It’s an odd fact that in the DC Universe, we’ve seen more savagery committed toward allies than toward enemies. The Justice League are pretty guilty in this area, as all of them have turned on their friends on numerous occasions; either due to being swayed the wrong way, or because it’s an evil version of the same character.
Any time Superman isn’t being a good guy is one where the fanbase can’t fathom at his attitude, as the Man of Steel is the epitome of being a nice person. However, Superman (and the many versions of him) has been “savage” both verbally and through his actions toward his Justice League teammates, and you’ll be surprised to see these 10 occasions that stand out the most.
10 Taking Aquaman Out Like Trash
The Superman in the DC Animated Universe was one of the weakest versions we’ve seen yet, who was constantly beaten by beings he should have won against; this turned out to be the case only because he deliberately held back.
On this occasion, though, Superman wasn’t going to be a pushover. After Aquaman beat Wonder Woman in order to get to Solomon Grundy, he had Superman standing in his way. Superman would warn Aquaman to stand down only once; when that didn’t work, the Man of Steel sighed and punched Aquaman’s living daylights. The next shot was of Superman dragging both Aquaman and Grundy away like sacks of trash.
9 Almost Killing The Flash Without Remorse
Even though still part of the DCAU, this Superman was the leader of the Justice Lords, a group who had used lethal means to take control of their alternate universe. All this began because their version of The Flash had died, and it was believed this Superman’s only conscience would be the main universe’s Flash: It wasn’t.
Once he came across the Flash, Superman would grab him by the throat and pull back to release his deadly punch that was intended to dismember Flash completely. Even Wally was heartbroken to realize Superman had gone so far into the dark side that he was willing to kill him. Thankfully, the prime universe version of Superman was there to save the day.
8 Clobbering Batman And Green Lantern
This might be the most savage version of Superman we’ve seen so far in personality, as this guy had no qualms with destroying the city just to hand out a walloping to his target. On this occasion, his targets were Green Lantern and Batman.
They would form their alliance immediately after their confrontation, but that was a first-meeting neither Green Lantern nor Batman would want to remember. Superman, believing the two to be working for Darkseid, would unleash hell upon his targets. He intended to punch Batman through a brick wall, shatter Green Lantern’s force field, and plant the two deep into the Earth - he would have easily achieved that had he not just been playing around with them in a twisted sense of one upmanship.
7 Blaming The Justice League For Their Failures
After the Justice League were once again unable to get their teamwork right, thanks to Green Lantern bossing them around and the rest of the group having massive egos of their own, the bad guys would deliver a handy defeat to the League.
It was at this point that the generally congenial Superman would rise up and tell the others to “Shut up!” before solely blaming them for their failure. When the Flash argued that forming the Justice League was Superman’s idea in the first place, the latter would fold his hands unapologetically and claim he had considered it and was better off on his own. This would lead to the Justice League disbanding for a while.
6 Breaking Batman's Back
In the “Injustice” storyline, where Superman turned into a bad guy after a personal tragedy, a lot of things happened that Superman fans will be left open mouthed in shame after finding out.
One of the savage things Superman did was purposefully emulate one of Batman’s worst moment: breaking his back. Casual fans will remember this happening in The Dark Knight Rises, and that was an angle that was taken from the comics when Bane had done something similar. In order to “break” Bruce, Superman repeated Bane’s feat and broke the back of a pleading Batman.
5 Killing Martian Manhunter
The one with the purest soul out of all the Justice League members has to be the Martian Manhunter. He’s a pacifist at heart, and never wants to fight even when threatened. So, it made perfect sense when J’onn sided with Batman in the insurgency against “Injustice” Superman’s tyrant-filled regime.
Unfortunately, Superman wasn’t feeling very nostalgic about the Justice League days he and J’onn had once enjoyed, and decided to end his threat swiftly. Knowing that fire was the Martian Manhunter’s weakness, Superman put his laser vision at full blast and totally incinerated J’onn to his demise. All that was left were his ashes, and the ashes of the fallen friendship that had once been so strong.
4 Betraying The Justice League
After having been in charge of the Justice League for about more than three decades, nobody would have suspected Superman of foul play - and nobody did, even though Superman was the bad guy.
He was mind controlled by Starro for years, and the final plan was to kill off the Justice League one by one. Here, Superman attempted to boil Aquagirl to death, and then proceeded to pin the blame on Batman Beyond. Then, the rest of the Starro species latched onto the other league members and attempted to kill Batman. Imagine how horrific it would have felt for Batman to see a murderous Superman flying behind him!
3 Slaughtering Green Lantern
Everyone would assume the best in Superman after seeing him be such a nice guy for so long, but this turned out to be Green Lantern’s fatal mistake. In the “Injustice” story, the early days of Superman’s regime were on the rise, and Green Lantern chose to side with Batman.
However, he still was adamant that Superman would never try to kill any of his Justice League members, and battled the Man of Steel hoping he could capture him and talk sense. Unfortunately, all Superman saw was red and that was the color smeared on his fist after he slaughtered Green Lantern with his punches with savage pleasure.
2 Attacking And Capturing The Justice League
The Justice Lords Superman wasn’t satisfied with having a permanent hold on his own universe, and wanted to take control of the prime universe Superman’s world as well. Despite feeling a bond toward his counterpart and his version of the Justice League, the Justice Lords Superman commissioned his Batman to make a machine that incapacitated their counterparts painfully.
This was done after Superman had his version of the Martian Manhunter bait the Justice League to follow them into his world, before ambushing them with an agonizing blast that resembled lightning shocks to their pressure points. To top it off, Superman then had the Justice League hung around in cells so he and the Justice Lords could invade their universe.
1 Killing Batman In The Knightmare Future
Had we seen Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League play out, you would have seen Superman become an ally of Darkseid. In this future, Superman was controlled by the Anti-Life Equation, and happily turned Earth into another version of Apokolips.
He had a personal beef with Batman, though, on whose watch Lois Lane had earlier died. When he found his former buddy, Superman didn’t waste time in making Batman watch as he killed all his friends with his laser vision, before ripping Batman’s heart with his bare hands.