Awesome / Superman
Superman, pretty much the original super-hero and possibly the greatest of all time.
- Waaaayyyy back in 1938, the cover of Action Comics #1 managed to get attention by showing a certain brightly-costumed character performing the never-before-seen feat of lifting a car over his head, and smashing it to pieces!.
- If one still doubts the strength of the iconic cover art alone cementing the series as a hit, keep in mind that Action Comics #1 was an anthology comic with several different stories, with Supes first adventure getting sandwiched in out of desperation for new material. And for the next 13 issues, the cover didn't feature Superman at all—but the comic was still selling like hotcakes because people were buying the new issues just to see if more Superman stories were included! The sheer idea of reading a new Superman story was enough to drive sales of the comics, all on the strong first impression of his debut comic! From #15 and on, they wised up and gave Superman permanent top billing on the covers from then on out, and eventually just dropped the anthology format to make it a standalone Superman book, even though he ended up having his own self-named comic book running alongside it! The rest is history.
- Supes' establishing character moments in Action Comics #1. When forcing his way into the governors house, he shows off his strength for the first time by effortlessly lifting the butler over his head. When he finds out the governors room is sealed with a steel door, he easily tears it loose, to the shock of the butler. Then the Butler tries to shoot him at point blank range, and Superman doesn't even flinch.
- In the Alan Moore-written story "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman to Mongul:
Mongul: Happy birthday, Kryptonian. I give you oblivion.
: Burn.◊ (blasts Mongul with heat vision at point-blank range)
- Superman, in Action Comics #775, after defeating a team made up of The Authority pastiches (complete with Reality Warper) without stooping to their level and killing them:
Manchester Black: If you think this is over, then you're living in a bloody dream world!
Superman: You know what, Black...? I wouldn't have it any other way. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share - I'll never stop fighting. Ever.
- To make it better, in the process of beating him, Superman gives Manchester Black a taste of his own medicine by explaining, as Manchester's powers shut down on him, that Superman used precise heat vision to lobotomize Manchester and remove the parts of his brain that control his powers. After Manchester spends several minutes freaking out and feeling utterly violated, Superman reveals that all he actually did was give Manchester a concussion at superspeed to set up a ruse and show Manchester what it felt like to be on the receiving end of that kind of brutality.
- Superman: Red Son, an Elseworlds comic where Superman was raised in the Soviet Union, gives its greatest Crowning Moment of Awesome to Lex Luthor, who brings Superman to his knees. Luthor drives the Man of Steel to despair and near-suicide with a note left in Lois's breast pocket, who then tells Superman to use his X-ray vision to read the note. "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?"
- For background purposes, understand that Superman had united the entire world, save for the USA, into the Soviet Union. He had abolished crime and poverty at the cost of abolishing freedom of thought. Those who spoke out against Communism had their brains rewritten. His eyes and ears were everywhere. Yet Superman considered Brainiac's shrinking of Stalingrad into a bottle as his greatest failure. In light of this, Lex wrote the above sentence while saying to Lois: "What am I DOING? Well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword, Lois. So I'm distilling everything Superman hates and fears about himself into a SINGLE SENTENCE." Purely sublime.
- And, then there's Superman himself defeating the Green Lantern Marine Corps. Luthor was crazy to use thought-based weapons on someone faster than the speed of thought...
- Superman vs. Bizarro.
- A few moments from the "Death of Superman" arc:
- Superman makes the ultimate sacrifice and is forced to break his golden rule: he and Doomsday take each other out at the same time. Naturally quickly followed by an enormous tearjerker even we know how the story goes.
- Steel's no-nonsense admonishing of the irresponsible Superboy and the Eradicator over how they were essentially spending more time strutting over how they're Superman instead of acting like it.
- Or how about Superboy, after failing to pull a nuke away from Metropolis, punching it into the sea at the last minute proving that in fact, he can be a serious hero.
