1. Biographical Details
  2. Description
  3. History
  4. Psychological Profile
  5. Skills and Abilities
  6. Limitations

Biographical Details

Full Name
John Miller.
Washington, DC; 22 October 1949.
Parents and brother, deceased.
Former research physicist.
Founder member of the Defense League of America.


Caucasian male; Height 5'11" (180cm); Weight 190lbs (86kg); hair originally blonde, currently glowing blonde; eyes originally blue, currently glowing yellow; glowing yellow skin.

Supernova constantly emits a bright, sun-like glow, with the intensity of a powerful floodlight, bright enough that it hurts the eyes to stare at him. If he concentrates, this glow can be dampened down to a lower level but not stopped completely. It also drops to a lower level after a great expenditure of energy. When flying, he leaves a glowing light trail that can be seen from miles away.


John Miller came from a good background, the son of a presidential advisor. He was an intelligent child and received excellent schooling. In 1969 he graduated from MIT with a degree in physics and astrophysics at only 20 years of age. Over the next few years, he secured a post at the California Institute of Technology while he worked on his doctorate in high energy physics. He added experience in particle physics, cosmology and engineering to his resume and in 1975 began work with NASA on several prestigious projects involving plans for orbital reactors and beamed power systems. While he was based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, in 1977, he met the young researcher Beverly Mitchell. She became his close assistant and confidant on several special projects and the two soon began a romantic relationship.

In 1978 Miller and Mitchell, after collaborating on several papers, submitted a radical new proposal for solar power to the government. For several months they were unable to secure funding from the government or private sources. They continued to work on the project however, convincing the government in early 1980 that it was viable. With full funding secured, they assembled a team of the best physicists and technicians to work on the project. The initial work took more than two years, culminating in the launch of a large, two-part satellite in late 1982. By this time, Miller and Mitchell were engaged and planning to marry on the completion of their work.

The team moved to a specially constructed facility on a small Pacific island for the final portion of the project, where they constructed large receptors and test rigs. This stage of the work took more months, and in 1983 Miller was ready for the first full-scale test. After several failures in their initial test rigs, resulting in drastic changes in Miller's theories and calculations, Miller's fellow workers urged more caution and wished to postpone the full test. Miller agreed with their arguments but Mitchell was influenced by Washington bureaucrats pushing for some return on their money. Finally, at Mitchell's urging, Miller gave the go-ahead for the full-scale test.

This was to be one of the most influential single decisions of the 20th century. As the massive satellite was brought into alignment, millions of joules of focused stellar energy poured into the receptors and amplifiers in a beam concentrated far beyond any predictions of Miller's models. Virtually the entire island vanished in a conflagration. Energies more powerful than a fusion bomb were seen flaring from as much as five hundred miles away on the Hawaiian islands. The display lasted several seconds before the orbiting satellite consumed itself in a blaze of energy. On the island, eleven people in Miller's team died instantly. For reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, two survived.

Miller and Mitchell were in the very centre of the energy flux, in the primary control room below the main receptor. Faster than they could react, pure, focused solar energy burned through metres of steel and concrete and struck them. But it failed to reduce them to random atoms; instead it filled their bodies, affecting energy levels on a subatomic scale and producing two beings of unimagined power. Their reconstructed bodies were no longer human, possessing vast strength and powers greater than any mortal had ever achieved before.

With no apparent lapse of time, the pair found themselves in the midst of an unnatural stillness in a scene of molten rock and metal. Numbed with shock, they slowly pieced together what had occurred. Mitchell took the lead in testing their new powers, glorying in the use of abilities that left Miller scared to death. Of the two, only he took any long-term view of their new states. After testing their flying abilities, they came to rest on a remote mountain in South America, where they witnessed a rock slide threatening a small village. Miller flew to help, using his powers to save the village. Terrified villagers hailed him as a god. When Mitchell joined him, she laughed at his caring for "mortals" such as these. With a casual gesture, she killed several of the bolder natives who came too close to her. Miller was horrified and they began the first of the many physical conflicts they were to have over the next few years. The fight ranged over a huge area as each tried to convince the other that their moral standpoint was the right one to take. Eventually, Mitchell fled, vowing that one day Miller would rule the Earth by her side. Miller let her go, too emotionally confused to know what to do.

