The Best Superman Storylines, Ranked

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The greatest Superman comic book story arcs and storylines.

Truth, justice, and the American way does not even begin to define Superman. The character has seen the growth of the nation and every phase of comic books. The Man of Steel is no longer defined by the aforementioned triumvirate, but instead by the list of the greatest stories published about him. Ranker Comics has gathered the most action-packed, thought provoking, and powerful Superman stories ever told in comics.

Is Superman the most iconic superhero? Is the character too powerful for your taste? Is he he just too old fashioned? Superman has been many things over the year's and this list explores the most important avenues the character has taken over his many decades of publication. Vote on the list that includes the original superhero's most emotional moments and his trippiest explorations of the nature of comics.

The Man of Steel may bend but he never breaks- it's why the character has been able to endure over 75 years of existence!  We want to know which story you think defines The Man of Tomorrow! Make sure you vote on the list and tell us what you think are the most important Superman story ever published!
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  • 1
    314 VOTES

    All-Star Superman

    All-Star Superman is a love letter to the Golden Age of Superman comics and acts as Grant Morrison's masterwork with the character. The long gestating All-Star Superman stands outside of typical continuity or modern interpretations of the character and displays a Superman that is a sum of all his experiences and stories. 

    The story follows Superman who is slowly dying due to the manifestation of a new power as he completes his last will and testament. It's more than the story of a superhero but instead transcends the character to that of an all-conscious god. This is a must read for all comic book fans.
    314 votes
  • 2
    258 VOTES

    Kingdom Come

    Kingdom Come, while being a story about DC Universe on the whole, is the perfect demonstration of what Superman means to the public and how truth and justice had fallen out of popularity.

    The story takes place in a future where the heroes of yesteryear have retired and a more reckless breed have taken their place. Mark Waid and Alex Ross created Kingdom Come at a time when the antihero reigned supreme, violence and brutality were selling points, and even the most colorful of heroes were getting grittier. The Modern Age of comics had overstayed its welcome and, with Kingdom Come, the creators were able to demonstrate the power these original heroes had, especially Superman, and how what they stood for was truly awe-inspiring.
    258 votes
  • 3
    162 VOTES

    What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

    Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is the perfect collision of the silver age and modern age of comics, created by writer Alan Moore, editor by Julius Schwartz and drawn by Curt Swan (in his final contribution to the character). The story takes place in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 and is a tribute to the Silver Age take on the character, before Superman was brought into the modern age by Crisis on Infinite Earths and Man of Steel

    Schwartz, near the end of his Superman career, decided to put Moore together with Swan for a final "imagined" ending to the long running character that had both a classic feel and wrapped up many of the character arcs that had taken place over the decades of Superman history. 
    162 votes
  • 4
    168 VOTES

    Man of Steel 1-6

    Man of Steel, the six-part mini-series written and drawn by John Byrne, was the first in many attempts to simplify the science fiction origin of Superman and repackage it for a more modern audience. The mini-series retells Clark Kent's escape from the doomed Krypton, his life in Smallville, and his first meeting with the people that would shape his life. 

    Since Superman's first appearence in 1938, the character had been on every sort of adventure and lived a hundred lifetimes. It was later decided by DC editorial that the Superman in those earlier, sillier, stories were of the Superman on Earth 2 while the more modern version was the truer Earth 1 version of the character. After Crisis on Infinite Earths condensed all the multiverse into one universe, a new take on Superman's origins were needed. This origin was considered canon until Superman: Birthright
    168 votes
  • 5
    133 VOTES

    What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

    Action Comics #775 addresses the problem of Superman being too old fashioned and out-of-date for today's audience. The story features a team of new, more violent, heroes in metropolis called The Elite and their more violent ways of fighting crime. Metropolis hails them as their new saviors and Superman must question his own relevance in a more modern setting. 

    The story demonstrates that Superman's powers do not come in what he can do, but instead in the example he leads. The most powerful thing about the Man of Steel isn't that he is faster than a speeding bullet, but his strength lies in who he is as a man. 
    133 votes
  • 6
    212 VOTES

    Superman: Red Son

    What's more American than Superman? But what if the rocket that sent him to Earth was a few hours behind schedule? What if the infant Kryptonian landed in Soviet Russia?

    In the DC Elseworlds story, Superman's rocket lands on a Ukrainian collective farm and the USSR takes the super powered infant in. Superman grows up to be Russia's secret weapon and fights for socialism instead of "truth, justice and the American way." The story also featured alternate versions of other superheroes and villains such as a Bizarro Superman cooked up by America and a Batman whose parents were killed by the KGB. Superman eventually becomes a "Big Brother" like figure in Russia and a symbol of oppression. 
    212 votes