Superman: “I finally get it. Thank you. I made the mistake of treating you people like… people. But now, I understand better. I understand what the world wants. What it needs. The world needs people in charge who are willing to put the animals down.”
Superman vs. The Elite
Superman is the ultimate hero. He’s all powerful, incorruptible, and has few flaws. But what would happen if that changed? After all, the brighter the light, the darker the shadow. What would happen if Superman decided to fight for his truth, his justice, and his way?
Many stories have explored this idea, featuring either an evil Superman or a ripoff. The most recent is James Gunn’s Brightburn, a horror movie adaptation of Superman’s backstory.
These six evil Superman characters are Lex Luthor’s worst nightmares.
Wonder Woman: “I took you apart before, why go through it again?”
Giganta: “Because this time, I have help.”
Bizarro: [a la Mighty Mouse] “Bizarro here to save the day!”
Justice League Unlimited, “Ultimatum” (Season 1, Episode 9)
Bizarro debuted in Superboy #68 in 1958. He was created by Otto Binder and George Papp as an Evil Superman.
The modern version of Bizarro was created when Lex Luthor attempted to clone Superman. His creation became a distorted monster because of a mistake in the cloning process. The demented doppelganger escaped from the lab and tried emulating Superman. Unfortunately, Bizarro is mentally challenged and couldn’t understand that his actions were wreaking havoc.
Bizarro perceives everything as the opposite of what it is. He tries to kill his friends, helps villains commit crimes, and sometimes talks backwards. He possesses most of Superman’s powers with cryo vision and the ability to breathe fire replacing heat vision and freeze breath. Bizarro’s only weakness is Blue Kryptonite, which heals Superman.
Bizarro would be higher on this list, but he doesn’t intentionally cause trouble. He simply lacks the understanding that what he’s doing is wrong. The next five know, but they don’t care.
#5 The Sentry/The Void
The Void: “How many gods will I have to kill today?”Siege
The Sentry debuted in The Sentry #1 in 2000. He was created by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. They were inspired by a hoax that Stan Lee had created a hero back in the 50’s that he forgot to publish.
Robert Reynolds was a washed up, middle aged man who woke up one morning and remembered he was a hero called The Sentry. He had been the Marvel Universe’s greatest hero and local Superman ripoff, present at every event and better than everyone at everything. He learned that his archenemy The Void, a psychopath obsessed with balance, was returning and recruited several heroes to help battle him.
The Sentry learned that he suffered from schizophrenia and that The Void was his own dark side. Sentry had erased all knowledge of himself to keep The Void contained.
The Void eventually overwhelmed Sentry’s mind and went on a rampage. He was only stopped when Sentry managed to briefly regain control and had Thor mercy kill him.
The Sentry and The Void were an interesting take on the Evil Superman formula, but they were used as more of a plot point than as a character. Marvel shilled as hard as they could, but fans were dancing on his grave before he was buried.
#4 King Hyperion
Alternate Spider-Man: “Oh wait. Which option means I don’t get to kill ten mutants? Can I at least kill some random humans to make up for it?”
King Hyperion: “Sure. More than ten, if you like.”
Spider-Man: “You da MAN! I like this guy. What’s your name again?”
Hyperion debuted in Avengers #69 in 1969. He was created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema. Hyperion was created to fill the Superman role in a supervillain team loosely based on the Justice League called The Squadron Sinister. It was quickly replaced by a heroic equivalent called The Squadron Supreme
An alternate version, King Hyperion, joined The Exiles. Unbeknownst to the team, this version of Hyperion was a psychopath who had killed everyone else in his universe. He tried conquering the multiverse, but the Exiles stopped him.
King Hyperion eventually discovered the Exiles headquarters and wiped the floor with them, but the team held out long enough for one of their members to get help. Two heroic Hyperions were called using the Exiles’ dimension traveling technology and stopped him. This allowed the Exiles to trap King Hyperion in his dead universe
#3 The Plutonian
[someone has asked how many he’s killed]
The Plutonian: “Well, let’s see. Figure three and a half million in Sky City, four-point six in Singapore, sporadic global damage elsewhere… wow, population is really down. On the upside, however, this is a boom time for mapmakers.”
