Earlier this week, fans' tongues got wagging yet again about the cameo appearance of a black-and-silver Superman costume in Justice League...but as they were paying attention to that, they missed something equally interesting.
The appearance came from a deleted scene, in which Superman returned to the crashed Kryptonian scout ship in the heart of Metropolis and picked himself out a new costume from three possible options.
The black costume and another -- a bulky, silver number that looked like a lit-up astronaut costume -- rolled around, and Clark Kent strolled right past them to choose the blue-and-red Superman number.
The black suit has a long history in the comics, and something of a history on film, too: after Superman's return from the dead in the '90s, the hero briefly wore a black suit with a silver "S" and no cape, a relic of Kryptonian culture that had helped his body recover and regenerate thanks to the intervention of The Eradicator, who stole the corpse to revive the Man of Steel.
In Man of Steel, Zod wore a predominantly black bodysuit with a silver family seal on it, and Superman briefly wore one in a fantasy sequence where he was responsible for death on a massive scale on Earth.
That silver costume had most people stumped -- but it was instantly recognizable to fans who owned a digital-only Man of Steel preview comic released when the film came to theaters.
The Kryptonian scout ship has served as the DC movie universe's loose equivalent of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Filled with Kryptonian technology and brought to life by a Kryptonian "command key" which was sent to Earth with baby Kal-El, the ship had been stuck in ice for thousands of years before being discovered -- and it was Clark Kent's decision to explore his roots by stowing away aboard the scout ship which precipitated Zod's invasion in Man of Steel.
The scout ship is where Clark got his first Superman costume, and where Doomsday was born in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It crash-landed in Metropolis during Zod's attack and has been there, a government research site, ever since. After creating the Doomsday creature, the ship is where Lex Luthor learned about the coming of Steppenwolf.
And, it was revealed in the aforementioned preview comic, that ship came to Earth as part of an exploratory mission in which a number of astronauts were murdered by Dev-Em, a convict who snuck aboard prior to launch. The only surviving astronaut was Kara Zor-El, an ancestor to Superman, whose boyfriend had been killed by Dev-Em in the first place and who was responsible for putting him in jail. Dev-Em, obsessed with her, killed the other astronauts while they rested in stasis but then woke Kara in an attempt to either seduce or defeat her. He managed neither, and both of them suffered an uncertain fate when the ship crash-landed on Earth.
A corpse wearing armor appeared in Man of Steel, leading ComicBook.com to question at the time who it might be...but the armor worn by the body does not appear to resemble the astronaut suit seen in the Justice League deleted scene -- a suit which closely mirrors the look the suit had in the comics:
The design aesthetic of the suit also bears a bit of resemblance to the giant, purple Kryptonian warsuit that appeared throughout the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths/pre-Infinite Crisis Superman comics, with a top-heavy body and chicken legs.
Justice League is available for digital download now and will be on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13.