Up, Up, And Away! 10 Best Superman Comics To Read

Amidst the vibrant pages of DC Comics lies a symbol of hope, strength, and justice — Superman. Nay-sayers who think that the Big Blue Boy Scout is boring couldn’t be more wrong. With his awe-inspiring strength and unwavering moral compass, stories centred on the Man of Steel offer thoughtful explorations of heroism and virtue.

This is also the take that director and DC Films creative architect James Gunn will bring to his upcoming Superman: Legacy film, starring David Corenswet as Superman/Kal-El and Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane. If anything, it will bring the sense of hope and joy that the previous outing, Man of Steel (2013) lacked, providing a more upbeat version to Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill’s darker take on the Last Son of Krypton.

With countless comic book adventures under his belt, it can be challenging to know where to begin or which stories are essential. Fear not, for our curated list of the best Superman comics encapsulates the character’s legendary legacy, with stories that will take you soaring through the skies alongside Kal-El.

1) All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman captures the essence of Superman’s heroism by exploring how he spends his final days on Earth. In this extraordinary tale penned by Grant Morrison, Superman finds himself gifted with increased power but burdened with a year to live due to a scheme orchestrated by his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor. Throughout a series of bizarre encounters, Superman showcases the full extent of his abilities, demonstrating that his greatest strength lies in his boundless compassion. 

Meanwhile, Frank Quitely’s graceful artwork lends the character an almost divine appearance, complementing Morrison’s narrative to establish the Man of Tomorrow as a benevolent god who forever changes the lives of those fortunate enough to truly know him.

2) Superman: Birthright

Superman: Birthright offers a fresh and modern perspective on Clark Kent’s journey from a small-town farm boy to the Man of Tomorrow. With stunning artwork by Leinil Francis Yu, this six-issue series written by Mark Waid provides a heartfelt and action-packed introduction to the character, making it perfect for newcomers and seasoned fans alike.

If All-Star Superman underscores Superman’s last days, Superman: Birthright shines a brilliant spotlight on his origins, allowing the two stories to become satisfying bookends to the hero’s legacy.

3) Superman: Brainiac

In Superman: Brainiac, Geoff Johns expertly weaves together a gripping narrative that pits Superman against Brainiac, the collector of worlds. Throughout, Gary Frank’s detailed illustrations bring the cosmic menace to life with astonishing clarity.

As Brainiac’s presence looms larger, the stakes escalate to epic proportions, delivering a sense of urgency and excitement that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Superman: Brainiac is an enthralling addition to the Superman mythos, showcasing the iconic hero’s unwavering courage in the face of unimaginable challenges.

According to a tweet from DC’s official Superman account, All-Star, Birthright, and Brainiac are comics that inspire the upcoming Superman: Legacy.

4) Superman: Earth One

Fans who prefer a grittier and more realistic take on Superman may find more to enjoy from Superman: Earth One. The series is deftly penned by J. Michael Straczynski, with cinematic artwork by Shane Davis across volumes one and two, and Ardian Syaf on volume three.

Ultimately, Superman: Earth One plumbs the depths of Superman’s vulnerabilities and his quest for meaning, resulting in a captivating exploration of the iconic hero’s journey.

5) Superman: For All Seasons

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Superman: For All Seasons explores the Man of Steel’s impact on the lives of the people he protects. The series provides a poignant and intimate examination of Superman’s relationships with key figures like Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Ma and Pa Kent.

The coming-of-age narrative highlights Superman’s moments of uncertainty, yearning for home, and inner turmoil. Clark Kent’s contemplation of bringing his beloved family dog to Metropolis and his attempts, albeit unsuccessful, to reconnect with old friends, are relatable moments that resonate with readers on a deeper level. Yet, amidst his longing for a simpler life, Clark demonstrates the importance of courage and hope by drawing upon the strength to confront extraordinary challenges.

6) Kingdom Come

Although it features the Justice League and the entire pantheon of DC Comics’ heroes, Kingdom Come is unquestionably a Superman-driven story that sees the iconic hero at a low point after immense devastation. This haunting narrative, by writer Mark Waid, is further accentuated by the mesmerising, painterly art style of Alex Ross. Meanwhile, Waid shows that he truly is a master at crafting provocative stories, as the book’s aging heroes grapple with existential questions and search for meaning and hope.

Moreover, Kingdom Come emphasises the transformative power of solidarity, while serving as a searing critique of the casual violence and wanton destruction often prevalent in modern superhero media. It reminds us of the value of restraint and forgiveness, showing that these acts can truly exemplify strength in its purest form.

7) Superman: Red Son

What would happen if Superman was “evil”? It’s a fun thought experiment that’s seen its fair share of variations — from Homelander in the The Boys to Omni-Man in Invincible.

In Superman: Red Son, Mark Millar explores what would happen if Superman’s spaceship had landed in Soviet Russia instead of Smallville. The result is the Man of Steel’s transformation into a champion of communism, delivering a thought-provoking narrative that showcases Superman’s unwavering dedication to his beliefs.

8) Superman: Secret Identity

Set in a world where Superman is nothing more than a comic book character, Superman: Secret Identity follows a young man unfortunately named Clark Kent who suddenly develops superpowers.

With exceptional artwork by Stuart Immonen, this series delves into the very essence of what it means to be a hero, while examining the dynamics of a character burdened by such an immense secret and extraordinary power. Simultaneously, writer Kurt Busiek skilfully navigates the complexities of romance, family, and politics that intertwines with the life of its protagonist.

9) Superman: Up in the Sky

Superman: Up in the Sky takes readers on a heartfelt and awe-inspiring adventure where Superman embarks on a journey across the universe to rescue an abducted young girl.

Tom King’s powerful storytelling is rich with emotional depth, exploring the profound impact Superman has on those he encounters and the unwavering resolve that drives him to never give up. Additionally, the striking artwork by Andy Kubert beautifully captures the grandeur of Superman’s interstellar odyssey, emphasising the scale and wonder of the cosmos.

10) Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Curt Swan, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? serves as a poignant farewell to the Silver Age of Superman. It delivers a gripping and emotionally charged conclusion as the Man of Steel faces a series of escalating threats that challenge not only his physical prowess but also the very essence of his character.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? digs into the complex nature of heroism, exploring the sacrifices that come with being a symbol of hope and the enduring impact Superman has on those he leaves behind.

The comics mentioned above represent the pinnacle of Superman storytelling, showcasing the depth and complexity of the Man of Steel. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the world of Superman, these comics will ignite your imagination and remind you why the Last Son of Krypton remains an icon in the realm of superheroes.