"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
In celebration of Superman’s 75th anniversary on April 18th (Action Comics #1 came out on April 18, 1938), you’ll be voting for the Top 75 Superman Stories of All-Time. With such a big list, we can’t expect everyone to know all the best Superman stories over the years offhand, so we’ll be providing you a list of 100 nominees over ten days (ten a day) that you’ll be choosing from on April 15th (basically, you’ll get 100 choices and then you’ll be putting them into order from #75-1). This is not the final list, these are just the stories that you’ll be voting on later on.
Here is the next batch of ten nominees (they are not in any particular order)!
41. “For the Man Who has Everything?” (Superman Annual #11)
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons celebrate Superman’s birthday in style by having the villainous Mongul showing the Man of Steel a reality where Krypton DIDN’T explode and Kal-El is a middling bureaucrat. Can Superman’s visiting friends Batman, Wonder Woman and Robin help save him? And how will he react when he wakes from this fantasy (hint: he will be none too pleased with Mongul)?
42. “Funeral for a Friend” (Justice League America #70, Adventures of Superman #498-499, Superman #76-77, Superman: Man of Steel #20-21, Action Comics #685-686)
This touching send-off to the world’s greatest superhero was done over a couple of months in all of the Superman titles, by the same creative team as the Death of Superman (Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern and Louise Simonson on story, Jurgens, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice and Jon Bogdanove on pencils and Rick Burchett, Brett Breeding, Doug Hazelwood, Denis Rodier and Dennis Janke on inks).
43. “Our Worlds at War” (Superman vol. 2, #171-173; Adventures of Superman #593-595; Superman: The Man of Steel #115-117; Action Comics #780-782; Supergirl #59; JLA: Our Worlds at War #1; Wonder Woman #172-173; Young Justice #36; Impulse #77; Superboy #91; World’s Finest: Our Worlds at War #1)
Superman had been preparing for the invasion of the villainous Imperiex for some time but he was not prepared for just how devastating the attack would be on Earth. It crossed over into every DC Universe title and left Wonder Woman’s mother and Aquaman dead. Things were so bad that the good guys enlisted the help of both Darkseid AND Doomsday!!! Jeph Loeb was the main driving force behind this storyline, along with the other main Superman writers (Joe Kelly, Joe Casey and Mark Schultz) and a host of artists.
44. “The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman!” Superman Volume 1 #164
Likely the first notable example of the “humanize Luthor” trope that we have seen a number of great examples of over the years. Here, Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein bring us a battle between Luthor and Superman on a planet where Superman’s powers do not work. Surprisingly, Luthor ends up becoming a hero to the people on this planet, allowing us to see another side to the mad genius and, for the first time, get the repeated idea of “If there was no Superman around for him to attack, would Luthor actually be a good guy?”
45. The Krypton Chronicles #1-3
One of the very first DC mini-series, this three-book affair by E. Nelson Bridwell, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte has Superman and Supergirl learn the history of Krypton.
46. “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk!” Superman Volume 1 #30
Jerry Siegel and Ira Yarbrough introduce one of the most memorable Superman villains of all-time
47. “The Secret of the Phantom Quarterback!” Superman Volume 1 #264
In this memorable story (with a brilliant Nick Cardy cover) by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, Steve Lombard, destined to be a longtime thorn in Clark Kent’s side, makes his first appearance.
48. “The Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite” Superman Volume 2 #49-50, Adventures of Superman #472 and Action Comics #659
Mr. Mxyzptlk gives Lex Luthor red Kryptonite, which Lex uses to cause havoc with Superman’s life. The biggest development in this story, though, is that Clark proposes to Lois! Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens and Roger Stern wrote it, with art by Ordway, Jurgens, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, Brett Breeding and Dennis Janke.
49. Superman: Secret Origin #1-6
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Jon Sibal gave their particular take on the origin of Superman, most notably they folded in the Superboy aspect of Superman’s life for the first time since Crisis.
50. “Supergirl From Krypton” Superman/Batman #8-12
Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner introduced Kara Zor-El into the DC Universe for the first time Post-Crisis in this epic five-parter that sees young Kara arrive on Earth along with a whole boatload of Kryptonite. Batman doesn’t trust her and Wonder Woman trains her with the Amazons. Darkseid becomes interested in her and attempts to sway her to the, you know, dark side. Ultimately, she breaks free of his control and embraces the lifestyle of her older cousin and decides to become a new hero known as Supergirl.
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