Superman is the hero of heroes, the symbol of hope, and the figure who changed the superhero subgenre forever. Without him, there would be no Batman or Iron Man to lead their own comics, movies, and shows. Superman is such a beloved figure due to his altruistic point of view and great adventures featuring his powers.
However, in recent years, the world has become fond of deconstructing Superman and turning the idea of the character into that of a villain. So much so that it has become a cliché trope of storytelling. So many comic books, movies, TV shows, and video games create Superman-esque characters to be evil.
7 Homelander – The Boys
Imagine if Superman was a spoiled, pampered celebrity who puts on a nice face for the camera but is a loathsome megalomaniac in real life. That sums up Homelander from Amazon’s The Boys. Sure, he looks like he should be the greatest hero in the world and he fakes that rather well. The truth is that Homelander is one of the most twisted and evil villains one could ever meet.
He loves killing anyone weaker than him, he is radical when it comes to political views, and lusts over his own mother figure. Add in his cruel ways of trying to create a family, Homelander is just a despicable person in every way. Homelander also falls head over heels with an immortal superhuman Nazi.
6 Superman – Superman: Red Son
One does not blame the child but their upbringing. While the Superman everyone knows and loves was raised with kind parents on a peaceful farm, Superman: Red Son shows an alternate possibility. A world where Kal-El was raised in the Soviet Union.
As such, Superman was raised to become the weapon of the Soviets thus changing the Cold War from nuclear weapons to metahumans. It’s an interesting take on the character that even got its own DCAMU adaptation in 2020. Though he is far from the worst evil character here, he is no saint.
5 Brandon Breyer – Brightburn
In this case, one can blame the child if they are programmed to kill from the moment they’re born. In a dark parody of Superman, Brightburn, produced by The Suicide Squad‘s James Gunn, shows a story in which an alien boy on a Kansas farm who can fly, has super strength, and heat vision. Unfortunately, Brandon Breyer is no benevolent superhero in the making.
He was sent to turn to destroy humans and while he is conflicted at first, enough heartbreak makes him snap and follow what he was sent to do. This makes him the slasher villain equivalent of Superman.
4 Plutonian – Irredeemable
Simple concept: the equivalent of the Justice League is betrayed by their Superman known as Plutonian. Plutonian murders and creates chaos across the globe. Irredeemable goes all out with the concept, creating a horror/mystery thriller about a Superman gone rogue.
This one is one of the worst due to his actions; these include mass killings and even sinking the entire island of Singapore. In a way, it shows that Batman had a point in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice; that Superman could destroy the Earth and there wouldn’t be anything they could do about it.
3 Hyperion – Marvel Universe
Most would assume Captain America was Marvel’s version of Superman but there is another character that comes even closer. Hyperion is a character who has seen many revisions and reboots over the years. One of them includes a twisted version that attempted to conquer his own Earth and remodel it to what he considered perfection.
When that didn’t work, he came to the Marvel universe to try the same thing. Fortunately, he was defeated before he became a member of the Thunderbolts. Later on, he would become powerless allowing him to be killed by Man-Thing and a few others.
2 Omni-Man – Invincible
Similar to Hyperion, Omni-Man from Invincible posed as a hero but was secretly evil. Omni-Man comes from the planet Viltrum which considers itself the ultimate empire of the universe. They removed all weakness from their planet by slaughtering them and began doing the same to other planets, merging them into the Viltrumite Empire.
Omni-Man was part of a newer program where Viltrumites go to planets to conquer them in “kinder” ways. Omni-Man acted as Earth’s Superman for years, gaining trust until he killed all the main heroes of their world. After being exposed, he nearly killed his own son in a battle but abandoned Earth. Omni-Man considers humans to be weak and simple; even the woman he married and had a child with was nothing but a “pet” to him due to his near-immortality.
1 High Chancellor Superman – Injustice Series
Most of these evil Superman characters are evil from the start. Injustice shows the Elseworld where Superman himself turns evil; the Joker drugs him into fighting an illusion of Doomsday but it turns out to be none other than his pregnant wife Lois. When Lois and the baby’s hearts give out, it triggers a nuclear bomb that turns Metropolis to ashes. If anybody had the right to lose their minds, it was Superman.
Superman murdered the Joker and with the stoking of the even more evil Wonder Woman, Superman transforms into a dictator who turns Earth into a one-world government under his rule. This makes him the enemy of an altruistic Batman and his insurgency. At first, this Superman seems to have good intentions but he goes too far and ends up killing many beloved heroes and allies with villains, even sending Victor Zsasz to slaughter Alfred. Since his debut in Injustice: Gods Among Us, this evil Superman paved the way for the concept to become a trope. Even the DC movies including Zack Snyder’s Justice League take inspiration from it.
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