Greatest Superman Villains
For over 80 years Superman has been the gold standard of superheroes as every other cape and spandex-wearer since owes him a debt. But you do not achieve this status without making enemies along the way. Despite what many may believe the Man of Steel has racked up quite the rogues gallery to stand in the way of his battle for truth, justice, and freedom.
Lex Luthor: Of course this chrome domed genius would be the first to come up. As the Last Son of Krypton is more known for using his physical abilities to solve problems, it only made sense that his arch nemesis would use his mental prowess to cause said problems. Over the years Lex Luthor has gained a reputation as one of the most infamous supervillains of all-time. This is largely due to his ability to change with the times to fit what people expect from their villains. While he was originally a mad scientist, he has since become a ruthless industrialist. Lex Luthor is the type of villain who can command respect anywhere from the board room to the Legion of Dooom HQ.
Darkseid: The comic Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen was nothing special, that was until comic legend Jack Kirby used it to introduce the world to the being who become the greatest threat to the DC Universe as a whole. As the undisputed ruler of Apokolipse, Darkseid has tried multiple times to assert his power across the universe usually via the Anti-Life Equation. Needless to say during his attempts to conquer the earth the Man of Steel, usually with his allies in tow, dig deep in order to stop him each time. But as powerful as he is, Darkseid never stays defeated for long.
Braniac: Though Superman may have come from the stars, who he is as a man is derived from his humanity. So naturally one of his greatest enemies would be a being who also came from the stars, but is devoid of anything resembling humanity. An android from the planet Colu, Braniac travels the universe collecting knowledge, which often includes shrinking cities into bottles. His strength and advanced technology combined with a cold and calculating mindset makes Braniac a particularly powerful villain to contend with.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: When most villains challenge Superman they do so for power or profit. This imp from the 5th dimension seemingly does it for a twisted sense of fun. With the seeming ability to change our reality on a whim, Mxyzptlk’s has the potential to be far more dangerous than he actually is. Whenever he pops up in our world, Superman’s best hope of vanquishing is to get him to say his already complicated name BACKWARDS. Good luck with that.
Bizarro: Today the evil doppelganger is a common element of comic book superheroes. The Hulk has the Abomination, Spider-Man has Venom, Black Panther has Killmonger; and it all started with Superman and Bizarro. For over six decades he has been either a malfunctioned Superman clone or an alien Superman from a cubed Bizarro World. Everything our Superman is, this character is the opposite of, to the point he has ice vision and heat breath. While he has been portrayed as an outright villain, it is largely due to his disregard and ignorance for our customs and morality. There has also been times when he has been portrayed as an antihero.
Metallo: Everyone knows that Kryptonite is Superman’s greatest weakness. Logically if a villain was powered by the green rock, it could spell trouble for the Man of Steel. There have many different incarnations of Metallo but most modern readers are familiar with John Corben in the role. In versions he has been a small-time criminal, other times a reporter, most recently he was a soldier who served under General Lane. He is part man and part machine but powered by a chunk of Supes’ greatest weakness.
General Zod: Superman is often called the Last Son of Krypton, but that is not 100% true. Once a warlord on the now extinct planet, Zod and his followers survived the destruction of their world via punishment in the Phantom Zone. Standing as a representation of the worst of Krypton’s legacy it is only natural he would be opposed by the man who is the best of it. Thanks to a stellar performance from Terence Stamp in Superman II, Zod has become one of the most famous of Superman’s foes as he continues to quest to make his enemies kneel before him.