Warning: contains spoilers for Nightwing Annual 2022 #1!As the heaviest hitter in DC Comics, Superman is comparable to the gods themselves in terms of physical might. However, in challenging the laws of what’s possible even for a superhuman, it’s always been hard to put a number on the Man of Steel’s strength… until now.
Over the eras of comics, Superman’s strength has gone through a lot of drastic changes. The original superman of the Golden Age was typically as strong as the story needed him to be with very little calculable limits. However, in the Silver Age, the Man of Steel was arguably at his strongest, having a body that defied scientific reason, and enough strength to snuff out the sun with little effort. After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman was significantly de-powered, but his abilities have slowly climbed back up ever since. Most recently, Clark Kent’s son Jon took on the Superman mantle, with geniuses like Batman forecasting he has greater potential even than his father.
In Nightwing Annual 2022 #1, by Tom Taylor, C. S. Pacat, Jay Kristoff, Inaki Miranda, and Eduardo Pansica, fans witness Nightwing training the new Superman. When asked to punch a training dummy at quarter strength, the Son of Kal-El knocks the object into orbit. Though this is played for laughs, it does give fans a metric by which to judge the young Superman’s strength.
The Supermath of Superman
On the current market, a training dummy like Jon hits weighs about 270 pounds, or 122.47 kilograms. Jon specifically says it will “burn up on reentry,” which means at the very least he sent it into a decaying orbit, between 160 and 1600 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Reentry is typically considered to be at 100 kilometers or 330,000 feet – aka the Kármán line. Being conservative and saying that Jonathan Kent knocked the dummy to 360 kilometers – which is the distance at which most shuttles and spacecraft orbit – in order to lift the dummy that distance would require 3.29 x 107 (32,900,000) joules. Thus, 32,900,000 multiplied by 122.47 kg means that Jon would need at least 4.02926 × 109 (4,029,260,000) joules of energy to achieve that feat of strength. If that really is a quarter of his strength, Superman can seemingly output 1.611704 × 10^10 (16,117,040,000) joules.
Superman’s Maximum Strength Is Mind-Blowing
To put this in perspective, an average person can only punch about 135-150 joules, and a world-champion professional boxer can only reach about 1,300 joules with their hardest punch. That is less than .00003% of the energy produced from Jon’s punch, which was only about a quarter of his strength. Dick himself is probably only doing about 1,000 joules with his punches and kicks, and he’s a highly trained martial artist. Jon, who is theorized to be stronger than his father, could completely obliterate a regular human at even a fraction of his full power.
These calculations are very rough, but they do give an idea of how strong Superman is even when holding back his abilities to less than half their strength. At the same time, Superman’s strength does have a limit – while Superman has been depicted as performing feats of infinite strength in the past, these were either out-of-canon versions of the hero or took place on different planes of reality. On DC’s mainstream Earth, Superman‘s strength officially has a limit, and here fans get a better idea than ever of what it actually is, and just how drastically it exceeds a regular human.
Next: Superman Has Unlocked His Strongest Form With A White Star Upgrade
Nightwing Annual 2022 #1 is on sale now from DC Comics.