These were a little more complicated. The main thing was all his classic powers were gone. No more heat vision, X-ray vision, Super-hearing or invulnerability!
It all began in Superman #122 when he blew up a toaster, passed his hand through a coffee pot, and most alarmingly, accidentally hurt an innocent bystander when bullets passed right through him. Another side-effect was that electrical goods went *K-Phut* when he was near them. These problems were soon cleared up thanks to the containment suit.
Things really heated up in The Adventures of Superman #545, when everything went wrong! His whole body started to pass through things, he lost his flight power and his vision powers completely changed. He began to pass through things because he had been knocked out of phase with our reality. In Superman Annual #9, we are told that as Superman Blue he was 100% energy, and was slightly out of phase with the normal reality plane.
By concentrating hard, Superman could solidify himself back to a human state reverting back to Clark Kent (and into the normal reality plane), but then he had NO powers at all. At first when changing back into Clark Kent he had no clothes on, but that wasn't a problem after a while. Although where his clothes went during his phase into Superman was unknown.
Okay! So, what could he do?
Before anything else, it should be noted that the following information was given in the JLA Secret Files #1 "Who's Who" page on Superman:
Superman: The Man of Tomorrow
Containment suit stores energy, which is transformed into other powers.
Teleportation, Intangibility, Super-Vision and the Creation of Electromagnetic Fields.
I tried to organise Superman's energy powers and abilities under specific sub-headings based on what we learned from the comics. Any names that DC gave these new powers has been used. Any that we at the Superman Homepage made up are marked with an asterisk (*).
Teleportation - (*Zapping/Flying*)
At first, Superman, lost his ability to fly. Instead he was able to 'Zap' from place to place. The first time Superman did this was in Action Comics #732, when he traveled to a research station in Antarctica, and then back to Metropolis again. This appeared to be some kind of teleportation. However, he needed to concentrate to be able to get the location for his landing right.
In The Adventures of Superman #546, he used this power to travel down a telephone line and into his and Lois' apartment.Superman also created a Sonic Boom when he zapped from one place to another.
At first there seemed to be some confusion between the writers at DC Comics as to whether or not Superman could indeed fly!! In Action #733, when Superman met with The Ray, it was said that Superman, at first, could only Zap from one place to another, but then he could either Zap or Fly because he was more experienced, had more control over his energy powers. He was able to fly "reeeeeally, really fast" as The Ray said. The words 'faster than light' were used. BUT!! In MOS #69, when Superman was taken over by Tolos (on page 21) he said, "Ah! The Rocket Belt! Just what I need! This body can't fly now... it bolts from place to place..." and then used the Rocket Belt to fly away.
Whether it was just an artistic thing or not, we saw Superman both in flight and also as a lightning bolt. So I am surmising that Superman could both fly and zap as he pleased.
(Note: As an energy being, Superman no longer had his X-Ray, Telescopic, or any of his other classic vision powers.)
He had the ability to see radiation, wavelengths and spectra, all of which he could not see before. In Superman Annual #9 we read that Superman used his vision powers to trace an infra-red trail left by a car.
In MOS #68 Superman shot beams of energy from his eyes at a villain (Scareware), but Scareware appeared to teleport away from the scene before we were able to see just what these beams of energy could do.
Although in Action Comics #734, Superman shot "Vision Bolts" of energy from his eyes, melting his opponents' guns.
This first manifested itself in Action Comics #732 when Superman tried to stop a lorry. A beam of energy, which appeared to be magnetic in nature, shot from his out stretched hand and 'grabbed' the vehicle.
In Man of Steel #67 when Clark tried to shave, using his trusty heat vision, he sent himself bouncing around his apartment, leaving all metal objects clinging to the walls. It appeared that Superman could manipulate his electrons to form any power he could think of, just like a Green Lantern Power Ring. Also in MOS #67, Superman used his *Power Punch* for the first time. Using his experience from Action #732, he manipulated the electrons around his fist to produce another 'fist' which he could use to hit out with.
