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I Have Issues 28

The 20 Greatest Superman Fights

Part 4

Superman VS. Lex Luthor (Superman/Batman 6, 2004)

In the final chapter of the President Luthor storyline, Lex finally reveals his villainous ways to America. Surprisingly there are few really great fights between Supes and his arch-nemesis.

Everything Superman throws at Lex he shrugs off in his powersuit and gives right back to the man of steel.

After trading blows and verbal barbs Superman focuses his punches on the chest piece of Luthors suit and follows it up with an uppercut that shatters the upper portion of said suit. He follows this up with a punch that sends Lex through a building.

In the building Luthor encounters Batman who informs him that Bruce Wayne has bankrupted him. Lex informs Bats that he mixed Banes venom formula with liquid kryptonite to give him strength and the two of them duke it out. Luthor stabs Bruce with a blade and Batman kicks him out of the window of the building.

Batman tries to bring the villain back from the ledge to face his crimes but Luthor decides he would rather die and lets himself go.

On the final page we see that he survived and now everyone knowing what kind of villain he is has given him permission to do whatever he wants to kill the heroes.

Superman VS. Spider-Man (Superman versus The Amazing Spider-Man, 1976)

This is one of those crossovers where the characters already know about eachother and seem to inhabit the same universe. This avoids that pesky thing called plot that can get in the way of a good fight!

Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus team up to take down each others archenemies. 

Hey don't judge them, they were in prison.

It starts with Lex dressed up as Superman making it appear that he uses his eyebeams to make Mary Jane and Lois disappear (because remember Superman had whatever powers the writer wanted in the 70's). In a cute moment both Peter and Clark turn to eachother and ask where the phone booths are.

Above the buildings Spider-Man encounters the real Superman who wonders if the web slinger has something to do with the imposter Superman he just saw. 

Spider-Man of course thinks that it must have been the real Superman who attacked the two ladies. Unbeknownst to Spidey, he has been blasted with red sun radiation by Lex to give him some extra power against the Man of Steel. He decks Superman who goes flying backwards but is more surprised at the power of the Wall Crawlers punch than actually hurt. 

Redirecting his flight Superman comes back and gets a a swinging kick to send him into the side of a building. Parker continues to thrash Superman with well-placed attacks until Superman has had enough and comes up with a super punch but stops mid swing as he realizes the punch will kill Spider-Man.

Just throwing the punch causes a compact hurricane force wind to knock the arachnid off the roof. 

Spidey recovers and comes back with a kick but the red sun radiation has worn off and he falls backwards. Standing up Spidey unleashes a flurry of punches, but without the extra power boost all he manages to do is break his hands.

Luckily for Spider-Man the two team up to figure out what is behind this strange turn of events.

It ends like this. Now you can sleep tonight. Your welcome.

Superman VS. Mongul (Superman Annual #11, 1985)

I just covered this entire issue back in IHI 25 so go over here I Have Issues 24 to read that. I extracted the fight from that article and pasted here if you just want to read the encounter between Superman and Mongul

Superman comes to and asks Robin who is behind this. After Jason tells him it’s a big yellow guy Kal realizes who and shouts out the villians name as he flies in a blur.

Mongul who is in mid punch of a continuing pounding on Wonder Woman's face turns his eyes behind him and realizes the shit has hit the fan.

Robin, using Moguls gloves, struggles but ultimately gets the vines off of Batman. Superman meanwhile bust through the wall and slams Mongul headfirst into the wall. Superman commands for Mongul to stand up as he wonders aloud if the villain knows what he did to him? Perfectly responds Mongul as he backhands Clark. Superman is sent up through the floor above and lands in his alien zoo. Climbing up through the hole, Mongul explains he gave him a prison that would not let him out without giving up his heart’s desire, which must have been like tearing his own arm off to escape. Superman says one thing to the villain with a snarl!


Superman unleashes heat vision straight into Mongul. Mogul double axe handle punches Superman as he screams the Superman actually hurt him. The two charge against each other and as Mongul lifts the Kryptonian, Superman fires another heat blast that sears into Mongul’s arm. Mongul punches Superman through another wall and jumping through he stomps on top of the heroes and smashes him down through the floor of that room. As they fall Kal twists the alien in midair and slams him onto the ground as he begins to pound the yellow alien in the face with everything he has. Something catches Clarks eyes however and he stops for a split second as he sees a statue of his mother and father and is taken back to what he had and what he lost.

Mongul uses this moment of hesitation to punch Superman off of him as he notes that Superman would have killed him with one more of his punches, but now he is going to finish the man of steel of instead. 

Just then Jason drops the plant onto Mongul and it wraps him up.

In Moguls mind he sees himself disintegrating Superman with a blast from his chest ray. He then gets a pike and puts Superman’s head on it and marches out to conquer the world. In the real world Superman notes that it’s over to Robin as they both watch Mongul on the ground and in dream land.

Superman VS. Batman (The Dark Knight Returns: Book Four, 1986)

Superman has fought his buddy Batman on more than a few occasions. Everybody loves to root for an underdog and Batman Is the ultimate underdog especially in regards to fighting Superman. Batman gets the best of Superman a lot because of this reason and even though this is a Batman story it is the best fight between the Worlds Finest duo.

