Top 10 Superman Comics You Should Read
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Script written by Craig Butler
He's appeared in thousands of comic books – but these are the ones that really matter. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down the Top 10 Superman Comics You Should Read. For this list, we're looking at Superman stories that are exceptionally well told and/or have an important place in the Superman canon – stories that are really, you know, super.
Special thanks to our users MikeyP and Anthony Castaneda for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Craig Butler
Top 10 Superman Comics You Should Read
He's appeared in thousands of comic books – but these are the ones that really matter. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down the Top 10 Superman comics you should read.
For this list, we're looking at Superman stories that are exceptionally well told and/or have an important place in the Superman canon – stories that are really, you know, super.
#10: "Superman: Earth One" (2010)
There have been numerous re-tellings of Superman's early days, and this is one of the best. Author J. Michael Straczynski set his story in an alternate world, which frees him worrying about established continuity. Straczynski's version of Superman is more human. He struggles over career choices and has a desire as Clark Kent to fit in. His colleagues at the Daily Planet act more like real life journalists as well. Emphasizing the reality of the characters and situations, "Superman: Earth One" creates a Superman that is compelling and complex, while still true to his roots.
#9: "Superman: Secret Identity" (2004)
In a world in which Superman is a famous comic book character, a boy named Clark Kent gets teased about sharing his name with that of the hero's alter ego. Amazingly, in his teens, Clark does somehow develop superpowers. This series shows how he uses those powers for good, counting on no one to believe that a real Superman could exist. "Secret Identity" is a fascinating exploration of what Superman would be like if his Clark Kent identity was given as much importance as his superheroic one.
#8: "The Man of Steel" (1986)
John Byrne's Superman reboot in 1986 did a great job of cleaning up almost five decades of tangled storylines. Taking Superman back to the beginning, he kept most of the major elements but made some key changes, such as not killing off Ma and Pa Kent. Perhaps most importantly, Byrne reimagined arch-villain Lex Luthor. No longer simply an obviously-evil mad scientist, this Luthor was a power player in Metropolis. Rich, influential and ruthless, he was now above the law – and that made him a much more challenging foe for Superman in the years to come.
#7: "Kingdom Come" (1996)
While "Kingdom Come" features practically the entire DC Universe, Superman is the primary player here. Set in an alternate future, an aging Superman and his allies come out of retirement to fight the ruthless superhumans who have taken their place. But things are not as simple as they were in Superman's day, and as the metahuman civil war expands, his actions only make things worse. Even more dangerous, Superman doesn't see that he himself is on a path to destruction. A chilling and provocative look at the uses and abuses of power, "Kingdom Come" is powerful and disturbing.
#6: "Superman: Peace on Earth" (1999)
Superman’s quest for peace never seems to work out for him does it? "Peace on Earth" deals with one of them: ending world hunger. Superman begins a campaign to feed the world, gathering massive amounts of food from eager volunteers. The Man of Steel delivers this food to many starving people, but meets with resistance in too many instances. In one case, the local warlord even uses a chemical weapon to poison the food. This story emphasizes that global issues are more complex than they seem, and not even someone likeSuperman can fight against the will of human nature.
#5: "Superman: Last Son of Krypton" (2006-07)
Although the phrase "Last Son of Krypton" usually refers to Superman, that's not the case here. Superman finds a young boy who turns out to be another survivor of his home planet. He makes plans to adopt the boy in his civilian identity Clark Kent and there is something very special in the relationship that develops between them. What he doesn't know is that the newly-christened Christopher Kent is actually the son of the infamous Kryptonian criminal General Zod. And when Zod arrives on Earth looking for his child, all hell breaks loose. It’s an interesting dynamic, as they are fighting over the wellbeing of an individual, rather than the fate of Earth.
#4: "All-Star Superman" (2006-08)
Sure, it's easier to be a superhero when it's practically impossible to be killed. But that all changes in this alternate world story. Writer Grant Morrison imagines a situation in which Superman's powers are enhanced to an even greater extent – but the cost is that he only has one year left to live. The 12-issue mini-series has a shadow looming over it throughout, while being homage to the Silver Age Superman stories. The combination makes for a unique tone, and Morrison's deft and idiosyncratic writing tells a touching and memorable tale.
#3: "Superman: Red Son" (2003)
Another "what if" story, this one wonders what might have happened if Superman had been found and raised in communist Russia rather than the United States. With Superman on their side, Russia overtakes the U.S. as the dominant world superpower. Under Superman's rule, the Soviets prosper while the U.S. teeters on the brink of collapse. But the Russian success comes at the cost of personal freedoms, as Superman is increasingly a Big Brother-like figure. Meanwhile, what can happen when America's champion is none other than Lex Luthor? "Red Son" is a fascinating investigation into nature versus nurture and the abuse of power.
#2: "The Death of Superman" (1992-93)
Few comic book events have caused the media uproar that the "Death of Superman" storyline occasioned. Yet even though some would dismiss this as nothing more than a way for DC to boost sales, the fact remains that the story is gripping and hard to put down. It's also pretty much the very definition of "action-packed." Simply put, Superman finds himself fighting the aptly-named Doomsday – and is physically overwhelmed. The sight of the mightiest of superheroes actually dying produced tons of tears. Even though readers knew it couldn't last, the emotion it engendered was quite real.
Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
"Action Comics: Brainiac" (2008)
"Superman: Birthright" (2003-04)
"Superman: For the Man Who Has Everything" (1985)
"Superman For All Seasons" (1998)
"Injustice: Gods Among Us" (2013 - )
#1: "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" (1986)
Writer Alan Moore and legendary Superman artist Curt Swan teamed up to create what may be the most satisfying Superman story ever. The set-up of this imaginary story is simple. Superman disappeared 10 years ago, after all of Superman's major enemies wreaked havoc. Beloved characters, including Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang and Krypto, sacrificed themselves along the way. Having been forced to kill one of his foes to stop the destruction, Superman then disappears. A beautiful homage that both paid homage to the Silver Age while pointing the way to the modern era of comics, this story features Superman at his finest.
Agree with our choices? What other Man of Steel tales should we have included? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.