Like Superman, Vartox is an alien and has adopted a new world which he has sworn to protect. He was originally a hero on his home planet of Valeron, which was destroyed.
Vartox is possessed of Hyper-Power which he manifests in a variety of ways to fight crime. These variations include such powers as Hyper-vision (and other Hyper-senses), Hyper-teleportation, Hyper-remote-control-blows, and Hyper-charges --including the powerful Hyper-obliteration-charge. His Hyper-Powers can also be used to temporarily dematerialize solid matter, enabling him to pass through barriers unharmed. As well, Vartox has a Hyper-body which he has described as "an ethereal Hyper-body which dwells within my physical essence. On occasion this 'phantom self' has been dispatched into action without my knowledge --directed by my own subconscious wishes" (S No. 373, Jul 1982: "Lana Lang's Farewell to Earth").
Vartox is also super-strong, invulnerable, and able to fly (a power which may be augmented by devices attached to his boots). He is able to temporarily transfer these powers to others. As well, he can communicate via ultra-wave lengths while in space.
Vartox is also an accomplished inventor and scientific genius.
Vartox appears older than Superman and describes himself as "far more experienced" (S No. 281). He has brown hair and wears a brown vest and trunks with yellow boots.
Vartox is in love with Lana Lang and shares a rivalry with Superman for her affections.
In November 1974, the "bionic [sic] twin" of Vartox's wife is killed on Earth. Since the two women are "biologically linked", Vartox's wife also dies at the same moment. Determined to bring his wife's proxy killer to justice, Vartox journeys to Earth in order to lure Frank "Killer" Sykes to Tynola. Superman pursues the pair and battles Sykes, to whom Vartox has transferred a portion of his Hyper-Power. Figuring out Vartox's mission, Superman allows Sykes to be tried on Tynola, where he is found guilty of murder (S No. 281, Nov 1974: "Mystery Mission to Metropolis").
"What a fine pair of champions we make, my Kryptonian friend. Both of us hail from supremely advanced races --both of us wield the might to rend solar systems asunder..."