Clark Kent - Superman May 29, 2011 2:58:50 GMT -5
Post by Clark Kent on May 29, 2011 2:58:50 GMT -5
Canon or your own
Reporter for the Daily Planet
It only takes a brief glance at Superman to understand why he's occasionally been called 'Big Blue,' as even when facing those of greater size and girth, Superman often seems to tower over them. In many ways his size and musculature seem only enhanced by his perfect posture, with his back straight, shoulders out wide and every muscle seemingly tensed to spring into action. His expression often suits this ever-vigilant pose, as he never looked bored, or unfocused, and one of his most noticeable qualities is the piercing blue shade of his eyes, a blue that often seems almost inhuman. The most relaxed Superman ever looks is to have his arms crossed over his broad chest, and even then it only seems to call into prominence just how big those arms are; the crossed-armed position, after all, has often been something he's used to intimidate the occasional mugger into submission. The deep, slightly dark blue of the majority of his outfit only seems to enhance the bright red boots, 'briefs' and, of course, the flowing red cape. The S-Shield on his chest is bright and bold, ensuring that it's the first thing anyone will see when he approaches; a similar, mostly-yellow symbol is on the back of his cape, and a yellow utility belt holds a handful of simple things, like spare change and such.
Clark Kent actually appears a couple of inches shorter than his counterpart, his shoulders rounder and smaller than the Man of Steel's. Though he often dresses in a smart suit and tie, his clothing is often a little on the baggy side, just enough to make Kent look as rumpled and untidy as he often acts. His hands will often be in his suit jacket pockets when not occupied with something, His hair is slicked back from his brow and extremely thick glasses adorn his face, muting the bright blue of his eyes until their color is almost unnoticeable, and his words come out in a slightly timid, tenor pitch, a sharp contrast to the deep, reassuring bass of Superman's own voice. He smiles often, though he's usually shy and it's followed by a blush or a glance away, and he rarely looks angry or threatening; more often, he'll just look nervous if threatened or insulted.
Superman is, in many ways, a deliberately larger than life figure, which is an obvious enough conclusion given his bright colors and bold costume. But his state of dress isn't solely what makes him so; in many ways, he simply tries to be what the rest of the world hopes from him, a man of boundless confidence and quiet assurance who seems to improve any given situation, and the morale of those involved, just by arriving on the scene. He rarely raises his voice, as he rarely needs to, and even when dealing with a mortal enemy he almost never seems driven to true anger; rather, the more dire a situation turns, the more determined Superman becomes, facing down whatever challenge faces him with little more than narrowed eyes and a set jaw. He has often been named an inspiring figure for that very reason, as he never gives up and never backs down from a conflict, even when his own life is clearly in mortal jeopardy... even when it's meant seemingly giving up that very life in the defense of the city. Even more important, however, is that he doesn't limit himself to massive disasters or ultra-powered villainry; he'll just as soon stop apartment fires, muggings, find lost hikers and other 'mundane' deeds that have above all else endeared him to Metropolis' citizens.
These qualities carry over to his interactions with fellow heroes, particularly those less experienced than himself; rather than try and order around newer heroes, or mould them to his image, he'll offer only advice and support when it's needed. When operating with quieter heroes, he'll listen more than speak, inviting those with less standing to present their views. He's even held meetings in informal settings, such as on a rooftop in a given city, or near the site of some just-averted disaster.
Even though he could conceivably annihilate half of what he faces with a blast of heat vision, Superman is always one to offer quarter whenever possible, informing his newest opponent that they can still turn themselves in without any more violence. Often, this is less for his own sake than for the sake of whomever he's about to knock halfway across the city.
The glasses-wearing Kent, on the other hand, is decidedly un-Superman in almost every way but his general goodwill towards humanity. Largely uncoordinated and more than a little meek, it is rare you'll see this tall, formally dressed man making eye contact with you, or offering anything more than a nervous little laugh. The list of physical quirks and fidgits is almost endless, as while Superman can stand without moving an iota for an hour if need be, Clark seems to need to move at all times; he shuffles his feet, adjusts his glasses, glances around, scratches his nose, on and on and on. He would lose any given staring contest in a matter of moments, and when facing someone who is aggressive or even bold in personality, he will often stammer and try to disengage from awkward situations. He is decidedly kind-hearted, however, and often that earnest, gee-whiz honesty is what draws others to him; most of the people he knows might pity him a little, but they still like him plenty.
Behind those two different personas, the real Clark Kent is a bit of a mix between; while hardly as bumbling or awkward as his alter-ego, nor is he quite as self-assured or confident as he presents himself. He will often speak of whatever troubles him to his closest friends and allies, as much to work out his problems for himself as to hear their own opinion on the issue, and though Superman will never show it, his uncertainities might plague him for days before they're finally put to rest. He's bolder and more coordinated than Clark Kent, but quicker to smile and laugh than Superman; this Clark is one rarely seen, and for the most part, only his mother will see this side of him. This is the Clark Kent that wakes up in the morning, pours a bowl of cereal, watches the morning news and takes a shower before taking to the skies.
While hardly the Clark he presents to the rest of the world, the real man behind the glasses, and behind the symbol, is far more human than Superman will ever be.
When it comes to the variety of his powers, Superman is probably outmatched only by the Martian Manhunter. His strength and resilience is greatly increased by a bioelectric forcefield that surrounds his body at near-skintight proximity, shielding him from harm and reinforcing his body. This field also protects his clothing to a certain extent, depending on his close to his body they are; it's at least part of the reason his costume is so tight, and also means that when in battle his cape is one of the first things to go. He can extend this field subconsciously, to a much lesser extent; while it won't make anyone he touches invulnerable to any real degree, it does allow him to intercept or catch civilians at high speeds without accidentially killing them.
He's blessed with superhuman speed, it's both mental and physical; he can react quickly enough and precisely enough to catch bullets between his fingertips, and make calculations or decisions in the blink of an eye. The latter portion lends to the appearance that he is a decisive hero, as he rarely seems to need to pause to consider a situation.
He can also fly at far beyond supersonic speeds, often ascending to suborbital heights when making a cross-continental trip. His endurance is so great he can operate at peak activity for many hours at a time, and in general needs only three or four hours of sleep a day to get by, allowing him to devote far more time to his double life.
His lungs can draw in a tremendous capacity of air, allowing him to survive underwater for many hours at a time. He can dispel the drawn air with tremendous force, and for nearly ten minutes without pause; more unusually, he can also expel wind so cold that it can freeze whatever's in its path.
His eyes are capable of a variety of visual spectrums, achieved through active concentration, such as X-Ray, telescopic, and even microscopic, allowing him to see the smallest of details, or the most distant of threats. He has often combined these visual fields, using his telescopic and X-Ray vision to study a scene blocked by half of Metropolis.
His vision is dwarfed only by his incredible sense of hearing, a trait that has allowed the Man of Steel to seem almost omni-present throughout his city; capable of both focusing on specific details and absorbing the full, chaotic medley of sounds, his hearing extends for many miles, and at frequencies below and above the human range of hearing. He can not only hear a scream for help from a hundred miles away, but he can also pinpoint where it's coming from.
Finally, his heat vision, probably the most offense-oriented power he has; capable of adjusting the intensity and the concentration of it, he can release anything from a pin-thin laser capable of slicing through steel, to a wide-yield blast that melt wide swaths of ice, to a nearly invisible 'puff' that would just barely boil water.
First and foremost is his weakness to Kryptonite; exposure to its radiation drains Superman rapidly, not only of his superhuman abilities, but even of his ability to stand upright. The distance at which he is affected usually seems to be six or seven feet, and thankfully he will usually recover both his wits and his powers quickly when the kryptonite is removed; prolonged exposure has been known to leave him weakened over a longer period of time, however.
He is also vulnerable to magic and psychic intrusions, forcing him to rely on tactics and willpower more than brunt strength or resilience in those situations. Finally, because the bioelectric field that protects him can be cancelled out by the field of another Kryptonian, his own kinsmen are more capable of harming him than someone of equivilent strength; it works both ways, of course, as Superman can similarly inflict more harm on another Kryptonian.
Finally, his abilities decline when he's forced to push himself for long periods of time; not only active abilities, like heat vision, are affected, as even his strength and resilience can decline. In a few instances, 'mastermind' villains who can't match his raw power have instead run him through a gauntlet of disasters and threats to the city until the constant exertion has weakened him sufficiantly to face in a more direct confrontation. This fatigue can be alleviated temporarily through more direct exposure to sunlight, and Superman has at times moved to the Earth's upper orbit, out of the shielding effects of the atmosphere, to 'recharge' when the opportunity presents itself. In the end, of course, nothing beats bedrest, and he can recover from trying times at an astonishing rate, getting back in action mere days after averting the latest apocalyptic threat.
