Most of Superman’s enemies are one-off aliens or sick people who get trapped in powerhouse bodies, because the entire definition of Superman is “a guy who’s stronger, faster, and better than everyone else on Earth.” Once you get past the basic four foes he always fights, the Man of Steel doesn’t have a lot of rematch title bouts because most people are smart enough not to touch the stove twice.
Nevertheless, some audacious idiots should have realized how outclassed they were in the first place.
1. Sodom & Gomorrah
Bleeccchh. “Sodom & Gomorrah”? Who in 2004 thought it would be a good idea to name a couple of Superman charac–oh, it’s a Chuck Austen story.
This husband and wife have what we will generously call a “power” to turn anything they blast into salt. Oh and their powers only work while they’re holding hands, so basically they’re batting so far out of their league, they’re not even playing the right sport. Instead of founding a condiment empire or getting paid to clean up landfills and dispose of nuclear waste, they can’t think of anything better to do than attack Superman. They could save a lot of time and frustration if they just walked down to jail and punched themselves in the face.
If there’s anything sadder than a baby piglet that thought it was going to get a cupcake, only to not get to eat said cupcake, it would be the Prankster having the best day of his career–which is when he successfully filed copyright on the English language. It took the Man of Steel about ten seconds to dismantle that particular scheme, and only because if he’d gotten there any faster the sonic booms would have shattered windows almost as hard as he shattered Prankster’s dreams. You know you’re pathetic when other criminals snicker at you as a third-rate Toyman imitator.
But don’t feel sorry for Prankster–he’s nothing more than a troll, and he’s shown himself perfectly willing to gas innocent people just to make a getaway. Seems like a lot of work to build a sliding panel gas chamber, just in case it’s conveniently positioned between your foe and you, but you can’t deny Prankster this: the man’s committed to a gag. Like literally, gagging to death.
3. Maaldor the Darklord
Now it’s time for a switchup. Maaldor is basically God, if God looked like Kenny Powers from Eastbound & Down. He is to Superman what Superman is to a pigeon with one leg. He can destroy entire galaxies just by dreaming about it, and he’s so bored, he wanders the universe picking fights with people, which is kind of like you or I challenging an ant to a stomping contest.
And he’s still lame.
Even if you redesign him so he doesn’t look like a Jiffy Lube employee incorporating a little roleplay in the bedroom, he’s so immensely powerful, you’d get no spectacle out of a battle. Since he doesn’t care about anything or anyone, there’s no reason he wouldn’t gaze at Superman and turn him into a pile of jelly. You might as well throw paper airplanes at a brick wall for all the drama you’d get out of this plot-killer.
Oh, and he still lost to Superman, because the Man of Tomorrow pulled his biggest card out of his sleeve: kindness. He tricked Maaldor into some self-introspection that caused an existential crisis–which in this villain’s case literally caused a crisis in existence. When he saw himself the way Superman and his gentle heart did, he ceased to exist. All his power collapsed into a brand new self-loathing dimension. Basically, Superman empathized Maaldor to death.
Real name: Margaret Pie. Man, it must be impossible to name your kids in comics. One apteronym you never considered, and suddenly your darling baby is destined to be like…obsessed with dimes until Batman stomps his face in–isn’t that right, Mr. and Mrs. Tennyson?
It’s always sad when a regular person with no superpowers takes on the Last Son of Krypton, because you’d have to be crazy to do that, but if Magpie has practically raised “sad and crazy” into superpowers of their own. She is legitimately mentally ill, with a compulsion to only steal valuable gems named for birds, so if your tufted titmouse titanite ring goes missing, you know where to look. If she has any distinguishing features besides being the only supervillain you’d feel terrible for punching, it’s her New Wave “A Flock of Seagulls” wig, which unlike her kleptomania is a crime she should be held accountable for. Anyway, she’s dead now. So everything resolved itself!
5. The Planeteer
What is it about magnet powers that makes all the superfolk completely crazy? This dude reckoned himself the reincarnation of Alexander the Great, and to prove it, he uh…somehow used magnets to kidnap world leaders. Again: simply inventing world-changing magnetic machines is the kind of skill that is way, way more profitable than using them to commit crimes. By the time you’ve put the work in, you already have the means to conquer the world legally. Thanks to Superman’s screwup, the Planeteer internalizes those powers and becomes all magnetically magnificent.
We’ll give him this: he went toe-to-toe with the Metropolis Marvel and held his own. But come on, he looks like one of those unfunny 1950s comedians who play Vegas for about 30 years and are total jerks when they’re not making bad movies. And that’s before he climbs into a suit of armor with two mammary-globes for a breastplate.
Brendan McGinley is editor round these parts when not writing comics or Cracked columns. He’s not dumb enough to tug on Superman’s cape, but he’d probably push his luck with Power Girl. If she’s interested, she can find him on Twitter @BrendanMcGinley.
Now how can you resist the Five Bat-Villains Too Lame to Be in a Dark Knight Movie? Only by finding out the Avengers Who Are Too Lame to Appear in the Movies.