We think everyone can agree that Superman is a huge jerk. Yeah sure, he saves the day a lot but for every Doomsday there’s an abandoned child or rouse to make Lois Lane believe that she’s the fattest woman alive. Also, what’s with his always dying, leaving the planet to fend for itself, and then miraculously coming back to life with a mullet? We get it already, the world needs you.
Of course, while mullets aren’t inherently evil, they sure don’t strengthen his case. Neither does his resumé. In the Golden Age, the Man of Steel tried to correct social ills by needlessly ruining people’s lives. In the Silver Age, he took pleasure in tormenting his closest friends. Additionally, in modern times, he just straights up kills anyone who doesn’t agree with him or looks like Batman.
Maybe he gets bored with righteousness easily, or maybe when you’re that powerful you lose perspective on what’s right and wrong. Either way, for all the good he’s done, the Man of Tomorrow has just as easily made a career out of being wickedly un-super.
Here are the 15 Most Evil Things Superman Has Ever Done.
15. Burning Hundreds of People Alive
It’s almost too easy to pull from Injustice: Gods Among Us for instances of Superman villainery, but we would be doing no one any favors if we failed to mention the time he executed over 200 people because he didn’t like what they were saying.
While some were on board with Superman’s totalitarian rule of force to keep the world in check during this time, many were not. Protests sprung up all over and organizations formed to spread their message.
One of these was the so-called Joker Underground comprised a group of would-be do-gooders adopting the deceased Clown’s image as a symbol of opposition. Sure their namesake was responsible for this whole mess in the first place and brought about the death of millions, but they meant well and certainly didn’t deserve to get pan fried alive.
When Superman finds out where the group is holding its meetings, he quickly flies into action and in response they start chanting the Joker’s name. Superman has none of it and instantly incinerates them all with his heat vision.
14. Adopting Jimmy Olsen Then Mentally Abusing Him
One day out of the blue Superman decides to adopt Jimmy Olsen. Having nothing else to live for, Jimmy accepts and despite being a fully-grown adult moves in with the Man of Steel, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Not too long after Superman flips out and starts tormenting Jimmy by openly mocking him, burning his Father’s Day gifts, and forcing the guy to do menial tasks like buff his trophy collection.
Eventually all this humiliation becomes too much too bare and Olsen takes legal action to cancel the adoption. All too pleased with the arrangement, Superman lets him go and by the end of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #30 reveals his being the world’s worst father was all a charade.
Turns out Superman had received a prophesy from a calculator that he would “destroy his own son.” Never one to ignore what machines tell him, Supes made sure it didn’t happen by mentally traumatizing Jimmy Olsen instead. Sure, he could have just told Olsen what was going on and saved the guy a whole lot of therapy, but that’s not how deranged maniacs work.
13. Vaporizing Dr. Light’s Head
Superman has killed a lot of people (and one dragon). That might come as a shock to some, but it shouldn’t. Good or bad, it’s all the same to the Last Murderer of Krypton.
One of his more coldblooded kills came during the New 52 crossover Trinity War. Justice League new recruit Dr. Light has joined up and while trying to get his bearings mistakenly attacks Wonder Woman (who’s dating Supes at the time). Before he has a chance to apologize, Superman chivalrously laser eye beams the guy’s head to oblivion.
Given that Wonder Woman is pretty much invincible and Dr. Light’s attack would affect her about as much as flea bite, Superman’s impulsively hotheaded response is insane. Later on his actions are revealed as being coerced by a trouble making villain who has inserted a sliver of green Kryptonite into Big Blue’s optic nerve.
However, that’s not really an excuse nor does it make Superman’s overkill of a response any less horrible. After all, you don’t make Superman do anything without some underlying desire being present. We get painful things in our eyes all the time and don’t murder our colleagues in cold blood. Then again, we like to think of ourselves as not being evil.
12. Destroying the Homes of Poor People
When a young boy commits a crime during Action Comics #8, his deadbeat mother instantly blames it on the bad influence of their low-income housing complex. This all makes perfect sense to Superman.
Using his powers of infallible deduction, the Man of Steel comes to the conclusion that the best way to end crime is to destroy all the poorest neighborhoods in Metropolis. So, like a complete lunatic, that’s exactly what he does.
Of course nobody thinks this is a good idea and the National Guard is sent in to stop him. Luckily the fleeing residents have just enough time to escape the war zone that was once their homes but unluckily they are all now homeless. Indifferent to it all, Superman finishes the job and pats himself on the back for a gentrification well done.
Not soon after the demolished slums are replaced with splendidly huge apartments, all of which are probably way too expense for the poor former residents to afford. Oh, and in case you were wondering, crime still exists.
11. Sending Supergirl to an Orphanage
When Kara Zor-El first arrived on Earth after having her home destroyed and everyone she cared about blown to smithereens, it must have been quite a relief to find Superman living there. However, it must have been an even bigger surprise when Supergirl’s cousin refused her request to move in with him and instead shipped her off to an orphanage.
