Spoilers ahead for Superman #3 from DC Comics, on sale now.
Today’s issue of Superman saw the apparent death of a beloved member of Superman’s supporting cast at the hands of The Eradicator.
Teased for the last two issues, The Eradicator appears in full in this week’s Superman, wearing a close approximation of the costume and visor he wore when he was “The Last Son of Krypton” during 1993’s Reign of the Supermen! storyline.
While the original Eradicator was a small weapon which took on a humanoid form after Superman threw it into the sun, the post-Flashpoint version of The Eradicator is a member of a hive-mind of robot soldiers created on Krypton by General Zod, and given a single, humanoid form moments before Krypton’s destruction.
As in the past, The Eradicator hopes to preserve Kryptonian life — but misses the forest for the trees a bit and ends up at odds with Superman.
This time, when it takes aim at Superman’s son Jonathan, the Ai is confronted with Krypto, the post-Flashpoint Superman’s Kryptonian dog, who had been waiting at the Fortress of Solitude when Superman and Lois brought an injured Jon at the beginning of the issue. It was in the Fortress that they ran into The Eradicator.
The Eradicator responds by dislocating its jaw and sucking Krypto entirely into the resultant black hole of a mouth, leaving nothing but a cape.
This scene is likely to be somewhat controversial, especially when you consider that just two issues ago, writer Pete Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason killed off Jon’s cat, a creature they introduced during “The Final Days of Superman” just weeks before.
There’s some hope for Krypto, though: In the course of revealing his backstory to Superman, The Eradicator describes the process by which they would enforce Zod’s law: they would suck out criminals’ “life force,” sending it to the Phantom Zone, and put the bodies themselves in cryo-stasis.
How, exactly, that would work with Krypto, who was swallowed whole, isn’t entirely clear, but it definitely seems like if The Eradicator has got a ticket to the Phantom Zone inside its mouth, Krypto might not be as “dead” as advertised.
Of course, The Eradicator might not get a chance to explain himself, since both Superman and Jon flew into a blind rage, and the Man of Steel started pummelling The Eradicator…!