Comics Reviews

How Superman’s Deadliest Foe Killed Him More Than Any Other DC Character


Superman may be one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, but the Man of Steel has been killed many times over the years.

Superman may be one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, but the Man of Steel has been killed many times over the years. Villains like Lex Luthor have found ways to exploit Superman’s unique vulnerability to Kryptonite to kill him in several Elseworld stories, and the monstrous Doomsday famously beat the Last Son of Krypton to death with his bare hands in 1993’s Superman #75 (by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Glenn Whitmore, and John Castanza), proving that Superman is just as mortal as the humans he’s dedicated his life to protecting.

Superman’s mortality was never more apparent than with Gog, a villain introduced in The Kingdom (by Mark Waid, Ariel Olivetti, Mike Zeck, John Kalisz, John Beatty, and Phil Felix), the two-issue sequel to the iconic Elseworlds story Kingdom Come (by Waid, Alex Ross, and Todd Klein). Driven by an all-consuming hatred for Superman, Gog used time travel to kill the Man of Steel over and over again, massacring hundreds if not thousands of Superman. While several alternative versions of Gog have made sporadic appearances after The Kingdom‘s release, the original hasn’t been seen since his initial debut, but Infinite Frontier could give the crazed Kryptonian killer a chance to return within the newly-established DC multiverse.


RELATED: Can a Kryptonite Bullet Really Hurt (or Kill) Superman?

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In the world of Kingdom Come, later referred to as Earth-22, the Justice League was forced into retirement by a new generation of “heroes” whose lethal methods proved to be more popular with the public. However, after the anti-heroic Magog accidentally causes a nuclear explosion that kills millions and irradiates most of the American Mid-West, Superman returns from his self-imposed exile to re-form the Justice League and restore the United States. While traveling through an irradiated Kansas, Superman rescued a young boy named William who’d miraculously survived the nuclear disaster, and the traumatized child soon developed an unhealthy obsession with him. Believing that Superman was a god, William eventually declared himself the Man of Steel’s prophet and claimed that the nuclear disaster was an act of divine judgment. However, Superman was unnerved by William’s cult and eventually confronted him face-to-face, bluntly informing his “prophet” that he was not a god and that there was no divine connection between him and William.


Shattered by this revelation, a despondent William was soon approached by the Phantom Stranger, who imbued him with power over space and time as part of a cosmic conspiracy designed to prevent Earth-22 from becoming the future of Prime Earth. With the remainder of his sanity shattered, William, now known as Gog, used his newfound power to Superman with relative ease. Unsatisfied with his victory, Gog traveled back in time one day and killed the Superman of yesterday, starting a cycle of slaughter that left hundreds of Supermen dead and created a surplus of alternate timelines that threatened to tear the timestream apart. Eventually, Gog was defeated by a team of Earth-22’s heroes, who followed him into the past and teamed up with the current version of Superman, and the former prophet was taken back to his timeline to answer for his crimes.


Across the multiverse, many of managed to kill Superman, but most of them have only been successful in killing him once. Although the exact number of Supermen that Gog killed throughout his journey backward through time has never been revealed, his eventual arrival in the present era of Prime Earth implies that he’d traveled back several decades, meaning that Gog managed to murder tens of thousands of Supermen before the was stopped. Fueled by sheer hatred of Superman, Gog was able to achieve a feat that even the Man of Steel’s most violent enemies could only dream of, and his desire to utterly destroy Superman drove him to do something even worse.


RELATED: Superman’s Dad and General Zod’s More Intimate Original Relationship, Explained

While traveling back through time, Gog eventually arrived at the day that Superman and Wonder Woman’s son Jonathan was born, and Gog kidnapped the child shortly after killing his father. Hoping to destroy Superman’s image and legacy, Gog planned on raising Jonathan into another version of Magog before using him to cause the nuclear disaster to happen years early. Although Jonathan was eventually rescued, Gog’s willingness to harm an infant proved that the villain could truly stop at nothing to cause Superman pain.


Although Gog hasn’t been seen since his last appearance in 1998, the events of Infinite Frontier could give him a chance to terrorize Superman and his loved ones again. Superman’s life has been threatened by interdimensional beings like Mister Mxyzptlk, so Gog making a return wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. With Kingdom Come already being referenced in Infinite Frontier #2 (Joshua Williamson, Paul Pelletier, Jesus Merino, Tom Derenick, Xermanico, Norm Rapmund, Raul Fernandez, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and Tom Napolitano), the Killer of Superman could return to increase his ever-expanding body count.

KEEP READING: How the Death of Superman Forced DC’s Heroes to Answer the Man of Steel’s Fan Mail

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