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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Default Worst versions of Superman?

    Who, in your mind, are the worst versions of Superman? Mine, in descending order:

    Injustice Superman: This one's pretty self explanatory. They turned him into an outright villain. I have a hard time believing he'd be this easy to corrupt. Even if he lost it and killed the Joker, the idea that he'd go all dictator and take over the world and see everyone as his "subjects" within just five years time is a bridge too far for me. Justice Lords at least tried to imply there was a lot of stuff we didn't see leading up to Superman's corruption and even then he came across as more concerned with public safety than iron handed rule. If you read the comic, you can see how Superman became a dictator and it still doesn't seem to follow a logical pattern.

    DCEU: I've gone over before why this version bothers me. I left the theater practically traumatized by his killing of Zod. Pa was willing to let a bus full of kids drown than risk Clark reveal his powers. Lois finding out from day one about his secret identity wasn't exactly a good selling point but I suppose if they were going to do it eventually they may as well have gotten it out of the way early. The destruction porn was probably worse than the death of Zod. Him kissing Lois in the middle of a city where half the population was essentially killed was just kind of tacky. The overall tone and darkness just didn't work for Superman. They had some clever ideas like him having trouble breathing when he first arrives on Earth or having the fortress be an old Kryptonian scout ship (with possibly Supergirl on board) but overall I just didn't like it. I'm hoping JL makes up for a lot of this.

    DCAU Superman: This is a controversial entry, I know, but I think he was handled poorly here. He was deliberately de-powered by the same people who redefined Batman for an entire generation which just makes it look like they are trying to undermine him in comparison. This problem only got worse as the progressive series' went on. The JLU more or less made him a punching bag. And when they weren't doing that, they just made him a "punch first and ask questions later" guy. Like with Captain Marvel. He was the easiest of the team to manipulate. Yes, I'm aware of the "world made of cardboard" speech. That doesn't really make up for a decade of making him a muscled rube. This bad portrayal culminated in Batman Beyond where he was controlled by a Starro for what is implied as more than a decade. The comic says Lois died during that time. Taking an even bigger dump on him just for good measure. I WANT to like this version but I just can't.

    Lois & Clark: This entire series just seems like it was poking fun of the Superman mythos. We get it, a pair of glasses isn't a good disguise. And as the series went on, they just went more and more off the rails (frog eating clones, anyone?). I kind of liked it at the time but it hasn't aged well.

    Young Justice: Overall I loved this series and universe in general. It had all the right elements. But their treatment of Superman in the first season really grated on me. I have a hard time believing he'd treat anyone the way he treated Superboy in the first season. All of this was, of course, to make Batman look like the better father figure. Their relationship improved greatly with the second season but his treatment of Superboy in the first was a bad blotch on his record. Wonder if he'll even be in the third season (probably sans trunks).

    Kingdom Come: I kind of like this version in that I can see why he did what he did (and he certainly handled Lois death better than Injustice did). But he still abandoned humanity. Now, I chalk a lot of that up to him losing Lois, and he eventually did the right thing, but, like YJ, it's still kind of a blotch on his record. The flip side of this is that he has been portrayed better in spin off series than he was in the original book where it just felt like he was being led around by WW. JSA made him seem like an elder statesman. And the Convergence book where he teamed up with Superboy really made him come across as more of a father figure than he had ever been. Plus, he has my favorite Superman costume!

    Supergirl: This one's pretty far down the list for a reason. As a stand alone Superman, he's about perfect. Both his Clark and Superman are spot on! But it's obvious they go out of their way to undermine him to make Kara look better. He gets mind controlled in the first season even though she didn't to make her the hero. He gets mind controlled AGAIN in the second season to get him off the board. And then he turns around and says that she's both stronger and more noble than he is. We get it, it's her show. And then, to top it all off, they have Flash poke fun of him in the musical.

    Honorable mention, and I haven't read much about either one so they aren't really included here, would be Red Son Superman and Nazi Superman. Both show remorse for what their respective governments did but didn't do much to make amends for it. Just a "softer" version of more of the same.

    I've tried to exclude mainstream comics versions from this list because I have my varying degree of issues with all of them. DC continuity, and Superman's in particular, is an unstable mistress and if I have an issue with it, it's that. You get attached to one thing and five years later it's not canon anymore. I have no reason to believe that won't be the case five years from now either. There has never been a "perfect" comic version (outside of maybe the Smallville comic but that wasn't canon). Feel free to include least favorite eras if you wish.
    Listen, lady! I am thirteen years old and driving a Bat-hog through the Amazon on a Tuesday morning! I am ALREADY winning!

    -Robin

  2. #2
    Heir of Batman adrikito's Avatar
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    Oh, no... I think this will be my first and last visit here.. Now the N52 Superman haters will show his hate again..

    THE EVIL VERSIONS..

    INJUSTICE SUPERMAN
    and.. LORD SUPERMAN(DCAU) and both characters in the comics, even as old(JL Beyond) the same stupid...

    Nothing against Ultraman, unlike these 2..
    Last edited by adrikito; 10-15-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  3. #3
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    Injustice Superman pretty much. Probably because they went full bend with the guy.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member sakuyamons's Avatar
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    Injustice Superman.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Injustice Superman takes the case

    DCAU Superman: Like him a lot in his own show, find him really underwhelming in JL/U. Even in his own show, I don't think it's the best adaptation he could have, and doesn't measure up to what the same creative team did for Batman.

    Young Justice: I think him being uncomfortable around Kon initially was a good idea; it was insensitive, but was also understandable. Stretching that out for several months, however, is how you get your audience to think Superman is a dick, and I have a hard time believing he would let his feelings prevent him from showing any comfort to the obviously troubled teen who didn't ask to be cloned from him for that long is ridiculous. He improved a bit in season 2.

    Post-Crisis as a whole: this era is too long to be completely void of good, even great stories. He was fantastic in Morrison's JLA for example, and this became more of a problem towards the end than later on. But there was too much "I'm Clark, Superman is just what I do" stuff going on here, even from the start, and the foundation Byrne laid of him wanting to embrace his Earth heritage but not his Kryptonian one just flies in the face of what Superman is about. And everything from around Identity Crisis to Flashpoint was either underwhelming or terrible.

  6. #6
    Fantastic Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Injustice is the obvious one, as others have said. Goes from basically being Superman, to being a world-conquering psychopath pretty quickly. He's not the only hero to be seriously messed up, but he's among the top (Wonder Woman gets the top here, sad to say).

    New52. I know there's a lot of New52 fans here, a lot jumping on when he came out, but for someone that followed Superman prior to it, it was jarring to say the least.

    DCEU. The actor certainly looks like Clark/Superman. And being freaked out when his powers first begin to manifest? I get that. Even having Lois Lane as the love interest I liked. What I didn't like was that his parents, especially Pa Kent, were far from supportive. Letting a bus of kids drown to hide his powers? Dying in a tornado to hide his powers? Yeah, that just felt so wrong. That's not even getting into them using Metropolis like a little kid uses sand castles made by his siblings.

    Season 1 Young Justice. Overall, this was a great series. And while his initial reaction to Connor was justified, to have it go on for months was too much. They later form a brotherly bond in Season 2.

  7. #7
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    Ultraman.......what? He's a version of Superman.

  8. #8
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    Superman with a mullet...it actually bothered me more than when he was blue.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member sakuyamons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milton Fine View Post
    Superman with a mullet...it actually bothered me more than when he was blue.
    I actually thought his mullet was cool

  10. #10
    Mighty Member TheCape's Avatar
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    It wasn't supposed to be a mullet.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milton Fine View Post
    Superman with a mullet...it actually bothered me more than when he was blue.
    I think the problem was how long they dragged it out. A few months, fine. A year? Bit much but okay. But four years?
    Listen, lady! I am thirteen years old and driving a Bat-hog through the Amazon on a Tuesday morning! I am ALREADY winning!

    -Robin

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Post-Crisis as a whole: this era is too long to be completely void of good, even great stories. He was fantastic in Morrison's JLA for example, and this became more of a problem towards the end than later on. But there was too much "I'm Clark, Superman is just what I do" stuff going on here, even from the start, and the foundation Byrne laid of him wanting to embrace his Earth heritage but not his Kryptonian one just flies in the face of what Superman is about.
    But that's merely where the character started out. For out-of-universe reasons it was emphasized at the time of the reboot to provide a stark contrast with where Superman was before, the same way the New 52 Superman had emphasized many of the ways he was different. In-universe it made sense to some degree, as Clark didn't find out he was an alien until high school and didn't find out about Krypton until years into his Superman career. He felt it important to hang on to the human heritage he was raised with, but as he grew and got more comfortable with the idea, he definitely began embracing a bit of his Kryptoninan side in a more balanced way.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCape View Post
    It wasn't supposed to be a mullet.
    Yeah, it was simply long hair. Only a few artists ever drew it as if it were a mullet and I don't think it was ever really illustrated that way in the main books.
    Last edited by Embryonic Superman; 10-15-2017 at 04:47 PM.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member Adekis's Avatar
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    I've got this deliberately absurd theory that the Injustice Superman is actually Dynaman, aka cartoonishly evil Adolf Hitler. -9000000/10