Sent to Earth as an infant by his parents, so that he might survive the cataclysmic disaster that claimed the planet Krypton, the baby Kal El's ship crashed in a cornfield in Smallville, Kansas, to be found by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Though the circumstances of the child's discovery were unusual enough, (spaceship and such,) the child himself seemed no different than a human boy. Craving a child of their own, the Kents chose to adopt this strange newcomer in secret, at least until they found his parents; but of course, they never did.
Meanwhile, the young Clark was beginning to develop in decidedly strange ways; as the years passed, he began to show abilities far beyond the human norm. At the age of eight, he was trampled beneath an angry bull, only to emerge without a scratch. At nine, he went in search of his baseball beneath his father's tractor... almost tipping it over in the process. These abilities appeared sporadically at first, coming and going, and it wasn't until the onset of puberty that he truly began to develop; he found he could see through solid objects at fifteen, developed heat vision and super breath at seventeen, and by the time he was nineteen, he woke up one morning to find himself having sleep-flown halfway across his farm's fields. (He started wearing a string tied to a bell on his toe after that incident.)
With these incredible powers came all the normal uncertainties and trials of youth, only bolstered by the fact that he had to try and keep these abilities hidden. Due to that ever-present caution and uncertainty, Clark was even then considered a rather bookish young man, shy and quiet; it made the transition later in life all the easier. Tragedy struck at seventeen when Jonathan Kent suffered a fatal heart attack while working in the fields; Clark, at the library two miles distant, heard the exact moment when his father's heart stopped, and all the speed at his disposal wasn't enough for him to summon help in time. After Jonathan's death, Clark became even more withdrawn, throwing himself into helping with the chores around the farm, even though Martha made it clear they were doing well enough to get hired hands instead.
After high school graduation, Clark chose to see the world, leaving home armed only with his powers, a bit of money from his mother, and a strange crystal from his ship. He took a plane to Europe to begin his journey of discovery, but of course it wasn't long before he ceased bothering with normal means of transportation, relying on his own speed and flight to cross countries as he began to circle one continent after another, spending weeks or months in one place to learn of its culture and speak with its occupants. During this time, he intervened occasionally in worldly affairs, helping save a village from bandits in South Africa and extinguishing a temple fire in Tibet. In all these instances he acted in secret, shielding his identity and often using his great speed to ensure nobody even knew a single individual had been involved at all. As the months turned into five full years, Clark Kent learned a great deal about the wider world, and about humanity.
Without even realizing it, however, his journey had drawn him inexorably towards one of the planet's poles, and by the time Clark was twenty four, he found himself wandering the frozen glaciers of the Arctic, driven by a purpose he didn't quite understand. This purpose was revealed when the crystal he carried finally began to glow in his backpack, generating a heat he could feel even through the fabric of it; gripped by some strange compulsion, Clark hurled the crystal with all his considerable strength, sending it far into the Arctic Circle, where it quickly vanished beneath the ice and snow. Within moments, however, that catalyst gave birth to a tremendous creation, as before Clark's eyes a great structure of crystal sprouted from beneath the water, rising to full splendor high above the glaciers; his Fortress of Solitude, the last piece of Krypton that was.
In the Fortress, he met his other father, the one who had sent him to Earth, and it was from him that Clark learned his true purpose. He realized that he wasn't meant to lurk in the shadows and perform good deeds in secret; he was meant to inspire, not only the normal citizens of the planet, but other heroes who were at the time only gradually rising to the surface. It was there that he forged the identity that would serve him for years to come, and before so much as another year had passed, Clark took to the skies once more... this time with a new mission. He returned home, (by plane, to avoid suspicion,) and waited with more than a little impatience for nearly a month before taking action. During that time, he secured a job at the Daily Planet, choosing Metropolis as his new home due to the fact that many of the latest scientific developments- and superpowered villains- were developing there.
Base of Operations:
The Fortress of Solitude is the home of Kal El. The Watchtower is the home of Superman. Smallville is the home of Clark Kent. Metropolis is, in the end, the home of all three.
At the Metropolis International Airport, a tall fountain of chaos bubbled across the Arrivals terminal; a string of apologies, bumped shoulders and dropped bags followed this man as he tried unsuccessfully to navigate the cramped confines of the airport, drawing shouts of protest and glares in passing. Because of this, the customs agent at the far end of the terminal saw the man's approach long before he actually arrived; a bobbing head just above the bulk of the crowd, occasionally stooping or straightening as it was jostled like a pinball back and forth between the masses. Even as the agent served other arrivals, he couldn't help but keep half an eye on the approaching bobblehead, a brow lifted when the source of all the trouble finally came to a puffing, stumbling halt in front of his desk.
