Superman & Lois: Who is Dabney Donovan?

Tuesday's episode of Superman & Lois, titled "O Mother, Where Art Thou?," featured yet another long-time Superman supporting cast member making their Arrowverse debut. Unlike John Henry Irons, who previously appeared in an ill-fated feature film, the character of Dabney Donovan has never before appeared in live-action. The mad scientist character from the comics, one of the founders of the Cadmus Project, is significantly toned down in Superman & Lois, but He certainly is not a fully above-board guy. In the comics, Donovan is the great scientific mind behind the DNA Project, which evolved into the Cadmus Project. He was let go from the project when it turned out he really didn't have the moral compass to determine appropriate boundaries for genetic engineering.

Created by Jack Kirby in an issue of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Donovan was reinvented for the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe by Karl Kesel and Ty Templeton. He is responsible for the creation of numerous genetically-engineered beings, including Cadmus's Dubbilex, and the Intergang criminals who have worked with Morgan Edge and Bruno Manheim in the comics.

After being fired from Cadmus, in the post-Crisis timeline, Donovan went on to be the brains behind numerous destructive plots including clones and generically-engineered creatures, whether it's The Underworlders -- "DNAliens" who escaped Cadmus and lived beneath the streets of Metropolis -- or being key to the development of technology that allowed Lex Luthor to clone his terminally ill body and transplant his brain into a younger, stronger version (with a luscious head of hair).

It's hard to say what role Donovan will play going forward on Superman & Lois. The comics version was into pure science, and had no real ethical code to guide him, which tracks with the idea of someone who left a high-paying job as a professor to work for Morgan Edge...but in this case, he seemed all too happy to help the DoD and Superman, almost as though he realized after taking the job that he had gotten in over his head.

Of course, even with that being the case, it's possible that Superman & Lois could retroactively say that Donovan engaged in more and different work for Edge than we see in this week's episode, allowing for the introduction of characters like Intergang and Dubbilex.


Superman & Lois airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, following episodes of The Flash.