A question about Superman's invulnerability

Okay, so from what I understand, Superman’s invulnerability comes from a somewhat inpenitrable force field that eminates a few milimeters from his body, right? So, how does that make his insides invulnerable, too?

I don’t read much DC, but I do recall a couple of times where Supes has inhaled large amounts of poisonous gas in order to prevent it from killing others (like in the Death in the Family story, where he inhales a room full of Joker gas to save the UN). And in Superman vs. Aliens*, he’s got a little critter inside him, manages to get in our solarsystem with enough time to get powered up, and the little alien kills itself trying to rip through his ribcage. Does his forcefield go inward as well? If not, how can he survive inhaling nerve gas without any consequences? And when the alien bleeds out, how does his body handle the acidic blood coating his internal organs?

I always thought that because Krypton was a much bigger planet than Earth that Supe’s skin as well as his insides were just a heck of a lot denser than a human’s. The higher gravity on Krypton would cause that I suppose, at least thats what I remeber reading in a Superman comic book.

I think the premise is that his cells are protected. if you could see the layer of protection, it would look like it wrapped aroud his body…if you could see his tongue, it would look like it wrapped around it and so forth.

I think you have a point, as a recent Superman comic (not sure which) has him under the control of Poison Ivy, presumably via one of her various poisons or concoctions.

On one hand, the force field theory seems to accomodate this. On the other, this seems to open the door to all kinds of (relatively) easy ways to kill Superman - poison, infection, a large enough sound wave. Then again, I’m not sure the force field theory has a lot of support behind it, even if it is currently the “official” explanation of Supes’s invulnerability.

“Nothing less than a bursting shell can penetrate his skin.”

The original Superman merely had very tough skin (as quoted above). Later it was refined to mean that nothing at all could pierce his skin. Superman suffered from inflation of powers over the years, so much so that there were at least two attempts (Denny O’Neil in the 70s; Frank Miller in the 80s) to cut back.

The old explanation was that the yellow sun made him invulnerable. To question more was to descend into the lowest depths of geekdom.

Remember, we’re talking about a man who flies. If you’re willing to buy that, then why question anything else?

True. It would just be nice to see some consistency in his abilities, as the lack thereof can make an ending look confusing (“Why doesn’t he just swallow the nuke and let it detonate inside him?”) or like a cop-out.

Some time ago, he used his heat vision to perform brain surgery on a villain of the week. I mean, come on.

The part that always confused me centered around the yellow sun power thing.

There have been many instances where he traveled to other planets, solar systems. Why the heck didn’t his powers go away when he was far away from yellow suns?

My understanding of the force field thingy was that that was what protected his clothing. He, himself, is invulnerable, down to the least little cell.

That’s something I thought of as well, except in the Superman vs. Aliens book, the people he flew off into space to help were other Kryptonians, and the aliens had no issues ripping them apart. Plus, it posed a big problem for him because, being away from the yellow sun, his powers had dissipated, so if he hadn’t gotten back in time, the little bugger would have clawed itself out with no problems.

As for “Why are we willing to buy some things, but not others?” well, sure it’s all fake and fantasy, but when the creators/writers try to give reasoning behind such things in an attempt to make them more “realistic”, then why not question it. I’d like to think people think things through properly when they try to explain things like that.

Well he acts like a battery. If he moves away from a yellow sun he stops ‘charging.’ The more heavily he uses his abilities the faster he runs down his charge. Also the longer he spends on Earth between trips the more charged he gets.

This is just rationalizing of course, but it allows the writers to do wildly varible things to him. If in a story he loses power a few hours after leaving Earth, then he was exerting himself and hadn’t fully charged up since his last extra-solar trip. If he goes months extra-solar, then he must have charged for a long time and was taking it relatively easy.

What effect would I get from a blood transfusion from Superman?

And what happens if I give blood to him?

Just wondering…

You might start by wondering how you’re going to get the blood out of him.

Kryptonite needle.

Turns out that Poison Ivy used a special lipstick laced with synthetic Kryptonite, which enabled her mind-control drugs to affect the big guy. Seriously, that’s what the comic said. It was in the latest issue of Batman. Ivy sends Superman to kill Batman, who manages to break the spell with a fairly contrived scheme. They team up, etc. etc.

My understanding is that not only does Superman have invulnerability, but all his cells possess “superpowers,” as it were. This means that his immune system is powerful enough to destroy just about any invader, and he is similarly protected against chemical attack. So if you got a transfusion from him, you’d probably have to take Kryptonite-based immunosuppressants to keep his white blood cells from killing you.

Well, they could seperate the blood and just transfuse the plasma, couldn’t they?

That’s your solution to everything, isn’t it?

Ok, is Superman invulnerable to starvation? Dehydration? Assume my stock of kryptonite is depleted. How can I kill the guy?

Interestingly, a recentish series had a Fantastic Voyage sequence inside Superman. His stomach is a nuclear furnace, and so on. Place you do NOT want to be.

In the series 1,000,000 (I believe that’s what it is, I’m not really sure) where DC heroes are visited by their counterparts from the year 1,000,000 or something, they say Superman is currently living in the sun. Apparently, he gets enough sustainance from the sun itself, that he doesn’t need food. Or, at least won’t come the distant future.

Superman was never invincible. Remember the TV series? The crook would unload all of his bullets at Superman, only to have them bounce off. So what did the bad guy do? He threw the gun at Superman EVERY single time it was empty and Superman ducked EVERY single time. The man was clearly afraid of empty thrown weapons.


Maybe empty guns are his Kryptonite . . . waitaminnit!