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10 Coolest Superman Stories to Date

By Darius Washington     August 05, 2010

10 Coolest Superman Stories to Date
© Bob Trate


There’s a sentiment in comics today that Superman is an outdated character for modern times because he’s too powerful and incredibly moralistic, not wanting to use his considerable abilities to kill anyone. The thing about a character is that he’s only as good as the conflicts he’s written to face. Many folks like Batman more than Supes these days, but there’s a reason fans favor movie adaptation of The Dark Knight over Batman & Robin. Same characters, different takes.

 DC Comics is about to re-launch their favorite Kryptonian under the direction of J. Michael Straczinsky. So we decided to look back at 10 good Superman comics you might want to check out some time.

Best Superman Comic Stories

10. Superman: President Lex

Fun storyline where Lex Luthor becomes the President of the United States. Superman's reaction is priceless.

Best Superman Comic Stories

9. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali

Ok, aliens come to fight earth's greatest champion and our two protagonists duke it out to see who goes to the main event and who just gets the butt-whipping of a lifeteime. Not a great story by any means, but this was one of those ‘70s oversized formats with incredible artwork by Neal Adams, so it's good for looking at the pictures and hearing Ali's voice in your head if nothing else. Just check your brain at the door and let out your inner child.

Best Superman Comic Stories

8. DC Comics Presents Annual #1

Pretty cool pre-Crisis story involving the Supermen and Luthors of earths 1, 2 and 3. Definitely worth a read.

Best Superman Comic Stories

7. Superman/Batman: Supergirl

This was the second story arc written by Jeph Loeb with beautiful artwork by the late Michael Turner. In the aftermath of the Public Enemies storyline, The World’s Finest Team meets a woman claiming to be Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin. Bats is instantly suspicious and Krypto isn’t so certain about her either (but then the dog doesn’t like anybody). Still, the prospect of an impresionable Kryptonian is too good for the villainous Darkseid to pass up. Apparently, it was too good for Warner Animation to pass up either as they will be releasing an animated version of this story later this year.

Best Superman Comic Stories

6. Superman / Action Comics: Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow?

Alan Moore wrote the closing chapter on the Silver Age Superman after the epic series Crisis on Infinite Earths changed the DC Universe forever. It was spread over two (then-final) issues of Superman and Action Comics, in which an aged Lois Lane tells about the Kryptonian’s final days in which all of his conflicts came to a horrific end for him and his friends. Which leads to our next recommendation…

Best Superman Comic Stories

5. Superman: The Man of Steel 

John Byrne did a very good revamp of Superman's origins in the post Crisis DC universe. The story does a great job of showing who the main characters are and how they'd act for the next couple decades, by giving new meaning and depth to Clark Kent and reimagining Lex Luthor as a powerful businessman.

Best Superman Comic Stories

4. Superman: Red Son

In the past, there have been Superman comics done outside of continuity often referred to as “Imaginary Stories”, which had Superman placed in many strange situations such as splitting into red and blue incarnations so he could marry both Lois and Lana (long before the electric suit thing), as well as show what his life would’ve been like if his rocket had landed in Gotham City, or in a futuristic Metropolis. In the ‘90s, DC started a specific line of such stories though with decidedly more serious themes called Elseworlds. Our next two picks are a couple of the best regarding Kal-El.
Red Son examined how Superman’s life might’ve turned out if his rocket had landed in Russia near the advent of the Cold War, and Mark Millar’s excellently written storyline provides a well-thought scenario on how Kal-El would come to relate to the citizens and other DC heroes, not to mention America’s most capable scientist Lex Luthor.

Best Superman Comic Stories

3. Kingdom Come

Our other Elseworlds pick is a very grim tale illustrated and concieved by Alex Ross and written by Mark Waid in which Superman returns to action after retiring for 10 years due to the fact hummanity wanted heroes who were more ruthless and had less control of themselves. Although many other characters are involved to a lesser extent, it is Superman’s actions (along with Batman and Wonder Woman’s) which guide the terrible events of this story and lead to catastrophic results (not to mention a hellified fight against Captain Marvel). Eventually there was a pseudo-sequel to the story written into regular DC Comics continuity as a Justice Society of America entitled Thy Kingdom Come.