In Action #733, following advice from The Ray, Superman manipulated his electrons further to create two new powers. The first of these was a Tractor Beam, which he used to pull Metallo towards him. The second was a pulse that increased Metallo's mass by affecting the gravitational field around Metallo so that the villain's body would sink into the ground.
Another similar power was used in Action Comics #734 when Superman created a "Repulsing Energy" field to act as a battering ram.
He could also "Morph" or change his appearance by manipulating the electrons of his containment suit and energy. As seen in Action Comics #733, while Superman was getting advice from The Ray, he appeared to make his containment suit morph into a blue and white version of The Ray's costume.
Again in Action Comics #734, Superman changed his appearance to look like a "Peace Keeper" within Kandor, this time also changing the colour of his appearance to match the soldier's uniform.
Along the same lines as his "Morphing" ability, Superman was able to make himself Intangible (transparent/invisible) as seen in MOS #74 when he tried to save Lois without being seen by Rajiv (her kidnapper who suspected that Clark is Superman).
In MOS #69, Superman used his new powers to weld shut a metal door. This may have been a similar power to that which he beamed out of his eyes (as mentioned under Vision Powers).
In Action #735, Superman generated a Kinetic Vortex around Scorn (Ceritak) who was suffocating within a cloud of smoke, by rotating it like a tornado, he managed to pull the clinging cloud away.
Another version of this power was shown in Superman #127, page 17, where Superman used his containment field to draw water from the ocean onto a nearby burning warehouse.
MOS #71 gave Superman his first attempt at using his Electromagnetic power. When confronted with the task of stopping two trains heading for a front-on collision, Superman landed in between them, out-stretched his arms, polarising each with a positive magnetic field, causing them to repel each other, stopping them from colliding.
Solid Energy Field
Basically a part of his Electron Manipulation powers was Superman's Solid Energy Field. In MOS #68, Superman manipulated his "Solid Energy Field" to smother fires. With the ability to expand his body size, Superman was able to encase a whole burning building and together with his Solid Energy Field managed to put out the flames. Superman also used another variation of his Electron Manipulation power, creating a solid energy wall to protect people from fire as they waited on the roof of an apartment block. Then when the roof collapsed, Superman fell with the people and appeared to move the shield under the people to catch them. Superman was (as noted above) Intangible, unless he surrounded himself in a Solid Energy field. It appears this Solid Energy Field was what enabled Superman to hold and grab solid objects and also what enabled others to grab or hold Superman (see Unanswered Questions section below). Being able to phase between having the Solid Energy Field on or off was in itself a powerful weapon against an opponent who couldn't tell if Superman was intangible or not.
Another facit of his Electron Manipulation powers, this power was first tried out by Superman in MOS #73, when he was attempting to protect Lex Luthor from Apokolips Parademons, and came up with the idea of magnetising the metal worn by his opponents, causing them to crash together in a useless pile.
In Action #732, a frustrated Superman slammed his fist onto a police computer. His hand passed into the monitor and he began to access the data on the disk drive and network.
Again in Superman #129, we were told that Superman tapped into a school's alarm system to determine exactly where a fire had broken out within the complex.
In Action #732, Superman drew radiation from some illegal nuclear waste directly into his body cleaning the waste of radiation. In MOS #67, Superman accidentally drew energy off of the whole city of Metropolis, causing everything to short out.
In Superman #123 Superman drew power from a neon sign and then used it to attack Ceritak. By doing this, Superman, was able to travel faster than light (at least that's what it said).
In MOS #68, the ability to expand his body mass, enabled Superman to absorb the energy from a number of flying rockets (rendering them useless) and also the massive amounts of radiation from within Metallo's Aircraft Carrier Nuclear engine power supply. With the absorption of so much radiation, Superman was in extreme pain. It was never known just how much energy/radiation Superman of Energy could absorb, although we knew that he had his limits.
