I have lived many ages of men, Steven. Centuries without end. I have seen many great men, and known countless honors. But the greatest honor of this ancient and tired soul has been the privilege of fighting beside you, and calling you my friend. –Thor Vol 3 #11 (2008)
Genji: Very quiet and respectful, never eats your food. But he never sleeps, so that can get awkward. Sometimes he does his ninja training in the living room at like 3am. When you go down to yell at him he has mysteriously vanished…
McCree: Super friendly, super messy. He will always invite you into his room to watch this cool video he found on YouTube that you’ve certainly already seen, but he just found it. He thinks the fridge is more of a communal zone. You can take his food, and he can take your’s. He prefers to cook meals to share though, not that he’s any good at cooking. Is often hungover in the mornings.
Pharah: Isn’t home a lot. She’s very focused on her career. Her interactions with you are very formal at first, kinda stiff and awkward. It will either stay that way forever, or one night of drinking and video games will break the ice and give you a million inside jokes.
Reaper: Just the worst roommate ever. The second he’s done with something, he drops it on the ground. Beer bottles? Check. Towel? Yep. Laundry? You once found a pair of his boxers in the refrigerator for fucks sake Reyes, why is this here? NEXT TO MY MILK! He always claims he was the last one who did dishes. He never does dishes.
Soldier 76: The weird roommate you met through Craigslist who seems quiet and reserved at first, but once he gets going on his conspiracy theories and how THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN he will never shut up. Constantly plays CoD on the couch. Never seems to go to work, but always pays rent on time. Does the chores with military precision.
Tracer: Lives outside of time, quite literally. So be prepared to remind her of appointments, when rent is due, that it is not in fact the weekend so could she stop playing Just Dance so loud past eleven? It’s frustrating, but she’s so much fun to be around you forgive her. She is on first name basis with all the bartenders in the neighborhood, and drinking with her is always an epic adventure.
Bastion: You bought this old thing on eBay. They said it was non-functional, but it immediately sprang to life in your apartment. It spends all its time out on the balcony, where a flock of birds have made it their home. Every once in a while you wake up in the middle of the night to find it crouched in the corner of your room in turret mode. Then you realize someone was being loud outside and it got scared.
Hanzo: There are two Hanzos. Calm, collected, brooding Hanzo, and I’LL TELL YOU WHEN I’VE HAD ENOUGH SAKEsshdhshjkfk Hanzo. Hanzo is normally very organized, his room his spartan and he made a chore schedule that he treats like it is law. But about two times a week he gets shit faced on expensive sake, cries about his brother, tries to fight a house plant (claiming it knows nothing of honor when he falls on his ass), and ends the evening on the balcony, pegging passersby with perfect precision with YOUR HOTDOGS THAT HE STOLE FROM THE FRIDGE, HANZO COME INSIDE.
Junkrat: Just, an absolute disaster. Your apartment has become a junkyard. Scraps of machines all of the place. And it smells terrible because he’s constantly mixing weird chemicals in the bathtub. You’ve started showering at the gym, and are terrified when you have to pee. You’ve had three minor fires in the place since he moved in, and you’re pretty sure he’s a criminal. You’d call the cops, but his… boyfriend? You’re not sure. His giant man partner keeps coming around and staring at you silently and you’re just trying to stay alive, okay?
Mei: Is terribly sweet and friendly, but messy and forgetful. You can’t get mad at her, because she always apologizes profusely when she forgets to do the dishes or take out the trash or that this is her week to buy toilet paper. She’s often wrapped up in her work, and loves to go on exuberant explanations of the science involved that you don’t even half understand. But you smile and nod along. She’s just so excited, you can’t interrupt her. Her bedroom is cluttered with items she collected from her travels and adventures, mixed with scientific equipment and climbing gear. She always wants you to come on nature hikes. They are beautiful but exhausting. That girl has boundless energy. The only time she gets mad is if you try to throw away a recyclable.
Torbjörn: He is constantly making noise, hammering, laughing like a maniac, riveting??? WTF is he doing in his room???? He’s very cranky and opinionated (do not bring up Omnics, trust me), but after a few beers he has some of the most amazing stores you’ve ever heard. He keeps his mess to his room and only forgets to do his chores every once in a while. But food in the fridge is going to disappear and he’ll get very defensive when you ask him about it. Also, long golden beard hairs! EVERYWHERE! in the bathroom! Clean out the drain when you’re done!
