ICYMI: A Classic ’90s Anti-Hero Returned In Tomasi And Gleason’s ‘Superman’ #2
It’s been noted by more than a few people that the current storyline running through the Superman family of books strongly represents the classic “Reign of the Supermen” event from the mid-'90s, where four new Supermen rose up to attempt to fill the absence left by The Man of Steel following his death fighting the monster Doomsday.
Currently, we have Lex Luthor, Kenan Kong, Lois Lane and the original Pre-Flashpoint Superman, plus his son Jonathan, all now operating under the Superman banner, as well as Supergirl, Steel and the Cyborg Superman. DC isn’t done there though, as this week’s Superman #2 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray and John Kalisz saw the return of another would-be Superman straight from the '90s.
The Eradicator was one of the four Supermen that appeared --- along with Steel, Superboy and The Cyborg Superman --- in the wake of "The Death of Superman," and for a time seemed to possibly be the real Superman resurrected with a harsher sense of justice and punishment.
The Eradicator was actually a device intended to preserve culture, but it was corrupted so that its mission was to eradicate all non-Kryptonian culture in the universe. Superman first encountered it on Warworld and brought it back to Earth where --- after a few attempts at eradicating Earth culture --- it lay dormant in The Fortress of Solitude.
Following Superman’s death, it was brought to life by the residual solar energy of his corpse and assumed a psuedo-organic form in the shape of Superman. Believing itself to be The Man of Steel, it had a twisted view on how to deal with criminals and had no compunction in killing to make its message heard.
There was a time when it seemed that The Eradicator might actually be evil, but it proved its heroism when it joined with Superman, Steel, Superboy, Supergirl and Green Lantern to fight Mongul and the Cyborg Superman. During the fight, The Eradicator sacrificed itself to save Superman from his Cyborg counterpart and in death, returned Superman to full strength following his resurrection.
The Eradicator returned several times over the next twenty years and a lot of those appearances served to make an already complicated character even more convoluted. Hopefully this latest return of the character in the pages of Superman sees a more back-to-basics approach to the character.