Superman’s been having a rough time of it lately, but things are getting better after he made a rather dumb decision to get his superpowers back. It kind of worked, and it’s given Superman an entirely new power that is most definitely not on the level of heat vision or superspeed or something.
Spoilers ahead for Action Comics #48, by Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Ardian Syaf, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandra Hope, Tomeo Morey, Will Quintana, and Steve Wands.
So, a quick recap: Superman has spent most of the last year or so not being particularly super. Vandal Savage stole most of his powers, Lois Lane exposed his secret identity as Clark Kent, and generally, things have just been miserable for the Man of Steel. Last week, in Superman #48, he made the ridiculous decision to lock himself in a cupboard full of Kryptonite being kept under lock and key at ARGUS, hoping that the radiation would burn away the damaged skin cells on the outer layer of his body, exposing the healthy skin cells that can absorb the solar radiation he needs to charge his powers underneath.
Supes, aren’t you meant to be smart? This isn’t smart.
But, because comic boooooks, it worked, and in this week’s Action Comics #48, Clark is overjoyed that he can fly again, and has super strength, and his old powers coming back to him. But it didn’t work in the way he hoped; his skin cells didn’t die off, they just absorbed the kryptonite. The short-term result is that his powers are changing, but the long-term result is that the kryptonite is killing off his healthy cells, essentially burning him up.
As with all comic books, we know he’s going to get better, but for now, pretty stupid move, Superman! But as well as giving him some of his old powerset back, Clark’s brief sojourn into a Krytopnite tanning salon has given him a new power: the ability to feel transmission signals.
Yes, Superman is for all intents and purposes, a big, meaty radio. It’s pretty contrived—it’s just an excuse for Clark to quickly find out where Vandal Savage is hiding—but you can sure as hell bet that if he could’ve done this in the Silver Age, it totally would’ve been called Super-Radio. You know, to go with Supermaths, Superventriloquism, and Super-shoot-tiny-versions-of-yourself-out-of-your-hands.
Okay, so it’s not Superman’s silliest superpower, but it’s up there. But will Clark get to keep it when he gets all his powers back in the next few months? I’m willing to bet that it’ll get discarded pretty quickly.