearing of General Zod's plans to restore Krypton on Earth, however, Kal-El is horrified and chooses to protect humanity over Krypton, absolutely refusing General Zod's offer to help the Sword of Rao sacrifice Kal-El's adopted people for the sake of a planet that had already been destroyed decades ago. Kal-El thus agreed with his father Jor-El that "Krypton had had its chance", and that its time had long since passed, so Kal-El did not hesitate long before destroying Zod's Genesis Chamber.
Due to Kal-El being the first (and last) Kryptonian of natural birth in centuries, he is somewhat looked down upon by his fellow Kryptonians of the Sword of Rao (who were all genetically engineered in Genesis Chambers and assigned to their respective Guilds), as the orthodox General Zod views Kal-El's method of coming into existence as a "heresy", and Faora is quick to mock Kal-El for his sense of morality, since she believes that trait makes him weak and unconfident, giving the genetically engineered Faora (who was specifically bred to be incapable of empathy) an "evolutionary advantage" over him. Ultimately, however, Kal-El's natural birth actually grants him several advantages over them, since, having not been genetically engineered and bred with a specific purpose, Kal-El has a far better grasp at free will (the lack of which on High Eminence Lor-Em's part also contributed to Kryptonians' near extinction), and is far less prone to tunnel vision, while his sense of morality allows Kal-El to coexist on Earth among humanity (as their hero "Superman") instead of, like Zod and Faora, alienating humanity away with the arrogant preconceived notion of the physically weaker human race being inferior. Finally, Kal-El's natural birth makes him far less likely than General Zod to lose the will to live - the latter being utterly devastated and genetically unable to move on with his life after his "life's purpose" (restoring and protecting Krypton) is taken away, while Kal-El, despite being utterly mortified after much of the world forsakes him (due to Lex Luthor's manipulations), is ultimately still willing to unconditionally carry out his life's purpose (protecting and saving Earth) regardless, as he returned to save Lois Lane from Lex, and then gave up his life to save the ungrateful and forsaking world from Doomsday.
It was ultimately Kal-El's indomitable willpower, loyalty and refusal to give up even under seemingly insurmountable odds (most notably when he faced the combined might of Faora-Ul and Nam-Ek, both much more skilled combatants, without hesitation, persisting against them until he finally gained the upper hand and forced them to retreat) that allows Nathan Hardy to trust the alien superhero, and respect him as an ally. In admiration of his tremendous superpowers, perseverance, willpower, and heroism, the US Armed Forces nickname Kal-El "Superman." Upon learning of Jor-El's plan to defeat General Zod's invasion, Superman promptly flies off to destroy the World Engine, despite knowing that being in proximity to it might potentially kill him, and successfully does so. He returns to Metropolis just in time to save Lois Lane, stubbornly flying against the tremendous force of the Phantom Zone singularity to do so.
When General Zod is revealed to have survived and voices his plans to wipe out the entire human race in retribution against Superman, the two mighty aliens engage in a duel of epic proportions, with Superman's tremendous fortitude and perseverance allowing him to ultimately defeat the more experienced and skilled Zod. However, when General Zod expresses his refusal to stop and threatens to burn alive a cornered family, Superman is forced to kill him, making an incredibly hard choice that greatly conflicts with his morality. Hence, despite his victory, Superman screams out agony and tears at what he had to do, fully remorseful of the murder. After the invasion, however, Superman resolves to continue operating openly as Earth's superhero protector, and he trusts General Swanwick to persuade Washington DC of the selflessness of his intentions.
In order to successfully maintain his double identity as a human reporter of the Daily Planet (during the time that he isn't protecting and saving others as Superman), Clark tries to be as small and invisible as possible, in order to attract little attention to himself and to avoid inducing anyone into thinking that he could possibly be the mighty godlike Superman. As a result, Perry White appears to think of Clark as somewhat of a meek pushover, shown when he goes out of his way to advise Clark to watch himself in Gotham City, due to the city's high crime rate.