- Steel shutting down Engine City is a CMOA for both him and his opponent. Steel goes in to the heart of the engine to shut it down, and the Cyborg FORMS A BODY OUT OF THE WALLS to attack him. Cue an epic fight, where Steel is tossed about but keeps hanging in there in an effort to trick Henshaw into revealing how the engine works so Steel can figure out how to stop it, but The Cyborg states that the engine is too impossibly complex for a mere human to comprehend, much less shut down. So the Man of Steel lives up to his namesake and grabs the Cyborg's monstrous construct and flies them both into the building-size gears powering the engine, saving the entire Earth and redeeming himself for designing the Toastmasters.
- And yet, nothing tops when the man himself finally puts the suit and the cape back on.
- "Welcome to Earth, Brainiac."◊
- Superman fighting the KKK - both on the radio show and in real life.
- A little context to the awesome... the aforementioned KKK-fighting occurred back in the 1930s or '40s, when the KKK was still "respectable" (or, as respectable as a bunch of racist kooks in pointy hoods can be) and when membership in the organization was in the South less reputation suicide as it was a savvy career move. He fought them in real life by putting actual KKK rituals and passwords into their appearance in the show; this naturally made them something of a laughingstock by showing how silly they were.
- Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow: "You hurt LANA?!"
- Superman Beyond - "This looks like a job for Superman. For all of them." Cue epic team-up between Superman, Captain Marvel and the former Nazi Superman.
- The time he killed Lex Luthor by hawking a loogie through Luthor's forehead. Granted it was only a dream, but Superman was aware it was a dream and was in a bad mood.
- JLA/Avengers: In issue #3, Superman finally decides enough is enough with Thor, growling when Thor claims strength comes from within - "Tell yourself that, Mister... Ease yourself to sleep at night while you let your world go to hell! Where I come from, though, LIVES MATTER!" When Thor tries to bring Mjölnir on his head, Superman catches the hammer, causing an astonished Thor to react, "Odin's beard! How can you...? The mightiest... mightiest in nine worlds cannot..." Superman retorts, "S-sorry... sorry to disappoint... but in... my world, it looks like the dials GO UP TO ELEVEN!" and crushes Thor with a roundhouse punch, knocking him out cold.
- In Superman (vol. 2) #180, Dracula mesmerizes Superman, and bites him to gain his power and make Superman his slave. Superman is a solar battery. Do the math.
- An old 70's Action Comics 100 pager: The lead story has a sort of Injustice League capturing every single JLAer except Superman. Superman makes his way to their satellite, melts Sinestro's ring, and promptly wipes up the villains... save Brainiac who pwns Supes, but not before he can free the Flash who frees the rest.
- In Superman: Ending Battle, Supes takes on literally every villain in existence (except Darkseid and Doomsday), alone. At one point, Neutron, a nuclear villain, boasts that he cannot die, so Superman chucks him into orbit. Later, when Bizarro, Mongul, Silver Banshee, and Master Jailer are all that's left, they move the battle to somewhere in the Pacific. Superman eventually gets chucked onto an island littered with Kryptonite. As the four villains surround him and gloat, Superman finally reveals that this island is the exact spot where Neutron will land. Cue an almighty explosion.
- When the wizard Arion tries to enslave his mind with magic, Superman draws on training he received from Martian Manhunter and Zatanna, envisions that he is being constricted by a demonic snake, and tears the snake apart, freeing himself.
- Arion's hideout is in an underwater fortress, protected by a magic forcefield specially designed so Superman can't break it. His solution: create a huge whirlpool, then release it, sending the Atlantic Ocean crashing against it.
- At the climax, Arion turns into Cthulhu and Superman kicks his ass. When Arion turns back to normal, he angrily tries to blast him, only to find that Superman is holding all, and by all I mean dozens, of the magical trinkets that give the wizard his powers.
- What makes this more awesome is that it represents Superman overcoming his own longstanding fear of being controlled and used as a tool of destruction.
