Superman has universally been known as the big, blue, boy scout. He is the superhero to superheroes, the one who everyone else looks up to as a beacon of hope and even as a role-model.
One way to judge a person is by the company they keep, and Superman has a grand cast of friends ranging from civilian allies like Jimmy Olson and Lois Lane to his companions in the Justice League, such as Batman and Wonder Woman.
Generally speaking, his bond with these friends has been a strong one, but when you’ve been around for over 75 years like Supes has, there are bound to be some blemishes on that record.
As invincible as Superman is on the outside, his psyche can be just as vulnerable as everyone else’s. Mind-control, magic, oddly colored kryptonite, and even high-levels of stress have all led Superman to do unpleasant things to his friends that would normally be completely out of character.
Here are the 17 Worst Things Superman Has Ever Done To His Friends.
17. He Attempted To Arrest Batman
In Frank Miller’s classic Batman story The Dark Knight Returns, readers got to see an aged Bruce Wayne come out of retirement to fight crime as Batman once again in a dystopian Gotham ruled by chaos.
He’s put through the ropes, fighting villains such as Two-Face, the Joker, and a new baddie in a mutant group. However, his most surprising battle is the grand finale brawl against Superman.
Putting his loyalty to President Ronald Reagan over his friendship with Bats and aiming to arrest the vigilante, Superman comes to blows with the billionaire. Much to Clark’s (and the reader’s) surprise, Batman delivers Supes the beating of his life.
With a series of tricks– a kryptonite arrow, a sonic gun, and an armored bat-suit– Batman keeps up with his would-be super-powered capturer and showed him just how bad it hurts to break the friendship vow.
16. He Exposed Batman’s Identity To The World
The Injustice: Gods Among Us comic (as well as the video game of the same name) showcased an alternate universe of DC where a Superman, traumatized by the death of Lois Lane by his own hands, became a cruel dictator.
He formed the “One Earth Regime” to thwart all crime at any cost, which was a cost too high even for a rich man like Bruce Wayne. Batman immediately protested and went on to form an underground resistance against the Kryptonian.
A war ensued between the two factions, and within the first year, it got incredibly petty. How petty? So petty that Superman decided to reveal Batman’s identity to the public in the most absurd way possible– he took to Twitter, with four words, 21 characters: “Batman is Bruce Wayne.” Who gave him this idea? Bruce’s traitorous son and Robin, Damian Wayne.
15. He Threw Krypto Into Space
It should be pretty clear by now that Batman is one of Superman’s favorite punching bags. Even the light-hearted cartoon Batman the Brave and the Bold featured an altercation between Bats and Supes, and Krypto the Superdog was in Batman’s corner for this one.
In the episode “Battle of the Superheroes!”, Superman had been infected by red kryptonite and began terrorizing Metropolis. Once again dawning his Bat-armor (which might as well be called the anti-Superman suit at this point), the Bat and the canine Superdog had to fight Superman until the effect wore off.
After Krypto blasted his master in the back with heat vision, Superman turned around to chastise and punish his furry friend. He called him a “bad dog” before grabbing him by his adorable doggy cape and flinging the pooch into outer space.
14. He Completely Rejected His Clone Son
In the Young Justice cartoon series, the relationship between Superboy and Superman was an awkward and icy one for quite some time. Initially discovered as a clone of Superman in Cadmus Labs, Superboy was rescued and freed by the Young Justice team. He was excited to see the outside world and his clone dad, Superman for the first time.
Sadly for Kon-El, when the Justice League first arrived with Superman, the Last Son of Krypton wanted nothing to do with his cloned protege. He spoke with him as briefly as possible before flying off.
At one point, Bruce Wayne tried to talk Clark into being a mentor to Superboy, but it didn’t stick. Even when Kon-El personally asked Superman for help with his powers Superman quickly reminded him that “…Batman’s got that covered.”
13. He Destroyed The Batmobile
It was clear from the first Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, which revealed Bruce Wayne in his Bat-armor, that Zack Snyder was indeed inspired by The Dark Knight Returns for his gladiatorial film.
Batman is known as the chess master who, if given enough prep time, can take down just about anyone. This includes invulnerable aliens that can destroy cities with their bare hands. Unfortunately for Batman in the film, he soon realizes that, during the first time he encountered Superman, he hadn’t measured the strength of his foe yet.
Superman deliberately caused the Batmobile to crash, tore the doors off the vehicle, and told Batman to give up the cape and cowl. Why? All because Superman apparently doesn’t like vigilantes. It seemed incredibly hypocritical at the time, however…
12. He Destroyed Military Gadgets
“Are you effing stupid?” a shocked General Swanwick asked as he watched Superman bring down a military device at the end of Man of Steel.