Shortly after Superman's debut to the world, a huge statue of him is built in Heroes Park, Metropolis, and online message boards are created, which numerous people from all over the world use as a means to ask Superman for help. However, during the next two years, despite the world's majority having a positive response to Superman, due to the extraordinary heroics he demonstrated when defeating General Zod, there are many who are more than slow to accept the supremely powerful godlike alien with unrestrained power, since as Jonathan Kent had warned Clark, that "Superman" would change the whole world, ranging from beliefs to "notions of what it means to be human", and Jor-El had warned him that while the people of Earth would eventually "join [him] in the sun", they would initially "stumble" and "fall" while "racing behind him". Hence, while Vikram Gandhi and Senator Finch express openly positive views (that Superman, as a representation of the Messianic savior figure found in all religions, is "just a guy trying to do the right thing", and that only actions carried out unilaterally by Superman are problematic), astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is worried about the paradigm shift that Superman's very existence, as an alien on Earth, has in challenging humanity's sense of priority in the Universe (much like how Copernican Heliocentrism and Darwinian Evolution had done before), while Glen Woodburn and Andrew Sullivan are extremely skeptical, bringing up humanity's horrible track record of following people with great power in the past (down paths that led to huge human monstrosities), as well as questioning the moral constraints on Superman, since International Law renders every one of Superman's acts as a political one. Even more skeptical, however, are Batman and Lex Luthor, however, as the former fears the possibility of Superman becoming malevolently corrupted (having seen many seemingly benevolent individuals become corrupted during his long career), while the latter, due to his intense misotheism and deluded godlike self-image, sees Superman's very existence as a "sin." Hence, both of them, for their own respective reasons, resolve to kill Superman.
Despite Superman making a point to stay out of potentially controversial political disputes (such as wars between the nations of Earth), he is eventually forced get involved in the Nairomian Civil War in order to rescue Lois Lane from Amajagh, and in the process, is superbly framed by Lex Luthor and Kahina Ziri for the murder of many Nairomians. Despite the horrific incident, Clark and Lois are determined to make their burgeoning romance work, with Clark being romantic, flirty, and affectionate towards her, enough that Clark could get into a tub with Lois, while he himself was fully clothed. However, Clark refuses to ignore the incident, so shortly thereafter, he initially attempts to talk to Kahina Ziri and help resolve her issues with him following Nairomi, and when that proves unsuccessful, he resolves to cooperate with Senator Finch as Superman, and attend a Capitol hearing on the Nairomian incident.
Due to his own unwavering selfless morality, Superman is initially disgusted by Batman and the latter's morally gray methods of dealing with crime in Gotham City (which Superman distastefully called a "one-man reign of terror"), as the latter had a penchant for ruthlessly torturing, branding, and even killing certain criminals, with those branded by him being murdered in jail by other inmates (notably Cesar Santos, though those murders are later revealed to be secretly orchestrated by Lex Luthor, who intended to pit the two superheroes against one another), and the general public fearing Batman. As such, while Clark initially intends to expose Batman through the press, he soon doubts the effectiveness of this method after learning that the GCPD is actually helping Batman, quarreling with Perry White, who considers Clark's views on morality somewhat outdated (claiming that "American conscious died with Robert, Martin and John"), and hearing from Adriana Santos (whose son was now orphaned following Cesar's murder) that words from Clark's pen cannot stop Batman, as the only method to actually do so is "a fist", implying that only severe punishment is an effective deterrent against Batman. Hence, an infuriated Clark decides to take a more direct approach to dealing with Batman, this time as Superman. His anger and frustration with Batman render Superman somewhat darker than usual - he abruptly confronts the Dark Knight, ordering Batman to give up his crusade, to ignore the Bat-Signal the next time it lights up, and to consider this warning from him mercy, with Superman tearing off the Batmobile's doors for good measure. As he turned to depart, Batman counters with a threat of his own, expressing his determination to make Superman "bleed". Not impressed with Batman's threat, Superman flies off.
