Superman is potentially a better detective than Batman

The following article contains spoilers for Nightwing #103, on sale now from DC Comics.

Jon Kent’s tutelage under Nightwing has now extended to developing more than just his combat abilities. “Night at the Circus: Part 3” from Nightwing #103 (by CS Pacat, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott) saw the young Superman have his detective skills tested by Nightwing. And, it reveals that should Jon, or even his father, properly use their powers for investigative work more often, they might actually become better detectives than the entire Batman Family.


Jon’s ability to detect when the average person is lying makes him the perfect hero to turn to when a mystery is afoot. However, he hardly ever finds himself in a position where such a skill is needed, and as such seldom puts it to use. However, it is worth examining that the Superman Family has been aware of this skill for quite some time, yet never seem to use it as often as they could. Perhaps there is hidden logic behind this that would explain why Jon doesn’t act as a living lie detector.

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Nightwing Tests Jon Kent’s Natural Detective Skills

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The story opened with Nightwing accusing one of the circus acrobats they saved of deliberately cutting her own rope, potentially endangering herself and her son. The woman reacted angrily to this and denied her involvement, to which Jon backed her up, citing that her heart rate and skin temperature did not match up with that of someone who was lying. It was then revealed that Nightwing never believed this woman was guilty, and that he wanted to test Jon’s truth-seeking abilities.

Later, Jon confirms that this isn’t a power he can turn off. Much like his super hearing, it is passively in effect at all times. Thus, it makes lying to him exceptionally hard for the average person, but also provides him with an edge when he needs to learn the truth quickly from those who are less than willing to speak. What’s odd here is that even though he confessed he is hardwired to suss out the truth, he doesn’t seem to apply it as much as he could.

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Jon Kent Could Replace Batman as DC’s Greatest Detective

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Nightwing admits to testing Superman's power.

Such a skill, in addition to his other abilities such as his x-ray and microscopic vision, could easily make him one of the greatest detectives ever. There would be no criminal who could hide evidence from him, and any witness or suspect who lies to him would be exposed, bringing him one step closer to the truth. His powers would make sure that no evidence will go undetected, and no one will need to spend countless hours researching the tiniest details for discrepancies in a person’s story. If the Bat-Family had these skills, they would solve all their cases in less than half the time it usually takes

It’s a mystery why Jon doesn’t use this power to its full potential. The simplest answer might be that he doesn’t really think about it. He is an inherently kind and honest person, and it’s doubtful his mind would immediately leap to the idea of ​​discerning whether the person in front of him is lying or not. Then again, it might very well be because of his nature that he avoids using this power. Jon values ​​the truth, but it is only at its purest when presented willingly. He also values ​​the privacy of others, so he likely would try to ignore this power unless it was absolutely necessary. While this is noble, it does limit his talent as a detective.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo