WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death of Superman by Jeff Loveness, Brad Walker, and Andrew Hennessy.
The Eradicator has been a central character in the Superman mythos since the late '80s, playing the role of both hero and villain. In either role, Eradicator functioned, true to its name, as a far more brutal character than Superman himself. He would come to prominence in the aftermath of the landmark Death of Superman storyline, becoming “The Last Son of Krypton” and dealing with criminals in a much harsher manner than his boy scout predecessor.
In Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death of Superman, DC revisits the story and character, but with a far more heartbreaking twist. Instead of a mere Kryptonian AI consciousness taking a humanoid form, The Eradicator in this story bonds with a grieving and vengeful Lois Lane.
Lois Lane: The Woman Who Lost Everything
Much of the story’s beginning is similar to the original arc, but after the Man of Steel breathes his last fateful breath, it takes a decidedly darker turn. Lois blames the Justice League for allowing Superman to essentially fight Doomsday alone, all while they are there together for him at his funeral, posing for the cameras. This highlights the existing tragedy of the story’s publication history, as the Justice League itself was fractured, without many of its heaviest hitters on the roster.
The days go by, and the world without Superman grows hopeless... and helpless. A desperate Lois visits the Fortress of Solitude, where she meets the Kryptonian Eradicator AI face to face. The Eradicator’s plan of reviving Kal-El’s body has seemingly been a failure, forcing the consciousness to merge with Lois’s body to contain the remaining energy. This gives Lois all of Superman’s powers, but the pain of her loss leaves her with none of his restraint.
Fall of the Supermen (Again)
From there, the story diverges to give the saga’s more hopeful second act a bleak facelift. Steel, Superboy and even the revived Recovery Suit Superman are dealt fates which spit in the face of Reign of the Supermen’s optimistic new status quo for the Superman family. Lois as Eradicator is true to her name, mercilessly dealing with villains from Superman and other heroes' rogues galleries, with all the compassion of an exploding sun.
Lex Luthor, The Joker, Ra’s Al Ghul, and even the god Ares fall to the Eradicator’s strength and hellish heat vision. Even in the original Death of Superman, The Eradicator was never shown (on page) as executing so harshly; it was brutal, yes, but not like this. That may have simply been due to the censorship of the time, of course, or a reflection of how truly fallen a world without any Superman is destined to become. The citizens of Metropolis are even frightened Lois by the story’s conclusion, leaving it depressingly obvious that on this world, the "S" is no loner a symbol for hope.
Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death of Superman is available now.