The villains Superman faced in the earliest stories were ordinary humans, such as gangsters, corrupt politicians, and violent husbands; but they soon grew more colorful and outlandish so as to avoid offending censors or scaring children.
Superman’s best-known nemesis, Lex Luthor, was introduced in Action Comics #23 (April 1940) and has been depicted as either a mad scientist or a wealthy businessman (sometimes both).
Superman’s most recognizable foe and the Man of Steel’s primary adversary in every medium since the 1940s.
Obsessed with destroying Superman, Luthor sees Superman as a threat to his seemingly inevitable rise to power like slandering the super-hero to all who would listen.
He also physically assault Superman with some combination of kryptonite and a mechanical weaponized suit.
The monstrous Doomsday, introduced in Superman: The Man of Steel #17–18 (November –December, 1992) was the first villain to evidently kill Superman in physical combat.
An abomination from pre-historic Krypton, Doomsday has superhuman strength, speed and stamina, the alien adapts and evolves each time he’s hurt in a new way. Doomsday is the super-hero’s equal when it comes to sheer physical force among Superman’s rogues. In the movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Doomsday, reimagined as a creature out of General Zod’s DNA, kills Superman (Henry Cavill).
Darkseid (Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970), a tyrant from a distant planet and one of the most fearsome villains in all of comics dating back to 1970. Darkseid has been a world- ending threat with the ultimate ambition of universal domination by brute force and deserving the entire Justice League’s attention.
A Kryptonian fascist with no regard for human life, General Zod (Adventure Comics #283, April 1961), shares Superman’s Kryptonian DNA, the general has most of Superman’s abilities but not his compassion and opposite with Superman’s goodness.
Debuted in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), Brainiac is one of Superman’s most formidable opponents. Because of his tremendous intellect and the accompanying scientific and technological knowledge, Brainiac poses a threat to Superman. His greatest parlor trick is shrinking entire cities and harvesting them on his spacecraft.