As a young lad of black hair, blue eyes and a nature best described as "goody two-shoes" in the early '90s, Superman was my dude. He was infallible, well respected, indefatigable. He was a beacon of justice at a time when I was just starting to realize the world was big, scary place accelerated by rapidly approaching puberty. He was a leader and always seemed to be right. Superman was forever the model to anyone who had the constant paranoia of being judged and a low-hum of anxiety about being wrong. He was the impenetrable hope of being better than human, rising above our weak stations to a height beyond the fatigue of reproach.
And then he died.
I don't have to go into all of how that struck the world and what it meant for the short-term future of comics because you either lived it or you have Max Landis's star-studded 17-minute synopsis at your fingertips. So let's dispense with the histories and come right out and say it: Kara (Melissa Benoist) seems to be running into many of the players involved in Reign of the Supermen on Supergirl.
Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) growling, "I am Cyborg Superman" might have been a little on the nose but it did force him out of the obscurity of a regular-sounding human name (that only comic book fans recognize) to one of the four beings that might eventually take on the mantle of Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) upon his death. The Man of Tomorrow even finds himself in the Fortress of Solitude pouring a vial of Kryptonian blood on his hands (did he have to pour the whole vial?) to learn more about Kryptonian history (Project Medusa, eh?). So it looks like they're shoving Hank down that path.
Supergirl drops major truth bombs before major crossover event
One down. So who are the other three?
For Superboy, you need to find someone who is ready to fight for truth and justice "my way" and would look smokin' hot in a midriff-length leather jacket. Mon-El (Chris Wood) seems perfectly suited to be the Kryptonian bad boy. Or Daxamite. Or whatever.
Mon-El and Superboy are inexorably linked, as it is throughout comic history with their identities tied around each other. Sure, Mon-El isn't a clone created in a lab or anything (OR IS HE?) but as someone with superpowered fists but not exactly a superpowered sense of guardianship, he matches the personality type. And his drive to help people would be much more believable than just an innate sense of justice provided by Kryptonian DNA. He'd be inspired by Kara and his longing to latch to her. Kara's good-natured sexual aloofness just makes all men go weak in the knees and inspires them to be better, more dangerous people.
Also, think of all the good goofs the Daxamite would suffer by being called a boy. Oh, the emasculation!
Man of Steel
Now we get into the speculation. As far as I know, the DEO doesn't employ one John Henry Irons as an engineer in its glass house, so who is the natural fit for a person who loves Superman so much that he'd be inspired to become a masked vigilante in a metal suit who saves people under the banner of truth, justice, and the American way?
Now, I know what you're thinking. James (Mehcad Brooks) already kind of has a metal suit what with all the clanging of bullets. And he already has a sense of duty that's at least partially indebted to the Kryptonian way of life. But is Guardian such an inconsequential hero that they'd use that identity as a stepping stone to Steel and discard the alter ego once the bigger arc begins? It'd also mean the end of a bright spot for the series right now, which is James's tandem with Winn (Jeremy Jordan). Is Steel worth dispensing with a spin-off-able storyline?
James playing Steel is what captures the imagination, but there aren't very many other options if you consider the show to stick with Guardian. Winn could maybe put on the suit, but who asked for a short Superman? No one. Nine heads tall or GTFO. Unless Winn puts on the Guardian suit if James abandons it. And Winn was secretly learning krav maga/muay thai/Supergirl super-punches during his down time. I kind of like the idea of Winn donning James's clothes for a scene. It'd be like he was wearing his dad's suit.
Last Son of Krypton
The Eradicator is an odd duck in this scenario. There isn't a precedent on Supergirl thus far for a killer robot bent on exterminating all life that isn't Kryptonian with the memories of Kal-El. Not a lot of killer robots in these parts. Except for Red Tornado and, although I'm sure that bucket of bolts will be back in some form or another, it doesn't exactly have a worship-worthy level of charisma about it. And how would Red Tornado find out all the facts about Krypton?
There's the possibility (in that everything is a possibility if someone has thought it) that Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) might make a machine to take over for the Supers in the event of their untimely demise, some kind of wayward attempt at helping people to make up for the twisted Luthor history with the House of El. Maybe it goes haywire, maybe it gets stolen by Lilian Luthor (Brenda Strong) and Project Cadmus. Maybe Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) comes back and pairs it up with his Bizarro Supergirl. It's reasonable. But it's probably not a thing.
My prime suspect for Eradicator? Kelex. Who knows what that little floating Jeeves is capable of when there are no more Kryptonians to serve? Is Kelex capable of reprisal? Was it programmed to exact revenge on the monsters who would allow Kara or Kal to fall to Earth-terrorizing threats? Unchecked, would Kelex, as the almost lone holder of knowledge about a doomed planet, try to remake Earth in the image of Krypton so to protect Kara? More importantly, what's its bloodthirst level set to and how willing is it to build an army just like itself? The singularity is nigh, my friends, and it starts with a flying Wall-E butler.
More importantly, the idea of a Reign of the Supermen from Supergirl's perspective would be compelling. The feeling of loneliness in being the only Kryptonian left, that theme of survivor's guilt, which is so present throughout the series including the Martians, could be devastating. All the while she'd have to deal with these four doofuses besmirching her house's good name with vigilantism, a pair of thick Oakley's, and, in some cases, some light genocide. It could be Supergirl's "Flashpoint," the arc that really only lasts a couple weeks but takes a season to resolve. It's something to keep in mind as the puzzle pieces fit together.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.
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