It was a surveillance drone that was meant to keep an eye on Superman, but the general’s anger could be understood, especially when he revealed that the drone cost $12 million.
Couldn’t Superman have found a gentler way to deal with the scenario? Especially if he wanted to build good relations with the military after the debacle with General Zod in Metropolis, which created endless property damage (and no doubt ended many lives).
Superman behaved as a vigilante, which made his treatment of The Dark Knight in Batman v. Superman feel all the more hypocritical. With behavior like this, no wonder Batman had visions of Superman becoming a dictator in the future.
11. He Beat Down The Justice League
In the animated direct-to-DVD movie Justice League: War, Batman and the Green Lantern ran circles around Superman. Considering this was a part of the New 52 reboot, it was the first time the characters met each other in continuity and it wasn’t a pleasant greeting for anyone.
Based on the comic Justice League: Origin, the duo tracked Superman in order to get a lead on an extraterrestrial item known as a Mother Box. However, Superman believed that they were in league with a parademon that he had fought early, so naturally a battle ensues.
Superman seemed to relish the beat down a little too much, as he knocked the men through buildings, causing major property damage. He powered through all of Green Lantern’s constructs and Batman’s gadget attacks and kept going without mercy. It wasn’t until Batman revealed that he knew Superman’s secret identity, that he got him to calm down and listen to reason.
10. He Became A Thor Loser
A rare occurrence happened in 2003 when a crossover between Marvel and DC comics went down in JLA/Avengers. The series saw the two teams meet, clash, and eventually become friends.
The machinations behind all this was a game played between two evil and powerful aliens: Kroana from DC and The Grandmaster from Marvel (played by Jeff Goldblum in Thor: Ragnorak) who decided to place a wager where they would pit the heroes from the two universes against one another.
The “game” involved collecting 12 artifacts of power from the universes, though things got serious when Thor and Superman crossed paths. Not wanting to play nice, the two dashed at one another trading titanic blows.
Eventually, an exhausted Superman mustered the last of his strength to down Thor with a mighty punch. This disrespect angered the remaining Avengers (including She-Hulk, Hercules, and Iron Man) so much that they rushed Supes and began to beat him up. Remember to mind your manners when you’re in the Marvel universe.
9. He Impersonated Bruce Wayne
Director and writer Max Landis, brought the world his own reimagining of Superman in the comic book American Alien. In issue #3, the readers were treated to an early ’20s Clark Kent who survived a plane crash over the ocean and coincidentally washed up on a cruise ship which was hosting a party for Bruce Wayne.
Of course, Wayne was too busy to actually attend his own party, so Clark filled the role when he was mistaken for the fellow brunette and decided to commit the crime of false personation.
The issue ended with a shot of Ra’s al Ghul’s headquarters in which Bruce Wayne was training with his immortal mentor/enemy. Ra’s delivered security footage of Clark on the yacht impersonating the young billionaire to Bruce, and Bruce did not look happy.
8. He Bullied John Constantine
John Constantine was just your average, working-class, chain-smoking mage, who was minding his own business when he landed in Metropolis. In The Search for Swamp Thing #2, Constantine was on the prowl, searching for his old buddy Swamp Thing.
Odd happenings occurred upon his arrival, though, as giant roots began to emerge from the ground at the airport. Superman was quick to show up and confront Constantine over the issue, since he knew that Swamp Thing must have been involved.
Rather than be polite, Superman roughly grabbed Constantine. For once, Superman was humbled as the attempt failed. In fact, he was weakened by the action and collapsed to the ground.
Constantine explained the situation to the confused Man of Steel– “quite simple protection magic really.” He anticipated Superman’s rudeness and whipped up a spell in advance to prepare for the inevitable confrontation. Superman never did do well against magic.
7. He Was A Fashion Theif
Continuing into issue #4 of American Alien, Bruce Wayne, under the guise of his alter-ego Batman, confronted Clark Kent… quite brutally. He snuck into Clark’s apartment and smashed the reporter’s head into his computer.
Unfazed Clark got up, slammed Batman into a wall, and tore off his cape and cowl. With a quick flash grenade trick, Batman managed to escaped, leaving his cape behind.
Admiring the cape, and somewhat inspired by the Bat, Clark decided to start wearing the get up when he began fighting crime for the first time in issue #5. It’s a rather humorous sight to see a junior Superman flying around Metropolis in Batman’s cape.
6. He Attacked Supergirl
The Superman that appears in the TV series Supergirl is a far cheerier Superman than the Henry Cavill version who stars in Man of Steel.
