Batman Stole Superman’s Goofiest Silver Age Superpower

Batman Stole Superman's Goofiest Silver Age Superpower

Out of all the weirdest Superman powers in the 50s and 60s, the goofiest one was just stolen by Batman – and somehow it makes even less sense.

Warning: contains spoilers for Batman: Killing Time #1!

Out of all the weirdest Superman powers from the Silver Age of Comics, the strangest one was just stolen by Batman to defeat a supervillain – and it somehow makes more and less sense. Both Superman and Batman are complete opposites in many ways, but a key difference is their powers: Batman is only human while Superman is a Kryptonian who can fly at superspeed, lift impossibly heavy objects, and is impervious to most weapons (certainly Earth-made ones). But Batman: Killing Time #1 shows a zany Superman power used by Batman, one that most fans forgot the Man of Steel ever possessed.

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Before 1986’s Crisis on Infinite Earths severely weakened him, Superman’s powers were only limited by the writer’s imagination. His debut in 1938 showcased a superhero who was bulletproof, capable of bending iron bars and could leap tall buildings in a single bound (but not technically fly). By the 50s and 60s he was routinely traveling through time and moving planets through space – along with whatever insane power the writer could think of that would suit the situation. One of the rarely-used powers was “Super-Ventriloquism.”

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Superman was able to throw his voice and disguise it expertly, allow him to mimic heroes, villains, and even animals. In the below image, Superman (here acting as Superboy) concocts a scheme that requires him and Krypto the Superdog to switch places through the mutual use of super-ventriloquism. While hardly ever used today, it appears the writers of Batman: Killing Time haven’t forgotten the oddities of the Silver Age, and allowed Batman to appropriate this Super Ventriloquism.

Superman Superpowers Super-Ventriloquism

As Killer Croc wreaks havoc during a bank robbery early on in the issue, Batman swoops in and ducks behind a crumbling front desk. Disguising his voice, Batman calls out to Croc: “Sir! I think I can help you!” and this serves as a perfect distraction for Batman to land a surprise attack on the criminal. Killer Croc and Batman have fought multiple times, and Bruce Wayne is a public figure, so in this instance Batman is capable of disguising his voice in three ways: Bruce Wayne, Batman, and an innocent bystander pretending to be a bank employee.

Batman’s usage of Superman’s oddest power means the writers of the Dark Knight are perhaps paying tribute to the long-gone and fondly-remembered Silver Age. Stories were more episodic and rarely revolved around such high stakes as the destruction of the world, and heroes didn’t suffer agonizing deaths every year only to be brought back every other year. The innocent (when compared to the modern era) Silver Age is missed by both writer and reader alike, and in that respect, Batman borrowing one of Superman’s left-field abilities is a welcome sight.

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Author: Deann Hawkins