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The Evil Superman Trope is Tired in Comics, But There's Still Plenty of Room to Explore It in Games

GameRant 1/26/2023 Cameron Swan
© Provided by GameRant

Certain tropes in comics have become a staple in the industry for good reason, adding structure, depth, and pathos to a comic by just following a simple formula. But there are also a handful of tropes that the industry can't seem to escape from, and having Superman turn evil is certainly one of those. On paper, the concept of Superman, the world's greatest and kindest hero, turning into its cruelest and most powerful villain is an incredibly compelling one, but over the last six decades, it's kind of been played out. Though that doesn't mean it should be laid to rest completely.

DC has made plenty of video games over the years, and though only a handful have stood the test of time, they've all brought an authentic comic storyline to the table, whether it's been ripped straight from the pages of a comic or it's an original story. And while evil Superman has certainly appeared in video games before, there's still a little room for that concept to be fleshed out even more.

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Evil Superman Still Has Plenty of Room to be Explored in Video Games

The origins of the evil Superman trope can be traced all the way back to the late 1950s and the introduction of Bizarro, a Frankenstein's monster-like mirror-image of Superman. Since then, different versions of evil Superman have cropped up throughout comics and movies. Superman 3 has a particularly trippy version of the trope, with synthetic Kryptonite turning the hero so evil to the point where Clark Kent projects himself out of his own body to give him a stern talking to.

The 2003 Red Son comic run puts a more unique spin on things, setting the DC universe in an alternate timeline where Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of the U.S. Blackest Night delivers another novel take on the evil Superman trope, killing off the hero and making him a reanimated corpse with the assistance of a Black Lantern ring. Even one of the Caped Crusader's most iconic comic runs, Batman: Hush, can't avoid the trope, with Superman being forced to fight Batman while under the influence of Poison Ivy's pheromones.

But by far one of the most iconic, and perhaps the best version of the evil Superman trope can ironically be found in a video game, that being Injustice: Gods Among Us. Released in 2013, Injustice sees Superman reach his breaking point when the Joker and Scarecrow make him inadvertently kill Lois Lane, his unborn child, and nuke Metropolis. Believing that the world's villains can never be reformed, Superman creates his own Regime and begins executing criminals for their crimes, convincing much of the Justice League to join him. This has become the definitive version of evil Superman for many, and while it probably can't be topped, it doesn't mean that future games shouldn't try out their own unique versions of the trope.

Rocksteady's upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is set to do exactly that when it releases in May. Suicide Squad's main plot revolves around Brainiac invading Earth, and brainwashing the Justice League, giving the game its own unique take on evil Superman. Hopefully this version can bring something unique to the table. In the future, it would be great to see an evil Superman game from the perspective of Supes himself, where the player is put in charge of their own ultimate destructive power trip. This could be a unique way to express that common theme in DC Comics that heroes are always just one bad day away from switching sides.

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