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9 Best Superman Comics Set In The DCAU

CBR 6 days ago Christopher Glennon
© Provided by CBR

The DC Animated Universe, or DCAU, began in 1992 with Batman the Animated Series, which created the foundation for a new continuity. Batman was the genesis of the DCAU, but Superman played a huge role in shaping it. Superman the Animated Series premiered in 1996, and Superman was front and center in 2001's Justice League and 2004's Justice League Unlimited.

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Each DCAU series had a tie-in comic book, and Superman's was Superman Adventures. Its stories served as follow-ups to the show's episodes. Between the Superman and Justice League comics, there were some true gems that stayed true to the world of the cartoons and expanded their mythos, making them must-reads for any fans of the DCAU.

Superman Fought Brainiac For Krypton's Memories

Superman Adventures #3, By Scott McCloud, Rick Burchett, Terry Austin, Marie Severin, And Lois Buhalis

One of the most daunting tasks for Superman the Animated Series was defining Krypton. Superman's homeworld was a scientifically advanced planet like in the comics, but in the DCAU, Brainiac was its chief artificial intelligence and when Superman fought him, he was fighting his own heritage.

Brainiac's first appearance in the DCAU-inspired comics was particularly harrowing as a result. A hoarder of cosmic knowledge, the android wanted the orb Superman's parents had provided him with that held all of Krypton's knowledge. This battle was incredibly personal, as the Man of Steel had to risk losing his last connection with Krypton to stop Brainiac.

Supergirl Lost Her Home But Found A New One On Earth

Superman Adventures #21 By Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Bret Blevins, Terry Austin, Lee Loughridge, And Kevin Cunningham

Supergirl joined the DCAU when Superman found her in deep space and Kara became his adopted cousin. This double-sized issue filled in the gaps in Kara's backstory from her point of view. While she's known as a carefree character, this tale embraced some of the harsh truths about her life.

RELATED - 10 DC Comics Panels That Perfectly Sum Up SupermanUnlike Superman, Supergirl was old enough to remember losing everyone she loved in the destruction of Krypton and its sister planet, Argo. She had to deal with this trauma and a lingering fear of being frozen alive following her stint in suspended animation. Only after years of work was she able to overcome the resulting insecurities and grow to become a hero.

How Superman Earned Luthor's Hate

Superman Adventures #27 By Mark Millar, Aluir Amancio, Terry Austin, Marie Severin, Zylonol, And Lois Buhalis

In the DCAU, Lex Luthor was introduced not as an evil scientist but a corrupt CEO. Superman could stop his crimes, but Luthor always covered his tracks. The DCAU-inspired comics took a deeper look at their rivalry.

This story focuses on Metallo masquerading as a hero, but its real payoff comes from flashbacks to Luthor's childhood. In his youth, he wanted to create Metropolis's tallest building for everyone to look up to. Petty and vain, Luthor hated Superman for drawing attention away from his accomplishments.

Superman Went Missing For A Year And The World Moved On

Superman Adventures #30 By Mark Millar, Aluir Amancio, Terry Ausin, Marie Severin, Zylonol, And Phil Felix

In this tale, Superman briefly went into space to save STAR Labs from a haywire experiment, and when he came back to Earth, he learned that he'd been gone for a full year. During that year, Clark's parents died, the Fortress of Solitude's animals perished, and Lois started a stable relationship.

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Superman had to deal with loss and the fact that the world was fine without him. This story showed that, for all of his superhuman power, Superman is a uniquely vulnerable character. His emotions are human, even if his body isn't.

22 Stories In A Single Issue

Superman Adventures #41 By Mark Millar, Terry Austin, Phil Felix, Marie Severin, And Various Artists

Comic books can be more experimental than cartoons, and the Superman Adventures comic decided to deviate from its usual format. Each page told a complete story, penciled by a different artist.

From Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen to villains like Lex Luthor and Darkseid, nearly every recurring character from Superman the Animated Series got to star in his or her own story. Mr. Mxyzptlk, who returned every ninety days, got four stories. Superman was always involved in some way, but the highlight of this issue was seeing everyone else's POV.

Lois Lane Finally Visited The Fortress Of Solitude

Superman Adventures #49 By Michael Reaves, Aluir Amancio, Terry Austin, Phil Felix, Marie Severin, And Zylonol

Lois Lane wasn't as close to Superman in the DCAU as she was in DC's comics at the time. She didn't know his true identity, and she had never been to his Fortress of Solitude. This story helped the DCAU change that status quo.

When an alien called the Challenger nullified Superman's powers by turning the sun red, Superman took a military plane to investigate, and Lois stowed away. Lois was injured, and Superman took her to the Fortress to use advanced technology to heal her. When the Challenger attacked Superman, Lois saved him with the Phantom Zone Projector.

Lex Luthor Put Superman In An Impossible Situation

Superman Adventures #52 By Mark Millar, Aluir Amancio, Terry Austin, Phil Felix, Marie Severin, And Zylonol

In this tale, Supergirl became infected with fatal bacteria she had never been inoculated against. Superman exhausted his resources trying to find her a cure until he was forced to seek Lex Luthor's help.

Luthor created a cure called Element X but then refused to hand it over unless Superman exposed himself to a deadly dose of kryptonite. Superman agreed but first went to say goodbye to Supergirl. He wept over her dying body, generating a tear that he replicated the cure in. Luthor was left furious that Superman beat him intellectually.

Superman Inspired Other Superhumans To Do Good

Justice League Adventures #3 By Fabian Nicieza, John Delaney, Randy Elliot, Kurt Hathaway, John Kalisz, And Heroic Age

A Superman-centric issue of the Justice League Adventures comics had the League find a group of Daxamites in a space ark. Daxamites, like Kryptonians, get massive powers under a yellow sun, and Superman bonded with them like they were cousins.

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The rest of the League didn't trust the Daxamites, and they fought when the Daxamites showed a reckless display of their powers. Although initially suspected of being criminals, the Daxamites were more like freedom fighters. They were sent back to Daxam and aspired to do better thanks to Superman's influence.

Superman Adventures Final Issue Completed Livewire's Arc

Superman Adventures #66 By Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Aluir Amancio, Wayne Faucher, Terry Austin, Phil Felix, Marie Severin, And Zylonol

Superman Adventures ended with a two-parter. Issue #65 had Lex Luthor make a deal with Kanto of Apokolips to take the villain Livewire. Superman ended up on Apokolips with them.

Issue #66 featured an all-out fight between Superman and the forces of Apokolips, pushing him past his limits. Lex Luthor and Darkseid finally met face to face. Livewire, who was nothing but a villain in the animated series, got a full arc in this story, showing her heroic side without taking away any of her trademark sass.

NEXT - 10 Best Batman Comics Set In The DCAU

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