In the final moments of tonight's episode of Superman & Lois, titled "Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death," Tal Rho/Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) takes a major step in his season-long plot against the Man of Steel. And while it isn't immediately clear what the ramifications of that action will be in the last three weeks of the season, fans who have read a lot of Superman comics can probably make an educated guess -- and Adam Rayner told ComicBook recently that an educated guess that we posited was pretty close to being on point. So -- what major DC villain is likely coming to Smallville?
Obviously, there are going to be major spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of Superman & Lois, and potential spoilers for the rest of the season. Turn back if that's a problem. You've been warned!
Just before the last break in episodes, ComicBook asked Adam Rayner if, given the presence of The Eradicator and its prominence in Rho's plot to overtake Earth, he might be amenable to coming back at a later date as some version of the Krypton Man.
The Krypton Man, in the comics, is the first form that The Eradicator took as it transitioned from being an artificial intelligence to a living being. Briefly taking over Superman's body, it brainwashed him into being a cold and distant version of himself, devoid of humanity and driven by the same kind of logic that defined John Byrne-era Kryptonians. As in the TV show, The Eradicator's mission was to "preserve the sanctity of Kryptonian life," which may not have been specifically called out yet by Swiss Family Rho, but which certainly lines up with what the baddies are up to this season on Superman & Lois.
"I'm interested in however [the writers] choose to explore it," Rayner told ComicBook.com. "It's been a wonderful experience, and you know, you're not a million miles away from where it goes. How much that can stretch into to the future, I don't know, but that sort of that transition that the character goes on, is very much part of his journey."
In the episode, Rho is finally defeated -- but not before he blasts The Eradicator with his heat vision. Later, when he is in jail, he seems to have voices, including that of his father, floating around in his head.
It seems likely that he somehow merged with the consciousness of The Eradicator, and that its power, and its influence, might define the rest of his arc this season. That kind of makes sense, given the immense popularity of the The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen storylines, and the fact that both The Eradicator and John Henry Irons are big parts of that era of the comics.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following episodes of The Flash on The CW.