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6 Adversaries Acquainted with Superman’s Secret Identity

by Lidia Lucovic

It might be tempting to assume that an immensely powerful figure like Superman should have no difficulty safeguarding his secret identity. However, this presumption does not align with reality. In fact, secret identities are an integral component of a superhero’s modus operandi, serving as a protective shield for their loved ones, shielding them from potential retaliatory threats triggered by their heroic actions. Given Superman’s personal connections, including a wife, a son, and a circle of close friends, the imperative of concealing his true identity remains paramount.

While fans have occasionally indulged in jests regarding the apparent simplicity of Superman’s Clark Kent disguise, his secret identity holds profound significance for him. Over the course of many years, a considerable number of adversaries have successfully unraveled the enigma of the Man of Steel’s true identity. In this context, we delve into the top ten villains who have, at various points, breached this formidable barrier.


Bizarro, one of Superman’s most enigmatic adversaries, possesses a multifaceted and often convoluted origin. Depending on the narrative, he can be a clone engineered by Lex Luthor, a denizen of the Bizarro universe, or an entirely distinct entity. However, Bizarro’s inaugural appearance dates back to the pages of Superboy #68, a creation of Otto Binder and George Papp. In this narrative, Bizarro emerges as a consequence of a malfunctioning laser gun, which inadvertently generates an imperfect duplicate of Superboy. Given that the majority of Bizarro incarnations represent distorted counterparts of Superman, it follows that they all share the knowledge of Superman’s dual identity as Clark Kent, for they, too, mirror this aspect.


Within the realm of individuals privy to Superman’s true identity, the Bat-Family stands as a notable group, a fact that could potentially pose a significant predicament should any member of this family turn to the path of villainy. This scenario materializes in the character known as Savior, especially evident when a future iteration of Tim Drake adopts this malevolent persona. Savior’s primary objective centers on the assassination of Superman’s son, undertaken in a bid to alter the course of the future. The debut of this malevolent future version of Tim Drake occurs in Teen Titans/The Legion Special #1, credited to the creative team of Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Marc Campos, Sno-Cone Studios, and Rob Leigh. Subsequently, during the narrative arc titled “A Lonely Place of Living,” scripted by James Tynion IV, Savior evolves into a substantially more menacing threat. Given that Savior represents a future incarnation of Tim Drake, his knowledge of Superman’s true identity parallels that of the current Tim Drake.


Superman, often defined by his extraordinary powers, finds his antithesis in Parasite, a villain uniquely proficient at depriving individuals of their abilities. Parasite possesses the uncanny capacity to siphon energy from both living beings and inanimate objects. Given that Superman’s remarkable abilities stem from the solar energy he stores within his body, Parasite poses an exceptional threat. Should Parasite ever unearth the truth that Clark Kent is, in fact, Superman, the consequences would be of monumental magnitude. This exact scenario unfolds within the Pre-Crisis DC continuity, where Parasite not only acquires Superman’s powers but also his memories, thereby gaining access to the closely guarded secret of Superman’s true identity.


Among the most perilous entities in the cosmos stands an evil Kryptonian. Superman’s heroism transcends mere power; it is fundamentally defined by how he harnesses and employs his extraordinary abilities for the betterment of others. In stark contrast, General Zod represents a villain consumed by the singular obsession of resurrecting Krypton to secure dominion over it. Owing to Zod’s deep-rooted connections with Krypton, particularly the House of El, he has effectively possessed the knowledge of Clark Kent’s dual identity as Superman for a considerable duration. Remarkably, this knowledge has elicited minimal concern within Zod, given his preoccupations with his own ambitions and the restoration of his homeworld.


While General Zod certainly ranks among the most menacing Kryptonian adversaries, he is not the first malevolent Kryptonian that Superman has encountered. One of the earliest such adversaries was Jax-Ur, introduced in Adventure Comics #289, penned by Robert Bernstein and illustrated by George Papp. During this period in comic history, Superman was often depicted as Superboy and resided with the Kent family. In this particular narrative, Jax-Ur orchestrates the abduction of Jonathan Kent into the Phantom Zone, subsequently assuming his identity. This course of events naturally results in Jax-Ur gaining knowledge of Superman’s true identity as Clark Kent. Notably, Jax-Ur effectively masquerades as Superman’s father for an extended duration.

6.The Entire World

Superman has consistently upheld the principle of truth. In the pages of Superman #18, released in 2019, authored by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Ivan Reis, Superman makes a momentous decision to authenticate his commitment to truth by publicly unveiling his secret identity to the entire world. His rationale for this decision rests on the belief that he cannot genuinely claim to represent truth while perpetuating a deception that conceals his true self from virtually everyone in his life. However, this bold revelation carries substantial risks, jeopardizing the safety of his friends and family. Ultimately, the decision is reversed, with Lex Luthor erasing the memory of Superman’s true identity from all but a select few individuals. Consequently, while Superman’s identity is once again concealed, there was a brief period when every single villain on Earth possessed knowledge of his true persona.

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