A spiritual successor to Jeph Leob and Tim Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween, this series is told over four issues. Each issue is narrated by a different supporting character and tells a more intimate story about a young Clark coming to terms with his new superheroic identity. It's a wonderful character piece that really lets you experience Superman's world on a personal level.
Alex Ross' massive epic Kingdom Come may be more of a DC Universe story but Superman is a very central character. A future generation of superheroes and villains are put at odds against the classic and aged DC heroes. This leads to a catastrophic event that can only be described as biblical in scope. The great story is complemented by Alex Ross' amazing art, which alone makes Kingdom Come worth reading.
Secret Identity shows that you can have an amazing Superman story and not even feature Superman himself. A young man named Clark Kent lives in a world where DC heroes only exist in comics. He grows up resenting his iconic name and the character it's associated with but as a teenager, he discovers he has powers much like the fictional Man of Steel. It's a coming of age story with superpowers and it's absolutely wonderful.
Everyone is the hero of their own story. Lex Luthor is a bad guy but he does what he does not to be a villain. This is a deceptively dark and ultimately compelling story that focuses on Superman's arch enemy.
You'll discover why he's such a compelling character and has maintain his multi-decade long relevance alongside the other Man of Steel.
This short story from Action Comics Annual #11 by the creative team of Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is an absolute classic! Mongul has put Superman in the perfect trap: the narcotic effects of an alien flower where it's victims live out their wildest dream, never struggling to break free of its effects.Superman is living an idyllic life on a Krypton that was never destroyed. Unfortunately, Superman deep down knows this isn't real and has to lose his family and world once again to break free. It's heartbreaking and an example of master comic creators on the top of their game. It can now be found in many collections of Superman stories.
Superman is dying. Faced with his impending mortality, Superman spends his remaining time on Earth so wrap up loose ends in both his life and Clark Kent's. This is a sweet tale as he spends as much time sharing his final days with Lois Lane, while also making sure many of his villains and threats from his past won't continue being a problem after he's gone. It's a bittersweet story, that shows the power of legacy. Just because you're gone does not mean you're forgotten.
What if Superman landed in communist Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas? In this incredible re-imagining of the Man of Steel, we see Superman trust into a position of leadership and how that can be corrupting. It's great to see how even though Superman is so radically different, the core of the character and his personality remains intact.We also get to see fantastic altered takes on other DC characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern. The story also contains one of the best endings in comics.
You know from the title alone if this story is up your alley or not. An alien race threatens to destroy Earth unless Earth's greatest fighter can defeat their own in one on one combat. While Superman is sure he can handle it, Ali argues that since Superman isn't actually from Earth it should be him who beats the alien champion. So to find out who should save the Earth Superman gets depowered and the two have a boxing match. It's definitely a silly story but it's immensely entertaining.
Superman and Batman are declared enemies of the state by President Lex Luthor (it was a thing). The worlds' finest now have to figure out a way to save the Earth from an impending meteor strike while being hounded by supervillains, superheroes, and the United States government. While the main story is fun in the way only comics can be, the real highlight is the contrast between Superman and Batman. They both narrate the story and you can see how they are both similar and different. It's a great example of why these two characters work so well together.
OK this is cheating a bit since it's not one specific story but the Rebirth era from Superman has been one of the characters best! Superman balancing his superhero duties along with raising his and Lois Lane's son has made the character more relatable than ever before! Whether it's saving Luthor from temporal punishment, stopping an entity that kills multiversal Supermen, swapping parenting advice with Batman, or even trying to enjoy a day at the fair, these comics have been consistently fun.
There are still plenty more great Superman stories we haven't mentioned here. What are some of your favorites?