Superman: The Earth Stealers*
Though this graphic novel was published after Crisis on Infinite Earths, many readers have suggested
that it rather obviously takes place in a Pre-Crisis DC universe, which is why I've chosen to palce it here.
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Also originally published after Crisis on Infinite Earths, this collection was a goodbye to the Pre-Crisis
Superman prior to Byrne's Man of Steel. Alan Moore writes a theoretical end to the Man of Steel's
career if the Crisis had never happened.
The end of the Multiverse and the creation of the streamlined DC Universe. The Absolute Edition includes loads of extra information and cool stuff and
is highly recommended.
History of the DC Universe, originally planned as issues 11-12 of Crisis on Infinite Earths, lays the groundwork for
Post-Crisis DC continuity.
After the Crisis, John Byrne (before he sucked) reintroduced us to the Man of Steel with a new origin.
Reintroductions can also be found here for Bizarro, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Metallo, and Darkseid.
Volume five also includes appearances by the Joker, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and
the first appearance of Gangbuster.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman*
Though it may look at first glance like a tv-show tie-in, this book collects
several actual issues of the various Superman titles. A few of them take place
after Exile, but the vast majority of them do not, which is why I've placed it
here. These stories were selected to specifically highlight the relationship between
Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
Superman is overwhelmed by guilt after breaking his vow not to kill and banishes himself to
space. Along his journey, we meet Mongul and the Eradicator for the first time. This seems to me
to be some of the basis for Superman Returns, but until the movie actually comes out, this
notion is entirely speculative.
Though the Eradicator first appears in Exile, Eradication really gives him his origin story,
which finds itself in the hands of a dying Krypton. We also get an appearance from my favorite
Superman: Panic in the Sky*
Brainiac has taken over Warworld and is piloting it toward earth. Here we also get some of our
first looks at the new Post-Crisis Supergirl, who leaves Earth toward this story's end.
Superman: They Saved Luthor's Brain!*
Shortly after Lex Luthor's death due to Kryptonite poisoning, his "son" appears, a young philanthropic
businessman with a full head of hair. The issues contained here actually span several of the
previously listed Superman trades, but without giving too much away, this book will make the most sense
when read here in the list.
Also in this book, Supergirl returns to Earth after her departure during Panic in the Sky.
The Death of Superman chronicles Superman's death at the hands of a fierce new enemy, Doomsday.
World Without a Superman includes Kal-El's funeral and reactions from the super-hero community and the rest of the world.
The Return of Superman also includes the Reign of the Supermen story-lines in which four new heroes
attempt to take Superman's palce. Look here for the origins of Superboy, Steel, the Cyborg (of the
Superman variety, not the Vic Stone variety), and a new incarnation of the Eradicator. Their four
separate tales eventually converge upon the resurrection of the Man of Steel himself and the
birth of his stylish new 90's haircut.
The Hardcover Omnibus covers all three story arcs in a single high-quality volume.
Superman / Aliens*
This is one of the few inter-company crossovers that actually ends up being considered to be in-continuity.
It was written by Dan Jurgens who was a primary Superman writer at the time, and it references recent Superman
history, such as Exile and The Death of Superman. It is also briefly mentioned later in the Final Night.
I've placed it here, just prior to Zero Hour, because if memory serves, Zero Hour is where Superman loses
his long 90's hair, which he still has in this story.
Zero Hour: Crisis in Time
Zero Hour was DC's attempt to clean up the continuity issues still left over from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Time is unraveling due to the plotting of Extant, and all the heroes must band together to hold the timestream
together. But even if they defeat Extant, Parallax may help time to fully unravel, giving all of
DC continuity a fresh start. Also seen here is the origin of Impulse, the aging of most of the original JSA,
and Jack Knight's takeover of the Starman mantle.
Collection of the battles between Superman and Doomsday in the years after the Death and Return of Superman.
This also includes Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, which reveals Doomsday's surprising origin.
Superman: The Death of Clark Kent*
Someone from Clark Kent's past learns his great secret and begins using it against those he loves,
leading him to the conclusion that the only way to save them is to kill off his secret identity
and become only Superman.
The Trial of Superman
Superman is kidnapped to space and put on trial for the crime of one of his ancestors who
played a part in the destruction of Krypton.
Superman: The Wedding and Beyond*
After fifty years (though I suppose only a few in current continuity),
Lois and Clark are finally married. Theirs has always been my favorite fictional romance.
The Final Night
A Sun-Eater envelopes our Sun and the Earth is shrouded in darkness,
causing Superman to lose his powers.
In the wake of Final Night, a powerless Superman is mysteriously transformed into
a being of pure-energy.
Superman vs. the Revenge Squad*
Maxima, Barrage, Riot, Anomaly, and Misa team up as The Revenge Squad to battle
the Last Son of Krypton. This book actually takes place about halfway through Transoformed,
but I believe it can be read separately without too much confusion.
Superman: End of the Century
Superman and Lois lane must track down a mysterious killing force in Metropolis, which
is soon revealed to be the child of Lex Luthor's ex-wife, Contessa. The continuity of this
book directly conflicts with Endgame, but is worth a read none-the-less.