Homage to a Man of Steel

How many different heroes are comparable to Superman (or even stronger) with a similar power set?

Thaddeus Howze
Jul 12, 2016 · 14 min read
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  • Today’s has a side order of: Do any of them have powers like his?

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DC COMICS — Superheroic Necromancers:

  • Since DC had a habit of acquiring other comic companies on their deathbeds, they ended up with a number of heroes whose powers and abilities may have been inspired by the Man of Steel.
  • Others were born during the Silver Age of Comics, when new ideas were born and there were a number of heroes whose power sets expanded. Other DC analogs of Superman include:
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  • The Modern Age Martian Manhunter has a slightly altered origin, as a weapon created to subjugate the Earth (think Son Goku) for the White Martians. He still has all of the superpowers of Superman, plus shape shifting, phasing, the ability to split his consciousness, and Omega-level psychic abilities.
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  • Vartox held his own easily against Superman and if he were honestly revived at the same power-level he would be terrifying.
  • But I suspect it was his lack of fashion sense that did him in. Thigh-high boots on a man during that period, just never quite made the grade. Think Sean Connery in Zardoz. (Don’t look this up. Do not Google this. You were warned!)
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Marvel Comics

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  • Mjolnir’s thrown speed is incredible, able to take a trip to the sun and back in a matter of minutes. The hammer is also capable of opening wormholes between worlds and different dimensions as well. Mjolnir’s enchantments via Odin allow Thor a number of energy manipulating and energy generation feats even in excess of his storm-summoning abilities.
  • While not a direct analog, he was definitely designed to be the Marvel Universe’s first answer to the noble protector, defender of the Earth, flying brick that is Superman. Based in magic (or super-science depending on who you ask), Thor loves the world and would die to protect it.
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  • Gladiator was as powerful as his confidence in his powers, and they could be disrupted if his concentration was broken. Reed Richards defined his powers as a form of telekinesis super-field, which allowed Gladiator to rip the Baxter building out of the ground without falling apart under shearing stresses (the same way Superman manages to carry things without them tearing apart under their own weight.)
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  • His powers were so incredible, he was asked by the government to not go public with his powers for fear of cultural race riots in the sixties. Living undercover and working as a covert mystery man in the Marvel Universe as one of the Mighty Avengers, he fought the good fight from the shadows.
  • Eventually he would defy that government edict and return to the stage in a battle against the Avengers. Trouncing them completely (including the Sentry), he would go on to save the day, beat the snot out of King Hyperion, and do a bunch of other amazing things before becoming an Avenger and leading a team of troubleshooters called the Ultimates.

Fawcett Comics

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  • Miracleman’s powers and origin included a convoluted backstory, magic words, kid sidekicks, lost memories, alien invaders, a superheroic disaster, and a post-human future. It is one of the best and strangest development of a god-like Superman-like character who alters the future of Humanity as we know it. I am sure when Marvel brings him back to their fold, all of that writing will become Apocrypha, but if you can find any of that old classic Marvelman, do so. It was wonderful work.

Milestone

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  • An original character from Milestone Comics, he was created by Dwayne McDuffie and M. D. Bright and first appeared in Icon #1 (May 1993). At the 2008 Comic-Con, DC Comics executive editor Dan DiDio announced that the Milestone Universe and characters would be revived and merged into the DC Universe proper. This was the result of a complex publication/distribution agreement drawn up between the two independent companies. The merger treated the characters as new to the universe, ignoring the Worlds Collide crossover of 1994. Icon, along with Shadow Cabinet, appeared in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #27, written by Dwayne McDuffie.

Image Comics

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  • Mr. Majestic’s abilities are often very inconsistent. His strength and durability vary greatly from appearance to appearance, but the majority of his appearances portray him with powers fairly similar to those of Superman. He possesses great strength, speed, flight, eye-beams, genius level intellect, micro vision, ice breath, ability to survive in space, accelerated healing and is invulnerable to conventional weaponry. Unlike Superman, Majestic has the ability to shoot energy beams from his hands.
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Anime and Manga

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  • Unbeknownst to almost everyone, Saitama’s powers appear to exceed all but the most powerful Rank S metahumans, beings whose powers defy effective classification. He is so strong, fast, durable and powerful, most battles, and I do mean most, end with him throwing a single punch against said foe.
  • The source of Saitama’s powers remains unknown, even to him. His exercise regimen and diet reveal no secrets, but he is incredibly fast, strong, durable, capable of incredible leaps (from the moon to the Earth for example) and able to punch his way through alien spaceships, sea monsters, and just about anything else that gets in his way.
  • Is One Punch Man’s ‘Saitama’ an homage or a parody of super-strong heroes such as Superman or Son Goku? An article for another day. Wait, I already wrote it. Enjoy.
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  • Born with superhuman strength, instinctive fighting prowess from their animalistic heritage, natural abilities of energy manipulation, the Saiyan physiology only improved with struggle and continued training. Goku would increase in might, training in various arenas against more powerful foes, Goku would one day become the mightiest fighter in his Universe, achieving levels of power once thought only legendary. Goku would become a Super-Saiyan and with his example, many of his friends and family would as well.
  • More god than man, Goku goes on to become Champion of the Earth, protecting it from alien threats including other Saiyans. He would go on with the help of Earth’s greatest warriors, the Z Fighters, to challenge threats to the Universe at large.
  • In a battle between these two legendary heroes, who wins: Superman or Son Goku? (More information on Goku.)

A final note:

I doubt seriously this list is all-inclusive. There are likely many more homages and parodies of the Man of Steel that I am not thinking of at this very moment. Feel free share any you can think of in the comments or as notes on the sidebar. (As I am closing this I am remembering Wildstorm’s Samaritan…I’ll have to come back later…)

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