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Superman, then, has gone through a long series of metamorphoses.  He has gone from being one of many super beings from a super planet, to being the ultimate pinnacle of the human race.  Kal-El has become the star child, the Son of the Heavens, predestined from the dawn of all time to be the center point of history.  His legend will grow until the end of time when his descendents will rule the universe (Exile at the Edge of Eternity, Superman #400).  In the end, will he ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of Rao?

We have seen that there have been four versions of Superman, five if you count the Superman of Earth 2. The original Superman came from a planet where all humans had super powers, grew up in Metropolis, the foster son of Eben and Sarah (or John and Mary) Kent, and didn't become a hero until he was an adult.  The second, the Superman of the 1950's, was raised in Smallville, the foster son of Jonathan and Martha Kent.  He first appeared as Superboy, but didn't fight Luthor or Mxyzptlk until he reached manhood.  His powers came from Earth's lesser gravity and being freed from Krypton's unique atmosphere.

The third Superman, from the 1960s, faced most of his major enemies for the first time while still a child.  He has known from the beginning that he was the last heir of Krypton and was raised to bear the responsibility of the world on his shoulders.  His powers come from the yellow solar radiation of the Earth's sun.

The fourth Superman is the logical extension of all that have gone before.  He is the ultimate.  No further expansion of his abilities is possible.  He is not only Earth's champion, but the Universe's.  He patrols, not just Metropolis or the Earth, but the entire known galaxy.


Original article by Bob Hughes - Originally presented in Amazing Heroes #96, June 1, 1986
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