You might think a stand up guy like Superman would have a righteous reason for doing so, but you’d be wrong. It’s even worse than it looks. As we find out in Action Comics #252, he wanted to hide her presence from the world so he could use Supergirl as his “secret weapon” and keep her from overshadowing his own heroics.
10. Killing Dark Seid’s Son
The Elseworlds story Superman: The Dark Side explores what if the Man of Steel had landed on Apokolips, home of Darkseid, instead of Earth on his journey from Krypton.
As it goes, Darkseid raises Superman as his own son and manipulates him into becoming a treacherous villain. This includes commanding Kal-El to muder Darkseid’s first born son, Kalibak, and take his place as heir to the throne.
While the brutal beating, and everything else Superman does during his visit to The Dark Side, was less the result of being inherently evil than it was being coerced by Darkseid, it doesn’t change the wickedness of his actions. Nature or nurture, no one’s forgiving serial killers because their parents didn’t treat them right. The same goes for this homicidal scumbag in blue tights.
9. Paralyzing a Student Athlete So He Can Steal His Identity and Win a Football Game
What better way to kick off Superman’s first solo series than have him ruin the life of a student athlete. In Superman #1 the Man of Steel witnesses a college football coach paying two ringers to play for his team and injure their opponent’s during a game.
Now remember, Superman can do pretty much anything he wants to stop this from happening. So only a malicious sociopath would come up with the idea of tracking down a student that looks like him, drugging the poor kid so he’s paralyzed from the waist down and then take his place on the field.
Predictably, in the guise of young Tommy Burke, Superman nearly kills everyone on his way to the end zone. When the mob, who’ve bet heavily on the crooked team, see this new super-star athlete plowing his way through the competition, they try to kidnap him.
However, they mistakenly take the real Tommy Burke, whose now unconscious from all the roofies that Superman has been force feeding him. Seeing this, Superman happily lets the mob kidnap Tommy so “he’s out of the way” allowing Superman to triumphantly lead the team to victory.
8. Trying to Murder a Miniature Version of Himself
In Superman #125 gets blown up by a mysterious midget spaceship and gains the ability to shoot a tiny fully-functioning version of himself out of his hands. The only side effect is that he loses all conventional superpowers and they are transferred to his new little proxy.
Because he’s dead inside, Superman gets super jealous and freaks out when mini-Supes starts getting saving the day in his stead.
Obviously the Man of Steel’s only recourse is to try and murder his tiny doppelgänger. When a Kryptonite meteor shower unexpectedly starts raining down on Metropolis, the Big Blue Villain decides to launch the Super-Imp at it.
Of course the whole thing backfires and Superman gets barraged with Kryptonite instead. But because not all Supermen are villains mini-Supes sacrifices himself by jumping on the space rock and riding it into the sea where he perishes forever.
After all that you would think Superman would have felt really really bad. But you underestimate the depth of his evilness. Instead, he feels pretty good about it since with mini-Supes gone his powers return and everyone treats him like a hero again.
7. Abandoning Earth and His Only Son (Twice)
Love it or hate it, Superman Returns proves one thing — Superman is a mopey douche. Also, he’s incredibly selfish. At the start of Bryan Singer’s 2006 film, Superman has abandoned Earth to go on a space adventure in search of Krypton, though not before knocking up Lois Lane.
Understandably, she, and the rest of the world who have come to rely on the Man of Steel’s protection, is pissed off about this. Five years later he drops in expecting a hero’s welcome and instead gets a maladjusted kid.
Obviously, it would have been cool if Superman wasn’t such an awful father and stuck around to help raise his son. However, maybe the boy should have thought about that before deciding to be born. After all, you can’t expect Superman not to want to fly around outer space searching for others like him despite the fact that doing so meant deserting someone who was exactly like him.
Anyways, Superman dies but doesn’t, Kevin Spacey eats a dog, and everything is forgiven after Kal-El once again saves the planet. He then sneaks into his son’s bedroom, creepily watches him while he sleeps, reassures Lois that he is now home for good and then promptly leaves by flying back off into outer space.
6. Everything He’s Ever Done to Silver Age Lois Lane
Let’s get one thing straight– during the Silver Age, Lois Lane was a whack job. There was no end to crazy and bizarre schemes she would come up with to trick Superman into loving her (e.g. turning him into a baby and spanking him) or offend everyone (e.g. turning herself into a black woman).
She was obviously mentally unstable, which made it all the worse that Superman felt the need to humiliate, torment, and abuse Lois at every turn.
From cheating on her with a mermaid to pretending to kill himself in front of her and convincing her that she once killed a dog, there is no depth too shallow the Man of Steel won’t sink to in order to ruin her life.
