10. Death of Superman
Superman died and the DC Universe was never the same. Until it was, after he came back a few years later.
Still, this is a great story that examines the various aspects that make the Superman corner of the DC Universe so interesting. Superman takes on his most dangerous foe, Doomsday, in a no-holds-barred brawl in the middle of Metropolis. As the title makes obvious, Superman sacrifices himself to stop the monster and save his home.
What unfolds afterwards is a great story about what Superman means in the world. We see a slew of new heroes emerge in an attempt to fill the gap that Superman’s absence causes in the world. While his death only lasts about a year, the full emotional arc is extremely enjoyable. We get to see Lois Lane grieve and move on as all of Metropolis deals with the loss of their guardian angel.
While the line didn’t come straight out of this series, one of my favorite confrontations between Batman and Superman referenced the importance of this story. In ‘Infinite Crisis,’ Batman tells Superman that the last time he inspired anyone was when he was dead, critiquing the character’s symbolic position as a martyr that spread after his death.