Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics

As much as attitudes change and are reflected in different eras of comics, there is one constant in superhero comics, and that is the fact that Superman is the living embodiment of hope. The mere existence of the Man of Tomorrow promises humanity a better future.

That doesn’t mean all Superman stories are bright and happy. Since the comics of the best-known superhero in history have been published since the 1930s, not all Superman stories can have a happy ending. Superman, his co-stars and even his villains have been through a lot of tragedies. Superman can’t be an enduring symbol of hope without facing some loss, and there are several Superman stories that are just plain sad.

10 Superman #84 – Toyman Kills Cat Grant’s Son

Sometimes the most harmless-looking villains turn out to be the most dangerous. Superman’s old villain, Toyman, has the mind of a teenager and kidnaps children to be his new playmates. During a Halloween party, a disguised Toyman lured the Daily Planet reporter’s son, Cat Grant, into his hideout.

Adam attempted to free the other kidnapped children, but was killed by the Toyman. Although not the biggest death in a Superman comic, the real tragedy of the comic comes when Cat is taken to the morgue and has to identify the body of her child.

9 DC Comics Presents #97 – The Destruction of Bizarro World1650507375 893 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

DC Comics Presents #97 was mostly about the Phantom Zone storyline and featured Mr. Mxyzptlk, but the biggest event in the comic was the destruction of Bizarro World. Reversing the fate of Krypton, Bizarro World was on the brink of implosion.

Bizarro’s twisted logic added more tragedy to the event. He had the opportunity to save his son, but doing the opposite of what happened with Krypton and Kal-El, Bizarro put his son in a rocket and sent him to the center of the planet to die first.

8 Superboy #89 – Superboy Dooms A Kindred Spirit1650507375 801 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

Clark Kent believed that he was the last survivor of Krypton until he met another young man with the same powers and abilities. The newly appointed Mon-El had no idea who he was or where he came from.

Superboy tested Mon-El by exposing him to kryptonite. Kryptonite proved ineffective, as Mon-El was from a planet called Daxam and was vulnerable to lead. Unlike the temporary effects of kryptonite, the lead permanently poisoned Mon-El. Superboy had no choice but to send Mon-El to the Phantom Zone, where he would be safe.

7 Adventures of Superman #596 – Superman Mourns1650507376 647 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

The “Our Worlds at War” event saw the invading alien Imperiex attack Earth with colonies of replicating machines. Superman and Earth’s heroes joined forces to fight the threat, but millions of lives had already been lost, including Lois Lane’s father, General Sam Lane, who fought on the front lines.

Imperiex was stopped, but Earth suffered heavy casualties and lost many buildings. Clark ended up taking a break from being Superman. When Clark came back in adventures of superman #596, began to carry a new emblem with a black background in remembrance of the lives lost.

6 Action Comics #544 – Lex Luthor couldn’t save his family1650507376 353 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

Lex Luthor always tries to prove his superiority to Superman, and although he fails on Earth, he succeeds on the planet Lexor. During a fight with Superman, Luthor ended up saving the planet and becoming his hero.

Luthor would return to Lexor, marry, and have a child. Later, he and Superman got into a fight that started a chain reaction that started causing the destruction of the planet. Luthor made it out of Lexor alive, but he lost his wife, his son, and the only place in the universe that he loved.

5 Superman #700 – Superman Is Grounded1650507376 357 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

The New Krypton arc gave Superman a closer link to his heritage, but he ended up losing his connection to Earth. Superman spoke to the press when his loyalty was questioned. An angry widow slaps him and explains that her husband died of a tumor that Superman could have removed if he hadn’t been busy with New Krypton.

Superman felt directionless until he remembered a lesson his father once taught him, Superman decided he would tour the country to get to know better the people he has sworn to protect.

4 Action Comics #870 – Superman misses his father’s death1650507377 762 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

Brainiac has shrunk and bottled Metropolis and taken Superman and Supergirl captive on his ship. Superman escapes, taking Metropolis and the Kryptonian city of Kandor with him. Superman defeats Brainiac and the cities begin to expand.

Firing the last shot, Brainiac aims his blast at the Kents. Superman has to take Kandor to the Fortress of Solitude and Jonathan saves Martha. Jonathan ends up overexerting himself and suffers a heart attack. Martha calls out to Clark, who she watches as Kandor is restored. When she returns to his parents, Jonathan is already gone.

3 Superman Annual #11 – Superman loses his dream life1650507377 449 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

Alan Moore’s “For the Man Who Has Everything” saw Superman trapped in a fantasy world thanks to the alien conqueror Mongul and a plant called Black Mercy. In this world, Krypton was never destroyed, and an adult Kal-El has a perfect life and a son named Van-El.

As Wonder Woman fights Mongul, Batman tries to wake up Superman. Batman’s calls manifest in Superman’s world as Krypton being destroyed. As Superman begins to wake up, Kal-El bids a tearful goodbye to the son he never had, wishing he had more time with him.

2 All-Star Superman #11 – Superman Faces His Own Mortality1650507377 300 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

Grant Morrison created a story of mythical proportions with all star superman. In the first issue, Superman’s trip to the sun overloads the cells in his body and he begins to die. Superman performs a series of final feats during his final days.

In the penultimate issue, Superman realizes that his last adventure begins. As she tours the Fortress of Solitude to get his affairs in order, she reflects on his life and the people who have meant the most to him. He uses thermal vision on him to record one last goodbye.

1 Superman: The Man Of Steel #20 – Funeral For A Friend1650507378 692 Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics.webp

“Death of Superman” did the unthinkable, causing Superman to die fighting Doomsday. The story was action-packed and had a shocking ending, but the real tragedy came in the next story, “Funeral for a Friend.”

Metropolis gives Superman the funeral he deserves with a huge procession attended by people from far and wide. The only ones missing are Jonathan and Martha. Unable to attend the funeral and finding the news coverage too much to handle, the Kents held their own private service for their son, remembering Clark and burying childhood memories of him.

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Top 10 Saddest Superman Comics


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