Black Adam Calls Out Superman's Most Invasive Power (& He's Right)

Warning: spoilers ahead for Dark Crisis #1!

Super-hearing is one of Superman’s many powers, and his Justice League teammate Black Adam (rightfully) sees it as invasive. In Dark Crisis #1, on sale now in print and digital, Superman’s son Jon Kent uses his super-hearing to eavesdrop on Black Adam, earning him a sharp rebuke from the monarch of Khandaq; Adam points out the invasive nature of super-hearing, casting this often overlooked power in a new light.

After a year of build-up across the entire DC line, Dark Crisis, now called Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, has arrived. Over the past year, Pariah, a survivor of the first Crisis on Infinite Earths, has been amassing a “dark army,” consisting of some of DC’s biggest–and worst, villains, such as Darkseid, Nekron, Doomsday, and Ares. Pariah has allied himself with the Great Darkness, an evil primordial force existing outside the Omniverse; using his newfound power, Pariah will do whatever it takes to restore his universe, including imprisoning Barry Allen somewhere in the Omniverse and brutally attacking the Justice League Incarnate. Pariah was not done, sending his minions to attack the Justice League; the villains were victorious, and the Justice League is no more. Now, the surviving heroes must move forward and find a way to turn back Pariah before he and the Great Darkness destroy all creation.


Related: Black Adam's Immortality Gives Him One Power No Hero Knows About

Now, in Dark Crisis #1 by Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere, Alejandro Sanchez, and Tom Napolitano, the survivors have gathered to discuss the future of the Justice League in light of Pariah’s devastating attack. A crowd has gathered outside the Hall of Justice; some have come to mourn the Justice League and others are calling for an end to costumed heroes. Black Adam, dealing with survivor’s guilt, watches over the protestors. Talking to himself, Adam says it should have been him that died, and thus he could be reunited with his lost-love Adriana. Meanwhile, Jon Kent has overheard the whole exchange and asks Black Adam who he is talking to. Black Adam retorts, “never use that super-hearing on me boy.”

Black Adam tells Jon Kent not to use his super-hearing on him.

Though Superman’s ability to hear across great distances ranks as one of his most unique powers, it is one that comes with disturbing ramifications. First, since Superman has the ability to hear practically anything anywhere at any time, the concept of privacy becomes moot. With his super-hearing, Superman could conduct surveillance on not only his greatest foes, but other heroes as well. Such actions do not gel with Superman’s character and personality, and indeed he has been depicted as using the ability for benevolent ends, but the potential for abuse remains. Black Adam sees this potential, leading to another ramification of super-hearing: not everyone appreciates having their most intimate conversations overheard. While watching the protestors, Black Adam bared his soul. Jon Kent used his super-hearing to overhear this rare moment of vulnerability, which angered Adam. Jon Kent saw no harm in what he did, but Adam was deeply offended, leading to his (justified) criticism of the ability.

Superman’s super-hearing is one of his most unique powers, a byproduct of his Kryptonian physiology. He has used it for good, but his Justice League teammate Black Adam rightfully points out how invasive it truly is.