Superman, Omni-Man, and Goku are the greatest heroes in their respective universes, but as their generation grows older and the new generation grows up, it’s only normal that their children will try to take up the mantles of their fathers to become heroes in their own right. Jon Kent, Mark Grayson and Gohan are at different points in their superhero journeys, but they share one key trait that could possibly make them stronger than their predecessors if they manage to use it correctly: their half-alien half-human physiology.
All three next-generation heroes gained incredible powers because of their respective father’s full-blooded alien heritage. Jon is half-Kryptonian, Mark is half-Viltrumite, and Gohan is half-Saiyan. Both Jon and Mark share more or less the same powers: flight, super-strength, decelerated aging and invulnerability. Meanwhile, Gohan has all these powers and the ability to undergo the transformation to Super Saiyan, which makes him even stronger than he was originally.
However, contrary to what fans might think, their “weaker” human side of their genetics not only make them special among their peers, it could also make them stronger than others of their paternal heritage.
While Superman’s most well known trait is his nigh-invulnerability, kryptonite has always been his Achilles’ Heel, but Jon has shown that he doesn’t suffer the same effects as his father. When Jon was exposed to a beam of pure red kryptonite, it may have damaged him, but he was able to survive likely because his DNA isn’t a full Kryptonian. Batman has also commented to Superman that Jon would be stronger than the Last Son of Krypton because of his unique Kryptonian/human physiology.
Mark is the odd man out among the trio because Viltrumite genetics are dominant, meaning that, eventually, Mark’s DNA will be mostly composed of Viltrumite rather than the 50/50 split it was when he was born. It’s revealed later in the series that Viltrumite genetics have special compatibility with human genetics, which allows this process to happen. So, Mark’s Viltrumite/human physiology essentially makes him full Viltrumite, which eventually allows him to become the leader of his father’s people by the end of Invincible. Additionally, since he gained his powers, Mark constantly pushed himself to meet and defeat every challenge that stood in his way.
Paradoxically, Saiyan/human hybrids are born without an innate drive to fight and combat instincts, but possess naturally greater potential than their Saiyan parentage. Gohan showed this potential off by being the youngest person to achieve Super Saiyan 2. He is unique among hybrids because he seemingly contains endless potential within himself which, if unlocked, could surpass even the highest versions of Super Saiyan. The only thing that holds him back is that he dedicates his life to academia instead of fighting, or at least he did before being drawn back into combat in Dragon Ball Super and promising to achieve a brand new form that could rival Super Saiyan.
Alongside their human sides making them physically stronger, their human upbringings also made them more compassionate people. Omni-Man was sent to Earth to dominate the planet and make humans slaves to Viltrumites, but Mark’s human upbringing let him break free of his father’s totalitarian dreams and become the greatest leader his species would ever know. While Goku is stronger than his son because of his constant training, it led to him prioritizing fighting over everything else, even his family. Gohan knows that if he trained mercilessly like his father, he would be the strongest being on Earth but decided to prioritize raising a family and supporting his community in ways his father never has.
Jon Kent may be the best off of the three when it comes to his father’s human traits. While Superman has always been a compassionate hero, being raised by the world’s greatest superhero and the world’s greatest journalist taught Jon to value truth and justice above everything else. This arguably gave Jon more of a lived experience of humanity than his father, even if it may have been shorter. Jon also benefited from his father’s experiences growing up, understanding from watching his dad that violence is not always the answer (even with superpowers) and that saving the world means more than just being reactive to threats. For these next-gen heroes, their extreme powers aren’t the only thing that makes them great. It’s also their humanity.
The one clear advantage that Superman, Omni-Man and Goku have over their kids is that they have far more experience using their powers. For Jon and Mark, that means that they will eventually grow into their powers and learn to use them better than their fathers. For Gohan, who’s already an adult, it means that he needs to actually train to be better than Goku. Nevertheless, these next-generation heroes have shown time and time again that they could surpass their predecessors because of their unique hybrid physiology and their human upbringing. Clearly, the kids are more than alright.
from Ultimate Comic Blog