The most famous superhero of all-time, Superman was rocketed to Earth as a baby, sparing him the fate that met the rest of his people when his home world Krypton exploded. When he landed on Earth, he was welcomed into the open arms of Martha and Jonathan Kent. They would raise baby Kal-El, calling him Clark Kent and teaching him about responsibility and using his powers to help others, rather than use them selfishly. Clark took these lessons to heart and became the planet’s greatest champion.
As Superman, he’s saved the day more times than anybody can count, but a life isn’t a life without family, something Clark figured out rather quickly. Whether it be from alternate timelines, computer simulations, clones, or children he had in DC Comics’ prime reality, he managed to make a home for himself, his wife, and his kid or kids. Superman’s had countless children in numerous stories over the years. Granted, a couple of them would turn evil, but that’s what happens when you’re Superman and are a part of an ever-growing multiverse. Today at CBR we’re looking at fifteen of Superman’s kids and seeing which of them are weaker than their dad and who’s stronger than the Man of Tomorrow.
15 STRONGER: JON KENT
Jon Kent is the ten-year old son to Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Already going on adventures with Batman’s son Damian, Jon calls himself Superboy and uses his powers to fight crime. Like many half-breeds, Jon literally carries the best of both worlds in his DNA. While he might be young, Batman’s stated Jon should already be exhibiting strength that even surpasses Superman’s power. The only reason he probably hasn’t is because of self-imposed mental blocks. When Jon was briefly mind-controlled by Manchester Black, his latent fury was unlocked, and he nearly killed Superman.
Still, Jon can’t control his abilities fully (yet), so Superman seeks to train him as much as possible. That said, we’ve seen glimpses of future timelines where Jon is so strong that he cannot control his power, leading to the deaths of millions.
14 WEAKER: CONNOR KENT
Following the "Death of Superman", where the Kryptonian monster killed the Man of Steel, Project Cadmus attempted to fill the void Superman left by creating Superboy. Hotheaded and just powerful enough to make everyone believe he might be the real deal, even Superboy thought he was Kal-El. Then the real Superman returned from the dead. In short order, Superman accepted the clone as part of his family, giving him the name Kon-El, letting him live with the Kents, and providing the teen with the identity of Conner Kent.
Kon-El’s origin was later retconned by Geoff Johns; he was now the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. The New 52 Superboy featured a dramatically different origin, but they each were powerhouses in their own right. Even so, despite their ability to take on the Teen Titans, either Superboy wasn’t nearly as strong as Superman.
13 STRONGER: CHRISTOPHER KENT
Though not the biological son of Superman, Christopher Kent is the closest thing the Superman of Earth-16 ever had to a child. Chris’s biological parents were General Zod and Ursa, but that didn’t go over well and Superman and Lois took the young Kryptonian in. Christopher became the Superman of his world and was far more powerful than his adoptive dad.
Boasting an incredibly litany of abilities, Chris Kent evolved his powers to degrees unheard of for a Kryptonian. He trained like a character out of Dragon Ball Z, literally forcing his body to evolve. This new level of power let Christopher access his chakras. Now, along with the basic powers Kryptonians receive while under a yellow sun, Chris could redirect his heat vision, absorb energy attacks, grab the heat vision of other Supermen without hurting himself, and grow in height, which boosted his power even more.
12 WEAKER: LARA LANE-KENT
In DC’s comic series Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman turns into an evil dictator. Manipulated by the Joker, Superman inadvertently kills his wife Lois, their unborn child, and Metropolis is destroyed too. Superman snaps and rams his fist through the Joker’s chest, murdering him stone dead. Believing the world and its inhabitants needed ruling; Superman then killed or recruited every super powered individual he could find.
After three years of fighting, Batman has become desperate. Allying with some mystic heroes and villains, Batman’s able to get in close enough to hit Superman with some magic dust, putting him in a magic-induced coma. While asleep, Superman dreams of his perfect world, a world where he didn’t kill Lois and their child survived. That child was Lara Lane Kent and she became Supergirl later in life. Using her father’s teachings, she led the Earth into an era of peace.
