In 1992, Superman brought the entire DC Comics universe to a halt and the comic book industry, but not in the way anyone expected. Superman died, marking the end of the clean cut superhero and the beginning of the Dark Ages.
Superman’s death in the battle with Doomsday remains the most shocking event in the Man of Steel’s long and lasting history, but it is far from his only demise. As is common knowledge by now, death is basically a mild inconvenience in the DC Universe, leaving Superman dying countless deaths across different timelines and universes.
10 DCAMU – Doomsday Kills Superman
Superman’s fatal fight with Doomsday got two animated adaptations, but the DC Animated Movie Universe version is more interesting. Not only is The death and return of Superman (the extended combination of The death of superman Y Reign of the supermen) a more faithful adaptation than Superman: Doomsday, it’s part of a completely different DC world.
The DCAMU remixes the events of DC, so Superman’s death serves as a stepping stone to the decisive battle with Darkseid in Justice League Dark: Apokalips War instead of being the end of superman. Most of the adaptive changes required were minor, but notable ones include the expanded role of Lex Luthor and a Justice League lineup that is more New 52 than circa 1992.
9 Infinite Crisis – The Golden Age Superman dies redeeming himself
Infinite Crisis saw DC’s idealistic past literally trade blows with its dark and stark take on the 2000s, with survivors of the Golden Age stepping in to reshape the multiverse. Earth-2’s Golden Age Superman joins Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime in their scheme, initially agreeing to his anger before realizing that they are as selfish as DC’s modern pantheon.
To redeem himself, Earth-2 Superman teams up with the current Superman to stop Superboy-Prime. They succeed, but Earth-2 Superman succumbs to his injuries: he dies and is finally reunited with his beloved Lois Lane.
8 DCeased – Superman gets infected
In DC’s superhero zombie apocalypse, Darkseid finally discovers the Anti-Life Equation, but condemns himself and all of existence to a terrifying death. Apokalips and Earth quickly fall to the virus, and the Justice League fails to contain it. Unsurprisingly, Superman leads the charge, but becomes infected by the loveless plague after killing a ruined Flash.
Under the slavery of the Anti-Life Equation, Superman blazes a bloody war path across the world before the entire Green Lantern Corps appears. The virus (basically a hive mind) in Superman decides to retreat, flying into the sun for shelter. By DCeased: Dead Planet, Superman is still in the sun, presumably until the heat death of the universe.
7 Wonder Woman: Dead Earth – Wonder Woman kills Superman
In another post-apocalyptic DC world, Wonder Woman: Dead Land Follow Princess Diana as she awakens to discover that Earth is a wasteland ruled by monsters. Turns out, she played a role in this when she killed Superman.
Before civilization ended, the Amazons declared war on humanity. Superman fights on the side of humanity, but fails to stop a nuclear attack on Themyscira. Enraged, Wonder Woman brutally kills Superman, and the resulting damage burns the world. Wonder Woman later finds her remains and desecrates them by ripping her skull and spine to make a Kryptonian mace.
6 Batman: Last Knight On Earth – Superman loses a deadly bet
Batman: the last knight on earth is the distant epilogue to Scott Snyder’s run on Batman, and it dies off with a post-apocalyptic outburst. Unlike the usual DC crisis, this one came about because the human race saw it that way. In short, Lex Luthor challenged Superman to a debate on morality and whoever humanity votes as the loser dies. Unfortunately, Superman lost.
Lex eventually defeated Superman, but regrets it shortly after when the world is thrown into chaos, leading to the rise of the tyrannical villain Omega. Crazed with grief, Lex clones countless Supermen after failing to navigate a Kryptonian rocket from an alternate world to Earth. Lex is killed by his Supermen, but not before putting Wonder Woman and Batman to safety.
5 Injustice vs. Masters Of The Universe – He-Man Magically Disintegrates Superman
Magic has long been established as one of Superman’s few weaknesses, which is why the Insurgency of the Injustice world visit to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for help. As ridiculous as it may sound, this is one of the few alternate universes where Superman dies not in a prolonged fight, but in an instant.
Convinced that only his idea of justice and peace is correct, Superman effectively becomes an evil god after killing Darkseid and taking the Anti-Life Equation. He-Man is forced to kill Superman, and he does so by combining the powers of Grayskull and Shazam. There isn’t even a fight, with He-Man winning almost immediately after yelling “Shazam!” and turning Superman to dust.
4 Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal – Dragon-Slayer ends Superman’s corruption
Tales from the dark multiverse takes past crises from DC canon and gives them a dark ending and somehow his version of Dark Nights: Metal it’s sharper than it already was. Here, the evil bat god Barbatos successfully invades other realities, condemning the multiverse to a slow death.
Barbatos corrupted the Justice League of Earth-0, turning Superman into the monstrously obese giant Kryptothrax, on the true doomsday. Superman is almost dead at this point, but is killed by the Dragon-Slayer (Dick Grayson) in the final battle between the Barbatos dragons and the remnants of the Justice League, freeing Superman from years of torment.
3 DCEU – Zombie Zod kills Superman
Doomsday appears in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but only in name. Rather than being an ancient Kryptonian force of destruction, “Doomsday” is the reanimated corpse of the late General Zod from Iron Man. Although he’s a shell of his old self, Zod’s bottomless anger at Superman gives him a fatal purpose to enact, and he does.
This is easily the most polarizing Superman death in recent memory. Many disagreed with Doomsday’s poor design and fighting, and the most egregious aspect is that one of the most iconic moments in comic book history was wasted in the DCEU’s sophomore entry. This finally unraveled into League of Justice, To the sound of mass indifference
2 Superman: At Earth’s End – Old Superman Burns Himself
Basically The Dark Knight Returns For Superman, this Elseworlds tale imagines what Superman’s last fight would be if “Doomsday” referred to an apocalyptic event rather than the monstrosity of DC Comics. Being a product of the 90s, At the end of the earth he’s more hilariously youthful than thoughtful. Things start normally with Superman planning to save a ruined Gotham city.
Somehow this happens to: Hitler clones (aka DNA Diktators), Batman mutant clones, Superman’s obsession with declaring his manhood, and Superman’s newest ability: a giant chaingun that contradicts the moral lesson of the book about weapons being evil. An elderly Superman dies when he enters Batman’s funeral pyre instead of choosing to become an immortal cyborg.
one The New 52 – “Superman” turns Superman into a rock
Without exaggeration, the New 52 was a disaster. Not long after the polarizing reset initiative, DC realized that it would be better to start from scratch rather than force it on frustrated readers. To this end, many of the 52-era races ended abruptly, with Superman dying to make way for the DC Rebirth version.
This was done with Denny Swan, a random guy who was struck by lightning mixed with fragments of Superman’s genome, granting him powers and memories of Superman. Denny thinks he is the real Superman, so the two fight. Superman throws the impostor into the sun, but not before contracting Kryptonite poisoning and exploding on a rock. In typical DC fashion, this was undone just a few weeks later thanks to Mr. Mxyzptlk’s multiverse rewrite antics.
NEXT: DC You: Everything You Didn’t Know About The New 52 Ending
The 15 scariest deaths in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
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