At this point in superhero history, it may not surprise you that The Superman Family hasn't always been perfect. Let's be real: the things we associate with our favorite heroes have always at some point been played with, either to sell books or just tell interesting stories, and we know that.
Superman and his Super Pals are no exception, and though many might assume that The Superman Family isn't without sin, it's something else to realize just how deep their vices go. Here's a list of 10 times Superman or someone close to him did some pretty bad stuff.
10 Superboy-Prime Sparked an Intergalactic War
Though merely one of a handful of stories that set the stage for Infinite Crisis, the decimation of Thanagar and the sparking of the Rann-Thanagar War is something that greatly affected the likes of Hal Jordan, Hawkman and C-List heroes like Adam Strange.
The war resulted in key story events for these cosmic-level DC characters, such as the death of the Green Lantern Jade as the introduction of Kyle Rayner as the Lantern-like god-figure Ion. This last part would be built upon later on with Kyle becoming the White Lantern in The New-52 continuity.
9 And Most Notably Tried to Destroy Every Other Hero in the Multiverse
A huge feat of evil for any villain, but let's not forget that Superboy-Prime started out much like Jay Garrick: a cross-dimensional friend of Superman who played a major role as a hero in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Modern readers know him as the big bad in the Infinite Crisis event, but much of the character's history is as a friend of Superman and the DC hero base.
His desire to be the last hero standing, while shocking for those who were familiar with the character prior, is certainly logical given his experience between the two crises. This is a man who wants desperately to return to the world he knows: one where there is only one world, Earth-Prime, and one hero, him.
8 And Let's Not Forget He Killed the Superboy of the Main DC Universe Too
Much of the fallout of this act happened in the year-long 52 event that immediately followed Infinite Crisis, and for Superboy-Prime the reaction many had to Superboy's death was indicated that his role in the DC Multiverse really had gone from the literal prime Superman (from the perspective of the multiverse, not us the readers) to being next to nothing.
Heroes mourned, the Titans were changed, there was even a cult created in the name of Superboy. Overall Superboy's actions showed what good people do when tragedy strikes: they pay homage, contrasting Superboy-Prime's decision to blame others for what had happened to him.
7 That One Very Strange Story With Comet
We wrote about this very strange story in the Supergirl Mythos here, but it bears repeating. Comet was a horse that was in love with Supergirl and there really isn't much more that needs to be said after that.
To make it a little less creepy, it was eventually revealed that Comet used to be a centaur, which is about as effective as saying that the illegal vape salesman that operates outside of your building used to be an illegal vape salesman enrolled in a Doctorate program.
6 A Future Superman Became a Pawn for the U.S. Military
This one comes from the events of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. Though the moral code of Batman in that story is often called into question, the same attention should definitely be given to Miller's depiction of Superman.
In the first full-body image of the character, Miller breaks down how Superman has changed since beginning to officially work solely with the U.S. government. He's ended wars in an instant and therefore helped create the "peace" that this future world finds itself in with his powers. If current attitudes toward the U.S. government are any indication though, ending wars isn't always a sign that you're a noble entity.
5 Another Future Superman Became An Evil Dictator
This coming from the "it could happen tomorrow" reality of Injustice. In this reality the entire DC Universe has fallen to pieces after the villains finally band together to win, and after being tricked into killing his wife Lois, Superman is warped into a much darker character.
Most notably, he is responsible for murdering Shazam and maybe more understandably doing the same to The Joker. Though a strong moral shift may have been warranted due to the tragedy he experienced, it's the severity of his actions that peg this Superman as not just a tragic anti-villain but a stone-cold killer.
4 Jimmy Olsen Became a City-Smashing Kaiju
We actually covered this story and many of the other strange transformations from the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen back in 2016. Compared to other acts on this list, this one actually isn't all that bad, but it should be said that this is Jimmy Olsen we're talking about. Jimmy Olsen: Possibly the only person with a more rose-colored worldview than Superman himself.
Where Superman would litter if the fate of the world depended on it, Jimmy hasn't littered in his life for the simple fact that the fate of anything never rests in his hands. Therefore, causing major property damage, regardless of whether it would be fixed by the start of the following issue, is a pretty big act of aggression for this guy.
3 Supergirl Literally Killed Innocent People
Linda Danvers was a version of Supergirl created by Peter David for a gritty revival of the historically righteous character. As such, the series featured a lot of the violence and dark tones that 90's comics are now infamous for.
Though the actual quality of writing has always been considered great, David still put this Supergirl in some situations that it's hard to picture the tried-and-true Kara Zor-El taking part in. Linda wasn't inherently malicious though, and much of her character arc in the much more magic-based take on the series was about finding redemption for her past sins.
2 But She Still Killed Again
Though a happy ending would have been nice, this is the 90's we're talking about. During the Reing in Hell mini-series by Keith Giffen, Linda is brought to the underworld for her past sins. In this time her true character is revealed, and she's seen killing innocents and threatening Dr. Occult before ultimately giving in to his power.
Though this depiction of Linda doesn't necessarily follow the trajectory of her arc to the end of David's run on the series, it provides some closure for fans. You can't save them all sure, but you would think you could save somebody who was bold enough to call themselves Supergirl.
1 And The Real Deal Superman Became a Dictator
Closing out the list is what might be one of the more memorable events for comic fans who read Superman comics in the 90's. Where opening fire on a crowd has surprisingly been kind of a grey area in comics, Superman's transition to an ego-fueled dictator was bad even for the time it happened.
It's hard to argue that dictatorships are okay in a place like The United States, although it may be easier now than it ever has been. Regardless, Superman's heel turn came at a time when American patriotism was still rock solid, and The Man of Tomorrow becoming an all-powerful overlord would have gotten to just about anybody who didn't intentionally go out of their way to avoid the consumption of mainstream culture.