Top 10 Characters Who Have Beat Up Superman
VOICE OVER: JG
Written by Thomas O'Connor
Even the Man of Steel gets knocked for a loop every once in a while. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we'll be counting down our top ten characters who have beat up Superman.
For this list, we'll be looking at the best characters to give the Last Son of Krypton a taste of humble pie by defeating him in a one-on-one fight, either via Kryptonite, magic or just plain strength.
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Even the Man of Steel gets knocked for a loop every once in a while. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top ten characters who have beat up Superman.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the best characters to give the Last Son of Krypton a taste of humble pie by defeating him in a one-on-one fight, either via Kryptonite, magic or just plain strength.
He may be the son of the infamous villain Darkseid, but this cosmic hero is definitely on the side of good, even if his temper can get the better of him. As a part of an effort to forge peace between the two worlds, Orion was raised on the peaceful New Genesis, instead of his birth planet of Apokolips. Here, he became a powerful if ill-tempered hero. In one story, Orion comes to Earth believing that Hector Hammond had hidden inside Superman’s subconscious mind. Seeing Superman as a threat to the universe, Orion begins the fight with a brutal sucker punch. Luckily, Wonder Woman intervened, helped kick Hammond out of Superman’s noggin, and all was forgiven.
#9: Alfred Pennyworth
Now yes, we know what you’re thinking. Batman’s faithful butler Alfred beat up Superman? It sounds crazy, but it happened in the “Injustice: Gods Among Us” tie-in comic. In this alternate universe, Superman has turned evil and comes to the Batcave to pay his former ally a brutal visit. After breaking Batman over his knee, Superman finds a new opponent when Alfred intervenes. Sounds like a fight Superman would win in a heartbeat, but with temporary superpowers granted by an experimental drug, Alfred knocks Superman for a loop with a punishing headbutt before pounding him into the floor. Just goes to show a good butler is prepared for any situation.
#8: Wonder Woman
As co-founding members of the Justice League and two of the most prominent heroes in the DC Universe, Wonder Woman and Superman have always been fast friends, and sometimes even more. But on those few occasions when they’ve come to blows, neither of them pulled any punches. Wonder Woman’s magical abilities and weapons often give her an edge over Superman, who has no immunities to magic. Combine that with Diana’s superior training in hand-to-hand and armed combat, and it’s no wonder that Diana has done everything from breaking his arm to using her tiara to cut his throat!
#7: General Zod
The one thing sure to match Superman in terms of strength and speed is another Kryptonian, particularly this power-hungry general who’s fought the Kal-El on multiple occasions. With strength, speed and invulnerability that match Superman’s, as well as more combat training, this classic foe is a tough opponent even for the Man of Steel. But what can really help Zod gain the upper hand is his skill for exploiting Superman’s altruistic nature. Zod has gained an edge in battle by taking hostages, sometimes including Lois Lane, and forcing Superman to choose between winning the fight and saving the innocent. Naturally, Superman always puts the lives of others above his own.
#6: Lex Luthor
Superman’s greatest foe has gone one-on-one with his arch-rival a number of times, usually with the help of a hulking robotic battle suit and a lump of kryptonite. But as interesting as the times that Luthor physically defeated Superman are, we can’t help but think of an even more brutal defeat. In one infamous story, Lex runs for president of the United States and wins, fooling the entire world into thinking he’s one of the good guys. This is perhaps Lex’s most monstrous defeat of Superman, a slap in the face to Superman’s core ideal that humanity is worth fighting for.
Much like Wonder Woman, this hero’s incredible strength and speed may give him a chance at defeating Superman, but it’s his use of magic that truly makes him a threat. With powers granted by the Olympian gods, Shazam, AKA Captain Marvel, can easily give Superman a run for his money, especially through the use of the magical lightning bolts he uses to transform. Add the fact that the seemingly grown-up hero is actually a small child, and you can understand why he’s been manipulated into fighting Superman more than once. Superman has also fought Shazam’s arch-foe Black Adam, who has the same powers as his heroic counterpart.
#4: Muhammad Ali
Undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, this legendary fighter has won some incredible fights, but what other boxer can claim to have TKO’d Superman himself? After aliens demand that Earth’s greatest champion battle their own warrior, Superman, and Ali go one on one to determine who will represent Earth in the upcoming fight. With Superman temporarily depowered, Ali wins out, with Superman falling to the mat after taking a hail of punches. Afterwards, the pair team up to help drive back the invading aliens. The whole story was published in a special issue published in 1978 and reissued more recently in 2010.
You don’t get to be the despotic ruler of the planet Apokolips without being tough. One of Superman’s most formidable opponents, this intimidating baddie has strength and power that matches that of the Man of Steel, as well the ability to fire the Omega Beams, energy beams that can track targets and disintegrate or teleport them upon impact. Darkseid’s frequent attempts to invade Earth have led to him trading blows with Superman many times. In one epic battle, Darkseid even defeated Superman and left him imprisoned in the Source Wall, the ancient structure which rests at the edge of the known universe.
Superman might be one of the most powerful superheroes in comics, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be taken out with a little planning. In the many showdowns between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, Batman has triumphed a number of times. Usually, this is thanks to Batman’s vast array of technological gadgets, his superior tactical acumen, or just having enough money to afford a lump of Kryptonite. Their most famous confrontation is doubtlessly their showdown in “The Dark Knight Returns”, in which a heavily armored Batman beats Superman to a pulp thanks to some handy Kryptonite.
While we’ve established that a number of characters have been a match for Superman, his most notorious defeat is clearly his death at the hands of the monster Doomsday. A merciless beast from Krypton’s ancient past, this hulking being is able to come back to life whenever it’s killed, stronger than before and invulnerable to whatever killed it last time. In the now-famous “Death of Superman” story, Doomsday arrives on Earth and a pitched battle with Superman ensues. By the time the dust settles, both Superman and his opponent are seemingly dead. Of course, they both come back before long, but this remains Superman’s most famous defeat.