Superman fans are furious. Again.
After the so-so reception to Man Of Steel, news that its sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice will be getting an R-rated version has been met with all the enthusiasm of a Kryptonite sandwich.
The rating, which is for the director’s cut Blu-ray release, promises even more intense superhero violence to piggy-back on the success of Deadpool. “This isn’t Superman!” Twitter fanboys and girls moaned. They’re right… to a point.
Sure, Christopher Reeve’s Man Of Steel was (for the most part) a charming chap who rescued cats from trees, but dive back into the character’s long history and you’ll see that Superman could sometimes be a right cold-blooded bastard.
Here are five example of the Kryptonian hero living up to that R rating and breaking his “no kill” code…
Killing General Zod
After Superman’s comic book timeline was rebooted in the 80s, one of the most controversial stories saw the hero execute General Zod and his sidekicks Quex-Ul and Zaora. Superman found them in an alternate pocket universe where he completed the death sentence imposed on them before Krypton blew up. Harsh.
In the landmark 1992 comic book The Death Of Superman, the Man Of Steel faced down a rampaging death machine called Doomsday. Both of them landed simultaneous killer blows in a bone-shattering Metropolis fight. The Doomsday character will feature in Batman v Superman, so expect the Man Of Steel to get murderous again on the big screen shortly.
Killing The Joker
Comic book and video game Injustice: Gods Among Us presented a dark, alternate version of the DC Universe’s Justice League. How bad was it? The Joker douses Superman in Kryptonite-laced fear gas, tricking him into killing Lois Lane and their unborn child. He retaliated by ramming his fist through The Joker’s chest. In fairness, he probably had that coming.
The half-man half-machine alias of of Hank Henshaw, Cyborg, attempted to take Superman’s place following his death at the hands of Doomsday. Unfortunately, Cyborg turned out to be an anti-Supes radical and attempted to destroy his reputation. When the Man Of Steel returned from the grave, he got his own back by vibrating Henshaw’s body to smithereens. Nasty.
Killing General Zod (again)
Henry Cavill’s Superman snapped General Zod’s neck at the close of Man Of Steel to stop his heat vision incinerating a young family. The moment came after the pair had levelled Metropolis in a brutal fight that cost lives and million in collateral damage. Still, Superman let out a really big scream afterwards so at least he regretted it.
Bonus kill (accidental): Mr Mxyzptlk
Watchmen writer Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Is generally regarded as one of the best Superman stories ever told. It ended with the Man Of Steel facing unpronounceable villain Mr Mxyzptlk and ripping him to shreds after blasting him with a Phantom Zone projector. More a gaffe than a cold-blooded kill, but it was enough to make Superman strip himself of his powers and vanish never to be seen again.