Lots of people have this idea that Superman is just not cool—that a character who's essentially unstoppable is not interesting to read about. GUYS. STOP SAYING THAT. We here at The MindHut would like to present you with five fantastic Superman stories that we hope will change your mind about the Man of Steel. In these tales, great writers and artists put Superman to the test against some pretty intense and unexpected enemies. If you ever doubted Superman was worth reading, just take a gander at these…
Action Comics #800 - "A Hero's Journey"
Superman vs. THE REAL WORLD
Currently available in: Not reprinted! Get on it, DC! (this should be in stock at comic shops with back issue collections, though, or on eBay)
Synopsis: Action Comics #800 is a wonderfully clever book that crowdsourced its creation. Before writing the issue, author Joe Kelly asked regular people to write brief letters explaining what Superman means to them. Those letters are reprinted in the issue and intercut with a story of young Clark Kent's journalistic origins; we simultaneously come to see how Clark came to believe in himself and what belief in Superman means to people in the real world. It's actually pretty touching.
Superman Red Son
Superman vs. GLOBAL POLITICS
Currently available in: Red Son trade paperback
Synopsis: This book sets out to answer a simple question: what if the rocket that brought baby Kal-El to Earth landed 12 hours later, causing him to end up not in Kansas but in the Soviet Union? How would a Communist country raise a Superbaby, and how would that boy put Eastern ideology into action when he grew up and embraced his powers? Far from a simple "America good, Communists BAD" sketch, this book looks at the complexities of mid-20th century politics through a fictional lens, and shows that no matter where he's raised, Superman will always try to do good… whatever that may mean.
Superman: Infinite Crisis
Superman vs. HIMSELF
Currently available in: Infinite Crisis trade paperback
Synopsis: In the midst of DC's massive reality-warping Infinite Crisis crossover, modern-day Superman meets the original Superman of the '40s, and neither one is too happy with the way the other acts. The current Superman feels that his predecessor did not set a good example for his times, while Classic Superman believes that his newer counterpart has compromised his ethics too much in a morally grey world. So what happens when they switch places? Could our Superman end World War II? Is the '40s Superman correct that right and wrong are clear-cut? This is a true clash of the Titans and one of the most interesting experimental stories featuring the Man of Steel.
Superman vs. DEATH
Currently available in: All-Star Superman trade paperback
Synopsis: In the first part of this 12-issue series, Superman learns he's been infected with fatal radiation that will kill him. Before he dies, though, Superman's determined to make the world a better place. But can the planet survive without him? This amazing story is a real look at Superman's power to do good pushed to its limit. It is also incredibly clever and funny; each of the 12 chapters takes a classic Superman trope (like Bizzaro World or Doomsday) and turns it on its head, managing to laugh at the sillier aspects of Superman's world while embracing what makes the Man of Steel special.
Action Comics #775 - "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?"
Superman vs. RELEVANCE
Currently available in: Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told trade paperback
Synopsis: A new team of super-powered vigilantes called the Elite arrives in Metropolis with one goal: kill anyone who threatens society. They quickly run into Superman, who appreciates their motive but abhors their actions. The Elite (like many readers) feel that Superman's moral code is outdated and useless; to them,killing is the only way to stop the world's evils. Unfortunately, it seems most of the general public agrees. Now Superman has to figure out a way to beat four enemies just as strong as he is… but the question remains: does anyone want him to?
Are you a Superman hater?