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Welcome to the first Top 5 Friday inspired by Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Over the next few weeks I'll be covering my favorite stories starring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, leading up to the release of the movie which will have a Top 5 Batman/Superman Team Up stories list. We'll kick things off with the one I'm rooting for in the fight: Superman. As the Beacon of Hope and Protector of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, Superman is known for going on amazing adventures, battles against terrifying monsters, and has many different versions of himself gracing the pages of comics for over 75 years. With that in mind, there are hundreds upon thousands of stories I possibly could never read in my life, so these are in my opinion the best I have read. Enough talk! Let's dive in!
5: Superman for All Seasons Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
This tale is a little bit like the current series Superman: American Alien, but a much brighter in tone. It follows Clark Kent's earliest encounters that will shape him into becoming the man of tomorrow. I like this story because of the coming of age story over what little action we get. Don't get me wrong there are moments of tense action in here, and one or two darker moments as well, but the little moments; moments with the Kents, Lois, and most importantly Lana Lang, that build the foundation that grows Clark's character. The art seals the deal making it feel like you are looking into an old American painting, which compliments the old coming of age story we are presented. If you want something a little brighter for a Superman tale, look no further than here.
4: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Alright I'm cheating here a little bit as Superman isn't the protagonist, but he still does play an important part in the story. This one follows Lex Luthor as he prepares for his latest attempt to take down Superman, which involves a young woman named Hope. The thing about this story that makes it so good is the fact you're seeing things from Luthor's point of view. We don't see a mad scientist, we see a man who wants to prove to his city that they don't NEED an Alien. His case against Superman actually does make sense: Why trust an alien that has all that power only because he looks human? Granted that goes out the window when we see the plan go into action, but it's an interesting point of view we don't see often. The art matches the theme pretty well, and actually makes Superman look especially terrifying and otherworldly. If you ever wanted to understand why anyone could possibly hate Superman, this story is perfect for you.
3: Superman Earth One Volume 2 Writer: J. Micheal Straczynski
Artist: Shane Davis
The Earth one series of original graphic novels have been fantastic reads, but my first one will always be my favorite. The story follows Earth One Superman, after revealing himself to the world, as he begins to figure out what he should do now just as the Parasite is born. So why this one over the other two volumes? While I did enjoy them, the character development of Clark was amazing here over the other two. It shows Clark as a guy who will make mistakes and wants to learn and improve from them. He wants to help, but knows there might be political ramifications. He reacts to things like a normal human and not a god amongst them. Add that to amazing art and one of the creepiest versions of Parasite you'll ever seen and you have one amazing tale on an Earth were still learning about.
2: Superman Red Son Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett
In Soviet Russia, Superman controls you! In this story, Superman ship crash lands in Soviet Russia during the Cold War, giving the Soviets the upper hand during the war, while chief scientist Lex Luthor helps America to combat this new menace. This Earth in the multiverse is definitely on my top 5 favorite earths, not even because of Superman. This entire story is clever with new interpretations of famous DC characters like Batmankoff and the Green Lantern Army Corps, a plot that is epic and cinematic enough to to be an animated movie, and a twist that no one who hasn't read the story sees coming and makes it ten times more awesome. The Superman here evolves over time from a Superman we recognize to a dictator almost like Injustice, and the best part? You see what pushes him to turn into it over time, and it makes you want to tell him he was doing a fine job. It's a great story and with it being a part of DC's official multiverse, it won't be going anywhere any time soon.
1: All-Star Superman Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely
This story revolves around a Superman who has been given one year to live, after an incident near the sun, and follows him as he settles all of his affairs. What can I say about this story that hasn't been said before? The plot is fantastical and fun, the art compliments every adventure the man of steel goes on, the characterization of Lex, Lois, Jimmy, and most importantly Superman are spot on and make the characters feel more human and relatable than ever before. Every issue feels like an amazing adventure that notes a facet of Superman's character. From compassion for those who'd replace him, to wit when taking on an impossible riddle, to flying around metropolis stopping train crashes and evil scientists, just in time to convince a young woman to not commit suicide. He doesn't see himself as a god amongst men, but an adventurer of the unknown and with the things he faces and does in this story you can see why. It's a timeless quintessential classic for Superman and that's why it's my number one.
That's it for this week's Top 5 Friday! What's your favorite Superman Story? Leave a comment and I'll see you next week for part two: The Top 5 Batman stories!