    DCAU Superman starts out as a decent version of Superman who happens to have the proportionate strength of a spider, but goes on to become a self-righteous jerk who always jobs to make other characters look good. 8/10 -> 4/10

    YJ Superman is just awful. Completely blows off his responsibility to Kon, bad with people, bad in a crisis in the field - he just pisses me off constantly. Totally fails to engage me as a character. Has the insolence to appear in the same show as the Best Luthor ever on top of that. 0/10

    Kingdom Come Superman is super terrible. So a court of law acquits the man who finally kills the worst serial murderer in history and Superman decides that now he gets to choose the law, that if the world doesn't live up to his standards, it doesn't get the benefit of his protection. First of all, miscarriages of justice happen all the time, but now Superman decides it's too much? Secondly, it's the damn Joker; the people's response was totally understandable! And then the dude just builds a farm? Is there a less interesting thing Superman could do? And then he's off building gulags! It's true that he's treated a lot better in JSA, and if I just had that to look at I'd feel very differently about him, but as-is... -5/10. 6/10 in JSA.

    Supergirl Superman is a flatter version of Reeve's Superman when he's not being treated like crap to make Kara look good. I honestly feel bad for him. An episode or two designed to give him more depth and elevate his status instead of elevating Kara could begin to slowly improve the character, but that's just not what we've got. 2/10

    Reeve's Superman shirks his responsibility like KC Supes does in order to get laid, and mind-wipes Lois, violating the sanctity of her mental privacy. I've heard some defenses of this, but nothing that doesn't bother me with how readily they ignore her rights in favor of treating her more as an object for Superman to act upon. Just horrible. He also has powers that don't make a lick of sense, like poorly-conveyed time travel and arbitrary telekinesis that comes out of nowhere. He's charming, but his popularity is another strike against him, as it leads to dreadful, low-budget retreads of already bad parts of his movies. At least the acting is awesome, and I'll always love his relationship with Lana. 2/10

    Reeves' Superman in s1e13 "The Stolen Costume" goes out of his way to avoid killing criminals who want to blackmail him upon discovering his secret identity, but puts them in a position where they'll clearly die anyway, so he can sleep at night. He does everything but pull the trigger. I'd have been less bothered if he just murdered them, at least that would have been honest. I can't imagine stretching this rating to the rest of the series, since there's absolutely no sense of ongoing continuity that I've ever seen and the whole thing gets pretty cartoonish pretty fast, in a fun way. Ultimately, I'll forgive Adventures of Superman a bad episode, but I won't forgive the episode itself. -10/10

    Earth One Superman is better than Earth One Batman, but look, his mission is to avenge Krypton's destruction? Zod is his uncle and destroyed Krypton? He only has a costume 'cause his Mom was pressuring him to be Superman, and he only wears it at all because there's an alien invasion? He even decided (temporarily) that he didn't want to be a journalist (which he'd never considered before) because it didn't automatically come easily to him. He's a joke! 1/10
    Last edited by Adekis; 10-15-2017 at 04:49 PM.
    "You know the deal, Metropolis. Treat people right or expect a visit from me."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    Reeves' Superman in s1e13 "The Stolen Costume" goes out of his way to avoid killing criminals who want to blackmail him upon discovering his secret identity, but puts them in a position where they'll clearly die anyway, so he can sleep at night. He does everything but pull the trigger. I'd have been less bothered if he just murdered them, at least that would have been honest. I can't imagine stretching this rating to the rest of the series, since there's absolutely no sense of ongoing continuity that I've ever seen and the whole thing gets pretty cartoonish pretty fast, in a fun way. Ultimately, I'll forgive Adventures of Superman a bad episode, but I won't forgive the episode itself. -10/10
    To be fair the implication in the episode is that Superman left them in a remote and desolate area that they couldn't get out of. He planned to return on a regular basis with supplies for them. Now if your criticism was about his kidnapping and illegally detaining them, I'd begrudgingly agree that Superman shouldn't do things like this. But their deaths were not planned by Superman as a solution. It never crossed his mind that they would actually risk their own lives trying to escape.

    And the worst Superman to me was in the JLA: Acts of God Elseworld.
    Followed closely by Jordan Ellis in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow and Clark in real continuity in One Year Later

    All fall into the same bad plot hole by having a depowered Superman decide to live a "normal" life and give up on the never-ending battle.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    That was actually the first episode of that show I ever saw! It's an interesting premise but the only way out of it would be some sort of Dues Ex Machina. There's no way they could have survived the episode without it coming back to haunt him.
    Listen, lady! I am thirteen years old and driving a Bat-hog through the Amazon on a Tuesday morning! I am ALREADY winning!

    -Robin

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