Dressed in a rumpled, worn suit and thick glasses that had somehow survived all the bumping, the tall, slightly dazed-looking chap handed over a handful of documents without a word, fiddling with his tie as the customs worker began to study the papers. A minute passed, then two, and from the look on the agent's face, there was clearly something wrong.
"Um, Clark Kent," the suited man said helpfully, pointing at the card as he glanced around the airport.
"So I see," the customs agent replied a little wryly as he squinted at the identification papers. 'The photo is a little smudged..."
"Is it?" Blue eyes, dulled and slightly distorted by the horrendously thick lenses, widened a little with apprehension. "Oh, well, it's been awhile since I've been home, I guess I've left it lying around too much. Humid climate. That isn't going to be a problem is it? I mean, I don't want to get in trouble or anything, I didn't know you had to double check the photo, I could just make a call or two and-"
"Mister Kent!" Stemming the verbal babble with a raised hand, the agent's mouth just barely managed to keep from quirking in an amused grin. "Mister Kent, if you could just give me a second piece of identification, and let us search your suitcase to be sure you're not smuggling anything, I'm sure we'll clear things right up."
"Oh." His fingers tapped slightly on the case as the larger man considered it. "Makes sense." Lifting the case on the counter with a brief grunt of exertion, he started rooting through his inner jacket pocket. "I've actually got my birth certificate here, my mother always told me that it's better to be safe than sorry, she made me take it when I left, good thing too, I mean, no picture on it but hopefully it'll do...?"
"I'm sure it will," the agent replied patiently as he gestured for a pair of security men to take the luggage to a nearby table, even as he accepted the carefully folded piece of paper. Unfolding it, his head tilted as he considered the documentation, then gestured for his subject to join the security men, explaining he'd just need a minute or two to sort things out properly, and if Mister Kent could please oversee his baggage search in the meantime.
Nodding and pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose, Clark complied quietly, stepping over to the security table and offering the two men a small, friendly smile that faded when they stared at him stotically.
"Mister Kent, right?" one of them asked.
"Hmm? Yes, that's... my name..." he replied, feet shifting restlessly. "...why?"
"You packed your own luggage, correct?" The other inquired politely.
"And you were packing for yourself alone?"
"Then," the first man continued solemnly, "can you explain to me this?"
Clark's eyes widened like saucers when the man held up a lacy white bra.
"W-what? Who... I..." Almost lunging at the still open suitcase, he began to rummage through it. Blouses, skirts, a two piece bathing suit... flip flops... "I... I don't get it, I used this exact same case to pack my things in, I was very careful, the tag even has my name..." he read the tag and paled. "'Denise.' Oh. Who's Denise?"
Whirling around, Clark's breath was blasted from his lungs when a solid black valise- his, this time- was shoved into his gut by a slim, blonde, extremely angry woman, who marched right past him to snatch her bra from the security officer's hand. As she shouted and ranted about the tall, dark idiot who had abducted her suitcase from the conveyer belt, and the idiot in question stammered and babbled every apology he could think of, the security men were beet red, shoulders heaving with repressed laughter. Over Clark's shoulder, the customs agent was enjoying a very, very good laugh behind the counter, and there was hardly a person within earshot who didn't crack a grin in passing.
By the time the proper suitcase had been searched, and the heavily blushing Kent had been approved through Customs by the determinately serious-faced agent, he left half of the airport with a memorable story to tell when they got home. Still apologizing to anyone who would listen for the inconvenience, and fearfully staying as far away from Denise as possible during the march across the terminal, his only brief glance her way being answered with a murderous glower.
All in all, it couldn't have gone off any more perfectly.
Sure, he was well on his way to becoming the city's most ridiculed citizen. He'd never be able to show himself in this airport again without a paper bag on his head, and if he saw that woman again he'd be better off hiding in the nearest phone booth. But, more importantly, if ever anyone from that airport thought of the name Clark Kent ever again, that incident would almost certainly replace any thought of one blurry passport photo. Once he had an opportunity to update his identification cards- he hadn't had a chance since he'd left the United States all those years ago- he wouldn't need to go through this again.
Might be fun to do it anyway, though.
As Clark Kent stood outside the Metropolis International Airport, trying- and failing- to hail a cab, he found it very hard not to smile.