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Krypton Special III: The Many Enemies of Superman

The first season of will start on SYFY in October krypton. A good reason to investigate the Superman myth a little. The first part was about the superhero's first steps. The second part is about classic film adventures. Today Björn Sülter deals with some of the hero's nasty opponents.

The villains don't have to be as strong as the man of steel; even if that is certainly helpful. You can also be distinguished by a superior intellect. Often they even have to! Because what else can you say to the strongest man in the world?

But opponents can be dangerous not only for the life and limb of the well-known superhero and those he wants to protect: If they are particularly clever, they corrupt his moral code. What better statement for a villain and his agenda than proving to the public and the world that the most moral hero in the universe is not that morally superior after all? An interesting question, not just for Superman himself, but also for the comic book reader and viewers of Superman films and series.

Lex Luthor

A successful businessman who would likely be hailed as a hero in our hypercapitalist world. What are some silly plans to conquer the world doing? In contrast, however, is the hyper-moral comic world of Superman. Luther's origin story, background and plans were all a bit crazy in their manifestations: sometimes he was a mad scientist, sometimes, as already mentioned, a successful businessman. And at some point he even pursued political ambitions and got himself elected president (which doesn't seem so crazy or astonishing these days). However, his goal was always the same: to defeat Superman and at best destroy it, thereby proving that he is better, more successful and smarter than any other human or alien on this planet.

That being said, Luthor has a lot of charisma and potential; In other words, qualities with which he could do good in the world. However, he's also too arrogant and selfish to do anything useful with his time. But especially the fact that Luthor Superman is physically inferior, but still cannot be checkmated, but keeps reappearing, makes him one of the most appealing and popular super villains in comic, cinema and TV history.


Bizarro is the exact counterpart and therefore just a walking or flying distorting mirror from Superman, so that he even has a cold look (the opposite of Superman's heat look). The bizarre clone even scraped a bizarro justice league, including the slowest man in the world and a man whose power ring gives him more and more powers the more fearful he gets (the counterparts of The Flash and Green Lantern). Rather simple-minded and brutal, Bizarro has his own idea of ​​moral action, which often leads to chaos and destruction.

General Zod

Most of the fans of the Superman films will know him. There are naturally several versions of the Kryptonian in the comics. Nevertheless, all of these versions share a similar origin story: As a war criminal, Zod is banished from the planet Krypton to the so-called Phantom Zone, in order to eke out his existence there from then on. However, he can free himself through one or the other circumstance and is let loose on earth with his assistants. Of course, as a Kryptonian immigrant, he too is endowed with the superpowers that help Superman in his heroic deeds. An equal opponent who is also one of Superman's most famous opponents. The man of steel is also in a conflict: on the one hand, as a remnant of his destroyed home planet, he is one of the loneliest beings in the world, on the other hand, one of the few fellow Kryptonians who has not died is a mad despot who wants to conjure up human genocide. An enemy who also makes Superman an extremely tragic figure.


Darkseid is the ruler of the distant planet Apokolips. This in turn is populated by god-like beings who, however, have nothing better in mind than to spread their evil agenda. A neighboring planet called New Genesis, which, unlike Apokolips, is inhabited by a friendlier population, is always the target of Darkseid's sinister endeavors. Furthermore, he scours the entire universe for the almighty "Anti-Life Equation", which is supposed to give him power over this very universe. Darkseid developed into one of Superman's archenemies who would also fight the Justice League.


Caution: shock spoilers! Doomsday is the only super villain who could ever kill Superman. Created as a genetically engineered super weapon on Krypton, Doomsday leaves rubble and ashes on the earth until he finds himself in a life and death fight against Superman and ... wins! Of course, we all know that Superman is returning. Still, the demise of one of the most popular heroes in comic history was quite a shock for its fans. And then it was an induced death at the hands of a fairly fresh opponent. A move by the comic book publisher DC that the world had never seen before. No wonder, then, that Doomsday never found its way back to its old size from then on, even if it did return to the Superman comic series every now and then.


As often happens in the comic universe, the original story of Metallo is not always characterized by continuity. Depending on which Superman era the comic reader is currently in, another Origin story must be expected: John Corben, Metallo's real name, was both a soldier and a petty crook who was seriously injured once and another Times volunteered for experimental surgery. Either way, his body was subsequently equipped with metallic and mechanical robot-like replacement parts, which in turn were powered by kryptonite as an energy source. An actually impossible opponent for Superman, who, as should be known, reacts extremely energetically to the Kryptonian element. The superhumanly strong Metallo is therefore ideally suited to face Superman sometimes as the main villain or as an accomplice to another villain.


Braniac is an extraterrestrial intelligence that lives up to its name. He also has an indestructible body that regenerates automatically. Accordingly, he can oppose Superman with his inexhaustible villain expertise and physical superpowers. Brainiac is also the creation of an alien race, namely the computer Tyrants of Colu, which puts logic and knowledge above everything else. As an interesting variant of the Frankenstein myth, Braniac's producers quickly fear the power with which they have endowed him and with which he is supposed to conquer foreign worlds.


Once the dictator of a distant planet, he was defeated by a rebellious population and banished into space until he met a planet called Warworld, which he was able to subjugate and where he forced the population to fight gladiators. A fate that would also have blossomed on earth if Superman and a number of other heroes had not stood in his way and driven Mongul from the earth. Not only does this adversary have a strength that could be compared to the power of Superman, he is also incredibly clever and devious when it comes to getting rid of his enemies.

Mr. Mxyzptlk

One of the oldest, most famous and bizarre Superman adversaries has the unique, magical gift of driving the man in tights and cape crazy. Even with his bundled strength and other super gimmicks, Superman couldn't do anything against him. Instead, he always had to trick him with skill so that he would pronounce his own name backwards (Kltpzyxm). There are almost an infinite number of versions of the 5th dimension villain that has appeared in pretty much every generation of Superman.

Björn Sulter's Superman Specials will soon continue - then with the series universe, the setting and many other topics.

Don't forget: The new series Krypton starts on October 18th on SYFY in the first season and shows the prehistory on the hero's home planet long before his birth.

SYFY will be showing the series in Germany from October 18 at 8:15 p.m., starting with a double episode, followed by a new episode every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. The repetition of the previous week sequence can be seen at 8.15 p.m.

About the author:

Björn Sülter was born in 1977 and participated in the 1980s Star Trek and Starwars found his entry into the fantastic genre. Most of all he loves series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, LOST, The X-Files or Babylon 5 and has always remained true to the fantastic. His current favorites are game of Thrones, Westworld or The Orville.

The journalist, author & podcaster has been writing about the media for more than twenty years. At SYFY he is an expert in everything to do with fantastic vision. He is also known for his reviews and columns Serial junkies, Odds analysis at Quota meter, the series "The Experts", his pointed comments on the jungle camp, the entertaining media column Süler's pause in broadcast. and his articles in the print area for the GEEK! or FedCon Insider. His humorous Star Trek podcast planet Trek fm enjoys great popularity and he is one of the faces of the expert portal I like star Trek. He is also active as a moderator at events such as Destination Star Trek Germany or other cons and is a popular guest in audio books, podcasts and radio broadcasts. His non-fiction book Long live Star Trek - one phenomenon, two livesappeared in August 2018. In October, the start of his youth book series will follow A case for the patchwork kids: corpse on the leisure deck. His new science fiction series starts in December Beyond Berlin: One small step for a girl.

Björn Sülter lives with wife, daughter, horses, dogs & cats on a farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere in northern Germany. His motto: If you can dream it, you can do it!