Henry Cavill as Superman in front of DC Comics

From a source material standpoint, several of Jack Kirby’s earliest Fourth World stories involved Superman coming into contact with various New Gods and Forever People, and his longing to be among beings who are more like him. Let Orion and Lightray come to earth to enlist Superman’s aid in their cosmic war, similar to how these concepts were introduced in Superman: The Animated Series. Superman becomes the audience’s POV character, we no longer have to worry about him automatically being the most powerful person in the room all the time, and the DCEU can properly introduce Darkseid without having to stage yet another invasion of Earth, since almost all the action will take place on New Genesis or Apokolips. Remember how much everyone loved the visuals when Thor left bland earthbound adventures for the Kirby-esque splendor of Thor: Ragnarok? Yeah, that.

The Warworld Saga

Folks, if you haven’t been reading Superman comics over the last year or so, specifically Action Comics, holy moley are you missing out on one of the best Superman stories of the century so far. Philip Kennedy Johnson and a murderer’s row of artists have powered Superman down, taken him offworld, and made him a revolutionary figure in the gladiatorial pits of Warworld, redefining one of DC’s more interesting cosmic villains in the process. It’s an epic in the truest sense of the word, and bears little resemblance to “traditional” Superman stories…other than the fact that the spirit and values of the Man of Steel himself are perfectly represented, showing that even when he’s a true underdog, he’s still Superman.

For my money, this is the one modern story that any new live action Superman tale should take its cues from. The perfect blend of Golden Age Superman toughness and grit and modern sci-fi elements and philosophizing. Honestly, the PERFECT tone for the DCEU.

Superman under alien influence in DC Comics

For The Man Who Has Everything

While Justice League 2 sure doesn’t look like a priority for Warner Bros…and may never be…my personal dream would be to re-team Superman with DC’s two safest cinematic bets: Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Batman (and yes, bring back Ben Affleck for this!). The DCEU loves adapting the broad strokes of classic comic stories, so a big screen version of the Watchmen creative team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For The Man Who Has Everything” would tick all the appropriate boxes, without the pressure of it being a full blown Justice League sequel.

“For the Man Who Has Everything” is the superhero story that has everything. A powerful alien puts Superman into a hallucinatory coma, causing him to live in a dream world where he grew to maturity on a Krypton that never exploded, all while Batman and Wonder Woman fight for their lives. This could play almost like Inception (or a Twilight Zone episode) with superheroes, and it would allow another big screen appearance for Krypton, the visual and world-building highlight of Man of Steel. In a way, this story, which forces Superman to confront and make peace with his guilt at being the sole survivor of his world, would feel like a fitting sendoff for Cavill’s Superman.

Justice League 2

Sorry, folks. Don’t hold your breath. I’d bet that if it does ever happen, it’ll be more along the lines of the kind of team of misfits we got in the late ’80s, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that would be perfect for James Gunn’s next DC movie. I’d be shocked if we ever get another Justice League movie with Cavill’s Superman, but hey, there’s nothing I’d rather be wrong about. That being said, if they want to make Man of Steel 2 about Superman assembling a new Justice League (or reassembling the old one) you absolutely should check out a story called Panic in the Sky, which is one of the great Superman comic book epics of the ’90s.

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