Top 6 Times Superman Completely Changed Powers

01
of 07

The Biggest Changes to Superman's Powers

Comic cover of Superman Red\Superman Blue
Superman Red\Superman Blue. DC Comics

After over a year of a Superman without powers, he's back with a new set of abilities. In Action Comics #49 his powers change from an infusion of Kryptonite. But this isn't the first time this happened.

From electricity to becoming a caveman. Here are six times Superman has completely changed his abilities. 

02
of 07

1. Electric Blue Superman

Comic cover for Superman
"Electric Blue" Superman. DC Comics

Superman’s powers mostly come from solar energy. Back in the late 90’s, Superman lost his ability to absorb solar energy thanks to a creature called a “Sun-Eater”. Yes, it ate suns. Specifically, ours and Superman develops energy powers to replace his previous ones.

Dr. Emil Hamilton and Lex Luthor make a blue and white containment suit to keep him from dissolving. Now Superman has a bunch of new powers like sensing energy, creating bolts of electricity or magnetism and the ability to become intangible (sometimes accidentally). Where it got confusing is that the comics said he couldn’t fly, but several panels clearly show him flying. So, maybe the writers never got the memo.

Also, Cyborg Superman splits him into two beings: Blue is smart and Red is hot-headed. The two got stronger and stronger till finally they decide to stay apart. Finally, after fighting the Millennium Giants, they merge and Superman goes back to his normal powers and costume.

He got his powers back and everyone tried to forget it happened. Kind of like the next example.

03
of 07

2. Caveman Superman

Comic panel from World's Finest #151 (1965)
Smart-Batman and Caveman Superman from "World's Finest #151" (1965) by Curt Swan. DC Comics

First, there’s the time Superman became a Geico caveman. In World's Finest #151, a Kryptonian Evolutionary Ray accidentally makes Batman super-smart. Here's where Superman comes in.

In an unusual moment of treachery, Batman turns Superman into a caveman and sends him back to the Stone Age. Superman has a long beard, can’t use pronouns and carries a wooden club. Apparently Superman still wears his costume but doesn't have super-strength and can't fly.

Batman’s treachery is stopped by the super-dog Krypto and the Dark Knight is restored to his normal form. He changes Superman back because he feels guilty about the whole “making-you-a-caveman” thing. They send the device back to the future.

But another Superman device changed him again.

04
of 07

3. Superman Red and Superman Blue

Comic panel for Superman #162 (1963)
Superman-Red and Superman-Blue from Superman #162 (1963). DC Comics

Back in the carefree 1960’s, when Superman wanted to get smarter, he uses another one of his handy devices to do it. In Superman #162 (1963) his newly invented “Make-Me-Smarter” box he increases his intelligence but splits himself into two beings, Superman-Red, and Superman-Blue.

The two easily solve all the world’s problems. So, they solve all Superman's personal problems too. The love triangle of Superman, Lois Lane and Lana Lang was a big problem during the time. This quickly ends it.

How? Superman-Blue marries Lana and Superman-Red marries Lois. Red gets rid of his powers and moves to New Krypton with two kids and a dog while Blue starts a family with Lana on Earth. Alls well that ends well. Of course, this is yet another imaginary story about Superman. 

The next change you may not know about.

05
of 07

Original Superman (1941)

Comic panel from Superman #10 (1941)
Superman #10 (1941) by Leo Nowak. DC Comics

If you think you know Superman, then think again. The original Superman was completely different from the one we know today. He wasn't super-strong so he could punch people in the face without turning them into jello. Plus, he couldn't fly. He just jumped everywhere or rode telephone lines. So, the biggest change to Superman came in 1941 when he got the ability to fly.

Fleischer Studios requested that Superman fly (because they thought it looked silly). But thanks to a mistake by artist Leo Nowak he actually did fly in the comics in 1941. In 1943, he officially started flying.

06
of 07

Mother Box Superman

Comic panel from Hunter\Prey #3
Hunter\Prey #3. DC Comics

In the 90s series, Hunter\Prey Superman again confronts Doomsday to stop him once and for all. Since Doomsday adapts to every tactic Superman is forced to use a new tactic. Darkseid gives him The Mother Box.

The living computer gives him new weapons and Apocalypse technology. Superman gets a new costume, advanced healing, an energy sword and ultrasonic weapons. Even Superman admits that he’s not comfortable with the new outfit, but he puts them to good use.

When the Mother Box’ power is drained he reverts back to normal. Thank goodness. Superman with a sword is too much to take.

The latest example of Superman changing his powers is the wildest yet.

07
of 07

Kryptonite Superman

Comic panel of Action Comics #49 (2016)
Action Comics #49 (2016) by Ardian Syaf. DC Comics

Vandal Savage has a grand plan to take over the world. But he knows Superman can stop him, so he mutates Superman’s cells so they don’t accept solar radiation anymore.

Superman spends a year running around without 90% of his powers like flying, heat vision and speed. In desperation, the Man of Steel jumps on a pile of Kryptonite to kill the mutated cells.

His cells are now using the Kryptonite to give him super-powers again. He has flight, speed and strength as well as the ability to sense electromagnetic energy. But, Kryptonite kills the Man from Krypton, so he’s slowly dying. We’ll see how long this run lasts.

Those are the wildest and most bizarre changes to Superman's powers. As comic book sales rise and fall who know how many more we'll see in the future. Only 40,000 AD Batman knows for sure.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Mitchell, Maurice. "Top 6 Times Superman Completely Changed Powers." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2016, thoughtco.com/top-times-superman-completely-changed-powers-3572779. Mitchell, Maurice. (2016, February 9). Top 6 Times Superman Completely Changed Powers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-times-superman-completely-changed-powers-3572779 Mitchell, Maurice. "Top 6 Times Superman Completely Changed Powers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-times-superman-completely-changed-powers-3572779 (accessed January 20, 2018).