This is a comic that I knew would be good right from the start. I’m a big Superman fan after all and Darkseid is one of his best villains. A compilation of some of their biggest battles was sure to be good and I wasn’t disappointed. The comics did a good job of showing Darkseid’s strength without nerfing Superman. This was how the characters were meant to be portrayed!
The first few issues are about Superman getting trapped on Apokolips and he also loses his memories once he falls into a large area of fire. He decides to lead the rebels to fight Darkseid, but there is a big twist at the end of this and we find out that Superman is being manipulated. This was probably the only part of the collection that I wasn’t crazy about. I’ve gone over this a few times already, but Superman cannot be mind controlled. It simply isn’t done and to lose his memory like that….I don’t think so. Such a thing just wouldn’t happen to Superman!
It’s actually a fairly tragic story because the rebels basically had their hope shattered. Superman is not allowed to keep his memories of what happened and that is probably for the best. Still, he definitely gave Darkseid a good fight and Superman managed to come out on top. It was a fair bout, which was the best part of the whole match. It was a good fight between two powerhouses and both of them were giving it their all.
See, Darkseid and Superman have always been evenly matched, but I consider Superman to be stronger thanks to his speed advantage. In this collection, Superman comes out on top each time except for one comic where Darkseid got unlimited cosmic power, which naturally doesn’t count. If we bring in Superman 1 Million, then we can talk. That being said, the fights are always really good and the intensity never lets up for a second!
Another issue was taken from the Superman/Batman series where Darkseid brainwashed Supergirl so Superman brought Batman and Wonder Woman along to free her. Big Barda led them to Darkseid’s palace and the heroes messed the place up. Superman handled Supergirl while Batman took down Darkseid….verbally although he could have done well in a physical confrontation.
if he had prep time Then we got a really good battle between Superman and Darkseid. Superman was in total rage mode so it wasn’t really that close as Superman wrecked him with ease and planted Darkseid into the source wall. I don’t even have anything against that because an enraged Superman should be far stronger than Darkseid. There is no comic book character who can beat Superman at this point and I consider the Man of Steel to be on top of the food chain.
While I liked the Superman/Batman Apocalypse film a lot, the comic was so much better after reading this issue. The fact that Batman and Wonder Woman apparently suspected that Darkseid would be back and followed Superman/Supergirl to the farm was brilliant. While they didn’t get to fight much since Superman wanted to end things, it made the characters really look good. In the film, Superman got wrecked by Darkseid, but he was the one doing the wrecking here in the comic. It came at the expense of Supergirl’s fight, but the fight was certainly more accurate here since Superman’s speed is his biggest asset. This issue was definitely a lot of fun.
Another comic had Superman assemble a team of Kryptonians to battle Darkseid for Steel’s soul. Superboy, Supergirl, Supergirl 2, and the Eradicator were the guys that Superman brought with him. The reason why he only brought Kryptonians was so Darkseid couldn’t take it out on the rest of the world if Superman’s plan failed. (Really dicey plan since Darkseid would likely attack Earth to spite Superman) Darkseid’s minions engaged the Kryptonians and did fairly well thanks to the insane numbers advantage. It was essentially hundreds to thousands of opponents against the heroes, but each Kryptonian is incredibly powerful so that wasn’t a problem for them. The Eradicator is a character who I haven’t seen very often, but he certainly looked impressive here and even had a super form where he turned giant.
Naturally, the main part of the comic was the fight between Darkseid and Superman. Both of them were really confident going into the match. It was another decisive victory for Superman, but they both gave the fight their all. Superman properly utilized his speed in order to get the edge over Darkseid. In the end, Superman was able to win Steel’s soul back and it was a really nice ending to a good comic. From the Superman vs Darkseid battles in the collection, this was certainly the best one and both fighter looked impressive once again.
Another issue featured a big battle between Darkseid and The Source. Somehow, Darkseid was able to steal the cosmic being’s abilities and gained near limitless power. The Source put up a valiant fight, but he was outmatched and even Superman could really due nothing thanks to the large gap in power. He was a distraction at best, but that allowed Orion to come in and stall Darkseid as well. The cosmic feats were a lot of fun and Darkseid was still fighting physically, which is always a good thing. While the Superman and Darkseid fight was essentially nonexistent here, it did give us an issue where Darkseid came out on top and Superman even had a long monologue about how he now knows what it feels like to be the weak guy surrounded by powerful players who are out of his league. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from entering the fray.
Jimmy Olsen also got to enter the fray in one comic where he gained immense powers and got to fight with Darkseid. I believe that this may have been during the same arc with Orion or a different one. Regardless, it was also a fun tribute to the Silver Age since Jimmy’s old lizard/reptile form got to make a comeback. Obviously not the most memorable part of the issue since I don’t remember the full context, but still a cool occurrence.
There’s also a very short issue about Darkseid’s origin and how he destroyed all of the old gods to gain almost unlimited power and a quick Justice League issue from the New 52 where we learn that Darkseid has been travelling around the multiverse and destroying dozens of Superman versions until he lost to the New 52’s version. That’s some good hype for Darkseid although I would consider many versions of Superman to be stronger than the New 52 one. I suppose that these guys just didn’t have it in them to win.
In the comics, Darkseid seems to be much stronger than New 52 Superman although these comics definitely show that Superman typically has the edge. It’s why I enjoyed the battles so much as they were all fairly close except that Superman always won in the end. One of the fights wasn’t even close because Superman was already enraged. His portrayal here is naturally excellent and this is the hero that I know and remember. Darkseid made for a good antagonist and he’s always been an interesting character. Having a trade paperback just about these two characters was a genius idea. Especially because I haven’t read many DC comics from this era.
The art switches for all of the issues of course, but they all look really good, which helps the overall experience. If I had to decide which art was my favorite, I’d probably go with the issue from the Superman/Batman series. Of course, I’m very used to the art at this point so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The issue with the Eradicator would be a decently close second.
Overall, Superman vs Darkseid is a great collection of comics and one that I would definitely recommend you to check out. Each of the stories is pretty epic and there aren’t any real negatives to speak of aside from the opening chapter where Superman was mind controlled. I really didn’t buy that for a second and evil Superman is a concept that has never worked from the beginning. Luckily, the rest of the comics are really just about showing how great Superman is and why he can’t be stopped by any threat. He is the ultimate comic book character and I never let anyone forget it. The size of the collection is decent. It’s short enough that I would still call it short, but not quite as quick to read as the average modern trade paperback, which only brings 4 issues. This is a steal for any current price!