Batman knows Superman is coming and him and Robin (Carrie Kelley) are more than prepared. Even so, all the odds are stacked against them because well… it’s Superman!

Superman uses his x-ray vision as he descends upon Gotham, which in turn sets off missiles that Batman set up. Superman disposes the missiles fairly easily though Bruce notes that Superman is far from his top shape at this point as he barely survived a Nuclear bomb earlier in the storyline. 

Superman lands and is met with a tank mortor. Quickly recovering, Kal rips the tank open like a tin can to find Robin inside.

Superman asks her,

"Isn't tonight a school night?"

Superman is onto Bruce next who uses a sonic gun… it gives Superman a nosebleed.

Bruce then uses the entire cities power grid on Superman and follows if up with a vicious punch. Recovering, the man of steel catches the next punch and tears the helmet of Bruce’s suit from him.  

Superman is getting the upper hand on the aging Wayne until he gets a face full of acid and almost gets shot with a kryptonite arrow from a one armed Green Arrow (I feel there is a joke in there somewhere.) 

Bruce goes full crazy old man on Clark and shows him that he could beat him as he dies from a self-induced heart attack.

They fought in the "Hush" story line.

New Frontier
Jesus I think we get the point!

The Batman VS. Superman fight in Dark Knight Returns is the best Batman fight. I however cannot place it as the best Superman fight because it really showcases Batman's resiliency, not Superman.

Superman VS. Doomsday (Superman Man of steel 18-19, Justice League America 69, Superman 74,75 Action Comics, 684, 1992)

The whole death and return of Superman is my favorite “Superman thing” ever! I will never apologize for that. Everything from...

 the black armband

to the Super Nintendo game


Hey kids remember Pogs!

A lot of people talk trash about the storyline and I could pick it apart if I tried but I love it regardless of it's shortcomings much in the same way I love Rocky III and IV!

Doomsday is under the ground and begins to pound his way to the surface. He's in a suit and he only has one arm free but starts walking a slow destructive pace. Eventually after destroying trees trucks etc, the JLA attempt to stop him. When I say JLA I mean the diet coke of JLA. Lets call them the jla.

Guy Gardner
Blue Beetle
Booster Gold

Guy is the first to attack as he doesn't wait for any kind of tactical plan. 

Gardner gets the hell pounded out of him. 

The rest of the team attacks him one by one and they fall one by one. Blue Beetle is nearly killed and Booster is punched across the sky! 

Superman arrives on the scene, we know how tough he is and we have just seen Doomsday drink the jla's milkshake! 

Now that is what I call some solid booking! Oh he also still only has one arm free! 

At this point in the story/fight I really wish we had not known Superman was going to be killed because the fight just goes on and on and on and I can't imagine how amazed I would have been not knowing the outcome. Even still I love this!

Superman does his “I am just going to stand here and you can't move me!” shtick and it works... for one Doomsday punch. 

Then Dooms sends Supes through a house! 

The jla and Superman try to fire off of all their heat blasts, evil yellow rings and what have you and all it does is free Doomsday's other hand. 
Doomsday bum rushes the entire group!

I mean no offense to any bums reading this by the way.

Doomsday then finds Booster and abuses him by smashing him all over the place and even slamming a car door on his head! 

Doomsday moves on and Superman is the only one left standing to fight.

Having to save a bunch of people from all the destruction Superman takes a beating from Doomsday but manages to push him into the soft dirt at the bottom of a lake. Kal makes the next free two minutes count as he gets the innocents rescued and the jla on stretchers. Doomsday is free and now Superman is no longer distracted.

The entrance music has ended and both the combatants are in the ring.

Doomsday jumps from the water and destroys a helicopter and Superman grabs an errant missile and throws it at Doomsday. Doomsday falls to the ground and Kal follows this with the Krypton stomp as he is clearly not fucking around anymore! 

Doomsday takes it and sends Superman flying and gets him in a death grip as they both crash into the police department. Superman "creates separation" from Dooms and goes to rescue a few more civilians as Doomsday starts destroying more helicopters and then comes in contact with the last standing jla member, Maxima.

Maxima is no slouch herself as her power levels are close to that of Superman and she tears into Doomsday. 

Superman comes in for the assist, but Maxima not being from Earth pulls a light pole from the ground and the spark sets off the gasoline that has started leaking from the destruction earlier. 

A big explosion later only Doomsday is left standing and he is on the move again.

Doomsday continues his path of destruction and after Supes recovers he follows helping people along the way. (This brings me to another gripe of the Man of Steel movie, who was helping all the people in the buildings and on the street during those crazy ass battles! The multitasking here is really cool and shows the strength of the character. ) Doomsday finds himself in a department store where an advertisement for a wrestling event called War Bash 9000 is being advertised. A wrestler named Major Mayhem is telling the viewer to come to Metropolis to witness the greatest Spectacle in Wrestling! From this Doomsday speaks his first word, well his first almost word “MHH-TRR-PLSS!!”

