Superman is basically invulnerable, but he has shown weakness to nuclear bombs. The sun is powered through nuclear fusion, could Superman survive in the sun?
Superman gets his strength from Earth’s yellow sun, but if he were tossed into the fiery ball would he die or get stronger? Plants use sunlight to produce energy but that doesn’t mean a ficus would survive getting thrown into the sun. So, what makes Superman so different than a ficus?
Stars are gigantic nuclear fusion machines smashing atoms apart. Earth’s sun turns hydrogen into helium through an intense process that produces sunlight. Those rays supercharge Superman’s Kryptonian cells giving him a variety of powers. On his home planet of Krypton, Kal-El would be a normal person thanks to the red sun Krypton orbited. But on Earth, he can fly, shoot lasers from his eyes and lift whatever needs lifting.
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Superman relies on the sun to grant him powers, but what about squaring up to the star itself? Would he be supercharged and able to withstand the intense heat and explosive surface of the sun? Or would The Man of Steel melt if he decided to literally bathe on the sun’s surface? Superman doesn’t seem to benefit from a tan because his cells are too busy converting the sun’s energy into superpowers. But what about getting into a tanning bed like the sun with the equivalent of 3.9 x 10²⁶ watts of energy?
The answer depends on which era of Superman is being discussed. Silver Age Superman was able to haul around multiple planets, used ridiculous powers like telepathy (but only for telephones), ventriloquism, telekinesis or basically any learned skill that one could conceivable add the prefix “super” to. All of these ludicrous powers were in some way charged by the sun.
Several times Superman has been thrown close to, or flown next to the sun and come way stronger thanks to his close relationship with the star. His cells are like a photosynthesizing plant (and it may actually allow Superman to forgo eating altogether) and he gains strength, sustenance, and a healing quality from the sun. Whenever he gets too sapped from overuse of his powers or beaten to his limit (say, by another Kryptonian like Zod), Superman needs to bask in the sun to heal. The closer he gets to the sun, the greater the healing effect.
Superman has been overcharged by the sun several times so it’s not difficult to suggest the healing effect on Superman’s cells would counteract any damage he could receive from the sun’s heat and other volatile effects. Superman is basically invulnerable anyway. Certainly nuclear bombs, magic, and Kryptonite do a number on him. Though the sun does generate a lot of nuclear energy, most of that is in the core of the star where all the fusion happens. On the surface, Superman would probably feel a bit sweaty, but overall would be empowered. Even the more recent era of Superman would probably be fine. During the DC One Million event Superman built a secret base in the center of the sun and spent so much time there that he literally turned gold. His powers have been reigned in from the preposterous Silver Age, but he is still a largely unstoppable force. In most eras, Superman could do backstrokes on the sun’s surface and survive unscathed.
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