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I just read the Superman Blue volume 1 trade paperback (collecting Superman #122-125, Adventures of Superman #545-547, Action Comics #732-734, Superman: The Man of Steel #67-69, and Superman Annual #9, published April 1997 through July 1997). In it, Superman loses his traditional powers and gets new electricity-themed powers (and when he switches them off and becomes Clark Kent, he is as vulnerable as any human).

Superman Blue - "Ready for the Next Century!"

Throughout the comic series, Superman seems largely uninterested in why he got these powers. The only reference we get is in The Adventures of Superman #547 where Superman, having no crisis to deal with that day, asks Professor Hamilton about their origins.

Hamilton: So -- what brings you to my humble laboratory?

Superman: Well, I hoped you could help me find out where these powers came from…what triggered the change…

Hamilton: Ah! As it happens, I've already made some notes on that topic! They're on my desk somewhere…

Unfortunately, the two get distracted and we never do find out (in these collected comics anyway) what the origin of his powers were.

I tried reading up on Wikipedia and other online sources, but it didn't seem to answer this question. How and why did Superman get his electricity-themed powers in the first place?

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That's an interesting question, because it led me to do some search and discover that what many consider the obvious reason -and I did too for many years- for many others is not even taken into consideration. And, I've not been able to find any kind of official answer too. Anyway...here I have to go by memory because I don't have the comics at hand reach.

The source of his new power seems to be implied as to be an accident involving the bottled city of Kandor. My recollection goes this way:

  1. Superman visits the city
  2. He then get out of it trough the usual portal
  3. Something screws up badly (I think it may have been related to Scorn fleeing the city at the same moment)
  4. Superman ends up in the Fortress of Solitude as expected, but its robot helpers find that his DNA is not kryptonian anymore
  5. From now on, in the next comics issues we get to see a lot of istances where something odd happens around Supes, all somehow related to electricity/magnetism/energy
  6. Superman becomes Electric Superman

To me that was quite an obvious timeline.

  • The sequence of events didn’t seem obvious to Superman and Professor Hamilton, so I’m hoping that there is a more definitive statement on the matter, perhaps in later issues. – Thunderforge Sep 15 at 21:58
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    @Thunderforge: you mean that Superman and Hamilton don't read DC comics? That's so damn bad of them, right? It's stupid, too, right?, because if they'd just spare a few minutes every week reading them they'd obviously know everything about all the things that happened while they weren't there, like Hamilton and Superman would know about the Kandor accident and then about all the other small accident and would be able to put together the timeline by himself, instead of having to do research! How unsensible of them! Seriously, someone should send an email to Superman to suggest him to read DC. – motoDrizzt Sep 16 at 6:47
  • I was of course saying that Superman didn't seem to notice that his electric powers happened immediately after going through Kandor (and noting that there was some strangeness when he exited through the phase wall after encountering Scorn, whom he later saw in Metropolis). He had the same knowledge of the events that we as readers had. – Thunderforge Sep 16 at 16:49

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