This article contains spoilers for The Other History of the DC Universe, by John Ridley and Alex Dos Diaz.
DC Comics has revealed Superman sparkles like one of the vampires in Twilight. Superman is easily one of the most powerful characters in comics. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And that’s before you get to his more exotic powers, such as his devastating solar flare.
In the real world, writers have added liberally to Superman’s powerset. He started out able to leap tall buildings, but that soon turned into flight. Over the decades more and more powers were added to his repertoire, with x-ray vision gradually transforming into heat vision, and super-speed enabling time travel on occasion. But now Superman has just been given the weirdest power of them all.
According to John Ridley’s The Other History of the DC Universe #1, Superman’s skin sparkles like one of the vampires in Twilight. The story is told through the eyes of Black Lightning, and in one scene the street-level superhero meets Superman. “He shined,” Black Lightning recalls of Superman shortly after his debut. “He literally shined. I didn’t know all of his powers — none of us knew everything he could do — but I think the same intense density that made him bulletproof prevented his skin from absorbing light. So, it reflected it. Just a bit. Just enough to give him an unearthly, heavenly glow.” Presumably, there are only certain wavelengths of light that are reflected by Superman’s skin, otherwise, his body couldn’t absorb solar energy to grant him the rest of his powers.
This may sound like a particularly wacky addition to Superman’s powerset, but it may well explain an age-old mystery; how Superman keeps his secret identity. Let’s assume the Man of Steel has some degree of control over this process and is somehow able to will his body into absorbing 100 percent of sunlight rather than 98 percent. If that’s the case, then when he pulls open his shirt and takes to the skies, he allows his body to do what comes naturally; to shine. Later, when he switches back to his civilian identity of Clark Kent, he begins consciously willing his body to absorb all the solar radiation instead. Thus he stops glowing. Little wonder nobody suspected Clark Kent was Superman; he wasn’t glowing.
Black Lightning interprets this as a heavenly glow, clearly seeing Superman as some sort of angel. That idea is reinforced by Superman‘s role as he confronts Black Lightning in later scenes, hovering over the world like a judging angel. But modern fans will undoubtedly be reminded of Twilight, where the vampires did not die in sunlight, but instead glowed in it. No doubt Clark Kent could have had a blast dressing up as a Twilight vampire for Halloween.