Do you think Superman (the “Man of Steel”) is one of the most overrated Superheroes of all time? If you do, then you’re in agreement with numerous other comic book and movie fans out there. The most annoying thing about Superman is that he is too powerful for most characters to stand up to him – and even when someone of equal or greater power fights him, he has his superhero friends around to protect him.
Over the years, Superman has fought tirelessly for truth and justice. He has put numerous criminals in prison when they’ve posed a threat to human life. It’s hard to hate Superman because he’s a friend to and defender of the human race and always fights against the bad guys regardless of the situation.
Contrary to what some people might think, Superman has lost quite a number of battles and even died in a number of them. The most famous death of Superman was when he died in Lois Lane’s arms after a brutal battle with Doomsday – a fight unlike any other seen in the DC universe. However, since no one really stays dead in comic book universes, Superman came back to life after a while and was even more powerful than before.
Listed below are the various ways in which Superman has been or can be defeated in a battle – though not all of these have resulted in his death. It is very likely that we will see some of these weaknesses exploited in the most anticipated movie this year – Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – but it is highly unlikely that these two friends will fight to the death.
10. Using Kryptonite
Kryptonite is a radioactive element from Superman’s home planet of Krypton, which sucks all the powers from all Kryptonians including Superman. Kryptonite affects Superman so much that when he is exposed to it, he becomes weaker than the average human being, a state in which he can easily be destroyed by the weakest of villains.
Superman’s enemies such as Lex Luthor, Bloodsport and Conduit have used Kryptonite to defeat him on countless occasions. However, even Superman’s friends – including Batman and Green Arrow – have used Kryptonite when they are fighting against him. But in the end, we all know that the Man of Steel always finds a way to survive.
9. Using Red Sun Radiation
When Superman is on Krypton, he does not have the superpowers that he possesses when he is on earth, because Krypton does not have earth’s yellow sun. Therefore, when Superman is exposed to the planet’s red sun radiation, he loses all his superpowers and becomes as vulnerable to diseases, injuries, and even death, as a normal human being is.
Unlike the crippling and painful symptoms that Superman experiences when exposed to Kryptonite, the radiation from the red sun only leaves him with normal health. Captain Atom has proved that the Man of Steel can be defeated when exposed to the red sun radiation, but even a weakened Superman is not to be underestimated.
8. Using Telekinesis
Telekinesis is a power that many characters in the DC universe possess, both villains and superheroes alike. It is the ability to move objects from one point to another using only mental power, without actually having to touch them physically. Although Superman is nearly unstoppable, telekinesis can sure slow him down or even cause his defeat if used properly.
The British anti-hero Manchester Black almost killed Superman when he telekinetically pinched a blood vessel in his brain, causing him to suffer effects equivalent to a stroke. Superman is so powerful that he never walks away from fights with villains that have telekinetic power, but he normally has to struggle or get assistance from another member of the Justice League.
7. Using a Nuclear Weapon
There is hardly anything on this planet you can throw at the Man of Steel that has the ability to even graze his skin – except a nuclear weapon, that is. Superman’s skin is almost unbreakable and his strength is something no human or machine can match up to. Despite appearing indestructible and having the powers of a god, Superman would risk death if he came face to face with a nuclear warhead and no sunlight to help him recover.
In The Dark Knight Returns, Superman diverted a nuclear warhead to space, only for it to explode and almost kill him. He fell to earth almost lifeless and reduced to a mere skin and bone appearance – and he only got his strength back by tapping solar energy from some vegetation around him.
6. Depriving Him of Sunlight
Without the sun, Superman has nothing special about him; he is just as powerful as the average well-built human being. Superman experiences the Photonucleic Effect, where the presence of the earth’s yellow sun gives him and other Kryptonians outstanding superpowers and, in the absence of the yellow sunlight, the lack of such powers. Therefore, if superman were to be deprived of sunlight for an extended period, as was the case when the government kept him underground for a long time, killing him would be easy.
Were it not for his friends saving him from the underground facility, Superman would have died. On the other hand, it is very hard to contain Superman anywhere given the powers he already has.
5. Using High Pitch Frequencies
Superman has a heightened sensitivity to everything and has just as much strength to control the potentially damaging effects of too much sensation. For example, Superman has super-hearing abilities that hardly anyone can match – and he had to struggle to keep all the noises from his head when adjusting to this power.
Although his super sensitive ears can survive a seriously loud explosion at close range, catch him off guard and you might get the better of him. When Superman was fighting Wonder Woman, she almost crippled him by smashing his super sensitive ears using her godlike strength. This revealed that it is possible to defeat Superman by messing with his ears, especially if you catch him by surprise.
4. Punching Him to Death
Very few characters in history have ever had the privilege of killing Superman, and this year’s Batman Vs Superman movie is not likely going to add Batman to that list. Doomsday is the only character who is well-known for having killed Superman without trickery, poison or some form of Kryptonite – he simply used brute force.
Doomsday is a genetically-engineered creature built with the same powers as those of Superman, giving him a great chance at winning a battle against the Man of Steel. Although Superman did manage to kill Doomsday first, he later collapsed and died, succumbing to the injuries he had sustained in the fight.
3. Using Another Superman
Comic books bring the concept of a multiverse to reality, by introducing characters from a different universe and bringing them together. Superman has many other versions of himself from different dimensions, and all these “Supermen” are just as powerful if not more powerful than the Superman we love and trust.
Some of the other Supermen are evil, and it is difficult to know the outcome of a fight between any of them. Since at one point Superboy-Prime fought and killed Superman from Earth-Two and was later defeated by Superman, it is possible to defeat any given version of Superman using another Superman from another universe.
2. Using Magic
Although Superman is undoubtedly one of the most powerful superheroes ever created, he has never quite been able to fight against magic as well as he does with all other threats. Magic usually affects Superman the way it would affect an average human being, and villains such as Doctor Fate, Spectre, Mr Mxyzptlk and Zatanna, have proven this fact over and over again.
Furthermore, although Superman’s skin is impenetrable to all sorts of sharp or fast moving objects, Wonder Woman’s sword and Captain Marvel’s lightning bolt, which possess magical qualities, would easily cut and seriously injure the Man of Steel. In the face of magic, Superman needs help, lest he will be defeated.
1. Using Lois Lane
Superman’s love for Lois Lane makes him weak because he would do anything you asked of him if you threatened to hurt her. For example, in Action Comics #527, Lois Lane was kidnapped by Lord Satanis and held hostage in order to lure Superman to what was supposed to be his death.
Although, in the end, Superman did prevail over Lord Satanis, he almost lost his life saving his one true love. Lois has been kidnapped numerous times over the history of their relationship – and all those times proved to be some of the worst situations that Superman has ever found himself in.