While there are notably quite a few anti-Superman protesters gathered before the Capitol on the day of the Nairomi hearing (with banners labelled "SuperDeath", "Thanks for the "Help"!", "Earth Belongs to Humans", "God Hates Aliens" and "Aliens Doom Nations", a House of El glyph with a Nazi swastika, as well as an alien-shaped head on a pole), Lois stands there as well, for additional support. However, after Lex Luthor orchestrates a devastating bombing during that hearing (via hidden explosives in Wallace Keefe's wheelchair), Superman is speculated by the media to have been somehow involved, so a mob of protesters assembles outside the Capitol building's wreckage, burning a large ragdoll of Superman, while chanting in outrage.
Superman is utterly mortified by the incident, with him claiming that he hadn't been able to prevent the bombing only because he hadn't been looking for a potential bomb with his X-ray vision in the first place (not knowing that Lex Luthor had lined the wheelchair's interior with lead). Devastated at how his actions had so far consistently lead to horrible consequences, Superman claims that the whole idea of "Superman" had never even been real in the first place, with it only ever being "the dream of a farmer from Kansas," with him coming to doubt that he could ever represent "the best of both worlds" and be "an ideal to strive towards" if humanity is so self-destructive in nature, no matter what he does. When Lois insists that that this "dream" is all that most people have to give them hope, pointing out that his House of El glyph still means something. However, Superman sadly replies that while it did on Krypton, that world no longer exists, and he then promptly flies off, into self-imposed exile.
While in exile, however, Superman recalls how Jonathan Kent had once told him how the latter, at the age of 12, had believed himself to be a hero after saving his farm from a flood, yet inadvertently thereby flooding the Langs' farm. Jonathan reminds Clark that every action has consequences and that it is imperative to accept them whether they are beneficial or catastrophic. Jonathan also mentions how meeting Martha Kent allowed him to recover from the guilt of flooding the Lang farm and kept him grounded. Encouraged, Clark promptly returns to Metropolis but not before he says to his father that he misses him dearly.
Lex, however, promptly forces a malevolent ultimatum upon a returned Superman - to fly to Gotham City and kill Batman in a vicious duel to the death, and subsequently bring the vigilante's head to Lex, all in order to save the life of his kidnapped mother Martha Kent. Superman is shaken up by the power Lex's ultimatum holds over him, since despite his disapproval of Batman's morally gray methods, Superman recognizes him as a good (albeit mislead and unnecessarily brutal) man, so this conflicts with his morality even more than the murder of General Zod. Hence, Superman, sadly remarking that "no one stays good in this world", instead resolves to reason with and persuade Batman to help him escape this ultimatum and rescue his mother from Luthor. Hence, despite Superman's ability to effortlessly kill Batman, he holds back while fighting the latter, determined to get through to him, though Batman's sudden implementation of Kryptonite gas grenades make that extremely difficult. In the end, however, when weakened and pinned down by Batman who intends to kill him, Superman desperately implores him to help him save his mother Martha, which allowed Batman to finally realize that Superman is in fact a truly selfless person. The fact that both of their mothers share the same name ("Martha") enables Batman to see Superman as being fundamentally just as human as himself, despite his alien heritage and superpowers, so Batman renounces his former brutal murderous methods with disgust (seeing just how far gone he had become due to them), hurls aside his Kryptonite spear, and agrees to team up with Superman against Luthor.
Trusting his new ally to save his mother, Superman flies back to confront and bring in Lex Luthor, but the latter unexpectedly unleashes the bloodthirsty monster Doomsday upon him. Despite the malevolent manipulations and horrific ultimatum than Lex had just put him through, Superman once again showcases his exceptional benevolence by blocking a punch from Doomsday (who was too bloodthirsty too distinguish between friend or foe) aimed at Lex, saving the latter's life. Superman then once more demonstrates his indomitable will by persisting against his seemingly unstoppable opponent, endangering himself in order to ensure that a nuke hit Doomsday. When that proves ineffective, Superman defiantly teams up with Batman and Wonder Woman against the unstoppable monster and continues fighting. Eventually, Superman sees that the only way to stop Doomsday will end up putting his life at risk (since brute force alone had been proven ineffective), so, despite much of the world having forsaken him, Superman is still willing to sacrifice himself in order to save it, so he takes hold of the Kryptonite spear and charges, with Superman's tremendous willpower and determination being enough to temporarily bypass the Kryptonite's weakening and superpower negation effects just long enough for him to pierce the monster. Despite the dying Doomsday managing to mortally wound Superman, the latter ignores the incredible pain of his impending death and persists defiantly up until his own dying breath (to further plunge his weapon into Doomsday), much to Batman and Wonder Woman's admiration, respect, and astonishment. Indeed, Wonder Woman was astounded to have finally, after 100 years, meet a person who had both the phenomenal godly might of Ares, and the self-sacrificing morality of Steve Trevor, and she was therefore equally saddened at Superman's death.