Widowmaker: The most intimidating person you’ve ever lived with. Hell, ever met. She will walk around in nothing but a towel, but it’s actually kind of terrifying? Like she’s daring you to say something to her??? You’re pretty sure she’s killed at least two people in the neighborhood. No one can prove it. You feel like she’s constantly watching you in your room… you’ve looked for cameras and found nothing. She leaves for days at a time, and then suddenly appears silently in the middle of the apartment. You didn’t hear the front door open????? WTF IS HAPPENING???? She leaves all the chores to you, will pretend she only speaks French if she’s not in the mood to talk to you. You’re pretty sure you’re going to be found dead in the bathtub and there will be no records of your roommate…
D.Va: Almost never does chores, acts like she did you a favor when she finally washes a single dish. Is constantly live streaming from the couch. You haven’t been able to watch TV since she moved in. She invites you to play games just to utterly destroy your ass at them. She got sponsored by Doritos and Mountain Dew so now the apartment is full of that crap. She acts like that’s her contribution to groceries because she saw you eat a chip. You thought she hated you until someone on her stream called you a loser and she tore them a new asshole. Is this what having a sister is like???
Reinhardt: Snores like a freight train is rumbling through the apartment. You can hear it through the walls. Through your earplugs. Nothing helps. He is incredibly helpful and friendly though. Always does his chores, does a few of your’s if you don’t stop him. Loves to cook dinner, but will always make the weirdest German fusion food. Any nice thing you do for him gets the most enthusiastic thanks that it makes you want to do nice things for him all the time.
Roadhog: You’ve seen some shit, man. Shit you can never tell anyone. Mostly because it would damage Roadhog’s bad ass reputation, and you will not make him angry. His room is full of plushies. He sleeps on them in a big pile. He spends all day playing Animal Crossing and he helps paint your nails. His weirdo boyfriend? You don’t know, small manic man partner comes over sometimes, but you managed to get them to not set off any explosions in the house(by claiming to protect the plushies). When Roadhog first showed up, you were terrified. But he’s turned out to be a really sweet guy. When you’re not on his shit list. You will do anything not to get on the shit list… A UPS driver damaged his limited edition Rainbow Sparkle Bear, and you heard the screams……..
Winston: Spends all his time in his room on his computer. He’s nice enough when he comes out, but that’s usually only for more peanut butter. He’s kind of shy and awkward around you at first, but one day you ask about the glory days of Overwatch, and you get a story hour of epic proportions. After that he is your buddy. Tracer comes by sometimes, always bringing a fresh batch of bananas. Winston tries to act insulted, but you always catch him eating them later. He forgets to do his chores, a lot. He always promises he’ll get around to them. After this experiment is finished… It never gets done.
Zarya: Your living room is now a gym. She moved in a professional looking weight set and bench. “This is just for casual,” she tells you. She constantly makes “helpful” remarks about your physique. She thinks if you just did some deadlifts, your legs would be much stronger. Much more solid. You are like noodle. She tries to train you on the weight set in the living room. She proves that she can benchpress you, and then gives you some fifty pound weights “For a warm up”. May god have mercy on your soul.
Lúcio: Just the nicest roommate ever. He will sit on the couch with you until 3 am talking through your problems. He baked you a cake on your birthday. Is it your day to do chores? He saw you weren’t feeling well, so he just did them this morning. Don’t worry about it, fam, I got you. He only asks you for things on behalf of others. Will you help him organize a fundraiser for the local kid’s soccer organization? Come to a protest to improve the working conditions in factories? Could you maybe drop off this extra portion of dinner to the old lady next door on your way out? Say hi to her cats for him. The only thing that can be annoying is he can get lost in his music and forget that it’s super late. But when that wakes you up, you usually just go and sit down in his room and watch him work on his latest tracks.
