5 Best Versions of Superman

A few iterations of the Man of Steel.
A few iterations of the Man of Steel.


In a recent article our esteemed writer Joseph Schrader tackled the topic that is on every Superman fans mind. Which is the best iteration of Superman?  Joseph included some great iterations, the Bruce Timm animated Superman, and pretty much every other animated entry of Superman over the last two decades. I’m going to introduce more to the list, I hope you enjoy and let us know, who is your Superman?

5. Smallville Superman

The Boy Scout.

The year is 2001 and I am a young man. I  don’t have any real series that I  follow religiously, then Smallville arrived. With this bold new series the CW tried to make  Superman appeal to the  mainstream and how did they do they do it? By turning Superman into a Dawson’s Creek knock off. With all the teen drama and angst you could handle but with sprinklings of superhuman battles in every episode and by sprinklings  I mean Clark would kick the ass of whoever he fought until kryptonite randomly showed up then he’d think his way out Mcgyver style. This worked for three seasons for the most part but then season four hit and we got aliens, Zoners and the introduction of proper Krypton lore. From then on things just grew and grew until Green Arrow was a main character, and Clark had a Fortress Of Solitude which he frequented often. What  made this series for  me was that we were there every step of the  way, this was a Clark who we grew up with.We saw his first flight as Kal-El and then we saw him take flight as Superman in the season finale. This iteration was flawed, broody and we saw him grow from Superboy to  Superman and I loved every moment.

4. Kingdom Come Superman

The God.

Written by the great Mark Waid and illustrated by the legendary Alex Ross Kingdom Come is a complete game changer in terms of storytelling and visuals. What Mark Waid  did to the DC Multiverse changed how a lot of superheroes and supervillains were perceived by fans. None were more redefined than Superman who was transformed into a benevolent God who had given up on humanity. The tale is heartbreaking, Superman has exiled himself after a tragic events makes him realise he has become obsolete. Years pass and Wonder Woman pulls Superman out of exile so he can save the world from the out of control superheroes that generation X has created. This Superman is jaded and is physically trying to fight for truth, justice and all that but it  is an uphill battle. If any iteration is to be considered the strongest Superman it would be this one, including unbelievable levels of superhuman strength even by Superman standards, this iteration has grown out of his weakness of kryptonite and is actually indestructible(nothing can kill him) and then there is the hinted at immortality since he seems to be ageing at a ridiculously slow pace. This is the Citizen Kane of  DC epics in my opinion, even if  you’re not a fan of  Superman this is a top notch read.

3. Man Of Steel Superman

I FINALLY believed a man could fly

In  2013 we finally got Superman back onto the big screen and he came back in a big way. This was a Superman who was a flawed individual,he didn’t understand his powers fully for the better part of three decades and this was a guy who just wanted to know his place in the world. He was a lost child, yearning for acceptance while at the same distancing himself from the people he fears. With Godlike power and non existent combat training Superman in this iteration is a true engine of destruction. Hopefully in the upcoming sequel he will figure out some way to deal with problems without demolishing several city blocks. This Superman is the Superman for  right now, flawed, human and yet still full of hope.

2. Earth One Superman

The Jared Leto.
The Jared Leto.

Released in 2010 under the creative team of  J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis Earth One  retold the origin story of Superman if he existed in a more modern setting. This was the beginning of a new DC Earth where no superheroes existed. With this new iteration, Superman was truly a complex alien being. Finally he was given the advanced alien intelligence he deserved and so rarely achieved.  This version of Superman was complex, brooding, at times frighteningly powerful and most of all uncompromising. This was a Superman who policed not just the USA but the world, and this is all kinds of impressive. With cutting dialogue, an other worldly presence and a dangerous view on world politics this is a Superman everyone should check out.

1. Red Son Superman

The Dictator.
The Dictator.

Let me set the scene. It’s a beautiful day over the Kansas skyline, birds are chirping, farmers going along their daily choirs. It’s your average day. Fast track over to Communist Russia and a strange alien spacecraft has crashed and has now been picked up by the Russian government. Fast forward a decade or two and we meet Superman,  a man who believes in the wonders of Communism and what it can do for the people of the world. With alternate versions of  Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern and Lex Luthor gunning for Mother Russia and her interests this Superman decided the world needed to be under his “protection”. With an arrogance never before seen in previous iterations this was a Superman you did not want to mess with. A tactical genius who knew how to get the most out of  any situation he was placed in, manipulating everyone around him to serve his goals this was a Superman you didn’t quite know where you stood with.

So there it is, my top five iterations to the legacy of the Man Of Steel.What do you think? Have I left any out that you feel have gone unappreciated. This was a lot  of fun and I hope you enjoyed my trip down Kryptonian lane. Comment below and let us know.

The Author

Graham Day

Graham Day

I am a geek first and foremost. I love animation, film and comics. I live in Dublin, Ireland and love it. I have met so many amazing people over the years, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Mark Millar and Scott Snyder to name but a few. I love to sketch, write and talk about geek news. I went to college for five years, three years animation and two years communication and media. All opinions are my own so I hope they're witty and original, I'm fairly certain they're not.

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