Hence, despite much of the world having forsaken Superman at the time of his death ("stumble" and "fall" while "racing behind him", as Jor-El had put it), all of those who doubted and harshly criticized him (except for Lex Luthor who was exuberant and gleeful at his archnemesis' death) would come to mourn his passing in guilt-ridden fashion, finally coming to posthumously see, admire, and look up to Superman as Earth's greatest superhero (a "national hero", as Admiral Olsen claimed), and an "ideal to strive towards", with the words "If you seek his monument, look around you" being written upon his tomb, emphasizing how Superman's heroic sacrifice had guaranteed that the entire world and humanity are still around, saved from Doomsday's unstoppable bloodthirsty rampage of apocalyptic proportions. In addition, Superman's heroic death would inspire Batman and Wonder Woman to establish the Justice League, posthumously honoring him, with Batman determined not to fail Superman in death. Also, Superman's noble sacrifice seems to have finally given Batman a more optimistic and hopeful outlook, since he says to Wonder Woman that despite their many flaws, "men are still good", and that they do in fact have the potential in them to rebuild and improve (a crucial House of El-based belief held by Superman himself in life). Even the extremely amoral and manipulative Amanda Waller posthumously respects Superman (fondly saying how he had shared humanity's ideals), while also noting that quite a few metahumans were also inspired by Superman's selfless sacrifice, which induced them to finally come out into the open and reveal themselves to the world as well, with a notable one of them being the speedster superhero Flash. Even villainous metahumans, like Enchantress, and Incubus would be similarly inspired.
Another consistent trait in Superman, as Batman put it, was to make others "see the best parts of themselves." This is what allowed Superman to inspire Pete Ross (who had previously bullied him) to become a good man, to inspire Lois Lane to do the right thing (despite her previously just wanting to publish the alien's story), to gain the trust and respect of General Swanwick and Colonel Hardy (despite them initially being gruff, fearful, xenophobic, and not even seeing him as human), to inspire Dr. Hamilton to risk his life to defeat the Kryptonian invasion (despite him usually being shy and soft-spoken), to inspire Perry White to risk his life saving his DP employees (despite him usually being gruff and controlling), to inspire Steve Lombard to risk his life saving Jenny Jurwich (despite him usually being sleazy and unfriendly), to gain the respect of the US Armed Forces and inspire them to give his superhero nickname (despite them initially being hostile, fearful, and xenophobic towards him), to inspire the brutal fallen Batman to snap out of his rage and once again become a selfless superhero (despite him having initially wanted to kill the alien), and also to inspire the cynical and almost hopeless Wonder Woman to finally become a full-time superhero again (despite her having stepped away 100 years ago). Indeed, the only time Superman ever failed to inspire a flawed individual to "see the best parts of himself" and do a heroic deed was when he saved Lex Luthor from Doomsday, since despite this disproving Lex's main reason for hating God and Superman, Lex was already too far gone and too malevolent an individual to change his ways.
