Superman, also known as the Man of Steel, is one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. With his incredible strength, invulnerability, and heat vision, he is virtually unbeatable. However, there have been instances in the comics where Superman has been defeated by characters who are significantly less powerful than him. In this article, we will explore 10 powerless characters who defeated superman (The Man of Steel) using their wits, skills, or other unconventional means. From Batman to The Joker, these characters have proven that even the most powerful heroes can be taken down by those who are crafty and resourceful. Let’s dive in and discover how these characters managed to defeat the Man of Steel.
10 Powerless Characters Who Defeated Superman (The Man of Steel)
Despite not having any superpowers, Batman is widely regarded as one of the most formidable characters in the DC Universe. His battles with Superman have been the subject of much debate among fans, as the two heroes have traded victories and defeats over the years. However, it is often argued that Batman’s victories carry more weight, as they demonstrate that even someone without godlike abilities can take down the Man of Steel with enough planning and skill. While there have been other characters who have managed to defeat Superman, Batman is unique in that he is able to do so without relying on any special circumstances or powers. Nonetheless, it should be noted that there have been occasions where Batman has required some outside help to come out on top.
Her boxing match against Muhammad Ali in the iconic 1978 comic book has gone down in history as one of the most memorable moments in DC Comics history. Three decades later, the writers of Harley’s Little Black Book decided to pay homage to this classic matchup by pitting Harley against another heavyweight: Superman. In this storyline, the two characters engage in a boxing match that takes place in a ring that nullifies Superman’s powers, putting him on a level playing field with Harley. Although the match is unfair in some ways, as Harley has been practicing boxing since childhood and Superman has other priorities like saving the world, Harley manages to deliver a knockout blow similar to the one that Ali used against Superman in the original comic. After they escape from their alien captor, Superman gains a newfound respect for Harley and recognizes her as a serious threat to other heroes, such as Batman.
Ra’s Al Ghul
Tower of Babel is a classic comic book storyline that serves as a reminder of two important lessons in the DC Universe. Firstly, even the most powerful heroes can be defeated, and secondly, Batman may need some professional help. In this storyline, Batman creates contingency plans to take down each of his Justice League teammates should they ever turn evil or become a threat. These plans are stolen by Ra’s Al Ghul, who uses them to incapacitate the Justice League members one by one, including Superman.
The Man of Steel is subjected to a unique form of torture that involves a specially crafted Kryptonite that makes his skin transparent. Initially, this seems amusing, but it soon becomes clear that this condition causes Superman’s body to absorb an excessive amount of solar energy, putting him at risk of exploding. As a result, the situation becomes much less funny and highlights the potential dangers of Batman’s contingency plans.
One admirable trait that sets Deathstroke apart from other villains is his ability to acknowledge that he is outmatched by Superman in a fair fight. To level the playing field, he resorts to using underhanded tactics. In this storyline, Deathstroke dons the Ikon Suit, which has a force field that allows him to absorb Superman’s punches until the armor becomes overloaded. The overloaded suit then reflects the absorbed energy back towards Superman, resulting in a devastating attack that bursts all of his blood vessels. This leaves Superman understandably enraged, as it is difficult to clean bloodstains out of his costume.
One of the most well-known instances of Superman being defeated by non-superpowered individuals occurs in the final pages of the iconic comic book, The Dark Knight Returns. In this scene, Green Arrow and Batman team up to take down Superman in one last fight before Batman fakes his own death and goes into hiding. Although Batman physically beats up Superman, it is actually Green Arrow who weakens him enough for Batman to have any effect. Using his one remaining arm, Green Arrow shoots a kryptonite arrow at Superman while hanging upside down from a fire escape. Superman catches the projectile but is still affected by the crystal, which strips him of his powers to the point where Batman can land some well-placed punches. While it is technically a joint victory, Green Arrow’s remarkable aim was instrumental in allowing Batman to triumph over the American alien.
He is a familiar name in Superman’s rogues’ gallery, having defeated the Man of Steel on several occasions. While his methods vary from kryptonite beams to lethal traps, Luthor’s most significant win came when he joined the Justice League. It’s an unexpected twist that adds to the tension, as Superman is forced to work alongside the man who despises him. These victories showcase Superman’s humanity, as he still tries to help Luthor even after his numerous betrayals. At the same time, each of Luthor’s wins only fuels the audience’s animosity towards the bald villain.
Despite the improbable plot of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, where they are abducted by aliens and made to fight, the comic manages to convey a heartwarming message. The unlikely friendship between the real-life boxer and the fictional superhero feels natural and genuine, as they share a common desire for justice and equality. The comic depicts an epic boxing match, with the ring modified to neutralize Superman’s powers. Although Superman puts up a good fight, he ultimately falls to Ali’s superior boxing skills and is knocked out with a powerful right hook. Overall, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali succeeds in blending an absurd premise with an inspiring message and an entertaining story.
General Sam Lane
Surprisingly, Sam Lane has found a way to defeat Superman that doesn’t involve physical strength or powers; he’s a master of emotional sabotage. Although Lois Lane’s father despises the Man of Steel and has even aided Lex Luthor in creating Metallo, he maintains a close relationship with his daughter in the rebooted universe. As a result, Superman is hesitant to confront him, not wanting to harm his father-in-law or have him arrested. Moreover, with his military background and high status, Lane has successfully orchestrated numerous plans against Superman, such as unleashing Wraith and attempting to have him arrested. Despite his failed attempts, the Man of Steel is unable to counter Lane’s tactics, leaving him vulnerable to the former general’s schemes.
It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation in Injustice as most characters, including Batman’s elderly butler, Alfred, take a pill called 5-U-93-R, which enhances their strength and endurance. Although this grants Alfred abilities beyond his age, it’s still not considered a superpower but a legal form of steroid approved by Batman. Despite his advanced age, Alfred takes the pill and becomes furious with Superman, who he believes is trying to ruin Bruce Wayne’s life. This leads to a memorable scene where Alfred fiercely attacks Superman, shouting about how much his family has suffered. It’s an intense moment that showcases Alfred’s rarely seen badass side, despite his intense military background in the regular DC series.
Although the Joker causing Superman to accidentally kill his wife and child in Injustice is an impressive feat and leads to the Man of Steel losing his moral compass, it’s not the Joker’s biggest victory over DC’s main hero. This is because the story takes place outside of the main DC universe, unlike Action Comics #719, which is a strong contender for inspiring Injustice and a great story in its own right. In the comic, the Joker poisons Lois Lane, and Superman must decide whether to save her by injecting the Joker with the same poison that will cure Lois, but at the cost of the Joker’s life. This creates a huge conflict between Batman and Superman, and ultimately leads to a painful prank that almost compromises Superman’s principles.
Also Read: 10 Times Superman Came Back From the Dead
10 Powerless Characters Who Defeated Superman (The Man of Steel)