Superman is one of the most iconic characters in comic book history. It can be argued that the character is one of the greatest pop culture creations of the 20th century, a descendant of past epic heroes like Gilgamesh and Hercules. For years, he has had epic adventures in the fight against the most dangerous enemies in the DC Multiverse and has thrilled generations of fans.
There have been some amazing Superman stories over the years that any fan of the character should read. However, not all of them are winners. In fact, there are a lot of bad Superman stories that fans wish would disappear forever.
10 Superman: The Truth Saw The Man Of Steel Reveals His Identity
Brian Michael Bendis runs on Superman and Action comics had a very mixed reaction from fans. However, it was the cornerstone of his race Superman, “The Truth” with artist Ivan Reis, which got him angry from the majority of Superman fans. This cartoon saw Superman reveal his secret identity to the world, which fundamentally changed the Superman myth forever.
While the reasoning was apparently pretty healthy, a fair amount of Superman fandom hates this story with a passion. It’s honestly quite mystifying, as it does not exactly change that much about the character. Some people were apparently very attached to Superman’s secret identity aspect.
9 Superman: That Earth’s End is widely regarded as one of the worst Elseworlds stories ever
DC’s old Elseworlds stories are full of gems for the discerning reader, but there are some that are pretty awful. One of them Superman: At Earth’s End, by author Tom Veitch and artist Frank Gomez. With an almost powerless Superman in the lead role battling twin clones of Adolf Hitler in the distant future, it takes all the bad of dystopian future stories and 90s aesthetics and marries them together.
There are some amazing Superman Elseworlds stories, but this is certainly not one of them. While it’s full of “so bad they’re funny” moments, it’s not exactly a story that every fan of the character wants to be preserved so that future generations can learn about Superman.
8 Justice League # 12 began the new 52 Superman / Wonder Woman relationship
While Justice League # 12, by author Geoff Johns and artist Geoff Johns, is not in a Superman cartoon, it counts as a Superman story because of its focus on Superman. The book’s second focus is Wonder Woman, and it is the comics that put the two together in a romantic relationship. The problem with the story is that it is basically shipping at the playground level.
While a relationship between the two may make sense, as seen in Come the kingdom, it does not make sense when Lois Lane is alive. The New 52 was full of Superman bug fixes, and while this was not the most violent, it showed a fundamental misunderstanding of who both characters were as humans.
7 Superman: Year One was DC trying to recapture the old Frank Miller Spark
Frank Miller helped redefine modern DC as fans know it, but his writing of Superman has never been particularly good. The author / artist has an apparent contempt for the character, one that is evident every time he writes Superman. So it was strange when DC allowed him to repeat Superman’s origins in the Black Label book Superman: Year One, with art by John Romita Jr.
The choices Miller makes in the story are simply bizarre, and while Romita Jr.’s art is amazing as usual, the writing does not match it at all. Modern Frank Miller’s writing ranges from problematic to forgettable, and this is one that moves more into forgettable territory than anything else.
6 Superman: For Tomorrow, a creative team landed on the A-list, but was a complete dud
Following the success of “Hush,” DC announced that Jim Lee would be drawing Superman. Together with superstar author Brian Azzarello, the resulting story, Superman: Until tomorrow, failed to hit in the same way as “Hush” did. When he opened up after Superman did something to turn the world against him, the problem with the story came in how opaque it all was written.
Readers eventually found out that Superman was accidentally responsible for a Rapture-like event created by him to save humanity in the event of an extinction-level incident, but the way the mystery was structured made it all feels wrong, at best. Throw in one of the strangest postsCrisis Interpretations of the iconic Superman enemy General Zod and the story made fans furious.
5 Superman # 123 introduced the electric powers to Superman
90s DC was all about doing new things with its icons. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Superman # 123, by author Dan Jurgens and artist Ron Frenz, represents one of the times it did not work. This number introduced what fans would call Electric Blue Superman to mix, changed Superman’s powers in a rather drastic way and gave him a new costume.
While change may be good, it was a step too far for fans to transform Superman into an energy creature with new powers. While creators like author Grant Morrison were able to use this new Superman effectively, most of them did not, and it remains a frustrating period in Superman’s history.
4 Superman Red / Superman Blue # 1 composed the folly from the electric superman wounds
Back in the Silver Age, there was an imaginary Superman story, basically an Elseworlds / alternative universe story, where Superman split himself in two. These two supermen, named Superman Red and Superman Blue, solved all the world’s problems and ended up with Lana Lang and Lois Lane. For some reason, the Superman creators in the late 90’s thought it was a good idea to repeat this story.
Superman Red / Superman Blue # 1, by author Dan Jurgens and artist Stuart Immonen, used Superman’s energy forces to bring this concept back, and virtually no one was happy. Fans already did not like Electric Blue Superman, and this story made it even worse.
3 Superman: What price tomorrow is more hated for what it represented than what it was
George Perez is one of the most influential and beloved creators of modern comics. When it was announced, he wanted to write and draw New 52 Superman book, fans went through paroxysms of joy. While the resulting story, “What Price Tomorrow,” in which Perez was joined by artist Nicola Scott, was not bad, it has a darker place in DC’s history.
Calling the early days of New 52 chaotic behind the scenes is an understatement, and Perez was a victim of it. Forced to leave the book by the DC editorial staff, it would be one of the last times Perez worked on a Superman book, and it left a bad taste in the mouths of fans due to DC’s treatment of an icon.
2 Superman: Condemned was pretty ridiculous
For the most part, the New 52 was not at all friendly to Man Of Steel, and Superman: Condemned is an example of why. Written by Greg Pak, Charles Soule, Scott Lobdell and Tony Bedard with art by Tony S. Daniel, Aaron Kuder and Ken Lashley, the cartoon saw Superman infected by a virus that made him doomsday. It was a strange narrative choice that apparently only existed for the cool visual SuperDoom that the amalgam was called, and that’s it.
The story itself was long and drawn out, with most fans checking out before the end. This was a constant problem with New 52, which took old ideas from better creators – as the Doomsday virus came from All-Star Superman – and adapt them in horrible ways.
1 Superman: Grounded was an interesting premise that fell apart in execution
Author J. Michael Straczynski’s Time Superman did not go as well as everyone thought. Superman: Grounded, where Straczynski was joined by writer Chris Roberson and artist Eddy Burrows, was to bring Superman back to his roots as he walked across America. It was a good idea, but the problem came in the story itself.
Superman is the perfect role model for the DC Universe, and although this story should bring it to the forefront, it never did. In fact, it saw Superman refusing to use his powers at times when he absolutely should have done so. Straczynski would leave the book before the story was over and everyone was disappointed.
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