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I'm Superdude, I basically got all of Superman power only a 1000 times more powerful without the kryptonite weakness, problem is my powers only work at night, when the sun is out I'm a slightly below average human being (it doesn't matter if I'm indoors or there's clouds blocking the sun or anything like that, if it's daytime at the location I'm at I'm normal, if it's after sunset I'm superhuman).

Over the past few weeks I've turned centralpolis from a crime ridden cesspool to a pretty decent place, however I'm starting to worry as the criminals seems to be getting wise that I only operate at night and seeing a crime uptick during daytime to avoid my wrath.

What can I do to keep criminals in the dark (pardon the pun) about my daytime weakness?

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    $\begingroup$ If it's really an emergency, at "1000 times more powerful" than superman, you should be able to easily rotate the planet so that the location where the emergency is happening takes place at night. Since you wouldn't need to sleep, just extend your crime-fighting globally and follow local midnight. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Oct 20, 2022 at 9:14
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    $\begingroup$ Do Eclipses count? $\endgroup$
    – hszmv
    Oct 20, 2022 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ It seems like you're asking about the decisions of a character in a world you've already built. Such a question is more of a writing question than a worldbuilding one and is considered inappropriate for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 20, 2022 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Find another superhero whose superpower only works in the morning $\endgroup$
    – Faito Dayo
    Oct 20, 2022 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ Forget little crimes. Base yourself in the poles such that it's always night. From there, fly down and focus on global problems like natural disasters. If it happens during the day in some place, you'll still be able to help a lot during the aftermath, clearing floods, evacuating hospitals, etc. $\endgroup$
    – kojiro
    Oct 21, 2022 at 0:19

11 Answers 11

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Don't worry about it

The cops effectively have twice the budget and the criminals don't have the cover of darkness.

If you must

Take your efforts to Europe or Asia and reduce crime everywhere by 2/3 instead of having no crime in your town and ghastly rapes and murders everywhere else.

Maybe claim there's a supergenius coordinating the cops during the day. With almost double the resources being applied, it'll seem plausible for a while.

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    $\begingroup$ If you are "1000 times more powerful" than superman, presumably that includes intelligence too. Just fly around the world so that you remain in permanent night and coordinate the police forces by phone using your super intelligence yourself $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Oct 20, 2022 at 9:19
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    $\begingroup$ The police doesn't even have to actively do anything. They can just write down the names and you get them the next night. Deterrence should reduce the crime rate to basically zero in a short time. $\endgroup$
    – Matthias
    Oct 20, 2022 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthias Good point. Even during the day the police can dial back enforcement in favour of information gathering. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Oct 20, 2022 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ You wouldn't get twice the budget, you'd get budget cuts. $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2022 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @DennisWilliamson You don't get how police budgeting works. "More crime? Need more cops. Less crime? Cops doing a great job, need to fund them more!" $\endgroup$
    – Yakk
    Oct 21, 2022 at 14:10
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Put on a show

Other answers so far are addressing the problem of daytime crime fighting, but not how "to keep criminals in the dark" - which is related, but a different question.

The protagonist would have a profound weakness during the day, which criminals, if they find out, will try very hard to exploit.

So what a superhero can do? Create a big daytime show! For example he can stage a big hostage situation, or weapons of mass destruction situation and then pretend to single-handedly resolve it. It will require some resources and some people knowing that this is just a show - but those people don't need to know why this show is set up.

If such shows are performed with at least minimal regularity, no one would suspect of this exact weakness. People might think what they want about superhero's sleep habits, but suspecting daytime loss of powers would be too much of a conclusion.

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    $\begingroup$ As an added benefit to this plan, in order to "Keep up the secret identity" approach, I was going to suggest a "Weekend at Bernie's" situation; that is, use a body double, or a mannequin, to pretend to be their Super-Self. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2022 at 7:53
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Criminals do perform crimes during the day. That's your hero's weakness. However, "crime" isn't something that gets turned on or off. If you are running a bank heist, for instance, whether you steal the money during the day or the night doesn't change the fact that you stole the money. Someone is going to come after it, and you can't just ask them nicely to only attack your Evil Lair when it's light out and you have the advantage.

