Apparently not everyone has gotten the memo that hope and love have returned to the DC universe.
Today’s Superman #3, by Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Jorge Jiminez, and Alejandro Sanchez sees the new Superman—who, if you’ve been following along, is the old Superman, and has a kid with Lois named Jon—go toe-to-toe with a new version of the Eradicator. In comics past, the Eradicator was a former Kryptonian superweapon whose desire to preserve Kryptonian culture was so great, it genetically destabilised Kryptonian colonists who attempted to leave the planet in order to keep the race pure.
The new Eradicator, however, is a little different. First introduced in the prior issue, this Eradicator has some similar trappings—he wants to preserve Krypton’s legacy, he has a quasi-antagonistic/protective relationship with Superman due to the fact that he’s the last son of Krypton—but he’s much more interested in Superman’s son.
When Clark and Lois take the young boy to the New 52 Superman’s Fortress of Solitude to check him over as he starts developing his powers, they come across the new version of the Eradicator. It was once one of General Zod’s android enforcers, but after the destruction of Krypton, it dedicated its existence to finding the last survivor of the planet and keeping the race pure.
Now that it’s found Superman, you’d think the Eradicator would be okay. But, it isn’t—it hates the fact that the last Kryptonian’s progeny is a crossbreed with a human (sorry, Lois), and in an attempt to correct that error, turns its matter-absorption beam on the young boy, homing to consume his human DNA and leave him purely Kryptonian.
But it’s not Jon who perishes. In an attempt to protect the young boy, Krypto the Super-Dog—that’s the New 52 version, not the original—goes into battle… and is instantly consumed by the Eradicator.
Look, considering little Jon accidentally heat-visioned his own cat into a burnt crisp just a few issues ago, the kid’s having a real tough time with pets. But also, this is pretty messed up! Poor Krypto. A bit too needlessly grim, but then again, I did mention the roasted kitty, didn’t I? So par for the course.
There might be some hope for the Super-pooch—and not just in the usual “oh it’s comic books” way. Earlier on in the issue the Eradicator explains that it’s powers worked in the days before Krypton’s destruction as a sort of interdimensional storage device: the life-force of a criminal would be absorbed and stored in the Phantom Zone. So the Eradicator’s mouth is essentially a fancy portal: Krypto might not be dead, just trapped inside the Eradicator’s alternate dimension.
But even if he isn’t dead, he might not be coming back for a good long while, considering an enraged Jon takes the dog’s fallen cape for himself at the end of the issue—and it looks like the same cape he’s wearing in the upcoming Super Sons comic he stars in alongside Damian Wayne. So for now, it looks like it’s Super-Dog no more.