The Artist Mage ~ Will Spears
I was recently reading a book titled “The Physics of Superheroes” by James Kakalios. I was dismayed to discover that there was no scientific basis for the wavelength differential between a red sun and a yellow sun imbuing anyone with special powers, which placed Superman in the realm of fantasy fiction rather than science fiction. Superman fan that I am, this disturbed me as I prefer to think of Superman as plausible.

So, my brain popped out a scientific reason why the yellow sun could provide superman with all his special powers.

It all takes place inside the Kryptonian cell, which we all know acts much like a battery absorbing energy. The belief is that the cell absorbs the energy from the yellow sun. In actuality, the cell is absorbing energy from its own internal biological microscopic gyroscope lurking inside the Kryptonian mitochondria (something which would live inside all Kryptonian organisms). This micro-gyroscope has a dual purpose of creating energy, and creating a small anti-gravitational force which helps Kryptonian organisms survive on a planet of such great mass.

Add yellow sun to the cell, and the cell wall emits a Kryptonian melanin-like enzyme, Catalyst-K, to protect the cell. This enzyme enervates every aspect of the cell, including the mitochondria, sending the gyroscope into overdrive. The resultant power increase and anti-gravitational force emitted by the cell grows exponentially creating a field around the cell that is virtually impenetrable, yet still conducts the energy between cells through the entirety of the entity at an accelerated rate, allowing for super-fast neural connections, super-health, among other features.

In an entity like Superman, the sheer number of cells generating anti-gravitational forces would make him impervious, capable of near infinite speeds, provide him extraordinary strength (which you might wonder, “is it really strength or did he generate a field that made something else lighter?”) Concentrated effects of gyroscopic energy could account for his ability to direct heat in beams out of his eyes. Gravimetric cushions could account for his ability to snatch people around at G-force velocities or take them from one pressure level to another without injuring them. He would be able to generate enough anti-gravitational power to alter space-time, fly into the sun and out, and withstand just about anything.  For all his imperviousness, Superman would probably have a warm cushiony feeling about him, making a flight with him on a cold night quite comfortably warm.

Clearly the Kryptonian cell is hypersensitive to light and radioactivity. Red sunlight, as we know, inhibits Superman's super-abilities, but doesn't turn them off entirely, an indication that his cells still contain a lot of energy, albeit the speed of the gyroscope has diminished to its basic Kryptonian state, greatly reducing his super-abilities.

The question is, what happens if Lex Luthor discovers this, and if he does and manages to somehow culture Catalyst-K which triggers the enervation of the gyroscope, what other things can that enzyme do? What threats would Superman have to face down should Lex get a hold of Catalyst-K?
[I updated this list 09/29/2011 bumping Dr. Strange to #11]

10. Batman - The brains.  The brawn.  The sheer level and commitment to the development and refinement of all skills a human is capable of attaining.

9.  Wolverine - Tenacity.  Fierceness.  Unrelenting will to survive.

8.  Green Lantern - Pure creativity in a bottle shaken and stirred with the best of intentions and a heart stronger than even he knows.

7.  Storm - Extraordinary beauty and the strength to tame and harness the powers of the elements.

6.  Rogue - Always distanced from people, yet stronger, more capable and more resilient than anyone can imagine.  When she connects with someone, it's intense and she has to live with them inside her for her entire life.  Of all superheroes, I feel I have the most in common with Rogue.  A cohesive fragmentation of self; separate yet amongst; distant but accessible.

5.  Lion-O - Lord of the Thundercats.  His determination, strength, and power and righteous refusal to be corrupted by evil.

4.  Buffy - The Slayer.  She alone.  It's about power.  Who has it.  Who doesn't.  A slayer forges strength from pain.  She's what nightmares have nightmares about.

3.  Spider-Man - With great power comes great responsibility.  These words have echoed through my life.  He is the flawed hero.  Always on time to save the day.  Always late for his own life.  Always trying to do the right thing.

2.  Thor - The god of thunder.  Strength incarnate.  The heroic son of God.  Lion of Heaven.  He who protects mankind.

1.  Superman - The icon of all that is superheroism.  He holds the ideals of superheroic behavior and never crosses the line.  He is a true hero.
I initially wrote this in a forum I've today re-purposed for my "saving animals" activities.  I liked my thought process, though, so I'm capturing the essay and reposting it here before it gets deleted from the forum.

As always, my mind wandered off down a random track yesterday and I was thinking about Superman and the Fortress of Solitude which in recent years has become grand central station for anyone who wanders north.

Lex Luther and General Zod have been in and out of that place like they have the deed.  And how many times has it been destroyed and defaced and made useless?

In fact, for being the last of his kind, Kal-El has to put up with a lot of Kryptonians.  How is a Superman to find peace in a Fortress of Solitude that provides anything but Solitude?

The answer is that he needs to move his fortress to someplace it won't be found.  Which means it can't be on Earth, because as long as the Fortress is on Earth, super-villains like Lex Luther will find ways of tracking Superman's alpha waves which will lead them straight to the fortress, even if he buried it deep in some desert in the middle of nowhere.

The best location for the Fortress of Solitude would be the sun.  Now, that might seem a bit drastic and ridiculously hot, but you have to consider that Kryptonians were supposed to be the most advanced society that ever existed.  Their technology allowed them to visit distant galaxies.  Surely that technology could be used to create a Fortress that orbited as a satellite near enough that it would be impossible for humans to reach and virtually impossible to detect.  And as far as Superman goes, we know he gets his strength from the yellow sun, so going to the Fortress near the sun would be a total energy infusion for him.

Of course, a Fortress near the sun during his Smallville flightless years would be uselessly too far away, but consider how in Superman II and Superman Returns, people just waltz right into his Fortress all come as they may, and is there any security?

You would think there would be some sort of anti-neural de-stimulater holding beam for humans or a kryptonite defense system if a non-El Kryptonian were detected.

It just seems to me that for all the planning Jor-El did, his security for the Fortress sucks.  And yes, I'm aware that in some of the comic books, Superman has a security force of androids in the Fortress.  But I've never seen a security force in any of the movies or television shows, and it just seems absurd that you could call something a fortress if anyone can just wander in and start playing with crystals and get all the answers they want about anything they ask and the advanced computer system from another world doesn't even bother to request an identity.

Just something to think about.