Your goal as a superhero then are twofold:

  1. Make it very clear that anyone who commits any crime will not be safe in your city, and you're coming for them in the dark
  2. Make things right when you can - go get the money back, save the kidnapped victim etc.

This makes for a very interesting dynamic with the populace. For one thing, anyone who gets saved at night loves you, and anyone who gets their stolen stuff/kidnapped princess back regardless of when it has been re-obtained is ecstatic! But people get mugged during the day, banks get robbed at high noon, and where were you? Are you lazy or something?

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  • $\begingroup$ Those could be his goals if he wanted to have a very short run as a superhero. If the criminals figure out that he only has powers at night, they will very quickly come after him in the day with laser sharks and after that they won't have to worry night or day. Concealing the nature of his weakness is essential to being able to not only use the powers to fight crime but to live in general. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2022 at 13:10
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Take your cues from more than just one hero... you may have powers like Superman but that doesn't mean you have to fight like him. Consider that one of the quickest ways to hurt superman is to shoot him with a Kryptonite bullet, since Superman's gut instinct is to put himself between the bullet and objects in the bullet's path... and while he's faster than a speeding bullet, the mistake is one he makes in a split second and can prove fatal (I've seen numerous comics where he got shot by Kryptonite because he tries to stop the bullet and doesn't realize it's not a common bullet).

Instead, you have a perfect powerset to fight like Batman, who believes that all criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Notice when he's in a fight, he tries to dodge and look for openings. Alot of his flourishes are meant to scare the criminals... not force a surrender... and he picks them off one by one, targeting the most vulerable.

The difference between the two is frequently explored and there is at least one comic book storyline where Batman and Superman swap powers (or rather, Batman temporarily gets Superman Powers and Superman is depowered) and this only serves to make Batman scarier. And yes, he does use flight and superspeed to out run the sunrise. The storyline starts with Batman and Superman patrolling each others home towns and both opining why they hate working in Metropolis and Gotham respectively (Superman finds it difficult because Gotham still has a lot of infrastructure that was made when lead paint was a thing, and the lack of intel about threats is frustrating. Batman hates Metropolis because the city is more modern and better light, making it hard for him to use stealth tactics he relies on. The reason for the switch is Bruce Wayne has business in Metropolis and Superman always offers to keep an eye on Gotham when this situation occurs, knowing the Bruce's primary concern is Gotham and that he could easily cover both cities.).

In another story, Superman does deal with it. While he is Superman, he's still just a man... singular... one. In one comic storyline, an elderly woman going home from a community meeting at her church finds herself in in the path of a car driven by a drunk driver. In what she fears is the last moment of her life, she prays to God for a Miracle and Superman swoops in and puts himself between her and the car. Pretty typical for him, but shocking to the woman... who comes to believe Superman was sent by God to Save her. With this idea in her head, she decides to do something with this "gift from God." Since she lives in a poor and crime ridden part of Metropolis' inner city and has watched the neighborhood get progressively worse as she's grown older, so she starts looking for the local gang members and confronting her... and just as soon as they are about to do something to harm her, she prays and in swoops Superman. This goes on for sometime and Superman does see the problem of her putting herself in danger like this is reckless, but he's in a catch-22... his job is to save people and he's not doing that if he ignores her and she is at the very least, stopping crime.

After some time of doing this, the old lady goes to her community meetings at the church and when the subject of crime in the neighborhood comes up, she tells the neighbors about what she's been doing and rallies them and leads them to the hangout of the leader of the local gang and gives him a verbal what-for. The thug naturally reacts by pulling out a weapon, at which point we cut to a black panel, with only the word BANG! written over it... and then it trails to a scene of Superman, locked in combat with a supervillain in the Antarctic implying that he heard the whole thing, but couldn't do anything to help because he's currently dealing with a crisis that could destroy the world.

