Superman & Lois is currently in the middle of its sophomore season, and it has continued to provide a distinct take on DC Comics canon. By and large, the show has eschewed the traditional “villains of the week” in favor of longer-running baddies, the majority of whom have been remixes on existing lore. This week’s issue of the Earth Prime comic miniseries shed a bit more light on Superman & Lois‘ rogues gallery — which apparently includes one of the most infamous villains to ever grace a DC movie. Spoilers for Earth Prime: Superman & Lois #1, from Jai Jamison, Adam Mallinger, Andrew N. Wong, Tom Grummett, Norm Rapmund, Hi-Fi, and Tom Napolitano below! Only look if you want to know!
The issue’s main story is structured around the first anniversary of Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), with their dinner plans continually being interrupted by different predicaments. Among these are quite a few run-ins Clark (as Superman) has with villains, one of whom happens to be Nuclear Man, who he fights while in Las Vegas.
As Superman fans might remember, Nuclear Man first made his appearance in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the 1987 film that served as the final big screen outing for Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. The film sees Superman deal with the growing nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union, which is made even more complicated when Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) clones Superman’s DNA to create Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow). Ultimately, Superman killed Nuclear Man by literally throwing him into a nuclear reactor, but the character still remained infamous to fans in the years that followed.
Most recently, Nuclear Man was canonized in the main DC line within Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis’ Superman run, which established the character as a villain trapped within the Phantom Zone. While Nuclear Man’s comic tenure spanned all of a single issue, the Earth-Prime comic now confirms he exists in the universe of Superman & Lois as well — and fought the character many years ago. Given the current debate regarding Superman & Lois‘ place within the larger Arrowverse continuity, this detail at least provides more context as to what Hoechlin’s Superman has been up to.
“All I’ll say is I think everybody has this question why we don’t bring up Supergirl gold The Flash or any other heroes and aside from us not being able to do crossovers and wanting to put our own stamp on this property, I’ll just say at the end of this season you guys will get the answer to the questions you have,” showrunner Todd Helbing explained at a recent convention appearance.
Earth Prime: Superman & Lois #1 is now available wherever comics are sold.