Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

Beating Superman: Michael’s Entry

Comic books were never really my obsession. I didn’t truly become interested in the superhero genre until I hit my early 20s, and most of my experience with come through trade paperbacks and the DC Animated Universe. Still, I’m always up for a good writing challenge and the task of beating Superman seemed to spark some interesting lines of thought.

My three combatants are an eclectic bunch of do-gooders. I attempted to focus in on heroes who possess powers that naturally countered the Man of Steel’s, but who weren’t necessarily all-encompassing badasses. The result is a well-balanced team that can put up a good fight against nearly opponent, including one of the DC universe’s mightiest heroes.

Without further adieu, here are the challengers:


Captain Atom

When facing off against Superman, you’re going to need someone to engage in hand-to-hand combat and soak up some blows. Captain Atom seems like an obvious candidate for this job; possessing strength and speed comparable to Big Blue’s. Add flight, energy projection and matter transmutation into the mix and you have one formidable combatant.

The stand-out power in this matchup, however, is the ability to absorb and expel different types of energy. Being able to negate Superman’s heat vision is an obvious boon, giving Captain the ranged advantage. When things draw into close quarters, a little bit of red sun radiation could slow things down a bit and give the other team members time to get their shots in.

Just to be clear though: Captain Atom is more of a distraction and a meat shield than a true threat. In an extended fight, Superman would tear the Captain apart with his endless stamina and his near limitless abilities. In reality, he’s just serving as one helluva distraction while the other two group members execute their strategies.


Doctor Fate

There are very few things (asides from Kryptonite) that Superman has shown a vulnerability towards, but magic happens to be one of them. It’s not that Superman has glowing red weak spot for the mystical arts; he just happens to be as susceptible to them as anybody else. In order to defeat him you need to exploit this weakness, and Doctor Fate seems like the right candidate to carry out the task.

Doctor Fate’s job in this particular fight is to immobilize and weaken Superman. Energy blasts, mystical shackles, disruptive telepathy and telekinesis will be used liberally, attacking the Man of Steel in ways that cannot be countered through brute strength and speed. Fate’s powers are vast and unpredictable, allowing him to engage Superman with a wide variety of abilities and tactics.

As the fight wears on, Fate will ensure that Captain Atom doesn’t get too overwhelmed and will attempt to create openings for our third member to deliver his finishing touch.



Metamorpho is a personal favourite of mine. His powers allow him to change his form into almost any element in existence, making him a sort of chemistry based superhero. This ability is useful in almost any fight, but plays a special purpose in this particular encounter.

While Doctor Fate and Captain Atom expend their energy distracting and slowing down Big Blue, Metamorpho will bide his time and await the perfect instance to engage the enemy at point-blank range. Once that moment arrives, Metamorpho has various methods to deliver the final blow to Superman. The most obvious choice, of course, is turning himself into Kryptonite gas and swirling into Superman’s respiratory system.

Other approaches (noxious gas, extremely durable bindings, etc…) may work as well, depending on which iteration of the Man of Steel is in play and how much he has been weakened by prior assaults. Regardless, Metamorpho has a vast enough pool of abilities that he’s bound to find something to debilitate a weakened Superman for a short period of time. Perhaps just long enough to reverse whatever foul mechanisms turned him against the Justice League in the first place.

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my wee bit of speculative superhero fiction. Thinking of strategies to take down Superman is rather fun, mostly because he possesses such a ridiculous range of abilities. Stay tuned through the next week or so for more Write-Up entries!

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By Michael
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer