Though he is perhaps the greatest champion the Earth has ever known, Superman's origins are not terrestrial. To save his infant son from the destruction of their planet, Krypton, the scientist Jor-El launched his son, the infant Kal-El, to a world where he would be safe, the planet Earth. Little is known of Superman's activities prior to his rescue of the space-plane Constitution, but many historians suspect he had secretly played the hero for many years before his very public debut, always managing to keep his actions hidden. After the rescue, however, he quickly made his presence known. Nothing escaped his attention, from simple purse snatchings to three-alarm fires to attempted bank robberies. Perhaps exhilarated by the opportunity to operate openly, Superman seemed to be everywhere at once in the days that followed. Everyone in Metropolis wanted to know more about their city's new hero and after weeks of effort by the news media it was the Daily Planet that finally landed the story of the century when it published the exclusive story on Superman.
Over the next few years, Superman established himself as the greatest champion of justice in Metropolis and, indeed, the world. He is credited with inspiring the new generation of crime fighters and superheroes that sprang into existence after his debut, heroes from Aquaman to the Flash. Ultimately five of these young new heroes joined together as the Justice League of America. Barely a month after the founding of the League, Superman was invited to join. The Man of Steel, however, tendered his regrets, feeling that his existing responsibilities would keep him from devoting the time necessary to be an active member. In recent years, however, Superman changed his mind and has become an active member of the latest incarnation of the JLA.
Superman has fought a dizzying array of foes during his career, among the more notable have been Brainiac, the Parasite, Metallo, the Atomic Skull, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Toyman and, of course, Doomsday. It was shortly before Christmas a few years back that Superman faced his most dangerous opponent and lost. In defending his beloved home of Metropolis from Doomsday's rampage the Man of Steel was mortally wounded, dying shortly after putting an end to the creature itself. The details surrounding the death, and rebirth, of Superman will be covered in a later section. Suffice to say, Superman returned to continue his never-ending battle against injustice.
In the short time since his death and return, Superman has faced many of his greatest challenges. Shortly after returning to life, he foiled the evil Cyborg, who had already destroyed Coast City with the help of the alien Mongul. Some time later he was changed into a being of pure energy and then split into two separate energy beings, whom the press dubbed "Superman Red" and "Superman Blue" based on the colors of their uniforms. The Supermen were finally rejoined and the Man of Energy transformed back to the Man of Steel in the course of saving the world from the menace of the Millennium Giants.
There is a reason that Superman is considered the world's greatest champion, and it is not because of his immeasurable strength, his power of flight, his super-senses, laser-like heat vision, or his superhuman speed. It is his inexhaustible courage and his unshakeable idealism and belief in the good in everyone that truly makes him a Super-man. There are those that see his power and think him a god, but the Man of Steel is just that, a man. There are times when his desire to do good has led him astray.
Though many cheered his actions when, in retaliation for terrorist attacks on his beloved Metropolis sponsored by the country of Qurac, Superman single-handedly invaded the Middle-Eastern nation, devastating its military capability; the Man of Steel himself has stated publicly that he regrets his actions. More recently was the "King of the World" incident, when Superman took it upon himself to end all crime and conflict across the world. Constructing an army of Superman robots to aid him, Superman set in motion a plan that some feared may have been leading the hero, however well-intentioned, towards global dictatorship. In the end the plan was scrapped and the robots destroyed when it was learned that an alien villain named Dominus had been manipulating the Man of Steel. Of the hero's damaged reputation, Superman had this to say:
"There's nothing I can say to win back people's trust. I'll have to earn that again through what I do and what I don't do, like trying to decide what's right for everyone on the planet."
And the Man of Steel has earned back that trust, through his own actions and as part of the Justice League, he has selflessly defended this world time and again, serving as an inspiration to all as he works to improve our world.
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman.