Superman doesn’t kill. It’s a truism almost as old and well known as the Man Of Steel himself, who by last count was something approaching 77 years old and in no danger of losing his popularity, with his last big screen outing netting a cool $872.7m at the box office. It’s one of the key aspects of his character, besides the red-and-blue uniform, the spit curl, and the secret identity that nobody really buys but ssshhh, we’ve all accepted it for this long, just go with it.
He may not be born of this Earth but Superman is supposed to represent the best of humanity, a standard we should all hold ourselves up to. Which means living virtuously, helping people, and firing lasers out of your eyes if you can. It also means not straight up murdering people, or killing at all, because that’s not cool. Even on Krypton, a place that was certifiably crazy-go-nuts. It’s why people kicked up such a fuss about the end of Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel, why the character’s depiction in the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game is so weird, and why people are always wondering why Kal-El doesn’t use his superior powers to just enslave the whole human race.
Because he’s a good dude, that’s why! Jeez! Except, well, it’s one of those truisms that isn’t actually true. Clark Kent, against his better judgement, has killed before. And he’ll probably kill again, albeit reluctantly. Fun as it is to see The Punisher gun down loads of gangsters, there’s a lot more drama in a guy who expressly respects human life and holds it sacred having to snuff one out.
Which is why, today, we’re going to look at ten times Superman was forced to kill.