Justice League: Artist Behind the Death and Return of Superman Weighs in on the Black Costume

Dan Jurgens, the veteran writer/artist who helped reshape the '90s comics landscape with "The Death of Superman" in Superman #75, has weighed in on the use of Superman's black-and-silver costume from that storyline in Zack Snyder's Justice League, the forthcoming project from HBO Max. Yesterday, during Justice Con, Snyder revealed the first official clip featuring the suit to the world, in which Superman (Henry Cavill), freshly revived from the dead, meets Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) for the first time. The scene, which was modified in post-production to recolor the suit, marks the first time in Snyder's three DC superhero movies that Superman has worn the costume outside of a fantasy sequence.

For Jurgens, this is far from his first brush with characters he created coming to live-action. He created Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman, as well as Booster Gold, who appeared in the final season of Smallville.

"Have to say that the clip Zack Snyder released of Alfred meeting Superman in the black suit is absolutely awesome," Jurgens tweeted this morning.

Unlike the movies, Jurgens's "black-suit Superman" never actually wore a cape; the suit was not actually meant to be seen by the public but instead was something that helped him recover during his time in a Kryptonian "restoration matrix," where his body was placed by The Eradicator after his (Superman's) death.

Years later, a version of the black costume would be used in the Jurgens-written Superman: Lois and Clark miniseries, which set to re-establish the pre-Flashpoint Superman in the DC Universe near the end of the "New 52" publishing era, setting the stage for that version of the character to replace his New 52 counterpart in the company's "Rebirth" initiative soon after. That version used a slightly different Superman logo, and saw the hero wearing a beard.

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In the comics, the black costume was inspired by the black bodysuits worn by Kryptonians in John Byrne's The Man of Steel. That story rebuilt Superman's origin for the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era, and saw most Kryptonians depicted as emotionally stunted, and living on a sterile world. The Eradicator was an artificial intelligence that operated a powerful Kryptonian weapon, and later became self-aware and became a villain wearing a costume that featured a variation on the Kryptonian's black bodysuits. Later still, when Superman died at the hands of Doomsday, the Eradicator stole his body to revive him, and when Superman returned to Metropolis, he was still wearing the black suit.

Zack Snyder's Justice League will be streaming on HBO Max in 2021.

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