Did Superman ever formally acknowledge any jurisdiction/chain of command?

If possible, I'd prefer separate sub-answers for the following 3:

  • "normal human" jurisdiction/chain of command

  • alien (presumably Kryptonian) jurisdiction/chain of command

  • Some sort of superhero organization jurisdiction/chain of command (e.g. him formally following orders of some leader).

Please note that I am only asking about formally acknowledged jurisdictions - in other words, Superman catching a criminal and giving him to the police, or otherwise acting as if he was bound by a specific jurisdiction, does not matter. IOW, he may have chosen to follow US laws and help US law enforcement but that by itself doesn't make him a US citizen or be in any law enforcement/military chain of command.

  • Is "Cryptinian" supposed to be "Kryptonian"? Tried to edit - but too few characters changed.
    – Dylan Yaga
    Jul 20, 2012 at 14:40
  • @DVK- +1 You could have at least taken me out for a drink! :) Jul 20, 2012 at 19:31
  • As for Superman being a US citizen, he might even be a natural born citizen (and thus eligible to be President), depending on where Krypton was located in the sky of Earth when he was born (i.e. was it over US soil) and whether ETIs are considered "persons".
    – user14111
    Dec 5, 2015 at 23:53
  • The Wikipedia article on Airspace says "There is no international agreement on the vertical extent of sovereign airspace (the boundary between outer space—which is not subject to national jurisdiction—and national airspace), with suggestions ranging from about 30 km (19 mi) (the extent of the highest aircraft and balloons) to about 160 km (99 mi) (the lowest extent of short-term stable orbits)." Back when Superman was born I doubt there were even suggested limits. (Heinlein considered this question in "The Man Who Sold the Moon.")
    – user14111
    Dec 6, 2015 at 0:43
  • And another question for the lawyers in the DC universe, how to define what time it was on Earth at the moment Kal-El was born on Krypton, some light-years away.
    – user14111
    Dec 6, 2015 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


Despite the fact that Superman's powers make him arguably one of the most powerful metahumans on the DC Earth, he has often made it clear he is willing to work with civilian authorities as needed and does his best to not break the laws of foreign governments even when he disagrees strongly with their leadership and political policies.

He has worked with both civilian authorities and been subject to directives from the President of the United States. This was seen in particular during the Imperiex War, when Superman was part of a team lead by President Luthor.

War Room meeting with forces opposing Imperiex

  • Superman Drafted by the US Military: Superman begrudgingly works and defends the President of the United States (Lex Luthor) and acknowledges his authority, no matter what he thought of him personally when Luthor led the assault against the Imperiex probes attacking Earth.

President Lex Luthor rallies the super-heroes of Earth, the U.S. military, and other countries, such as Pokolistan, together. Luthor decides that Superman alone does not have enough power to lead a strike force, and instead arranges for Doomsday to be released from captivity, 'anti-hero' telepath Manchester Black temporarily 'reprogramming' Doomsday's mind so that his traditional hatred for Superman is briefly transferred to the Imperiex probes.

  • Superman returns to New Krypton: When the bottle city of Kandor was released and expanded, Superman was considered an American citizen until he renounced his citizenship of Earth to return to New Krypton. Kal-El was part of the military guild authority structure on New Krypton under General Zod and was called Commander El. Their relationship was fractious but Kal-El followed orders.

Kal-El and Zod discuss politics

When Alura asks Superman which guild he has chosen, he admits that he is not comfortable with any, even going so far as to liken the Kryptonians' working conditions to slavery. However, Superman ultimately is assigned to be a member of the Military guild and is referred to by General Zod as "Commander El."[7]

  • As a member of the Justice League, Superman is subject to orders by whomever is leading the missions of the team or depending on the tactical capabilities of the field commander. Since the League leadership has rotated in the past, Superman has followed the leadership of numerous members.

Superman being inducted to the Justice League

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