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Old 02-20-2011, 02:22 AM   #61
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Default Re: Superman's power level

Originally Posted by KRIM View Post
Considering they are in two completely different universes and will never be matched up, I don't see the difference. Why bother getting sidetracked with unrelated properties? The focus should always be on the character. Whatever adjustments are made should be dictated by the direction for the series.

That's all well and good but that does not address the issue of physical dispute, which inevitably has to be dealt with. A Superman that can easily move planets has limited foes, plain and simple. You've immediately ignored practically every single one of his main villains. As much as you'd like to believe the opposite, there is such a thing as overabundance of power. If it is not required to handle the majority of the threats he faces, it is absolutely useless. This is not to suggest he should be underpowered. But it should be sufficiently balanced across the range of abilities his adversaries possess. There is no drama and excitement with a battle that is one-sided and easily finished.
His classic power level never seemed to be a problem for writers like Jerry Siegel, Otto Binder, Elliot S! Maggin, Cary Bates, or Alan Moore to handle. The idea that a supremely powerful Superman cannot be challenged is a Post-Crisis canard. Superman was constantly challenged on any number of levels when he was at his most powerful. Only poor writers with a lack of imagination past that of the mindless slugfest have issues dealing with him.

Watering Superman down so as to make him more easily handled by bad writers is not a good way to approach the character.

Elliot S! Maggin explains it best:

Originally Posted by Elliot S! Maggin
Julie’s best writer, and the one he most trusted, was Denny O’Neil, who wrote Superman stories for about a year and hated them. He just abhorred the experience. Well he’s just so powerful, Denny kept whining. He did whine, honest. He was in his early thirties then and going through a heavy whining period. He’s stopped since. But he just couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do with Superman. In the course of not figuring this out, by the way, he wrote some of the best Superman stories we’d seen in years - the Sandman series. But his approach was simply to reduce Superman’s powers and see if he could deal better with him that way. It simply didn’t work. The point of Superman is that he’s virtually omnipotent and has mishigass anyway. That’s what Carlin never understood about the character, as it happens. His conflict is rarely over not having enough power. It’s over dilemmas. This is a character who, rather than growing less powerful as he ages, only grows more so. That was one of the aspects that attracted me to Mark Waid’s notion of how to develop him for Kingdom Come. His growing conflict is not over power, but over right and wrong. I was surprised Denny couldn’t deal with that at the time; he was so adept at dealing with the same questions with Batman. But Denny didn’t want to deal with Superman.

Last edited by Kurosawa; 02-20-2011 at 02:30 AM.
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