Wednesday, December 5, 2012




Created by: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster  First Appearance: ACTION COMICS #1 (1938)

Kal-El is the last son of the doomed planet Krypton. He was rocketed away as an infant by his father Jor-El who believed that the planet was about to explode. Arriving on Earth, the child was taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raised him as their own child. As he grew up, he discovered that due to this solar system's yellow sun, he had gained almost unlimited powers, of flight, speed, strength, endurance and enhanced senses. The name "Superman" was given to him by reporter Lois Lane, with whom he would come to love and work with at the Daily Planet in his civilian identity as Clark Kent. 

As Superman, he carries the most respect of any superhero the world has ever known and has become the standard all others are measured by. He lives by the traditional moral values instilled in him by his foster parents. He is often pictured with a sense of unbounded idealism mixed with restraint provided by his sense of fairness and compassion for others. He is a man with an incredible depth of feeling, often struggling with the differences between the right answer and the practical one. Devoted to promoting "truth, justice, and the American way", Superman has proved over and over that he is a true hero, capable of whatever bravery and self-sacrifice is necessary to right a wrong or save a life. He is above our common human character flaws; he doesn't feel greed, prejudice, resentment or bias.

With Superman being the greatest and most beloved superhero on Earth, it does come with a dangerous drawback - a bunch of characters who desperately want to kill or corrupt him. But those who find themselves at odds with The Man of Steel are usually at his mercy. With such a vast array of powers at his disposal, Superman is a frightening opponent. While he is capable of tossing around buildings, withstanding nuclear blasts and flying at speeds faster than light, Superman's greatest strength is that he is totally incorruptible. He has an unearthly sense of pride and justice and this makes him such a big target for the villains of the universe that keep trying to break him down spiritually to increase their reputation. But no matter how stacked the odds are against him, win, lose or draw, Superman always stays true to his beliefs and stands triumphant in the eyes of the world. And this has lead The Man of Steel into some of the greatest battles the comic medium has ever seen.

Listed here for the first time ever are Superman's 5 greatest slugfests that defined him into the icon that he is. And with a career that has spanned almost 80 years within the pages of thousands upon thousands of comics, creating this list was by no means an easy task. Ladies and gentlemen, fanboys and fangirls of all ages..."This looks like a job for SUPERMAN!!"

5.) JLA/AVENGERS #1 and 2 (2003)

Writer: Kurt Busiek  Art: George Perez

For years there was always a debate between arguably the two greatest and all around most powerful super heroes in the comics world -- Superman and The Mighty Thor. Both had reputations that garnered them the utmost respect from their peers and fanboys alike. Who was the stronger? Who was the more powerful? Who would win in a knock-em-out-drag-em-out fight to the finish without any excuses? Well, Marvel and DC left those questions up to legendary writer Kurt Buiesk in the JLA/AVENGERS mega-event. Finally, with a definitive answer given, the debate was over and the comic world was never the same.

The Grandmaster informs the Justice League that to save the universe, they have to gather 12 items of power (six DC items and six Marvel items). While his ally Metron tells the Avengers that they have to stop the League to prevent the world from being destroyed. The Justice League travels to the Marvel Universe, and are dismayed by the Avengers' failure to improve their Earth's condition. When the Avengers visit the DC Universe, they are surprised by the "futuristic" architecture of its Earth's cities and the honors that the Justice League and other native heroes receive for their deeds, and believe that the JL are fascists who demand that civilians worship them. Various JL members and Avengers travel across the two universes and fight each other to retrieve the artifacts of power. When Superman and Thor first meet, it's the Thunder God who draws first blood as he hurls his magic hammer, Mjolnir at the Man of Steel and sends him flying from the scene. Soon Superman recovers and both teams battle to a draw. With the final battle for the Cosmic Cube taking place in the Marvel Universe’s Savage Land, Superman and Thor go at it again, but this time one-on-one. In a brutal battle, Superman manages to stop Thor's attack and then completely knocks out the Thunder God and definitively ends any doubts on who the more powerful hero is in the comic book world.