He’s blackmailed her, hooked up with his cousin Supergirl to make her feel bad, tried murder her on several occasions, and even once forced her to gain 100 pounds and then pretended she was too fat to carry.
Usually Kal had some convoluted, self-righteous reason for doing these things but they usually only made his actions more sinister. Really, we could do a whole list on the evil acts Superman committed against Lois Lane, which is exactly what we did.
5. Beating Green Arrow to Death
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a veritable cornucopia of Superman acting terrible. The entire series is basically one long look at what would happen if the Man of Steel was completely immoral.
After the Joker tricks him into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child, as well as blowing up Metropolis with a nuclear weapon, he goes off the deep end. He establishes a new world order presiding as tyrant in chief, and systematically removes anyone that stands in his way.
One of those unfortunate souls was the Green Arrow. After Oliver Queen joins up with Batman’s effort to build a counterforce of heroes to stop Supes, he raids the Fortress of Solitude.
While there he manages to shoot an arrow at Superman in hopes of ending the anarchy but it ends up instead striking his father, Jonathan Kent, in the shoulder. This sets Superman off and he angrily beats Green Arrow to death with his bare hands while his parents watch.
4. Burning Batman Alive
During the ’80s, the DC Universe became so unnecessarily completed with all of its alternate realities that the company tried to streamline everything into a single continuity during Crisis on Infinite Earths. One of the universes to get the ax was Earth Prime, home of homicidal adolescent maniac Superman Prime.
Pissed off over being shunned by the main DC universe, this version of Superman goes insane and tries to undo everything. After throwing a major tantrum he un-alters reality and restores the needlessly complex pre-Crisis status quo.
During this Countdown to Final Crisis he stumbles upon Earth-15 where General Zod is Superman, Wonder Woman is not very wonderful and Jason Todd wears Batman’s cowl. Because he’s a jerk, Superman Prime kills them all.
3. Getting Lois Pregnant Which Kills Her And Then Making Out With Another Woman on Her Grave
Other than a few mild diversions along the way, Lois Lane’s purpose in life has been to wed and bed the Man of Steel. However, rarely does this turn out well for her. That’s what falling in love with a super-jerk will get you.
Take Adventures of Superman Annual #3, for example. In it, a time traveler reveals in the future she and Clark Kent eventually get married but their unborn baby super kicks Lois from inside the womb killing her on the spot.
However, the fun doesn’t end there. Future Superman flees the planet in an attempt to commit suicide only instead meets an alien warrior princess named Maxima who he ends up hooking up with, most famously all over Lois’ grave.
A future yet to pass or not, it’s still Superman making all those decisions. Like despite knowing Kryptonian physiology does not mix with that of a petite, 100-lb Earthling and still knocking Lois up anyway. Or mourning her death until the first red-headed bombshell flies by and upon realizing they are better suited to mate gets his super-romp on– but hey, skimpy outfits.
2. Revealing Batman’s Secret Identity on Twitter
The thing about all the terrible things Superman does during Injustice: Gods Among Us is that it just goes to show the type of colossal jerk he could be given the right situation and broadband connection. Bad things happen to a lot of people but the majority don’t take over the world in response and then resort to social media to ruin the lives of everyone around them. (All current events aside.)
There are a lot crazy moments from Injustice to be sure, but by far the most nefarious (and if we’re being honest, hilarious) was when Superman revealed Batman’s secret identity on Twitter.
Annoyed over Bats leading the anti-Superman resistance, the Man of Steel results to publicly castrating him. Valuing his anonymity before all else (save for maybe Alfred Pennyworth’s beautiful face), Bruce Wayne tries his hardest to stop the news from going viral.
1. Allowing His Best Friend’s Son to Get Abducted By Aliens
As a rule of thumb don’t ever befriend Superman. Remember that time he shot an adult movie with Mr. Miracle’s wife? Yeah, that’s what you can expect from your good pal Kal-El. To be fair, though, he was brainwashed at the time. So what was his excuse during DC Comics Presents #13 when he let his oldest friend’s son get abducted by a race of warmongering aliens?
You see, Supes had just discovered a new evil alien race causing havoc throughout the galaxy. He proceeds to wipe them out using his powers of super-genocide but the Legion of Super-Heroes show up from the future and reveal that the aliens actually end up helping save Earth thousands of years from now.
Left little choice, Superman doesn’t wipe the aliens from existence and they return to their present-day reign of terror. Only problem is they start kidnapping children to enslave in their army, one of whom is young Jonathan Ross.
Despite being the son of his friend Peter Ross, Superman lets the abduction happen for the good of the future and heads home. Meanwhile Pete is driven insane with anger. Readers were so upset at the Man of Steel’s callousness that a few issues later DC retracted the whole thing by having him rescue Jon.
Know of any other times Superman has acted like an evil lunatic? Share them with us in the comments.
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