Eradicator (comics)

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The Eradicator
EradicatorSSF.jpg
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Action Comics Annual #2 (1989)
Created by Roger Stern
In-story information
Alter ego Dr. David Connor
Place of origin Krypton
Team affiliations Outsiders
Team Superman
Partnerships Superman (Clark Kent)
Superboy (Connor Kent)
Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw)
Supporting character of Clark Kent (Superman)
Notable aliases The Krypton Man,
The Last Son of Krypton,
The Visored Superman
(Reign of the Supermen),
David Connor
Abilities Super-strength, flight, energy projection, invulnerability, enhanced senses, computer-like analytical ability

The Eradicator is a fictional comic book superhero (and sometimes supervillain) character having a recurring role in Superman stories published by DC Comics. Originally created as a weapon by an ancient alien race, he is over 200,000 years old and is considered an artifact of Krypton. The character was created by writer Roger Stern, and first appeared in Action Comics Annual #2 (1989).[1][2]

Publication history[edit]

The Eradicator first appeared in Action Comics Annual #2 in 1989. The Day of the Krypton Man story arc prominently featured the Eradicator in the pages of Superman, Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics. The story arc ran for six issues cover-dated March and April 1990,[3][4][5][6][7][8] and was collected in Superman: Eradication! [9] The Eradicator reappeared in Superman: The Man of Steel #1 as a humanoid being composed of energy.[10]

In The Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993),[11] the character appeared as The Visored Superman or The Last Son of Krypton, and became the featured character in Action Comics through the Reign of the Supermen story arc, beginning with Action Comics #687-689. The character was "resurrected" in Action Comics v.1 #693 and then featured regularly in Outsiders, first appearing as a member of the team in issue 3. The character was featured in his own three-issue eponymous limited series in 1996.

Fictional character biography[edit]

In the distant past, a dying alien race creates a number of containment devices in which to preserve their culture. They send them into space with contact teams, intent on meeting other civilizations. When a small group of these aliens arrive on the planet Krypton, they are met by the militant Kem-L, who kills them and corrupts one of the devices. Its new mission is to preserve his ideal of Kryptonian culture by eradicating all others — and thus the device becomes known as the "Eradicator."[1]

In its original form, the Eradicator resembles a stylized small rocket. Its top section is a prolate spheroid, which exudes a blue glow and is approximately three times the size of an egg. This is connected via four thin mount brackets to a glossy orange tail fin section of equal length. The ten equally spaced fins each have the shape of a pointed quarter ellipse, with the tapered end extending slightly beyond the rear of the squat main cylindrical body tube.

On Krypton, the Eradicator does all that it could over the years to protect Kryptonians, even from themselves. When a group of Kryptonian explorers leave Krypton in search of a new planet to colonize, the Eradicator alters their birthing matrices and makes them fatally allergic to lead, thus creating Daxamites.[citation needed] To further ensure that nobody left Krypton, the Eradicator alters Kryptonians by encoding in them a genetic defect so that they will instantly perish if they leave their world.

One of the surviving aliens, known as the Cleric, takes the Eradicator and leaves Krypton with a group of followers. Unfortunately, they die soon thereafter, as the Kryptonian genetic link to their home planet precludes their survival off-world. The Cleric keeps the Eradicator for 200,000 years, until he encounters Superman on Warworld, Superman currently in self-imposed exile from Earth due to his guilt over executing three Kryptonians from a pocket universe.[2] With the device, the two exchange memories- which explains that Kal-El was able to leave Krypton thanks to genetic treatments his father had undergone to cure his DNA of the Eradicator's defect- and the Cleric has a vision of Superman in combat with Mongul. The Cleric wishes to save Superman's life, and the Eradicator transports Superman to the Cleric's asteroid.[12] The Cleric notices that the device has changed to protect Krypton's sole survivor, and he and Superman use it to heal their wounds, both physical and spiritual.[13][14] As they talk about their pasts, the Cleric assures Superman that his departure has only deprived his world of a great hero rather than sparing it from the threat he perceived he had become, confident that Kal-El would only have killed when he had no other choice to preserve justice. When the Cleric gives the Eradicator to Superman, he rapidly ages and dies as the link to the Eradicator extending his life is severed. Superman marks the Cleric's grave with his symbol to reflect the impact the Cleric had on him.[14]

The Eradicator's Fortress[edit]

After Superman returns to Earth with the Eradicator, the device causes a number of bizarre events, including altering Jimmy Olsen into a malleable form, causing him extreme pain in the process.[15][16] Superman throws the device into a crevasse in Antarctica,[16] where it alters the ice to create the Fortress of Solitude,[1] and possesses two scientists to create a portal to the Phantom Zone, whence it draws Kryptonian artifacts to the Fortress. When Superman recovers the Eradicator, he learns that one of his ancestors, Kem-L, created it to prevent aliens from influencing Kryptonian culture. The Eradicator tries to transform Earth into a new Krypton, and erases Superman's memory of the device when he tries to interfere.[17]

Professor Hamilton, who had previously examined the Eradicator, restores Superman's memory, and Superman then goes into the Phantom Zone to stop the device. He encounters a projection of Kem-L and learns that only the House of El can control the Eradicator, but he first had to undergo a Kryptonian rite of passage. When Superman completes it, he commands the Eradicator to shut down, and it complies.[18]

The Krypton Man[edit]

The Eradicator later alters Superman's psyche, turning him into the ideal Kryptonian and alienating his closest friends. Superman nearly kills the alien gladiator Draaga, but when the Eradicator endangers Jonathan and Martha Kent, Clark breaks the machine's programming, fights it, and throws it into the Sun.[6][7][8]

The Eradicator later returns as an energy being.[10] It tries to turn the Sun into a red dwarf (similar to Rao the star Krypton once orbited prior to its destruction), but Superman stops it with help from Professor Hamilton and using a mystical crystal that belonged to the villainous Mr. Z. They drew the Eradicator's essence into the crystal and dispersed it just before it shattered.[10][19][20][21]

Reign of the Supermen[edit]

The Eradicator as seen in the Reign of the Supermen story arc.

The Eradicator returns again in Action Comics #687 (June 1993), part of the Reign of the Supermen story arc, as "the Last Son of Krypton."[22] Having its residual energies regathered by the Fortress robots after Superman's demise, it creates a body for itself based on Superman's, by tapping into the solar energy reserves of Superman's corpse and by creating an energy matter flux through which it is able to grant itself a pseudo-organic form.[23] This experience causes the Eradicator to briefly believe itself to be Superman himself. He even seems to have Superman's memories, revealing to Lois when she questions him about his identity, that he remembers their relationship, but because of his death and rebirth, cannot be with her as he is only Superman, not Clark anymore.[1][22]

During this time, due to its enhanced senses, the Eradicator has to wear a special visor designed to cut down visible light, since its eyes are particularly sensitive to it; the Eradicator, unlike the real Superman, does not possess heat vision, although he can generate energy blasts from his hands. Also, he cannot absorb yellow sunlight directly, instead tapping into Superman's reserves and using him as a conduit for solar radiation. As a humanoid, the Eradicator proves to be a more brutal version of Superman, who shows no hesitation in killing a potential rapist and brutally breaking the hands of a safecracker.[22][24] However, after a fight with Steel, in which the armored man fights to stop the Eradicator from killing potential adversaries, the Eradicator begins to reconsider his more brutal approach, temporarily relocating to Coast City before it is destroyed by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman.[25][26] Using Kryptonian blasters in his cybernetic components, the Cyborg nearly kills the Eradicator in an attempt to frame him for the attack.[27] Returning to the Fortress only to discover that Superman has revived thanks to the Eradicator's use of him as a conduit restoring his own solar energy and reviving his body, the Eradicator drains all the power out of the Fortress of Solitude, regenerating and changing the appearance of its humanoid body, its personality now altered to show a greater compassion for the human race while lacking his earlier resemblance to Kal-El.[23] Returning to Coast City, the Eradicator joins forces with Superman, Steel, Superboy, Supergirl and Green Lantern to fight Mongul and the Cyborg Superman and stop him from destroying Metropolis.[28] The Eradicator is seemingly killed in an attempt to shield Superman from a lethal blast of Kryptonite-based fuel from Warworld's engines, fully recharging the Man of Steel's powers in the process as the Eradicator's mass somehow alters the kryptonite radiation to allow Superman to absorb power from the kryptonite and restore his presently-depleted powers.[29]

Following Superman's return, the Eradicator's apparently dead body is examined at S.T.A.R. Labs, and merged with Dr. David Connor, currently dying of a fatal disease.[30] The merged Eradicator joins the Outsiders, and occasionally teams up with Superman.

Return[edit]

The original Eradicator program is revealed to still exist in the Fortress of Solitude's computers and, following the destruction of the Fortress in Superman's battle with Dominus, the Eradicator program takes the form of Kem-L, and again attempted to brainwash Superman.[31][32] The David Connor Eradicator realizes that the program is still active, and, when the Fortress Eradicator attempts to merge with the Brainiac-13 program to use the futuristic technology to recreate Krypton once again, merges with the remains of the Fortress to control it and take it from Earth.[33][34]

The Fortress-Eradicator takes the form of a gigantic Kryptonian battlesuit, and gains a form of multiple personality disorder based on his conflicting programming.[1] In the run-up to the "Our Worlds at War" crossover, the Eradicator returns to Earth as a "prophet" with a fierce religious mania, warning of the coming of Imperiex. When it learns of the "Krypton" created by Brainiac 13, the shock to the original directive of Kryptonian purity stuns him enough for Superman to freeze him in an absolute zero staging chamber.[35] He briefly emerges and, infected with Joker venom, attempts to reach the alternate Krypton; however, after a brief tussle with Krypto (a representative of this "blasphemous" Krypton), the Eradicator is placed in a "null chamber" in Superman's new Fortress of Solitude;[36] he is eventually released and brought back to sanity after Superman learns the true origins of the alternate Krypton.[37]

Later, the Eradicator returns to his humanoid state of being. He wears a new outfit which, like the "Krypton Man" costume, is a combination of elements from Superman's costume and Kryptonian robes. He gains the ability to sense beings that should not be in the DC Universe, such as Mr. Majestic. The Eradicator is seriously injured by an OMAC, and is left in a coma.[38]

The Eradicator resurfaced, clad in his original costume, in the pages of Outsiders. He has acted as a representative of New Krypton.[39]

During the events of the Reign of Doomsday crossover, the other members of the Outsiders attempt to convince Geo-Force to fire Eradicator from the team. Before they can reach a consensus, Doomsday arrives and attacks the team. After all of his teammates are defeated, Eradicator makes his last stand against the creature, only to be impaled through the stomach and seemingly killed. Doomsday then takes Eradicator's lifeless body and runs off to an unknown destination.[40] The Eradicator, along with Supergirl, Superboy and Steel, are brought to an alien spaceship. There, they discover that the Doomsday that beat the Eradicator was one of several clones of the original.[41] With Superman's help, they flee to the ship's control deck, where they meet a Doomsday-like creature that calls itself Doomslayer. After learning that Doomslayer intends to crash the ship into Earth, killing everything, Eradicator attempts to force him to stop. However, Doomslayer absorbs his energies and rips his body apart, killing him.[42] Eradicator is later revealed to have transferred his program into the body of Doomsday, who had been rendered comatose by Doomslayer. As Eradicator helps to battle the Doomsday clones that Doomslayer sent around the world, he notes that Doomsday's mind is beginning to awaken.[43] In the final battle, Eradicator and the heroes defeat the Doomsday clones and throw them back into the pit the Tower is located in, since the Tower wills teleport things that are close to it. Eradicator arrives and helps Superman fight Doomslayer, and as he tells Superman that it was an honor to fight alongside him, Eradicator throws him out of the Tower, allowing himself to be trapped and teleported away.[44]

Other versions[edit]

In a 2001–2002 storyline, Superman visited a version of Krypton which resembles the Silver Age version of the planet. However, unlike the Silver Age incarnation of the planet, this version includes "Eradicator assassins", giant robots used by General Zod and the Science Council as part of "the Eradicator solution", and later by Jor-El against Kryptonian religious zealots.[45][46] Superman eventually discovered that this version of Krypton had been created as a trap for him by the villainous Brainiac 13, using "the Eradicator Matrix", which he had stolen from the true Krypton along with Jor-El's diaries. The Eradicator Matrix is described as having been "designed to save Krypton by transforming a nearby husk of a planet into a habitable paradise"; Brainiac 13 uses it to transform a planet in the Phantom Zone into a replica of Krypton based on Jor-El's favorite period in Kryptonian history, and its inhabitants into Kryptonians.[37]

In Action Comics #850, a flashback shows Jor-El muttering about "damned Eradicators" while preparing to send Kal-El into space.[47]

