When Superman is granted an all-new superpower after his original abilities are taken from him, his secret jealous nature is revealed.
While Superman has become known as a pillar for truth, justice, and the American Way in DC Comics, his weirdest ability proves he’s not as pure as he pretends to be. Superman has a medley of out-of-this-world powers including flight, heat vision, and super strength, but one ability stands above the rest as being truly peculiar, one that perhaps exposes his true, more self-involved nature.
In the short story “Superman’s New Power” in Superman #125 by Jerry Coleman, Stan Kaye, Al Plastino, and Kurt Schaffenberger, the Man of Steel is investigating an ancient spaceship buried deep under Metropolis’ surface. When he touches the noticeably tiny spacecraft, the ship explodes, though the impact leaves Superman relatively unharmed. With no physical injury of note, Superman jumps right back into action to stop a car full of criminals, but when he can’t even stop the moving vehicle, Kal-El realizes that when the ship exploded near him, it neutralized his superpowers. But while his classic abilities were suddenly stripped, Superman gained a new power, one that is marked as the absolute weirdest in comics history.
Superman gained the ability to shoot a miniature version of himself out of his hands, and that mini-Superman had all of the powers of the original while Clark himself was basically rendered useless. While Superman initially gets a lot of extra publicity for his new power, the focus of all the stories quickly shifts from him to his miniature proxy. Superman grows jealous of his mini-me, referring to him as Super-Imp. This attention envy Superman exhibits implies that he actually enjoys being praised for all of his good deeds rather than just being satisfied with the fact that he, in whatever form that is, is helping people all over the world. People are being saved either way, whether it’s by Superman or his Super-Imp, but Kal-El isn’t happy that he is no longer getting the recognition.
With the evidence presented in this issue, it makes sense that Superman loves the attention of the public, especially when taking a look at the profession of his alter-ego. Clark Kent is a reporter for the Daily Planet, and a lot of his articles throughout the years have been about the heroics of Superman. He literally writes puff pieces about himself, making himself famous and stroking his own ego.
Superman reveals that one of the driving factors as to why he is a hero is the attention he gets from those heroics, something that has always been obvious but was highlighted when the Super-Imp came into the picture. Once the attention he evidently loved went away in favor of a miniature version of himself, Superman became jealous and pouty instead of focusing on all the good Super-Imp was doing while he was out of commission, proving that he isn’t as pure as he pretends. With DC’s current Infinite Frontier era making all previous comics canon, Superman‘s secret jealous nature lies dormant.
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