- In the novel Miracle Monday, Superman defeats The Devil's Agent On Earth by simply *refusing* to kill its innocent host - which was what the demon wanted all along, since making Superman break his non-killing vow would have ruined him emotionally (and robbed the world of its greatest inspiration) forever.
- Also vaguely heartwarming - the innocent host was a descendant of one of his supporting cast, specifically Jimmy.
- Superman's beatdown of Superboy-Prime near the end of Infinite Crisis. Superboy had even smashed a chunk of Kryptonite into his face beforehand. Superman proceeds to give a him a why you suck speech, declaring he doesn't know what it means to be super, then beats him to the ground in four or five punches.
- The Elseworlds story Last Family of Krypton, where Superman's entire family survives the destruction of their planet, has Jor-El and Lara resolve a marital dispute... by flying into space and having sex in the center of the sun.
- Artistically, the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, which was Supergirl's CMoA.
- In Superman: Earth One, while Supes is cool as usual, Jimmy Olsen gets his own CMOA. When the big bad is tearing apart Metropolis in search of Superman, Jimmy calmly stands in the middle of the destruction, diligently taking the pictures. When the big bad notices and questions Jimmy on this, Jimmy explains that he is willing to risk his life for the truth, and even as the big bad is preparing to kill Jimmy, he remains standing, continuing to take his pictures. Luckily for him, Supes takes him down... and Jimmy takes another picture of the wreckage, mentioning the other reason he was out there. To paraphrase, because the truth kicks serious ass.
- Jimmy gets another quiet CMOA at the conclusion of the Conduit saga, after the events of The Death of Clark Kent. Restrained in a deathtrap designed to be unbeatable, literally watching his life tick away on a timer overhead, Jimmy delivers a rousing plea to his super powered pal not to blame himself for failing to save him. Might qualify as a Dying Moment of Awesome, but he had an epiphany which allowed Superman to save him-just barely.
- Superman (vol. 1) #297. "Clark Kent FOREVER — Superman NEVER!" If the title didn't tip you off, this is A Day in the Limelight for Clark himself, where he gets romantic with Lois, tells off Morgan Edge, and punches out Steve Lombard. But his best moment in the story is his anti-gravity battle against Intergang, putting his weightless space maneuvering skills into effective use.
- In Action Comics v1 #0, when Conduit tried to kill everyone Clark loved and Clark finally found his hideout, the opening page has Superman facing a roomful of goons with high tech weapons and the titular villain. Conduit then says that Superman should "beware, this facility is lead-lined to restrict the use of your x-ray vision, is filled with hundreds of agents specifically trained with you in mind, each has kryptonite based weaponry in addition to 250 agents specially trained in psychic warfare.Superman's response? "Sounds fair!" The ensuing battle happens off-page and the narration says it takes less than two and a half minutes. Cue to Superman in a room full of unconscious agents and not even breathing hard while looking for Conduit.
- In the prequel storyline Superman Confidential: Kryptonite, Jimmy Olsen gets one as he saves himself, Lois Lane, and Superman (who is knocked out at the moment), from Lex Luthor as he holds one of Lex's henchmen at gunpoint and threatens to drive a taser into Lex's spine. Lex then backs off.
- From Geoff Johns and Richard Donner's Escape from Bizarro World storyline, Superman gaining "Superman vision" (Eye Beams that grant others his powerset) because of the blue sun is a bit silly, but Jonathan Kent using those powers to knock out a Bizarro Doomsday is an awesome example of Papa Wolf.
