On Superman

The Golden Shield

Image as Superman's Greatest Power

By Paul Lytle

Forget Kryptonite. That’s not the way to defeat Superman. It’s been tried countless times now, and it only makes him mad. After a moment of seeming defeat, he rages forward again to quash the villain. The way to really get him is through the Golden Shield.

No, I do not mean that he has a point of vulnerability on his back, right where the yellow variation of his symbol rests on his cape. I mean the symbol of Superman. I mean his image. His popularity is his greatest power—greater than his ability to fly, his super-strength or his heat vision. And his image is his most tenuous power, for it is one he cannot supplement with another. If Superman’s strength fails, he will find another way to fight. If his image fails, he is defeated, at least for a time.

Who is this man, you may be thinking, to declare that Superman could be so easily defeated? Well, I never said “easily.” After all, there have been numerous attacks on Superman’s character, and since he’s still around, we can assume that all of them have ultimately failed. I only suggest that it can be done. But first we must get rid of the notion that it is Superman’s powers that make him unstoppable.

Are Superman’s Powers Really So Super?

Well, we know that Superman is not really unstoppable. He can, at least, be stopped for a time. The epic Death of Superman saga taught us that lesson very well. Doomsday seemingly killed Superman (thus  …

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