With indifference (Who cares, all of that matters nothing to me.)
Rejection/Fear (No, I didn't want these powers, I didn't want to know where I come from.)
Shock/Identity Crisis (All my life has been a lie, I'm not even a human being!)
Inadequacy (I should to do something better than live in a farm. I'm a failure.)
Curiosity/Stupor (Wow, that's incredible, I want to know more about my powers and my heritage.)
Happiness (Finally I know the truth. Cool, thanks to this ability I can do amazing things!)
Madness/Megalomania (I'm a god among men, I'll rule the world! BWAHAHA)
A Comic book fan till I die.
I assume that hell start to notice his powers along time before he suspects hes an alien. Now an days he would google his symptoms and probably get lost in the weird parts of the internet with abuncha cosplayers and aspies. I think the current superman knew pretty young, i seem to remember a page in action comics where hes a kid and talking to Pa about coming here in a ship. I bet he has the same adoption daddy issues my buddy who was adopted does. Feeling rejected by his bio parents, not really knowing who he is, overidentifying with whatever imaginary real parents he thinks up just to get by without going insane.
I think it depends on the origin. The Silver Age Superman grew up knowing he was adopted and knowing he had powers. The only possible revelation for him would have been the alien part (and that seems to have been something he knew early on as well).
The Golden Age version found out about Krypton pretty late (10 years into his adult life).
Post-Byrne the idea seems to be that Clark fins out about his power, his alien nature, and that the Kents are not his birth-parents at almost the same time.
So if Jonathan and Martha tell Clark he is adopted early on like many adopted children are- then there is no shock at his finding out he isn't their kid. If on the other hand he is raised to believe they are his biological parents then finding out that isn't true at the same point he learns everything else is a bigger shock.
Same with the powers. Clark has to at least consider he is not fully human when his unique powers manifest. He might be a gifted athlete when he is lifting a pick-up or outracing a car. Far end of the spectrum admittedly, but still basically human. But things like flight and heat vision are not things that you can extrapolate from human abilities- so if he is already at that level of power, finding out about Krypton is less of a shock.
Then you have the rocket. If the Kents, as in most origins. find both Clark and the rocket it again suggests a not of this world background. If Clark is found wandering and the rocket is not something the Kents or he ever know about, then the revelation is more of a shocker.
So on one end of the spectrum you could have an origin like Superboy-Prime where Kal-El is teleported to Earth and has no powers at all for most of his life. Add in the Kents passing the child off as their own biological son for some reason (like not wanting anyone looking for the boy's family for fear of losing him). This kid is in for a shock when everything comes out.
On the other end youhave the Silver/Golden Age Superman who was raised as an adopted child, manifested his powers as a toddler or younger, and who knew about being found in a rocket most of his life. Odds are that confirming that he isn't from Earth might complicate things ("can I have kids?", "the other Kryptonians are all dead?"...) it won't be totally unexpected or shatter his identity in any way.
I think Clark would be scared at first, at what this could mean for Ma and Pa. Is he a danger to them etc? Things like that. He'd never doubt their love for him. That's an unalterable constant in Clark's life. Some people on the thread are saying Jor-el prepared Clark for this stuff, but Jor-el didn't do jack - it was the Kents. The great tragedy and triumph of Jor-el is that he didn't really get the chance to be a father to Clark, but in the short time he had he carried out the ultimate act of fatherhood and protected his son, perhaps even at the cost of his own life. But he didn't raise him, or make him the man he turned out to be. That was Jonathan and Martha.
Once Clark's fear wore off, he'd probably actually start to feel a little more comfortable in himself, he'd have closure about why he can do the things he can do. This would be followed by curiosity about Krypton, and then a great sadness that it's not there anymore.
Finally he'd accept it. He has a proud and impressive heritage, but one that's gone away. He'll honour it, but not at the expense of the here and now. Krypton is gone, and that's sad. But Earth is still here, Ma and Pa are still here. CLARK is still here, and while he's here, he can make a difference. Jor-el would be proud. His last act, saving his son, will save the universe a few times over.
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I prefer the idea that Superman is an evolved being and would take to his powers no question, like Jenny Quantum in the Authority or Miracle Man's daughter from way back. The identity crisis stuff is too Peter Parkerish for me.
I don't think there is a stock answer to this question. Heck, at different moments he might feel all of these different ways. Each reaction poses a potential story, some better than others.
It's an inside joke around our house that every once and awhile my wife or I will say, "I think its time, Martha..."
If the shoe fits: "a crankly old man standing just on the edge of a crowd gathered for a concert and stamping his feet yelling at the crowd to stop having fun, that they don't know what fun is."
I had forgotten this thread.
BTW, what do you think of the modern version in which Kal arrives on earth as an infant without remembering Krypton or Jor-El? In your opinion, in this case, how he would react to the discovery of his powers/origins?
I think its a much more human take on the character, but it is at the expense of Superman's evolved intellect which I think is unforgiveable in some ways. I don't see why its easier to relate to Superman when he has unlimited power but an unlimited mind is somehow too much. I like the idea that Superman is at the forefront, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Last edited by the Sun God; 02-15-2013 at 04:45 PM.
I voted for curiosity and happiness. Don't think he'd be angst-ridden (or some jingoistic "I'm an American, dangit!" rejection of his heritage a la Byrne's version). Yes, he still values his Earthly upbringing, but is glad to know about his background, too...