Much later, Miller returned to the same mountain top to think. While there, he first encountered the Aztec Warrior, another evil being whose powers were on a par with Miller's. They fought, with the Warrior defeating Miller. Learning the Warrior's plan to attack and destroy the American government in Washington DC, Miller resolved to find a way to stop him. This lead directly to his contacting the only other superheroes known to be operating at that time, the Green Knight and the Defender. Working together, the three foiled the Aztec Warrior's plans. On that day, the three banded together as the Defense League of America. It was the Defender who first used the name "Supernova", a name that has stuck with Miller ever since.

Miller allowed the world to think he was dead, dropping his civilian identity entirely and operating only under the name Supernova. Apart from brief breaks, Supernova served with the DLA throughout the rest of the 1980s. He faced many perils alongside his team mates, but his greatest nemesis has always been the one the public know the least about: Beverly Mitchell, operating under the alias Solaris. They fought and argued on many occasions. Supernova always retained some feelings for her and constantly tried to turn her away from her evil ideals. He never succeeded. Solaris, for her part, had no more love for Supernova. In 1985, she deliberately killed his parents and brother before his eyes, taunting him, after revealing to them for the first time that their son was Supernova, not dead but no longer human.

Supernova has tried several times to strip himself of his powers, never permanently succeeding. Once, he modified his powers so they would no longer be a menace to society, but his full powers were once more liberated when Solaris attacked him. On another occasion he appeared to have stripped himself of power totally, only to re-induce it at the Defender's urging when it became obvious he was dying without the power within him.

In late 1988, the Defense League disbanded for a lengthy period. Supernova, more than ever believing his powers to be a menace to humanity, left Earth for the depths of space. Pushing his powers beyond what he had thought was their limits, he achieved faster-than-light speeds and visited several other nearby solar systems. During a lengthy series of adventures, he fought alongside and against some of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, including Galaxia and members of the Star Guard of Bolusca. This experience influenced him a great deal, showing him his powers with a new sense of perspective.

Supernova returned to Earth briefly during the Krai invasion. He fought and defeated Solaris, taking her off into space. It was his stated intention to use the vastness and wonders of space in an attempt to reach the humanity he was still convinced existed within her.

During one of the Defense League's many battles against the time-travelling villain known as the Time Bandit, Supernova learned that he was destined to battle the cosmic entity known as the Golden Guardian at the end of time, helping to bring about the birth of a new universe. Whether this implies that Supernova is immortal, and what his status (if any) is in the new universe, is open to conjecture.

Psychological Profile

When Miller first received his powers, it was a shock almost great enough to mentally unhinge him. For a long period he suffered mood swings from confidence to bitterness, paranoia and depression, and was obsessed with finding a method to rid himself of his powers. With time, thanks to the staunch friendship of the Defender, the Green Knight, and others in the Defense League, he stabilised and calmed down considerably.

Supernova was forced to maintain iron self control over his powers, as they gave him great potential for unconscious destruction. He constantly held back in all uses of his power, partly because he was afraid someone would be hurt, but partly because he was afraid to find out exactly how high his limits were.

Supernova was unable to lead any form of normal life since gaining his powers. He had become used to solitude and accepted the combined fear and wonder that he was held in by most humans. Even people that know him well, such as the Defender, he tried to keep at a distance.

Supernova was driven by the old adage that great responsibility must come with great power. He was an accidental hero, helping people because he could and, not because of any inner drive. Supernova has shown exceptional courage, fighting spirit, and self-sacrifice in situations where even his powers have been stretched to the limit.

Skills and Abilities

Supernova's body absorbed and stored all wavelengths of solar and stellar energy. This energy gave him vast physical powers, as well as the ability to release and manipulate light and heat directly.

While bolstered by solar energy, Supernova's body was powered to such a level that it could no longer be called truly human. He could live indefinitely off the energy he absorbed without the need for food or oxygen. He was completely immune to all diseases, poisons, and radiation effects. He never became noticeably fatigued and never required sleep. His recovery rate from all injuries was phenomenal. Supernova could survive comfortably in deep space with no artificial environment to support him. He could resist great extremes of temperature, from frigid space to the close proximity of stars.

Supernova had physical strength too great to be accurately measured. It is believed that he had never tapped the upper limits of his strength. He has been recorded lifting an entire cargo ship that displaced 20,000 tons and flying with it at a speed of several hundred kilometres per hour. On his return from an extended period in deep space (where he could presumably absorb greater quantities of stellar energy directly), his strength seemed to have been increased by a factor of ten or more. His hands were capable of punching through the strongest alloys known to 20th-century science.

