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The Contender
Con (against)

Do you think Superman is to overpowered?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2018 Category: Movies
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 963 times Debate No: 112320
Debate Rounds (3)
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This topic was been sort of tossed around, but now let's debate about it. Does Superman have way too many powers and tower unfairly above the rest, or does he have fair advantages against fellow heroes and his enemies?


I accept, good luck to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


Good luck to you as well.

I believe that Superman is very overpowered compared to other characters, especially within the Marvel and DC comics universe. The official list of his powers follows, " flight, super strength, x-ray vision, invulnerability, speed, heat vision, freezing breath, super flare (a recently added massive, omnidirectional heat blast that obliterates anything within a quarter mile radius), and superhuman senses." This list is not only relatively long, but has powers included that you could base some heroes off of alone. Speed? The Flash. X-ray? Dr.Xavier from the 1963 film X: The Man With X-ray Vision. Freeze-breath? Icemaiden, or just known as Ice. Most of the heroes I just mentioned, DC comics or not, have been slightly forgotten about since one shines above the rest: Mr.Kent Clark himself. Lastly, one of his powers is literally invulnerability. How can a hero not be overpowered if he literally can't die, on top of having 10 POWERS?



Pro makes a few points - but to each of them I have the same response: "...and so what?".

The point of the debate is to show that Superman is overpowered and as far as I can see Pro hasn't even really attempted to do that. He says that Superman has "10 POWERS" (though only 9 are listed) to which I reply "...and so what?". Pro doesn't explain why that matters of makes Superman overpowered. is it because it will hurt other fictional people's feelings? Is it because he thinks it leads to boring stories? What if I think that it's too few powers and other superheroes are underpowered?

There's simply no criteria present for judging if 10 powers is too many or if it really matters if someone has invulnerability, which I hope is something PRO will add in Round 3.

I'd also like to pick up some factual inaccuracies.

"This list is not only relatively long, but has powers included that you could base some heroes off of alone. Speed? The Flash. X-ray? Dr.Xavier from the 1963 film X: The Man With X-ray Vision. Freeze-breath? Icemaiden, or just known as Ice."

I'm going to ignore Dr Xavier as it comes from a 1963 sci-fi film. But Flash is cinredibly powerful and easily has the potential to take out Superman. He isn't just fast, he can hit people incredibly hard (Force is "mass x velocity" so Flash can be a massively powerful hitter) to the extend of taking out people as strong as Superman in one punch(1), he has superhuman stamina and agility, he has a speedforce aura that protects him, he has accelerated healing, he can travel through dimensions and time, he can phase through solid materials, etc (2). Similarily ice can do far more with ice that just freeze breath; she can create animated constructs (e.g. make a giant moving ice monster), control the weather (blizzards), shoot blasts of ice or cold, warp and control existing snow or ice, etc. (3) Their powers are far more varied and nuanced than simply "Ice" or "Speed".

" Lastly, one of his powers is literally invulnerability."

One of his powers is not literally invulnerability. It is often called invulnerability but is actually just being very tough. If you check DCs wiki you'll see they list the power as Invulnerability, but then in the description lessen this to "nigh-invulnerable"(4) and there are obvious examples of him being hurt over the years (5). Ergo he is not literally invulnerable, just very tough. The same shorthand is used for lots of of other heroes who are superhumanly resistant without literally being invulnerable.

Superman is Not Overpowered

How do we judge is a character is overpowered?

If we were talking about fighting game characters, I'd say that we're aiming to get characters who are evenly matched so two opponents can have a fun fair game. They might have different stats but are overall about equal in capability. So a character would be overpowered if they are too powerful for people to have a fair fight.

This doesn't apply in a comic book. In a comic book there's no competition. I can read a story about a grim and gritty powerless detective and enjoy that and then read a story about a god-like being with a million powers and enjoy that too. What matters is enjoyment so it's only overpowered if someone is too powerful for the story to be enjoyable.

Superman is one of the most loved, famous, profitable and long-lasting super-heroes. If people didn't enjoy him they wouldn't have supported him all these decades. Ergo his powers do not stop people from enjoying him, which is the only basis we should care about, so he is not overpowered.

Even when critiquing his comics his powers can be a key component of what makes him enjoyable. Take for instance Hitman #34. Although it was a comic for the hero Hitman, the issue focused largely on a meeting with Superman and it was good enough it won the Eisner for best single issue that year - the Eisner being the comic equivalent of the Oscars. The basis of the issue is Superman having a troubled night - he meets Hitman on a roof and talks though a failure he experienced where he didn't manage to rescue an astronaut.

The entire story only works because he is so powerful - the entire scene wouldn't work the same if he was a basic superhero who suffers these kind of setbacks all the time. It's the juxtaposition of his immense power and his failure despite his best effort that gives it meaning - it simply wouldn't work if he wasn't so powerful.

Similarly All-Star Superman won Eisner awards in 2006, 2007 and 2009. The basis of this series is that Superman is simultaneously more powerful than ever and dying (both caused by his cells being over-saturated with solar energy) and it follows him through his last days alive and what he chooses to do with them. Again his power here is an important juxtaposition against how he chooses to spend his last days. He's Superman. He could go on a rampage, he could kick back and watch TV until he dies, he can do whatever. Instead he chooses to do good - not just fighting super-villains but nuanced personal good from stopping to help a lonely girl contemplating suicide to trying to rehabilitate his greatest enemy (Lex Luthor) rather than simply leaving him locked up to trying to leave a legacy for future generations.

The only basis for deciding if Superman is overpowered is in terms of how it effects our enjoyment of him. Not only is he incredibly popular, but how powerful he is forms a good part of why he's so beloved and some of his best and most critically acclaimed stories.

Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Truesaiyanrose 3 years ago
Goku wins every fight not by op plot armour (superman and saitama) but by getting stronger every day goku destroys macrocosm superman can bust a few planets and saitama can part clouds ya no contest gg
Posted by RickSwoope 3 years ago
Sure, all superheroes have several vulnerabilities, but not this one
Posted by goutam 3 years ago
After seeing Goku(DBZ) and Saitama(OPM) I have to disagree
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