But it's not the end of the story. Turns out that the gang leader shot her... but she wasn't fatally wounded. And because she rallied the people at the neighborhood community meeting to join her, she was able to get immediate medical attention. Superman visits her in the hospital a few days later to apologize for not being there and explain the reason why, but she isn't having it. She thanks him because not only did she finally realize how dangerous what she was doing was and that she was being selfish in trying to monopolize Superman's time. She goes on to explain that because the crime was so brazen, the people who followed her all gave statements to the police, which lead to the gang leader's arrest... which scared his flunkies away... and they didn't stop there, as the community started demanding better policing from Metropolis PD because no matter how good at stopping crime Superman, he was only one guy. And the only reason Superman was there was because someone from the neigborhood was making all their problems known to him. They realized that they could do that and while MPD isn't staffed with superheroes... there are still more cops than there are Supermen... And after that, they started trying to better their community themselves (it's revealed that the old woman can see from her hospital window some of her community members working on building a playground across the street from her hospital.).

While it's been a while since I read the story so dialog escapes me, the story was written to explain how Superman works through this very problem... yes, he can help, and does whenever he can, but what he does better than most heroes is inspire. What makes him a hero is not his powers... but the fact that he doesn't use them to his own benefit but for those of others. Superman is not the strongest person in the DC Universe. He's had his ass handed to him... but his concern is for the safety and well being of his fellow man, not his own. And that isn't a Super Power... when he does his job correctly... he reminds others of that fact.

It's the difference between Superman and Batman. Batman fights crime because crime has hurt him personally. Superman fights crime because he helps others and crime hurts others.

EDIT: As a writer, this is something you should have the character address... How does he keep this problem from getting back to his enemies... does he take criticism when he can't save people from an afternoon fire in the middle of the summer? What does he do if he's close to dawn and at cruising altitude? Or his archenemy finds him 20 minutes before sunset.

If you want a good series to explore the limitation considerations of Nocturnal Only Heroes, I highly recommend seasons 1 and 2 of Gargoyles on Disney+ (Season 3 is not canon). It's not the same powers or problems, but the heroes do become more vulnerable during the day. One of the canon comics even shows that this can be messed with by jet lag.

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Easy, barely an inconvenience!

First thing you got to do is change your mindset about crime. The US puts people in jail/prison at 5 times the rate of other western countries, and more than any other country in the world. Does the US seem like the most crime ridden place in the world? It doesn't look like it to me, personally I'd rank safety in US equal to Europe. Therefore you can easily eliminate 80% of criminals by changing the laws to simply criminalize less actions. This assumes that your superhero mindset is not strictly lawful, but just remember that it would have been illegal to shelter Jews under the Nazi regime, and illegal to free black slaves under the confederacy's laws. And for recent examples, it's illegal to call for peace in Russia, and illegal to uncover your head as a woman in Iran. So going against the law does sometimes seem like the superhero thing to do, just build on that!

Now, you're going to use your superhero powers almost exclusively to become the political leader of the world. You can probably use some force to achieve it since you're doing it for the greater good of course. If you can't be stopped by any military then you pretty much get free reign wherever you choose. Just always fly around the Earth everyday so you stay in permanent darkness or you can vacation on the north and south poles when you're tired.

You're a good guy/gal underneath (hopefully) and you're also insanely smart because Superman was pretty smart and you're 1000x him. So now comes the hard part, you have to eliminate poverty, inequality and corruption. Since there is a significant correlation between poverty and violent crime rates. that will be the most effective method at eliminating recurring crime, otherwise you boop one criminal and another takes his place. You fix poverty by whatever political schemes you come up with as the leader and smartest being of every country in the world.

If you also want to use your physical powers you can probably help build huge infrastructure projects much faster, as well as basically move every ship around the world during your night time over the oceans. And while you have a rest stop you can lift humongous trains full of boulders up mountains to cover energy generation for the day.

For the petty jealousy crime that will still hang around and can happen at pretty much any moment of the day, well just make sure every country has a well equipped mental health policy and a competent de-escalating police force just in case.

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Put them in Jail

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During the night, you fly around and pick up the criminals. Put them in jail. Maybe it is a civilian jail. Maybe it is a special jail you built yourself. Maybe it is the top of a mountain or very large hole.

Leave the baddies in jail during the day, so they cannot do crime when you are weak.

When night falls, let the prisoners out again. Give them a five minute head start and then chase them around some more!