Powers and abilities[edit]

In its original technological form, the Eradicator is able to teleport Superman from Warworld to Earth;[48] manipulate molecular structures to create the Fortress of Solitude,[17] synthetic kryptonite, and the virus which gave Jimmy Olsen temporary stretching powers;[15][16] retrieve Kryptonian technology through space and time (implied to be through the Phantom Zone);[17] manipulate vast quantities of energy; keep the Cleric alive for millennia;[14] and influence the minds of Superman and Matrix.[49][50]

The Eradicator's body is created from the genetic template of Superman's when the latter dies at the hands of Doomsday, giving the Eradicator physiology similar to a Kryptonian's (and to Superman's in particular). As a result, the Eradicator possesses similar powers to that of Superman, such as incredible strength, speed, invulnerability, and flight. He also possesses ultra-acute senses but to a limited degree. Being a program from Krypton, the Eradicator possesses extensive knowledge of Krypton and is extremely intelligent, as well as having the ability to compute and process information at incredible speed. After his adoption of a Superman-derived body, he retains at least some of Superman's memories, as described above.

Eradicator has abilities to absorb, convert, and release various forms of energy greater than those of natural Kryptonians, typically projecting energy as powerful blasts from his hands or eyes. He was able to survive exposure to massive amounts of kryptonite radiation. After the Eradicator and Mr. Majestic fought, Mr. Majestic altered the Eradicator's programming to make him more aware. The full extent of his programming alteration is unclear, although it has been shown that he can sense beings and gateways from alternate realities such as the Bleed.

In other media[edit]

British radio producer Dirk Maggs produced a Superman radio series for BBC Radio 5 in the 1990s. When the "Death of Superman" story arc happened in the comics, Maggs presented a very faithful, though much pared down version of the tale, which featured Stuart Milligan as Clark Kent/Superman, Lorelei King as Lois Lane, and William Hootkins as Lex Luthor. In the death-and-rebirth storyline, Milligan was double-cast as the Eradicator. The story arc was packaged for sale on cassette and CD as Superman: Doomsday and Beyond in the UK and as Superman Lives! in the USA.

Eradicator is a playable character along with the other Supermen in The Death and Return of Superman video game for SNES and Sega Genesis.

The Eradicator was in Kevin Smith's script for Superman Lives.[51]

In both Smallville and Superman The Animated Series (as well as the extended 'DCAU'), elements of the Eradicator's origin seem to have been incorporated into their respective versions of Brainiac. In the Smallville version, Brainiac was originally a beneficial program before being corrupted by a militant Kryptonian (in this case, General Zod), and is responsible for Krypton's destruction by Zod's orders.The AI Jor-El on Smallville also carries a strong resemblance to the Eradicator. It started out being housed within Clark's spaceship, while the Eradicator's original form resembled Kal-El's spaceship and they both had has a ruthless and cold-blooded attitude which is tempered over time. It has brainwashed Clark among others such as Lindsey Harrison into a form of Kara, genetically altered humans (Jonathan Kent, Lindsey Harrison), desires to turn Clark into an ideal Kryptonian, created a Fortress Dedicated to preserving Krypton, this device built a new Fortress in the Antarctic as a precursor to recreating Krypton on Earth for Clark and merged with a human in a the form of Lionel Luthor.The AI version of Jor-el also had a fairly huge part in reviving Clark from death and restoring his abilities just as the Eradicator did in the episode Hidden.

In the animated film Superman: Doomsday, which was based on The Death and Return of Superman, the Eradicator does not appear, but elements of his character are incorporated into the cloned Superman, and a robot butler in the Fortress of Solitude fulfills some of the Eradicator's plot functions.[52]

Superman X[edit]

In season two of the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon, Superman X (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who also voiced Superman) is introduced with several similarities to the Eradicator in its humanoid form; is a physical replica of Superman, he is created as a living weapon, possesses powers similar to Superman's as well as additional energy-based powers and resistance to Kryptonite, has a ruthless and cold-blooded attitude which is tempered over time, and wears a costume with similarities to that worn by the Eradicator following The Death of Superman[53] Superman X also has aspects similar to Superman (Kal-El), and Mon-El. His own name is "Kell-El".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  43. ^ Action Comics #903
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  53. ^ Action Comics #687

External links[edit]