- From the Superman/Batman series, we have Kara's first appearance in the mainstream post-Crisis DCU in 20 years, culminating in her getting training from Wonder Woman and the Fatal Furies after she's abducted by Darkseid. After Batman out gambits Darkseid, Darkseid attacks Clark and Kara at the farm. Kara gets injured...and Clark takes off the kid gloves. He beats down Darkseid at Super Speed inside a tornado that Superman created, tosses a entire field at Darkseid, before moving past lightspeed to get to the sun, get a Power-Up by it (going into his Super Mode called 'Sun-Drenched') and punches Darkseid right into the Source Wall where he stays imprisoned for FIVE YEARS (until Final Crisis). Its a battle and beatdown you'd normally see in Dragon Ball Z, so it's refreshing to see Superman's powers finally used like that in a fight!
- From Up, Up, and Away, Superman, who has been missing for a year, returns and, during the midst of a battle with Luthor, demands "where's the cancer cure, Lex?" referencing Luthor's claim that, if Superman would just go away, he could save the world. Superman launches into "The Reason You Suck" Speech, pointing out that all Luthor did in the time Superman was gone, was find more ways to hurt people and break things. It ends with a depowered Superman facing off against Luthor (whose armour has shorted out) in a fistfight, and beating him unconcious.
- Last Son has Superman teaming up with the Superman Revenge Squad to take down General Zod's Kryptonian army. Much awesome ensues, including Superman attacking the Kryptonians while dual wielding a red solar rifle and a Green K laser, Metallo using Gold K to force attackers to fall out of the sky, and Lex Luthor killing one of Zod's soldiers in a one-on-one fight using the weapons he designed to battle Superman with. The best—and saddest—moment of all though, goes to Chris Kent/Lor-Zod when he knocks his father into the Phantom Zone and saves Superman from being sucked in as well.
- Zod forcing Brainiac to kneel before him in the climax of Last Stand of New Krypton.
- Luthor gets his moments of villainous awesome here. Whether it's suckering Brainiac with a robotic duplicate of himself, using Reactron to blow up New Krypton, unleashing a false red sun (made from the corpse of a Kryptonian pseudo-deity) on Zod's incoming army, or the fact that after everything he does he's able to walk away clean, there is no denying his status as DC's greatest Magnificent Bastard.
- Chris Kent/Lor-Zod tackling his father back into the Phantom Zone at the end of War of the Supermen is also appropriately awesome, and a call back to his similar moment in Last Son.
- In an issue of Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen saves a kid from an incoming attack by Bizzaro Supergirl, while riding on a motorcycle. The kid mistakes Jimmy for a cop or a superhero; Jimmy tells him he's neither, then rushes towards the fight.
- Reign of Doomsday gives us Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, and Steel saving the world from the Doomslayer by forcing his ship, which was flying at light speed, back into the atmosphere. Also a CMOA for Doomsday, who went back to being the unstoppable killing machine we all knew and loved after two decades of Villain Decay and The Worf Effect.
- Superman's speech to the Doomslayer is a stand-out moment: "Only a child tries to see things in black and white. We're [he and Doomsday] on the same side because things. are. complicated!"
- It ends in a CMOA for the Eradicator who, possessing Doomsday's body, defeats the other Doomsdays, and then pulls a Heroic Sacrifice, taking the Doomslayer down with him.
- Superman Vol 3 #19: Superman confronts the Sunturians, an alien species composed of red sun particles. As the Sunturians bring Superman into their spaceship, which they disguised as a city block, the Sunturian queen does not believe Superman would resort to a straight-up fight, considering the Sunturians can easily cancel his powers. Superman reveals he threw many canisters containing thousands of gallons of water into the sky. The canisters fall onto the ship and Superman freezes it. Then, he hurls it into space. And who says Batman is the only one good at running Batman Gambits?
- Action Comics Vol 2 #21: Superman's first fight with Lex Luthor in the New 52. Luthor created a virus from Superman's cells and infected several people in Metropolis. The only way to counteract the virus is with red sunlight, which drains Superman's powers. When Luthor attacks Superman, he is too weak to fight, so he flies towards the sun to restore his powers. Then, he beats Luthor down.
