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Is Superman Overpowered?

supes sqI say 100% no, despite the fact that he’s got it all, plus he’s always the good guy. Superman’s massive power-level has led some to think of him as the most ‘boring’ comic book character ever, since he faces no real challenges, but to be honest I just don’t see him that way, and it all boils down to one of his powers; hearing.

It seems like one of the least important of his powers but just think about what his (albeit fictional) world is like: he has super hearing and the ability to save people just one at a time. Even if he can only hear for a few miles he must be able to pick up on multiple problems every few minutes, and there will inevitably be times when he hears two or three emergencies at once.

This means that on a daily basis Superman must be ignoring cries for help either to focus on another call or in some cases he may even simply be trying to lead a normal life. Super hearing isn’t a power its a curse.

In fact there must be ways that you could say the same about all of his powers; from holding back his strength around us squishy easily-breakable humans, to controlling his breathing so as not to accidentally blow over a building or freeze someone. His entire life is a straight-jacket of control.

He has a massive collection of insane powers but the truly interesting thing about Superman isn’t about how he uses them but instead how he doesn’t use them. Writers of Superman can’t afford to be lazy, their job is insanely difficult; they have to create a story in which this mega-powerful alien can somehow come across as relatable humanised character who the reader can empathise with. He might be very powerful but he has very real limits that must plague him every minute of every day.

Maybe I’m wrong but I think drawing on the risk of death is actually kind of lazy (when used to the extreme) so the writers of Superman have been forced (for the most part) to write stories that build intense emotional resonance without the boost of emotional reactions we have in the face of death-defying deeds. What’s more the risk of death is so distant in most of our minds (children especially) that it can sometimes feel less ‘real’ than seemingly more mundane risks like failure, loss of acceptance, ridicule etc.

Superman is a weird character but I wouldn’t say he’s overpowered, he just has a different perspective on the world and his own set of challenges to face because of that. That’s of course only my opinion (what else could it be) and I’d love to hear what other people think of this iconic character. Do you think Superman is overpowered? Why do/don’t you think that? Let me know in the comments below, over on the Jack Reusen Facebook page, or over on the twitter account. Thanks for reading, All the best, John