Superman might be one of the strongest superheroes of all-time but his rogue's gallery often leaves a lot to be desired. Outside of Lex Luthor, Brainiac, General Zod, and Bizarro, there isn't a lot of depth to the villains that Superman has faced over the last 80 years. Some of them are actually quite generic and lame when placed next to the Man of Steel.
The main reason for this is, like The Incredible Hulk, Superman is pretty much unbeatable unless someone has kryptonite or magic, so if a person is just a regular villain, they come across as lame and unworthy of a battle against the strongest superhero in DC Comics. However, there are also those villains that are simply terrible and Superman has more of those than almost any other hero.
10 MR. MXYZPTLK
Mr. Mxyzptlk is an inter-dimensional imp who shows up on Earth to cause havoc, usually through annoying pranks. He normally isn't there to hurt anyone, although he has shown a mean streak on occasion. Instead, he just wants to annoy Superman -- and the readers -- until the Man of Steel finally sends him back home.
The only way to do this is by making him say his name backward, write his name backward, spell it backward, or oftentimes, do something completely off the wall. At one point, Lex Luthor taught him how to lie and that made him even more unbearable.
The problem with Doomsday isn't his danger level, because he is possibly the most lethal villain Superman ever faced. He is the creature that killed Superman -- something that no other villain ever accomplished. However, similar to Superman, Doomsday is ridiculously overpowered and that makes him a very boring villain.
Doomsday can never die the same way twice. If Superman beats him to death, it can't happen next time Doomsday returns from the dead. This means that the more times DC used Doomsday, the more ways they had to find to beat him and the more times they used him, the more overpowered he became. Beings like Superman and Doomsday are less interesting because they are too strong.
8 GUS GORMAN
The first two Superman movies remain beloved, the first introducing Superman and Lex Luthor and providing magic for fans of the DC characters. The second brought in arguably his best villain in Terence Stamp's General Zod who forced everyone to kneel before him. In Superman III, one of the main villains was -- Richard Pryor.
Pryor portrayed Gus Gorman, a computer hacker who worked for Ross Webster. Gus found that everyone who was paid a 1/2 cent had it knocked off their checks, and when all those half cents were added up, it equaled $85,789.90. Gus funneled all that extra money to himself. Pryor later said he only took the job for the money and didn't care about Superman, and that showed in his performance -- which took up more screen time than Superman in the movie.
It should come as no surprise that Kancer was created out of cancer -- specifically from cancerous growths removed from Superman that General Zod had infected him with using Kryptonite. Once removed, the growths then turned into a monstrous being that hated Superman because he rejected it -- because it was cancer.
Kancer had super strength but it also had the power to touch someone and immediately infect that person with cancerous growths that devoured all their organisms. As mentioned, Kancer considered Superman his father who abandoned him, so he also looked at Zod as a second father that helped create him.
6 CYBORG SUPERMAN
When Superman died, four new beings appeared to replace him. Two of these were fantastic creations in John Henry Irons' Steel and Connor Kent's Superboy. The third was the Eradicator, who had no problem killing and maiming villains in the name of justice.
The fourth was the villain -- Cyborg Superman. This was Hank Henshaw who decided after Superman died to ruin his reputation and he set out to wreak havoc. He teamed with Mogul and was responsible for the destruction of Coast City, which turned Green Lantern into the most dangerous villain in the universe. However, for Cyborg Superman, that was the only thing he ever did that mattered.
When it comes to Superman, he is the Big Blue Boy Scout, the purest hero of them all. That means when DC decides to throw an NSFW villain at him, it can come off as either a great contrast to Clark Kent or as a shock villain that fails on almost every level. Sleez fits the later description.
Originally an aide for Darkseid, Sleez was so depraved that Darkseid wanted nothing to do with him and sent him to Earth. Early on, he captured Big Barda and made her belly dance for him in a skimpy outfit. The villain then wanted to make an adult film with Superman and Big Barda, and honestly, the less talked about, the better when it comes to Sleez.
4 THE PRANKSTER
Mr. Mxyzptlk caused all kinds of problems for Superman due to his mischievousness but at least he had magic to back him up. The Prankster was worse -- a human named Oswald Loomis who was a children's television show host who lost it when his show was canceled.
As a result, his entire purpose in life was the play pranks on Metropolis and drive everyone crazy -- although some of the pranks were extremely dangerous. He drove Superman nuts to the point where the Man of Steel almost lost it completely. In the New 52, Prankster became a Nightwing villain and a much more legitimate threat, but the Superman version was terrible.
Terra-Man might be one of the strangest Superman villains of them all. In the New 52, Tobias Manning was a businessman who decided that corporations were destroying the environment, so he created ways for the environment to fight back and attack companies he felt were too dangerous.
That seems pretty legit compared to the Terra-Man that haunted Superman for years in his comics. The original Terra-Man was a cowboy born in 1878 who was captured and raised by an alien to be a thief. When he returned to Earth, it was years into the future and he became a Superman villain who rode a winged horse and used his energy lasso as a weapon and chewing tobacco that somehow aged Superman.
2 MICROWAVE MAN
Microwave Man was one of Superman's earliest villains, created in the '30s. His name was Lewis Pagett, a scientist who gave himself superpowers using microwaves. With the powers, he decided it was better to be a villain than a hero. This brought him into a confrontation with Superman.
Microwave Man was bulletproof and even Superman's mighty blows couldn't hurt him. There was one problem. Superman learned that Microwave Man was destined to die after they battled, so he just let the bad guy think he won so he could be happy when he died. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, this character never existed -- and that is all for the better.
1 NUCLEAR MAN
The worst Superman villain of all-time is an easy one to pick. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was the movie that did something no DC villain outside of Doomsday ever accomplished -- it killed Superman. There was no turning back after Clark Kent decided he would use his powers to end the Cold War by eliminating all nuclear weapons from the Earth.
That led to his new enemy, the evil Nuclear Man. While Lex Luthor was still on hand, Superman had to battle Nuclear Man to save the world and faced more than his most powerful villain. He also had to face his most mind-numbingly stupid villain portrayed by Mark Pillow, someone whose acting career also died at the hands of the villain.