This is a wrestling website right? How could I not include this.

Superman knows it’s go time as far as stopping the big Grey Machine! The two pound eachother and Superman tosses Doomsday away from Metropolis to buy some time.

Doomsday lands in Tree-City made by those wacky scientists at Cadmus. The faux Ewok village is destroyed as Superman uses the support beams and his fist to drop Doomsday. 

I can't find a picture of this scene on the web so I am putting this picture in because well... it makes me happy.

Ewoks not included.

The grey behemoth shakes it off and splinters the entire city knocking Superman below piles of rubble. Again he takes off for Metropolis.

Now were in the city and Doomsday is killing Metropolis citizens right and left. He is slaughtering people as a battered and bruised Superman tries to get control of him in the air but gets a bony elbow shoved into his side for his trouble. 

At this time Supergirl (Matrix) tries to help out but has her shape shifting face splattered into goo!

Metropolis PD is using all of their high tech weapons on Doomsday and even the Cadmus security fire everything they have at Doomsday, all to no effect. 

Superman comes back with a punch that would kill anyone else but only manages to chip Doomsday's rocky face.

Superman's bleeding as Dooms shoves him into the ground and tosses the dying Superman like a rag doll.

Clark recovers enough to tell Lois he loves her as he knows what he has to do.

Doomsday is shoved through a building but comes back by pushing him like a jackhammer into the concreted street. 

Punching his way back to the surface Kal fires heat vision and then manages to break one of Doomsday's kneecaps. 

The aliens trade punches that shatter an entire blocks windows. The two are dying as they put everything they have down to one last punch and when the blows connect they fall to the ground!

Doomsday is dead and Superman asks Lois with his dying breath if Doomsday is in fact down. Lois confirms that Superman saved everyone and with that a Superman dies.

Are these all of the good Superman fights? Hell no there are tons that I wanted to choose but they just weren't visceral enough.
Superman battles Batman (again) as well as Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern Corps, Brainiac and Luthor.

Superman fights Luthor, Solaris and Bizarro!

This is my most glaring omission and as much as I wanted to add it because all of Superman's villains get there power levels ratcheted up, there just wasn't that one knock down drag out. Still one of the best Superman stories ever written! 

In closing I really wanted to do this because I have been a fan of Superman for many years and so many times you hear comic fans and non comic fans alike treating Superman as if he is a cornball boring do-gooder. Now you know who Superman is.

He's the one with the wallet that says badass motherfucker on it.

Thanks to everyone who has followed me on this journey, it's been a blast and even though I try not to comment on my own posts because it feels like clapping for myself I have read everyone's reactions and discussions and I appreciate all the support. I would thank someone for helping me but I did the whole thing my damn self so good job Ryan! But I will thank Mr. Kieth for providing me with a podium to present to his ready made audience. Back to writing my book, see ya'll next time inspiration hits me!

Help Peter David

By, J. Ryan Buck (

Get your comics here

Previous installments here


  1. It's funny, there's been a lot of people doing Superman's Greatest Fight articles, and it's sort of like when people do a Top 10 Matches From The 80's article. Because you know that Flair vs Steamboat is gonna be at the top, but it's interesting to see what the sub-choices are. Have you seen the show on youtube called Superhero Beat Down? It's absolutely fantastic.

    Doomsday is such an awesome villain, and a perfect match for Superman. They're complete opposites in every way, and can take as good as he can get. I really want to see a big screen version of him.

    The Death of Superman was such a huge deal. I'll always remember that as a kid.

    Man of Steel was such a lump of crap. The MOS is a POS.

  2. I Completely agree, other than the minor placements of 1 2 and 3 with most best and greatest lists you know what the top choices are. Most do read the lists to see what the lower choices are in case they missed some lost 5 star Ric Flair vs. Steamboat/Savage/whoever match that they haven't seen or in my list Superman fight they hadn't read a hundred times before.

  3. Nice work -- Though I've never commented I always read your stuff and enjoy it...

  4. Where was the JLA A team during this anyway? I mean a real lantern, Martian Manhunter etc... all getting destroyed would have made Doomsday seem even more unstoppable... hell even have some of the villains get in on the action in a "for the greater good" type of thing.

  5. Thanks! It's appreciated.

  6. This was during the time when DC was continuity heavy and since all the big gun JLAer's had their own titles they didn't want to contradict what the writers were doing. So Superman was made the only big name on the team and if I'm not mistaken this was when Batman was with the Outsiders. The JLA big guns did fight Doomsday in in "The Doomsday Wars" prestige but that sucked. I mean the fight was decent but Doomsday had his brain taken over by Brainiac and he was talking and crap, plus there was a subplot about Lana Lang and Pete Ross's baby. I choose to ignore the whole thing personally.

  7. I expected DKR to be #1, but your logic is good. My personal favorite Superman fight is a guilty pleasure.

    Evil Superman Vs Clark Kent (Superman III) - Don't know what it is but this is a really fun fight. Also there is just something cool about Superman's alter egos duking it out for control.

  8. Bloodwynd actually was a shape-shifted Martian Manhunter.


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