- Superman, in Action Comics Vol 2 #23, kills the Lexus by piercing its heart with a magic sword. Normally, this would be a violation of Superman's no-killing code, but since the Lexus is a soulless monster who eats planets for breakfast, Superman did not have other choice. The Pax Galactica, the order of warriors that have chased the Lexus across the universe, is impressed and declare Superman their leader. For obvious reasons, Superman declines.
- Superman/Wonder Woman #2: Superman and Apollo have a fight after Apollo makes an insulting comment about Wonder Woman's choice in boyfriends. At first, Apollo easily backhands Superman but Superman gets supercharged with Apollo's solar energy and a Curb-Stomp Battle ensues. Also doubles as a Funny Moment.
- In Superman, volume 2, issue #22, "The Price", Superman with Cara travels to alternate Earth, where Zod with his 2 minions killed the entire planet, including their Superman. After villains gloat about his non-killing rule, Superman points out that he is the last citizen of the planet, and should execute them for planecide. He gives them green Kryptonite. Villains have died in terrible pain...
- The Adventures of Superman had a story called "The Sound of One Hand Clapping" which is nothing but an extended conversation between The Joker and Superman. Joker tries to berate Superman with many of the same complaints that Batman Fanboys gripe about (his personality is dull, his costume is lame, his vast powers make him boring) while threatening Metropolis with hidden bombs only for Superman to grow bored with his complaining, find the bombs in the blink of an eye, toss them back at the Joker and boot him out of Metropolis, under pain of death. It was all a test set up by Batman to see if Superman would compromise on his morals. One that he apparently "failed" by even threatening to kill the Joker to make him leave. The story ends with Superman viciously tearing into Batman, telling him that he doesn't owe him anything, and Bruce doesn't know everything and isn't always right. The best part is when Superman allows himself a laugh in the last panel at the Joker's quip "In Gotham we all shop at Hot Topic."
- Superman, volume 3, issue #38. Superman defeats Ulysses by unleashing his new power, the super flare.
- Convergence: Superman is dedicated to showing how awesome Superman and Lois are:
- For starters, this is the pre-Flashpoint universe, where Clark and Lois are still Happily Married. She is even pregnant with Clark's child.
- Ever since Gotham City was trapped in a dome by Telos, Clark has been Brought Down to Badass and working as a masked vigilante, with Lois as his Oracle.
- The second Superman regains his powers, he disarms the thugs that have been harassing Jimmy Olsen.
- When Superman is attacked by Captain Thunder, Cyborg and Abin Sur, he absolutely refuses to indulge in Let's You and Him Fight and attempts to reason with them. At the very least, Abin listens to Superman's case and tells the Man of Steel about what happened in the Flashpoint universe..
- Subject One (the Flashpoint Superman) kidnaps Lois out of a misguided attempt to protect her. Lois does not lose her dignity and instead holds out hope that her Superman will come to save. And indeed he does, just in time to witness the birth of their son, Jonathan Samuel Kent. Also a Heartwarming Moment.
- A meta one for real life. What do you get by combining the minds of director Zack Snyder and animator/character designer Bruce Timm with two pieces of music from two equally famous composers? A 2-minute long video of BARELY touching Superman's 75 years of history. Entertainment Weekly has an article interviewing Snyder and Timm on what stayed and what couldn't go in.
- Another meta example: Actual real life Nazis had propaganda against him. You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies, indeed. Even fictional ones.
- After World War II, the Ku Klux Klan enjoyed a brief upswing, as their membership and political influence increased. In 1946, a social activist named Stetson Kennedy, believing the Klan to be a threat to the United States, infiltrated the organization and became privy to its secrets. When he could not sway the authorities with his information, he took his findings to the writers of the radio show The Adventures of Superman, who wrote a 16-episode storyline "The Klan of the Fiery Cross". This storyline was largely credited for helping reduce membership in the Klan, as it destroyed the Klan's mystique and essentially made them look silly. You can read more details here.