ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, for an alien space-god who — for many — operates as a complicated, caped Christ metaphor, Superman has never really been quite as much of a clear-cut hero as we've always assumed him to be. Sure, he's saved countless billions of lives — but Lex Luthor has too, and no-ones calling him the world's greatest hero.

Y'see, for every instance where Superman has saved the world, gallantly defended the innocent, and staunchly upheld the values of truth, justice and the American way, there's usually also at least one instance where he was a massive, massive jerk. That's right ...

Superman Isn't Always As Much Of A Hero As We Think

Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about all of those times where Supes was mind-controlled, under the influence of some strange form of kryptonite, or even in another reality altogether. Instead, I'm referring to the surprisingly large number of times that Superman — either in a DC comic book or a movie — was just ... kind of a bad dude.

Here are five of my personal favorites:

5. 'Man Of Steel' Got Dark, Real Fast

It's an obvious one, sure, but no list of times that Superman has been an irresponsible jackass would be complete without a mention of Man Of Steel's double whammy of neck snapping ...

... and casual city-wide destruction.

It's a gray area, sure — did Superman really have an alternative option at any point? — but even so, you can kind of see where Bruce Wayne is coming from with that whole, "I don't trust the seemingly all-powerful god-alien who let a bunch of people die that one time, before snapping a dudes neck in front of a bunch of kids" thing.

Speaking of which ...

4. Superman Sometimes Gets Pissed Off And Destroys Property For No Particular Reason

Like, for instance, that one time he was in a bad place emotionally and decided to taunt a minor supervillain with a pop quiz, before smashing a car into him for no particular reason.

Oh, and then got super snarky with the car's owner, because, y'know, what's the guy gonna do?

Seems like someone needs a lesson in great power and the great responsibility that comes with it. Over to you, Uncle Ben?

This isn't a new element of Superman's personality, of course ...

3. Old-School Superman Was Just The Worst

Specifically, back in his earliest comic-book appearances, he was a house-destroying ...

... "no means yes"-thinking ...

... criminal-torturing asshole ...

... who once decided to destroy an entire auto industry in a well-meaning but utterly ridiculous attempt to stop vehicular manslaughter ...

... and then screamed at a cop for giving him a parking ticket:

Way to make the golden age of comic books look bad, Clark.

Meanwhile, more than half a century later ...

2. Superman Decided To Let Parasite 'Eat' Lois ... To Protect His Secret Identity

Now, in fairness, the whole thing was technically an elaborate scheme to force the villain to overload himself — but arguably had a lot more to do with Superman trying to wipe out Lois's newly developed psychic powers (don't ask).

It all worked out in the end, of course — except for Lois, who essentially received a mild lobotomy thanks to Superman's unwillingness to just tell people who the hell he is. Honestly, you'd think a guy whose greatest idea for a disguise was a pair of glasses would secretly want to be found out ...

Finally, though?

1. Superman's First (Modern) Meeting With Batman Didn't Go Down Too Well

But this is Batman we're talking about, so it's alright to suggest that he probably deserved the lack of trust Superman showed upon first meeting him. Even so, this is not an appropriate way to investigate who the mysterious Bat-themed person is that you're meeting for the first time:

If that particular trend continues into Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, that question of whether Bat-fleck will be the movie's real hero might just answer itself ...

What do you reckon, though?


Is Superman a good guy who's kind of a tool, or a bad guy who sometimes does good?



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