When you begin playing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the first thing you’ll see are the ruins of Metropolis. It’s a powerful image, witnessing one of the biggest landmarks of the DC Universe reduced to rubble. How can a city so majestic fall, especially when it has a protector like Superman?

Well, it turns out Metropolis is destroyed far more often than we think. I’m not talking about a few knocked over buildings or some minor property damage—I’m talking about citywide devastation. (And to think, it’s Gotham that gets such a bad rap. Must be a PR issue.) So, before you plan any relocations to the so-called “City of Tomorrow,” take a scroll through the list below, where we look at six completely different times Metropolis was destroyed.

Even All-Powerful Wizards Need Some Peace and Quiet

Where it Happened: Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter

Before the Phantom Zone became a prison, it was the residence of a wizard named Aethyr. For years, Aethyr lived in the Phantom Zone in peace…until Krypton decided to start tossing some of the most dangerous people in the universe there and sealing the door. Needless to say, all those despots, murderers and war criminals really started infringing on Aethyr’s peace and quiet. His resentment grew, with Jor-El’s son Superman becoming the object of Aethyr’s scorn. In 1986’s DC Comics Presents #97, the mystical being retaliated, and may have gone a bit overboard.

Aethyr powered up Mr. Mxyzptlk and gave the trickster a roadmap to ruining Superman’s life. Mxy took Argo City and flung it towards Metropolis. The impact was catastrophic, destroying both cities and bathing the area in Kryptonite gas. Even more horrifying, the impact caused the corpses of Argo’s citizens to rain down on Metropolis. If anyone survived, the sight would have been traumatizing.

(Although the comic never states it, we can reasonably assume that this took place in an alternate timeline.)

Oops! Sorry About That!

Where it Happened: Armageddon 2001

During 1991’s Armageddon 2001, a time-traveling hero known as Waverider (not to be confused with the spaceship from Legends of Tomorrow) searched the timeline to figure out which superhero would become a terrifying villain known as Monarch (not to be confused with the recent Monsterverse TV series on Apple TV+). Since Monarch was able to overpower all of Earth’s heroes, Waverider assumed Superman was a likely candidate. As a result, in 1991’s Superman Annual #3, Waverider looks through one possible future to see how Superman’s life would unfold. (Making this whole storyline not to be confused with the holiday favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life.)

What he sees isn’t pretty. Bruno Mannheim grows frustrated after Superman dismantles another Intergang operation, so the mobster raises the stakes by acquiring a nuclear bomb. He intends to blackmail Metropolis and never has any intention of detonating the weapon—at least, if we can believe the narrative caption, which says, “It was never meant to detonate, yet it does.”

Does this mean there was a device malfunction, or that perhaps Mannheim detonated it by mistake? Whatever the reason, Metropolis and all its citizens are wiped out in a second. Thankfully, this is only one of many possible futures, and Metropolis has so far remained intact in the main timeline. Or rather, it had until Lex Luthor a became a drama queen…

Lex Luthor Works Out His Personal Drama

Where it Happened: Fall of Metropolis

This is going to sound insane, but in the 1990s, Lex Luthor pretended to be his own redhaired Australian son when he placed his brain in a younger (and hairier) cloned body. (In fairness to Lex, we all did crazy things in the ’90s.)

By Action Comics #700, the clone body was beginning to deteriorate and Lex had started to spiral. His crimes were exposed, and as the authorities began to close in, he acted like a cornered animal and began striking back. Lex hid a series of missiles underneath Metropolis and threatened to detonate them if Superman and the authorities continued their pursuit. Superman was able to talk Lex down, but Lex’s henchman Sydney Happersen launched the missiles anyway.

Superman, Supergirl and Superboy were able to stop some of the missiles, but most of downtown Metropolis was still destroyed, including major landmarks like the Daily Planet and Lexcorp Tower. Luckily, Metropolis had been evacuated beforehand, otherwise the death toll would’ve been catastrophic. 

Crumble Before Zod

Where it Happened: Man of Steel

In 2013, Henry Cavill suited up as Superman for the Zack Snyder-directed film Man of Steel. The movie features a new origin for the hero, and his first battle is anything but easy. General Zod and his army of Kryptonian criminals arrive on Earth intending to terraform the planet into a new version of Krypton. Zod’s massive World Engine ship begins the process by firing a massive energy beam into the heart of Metropolis.

Superman struggles to contain the damage, but between Zod, his army and the World Engine itself, it’s too much for one man to handle. In the end, Superman is able to destroy the World Engine, but not until Zod and his ship manage to destroy most of Metropolis.

The devastation of Metropolis is so severe that the city is still being rebuilt in the sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although Superman proves victorious, Zod’s invasion weighs heavily on his soul, showing him the true weight of being the planet’s savior.

Sunday in the Park with Leviathan

Where it Happened: Metropolis Doom

Fighting Superman is never a good idea, but what if there were a way to ensure the Man of Steel held back? “Metropolis Doom” (Action Comics #1017-1021) is a storyline where Superman’s enemies try a new strategy—attacking him in the heart of Metropolis. Leviathan and the Legion of Doom reason that the Man of Steel will hold back because he’s afraid of harming his city. The villains begin their battle in Metropolis’ Shuster Park, devastating the entire area. Even the combined help of the Justice League and Young Justice isn’t enough to stop the devastation.

Shuster Park is leveled, and the destruction begins spreading out to the rest of Metropolis. Superman even offers to surrender, but the villains aren’t about to lose their upper hand. In the end, the heroes are able to prevail, but entire neighborhoods within Metropolis are lost in the process.

Brainiac Stops by For a Chat

Where it Happened: Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

This brings us to the video game that inspired this list, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. When the game begins, Metropolis has already fallen. The extraterrestrial villain Brainiac has made the city ground zero of his invasion. Even the combined might of the Justice League isn’t enough to stop him. In fact, Brainiac is able to take control of the League, turning them into extensions of his evil agenda and hence, why you need to kill them.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is an open world game where players can roam through the ruins of Metropolis and see the devastation for themselves. Having played the game myself, I can state that Brainiac completely annihilates the city, and the results are far worse than the trailers suggest.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish the game before Brainiac and the Justice League do this to the rest of the planet.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is now available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.