11 STRONGER: LARA KENT
The daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, Lara Kent was the Supergirl from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again from 2002. Raised over on Paradise Island by her mother, Wonder Woman sought to teach her daughter discipline and self-control, while simultaneously protecting her from the dangers of the outside world.
In that same story, Brainiac attacks the Earth and Lara makes her presence known when she saves her father’s life. Her allegiances shifted in The Dark Knight III: The Master Race, when she joins some rogue Kandorians and seeks to help them take over the world. Though she loses in fights to Wonder Woman, it’s only because her mother is the superior fighter. It’s already implied she’s just as, if not already, stronger than Superman. Luckily, her father has been able to make her see the error of her ways and has taught her the value of life.
10 WEAKER: SUPERMAN JUNIOR
Over the years, multiple iterations of Superman Juniors have existed. That’s what happens when you include a multiverse into your comic book history. The original Superman Junior debuted in World’s Finest Comics #154 from 1965, but a new version appeared in World’s Finest Comics #215 eight years later; Superman Junior and Batman Junior became known as the Super Sons.
Superman Junior was the child of Superman and a human mother. An angsty teenager, perhaps it was for the best that Superman Junior was only half as strong as his dad. Rebelling against the legacy of their famous fathers, the young heroes went on a road trip to find themselves. They later came to terms with their roles and embraced the legacy of their respective fathers. Yet in a complete one-eighty, it was revealed that the Super Sons were nothing more than a computer simulation.
9 STRONGER: BLACK ZERO
Like many evil Supermen or malevolent kids of his, Black Zero came from an alternate reality where Superman died. Black Zero, his clone, grew to full adulthood and became Superman II. He had all the powers of Superman, and then some. Additionally, Black Zero had tactile-telekinesis, which let him create a field around himself that made him invulnerable, let him to fly, and move heavy objects. Originally, Superman II tried to be a superhero, but after an incident that resulted in civilian deaths, there was backlash against human cloning.
He decided to rename himself after the pro-cloning organization on Krypton, Black Zero, and fight for clone rights. This involved killing the world’s superheroes and making a fresh batch of clones. Black Zero then entered Hypertime, traveling to other realities to fight for clone rights as well. Black Zero was insane and only multiple Superboys from across realities could stop him.
8 WEAKER: HUNTER PRINCE
Hunter Prince first appeared in Justice League #26. The son of Wonder Woman and Superman, his was a character with a dark history. He, and several other kids whose parents were Justice League members, time travelled from the future to the past. The world they grew up in was bleak, with most of the planet’s population and heroes killed by the Great Darkness. Hunter and friends believed they needed to kill Wonder Woman, thinking she was responsible for the carnage.
When Hunter came back to the present day, he was happy to see Superman. His mother, Wonder Woman, was not happy to see him and vice versa. According to Hunter, she abandoned him as a child, as a man couldn’t live on Paradise Island. He never forgave her. Despite his parents being two of the strongest people around, Hunter had super strength, but very little other powers to speak of.
7 STRONGER: ARIELLA KENT
Ariella Kent first appeared in Supergirl #1000000. In short order, it became clear she was a league above the Man of Steel. She was a superpowered six-year-old child from the 853rd century. Ariella’s tenure as Supergirl began when Linda Danvers’ time as Supergirl was ending. When the Pre-Crisis version of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, appeared on Earth, Linda returned to Pre-Crisis Earth in her place. There, she married Earth-One Superman and they had Ariella.
After a bunch of craziness involving the Spectre, alternate timelines, and time travel, Kara went back to “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” where she was supposed to die. From then on, we see Ariella wandering through the cosmos. Her power-set far exceeded that of either Supergirl or Superman, as time travel was one of her many abilities, along with energy absorption, teleportation, telekinesis, and illusion casting. This was one six-year old you didn’t want to mess with.
6 WEAKER: UR-ZOD
The son of Lord Superman and Wonder Woman from the Justice Lords universe in the Batman Beyond comics, Zod was created through combining Kryptonian and Amazonian technology. On a world where Superman and the Justice League were malevolent dictators, Zod was engineered to rule the Earth. Lord Superman and Lord Wonder Woman even went to war over their child. Yet Brainiac abducted the young Zod and delivered him to Jax-Ur to be raised inside the Phantom Zone and use the boy as a weapon.