Mercy: You really won’t see her that often. She is an incredibly overworked doctor. She is a very kind and patient person, but you can tell she is constantly bone tired. You don’t even ask her to do chores, you just do them all yourself. She barely ever uses dishes or makes a mess anyway. She leaves you little cakes she bought at the bodega as a thank you every now and then. Most of your communication is through post it notes, as you are often on completely different schedules. She seems nice, but you don’t really know her.
Symmetra: Everything has to be just so. She doesn’t even let you do chores, she doesn’t trust that you did them right. She will say the bathroom is filthy when it looks sparkling to you. She is constantly creating little robots to do work for her, so you don’t feel too bad letting her clean? She is incredibly sheltered, and can get hostile when you challenge her world view. But at the same time, you can tell she’s lonely and hurting. With small gestures here and there, maybe you can become friends.
Zenyatta: Just, the chillest bro you have ever met. He floats around the apartment and doesn’t eat anything so he doesn’t cause messes. He still helps with the chores, because it is more balanced that way. When you go through a break up he will listen and give you advice that honestly makes you feel better. He invites you to mediate, and makes it sound like a really great activity. His pupil, Genji, is always coming around. Zenyatta is so happy to see him. Neither of them eat, but Genji makes you ramen sometimes and its SO GOOD. They are both cinnamon rolls, and your life is better for knowing them. Occasionally Zenyatta knocks something over as he floats by, but that’s about the only drawback.
what if that person thinks I stole this story idea from them
please, that's not going to happen, they're too diff-
my brain, already constructing an elaborate argument in my defense:
your honor before the end of this trial I intend to prove that my client's story is actually based on a one piece fanfiction she wrote years before the other author began writing their comparative piece, and furthermore has always shown a penchant for these character types regardless of outside influences. let's begin with freshman year of high sch--
Headcanon that when Sokka and Suki got married Toph and Zuko fought over who got to be the best man because Toph didn’t wanna wear a dress or something so Zuko ended up being the maid of honor and Toph was the best man
oh jeeze here we are again. uh!! hi!! im really really not sure why i keep ending up there….but im honored!! uh .. .// / if you’re new around here, heya! im zandra!! i draw lots of stuff, mostly nature n skies tho.
Damon comes up with a plan to lure Katherine to them with Stefan and Caroline’s wedding.
Bonnie can’t make herself go to the Steroline wedding because she hasn’t forgiven Stefan for killing Enzo.
Stefan is still blaming himself for killing Enzo and they reminisce about Katherine. Damon tells Stefan it’s not his fault and that Ripper Stefan isn’t him.
Stefan and Damon have a “bachelor party”. Stefan as a human can’t hold his liquor and is super hung-over/drunk.
Ghost!Enzo visits Bonnie and talks her into going to wedding/try to forgive Stefan. They dance and talk about the wedding they could’ve had.
Stefan Fans/Enzo Fans:
Damon and Caroline are drinking together. Damon toasts to Liz and Caroline while loaning her Elena’s necklace to remind Elena will be with her on her day.
Certain Parts of the fandom/Damon Fans:
Kelly Donavan appears to start shit and is apparently working with Katherine.
Damon helps Stefan get ready and swears to protect him from Katherine. Stefan says he hopes he’ll be able to be there when Damon marries Elena even though he’ll age by then.
The Steroline wedding starts. Katherine’s still nowhere to be found. They recite their vows and get married without interruption. Bonnie watches sadly.
Damon and Bonnie dance and banter at the wedding.
Mid-dance, Enzo interrupts in Bonnie’s mind and dances with her before twirling her back to Damon.
Kelly started a gas leak, leaving Bonnie and the twins trapped inside. Enzo appears one last time, encouraging her to save herself and let the twins siphon her. She does. Enzo tells Bonnie to “live her life” and vanishes.
Bonnie and the twins make it out. Kelly dies. Vicki is revealed to be in on it and rings the bell, releasing Katherine from Hell.
Bonnie suddenly collapses. The episode ends with her in Stefan’s arms, unconscious.
Federal holidays celebrate and define our highest ideals as a nation, and memorialize blood shed upholding them. Few days embody this principle better than Juneteenth — the day Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, with news of the Civil War’s end and emancipation. You want to honor people who died making America what it is? Honor the black enslaved.
