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The 50 greatest Superman moments

Superman Vs Muhammad Ali

The Moment: Yes, really. In this 1978 comic special, the two are forced by alien invaders to duke it out to see who is Earth's greatest fighter, the winner proceeding to take on the attackers' own champion.

Why It's Great: Because Ali wins... but only after Superman generously agrees to have his powers deactivated in the Fortress of Solitude: a twist that was already in place for Superman 2, then being filmed.

Superman Vs The Elite

The Moment: In this 2012 animated special, new superhero Manchester Black offers an alternative solution to Superman's niceness - kill the bad guys. Can Superman convince the world there's a better way?

Why It's Great: Based on the 2001 Action Comics strip 'What's So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way?' this is a provocative treatise on personal morality, disguised as an all-action cartoon.


The Moment: The 200th episode of Smallville sees Clark Kent's high school reunion gatecrashed by Brainiac, who takes Clark on a Christmas Carol-style odyssey into his past, present and future.

Why It's Great: The strength of Smallville lay in its ability to chart the development of young Clark Kent, so often glossed over in the race to get to Superman. This nostalgic episode zeroes in on that quality.

The Bizarro Jerry

The Moment: Jerry Seinfeld's love of Superman resulted in myriad references within his self-titled sitcom, but none finer than the episode where Jerry meets Kevin, a character in which all of his personality is inverted... much like Superman's comic-strip opposite, Bizarro.

Why It's Great: Seinfeld's ability to take an idea and run with it helped to popularise the idea of the Bizarro World in mainstream society, proving that the Superman universe is a gold mine of interesting concepts.

Superman And Chums

The Moment: The publication of The Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960 saw the debut of the Justice League of America. Superman might only have made a cameo appearance in that issue, but his leadership of the organisation quickly became a key part of his character.

Why It's Great: Sparking plenty of imitators (The Avengers were but a dream at this point), the DC dream team of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest revolutionised comics and paved the way for the all-important crossover.

Clark's Revenge

The Moment: Earlier during Superman 2, a weakened Clark took a beating from a nasty bloke in a diner. So at the film's end, it's fitting that Clark returns for a rematch... Only this time he has Superman's powers again.

Why It's Great: Just because Superman lives by a strict moral code, doesn't mean that Clark has to play ball. A real punch-the-air moment.

Superhero Of The United States

The Moment: The month before he won the Presidential Election, Obama made a shock revelation at the Democratic Party's National Convention, telling the guests that, "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth."

Why It's Great: No wonder Obama won the election - he's a geek with a sense of humour.

Tempus Fugitive

The Moment: In The New Adventures Of Superman, bad guy Tempus travels back in time to Smallville, hoping to kill the infant Kal-El. Superman and Lois Lane are in hot pursuit.

Why It's Great: The Lois And Clark series' irreverent approach to the Superman mythos was never better demonstrated than the scene where Tempus sarcastically reveals Superman's secret identity to Lois. *glasses on* "Mild-mannered reporter." *glasses off* "Superhero!"


The Moment: The two-part finale of theAnimated Series sees Superman brainwashed into becoming Darkseid's henchman and set loose upon the Earth.

Why It's Great: A notably dark and downbeat end to the series, this sees Superman lose the trust of humanity and have to start again, "one person at a time."

Breaking Bad

The Moment: Given a synthetic form of Kryptonite in Superman 3, Superman undergoes a change in personality until he turns into a mischievous bastard who straightens the Leaning Tower of Pisa and drunken flicking peanuts at people in a bar.

Why It's Great: The characterisation of 'bad Superman' is somehow more memorable for being so childish, and allows Reeve to really enjoy himself in the role.