10 Darkest Versions Of Superman, Ranked

A split image of Two-Face, Deathstroke, and Dr. Light from DC Comics

Superman is meant to be a symbol of hope. The son of parents from a dying world who want nothing more than to see their child live on, Superman has protected the planet Earth countless times… within the main DC Universe continuity. However, dating back even to the Silver Age, there have been evil, darker versions of Superman.

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These versions represent the opposite of everything Superman stands for. Rather than helping those around them, they’ve used their powers for the wrong reasons, and made the world around them worse off for it. While some of these “Supermen” might have started good or eventually turned their lives around, they’ve caused more damage than they could’ve ever fixed.



10 Superboy-Prime

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Superboy-Prime comes from a reality that was wiped from existence during the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. Though the character lived a “happily ever after” of sorts, when Superboy returns during Infinite Crisis, he finds himself disgusted by how much “darker” this new Earth is. Striking out against the heroes, Superboy goes from misunderstood teen to terrifying villain.

In Infinite Crisis, he’s responsible for beating the original Superman to death. During the Sinestro Corps War, he helps Sinestro spread fear across the universe. And in Countdown to Final Crisis, his actions result in the destruction of an entire Earth. He’s since changed his ways, but before his appearance during Death Metal, he was one of the most terrifying Supermen.

9 Superman: Red Son

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Red Son Superman Elseworlds

On Earth-30, Kal-El’s rocket ship landed not on a farm in Kansas, but in the middle of Soviet Russia. Immediately discovered, this Superman becomes the state-sponsored hero that leads the USSR to win the Cold War. Though this Superman isn’t necessarily evil, he’s far from good. Once given control of the Communist Party in Russia, his true self is revealed.

Pretending to care about the citizens, he gradually strips them of their rights. People who fight against him are caught and forcibly turned into drones that work for his cause. Though he eventually changes, he subjects much of the USSR to this treatment for several decades.

8 Superman: At Earth’s End

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Superman: At Earth's End Perfectly Represents The Excess Of '90s Comics

This is one of the darkest and one of the most ridiculous versions of Superman. After surviving the destruction of much of the Earth, a weakened Superman makes an attempt to save Gotham City from a nuclear attack. This version of Superman tries to stick to his beliefs, but in the end he’s confronted with just too much evil.

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Out of a desire to protect the Earth from a group of cloned Hitlers, Superman takes up a new weapon known as the Expunger. Using a massive machine gun, Superman turns on his ideals and uses the weapon to wipe out the evil once and for all before giving up his life.

7 Superman: The Dark Side

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Superman: The Dark Side's alternate Man of Steel

In a rather disturbing Elseworlds, Superman lands on Apokolips instead of on Earth. There, Kal-El falls into the hands of his most brutal villain Darkseid, who raises him as one of his own. As people might expect, with the strength of a Kryptonian, he’s able to help Darkseid more than any other member of his army.

In the war against New Genesis, Superman becomes a force that can turn the tide of battle in favor of Darkseid. Eventually, Kal-El even helps destroy New Genesis entirely. The only change here is this Kal eventually becomes a force for good, but only after destroying one planet and nearly bending all of Earth to Darkseid’s will.

6 Vampire Superman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Vampire Superman looking down at Wally West

On Earth-43, Batman defeated Dracula by turning into a vampire. Instead of allowing himself to be staked to avoid giving into his vampiric urges though, he turned his team into the Justice League of Vampires as well. The rest of them prove equally incapable of resisting their urges, including Vampire Superman.

On this Earth, Superman’s willing to dump an entire building full of humans onto the streets just to feed the other vampires of the world. It’s unclear how someone who needs the sun for energy manages to stay strong when he can no longer be in the sun, but he remains nearly as powerful as ever, without any regard for life other than his fellow vampires.

5 Overman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Earth 10 Nazi Superman

On Earth-10, Kal-El’s rocket lands not in Kansas, but in an occupied portion of Sudentenland during the middle of WW2. With Kal-El’s technology, the Germans won the war, and Overman eventually became their ultimate weapon. With the help of Overman, the remaining Allied forces were turned into resistance forces.

However, after Overman realized what kind of “utopia” the Nazis had created with their power, he lost the desire to continue protecting them. After losing his cousin Overgirl, he truly gives up on the planet, even allowing the city of Metropolis to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon.

4 Ultraman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Crime Syndicate stand alongside Ultraman, whose eyes glow red.

Ultraman is the Superman analogue for Earth-3, a world where all the heroes are villains instead. On this Earth, Ultraman is Kal-Il, who was sent to Earth after being sent there by his dad Jor-Il to escape from the Anti-Monitor. This version of Superman bears little resemblance to the one of Earth-0, even in terms of power sets.

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He loses strength under the light of the yellow sun, and can power himself up simply by consuming green kryptonite. This Ultraman is ruthless enough to even spend most of his time hunting down Supermen on other planets for the sole purpose of killing them. However, he’s also a coward whenever he isn’t clearly the strongest person.

3 Superdoom

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Superdoomsday hunts Supermen across DC's multiverse

Superdoom comes from a world where Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane invented a machine that could make one’s thoughts real. Their machine created Superman, an idea capable of saving the world. When they sold the idea to the twisted Overcorp however, they took the idea and made it more “marketable.”

Eventually, Superman was transformed into the Last Knight of Tomorrow, the ultimate killer franchise. Set loose on the world, Overcorp was able to dominate their planet. Later on, it escaped its planet and traveled to other worlds, killing multiple Supermen before President Superman finally stopped it.

2 Tangent Earth Superman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Harvey Dent in Tangent Superman

On the Tangent Earth, new heroes appear who are unlike any on DC’s Earth, though they bear familiar names. In the case of this Earth’s Superman, he’s meant to be just a normal man, who happens to gain incredible power through the evolution of his mind. Though Superman initially started out as a hero, after saving the world from the Ultra-Humanite, he changed.

To help rebuild the Earth, this Superman took over the planet to “protect” the humans from themselves. After a decade of a despotic rule, he even sought to take over New Earth as well. Only through the combined efforts of New Earth and Earth-9 was it possible to finally seal away this Superman so he could never threaten anyone again.

1 Injustice Superman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>DC Comics' Injustice Superman with glowing red eyes

While other incarnations of Superman have their origins changed so that they only maintain the powers but not the personality, Injustice‘s Superman is the standard Superman, just pushed too far. He has the same sense of determination and willingness to do whatever it takes to do what he thinks is right, which makes him several times more deadly.

After his world’s Joker caused him to kill his wife and son, Injustice Superman was set on a path to create the most safe version of Earth. He bent not just the world, but the world’s superhuman population to his whims. A brutal dictator, this Superman was even able to kill Earth-3’s Ultraman with ease.

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