Supernova's body was greatly resistant to injury. The exact nature of this resistance is unknown as there has been no noticeable change in his mass or density. Probably the concentrated plasma energy he constantly emits acts as an energy-absorbing force field. It is known that he was impervious to harm from bullets, knives, explosives and normal human punches. He could be hurt by beings of great strength or large-calibre anti-tank weapons, but even though these weapons could harm him, his vitality was still astonishing. It would take repeated direct hits from a large cannon to render him unconscious. Supernova once stood within the total destruction radius of a small nuclear warhead and survived (although he remained in critical condition for an extended period afterwards).

Supernova could fly by the direct manipulation of gravitons and by expelling low density plasma behind himself. He was capable of great speeds and manoeuvrability in flight. He was capable of flying with any mass he could physically lift. His top speed in atmosphere was several times the speed of sound (his other powers protected him from the adverse effects of such speeds) and he could reach escape velocity with relative ease. In space, his top speed was much higher, though it was never accurately measured. He was capable of reaching the speed of light and beyond, actually entering warp space. In this fashion he was able to move between star systems in a matter of days.

Supernova's ability to wield heat and light beams surpassed any other being on Earth (with the possible exception of Solaris). He could expel energy in the form of heat, light, solid plasma, or a combination of these forms, over a considerable distance. These blasts could be of sufficient power to reduce armour plate to vapour. Although there was an upper limit to the amount of power Supernova can expend in a brief period, he could continue to expend energy below this threshold for many minutes without weakening. In addition, Supernova could release a massive burst of energy sufficient to vapourise a everything around him to a radius of several metres. The process would briefly drain Supernova's energy reserves, though they would be replenished very quickly as long as he was still fed by stellar radiation. He rarely used this ability as it was impossible to control and damaged all targets in its radius indiscriminately.

Supernova's energy powers included the ability to see most wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. He could see in not only visible light but cosmic rays, gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves. Although he could detect radio waves, he could not decode them. Thus he was unable to "listen in" to a radio conversation. He would, however, be able to determine the direction of the broadcast and follow the transmission back to its source. His vision naturally extended into the near ultraviolet and infrared bands. To see beyond these required an effort of concentration, and Supernova is unable to rely totally on (for example) "cosmic ray vision" for an extended period. Such an attempt would simply not provide sufficient visual definition of his surroundings. Note that his "x-ray" vision was a passive power and not really a tool for looking through solid objects as is popularly depicted. He could only see through an x-ray transparent object if there was a strong x-ray source on the other side, and even then, he could only see the object emitting the x-rays and detect the presence of masking objects.

While attempting to remove his powers, Miller once succeeded in modifying them in an unknown fashion. His strength was cut by a factor of at least a hundred and he lost much of his invulnerability. He could no longer wield powerful energy blasts, though he retained his flight and vision powers. In some way, his energy manipulation powers were changed to affect matter on a much more subtle scale and he gained the power of atomic transmutation. The limits of this power were never fully tested before his powers reverted to their original state.


Despite his vast power, Supernova was defenceless against mental attacks and magical energies.

Supernova's main limitations were psychological and self-imposed. He was extremely reluctant to use high levels of strength or energy in combat for fear of the damage he could cause.

Other side effects of his powers caused him great psychological stress even after years of acclimatising to them. Probably the worst was his inability to sleep. As his body required no rest, he found he was denied the mental relief brought on by sleep. This condition was partly alleviated when his fellow Defense League member, Fate, taught him some principles of meditation, allowing Supernova to put himself into a meditative trance in lieu of sleep, without losing control of his power.

Supernova's powers required him to keep up rigid concentration to prevent them running out of control. In the early days there were several occasions when his energy spontaneously burst free, often endangering people. The problem was alleviated with the help of Fate's mental training, although Supernova still never dared to fully relax.

When Supernova was hurt badly enough to lose consciousness, he would release vast quantities of destructive energy, light and heat. The magnitude of this release and its duration varied widely, depending on the levels of energy he had recently expended.

There were apparently a number of methods that could render Supernova powerless for varying lengths of time. The super villain Nemesis once siphoned Supernova's power into himself (destroying himself in the process) and left the hero powerless for several weeks. It appears that Supernova's physical body was altered in such a way that it required his powers to function, and it was believed that he would die if he ever lost his powers permanently.