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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of a joke I heard as a kid. "A boy is in the Post Office and sees the wanted posters on the wall. 'Are these actual pictures you guys took of the criminals?' he asks. "Yes" is the reply. 'Then why did you let them go?' $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 20, 2022 at 22:03
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Although in the short term you could just move yourself around the planet so that you are always working somewhere that is past sunset, eventually there would likely be a worldwide phenomenon of increased daytime crimes and your weakness would eventually be exposed.

Aside from the average crimes that occur regularly, eventually someone with enough will will exploit your weakness more formally. Your best long term bet may be to be to keep the illusion if possible - or actually assure your influence remains during the day. Since there is already an inkling of this weakness, you should "reset" and develop a new persona or strategy.

Given that you are 1000 times more powerful than Superman, you are yourself a virtually boundless source of energy that could be harnessed like the ultimate solar battery.

Your superhero persona could disappear from the public view (no one knows why) and work with trusted experts to enable trusted people or even robots to appear to have superpowers that are actually just using the virtually limitless solar batteries you generate each night. When absolutely needed for the rare emergency, you could disguise yourself as such a robot or battery-powered hero and take action. You would appear to be just another of this strange superhero army.

Or, more simply, you yourself could use such a battery during the day.

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Build a networked system of sound receivers throughout the city.

You have superman's abilities, so you probably have his senses. Build a system of receivers which beam the sounds to your current location at a night. With practice and time you should be able to pinpoint crimes from them, and direct police and local authorities towards crimes even at day by just flying to the other side of the planet.

Set up satellites to spy on the city and earn money

You can fly, so you can fly satellites to space pretty easily. Set up a bunch with powerful cameras. You can use your super senses to spy through their cameras and super speed to spot problems. You can also earn a lot of money to spend improving the city.

Set up a bunch of vigilantes to handle stuff during the day.

Use your money to get a bunch of people in your costume to help out and serve the city. They can be out in public solving minor crimes and helping out the community. Sometimes you can go out among them and do impressive deeds, and you can arrange to fake impressive deeds during the day by some of them.

This should ensure criminals are never sure if you're around. With your spying powers you can drop the hammer of god on anyone who does a crime.

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Judge, Jury, Executioner

Controversial 'antihero' alternative: With few or no police at night time, if an 'anonymous vigilante' or even a 'new mysterious criminal' happens to execute anyone who commits any daytime crime later that night, who could prove who's doing it? With 1000x superman powers, he could enter prisons and slay every inmate so fast that it would look like they just dropped dead.

Criminal morale is hardly going to improve when all their friends are getting killed without a trace at night and every stint in prison is a death sentence. Knowing any gossip about what you did is going to result in you keeling over within hours will surely lead to criminals leaving or reforming. They don't even know if it's law enforcement or another criminal doing it. And, the repeat criminals are all dead, gangs are gone.

The known superhero figure can even lead a double life and continue to do things the law abiding way; it's just that the 'other guy' (himself, unknown to everyone) kills them after sentencing,as well as their colleagues.

Obey the speed limit, kids; speeding has never been riskier. Same for drugs. Got it?

People will say that's fascist, but those people will probably jaywalk or park their car illegally at some point.

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Team Up

Being a super hero is much like being a musician. At some point in your career you will be working with a band.

It doesn't matter that Gloom Knight can only fight crime during the night. Purple Flashlight, Übermensch, Marvelous Woman and The Blur are there to cover up for you during the day.

Time based cruelty

If they commit crimes during the night, criminals get arrested, but that's it.

If they commit crimes during the day, you catch them by night and serve them with justice with a side of their own gonads on a plate, scrambled. Or other bodily parts. Or kill their dog.

After some time criminals will get the message.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Or kill their dog." yeah Turbo 1000x Superman? this guy right here. ..... yeah I can wait until sunset. $\endgroup$
    – IT Alex
    Oct 26, 2022 at 13:57
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Smash the cameras. Eliminate witnesses. If you are going to confront a criminal, make sure you finish the job. If no one sees, then no one knows you even exist. Be a ghost. Be the shadow vigilante that is a legend, but that there is no evidence for.

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