Kevin Smith has even Tweeted, “You will believe a man can smile… Loved the season premiere of @TheCWSupergirl!” because he was so happy to see an optimistic take on the character again. This is one of the reasons why it was so shocking to see him appear as Kara’s main opponent at the end of the episode “Resist”.
The battle between the Kryptonian cousins continued in the episode “Nevertheless, She persisted”. Exchanging heat vision stare downs and super-strength punches, the intensity built up quick.
Viewers soon discovered that the invading Daxamite queen (played by Lois & Clark alumna Teri Hatcher) used silver kryptonite to hypnotize Clark into believing that Kara was General Zod. Seeing how that fight ended in Man of Steel, it’s a good thing that Kara was able to land a hard uppercut on Clark, knocking him back to his senses.
5. He Fought Aquaman
During the DC: Rebirth phase Aquaman’s intro story arc was called The Drowning. In this arc, Aquaman had to face his typical struggles, such as Black Manta, surface-world politics, rogue Atlanteans, and Superman– because apparently there are two things that aren’t sacred to Superman: aquatic royalty and friendship.
In a situation that mirrored The Dark Knight Returns, Superman was sent in by the government to “talk” to Aquaman. An American navy ship was attacked by Atlanteans, but they were not loyal to Arthur.
The problem was the government was unaware of this. They tried to talk things over, but diplomacy failed and the heroes started pummeling each other. Even Arthur’s wife Mera joined the fight, hitting Supes hard enough to send him flying.
Things turned really ugly when the Atlantean army arrived to protect their king. This changed Superman’s min,d and he let them go to resolve their problems on their own with a warning: “Fix this. Or else.”
4. He Pushed Wonder Woman To Her Limits
Wonder Woman #219 had one of the most infamous battles between Superman and the Amazonian of all time. The supervillain Maxwell Lord had mind-controlled Superman into seeing images of Doomsday attacking Lois Lane, making Supes see Wonder Woman as Doomsday.
This brought about a no-holds-barred melee fight in which both combatants were seriously hurt. Superman broke Wonder Woman’s wrist and in turn, Wonder Woman smashed Clark’s eardrums and threw her tiara at his throat, slicing it open in order to stop him.
When she finally got her hands on Maxwell, Wonder Woman used the Lasso of Truth to determine how to break Superman from the spell. He confessed that only his death would end it. Wonder Woman was quick to oblige, snapping Maxwell’s neck.
3. He Mocked The Justice League
By the time the Justice League made it to their second season in the animated series, they were a solid team that got along… at least most of the time, or at least until the episode “Secret Society”, which featured some major infighting.
In the episode, a training session went poorly and the team began to bicker. While Martian Manhunter tried to calm everyone down by insisting that, at the end of the day they were all a team, Superman cut in, reminding them that they were not all equal. He then went on to state that he was the most powerful member of the team and it was his job to do the heavy lifting.
The whole team verbally berated one another, but Superman’s words cut deep as he claimed to be better without the League. While it was revealed at the end that Gorilla Grodd was messing with everyone’s heads, turning friend against friend, it was also obvious that he was talking about feelings that the heroes had deep down inside.
Being quite the mind-meddler himself, Martian Manhunter confessed, “We meant every word [we said].” Somewhere under that boy scout facade was an arrogant Superman who felt that he was better than everyone.
2. He Insulted Marvel’s Heroes
The Justice League wasn’t the only team to get a tongue-lashing from Superman. Going back to the JLA/Avengers comic, Clark was unpleasant to the heroes of the Marvel Universe the moment he stepped foot in it.
He showed a strong distaste for the Marvel heroes, describing them as “loose cannons” and mocked them for being unable to “inspire the populace” in the way that DC heroes did.
Even Aquaman told Supes to take it easy on the Avengers, as Arthur noted that the Marvel heroes seemed less powerful overall while they were forced to contend with a world that was stacked against them.
1. He Beat Green Arrow To Death
Returning to the terrifying world of Injustice: Gods Among Us, the all-powerful dictator Superman became a man controlled by fear, rage, and mistrust.
Who better to talk him out of such a dark philosophy than good ole’ Green Arrow? Ollie accompanied Batman (against the cape crusader’s wishes) to confront Superman at the Fortress of Solitude. Little did the superheroes know, but Johnathan and Martha Kent would also be making an appearance there as well.
Having his folks around in the presence of his enemies put an already crazed Superman on extra-heightened alert. When Green Arrow arrived things immediately got tense. He shot an arrow at Superman to distract him, but it bounced off the Kryptonian’s impenetrable body and hit Pa Kent in his shoulder.
This drove Superman to the edge, as he proceeded to beat the archer to death. If only Ollie had a mother named Martha too…
Can you think of any other terrible things that Superman has done to his pals? Let us know in the comment section.
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