10 Powerless Characters Who Have Defeated Superman
The Man of Steel taken down by the People of Flesh.
Superman has taken down some of the biggest threats in the entire DC universe. Darkseid, Imperiex, Mongul and Orion have all caught the hands of DC's boy in blue, and all profoundly regretted doing so. Even when Supes isn't the figure beating a powerful villain, he's usually there to lend his aid - even if that's just some words of country-farm wisdom before he's on his way to the next impending threat.
But this doesn't mean the Man of Steel is indestructible - that's why he's called the Man of Steel, and not the Man of Diamond, or even graphene. Much like steel, Superman can be broken by just about anybody, even those who don't have insane superpowers equatable to Supes himself.
Between villains like the Joker, heroes like Batman, and surprising additions like Lois Lane's dad, there's a surprising roster of figures who have defeated Clark Kent during his superhero career. And as surreal as it feels to watch him be beaten, it's also not necessarily a bad experience, because it reminds us that with the right mindset, you really can do anything - even deck an imaginary spaceman square in his perfect jaw.
10. The Joker - Action Comics #719
Though, yes, the Joker managing to defeat Superman by making him accidentally kill his wife and child in Injustice is cool, and it does result in the Man of Steel losing all moral code, this isn't the biggest victory the clown has managed over DC's biggest hero. Why? Because it doesn't take place in the canon DC universe - whereas there's a similar story that very much does.
Enter Action Comics #719, a strong contender for inspiring Injustice itself, not to mention a fantastic story in its own right. When the Joker poisons Lois Lane, Superman becomes slightly more irate than in his usual dealings with the jester, aware that there is currently a time limit on saving the love of his life. The alabaster jester is also aware of this, and so offers the hero a choice.
He can save Lois by injecting the Joker with the same poison, which will make the clown's blood into the cure, but this will come at the cost of the Joker's life, meaning Kent will be directly responsible for killing him.
Batman and Superman get into a huge fight over this, before rushing back to Lois' bedside to see her last breaths - only for her to wake up upon the cusp of death. Realising the whole thing was the world's most painful prank, Superman suddenly becomes aware that the Joker almost made him compromise everything he stands for, leaving him for than a little shaken.