I associate Steve’s line “I can save today, you can save the world” with present day Diana even more so than past Diana, honestly.
Diana in present day is still trying to save the world. She went back to Gotham to fight Doomsday in BvS. She’s helping Bruce form the Justice League. She’s fighting Steppenwolf’s army. Steve’s words really ring true for Diana in the present. Steve made sure the world war ended when he blew up that plane, and Diana is still honoring his memory by continuing to try to save the world.
It wouldn’t surprise Steve at all that one hundred years later, Diana is still fighting.
First and most importantly, before we go into petty commercial concerns, let’s remember the meaning of this day. Because friends, this is no ordinary day: this is Miracle Monday, the anniversary of Superman triumphing over no less than the biblical prince of darkness himself (or at least a respectable substitute), and it was so awesome that even though it was expunged from humanity’s collective consciousness, they still instinctively recognized the third Monday of May as a day of good cheer to be celebrated in Superman’s honor from now until the end of time.
I know I write plenty about Superman on here, but with as much as a pain as comics can be to get into, I’m sure at least some of those I’m lucky enough to have follow me haven’t been able to find an easy in for the character. Or maybe a follower-of-a-follower or friend-of-a-friend is looking for a reasonable place to start. So in the spirit of the season, I’ll toss on the (admittedly already pretty massive) pile of recommended starting points on Superman: ten stories in a recommended - but by no means strict - order that should, as a whole, give you a pretty decent idea of what Superman’s deal is and why you should care, all of which you should be able to find pretty easily on Comixology or a local bookstore/comic book shop. I’ll probably do a companion to this in September for Batman Day.
1. Superman: Birthright
What it’s about: It’s his origin. He gets rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton, he gets raised by farmers, he puts on tights to fight crime, he meets Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, he deals with Kryptonite, all the standard-issue Superman business.
Why you should read it: It does all that stuff better than anyone else. He’s had a few different takes on his origins over the years due to a series of reboots, another of those tellings is even further down the list, but the first major modern one pretty much hit the nail on the head first try. It toes the tricky line of humanizing him without making you forget that hey, he’s Superman, it’s high-action fun without skimping on the character, and if there’s any one story that does the best job of conveying why you should look at an invincible man-god all but beyond sin or death with no major inciting incident in his background as a likable, relatable character, this is it. Add in some of the best Lane and Luthor material out there, and it’s a no-brainer.
Further recommendations if you liked it: About a decade before writing Birthright, its author Mark Waid worked with Alex Ross on what ended up one of DC’s biggest comics ever, Kingdom Come, the story of a brutal near-future of out-of-control superheroes that ultimately narrowed down to being about Superman above all else, and one of his most popular and influential stories of all time at that. Years after Birthright he created Irredeemable, the story of a Superman pastiche named Plutonian gone murderously rogue and how he reached his breaking point, illustrating a lot of what makes Superman special by way of contrast.
(Since Superman’s had so many notable homage/analogue/pastiche/rip-off/whatever-you-want-to-call-it characters compared to other superheroes, often in very good stories, there’ll be a number of those stories on this list.)
2. Superman: Up, Up and Away
What: Ever seen Superman Returns? That, but good. Clark Kent’s been living and loving a normal life as a reporter and husband after a cosmic dust-up in one of DC’s event comics took Superman off the board for a year, but mounting threats demand his return to save Metropolis again, if he still can.
Why: If you’d rather skip the origin, this is as a good a place as you’ll find to jump onboard. Clark and Lois both get some solid characterization, a number of classic villains have solid screentime, there’s some interesting Kryptonian mythology sticking its head in without being too intrusive, a great overarching threat to Metropolis, and it captures how Superman’s powers work in a visceral sense better than almost anything else. If you just want a classic, pick-it-up-and-go Fun Superman Story, this is where to go.
Recommendations: If you liked this, you’ll probably be inclined to enjoy the rest of co-writer Geoff Johns’ run on Action Comics, including most popularly Legion of Superheroes and Brainiac, both with artist Gary Frank. Another series tapping into that classic Superman feeling pretty well - regardless of whether you enjoyed the original show or not - is Smallville: Season 11, showing the adventures of that series’ young Clark Kent once he finally becomes Superman. Currently, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run on the main Superman title under the banner of DC Rebirth is maintaining that feeling itself, properly introducing Jon Kent, Lois and Clark’s 10-year-old-son, as Superboy in what seems to be a permanent addition to the cast and mythology (though there’s some continuity hiccups there, even as they’re mostly kept to the background - for the first 20 issues Superman is a refugee from a previous continuity, don’t ask).
