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The 50 greatest Superman moments

Time Out

The Moment: Taking a time out from events in Superman Returns, Brandon Routh's Superman flies off into space, where he hovers above the Earth, listening for the next crisis he can help with.

Why It's Great: The most poetic moment of any Superman film to date, Bryan Singer captures Superman as a lone - and lonely - sentinel against fate and evil.

Two Supermen Meet

The Moment: In the Smallville episode 'Rosetta', Dr Swann (played by Christopher Reeve) gives Clark Kent vital information about his past, including his real name: Kal-El.

Why It's Great: Reeve's presence is not only a passing of the baton to Tom Welling but a crucial moment in Smallville. It's even more moving knowing that Reeve would die the year after its broadcast.

Superman For All Seasons

The Moment: The story of Superman is retold over four 'seasons' - by narrators Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Lana Lang - in Jeph Loeb's 1998 comic series.

Why It's Great: One of the most art-house interpretations of Superman's story, this benefits from Tim Sale's eye-catching, Norman Rockwell-inspired artwork.

The Late Mr Kent

The Moment: When Clark Kent's car is bombed during an investigation in this 1997 Animated Series episode, Superman is forced to pretend his alter ego is dead to preserve his secret identity.

Why It's Great: Told in flashback in true film noir-style, this cleverly plays around with Superman's dual identity, all the way to a masterfully executed punchline.

Coke Is It!

The Moment: The big battle in Superman 2 sees the streets of Metropolis laid to waste as Superman takes on Zod, Ursa and Non. While he gets as good as he gives, Supes delivers the best move by chucking Zod into a neon Coke sign.

Why It's Great: Even when outnumbered by his peers, Superman still has what it takes.

Kingdom Come

The Moment: Superman comes out of retirement to lead the Justice League in the fight against new generation of amoral, murderous superheroes.

Why It's Great: This non-canon story, published under the Elseworlds imprint in 1996, imagines an older, wiser Superman wracked with guilt and bitterness over his impact on the world.


The Moment: In Superman: The Movie, Lex Luthor gets the better of Superman by tricking him into opening a chest containing lethal kryptonite.

Why It's Great: "Mind over muscle" - the most dastardly act of Gene Hackman's flamboyant, boo-hiss villainy as Luthor.

World's Finest

The Moment: This three-part epic from Superman: The Animated Series is notable for seeing Superman and Batman join forces after discovering each other's secret identities.

Why It's Great: The two giants of DC have regularly combined in the comics but - until the long-rumoured Justice League movie comes to fruition - this is your best bet for seeing them in action on screen.

For The Man Who Has Everything

The Moment: This 1985 comic story sees Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman race to save Superman, who has been locked into a hallucinatory dream-world where Krypton was never destroyed and he's a non-superpowered family man.

Why It's Great: Written by the legendary Alan Moore, this transforms the traditional 'alternate universe' trope into a dissection of Superman's own culture, as Moore imagines political extremism and civil unrest on Krypton.

Red Son

The Moment: In Mark Millar's 2003 comic series, Superman lands on Earth - not in Kansas, but in the Soviet Union. Now he is a "champion of the common worker" working for Stalin.

Why It's Great: A sly piece of political 'what if?' that explores Superman's status as a propaganda tool in brain-scrambling fashion.