The Plutonian is the star of the 2009 series Irredeemable. He was created by Mark Waid, who envisioned a superhero who wasn’t mentally and emotionally equipped for the role.
Like most Superman pastiches, The Plutonian was the world’s greatest hero. Constant stress and hecklers wore him down until he snapped and flew into space to escape the noise. The Plutonian returned ten minutes later to find hundreds of children dead from a sonic plague that only he could stop.
The Plutonian broke when he realized the world couldn’t go ten minutes without his help. He destroyed his local version of Metropolis and hunted down his fellow heroes. The Plutonian planned to exterminate all of humanity and started by sinking Singapore when their U.N. representative offended him.
The surviving heroes have to figure out a way to stop their former friend. Unfortunately, The Plutonian was obsessed with keeping his past hidden and is a pathological liar to boot. They don’t know his real name, where he’s from, how he got his powers, and most importantly what his weakness is. It’s a race against time to learn The Plutonian’s secrets before he kills everyone.
#2 Regime Superman
Superman: “You drugged me! Made me… Lois … my son…!”
The Joker: “First Krypton, now Metropolis… People you love tend to blow up, don’t they?”Injustice: Gods Among Us
What? With all the ripoffs did you think the real Superman hasn’t taken a walk on the dark side?
Injustice’s story starts when The Joker invades Metropolis and kidnaps a pregnant Lois Lane. He implants a detonator into her heart, set to trigger a nuke if her heart stops beating. Joker then drugs Superman to make him see her as Doomsday. Superman kills Lois and the resulting blast destroys Metropolis
Superman kills The Joker and starts acting like a Knight Templar. He eventually overthrows the U.N. and conquers the world in the name of his Regime. Batman leads an Insurgency of Heroes to battle Superman as resistance fighters start dying left and right.
The Regime Superman is a ruthless incarnation. He goes from killing The Joker and accidentally killing those who oppose him to vaporizing protesters and slaughtering the Green Lantern Corps. He even murders Shazam, whose alter ego Billy Batson is a child.
The Regime Superman is a monster who only lost the top spot due to his story being relegated to a video game.
Superboy-Prime: “I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you to death!”Countdown to Final Crisis
Break out the Kryptonite, folks! We’ve found the evilest version of Superman, Superboy-Prime.
Superboy-Prime was created for the crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was an ordinary teenager named Clark Kent from Earth Prime, aka our Earth. He developed Superman’s powers shortly before the Crisis began and took part in the final battle. He stayed behind to help the original Superman and a good version of Lex Luthor stop the Big Bad.
Superboy-Prime and company returned in the sequel Infinite Crisis. Superboy had grown homesick and was furious at how dark the DC universe had become. He confronted the new Superboy and massacred several heroes when they interfered. Superboy-Prime attempted to destroy the multiverse and resurrect Earth Prime, but was stopped when the original Superman sacrificed his life to defeat him.
Even Superman’s sacrifice couldn’t stop Superboy-Prime for long. He wandered the multiverse slaughtering Supermen, thinking that if he didn’t get what he wanted, no one else would. As Superboy-Prime’s kill count rose, he devolved into a vicious mockery of stereotypical superhero fans. He went from an idealistic wannabe hero to a multiversal serial killer and obnoxious in-joke.
Superboy-Prime’s greatest assets are his powers, which are based on the Pre-Crisis Superman. Y’know, the one who was basically God and could destroy entire galaxies with a sneeze? That one. He’s strong enough to move planets, fight an army of superheroes single handedly, and once punched reality hard enough to massively retcon the DC Universe.
All the powers of a god in the hands of a psychotic serial killer has earned him the position as the worst Evil Superman
Which Superman do you think is the worst? Is there another incarnation that surpasses even these nutjobs? Let us know in a comment.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.