3. Superman: Secret Identity
What: He’s Clark Kent, an aspiring writer from a farm town in Kansas. Problem is he’s only named after the other guy, an ordinary teenager who’s put up with crap his whole life for being named after a comic book character in an ordinary world. But when he suddenly finds himself far closer to his namesake than he ever would have imagined, it becomes the journey of his life to find how to really be a Superman.
Why: The best ‘realistic’ Superman story by a long shot, this doesn’t sideline its heart in favor of pseudo-science justifications for what he can do, or the sociopolitical impact of his existence. He has the powers, he wears the costume to save people (though he never directly reveals himself to the world), and in-between he lives his life and learns what it means to be a good man. It’s quiet and sweet and deeply human, and probably one of the two or three best Superman comics period.
Recommendations: Superman: American Alien is probably as close as there’s been to taking this kind of approach to the ‘real’ Superman, showing seemingly minor and unconnected snippets from his life, from childhood to his early days in the costume, and how they unconsciously shaped him into the man he becomes. If you like the low-key, pastoral aesthetic, you might enjoy Superman for All Seasons, or the current title Supergirl: Being Super. If you’d like more of writer Kurt Busiek’s work, his much-beloved series Astro City - focusing on a different perspective in the superhero-stuffed metropolis in every story - opens with A Dream of Flying, set from the point of view of the Superman-like Samaritan, telling of his quiet sorrow of never being to fly simply for its own sake in a world of dangers demanding his attention.
4. Of Thee I Sing
What: Gotham hitman Tommy Monaghan heads to the roof of Noonan’s bar for a smoke. Superman happens to be there at the time. They talk.
Why: A lot of people call this the best Superman story of the 90s, and they’re not wrong. Writer Garth Ennis doesn’t make any bones about hating the superhero genre in general (as evidenced by their treatment in the rest of Hitman), but he has a sincere soft spot for Superman as an ideal of what we - and specifically Americans - are supposed to be, and he pours it all out here in a story of what it means for Superman to fail, and why he remains Superman regardless. It sells the idea that an unrepentant killer - even one only targeting ‘bad guys’ like Tommy - would unabashedly consider Superman his hero, and that’s no small feat.
Recommendations: If you read Hitman #34 and love it but don’t intend to check out the rest of the series (why? It’s amazing), go ahead and read JLA/Hitman, a coda to the book showing the one time Tommy got caught up in the Justice League’s orbit, and what happens when Superman learns the truth about his profession, culminating in a scene that sums up What Superman Is All About better than maybe any other story. If you appreciated the idea of a classically decent Superman in an indecent world, you might enjoy Al Ewing’s novel Gods of Manhattan (the middle of a loose pulp adventure trilogy with El Sombra and Pax Omega, which I’ve discussed in the past), starring Doc Savage and Superman analogue Doc Thunder warring with a fascistic new vigilante in a far different New York City.
5. Superman: Camelot Falls
What: On top of a number of other threats hitting Superman from all sides, he receives a prophecy from the wizard Arion, warning of a devastating future when mankind is faced with its ultimate threat; a threat it will be too weak to overcome due to Superman’s protection over the years, but will still only just barely survive without him. Will he abandon humanity to a new age of darkness, or try and fight fate to save them knowing it could lead to their ultimate extinction?
Why: From the writer of Secret Identity and co-writer of Up, Up and Away!, this is probably the best crack at the often-attempted “Would having Superman be around actually be a good thing for humanity in the long term?” story. Beyond having the courtesy of wrapping that idea up in a really solid adventure rather than having everyone solemnly ruminate for the better part of a year, it comes at it from an angle that doesn’t feel like cheating either logically or in terms of the characters, and it’s an extremely underrated gem.
