From the moment of his 1938 debut in Action Comics #1, Superman's powers were constantly shifting and evolving. In fact, it would be twenty years before his vast array of powers would settle into the standard set we're familiar with today. However, over those intervening years, exotic new powers would suddenly appear and disappear at random. In rare cases (like X-Ray vision) these weird new abilities would stick...but in many more cases, the new powers would appear once or twice and then vanish forever.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be digging up some of these forgotten superpowers and presenting them here, usually (but not always) with accompanying visuals. To kick off the first installment of Superpowers That Time Forgot I've got not one but two obscure superpowers that appeared in Superman #45 (1947). In "The Case of the Living Trophies", Superman was captured by an inter-dimensional alien (whom Superman classified as "the most powerful enemy I've ever tackled") and placed into a collection of living beings. Paralyzed by a numbing gas, Superman launched an escape plan by using...telepathic will control?!!
(click on the panels for a larger view)
With the alien distracted, Superman tipped over and shattered his trophy case. Then, only a few panels later, exhibited yet another shocking new superpower...
Now, Superman had occasionally twisted his facial features into clever disguises before (as early as Superman #26, 1944), but he'd never "morphed" into an entirely different and much larger body type...Plastic Man style!
After turning the tables on his alien captor, Superman freed his fellow captives and returned to Earth...without even a peep of explanation for the bizarre new abilities! As you might have guessed, this was the one and only story featuring Superman's telepathic mind control and shape shifting powers...though, rest assured, there were plenty more Superpowers That Time Forgot. Stay tuned!