What’s the most frequently cited reason for why Superman is “boring?” It’s because he’s basically unbeatable. The last son of Krypton is one of the strongest superheroes in the DC Universe, granted with so many unbelievable powers that writers have long had to jump backwards through hoops to give reasons why Supes isn’t beating a villain in under half a second. But there are some characters who can give Superman a run for his money – if not flat-out knock him down for the count:
10. Starro The Conqueror
The uber-villain who has been plaguing DC’s R.E.B.E.L.S for nearly their entire run is fueled by the strength of several planets worth of aliens, enslaved by the evil purple starfish only he can control. He’s never gone up against Superman – and was recently depowered when he lost control of his starfish army – but Starro at full power is nearly impossible for anyone to beat, let alone l’il ol’ Clark Kent.
9. The Spectre
The Spirit of Vengeance really only works up ironic deaths for people who deserve it – and given that Superman is the ultimate universal boy scout, he probably will never call down The Spectre’s wrath. But the green underwear-wearing avatar of god’s right hand could, if he wanted to, destroy Superman without breaking a sweat.
Geoff Johns’ recent reboot of the classic Superman villain gave the super smart Coluan a giant increase in strength, as well as other creepy new powers. Brainiac is now in peek physical as well as mental condition, and able to out-punch even the Man of Steel. Granted, he has a little bit of OCD, and can be beaten by a few specks of Earth dirt getting on his person. But hey, we’ve all got problems.
Not much is known about this muscle-man, except he’s got a serious need to kick Superman-arse, and a hood and underwear isn’t going to be the hot look this season. In fact, Atlas has beaten Ma Kent’s adopted son to a standstill… Only to be in turn beaten by Krytpo, the Superdog. Ruh-roh.
Another jacked up alien baddie, Mongul has plagued the Justice League time and again. He’s most famous in comics continuity for attacking Superman with a very, very evil flower which trapped Supes in a hallucinatory trance. But the yellow invader is more than able to hold his own in a fistfight, as well.
5. Superboy Prime
Superboy Prime is from an alternate universe where he’s the only person with superpowers. After saving the DC Universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths, he was trapped in a virtual prison for years, and slowly went nutty. Once he escaped, it took not one, but two Supermen to take him down, and only with the help of literally every other superhero in the cosmos. Oh, and at the cost of another alternate universe Superman’s life. So can Superboy kick Superman’s butt? Does Krypto have fleas? I mean, he probably doesn’t since how would they bite his super hard skin, but you get my point.
How does the powerless Dark Knight easily take down the most powerful man on Earth? Planning. Whether it’s always keeping a secret stash of Kryptonite in case his friend goes rogue, or staying two steps ahead of the speedy alien, Batman has time and again gone up against Superman, and won. Sure, some people may consider it to be cheating, but… Hey, what’s that over there? [MTV Geek runs away quickly in the other direction]
One of the biggest bad guys in the DC Universe, Darkseid has frequently clashed with Superman physically, and often come out on top. Darkseid is insanely strong, incredibly smart, and completely devoted to the eradication of everything Superman holds dear. Specifically, individual free will, happiness, and probably puppies, too. Superman is all about the puppies.
2. The Anti-Monitor
One of the biggest threats to the DCU ever, The Anti-Monitor is an alien being from the Anti-Matter Universe who easily smacked down Superman, and nearly every other hero who went up against him. He’s so large (“how large is he?”) that Superman is no more than an annoying ant to him. It was only with thirty other superpowered heroes, including the alternate Superman Superboy Prime later killed, and Superboy Prime that the Anti-Monitor was finally stopped.
Why does Doomsday get the number one slot? Because he’s done something no one has ever done before or since: killed Superman. Doomsday has the exact same amount of strength as Superman, with the big difference being he’s a Kryptonian monster fueled by inhuman rage. While trying to stop Doomsday’s rampage on Earth, Superman was beaten down multiple times, before throwing one last punch. Connecting his fist right with Doomsday’s, Superman ended up killing both of them at the exact same time. I’m not sure of the medical specifics of that one, as punching someone in the fist doesn’t damage any vital organs, but let’s leave it at: Doomsday kicked Superman’s butt so hard, he was pooping out his mouth for a month.
I think if I don’t say anything about that last line, maybe MTV Geek will let me print it. We’ll see what happens!*
And what do you think… Is Doomsday the biggest butt-kickin’ Superman has ever had to face? Or did we get it totally wrong? And as a note: if you disagree with us, we will punch you right in the fist.
* Editor's note: now there's an image I won't be getting out of my head today!