Unless you’re in a coma, you’re probably familiar with Superman, the last son of Krypton, the man of tomorrow, the non-bird, non-plane thing up in the sky.  And, as you’re probably aware, Superman has had an astounding array of superpowers over the years, from super-breath to super-hypnosis and even (for a short while in the 1940s) the ability to manipulate the muscles in his face to perfectly duplicate another person’s features.  Given that massive back catalogue of powers, many people like to grouse that Superman will never be interesting because the creators can just yank new powers out of thin air for any situation.  But that kind of Negative Nelly self-satisfied jackwagonry doesn’t fly at Major Spoilers.  (After all, Rule of Acquisition 76 clearly states, “Every once in a while, declare peace.”)  Thus, it’s time for the assembled ranks of Spoiler-dom to use OUR massive array of powers to answer a question that has long plagued fans of the Big Red S…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is more powerful than a low-chrome votive and faster than a speeding bullwhip, asking: How can we create a reasonable explanation, given what we know about Superman, for the flingable cellophane S-shield seen in Superman II?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

24 Comments

  1. I’m going to cite Matthew’s preamble above and say that it was a form of super-hypnotism that created an illusory effect of the binding S. For lack of a better term, it was a ninja style genjutsu. As to why superman never used this power before, it was due to his kryptonian physiology having a variable and particular brainwave-form that would only resonate with other kryptonians, ie, the Zod gang.

  2. Here’s my stab at it: Knowing that her son was going against three of Krypton’s worst criminals and that he’d be at a disadvantage even at full strength Lara gave her son a few more tools to use in what was sure to be a war. Among these tools was a failsafe that the Krytonian de-powering chamber would not work on him any longer. At least the criminals wouldn’t be able to forcibly remove Kal-El’s abilities. Also a rather simple weapon from the earlier days of Kryptonian history where the family crest hid what would be called a net by the Earthlings but in reality was a super-scientific device that, while it likely wouldn’t capture or incapacitate a Kryptonian under a yellow sun’s rays, would certainly disorient them for several minutes.

    Or something along those lines.

  3. I would probably add a caveat that because it is a Kryptonian nano-fiber, when it contracts would crush an earthling to a pulp. That’s the reason he has never used it before or since.

  4. Batman got stinking drunk and made it as a joke and told Superman it would be a great tool to temporarily disable a foe.

    It’s an S shaped smart fiber that expands rapidly when cooled (when it leaves the warm of the body) and tighten afterward when it touches an obstacle, weak to temporal shock so last only a few seconds after been detached.

  5. Josh "Spaceboot" Treleaven on

    Superman is real, but in hiding. Lex Luthor is real too, and also hiding. Luthor paid for the Superman movies to be made as embarrassing as possible.

  6. It could’ve been a magic spell he got from someone, probably Constantine since it worked but wasn’t all that useful.

  7. Richard Donner had never read a single Superman comic. How else do you explain the cellophane and the magic kiss that removed Lois Lane’s memory? It was a lot like the first Star Trek movie, where it was quickly obvious that Robert Wise had never seen a Star Trek episode. Trying to find reasonable explanations for idiot mistakes is a profitless enterprise, because you’ll never run out of idiots. Somebody once said “nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenius.” That applies in this case, too. Superman could have used his super breath to temporarily freeze them, but instead of using Supes power set, the director jumped the rails and pulled the cellophane S out of his “s”…

    • According to the S2 Donner Cut the reverse time thing in Superman was supposed to be the end of Superman 2 (nothing mentioned about how they’d get out of the problems created in Superman). They decided it worked better as the end of Superman and came up with the kiss for 2.

      Which of course was kinda the set up for Superman Returns. And kinda not. Even though Superman Returns sucked just the same.

  8. touching on the kryptonian nanotech plastic wrap theory, maybe it’s a security feature on his suit that’s coded to respond to Kal-El’s unique DNA/heat signature/fingerprints. similar to batman’s chest symbol being a big yellow target for gunfire, maybe the S-Logo is the first thing potential enemies/thieves would touch. and by coming in contact with a foreign, possibly hostile signature, the suit goes into defense mode by wrapping up a possible assailant. i don’t know when this would ever need to come into play, since Supes could literally pulverize a human being in a single punch if he wanted to, but you never know. maybe Zod’s jelly of the red and blue suit, while he has to rock that embarrassing, sparkly figure skater joint.

  9. It’s a hologram! And that idiot Non fell for it… Its a trick that would only work on someone mindless enough to not question the situation, but still averse to Kryptonian weapons and Phantom Zone Projectors.

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