Was Man of Steel's Chris Meloni Secretly a Jack Kirby Character?

GuardianThere was a lot to absorb during Man of Steel, and we'll be the first to admit that not every line and shot stuck with us as we exited the theater trying to process it all.

Here's one that occurred to me in the theater, but which flitted away again until a reader pointed it out...

In Man of Steel, there had been a good deal of speculation around Christopher Meloni's character, Colonel Nathan Hardy. Who was he? Was he Lex Luthor? Sam Lane? What was his role? Of course, in the end it turned out that he was just Colonel Nathan Hardy, another original character like Jenny Jurwich who was there to fill a specific role within director Zack Snyder's vision of the Superman mythology...


In actuality, there's still a little controversy around Colonel Hardy, since his callsign, used over and over again in battle, is Guardian.

Yeah, like the shield-wielding, Superman-assisting vigilante created by Captain America co-creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. First appearing in 1942, the character was a Metropolis police officer who took on a costumed persona to exact his own kind of justice on the streets of Metropolis's "Suicide Slum." Over the years, he's been a big part of a number of Superman stories, notably the Death and Return of Superman arc, which was frequently cited by filmmakers and Man of Steel star Henry Cavill as part of the film's essential reading.

Spoilers ahead for Man of Steel.

He's also been an agent of the federal government in one way or another at different times in his publishing history, working for years at Project Cadmus, sometimes alongside Emil Hamilton (who, played by The West Wing star Richard Schiff, vanished into the singularity along with Hardy and the Kryptonian villains at the end of the film).

And while the future might look bleak for Hardy in light of the film's third act, bear in mind that over the years Guardian has been incredibly resilient, dying and then returning as a clone to pick up where the original Guardian left off...