Despite Superman's inspirational selfless benevolence, however, Batman's original fears were not entirely unfounded, as Superman is ultimately not completely incorruptible, since, as seen in the vision of a possible future (shown to Batman by that future's Flash), when either Martha Kent or Lois Lane were brutally murdered, Superman's devastation and incredible grief would unhinge him, inducing him to become dark and malevolent, going so far as to take over the Earth (with a newly founded army of Regime Stormtroopers) as its tyrant totalitarian ruler, forming an alliance with Darkseid's Parademons in the process. This version of Superman wore a permanent sinister scowl, and was able to kill Insurgency enemies to his Regime without any reluctance and in the most ruthless and brutal of ways, allowing him to burn his Insurgency prisoners into ash with heat vision, and to murder that future's Batman by ripping out the latter's heart. Indeed, this evil version of Superman was so dark, hardcore, and fearsome, that even Batman himself showed visible signs of fear when Superman confronted the imprisoned vigilante, holding the latter at his mercy. Thankfully though, the present day's Batman seems to have successfully altered that timeline, as he heeded the advice of that future's Flash - to find and assemble the Justice League.
After being forcibly resurrected by Batman, Flash and Cyborg with a Mother Box, Superman temporarily lost all memories of his past life and (after Cyborg accidentally provoked him) developed a cold and sinister persona, similar to the one he had in Batman's vision of a possible future, with Superman sneering and mocking Batman with the threat the latter had once said to him. As amnesiac Superman swiftly overpowered the combined might of the Justice League and prepared to kill Batman, Lois Lane saved them all by arriving on the scene, since seeing the love of his life again made Superman start to recall his identity and past life. After spending a day with Lois on the Kent Farm and reuniting with his mother Martha, Superman's memories were fully restored, with him even having a more optimistic attitude than ever before. As he officially joined the Justice League and personally defeated Steppenwolf, Superman swiftly struck up friendships with his teammates - thanking Batman for everything the latter had done for him thus far (beginning a close friendship with him), developing a close mutual respect with Wonder Woman (who was the most reluctant to resurrect him out of morality, the first to express optimism when he was resurrected, the most compassionate and persistent towards him while he was amnesiac, and the first to admit her joy that he didn't miss out on the team's victory over Steppenwolf), sharing a laugh with Cyborg (after they successfully pry apart the 3 Mother Boxes), and developing a friendly rivalry with Flash (even agreeing to the latter's challenge of a race to the Pacific coast, to see which one of them was truly faster). Indeed, Superman's glorious return from the dead inspired Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to finally openly reveal themselves to the world, becoming official superheroes.
Powers and Abilities
- Kryptonian physiology: As a Kryptonian, Superman possesses abilities deemed god-like to humans. On a planet near a red star, Superman would have physical attributes nearly identical to those of humans, but while on a planet near a yellow star, he is granted many new abilities and powers that surpass the capabilities of humans and metahumans alike, making him the Justice League's most powerful member. His cells store the solar energy he's exposed to, allowing him to retain his powers under roofed structures or even at night, although he eventually needs to recharge after a while or when using his powers extensively, like during the Showdown in Gotham Port. However, due to being on Earth for years and having adapted to Earth's environment, Superman is more adept at using his powers than any Kryptonian that has immediate exposure and he is more powerful than all Kryptonians. Direct exposure can allow him to recover and heal almost instantly from most damage, including those inflicted by Kryptonite, giving him powerful regenerative capabilities. His father Jor-El stated that he'd grown more powerful that he'd previously imagined, and the only way to know just how powerful was to keep testing his limits. Bruce Wayne has even stated that Superman is capable of single-handedly wiping out the entire human race should he choose to, and Amanda Waller spearheaded the creation of Task Force X in order to have a team capable of combating an opponent of Superman's power. After being ressurected, Superman grew more powerful than ever, enough to single-handedly overpower the combined might of the Justice League and the Steppenwolf, an ancient New God. Superman greatly withholds his power unless absolutely necessary, due to the incredible destruction it causes. The only known being to rival the power of Superman after he was ressurected are Doomsday while Zeus and Darkseid are known to be more powerful than him.
