Throughout the years, Superman has been sorely tested by some very bad humans and aliens but afaik, the number of times he had taken life has been very few and there has always been an extraordinary reason. His vow not to take life has been observed I would argue with much more faithfulness than any mortal human. Is it suggested that he is in fact constrained more by his vow than a human is even capable of being constrained?

  • 4
    With super power comes super responsibility?
    – Valorum
    Apr 16, 2017 at 8:29
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    I won't say he has "super morals" per se. Perhaps, more accurately, is his mind possessing a super-enhanced ability to maintain its resolve, determination and resistance to swaying from its path and succumbing to temptation. If he has physical super-strength, why not mental? Apr 16, 2017 at 9:15
  • @thegreatjedi: That is my thinking -- this is not some normal human vow; but I wonder if it has been discussed in any movie or comic book/graphic novel?
    – Jeff
    Apr 16, 2017 at 12:57
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    I vaguely recall an episode of Justice League or JLU, not comic canon I know but possibly relevant. Superman was fighting Darkseid and commented that he didn't have to hold back in that fight. I feel like, possibly due to his Kansas upbringing, Clark has spent most of his life trying not to hurt people-even accidentally-so killing is almost out of the question.
    – geewhiz
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:34
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    Not canon, but... smbc-comics.com/?id=3637
    – Buzz
    Apr 17, 2017 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


A lot has been tossed about in this regard. Superman/Wonder Woman #3 kind of explored this in a modern context, where Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Superman kinda have a thing going. And so, of course, who better to discuss this with than the socially well adjusted Batman

Superman's morality, for the most part, comes from a strong upbringing by the Kents. Their simple morals seeped into their adopted son and they turned him into a fine man. Who happens to be able to punch the moon into dust.

It's that last part that probably plays into the "don't kill" philosophy. Man of Steel (the movie) really delved into what happens when Superman isn't so concerned with saving innocent lives. Humans became collateral damage. While there are times you can't avoid that, Superman there doesn't seem to think that's priority #1 but maybe #2 or #3 (the order of rules is kinda important). Man of Steel wrecks a lot of stuff willy-nilly.

Modern Superman puts "Don't kill" at #1. Because, unlike Batman, if Superman gets it wrong you could be facing a holocaust really quick. Knowing you have a god-like being who has vowed not to harm you puts a lot of people at ease.

  • My point is, he would not get it from the Kents who are merely human. Did they oppose WW2? Were they Quakers? And if so, I assert he has superhuman morality.
    – Jeff
    Apr 17, 2017 at 3:07
  • @Jeff Why can't the Kent's morality be superhuman? If you are the strongest man on Earth, you become an athlete. If you are the smartest, a professor or inventor. If you are the most morally upright....then what? Farmer in Kansas seems as suitable a job as any in that case.
    – kingledion
    Sep 11, 2017 at 18:11
  • @kingledion: Why can't the Kents' be superhuman? Because they are human. They might be exceptional among humans in their morality but not at the level than a Kryptonion can be. If my theory is correct.
    – Jeff
    Sep 11, 2017 at 18:48

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