Best Superman Comic Stories

2. All Star Superman

Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly garnered massive amounts of fan and critcal accalim with their alternate take on The Man of Steel and his battles with Lex Luthor, with a rather interesting reimagining for Lois Lane as well. If you don’t grabe this entire series broken up into two trades, you’re missing out on something special.

Best Superman Comic Stories

1. The Death & Return of Superman / World Without A Superman

Yeah there was this lame story where Superman died fighting a big monster and everyone went to the comic shop to pick it up and make it a collector’s item (not that I'd ever do such a thing... >_> ). However, the follow up storylines ranged from pretty good to truly epic for The Man of Steel.
The World Without A Superman stories showed the effect this character had on everyone around him, which led to the Reign of the Supermen in which everyone was trying to figure out which one among four people claiming to be Superman reborn was the real one. This segment was well paced, action packed, and developed intriguing new characters, the aftermath forever altered Green Lantern’s life and brought Superman back to publishing prominence in terms of sales. Actually, unless you just want a big fight, we'd say skip the Death part, but the Return story was pretty cool and needs a decent starting point.




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Chopsaki 8/5/2010 3:09:10 AM

It's funny I just watched Superman 2 last night. My 2 yr old nephew didn't quite get the whole Clark Kent thing and kept asking where Superman was every couple of minutes, he was cracking me up.

Superman landing in Russia sounds like a pretty interesting take on the mythos. I can't wait for the next Superman/Batman movie, I just wish the animation style wasn't so beholden to the comics.

Dazzler 8/5/2010 4:21:15 AM

Doomsday would be the best movie idea.  Smallville almost did it right. 

marcd30319 8/5/2010 4:31:15 AM

I wonder if Superman: Red Son was indirectly inspire (?) by a Saturday Night Live comedy skip wherein Superman a.k.a. Uberman grew up in Nazi Germany before World War II, and how this Nazified Man of Steel changed the course oof history. 

The two highlights were Ubman using his X-Ray vision to determine that Jimmy Olsen was Jewish (think about it...) and John Belushi as a hologram of the dead Jor-El and saying that he came back as the ghost of Charlie Rich.

Darkknight2280 8/5/2010 4:53:58 AM

Smallville almost did DOOMSDAY right? By making him a EMT? i dunno if i agree with that statement at all.

jedibanner 8/5/2010 5:56:08 AM

interesting that the #1 best story is also very highly responsible for the downfall of the comics in the 90's. It migh've been an interesting story but the hype and over-the-top publicity for these superman stories are very well documented as being the downfall of many comic shops and the almost fatal death of comic collectors.

Sure Image didn't help but, many people in the comic industry have mentionned that white-covered issue of Superman's ''return'' being a very key issue in the death of comics in the 90's.

Kingdom Come should be # 1 in my book.

HudsonTaco 8/5/2010 6:07:56 AM

I own 1-3 on this list, I'd swap1 and 2 around though. All-Star Superman is not only my favorite Superman story it might be my favorite comic ever. Its has everything you could want in a Superman story, I feel I could read that comic to my kids at bedtime. Death of Superman was the story that got me interested in Superman in comics when I was a kid.

JediBanner - I have two copies of that White poly bagged issue of Superman that started  "Reign of the Supermen" it may have helped kill comics in the 90's but it is a hell of a boring comic IMO. Kingdom Come was awsome as well but not my fave and isn't just about Superman.

Hobbs 8/5/2010 6:43:37 AM

I am a Byrne fan so that would be my number one.  I actually liked the world without supes storyline better than the death.

ChadDerdowski 8/5/2010 6:49:26 AM

This is definitely a good list, but I would've included Superman:Birthright by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu.  For my money, it is the definitive Superman origin, keeping many of the classic elements intact but updating it for modern times.

wessmith1966 8/5/2010 6:51:50 AM

I think the Loeb/Sale "A Superman for all Seasons" should definitely be on this list, and how about Alex Ross' Peace on Earth.

There are parts of All Star Superman I liked, but I think the series is very highly overrated.

goldeneyez 8/5/2010 6:58:31 AM

Wow... no "For the Man who has Everything?" by Alan Moore?  That was actually a pretty good Superman story.

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