When Superman goes back to visit his home planet (using his ability to travel through time, I guess), is he:

  1. an exceptionally strong and athletic Kryptonian?
  2. just an average Kryptonian male?
  3. a weakling on account of spending a lifetime in the comparative microgravity of Earth?

A possibly related question: why is Superman so muscular? What kind of weights does he lift to stay in shape?

The answers to this question are all about Superman's superpowers on Earth compared with other visitors from Krypton; I'm asking about Kal El without his superpowers.

Clarification: I'm asking about the "classic" Superman, say late Golden to early Silver Age, roughly 1945-1960. (Yes, I know the concept evolved during those years.) I'm not sure what that would be in terms of "numbered Earths", those came along after my time. I'm pretty sure the Kryptonians of that era had no superpowers in their native milieu, nor would Kal El if he were deported in space-time to his native world.

up vote 7 down vote accepted

As with most Superman stuff, in order to get an answer to your question you'll need to distinguish between the comics, revised comics, one-shots, new 52 reboot, theatrical films, radio shows, spinoffs (like Supergirl), novel and TV canon, all of which regularly contradict each other.

Sticking strictly to the comic canon;

  • Earth #1 Kryptonians possess no "special" powers on krypton but they are very intelligent, live for thousands of years, are disease free and have superhuman arrogance and emotional coldness.
  • Earth #2 Kryptonians (like Kara Zor-L) have evolved to the point that they can use some super powers (such as flight and heat-vision) on their homeworld.
  • Earth #3 Kryptonians gain their powers from kryptonite and hence have all of superman's powers at home but not on Earth (unless in the presense of kryptonite)
  • Earth-162 Kryptonians are super-powered on Krypton but not especially intelligent
  • Pocket Universe Kryptonians possess essentially infinite powers, (seemingly even more powerful than those of Superman) regardless of their location but their lifespans and aging are accelerated
  • Some Bizarro Kryptonians are super-weak under Earth's sun but possess normal human traits on Krypton
  • New-52 Bizarro Kryptonians have a range of powers on Krypton and Earth including freeze vision, flame breath, Bizarro telescopic vision (allowing Bizarro Krytonians to see a "short distance behind their heads) and Bizarro X-ray vision which allows Kryptonians to "only see through lead"

The best all-round answer is that Kryptonians (including Kal-el) generally appear to possess no special powers when they travel to Krypton, something that seems to be confirmed in the original (pre-reboot) superman comics, Supergirl film, Superman TV series and various theatrical films.

Kal-El

  • Is Earth One the setting of the GA comic book? When was that stuff (new to me) about Kryptonians being much more intelligent and long-lived than Earthlings established? – user14111 Feb 1 '14 at 18:42
  • The first mention I can find is when he encounters 'Atom' (in about 1958? Can't find the exact edition) who examines his cells and finds that they're very dense, highly evolved and not aging. – Valorum Feb 1 '14 at 19:09
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    That "Kryptonians (including Kal-el) appear to possess no special powers when he travels to Krypton" is the starting point for my question. In that setting, as a Kryptonian among Kryptonians, with no superpowers, would our hero be an Olympic athlete, or a physical weakling (debilitated by decades of microgravity), or just an average Kal? – user14111 Feb 1 '14 at 19:27
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    I've never seen an indication that his physical strength is at the top end of the kryptonian bell-curve. If it helps, he constantly gets stomped by other Kryptonians who've made it to Earth in both the comic and film canon. – Valorum Feb 1 '14 at 19:29

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