4.) ACTION COMICS #775 (2001)

 Writer: Joe Kelly Art: Doug Mahnke, Lee Bermejo, Tom Nguyen, Dexter Vines, Jim Royal, Jose Marzan, Wade Von Grawbadger and Wayne Faucher

Superman finds out about this new team called the Elite that has a lack of morals and a willingness to kill. He argues with them over their violent actions, but the team's leader, Manchester Black tells Superman that his days are over. Across Metropolis, Superman sees everyone praising the Elite's actions, even the children. Later, Superman battles with two DEO agents and a pair of aliens, subduing them without harming anyone. When the Elite suddenly materializes, Superman tells them that they should follow his example. Manchester disagrees, and then tells Hat to kill them, and their families. Superman, enraged, knocks Hat to the ground. Black smiles at him, and thanks him because now they will fight. Early the next day, the Elite comes with The Man of Steel waiting for them. At the request of Superman, all four teleport themselves and Superman to Jupiter's moon, Io. Cameras hover around, transmitting the battle back to Earth. Superman offers them an easy surrender. Manchester then hurls Superman through three mountains with his mind. Menagerie's creatures suddenly attack the fallen hero. He defends with his heat vision, before Menagerie herself claws his face. Hat removes his weapon and drops a huge edifice upon him. Superman breaks free but Manchester simply lights a cigarette and gives Superman a stroke. Coldcast walks up, grasps Superman's head, and casually detonates it.  

The Elite stand triumphant, examining the remnants of Superman's cape. Suddenly they hear a low voice carrying over the surface of the moon. The voice thanks them for showing it what it needs to do. Menagerie complains about something biting her and a moment later blows apart. Hat calls out to the other two heroes that Menagerie is dead. Suddenly, a huge wind sweeps the area. Black and Coldcast are protected by a field, but the vacuum instantly suffocates Hat. Then Coldcast vanishes in a super-speed blur. Superman now appears before their leader Manchester. Manchester approaches him, but Superman simply says "No" and ignites his heat vision. Black laughs at him, and then backs away in shock as his power vanishes. Superman tells him that he fired his heat vision through is eyes and fried the part of his brain that granted him powers. Manchester, denies this and then turns to the cameras. He tells Earth that Superman is no better than they are. Superman turns toward the cameras and addresses Earth. He admits that he probably scared the people of Earth with his savagery when he crossed the line. However, lucky for everyone, Superman doesn't like violence. He doesn't believe in it. He then turns toward Black and tells him that his team isn't dead, merely unconscious, and Black's own powers were simply temporarily removed with a mild concussion.

3.) SUPERMAN ANNUAL #11 (1985)

Writer: Alan Moore  Art: Dave Gibbons

Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman pay Superman a visit at his Fortress of Solitude, with Batman and Wonder Woman bearing gifts for the Man of Steel's birthday. However, upon their initial entry, they see Superman standing rather still with a strange alien plant attached to his chest. They call out to him, but Superman doesn't respond. As the three heroes try to determine where the plant came from and what it's doing, Mongul shows up, telling them that the plant is a Black Mercy, which gives its victims the desire of their hearts, trapping them in a dream world that they cannot escape from. He challenges the three heroes to take him on one-on-one to find one among the Earth beings worthy enough to kill. Wonder Woman steps up to the challenge him, nearly breaking her hand after a punch. Mongul then throws her through a wall, where she enters the weapons room of the Fortress, and uses one of the more powerful energy blasters to help her in this fight. 

Meanwhile, Batman tries to reach out to Superman to get him to snap out of his dream world  and attempts to unwrap Black Mercy's tendrils from the Man of Steel. Batman succeeds in pulling Black Mercy off Superman's body, only for it to now latch onto him and give him a fantasy based on the desires of his heart. Superman, now freed from the Black Mercy's thrall, attacks Mongul and saves Wonder Woman from certain death. Incensed that he had been pulled from his fantasy of being on a Krypton that was never destroyed and losing everything that was so dear in the process, Superman fights in a blind rage. Now Robin uses gauntlets that Mongul pulled off his hands and grabs Black Mercy with them, pulling it off Batman. The fight between Superman and Mongul is fierce with neither side prevailing, it carries over into a room where the Kryptonian is distracted by the statue of his parents holding up a globe representing the lost world of Krypton, and Mongul uses this moment of hesitation to pummel Superman. However, Mongul stops when Robin calls out to him. The Boy Wonder then drops Black Mercy right on Mongul, and instantly it wraps itself around the brute, giving him a fantasy of his own heart's desire. With Mongul defeated, Batman and Wonder Woman finally present their birthday gifts to Superman. Wonder Woman shows him a perfect replica of the bottled city of Kandor, while Batman shows him a rare species of a plant blossom called the Krypton -- a blossom that sadly ended up being crushed during the fight.

2.) KINGDOM COME #3 and 4 (1996)

Writer: Mark Waid  Art: Alex Ross

There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest Superman fights of all time. Superman and Captain Marvel have had a legendary rivalry that has been going on for well over 70 years. They have had many epic battles that defined pop-culture and the comic medium itself. But this fight is by far the most popular, most referenced and most legendary clash in the history of "Superman vs Captain Marvel"

With the war of all wars breaking out, the two most powerful beings on Earth square off in a final battle. They face off in the final pages of Kingdom Come #3 when Captain Marvel slams into an unsuspecting Superman. In the next issue, total war breaks out with Captain Marvel (who has been brain washed by Lex Luthor) and Superman battle it out. They fight toe-to-toe until Captain Marvel batters Superman by using his magic lightning bolt over and over but dodging before it hits him, leaving Superman to bear the brunt of a magical lightning strike. However, as Captain Marvel says “SHAZAM!” again, Superman grabs him and the lightning finds its mark; turning Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson. Holding Batson's mouth shut, Superman tells Batson that he is going to stop the remaining bomb, and Batson must make an important choice: either stop him and allow the warhead to kill all the super-humans, or let Superman stop the bomb and allow the super-humans' war to engulf the world. Superman tells Batson he must be the one to make this decision, as he is the only one who lives in both worlds, that of normal humans (as Batson) and the super-human community (as Marvel). Superman releases him and flies off to stop the incoming bomb. Batson, his mind now clear of Luthor's influence, turns into Captain Marvel, flies up to Superman, throws him back down to the ground and takes hold of the bomb. Having found a third option, Marvel shouts "SHAZAM!" three more times in rapid succession and the lightning sets off the bomb prematurely, killing himself in the process. Although an Elseworlds tale, Kingdom Come was for all intents and purposes set in the future of the then-current mainstream DC Universe. This is superhero writing, art and action at its absolute finest! 

1.) DEATH OF SUPERMAN (1992/1993)

Writers: Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, Karl Kesel, William Messner-Loebs, and Gerard Jones  Art: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, Dennis Janke, Denis RodierWalt Simonson, Curt Swan, M. D. Bright, Brett Breeding, Doug Hazelwood, Rick Burchett, Mike Machlan, Ande Parks, Josef Rubinstein, Trevor Scott, and Romeo Tanghal

Superman's greatest and most defining battle ever is also the comic mediums most popular. Here, The Man of Steel finally meets his match and battles to protect the city he loves from the monster known as Doomsday. It was received with enormous success even garnering mass media coverage from all over the world. While the actual fight may be disputed among Superman fanboys, there is no denying the impact it made on the culture and the mythos of The Man of Steel.
While Superman fights the Underworlders a hulking figure in a green suit rampages through a pastoral field. The Justice League International (Guy GardnerBlue BeetleBooster GoldMaximaFireIce, and Bloodwynd) responds to a call from a smashed big-rig outside of Bucyrus, Ohio, and follows the trail of destruction which leads them to a confrontation with the mysterious creature. It systematically takes the team apart, finishing by punching Booster Gold into the sky, who is then caught in midair by SupermanThe Man of Steel  and the able-bodied League members attack Doomsday, but he again defeats them and then leaps away. Superman follows and they battle it out with Maxima reentering the fray. The fight continues at a gas station, where she rips a light post from the ground; the sparks from the wiring ignite the leaking gasoline and the station is destroyed in a huge explosion. Guardian arrives after Doomsday leaves, finding Superman and Maxima regrouping, and offers his aid.  

While demolishing an appliance store, Doomsday sees a TV commercial for a wrestling show being held in Metropolis, and after seeing a road sign for Metropolis, heads in that direction. Superman engages him and throws him in the opposite direction, where he lands on the mountain housing Project Cadmus. They brawl throughout Habitat, a living forest connected to Cadmus, bringing most of it down. When the superhero Guardian arrives, Doomsday knocks him down and leaps toward Metropolis. Doomsday is driven under the ground by Superman, where he ruptures gas and electrical mains, leveling a large section of Metropolis. Supergirl goes to Superman's aid, but a single punch from Doomsday knocks her out of the fight. Professor Emil Hamilton and Bibbo Bibbowski, Superman's allies fire a laser cannon at the creature, but it does not harm him. The local police open fire on Doomsday, but again, he is not harmed. 

Superman returns to the fight to make a last stand. Now The Man of Steel and Doomsday lay into each other with everything they have striking each other with so much force that the shock-waves from their punches shatter windows miles away. At the battles culminating moment in front of the Daily Planet building, each combatant lands a final blow upon each other. The two titans collapse from the impact and moments later, in the arms of a frantic Lois Lane, Superman succumbs to his wounds and seemingly dies... the DC Universe was never the same (well... for a while anyways).

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!

Check out other "THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!)



The Sub-Mariner


The Thing
John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.