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Superman, pretty much the original super-hero and possibly the greatest of all time.

Comic Books

  • Waaaayyyy back in 1938, the cover of Action Comics #1 managed to get attention by showing a certain brightly-costumed character performing the never-before-seen feat of lifting a car over his head.
  • In the Alan Moore-written story "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman to Mongul:

 Mongul: Happy birthday, Kryptonian. I give you oblivion.

Superman: BURN. (blasts Mongul with heat vision at point-blank range)

  • Superman, in Action Comics #775, after defeating a team made up of The Authority pastiches (complete with Reality Warper) without stooping to their level and killing them:

 Manchester Black: If you think this is over, then you're living in a bloody dream world!

Superman: You know what, Black...? I wouldn't have it any other way. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share - I'll never stop fighting. Ever.

    • To make it better, in the process of beating him, Superman gives Manchester Black a taste of his own medicine by explaining, as Manchester's powers shut down on him, that Superman used precise heat vision to lobotomize Manchester and remove the parts of his brain that control his powers. After Manchester spends several minutes freaking out and feeling utterly violated, Superman reveals that all he actually did was give Manchester a concussion at superspeed to set up a ruse and show Manchester what it felt like to be on the receiving end of that kind of brutality.
  • Superman: Red Son, an Elseworlds comic where Superman was raised in the Soviet Union, gives its greatest Crowning Moment of Awesome to Lex Luthor, who brings Superman to his knees. Luthor drives the Man of Steel to despair and near-suicide with a note left in Lois's breast pocket, who then tells Superman to use his X-ray vision to read the note. "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?"
    • For background purposes, understand that Superman had united the entire world, save for the USA, into the Soviet Union. He had abolished crime and poverty at the cost of abolishing freedom of thought. Those who spoke out against Communism had their brains rewritten. His eyes and ears were everywhere. Yet Superman considered Brainiac's shrinking of Stalingrad into a bottle as his greatest failure. In light of this, Lex wrote the above sentence while saying to Lois: "What am I DOING? Well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword, Lois. So I'm distilling everything Superman hates and fears about himself into a SINGLE SENTENCE." Purely sublime.
    • And, then there's Superman himself defeating the Green Lantern Marine Corps. Luthor was crazy to use thought-based weapons on someone faster than the speed of thought...
      • Yes, because Green Lanterns think at the same speed as you...
      • Technically, that was all part of an Evil Plan.
    • Superman vs. Bizarro.
  • A few moments from the "Death of Superman" arc:
    • Steel's no-nonsense admonishing of the irresponsible Superboy and the Eradicator over how they were essentially spending more time strutting over how they're Superman instead of acting like it.
    • Or how about Superboy, after failing to pull a nuke away from Metropolis, punching it into the sea at the last minute proving that in fact, he can be a serious hero.
    • Steel shutting down Engine City is a CMOA for both him and his opponent. Steel goes in to the heart of the engine to shut it down, and the Cyborg FORMS A BODY OUT OF THE WALLS to attack him. Cue an epic fight, where Steel is tossed about but keeps hanging in there in an effort to trick Henshaw into revealing how the engine works so Steel can figure out how to stop it, but The Cyborg states that the engine is too impossibly complex for a mere human to comprehend, much less shut down. So the Man of Steel lives up to his namesake and grabs the Cyborg's monstrous construct and flies them both into the building-size gears powering the engine, saving the entire Earth and redeeming himself for designing the Toastmasters.
    • And yet, nothing tops when the man himself finally puts the suit and the cape back on.
  • "Welcome to Earth, Brainiac."
  • Superman fighting the KKK - both on the radio show and in real life.
  • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow: "You hurt LANA?!"

 Superman: Let me ask you one question. Do you know what radio waves look like?

Toyman: Huh? No, why?

  • cut to Superman smashing into Toyman and Prankster's hideout*

Superman: BECAUSE I DO!

  • Superman Beyond - "This looks like a job for Superman. For all of them." Cue epic team-up between Superman, Captain Marvel and the former Nazi Superman.
  • The time he killed Lex Luthor by hawking a loogie through Luthor's forehead. Granted it was only a dream, but Superman was aware it was a dream and was in a bad mood.
  • JLA-Avengers: In issue #3, Superman finally decides enough is enough with Thor, growling when Thor claims strength comes from within - "Tell yourself that, Mister... Ease yourself to sleep at night while you let your world go to hell! Where I come from, though, LIVES MATTER!" When Thor tries to bring Mjolnir on his head, Superman catches the hammer, causing an astonished Thor to react, "Odin's beard! How can you...? The mightiest... mightiest in nine worlds cannot..." Superman retorts, "S-sorry... sorry to disappoint... but in... my world, it looks like the dials GO UP TO ELEVEN!" and crushes Thor with a roundhouse punch, knocking him out cold.
  • In Superman (vol. 2) #180, Dracula mesmerizes Superman, and bites him to gain his power and make Superman his slave. Superman is a solar battery. Do the math.
  • An old 70's Action Comics 100 pager: The lead story has a sort of Injustice League capturing every single JLAer except Superman. Superman makes his way to their satellite, melts Sinestro's ring, and promptly wipes up the villains... save Brainiac who pwns Supes, but not before he can free the Flash who frees the rest.
  • In Superman: Ending Battle, Supes takes on literally every villain in existence (except Darkseid and Doomsday), alone. At one point, Neutron, a nuclear villain, boasts that he cannot die, so Superman chucks him into orbit. Later, when Bizarro, Mongul, Silver Banshee, and Master Jailer are all that's left, they move the battle to somewhere in the Pacific. Superman eventually gets chucked onto an island littered with Kryptonite. As the four villains surround him and gloat, Superman finally reveals that this island is the exact spot where Neutron will land. Cue an almighty explosion.
  • When the evil wizard Arion tries to enslave his mind with magic, Superman draws on training he received from Martian Manhunter and Zatanna, envisions that he is being constricted by a demonic snake, and tears the snake apart, freeing himself.
    • Arion's hideout is in an underwater fortress, protected by a magic forcefield specially designed so Superman can't break it. His solution, create a huge whirlpool, then release it, sending the Atlantic ocean crashing against it.
    • At the climax, Arion turns into Cthulhu and Superman kicks his ass. When Arion turns back to normal, he angrily tries to blast him, only to find that Superman is holding all, and by all I mean dozens of the magical trinkets that give the wizard his powers.
    • What makes this more awesome is that it represents Superman overcoming his own longstanding fear of being controlled and used as a tool of destruction.
  • In the novel "Superman: Miracle Monday", Superman defeats The Devil's Agent On Earth by simply *refusing* to kill its innocent host - which was what the demon wanted all along, since making Superman break his non-killing vow would have ruined him emotionally (and robbed the world of its greatest inspiration) forever.
  • Superman's beatdown of Superboy-Prime near the end of Infinite Crisis. Superboy had even smashed a chunk of Kryptonite into his face beforehand. Superman proceeds to give a him a why you suck speech, declaring he doesn't know what it means to be super, then beats him to the ground in four or five punches.
  • The Elseworlds story Last Family of Krypton where Superman's entire family survives the destruction of their planet, has Jor-El and Lara resolve a marital dispute... by flying into space and having sex in the center of the sun.
  • Artistically, the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, which was Supergirl's CMoA.
  • In Superman Earth One, while Supes is cool as usual, Jimmy Olsen gets his own CMOA. When the big bad is tearing apart Metropolis in search of Superman, Jimmy calmly stands in the middle of the destruction, diligently taking the pictures. When the big bad notices and questions Jimmy on this, Jimmy explains that he is willing to risk his life for the truth, and even as the big bad is preparing to kill Jimmy, he remains standing, continuing to take his pictures. Luckily for him, Supes takes him down... and Jimmy takes another picture of the wreckage, mentioning the other reason he was out there. To paraphrase, because the truth kicks serious ass.
  • Superman (vol. 1) #297. "Clark Kent FOREVER -- Superman NEVER!" If the title didn't tip you off, this is A Day in the Limelight for Clark himself, where he gets romantic with Lois, tells off Morgan Edge, and punches out Steve Lombard. But his best moment in the story is his anti-gravity battle against Intergang, putting his weightless space maneuvering skills into effective use.
  • In Action Comics #0, when Conduit tried to kill everyone Clark loved and Clark finally found his hideout, the opening page has Superman facing a roomful of goons with high tech weapons and the titular villain. Conduit then says that Superman should "beware, this facility is lead-lined to restrict the use of your x-ray vision, is filled with hundreds of agents specifically trained with you in mind, each has kryptonite based weaponry in addition to 250 agents specially trained in psychic warfare."
    • Superman's response "Sounds fair!" The battle happens off-page and the narration says it takes less than two and a half minutes. Cue to Superman in a room full of unconscious agents and not even breathing hard while looking for Conduit.
  • In the prequel storyline Superman Confidential: Kryptonite, Jimmy Olsen gets one as he saves himself, Lois Lane, and Superman (who is knocked out at the moment), from Lex Luthor as he holds one of Lex's henchmen at gunpoint and threatens to drive a taser into Lex's spine. Lex then backs off.

Films

  • Superman
    • The iconic theme by John Williams, especially in the beginning in a massively grand opening as the public realizes that the superhero movie can be a grand blockbuster epic.
    • From the original 1978 movie: as Krypton is ripping itself apart, Jor-El and Lara calmly watch as their son's ship safely soars away.
    • The first film when Superman saved Lois. The dialogue is just golden.

 Superman: Don't worry, Miss. I've got you.

Lois: You've got me? Who's got you?

    • Another great bit of dialogue from the same film:

 Jor-El: They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this above all--their capacity for good--I have sent them you... my only son.

    • Lois Lane in one hand, a helicopter in the other.
    • In the first film, Superman catches the first rocket and pushes it into outer space. Awesome by itself, but consider all he does when he can't stop the second missile. He allows an AmTrak train to use his body as a railroad track; catches a schoolbus as it's falling off the Golden Gate Bridge, AND... goes down beneath the crust of the Earth and lifts the San Andreas Fault back into place.
      • And he tops it all off, when he discovers he was too late to save Lois, by flying around the Earth to TURN BACK TIME.
      • Although to be honest, he would have been even more awesome if he'd handled the rogue missiles like this.
    • Christopher Reeve's entire performance throughout the films, actually making it plausible that no one would notice he and Superman had the same face.
  • Superman II:
    • "You will bow down before me, Jor-El! Both you, and then one day, your heirs!!"
    • The whole Zod vs President scene. For both of them.
    • "General, would you care to step outside?"
    • "Come to me, son of Jor-El... KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!"
    • Superman. Zod's hand. 'Nuff said. (so memorable that a friend of this troper likened someone making a comeback against their friend playing Bomberman to this scene)
  • Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut:
    • Lois tricking Clark into revealing his secret identity, by shooting him. With a blank.
    • Jor-El sacrificing himself to restore Clark's powers. This scene alone proves why Marlon Brando was worth every penny he demanded.
  • Superman III:
    • Don't even try to pretend that the Superman vs. Clark Kent fight did not make Superman III worthwhile. And the music at the end...
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace:
    • It ended.
    • Superman straightening up the flag at the moon landing site.
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