Of the four “replacement Supermen” who appeared when Superman died a few years ago, I found the one referred to as “the visored Superman” or “the Last Son of Krypton” the least likeable… but nonetheless fascinating. He looked just like the Real Steel Deal (except for the visor and other costume changes), but lacked Clark’s human compassion.

Whereas Superboy and Steel were both clearly Good Guys, and the Cyborg was eventually revealed to be the Bad Guy, the Eradicator (a cold Kryptonian artifact that deluded itself into thinking it was Kal-El) walked a line between the two. And in the end, I had to feel sorry for him, as Steel and Superboy got launched into their own books, the Cyborg got a send-off as a Major Villain, and the badly-damaged Eradicator was hastily merged with a new consciousness (a dying scientist named David Connor) and shunted off to be a cast member in the cancellation-bound Outsiders.

Belatedly, DC gave him his own mini-series this year, written by Ivan Velez, with art by Roger Robinson and John Lowe. The art is pretty standard superhero fare. While I don’t care for the kewl-looking monster, and the backgrounds are sometimes either blank or conveniently easy to (not) draw, it tells the story effectively, and portrays the (generally grim) emotions of the characters well. Lowe, for his part, demonstrates that he can do better than the sketchy inking he did on Xenobrood.

Velez’ story is in some ways a rehash of the Eradicator’s send-off from the Super-books. He tries to reconcile his Kryptonian disdain for “lesser” life forms with Connor’s love for his wife and sons. And he continues to toy with explaining to his family that he (the Eradicator) is not responsible for his (David Connor’s) death. Every time he tries to get close to them, he freaks out and brings disaster into their lives. I was starting to tire of this recurring bit of Eradicator lore.

But it also delves deeper into the Eradicator’s origin, his true nature, and his struggle for identity. With his increasing hallucinations, he’s starting to cause disaster wherever he goes. Believing himself to be a menace to the people around him, he resolves to leave Earth and (his) humanity behind, and die in deep space. He tries to do the standard “last farewell to the one he loves”, but he can’t figure out who that is. Is it Lana Lang (a false memory from “being” Superman), David Connor’s ex-wife and their kids… or a mysterious Kryptonian woman from before he even came to Earth? He seeks guidance from his Super peers, but only the Boy responds; the Girl and Man are otherwise occupied.

What I like about this less-than-great series is that the Eradicator does find some answers to his questions, but not The Answer. He’s still walking a line, between humanity and inhumanity. And while it resolves some of his “family” issues, it doesn’t tie it all up in a nice pretty package with a happy ending. Quite the contrary. Rather than taking obvious route, it does something I didn’t expect. It provides some closure, by closing a few doors to his past… but leaving a few new ones open. It’s not up to the level of Velez’ Blood Syndicate, but still a good, interesting read that takes a character, puts it through some life-changing events, and ends up with… a changed character!

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