- Super strength: Superman possesses a tremendous level of strength that is virtually incalculable, as he is able to carry and exert over millions of tons of force. As a teenager, he was able to push a school bus out of a river and warp a fence post by squeezing it. Even while limited by his internal struggles, Clark was still incredibly strong enough to swiftly destroy a trucker's rig with lumber, to crush a Kryptonian android, and hold up an oil rig's collapsing drilling derrick, though the latter visibly strained him. After reaching his full potential, he became considerably stronger, with his punches being powerful enough to generate shock waves during combat. He's capable of effortlessly hurling semi-trucks across extreme distances, destroying mountaintops, towing a massive steamship through the Arctic, shifting an entire tectonic plate, and even flying against the opposing force of a World Engine's gravity beam. Superman also managed to break General Zod's neck in a single motion. During their second encounter, even while holding back, Superman was able to best the heavily armored Batman, and before he'd fully recovered from inhaling Kryptonite gas, Superman was strong enough to block a kick from the armored Batman and toss him through a concrete wall. Superman was even able to hold his own in a prolonged ferocious battle with the stronger Doomsday and ultimately bring the seemingly unstoppable monstrous juggernaut down at the cost of his own life. After his resurrection, Superman used his strength more freely in his confusion and his strength had grown even greater, with him effortlessly swatting Batman away, yanking himself free from the Lasso of Hestia, even overpowering the combined might of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg. He later wounded Steppenwolf with ease, a feat the other Leaguers had been struggling to do, with a single punch. While evacuating nearby civilians, he carried an entire apartment building away with the occupants still inside and was able to separate three Mother Boxes before they could activate alongside Cyborg, although not without massive effort and being left exhausted.
- Super stamina: Superman almost never seems to grow tired. He is able to survive flying at high speeds into outer space and underwater. After reaching his full potential, Superman hardly showed signs of fatigue, notably towing a gigantic tanker ship by its chain through ice without any resistance. While he was severely weakened from the effort of destroying a World Engine, Superman was able to recover almost instantly under direct sunlight and fly back to Metropolis. He could resist the pull of a Phantom Zone singularity and fight General Zod shortly after. Even during his ferocious battle with the stronger Doomsday, Superman never slowed down.
- Super speed: Superman can run and fly at tremendous hypersonic speeds. During his first flight, Superman traveled all the way from the Arctic to the savannahs of Kenya and then to the Monument Valley in Utah, all in a matter of minutes. At full speed, he was able to fly right through the World Engine and destroy it. Hence, Superman managed to tackle an armed Nairobi terrorist away from Lois Lane before he managed to shoot her. Superman was able to use his speed to escape the gravitational pull of a Phantom Zone singularity, and the only person capable of moving faster than Superman is the Flash. After his resurrection, Superman displayed the abillity to move at similiar levels of speed to Flash, even managing to land a glancing hit on him. Days later, Flash challenged him to a race to settle on which one of them was fastest.
- Super reflexes: Superman's speed extends to his reflexes as well, as he managed to caught a punch from the larger Kryptonian Nam-Ek while being pinned by him and Faora, and later easily caught a grenade shot at him by Batman at close range. He was able to stop Wonder Woman from clashing her bracelets together, dodge all of Steppenwolf's attacks, and even perceive and react to the Flash's incoming attack despite simultaneously battling Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Much like the Flash's reflexes, Superman sees others as slowwed to the point they're all but frozen in place, though the Flash moves at normal speed while in this state. Notably, Superman was able to react to Flash's incoming attack and proceed to battle him before Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Cyborg could hit the ground.
- Invulnerability: Superman's body is virtually indestructible, earning him the nickname "Man of Steel" as a result. Hence, Superman could withstand the extreme heat of an oil rig conflagration, the extreme cold of the Arctic, exposure to the vacuum of outer space, falls from great heights, a high-speed collision with a mountaintop, high caliber bullets and artillery, including anti-tank depleted uranium rounds and Maverick missiles, and plasma bolts from a Kryptonian Dropship. He's withstood tremendous blows from Doomsday and attacks from other Kryptonians, and was able to withstand the full force of a World Engine's colossal gravity beam and the singularity from the Black Zero's Phantom Drive exploding. However, the full force of a nuclear bomb was able to weaken him to near-death but was able to fully recover once exposed to the sun. Later, Superman was able to endure Cyborg's plasma cannon with no effect, and was barely affected by a headbutt from Wonder Woman. The blast from separating three Mother Boxes, however, was painful enough that Superman joked he wished he was still dead but was still unscathed nonetheless. The only substance capable of negating Superman's invulnerability is Kryptonite, which Batman used to great affect during their duel in Gotham. Superman's body also maintained its invulnerability after his death, as the lack of cellular decay allowed the Justice League to resurrect him.
