I always wondered what the bullet proof part of Superman was. A nerdy curiosity, perhaps, but it burned in me like one of those rashes you've got to bring up to your doctor. Did he exude a chemical that mixed with his sweat? Was it his muscles? Did they have some extra molecular structures from his alien DNA? In the end the answer was far simpler than I thought.
It was his skin.
In a world of superheroes, the strange becomes the norm. People can fly, they can shoot lasers from their eyes, they can even deflect bullets off their chests. There are plenty of scientists, smarter men and women than I, who have dedicated their lives to what makes them... unique. The ins and outs of what in their bodies makes them... super. I have other dedications, other passions, but I can't deny that I did have a certain drive to have some questions answered.
It doesn't take long to figure out weaknesses. Physical ones, mind you. Emotional weaknesses, pfft, watch any movie. Nine times out of ten they're as simple as the writers make them, little bit of parental issues, some teenage trauma, or the villain was their dad or something.
No no, physical weakness, that's my ballpark. Having trouble with a speedster? Grease the floor, tie a thin rope 3 inches from the ground, just gotta get a little creative. Strongman messing up your plans? Which one? I could tell you which one has a trick knee, which one if afraid of heights, and which one will take you down for the cameras, then let you go in a back alley for a cut of what you stole. But for a long time there was one I couldn't answer. What do you do about a bullet proof man?
I tried so many different things. Maybe the answer was heat, get him with a flamethrower. No? Well, maybe it's about intense amounts of energy, shoot him with a high powered laser. No? Well, well, well... It kept me up at night. Until finally I had to take science into my own hands.
When you work for criminals, you make a lot of contacts, and when you're in my line of work, R&D, you get a lot of pull. Lots of favors you can call in. And boy did I call em in. Cashed in a lot of chips until I got what I really needed to crack the code. A test subject. Now I won't get too gruesome here and say there was torture or anything nasty like that. Sometimes, people will volunteer for these kinds of things. Sounds crazy I know, but hey, even superheroes need money.
So I out this guy through every test I can think of, I'm talking the sharpest medical equipment known to man, chemical fires, all kinds of stuff to get through this guy's skin. Nothing. Nada. Some mild irritation once or twice, not so much as a scratch, not even a drop of blood. It was maddening.
I won't say I accepted defeat gracefully. Now, I did come up with a multitude of ways to incapacitate a 'Man of Steel'. Plenty. Drop something heavy on them. Skin might be invulnerable, but their bones ain't. A little force, they snap just as easy as anyone else. Maybe worse. You ever try to fix a broken femur when you can't get at the bone? There was other stuff, eh, noxious gases always seemed to do the trick, I never recommended it but drowning was possible, and uh you could do some real damage if you could mess with pressure. Bit above my pay grade as far as gadgets go, but I do dabble from time to time.
But all of it seemed so... extra. They weren't so much solutions to the problem just ways around them. You had to pack so much extra gear if you thought a bullet proof person was going to show up, it just weighed you down. You couldn't just keep a few things in a bag and see what happened. Every heist, every robbery had to be so planned out. I guess that made criminals a little smarter sure, but it took some of the fun away.
And all of that to say, I never did quite figure out a solution to the Superman problem. Still keeps me up some nights, new ideas that I'll jot down only to cross out in the morning. Some villains can make a masterplan that has world leaders scared and superheroes racing against the clock to figure out how to survive and save everyone. But sometimes, they can't figure out the problem right in front of them.