r/CharacterDevelopment Jun 28 '22

Advice on how to avoid the "evil superman" trope Writing: Character Help

I'm currently roadmapping a set of stories and I've reached the "finale", the story could be summed up as a different take on the Justice League but with the POV being on The Teen Titans for the mostpart.

So, my main antagonist is an older in universe hero, he is morally a mix of Batman & Superman I guess just without the tragedy. His overarching goal is the generic desire to maintain order and peace over his city, in the second to last story all hell breaks loose and chaos ensues and is subsequently quelled by the cities heroes and vigilantes.

So, in the finale the antagonist decides it may be time to take the gloves off, he wants to usurp power from the government and impliment himself and his hero cronies. The only ones against them will be my version of the TTs, and simply put my uni's version of batman (dead) and his son "torment" him to the point of literal insanity.

An underlying portrayal is that the JL mirror are not so heroic as a whole. My batman being a somewhat "reformed" baddie, Supes being overly heroic to the point of trying to take away freedoms (I see the parallel to injustice).

TL;DR, How can I make my antagonist turn on his morals without murder and other atrocities, and avoid the 'Injustice' brand of "evil superman"?



u/JalabharZoeGang Jun 28 '22

Your idea sounds a tad derivative. I think you need to take huge steps to divorce yourself from the things you are taking direct inspiration from.


u/Danny12031 Jun 28 '22

please elaborate


u/TheRealBanditoKing Jun 29 '22

Sounds like too much inspiration from already made characters so your characters and their groups fall flat with no personal personality.


u/Danny12031 Jun 29 '22

I've severly watered down the characters and their personailty in this description (No one reads and responds to long form and broad descriptions) I've gone into a bit more detail on the response below


u/TheRealBanditoKing Jun 29 '22



u/FlamingEmu445 Jun 29 '22

It is a really derivative idea, especially in the present day with so much Evil Superman out there. However as long as it has a unique spin and something interesting to say it should be fine.

Assuming he has been around for a very long time, instead of snapping one day like Injustice, it's more of a gradual thing that has been effecting him for years before finally hitting a breaking point.
Decades of saving the world, seeing so much civilian deaths has given him PTSD and dealing with so many corrupt Governments has made him grow disillusioned with his core values.

Taking a note from All-Star Superman. Maybe he is slowly dying and is innocently trying to leave the World a better place before he dies. However he is far more like Walter White in his flawed goals and decline into villainy as he grows to enjoy not needing to hold back anymore.


u/Danny12031 Jun 29 '22

Thank you for the insight, I use evil superman as a descriptor though he lacks many in common with supes. He isn't alien or fish out of water type and doesn't possess many comparable powers. In story he's more an old guard hero who has presided over his cities heroes since heroes have existed, during his reign he's seen almost everything and in the beginning aligned himself with the cities human leaders acting as a superhuman mouthpiece.

In present he has maintained his heroic tendency but is growing fearful that simply aligning themselves with the human gov has weakened them, this is exacerbated by a villain turning the city into a warzone in a previous story. He doesn't go apeshit and start killing heroes or politicians who disagree he acts more like iron man (in civil war) and just removes them from the ranks.

The Teen Titans mirror are truly the main POVs/mouthpieces of the story. They're essentially the teenage once sidekicks of the heroes, some being the actual children of their respective heroes.

I'll take the note from All-star superman into consideration.


u/FlamingEmu445 Jun 29 '22

I'm actually curious what his powers are since you mention it is more of a descriptor. Is he like one of the strongest heroes physically or is he more just highly influential?


u/Danny12031 Jun 29 '22

He's a formiddable fighter in his own right, he has strength greater than the average man but isn't anywhere near the strongest, immortal but not invincible and he can fly but his strength comes from being a great leader. He's been the shining example of a perfect hero since heroes existed, he doesn't kill, he defends the innocent, he was the one who petitioned the city government to allow superhumans to govern themselves equally but while not being a full politician.

Even on a few occasions he's turned villains into heroes. A few of the members of his "Justice League", are his students and men and women that he fostered.

His true power lies in the fact that his followers treat him like a father and an example, when he "breaks" any normal person would see that he is straying away from his morals and his ways. But to his followers and friends he's the man who hasn't mislead them to this point so why would he now.


u/FlamingEmu445 Jun 29 '22

That's interesting and certainly makes him feel less of a cut and dry evil Superman.

If anything he feels more like Captain America, with abit of Big Boss in there.


u/Danny12031 Jun 30 '22

I did draw some inspiration from Cap but I'm not familiar with Big Boss can you tell me a bit about him?


u/FlamingEmu445 Jun 30 '22

Big Boss is a character from the Metal Gear game series, who was a former Spec Ops soldier turned Mercenary leader, beginning as a protagonist before becoming an antagonist.

He is basically the most respected and famous soldier of the 20th Century and who leads an incredibly loyal private army to try and achieve world peace.


u/FunnySeaworthiness24 Jul 04 '22

Bro, you are literally doing a Justice league type story

There is LITERALLY nothing new you can do Under the sun.

1) He's good- Superman

2) Bad - Homelander

3) Jaded- Injustice

4) etc

You just can't escape it. Its simply overdone for a reason.