- Regenerative healing factor: Superman is shown to heal at incredible rates when exposed to the solar radiation of a yellow sun. He was able to quickly recover from the stress of battling the World Engine once exposed to sunlight, and later a wound on his face inflicted by Kryptonite healed upon exposure to the sun. After being hit by a megaton nuke, Superman barely survived the explosion, having become greatly weakened into a desiccated corpse-like state, though he was able to recover moments after being exposed to the sun.
- Personal Gravity Manipulation (Flight): Clark can fly via manipulations to his own gravitational field, taking advantage of Earth's weaker gravity to propel himself through the skies and even beyond the planet's atmosphere. Upon mastering this technique, Superman can fly at hypersonic speeds that allow him to circle the globe in moments. Further practice with this power have a
- Glasses: Kal-El possesses a pair of glasses he dons whenever he poses as the mild-mannered Clark Kent
- Supersuit: Clark wears a blue Kryptonian skinsuit with a red cape as his superhero alter ego Superman. The suit is crafted from an immensely durable material, and is adorned with the House of El glyph on it's chest. The suit was damaged in during the Showdown in Gotham Port against Doomsday, but a second suit was manufactured for him within Scout Ship 0344.
- House of El command key: Clark once possessed a piece of Kryptonian technology made of liquid geo that allowed him to operate and use the abandoned Kryptonian ship found in the Arctic. A gift from his father, the key held within it the artificial intelligence program of Jor-El's conscious self. He wore it around his neck as a pendant during his years searching for his origin. The key was sucked into the Phantom Zone along with his infant pod and the Black Zero.
- Infant starship: As a baby, Kal-El was placed into a small starship equipped with a Phantom Drive, which his parents used to send him to Earth. The starship was used again later in his life to send the Sword of Rao back to the Phantom Zone.
- Scout Ship 0344: Clark discovered the ancient Kryptonian scout ship frozen deep in an ice shelf in Canada, which he later took possession of. He used the ship as a temporary base of operations while learning of his origins from the stored consciousness of Jor-El. The Fortress contains a damaged Genesis Chamber with Aquabots, though Clark was forced to severely damage its systems it when General Zod commandeered the vessel during the Battle of Metropolis. However, afterwards the ship fell into the temporary possession of the United States government, and was exploited by Lex Luthor. The ship was then was claimed by Silas Stone and his S.T.A.R. Labs colleagues. After his resurrection, Clark reclaimed the ship, relocating it away from potential threats.
- Growth Codex: Kal-El's cells have been bonded to the Kryptonian Growth Codex by Jor-El, which contain the genetic makeup of over a billion Kryptonians. As revealed by Jax-Ur, it was still possible to extract the Codex's information from Kal-El's body even if he was dead.
- Kryptonite Spear: Originally created to be used against him, Superman used the spear to kill the behemoth Doomsday during their showdown in Gotham City.
- Henry Cavill is the first non-American actor to play Superman.
- Superman and Batman both have mothers named "Martha".
- Superman, Lex Luthor, and Deathstroke all have the middle name "Joseph".
- Superman is currently the third youngest member of the Justice League, being younger than Arthur Curry, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince.
- Despite his real birthday being February 29, 1980, Clark's adoptive parents decided to put his adoption day, June 18, 1980, on his birth certificate.
- Along with his parents, the only people who know Clark Kent is Superman are General Zod, the Sword of Rao, Lois Lane, the Justice League, Alfred Pennyworth, Father Leone, and Lex Luthor.
- Clark is right-handed.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Cox, Greg (2013). Man of Steel. Titan Books. ISBN 978-1781165997.
- ↑ Henry Cavill Explains How His Take On Clark Kent Is Different From Christopher Reeve's
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Man of Steel: The Official Movie Novelization
- ↑ Man of Steel