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Superboy Debuts in “Superman” 2 (And Does Dead Really Mean Dead?)

by  in Comic News Comment
Superboy Debuts in “Superman” 2 (And Does Dead Really Mean <i>Dead</i>?)

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “Superman” #2, on sale now.

In “Superman” #2, Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Mick Gray are busting out two familiar costumes from Superman history. And while the first one may seem a bit obvious if you’ve been reading DC’s promotional materials, the second opens the door to all sorts of Super-developments in the months to come.

Boy, Oh Boy

Up until now, we’ve seen Jonathan Kent slowly manifesting various powers from his Kryptonian heritage, most notably an uncontrolled burst of heat vision in “Superman” #1 that accidentally incinerated his pet cat Goldie. In “Superman” #2, though, Tomasi and Gleason put it all on the table as Jon helps Superman defeat an alien monster while wearing a Superman-emblem shirt.

In other words, say hello to your new Superboy.

You Can’t Keep a Good Kryptonian Artifact Down

The second blast from the past is of slightly more recent vintage, featuring a character first introduced in 1989: the Eradicator. Originally a device designed to preserve the heritage of alien cultures, the Eradicator was brought to Earth by Superman, only to have the device attempt to transform our planet into a new Krypton. In the process, the Eradicator created the Fortress of Solitude, as well as caused a Phantom Zone portal’s creation from which it cherry-picked Kryptonian artifacts to be stored inside the Fortress.

After the Death of Superman, the Eradicator morphed from a robotic device into a humanoid, referred to as the Last Son of Krypton and, for a time, believing that it was Superman. After the Eradicator ultimately dies to protect the real Superman (and in the process restores Superman’s powers), it eventually comes back once more as a hero, thanks to merging with a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist.

The return of the Eradicator is more than just a familiar face, though. First, it’s worth noting that the Eradicator ultimately saved the life of the post-Crisis Superman, which is the same Superman that’s alive and well in this title. As a result, this Superman has a history with Eradicators, and will have a good idea of what to expect from the arrival of one from this new universe.

Second, when the Eradicator arrives at the Fortress of Solitude at the end of the issue, its first statement is, “We are here. We will save you, too, Kal-El.” The question is, which version of Kal-El is it talking about? The one whose blood was detected by the Fortress of Solitude earlier this issue? Or is it this universe’s Superman, who hasn’t come back to life because the Kryptonian technology from the post-Crisis universe wasn’t present on the New 52 Earth? Remember, the Eradicator, in the past, was able to bring Kryptonian artifacts to Earth via the Phantom Zone. Could this Eradicator be the key to an eventual rebirth of Superman, again?

Whatever the reason for its presence, the Eradicator’s arrival is rarely a good omen for Superman. And even if it might eventually be restoring the New 52 Superman for real, it’s probably a ways off. But with a larger plan clearly starting to play out at DC Comics, this could be an early hint on the shape of things to come.

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