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Summary

  • Superman’s invulnerability can be bypassed by certain attacks.
  • When injured, doctors can’t help Superman due to his invulnerable skin.
  • Being invulnerable makes it hard for Superman to heal with help from others, leading to a lot of pain.



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One of the hardest superpowers to deal with is invulnerability. Superman really can’t be harmed through any conventional means, with only magic or kryptonite being able to damage him. This sounds great, but the major downside to invulnerability is that when Superman does get hurt, there’s nothing that can help him.


When the Justice League traveled to a remote resort in the mountains, they were hoping to get some much-needed relaxation. What they didn’t expect was to be assaulted by demonic forces. As Superman tries to fight off one of the larger demons in JLA: Scary Monsters #2 by Chris Claremont and Joshua Hood, he is surprisingly wounded. While Superman is able to fight the monster off, he has to deal with his wounds in the following issues, which exposes the real weakness of invulnerability.

Comic book panel: Superman grimaces in pain.

As Superman himself admits, it’s very rare for him to be harmed, but when he is hurt, he can’t really do anything but wait for it to go away. Painkillers don’t work on him and with invulnerable skin, there’s not much any doctor could do, as surgery is out of the question.


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Superman’s Invulnerability Can Be Bypassed by Certain Attacks

JLA: Scary Monsters #2 by Chris Claremont, Joshua Hood, Sean Parsons, Jack Morelli, and Guy Major

Comic book panel: Superman Takes A Major Hit From An Enemy That Bypasses His Invulnerability

Superman’s invulnerability has always been a major part of the iconic character. Without using his specific weaknesses or pure, overwhelming physical force, there’s just no way to bring the Man of Steel down, and it’s all thanks to his invulnerability. But there have been a few times when this power has been turned on him. On the rare occasions when he’s been shot with kryptonite, operating on Superman has been near impossible due to his invulnerable skin. This seems to be a problem that Superman mostly has to deal with, which puts his invulnerability in an entirely new light.


Ironically, being invulnerable means Superman needs to do his best to avoid taking more damage than other people. While most damage will bounce off him, the damage he does take is going to stay with him, and there’s nothing he can do about it. The best example is in the moments after Doomsday battled Superman. It’s entirely possible that Superman could have survived this encounter if he had gotten medical aid. But due to the extent of his invulnerability, there was nothing anyone could do — aside from watch as Superman succumbed to his physical wounds.

Doomsday kills Superman in the iconic issue
Superman
#75 by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Glenn Whitmore, and John Costanza.

Superman Can’t Be Helped by Doctors When He’s Injured

Comic book panels: Batman Helps an Injured Superman


While it seemed that invulnerability could be Superman’s greatest strength, these events have shown it can actually be a major weakness. It’s fun when bullets bounce off Superman, but the second a bullet actually pierces him, there’s simply nothing he can do but wait to heal naturally. In some ways, this makes Superman more fragile than characters like Batman, who can easily be patched up. In a twist of truly bad luck, Superman discovers this the hard way after one especially disastrous vacation.

JLA: Scary Monsters #3 is available now from DC Comics!



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