Further to Superman's Energy Absorption ability was his ability to turn any energy he absorbed into energy he could then use for other purposes. For example he was able to absorb the momentum of moving object that passed through him, thereby slowing down the object/person (as seen in AOS #547) and converting that absorbed energy for his own use (as seen in JLA Secret Files #1, page 35).
Or as seen in Action #739, he absorbed the heat energy from a burning building and converted it into a "dynamic energy web" which he used to hold the structure together. Similarly, (in JLA #12, page 8) Superman was able to absorb the entire energy output from an explosion he was in, except for the light it emitted, thereby saving himself and the Martian Manhunter, but fooling his enemies who thought him destroyed in the explosion.
In MOS #67, Superman split his energy up and 'zapped' around Metropolis in many places at once, collecting information as to what was happening EVERYWHERE in the city.
As seen in Action Comics #733, when injured as Clark, Superman could change back into his energy form and concentrate to "pull himself together". We saw him actually heal a broken arm, cuts and bruises this way. His first impression was that "Energy doesn't bleed" but in his panic, his injuries just converted themselves to his energy form by "spurting" out energy in the same places as his injuries. It was Lois who convinced him he needed to calm down and concentrate on re-forming himself. A similar result also was possible in reverse. When Superman's energy form was disrupted too greatly to reform himself, a change back into his Clark Kent form made him whole again, although he seemed to need time to recuperate to reform as Superman (as seen in Superman Annual #9).
The strangest of Superman's new powers was discovered in the beginning of the Genesis event in MOS #72. Probably caused by the "God Wave" that changed most Super-hero's powers across the DC Universe, this Dimensional Teleportation was the opening up of windows to other dimensions. Discovered and utilised by Override of the Mainframe gang, he captured and contained Superman, then brought objects from other dimensions within close proximity of Superman which would open a window into the object's dimension of origin. At first unable to control the opening and closing of these windows, Superman soon, with intense effort, managed to gain control of the ability to open and close these portals, trapping the Mainframe gang in another dimension. In a quiet moment with Lois, Clark wondered if the ability, which he no longer seems to have after the above mentioned event, was brought on by Override's machinery. Lois didn't think so, eluding to the chaos happening all over the world with other metahumans (i.e. Genesis).
Kryptonite no longer seemed to affect Superman in his energy form. It was presumed this was because his DNA has changed completely (Superman #126).
It appeared that Magic (one of Superman's classic weaknesses) still held power over him in his new form. In AOS Annual #9, Superman found he was unable to absorb the punches or impacts he received while fighting a mythological being, and when he grabbed hold of a pendant hanging around the creature's neck he received a mighty shock. Superman himself pondered that the feeling "had magic written all over it!"
And again in Action Annual #9, (page 16) in a conversation with Lois, after dealing with a villain called Brother Serenity, Clark explained just how helpless he felt.
Also of note is the fact that Superman did not lose his powers when subjected to sunlight of a red sun (as seen in JLA/WildCATS). Therefore it was presumed that Earth's yellow sun was no longer the source of Superman's powers.
The following circumstances showed what Superman's weaknesses were in his energy form:
Excess Radiation Intake
Superman (and his containment suit) had a limit to how much radiation and energy he could absorb. Absorbing too much caused him pain and probably could have killed him (as seen in MOS #67).
Shock Pods acting like Tasers were seen to paralyse Superman in Action Comics #734, basically rendering him powerless.
An Energy Control being (an inhabitant of Kandor) was able to capture and contain Superman in Action Comics #734 using its ability to control all forms of energy it came in contact with.
Disrupter Cannon or similar technology caused Superman's energy form to disperse, which made it very hard for him to reform himself, and therefore he needed to revert to being Clark Kent to carry on. (as seen in Superman Annual #9)
Excessive use of powers
In AOS #549 Superman was seen to be "winded" after flying an elevator full of people out of his burning apartment building using his magnetic grip. He even admitted as much to Jimmy Olsen (pg 14).Although this also could have been attributed to the fact that flight reduced the effect of Superman's magnetic grip (as seen in Action #738, pages 15 & 16). He had more control when he was standing on solid ground.