Only One Thing Can Move Faster Than Superman (And It’s Not Flash)

Only One Thing Can Move Faster Than Superman (And It's Not Flash)

DC fans know that Superman is one of the fastest superheroes on Earth, but one thing can move faster than him (and no, it’s not the Flash).

Warning: contains spoilers for Superman: Son of Kal-El #13!

DC’s Superman is one of the fastest beings on Earth – but even he has difficulty outpacing one element (and it’s not the Flash, nor any other speedster). The Man of Steel was initially “faster than a speeding bullet” in the Golden Age of Comics, but can now fly from one country to another in seconds and can deliver a series of punches to his enemies before they even know he has entered the fight. Even so, Superman: Son of Kal-El #13 proves that the one thing that can outspeed Superman in every contest is information, and the fear that comes with it.

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Superman and the Flash have raced each other multiple times in comics, beginning in the Silver Age. Most races ended without a clear victor (usually thanks to a supervillain attempting to destroy one or both contestants) but have lately ended with the Flash as the undisputed master of speed. While Superman can run around the world in minutes, the Flash can do it in seconds – and can ever run faster than light, allowing him to travel through time.

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In Superman: Son of Kal-El #13, written by Nichole Maines & Tom Taylor with art by Clayton Henry, Jay Nakamura (Superman’s boyfriend) manages to help defeat an evil Senator who ended up as a puppet controlled by the evil President Bendix. Unfortunately, his mask is lost in the conflict and the entire world knows he has the powers of intangibility. News networks waste no time in vilifying the character, saying “Wake up sheeple! Nakamura is the son of the ex-president of Gamorra!” Superman knows the hatred will only get worse: “I can’t protect him, not from this. I can’t move faster than information.”

While the phrase is metaphorical – information must still travel through physical means – Superman is saying he can’t defend Jay against misinformation. The internet has a tendency to accentuate the negative at every opportunity, especially when it comes to marginalized non-white groups. The latter is not lost on readers; Jay Nakamura is an Asian gay may who is currently in a relationship with Superman, Earth’s most prominent savior, and there are plenty of fringe groups who may even see Nakamura as a negative influence on their s0-called all-American hero.

Superman, for all his strengths, is only one person. He cannot possibly defend Jay from every inflammatory, accusatory piece in newspapers, blogs and talkshows, and both he and Jay know it. Tom Taylor’s work on Superman has pitted the Man of Steel not against monsters or physical threats so much as concepts, ideas and modern-day issues; he cannot solve these problems with his strength or speed, and that’s what makes the current run all the more interesting.

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