Recommendations: For the same idea tackled in a very different way, there’s the much better-known Superman: Red Son, showing the hero he would have become growing up in the Soviet Union rather than the United States; going after similar ideas is the heartfelt Superman: Peace on Earth. The rest of Kurt Busiek’s time on the main Superman title was great too, even if this stood easily as the centerpiece; his other trades were Back In Action, Redemption, The Third Kryptonian, and Shadows Linger. Speaking of underrated gems, Gail Simone’s run on Action Comics from around the same time with John Byrne was also great, collected in Strange Attractors. And since the story opens with an excellent one-shot centered around his marriage to Lois, I have to recommend From Krypton With Love if you can track it down in Superman 80-Page Giant #2, and Thom Zahler’s fun Lois-and-Clark style webcomic Love and Capes.
6. Superman Adventures
What: A spinoff of Superman: The Animated Series, this quietly chugged along throughout the latter half of the 90s as the best of the Superman books at the time.
Why: Much as stories defining his character and world are important, the bread and butter of Superman is just regular old fun comics, and there’s no better place to go than here for fans of any and all ages. Almost all of its 66 issues were at least pretty fun, but by far most notable were two runs in particular - Scott McCloud, the guy who would go on to literally write the book on the entire medium in Understanding Comics, handled the first year, and Mark Millar prior to his breakout success wrote a number of incredibly charming and sincere Superman stories here, including arguably the best Luthor story in How Much Can One Man Hate?, and a full comic on every page in 22 Stories In A Single Bound.
Recommendations: Superman has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to runs of just plain fun comics. For the youngest in your family, Superman Family Adventures might just be what you’re looking for. Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade would fit on your shelf very well next to Superman Adventures. Superman: Secret Origin, while not the absolute best take on his early days, has some real charm and would be an ideal introduction for younger readers that won’t talk down to them in the slightest, and that you’ll probably like yourself (especially since it seems to be the ‘canon’ Superman origin again). If you’re interested in something retro, The Superman Chronicles cover his earliest stories from the 30s and 40s, and Showcase Presents: Superman collects many of his most classic adventures from the height of his popularity in the 50s and 60s. Age of the Sentry and Alan Moore’s Supreme would also work well. For slightly older kids (i.e. middle school), they might get a kick out of Mark Millar and Lenil Yu’s Superior, or What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way? And finally, for just plain fun Superman runs, I can’t ignore the last year of Joe Casey’s much-overlooked time on The Adventures of Superman.
7. Superman vs. Lex Luthor
What: Exactly what it says on the tin: a collection of 12 Luthor stories from his first appearance to the early 21st century.
Why: Well, he’s Superman’s biggest enemy, that’s why, and even on his own is one of the best villains of all time. Thankfully, this is an exceptionally well-curated collection of his greatest hits; pouring through this should give you more than a good idea of what makes him tick.
Recommendations: While he has a number of great showings in Superman-centric comics, his two biggest solo acts outside of this would be Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s Luthor (originally titled Lex Luthor: Man of Steel) and Paul Cornell’s run on Action Comics, where Lex took over the book for about a year. Also, one of Superman’s best writers, Elliot S! Maggin, contributed a few stories here - he’s best known for his brilliant Superman novels Last Son of Krypton and the aforementioned Miracle Monday, and he wrote a number of other great tales I picked some highlights from in another article.
8. Grant Morrison’s Action Comics
What: Spanning years, it begins in a different version of Superman’s early days, where an as-yet-flightless Clark Kent in a t-shirt and jeans challenged corrupt politicians, grappling with the public’s reaction to its first superhero even as his first true menace approaches from the stars. Showing his growth over time into the hero he becomes, he slowly realizes that his life has been subtly influenced by an unseen but all-powerful threat, one that in the climax will set Superman’s greatest enemies’ against him in a battle not just for his life, but for all of reality.
Why: The New 52 period for Superman was a controversial one at best, and I’d be the last to deny it went down ill-advised roads and made outright bone-stupid decisions. But I hope if nothing else this run is evaluated in the long run the way it deserves; while the first arc is framed as something of a Superman origin story, it becomes clear quickly that this is about his life as a whole, and his journey from a cocksure young champion of the oppressed in way over his head, to a self-questioning godling unsure of the limits of his responsibilities as his powers increase, and finally an assured, unstoppable Superman fighting on the grandest cosmic scale possible against the same old bullies. It gives him a true character arc without undermining his essential Superman-ness, and by the end it’s a contender for the title of the biggest Superman story of all.
