On April 5, DC brought its popular universe of TV heroes back to the comic shops that inspired them when they released Earth-Prime #1 – Batwoman, a limited comic series set within the CW universe. Shortly after the release of the first book, DC announced that the overarching villain of the six-issue Earth-Prime series that is set in Arrowvderse canon was Magog, a popular supervillain created for the 1990’s Kingdom Come event. This would be the first time that DC introduces a character of that significance into the CW canon via a comic book, and apparently, it may not even be the first time.
It looks like April 19’s Earth-Prime #2 – Superman & Lois just added three itself.
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Each issue of Earth-Prime focuses on the characters that lead one of The CW’s shows. Ryan Wilder’s Batwoman was the star of the first issue, and in Earth-Prime #2, Superman and Lois take the driver’s seat. The comic is written by Jai Jamison, Adam Mallinger, and Andrew N. Wong, drawn by Tom Grummett, inked by Norm Rapmund, colored by Hi-Fi, and lettered by Tom Napolitano.
The arc of issue two’s story sounds simple enough: A flashback to the day of and days following their first wedding anniversary, Lois and Clark are trying to meet for dinner to celebrate. However, a simple dinner is nothing but for the world’s premier investigative reporter and her superheroic husband, and their schedules refuse to align. One night, Superman’s got to fight some Mechanical Monsters in Japan. On another, Lois has got to fix the Daily Planet’s printers or there’s no morning paper. And though all of these threats might be business-as-usual for the happy couple, three of them, in particular, might be significant for CW continuity.
The first happens on the third attempt Lois and Clark make at a date night. Lois is stood up at the restaurant because Clark has to deal with a yellow-suited, black-caped supervillain that looks kind of like the result of the 1980s redesigning Superman. In fact, that’s quite literally what happened to create this character, known to Superman fans as Nuclear Man.
Nuclear Man is an original supervillain created for the 1987 film Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. It’s the final movie to feature Christopher Reeves as the titular character and saw him battling a clone of himself created by Lex Luthor. Though the character shares a very similar origin to the much more popular Supes baddie Bizarro, Nuclear Man became a comic villain in his own right in 2018, when Ivan Reis and Brian Michael Bendis introduced him to the main DC continuity in their Superman series.
It’s not just superpowered villains that get introduced in this book, however. While Superman’s dealing with threats of a metahuman nature, Lois is missing dates to investigate Intergang, a network of criminals that run weapons out of Metropolis. The Intergang has appeared in the Arrowvese before, but this scene seems to introduce traditional gang member Bruno Mannheim, a gangster that featured prominently in Superman: The Animated series. A Jack Kirby creation, Mannheim is one of the few non-powered villains to be a thorn in Lois and Superman’s sides since his creation in 1971 but has not appeared in the Arrowverse previously.
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Still, Mannheim’s and Nuclear Man’s brief appearances take a back seat to the next threat that keeps Clark from his anniversary dinner, a Superman villain and DC anti-hero that’s been part of the main DC continuity, the DC Animated Universe, Young Justice, and even the Lego DC games. Yes, comic book fans, it’s official; the CW Universe has a Lobo.
Created in 1983 by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen, Lobo was originally intended to be a kind of parody of Marvel’s Wolverine but evolved into a dark reflection of the Man of Steel. Lobo is super strong, nigh-invulnerable, and is the last surviving member of an alien race. Although, in Lobo’s case, his planet’s destruction is his own fault.
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It’s not clear what Lobo’s backstory is in the pages of Earth-Prime, though we do know that the character’s history as a galactic bounty hunter has carried over to the CW continuity. Lobo is hunting Superman on the orders of “some redhead broad” (his words, not ours), and has come equipped with a Kryptonite chain and space-faring motorcycle, a staple of the character’s comic history.
The “redhead broad” is likely the DC character Maxima, given the backdrop of it being Superman and Lois’s first anniversary. The character appeared in live-action played by former WWE wrestler Eve Torres Gracie in the first season of then CBS’s and now The CW’s Supergirl. Maxima was a powerful queen of an alien planet Almerac who came to Earth to make Superman her mate, very much in keeping with her traditional comic book role.
It should be noted that this is not the first time Lobo has been adapted to a live-action DC property. He appeared as a villain in the second season of SyFy’s series Krypton. The character, portrayed by Emmet J. Scanlan, proved so popular that a spin-off series was announced, however, Krypton was canceled after two seasons and, with it, any hope of Lobo’s own show.
But does Lobo coming to CW canon via a comic book mean fans might see the character in a live-action TV show again? Can the same be said for Nuclear Man and Bruno Mannheim? And do any of these characters’ introductions have to do with Magog’s plan to assemble “forces to finally free humanity from their dependency on so-called ‘heroes,’“? All those are questions we can’t answer right now, but we’ll hopefully learn more when Earth-Prime #3: The Legends of Tomorrow goes on sale May 3. Until then, keep an eye on Newsarama for all your comic-to-TV-to-comic news.
Might Nuclear Man and Lobo be part of a large plan to bring Kingdom Come to the CW? Check out our speculation on what may be their next big crossover event.