Batman Beyond Superman eventually rescued the troubled youngster and offered him a place to call home. Superman even gave him the name Superboy and held a place for him on the Justice league. Zod had all the powers of Superman, albeit to a weaker degree, but he did have the bonus ability of possessing technology.
5 STRONGER: CIR-EL
When Cir-El first appeared, she operated under the name Supergirl. This spurred Superman to investigate her real identity. Cir-El informed Superman that she is the future daughter of both him and Lois Lane, and that she time travelled to the past. It was later revealed that Cir-El was a human named Mia.
As though that wasn’t enough, another surprise came when everyone learned Brainiac had created her by grafting Kryptonian DNA with a human host. He’d implanted her with false memories and sent her on her way to one-day take over the world thanks to the Yes virus running inside her. Essentially, Brainaic’s sole motivation for making Cir-El, besides domination, was killing Superman; he designed her to be more powerful than the Last Son of Krypton. When Cir-El learned of Brainiac’s plans for her, she erased herself from existence to prevent completing the techno-organic being’s dark plans.
4 WEAKER: VAN-EL
Written by Alan Moore and with artwork by Dave Gibbons, the tale "For The Man Who Has Everything" proved a seminal piece in Superman storytelling. It was notable for the first appearance of the Black Mercy, an extraterrestrial plant that the villain Mongul sent to Superman on the Man of Steel’s birthday. Upon opening the present, Superman is immediately infected by the parasitic organism. The Black Mercy drains its victims of their life force but supplies them with wonderful visions of their deepest desires.
In Superman’s case, Krypton never exploded and he’s living happily on his home world. He has a son, named Van-El, along with a wife and daughter. Since Krypton isn’t under a yellow sun, Superman, along with the rest of his family and inhabitants, have ordinary level strength and no powers to speak of.
3 STRONGER: HYPERMAN
Following the massively popular Kingdom Come, Mark Waid continued the story in The Kingdom. The premise revolved around the villain Gog and his travelling throughout the timestream to kills Superman over and over again. Such ramifications are felt throughout the universe and the older Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman must unite with their younger selves to combat the threat. Along the way, Gog abducts Superman and Wonder Woman’s son Jonathan Kent so he can raise him to be Magog.
Jonathan is eventually saved and slips into Hypertime. While there, his future superpowered self, Hyperman, guards him. Once the heroes defeat Gog, Jonathan is reunited with his parents. Hyperman’s power-set is pretty nuts. Not only does he have the combined abilities of Superman and Wonder Woman, but he possesses the power to navigate and travel through various timelines, known as Hypertime, at will.
2 WEAKER: KARA KENT WAYNE
Superman and Lois Lane are no stranger to having kids, and in John Byrne’s Superman & Batman: Generations, they have two. One of their two children, Joel William Kent, was exposed to Gold Kryptonite in the womb, leaving him born without powers. His sister Kara Kent on the other hand had no such problem. She came lock, stock, and barrel with all of Superman’s abilities, except she only managed to be half as strong as her dad. Taking the Supergirl identity, Kara served as her dad’s sidekick, all the while making sure her non-powered brother didn’t find out so he wouldn’t be jealous.
Years later she became Superwoman and was planning on marrying, Bruce Wayne Jr. the son of Batman. Things go terribly awry as Lex Luthor manipulates Joel into killing his sister, which he does, but also dies himself in the process.
1 STRONGER: JON LANE KENT
Jon Lane Kent first appeared in Superboy #19 and is the son of Superman and Lois Lane from an alternate future. Jon seemingly died, on account of having unstable DNA, and the Kents went into seclusion. However, the villain Harvest took his body to the past, resurrected him, and used him in his plot to eliminate all metahumans in the world. Now fully evil, he proceeded to wreck havoc.
In an interesting twist, readers discovered that Connor Kent, aka Superboy and Kon-El, was Jon Lane Kent’s clone and not Superman’s like people originally believed. Jon Lane Kent had an incredible amount of powers and knew how to use them to their fullest. Along with all of Superman’s powers, he could turn invisible and also had telepathy and telekinesis. It took Kon-El recruiting every Superboy from across the multiverse to defeat Jon Lane Kent.