Recommendations: Outside of this, Greg Pak’s runs on Action Comics and Batman/Superman, and Tom Taylor/Robson Rocha’s 3-issue Batman/Superman stint, as well as Scott Snyder, Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen’s blockbuster mini Superman Unchained, are the best of the New 52 era. If you’re looking for more wild cosmic Superman adventure stories, Grant Morrison’s Superman Beyond is a beautiful two-part adventure (it ties in to his event comic Final Crisis but largely works standalone), and Joe Casey’s Mr. Majestic was a largely great set of often trippy cosmic-scale adventure comics with its Superman-esque lead. For something a little more gonzo, maybe try the hilariously bizarre Coming of the Supermen by Neal Adams. And while his role in it is relatively minor, if we’re talking cosmic Superman-related epics, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World has to be mentioned - it’ll soon be reissued in omnibus format to coincide with the Justice League movie, since many of its concepts made it in there.
9. Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
What: More than just the title story, DC issued a collection of all three of Watchmen writer Alan Moore’s Superman stories: For The Man Who Has Everything, where Superman finds himself trapped in his idea of his ideal life while Batman, Wonder Woman and Robin are in deadly danger in the real world, Jungle Line, where a deliriously ill and seemingly terminal Superman finds help in the most unexpected place, and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Moore’s version of the final Superman story.
Why: Dark Superman stories are a tricky tightrope to walk - go too far and you invalidate the core his world is built around - but Moore’s pretty dang good at his job. Whatever Happened you should wait to read until you’ve checked out some Superman stories from the 1960s first since it’s very much meant as a contrast to those, but For The Man Who Has Everything is an interesting look at Superman’s basic alienation (especially in regards to his characterization in that period of his publication history) with a gangbuster final fight, and Jungle Line is a phenomenal Superman horror story that uncovers some of his rawest, most deeply buried fears.
Recommendations: There are precious few other dark Superman stories that can be considered any real successes outside a few mentioned among other recommendations; the closest I can think of is Superman: For Tomorrow, which poses some interesting questions framed by gorgeous art, but has a reach tremendously exceeding its grasp. Among similar characters though, there are some real winners; Moore’s own time on Miracleman was one of the first and still one of the most effective looks at what it would mean for a Superman-like being to exist in the real world, and the seminal novel Superfolks, while in many ways of its time, was tremendously and deservedly influential on generations of creators. Moore had another crack at the end of a Superman-like figure in his Majestic one-shot, and the Change or Die arc of Warren Ellis’ run on Stormwatch (all of which is worth reading) presented a powerful, bittersweet look at a superman’s attempt at truly changing the world for the better.
10. All-Star Superman
What: Superman rescues the first manned mission to the sun, sabotaged by Lex Luthor. His powers have reached greater heights than ever from the solar overexposure, but it’s more than his cells can handle: he’s dying, and Lex has won at last. This is what Superman does with his last year of life.
Why: I put this at the bottom since it works better the more you like Superman, but if you’re only going to read one story on this list, this one has to be it. It’s one of the best superhero stories period, and it’s everything that’s wistful and playful and sad and magical and wonderful about Superman in one book.
Recommendations: If you’re interested in the other great “Death of Superman” story, skip the 90s book and go to co-creator Jerry Siegel and Curt Swan’s 60s ‘Imaginary Story’, also one of the best Superman stories ever, and particularly one of Luthor’s best showings. If you got a kick out of the utopian ‘Superman fixes everything’ feel of a lot of it, try The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue! The current Supergirl title by Steve Orlando seems to be trying to operate on a pretty similar wavelength, and is definitely the best thing coming out of the Superman family of books right now. The recent Adventures of Superman anthology series has a number of creators try and do their own ‘definitive’ Superman stories, often to great results. And Avengers 34.1 starring Hyperion by Al Ewing and Dale Keown taps into All-Star’s sense of an elevated alien perspective paired with a deep well of humanity to different but still moving results.