COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: ERADICATION!

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

203- Eradication A 204- Eradication BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on November 11, 1995
  • Original Price $12.95
  • 160 pages
  • Cover by Kerry Gammill and Art Thibert

Contents

  • Foreward by Roger Stern
  • Be It Ever So Deadly from Adventures of Superman #460
  • The Nature of the Beast from Superman (Vol. 2) #41
  • Blood Brawl from Adventures of Superman #464
  • Not of This Earth from Action Comics #651
  • Krypton Man from Superman (Vol. 2) #42
  • The Last Son of Krypton from Adventures of Superman #465
  • Wayward Son from Action Comics #652
  • Afterword by Roger Stern

Notes

  • The Foreword by Roger Stern details the first Super-Summit meeting.  This took place in June of 1988 during the International Superman Exposition held in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Roger and several other creators, including George Perez, Jerry Ordway, Kerry Gammill as well as editor Mike Carlin went to dinner and began discussing what would eventually become Superman: Exile.
  • The Superman Historian in me loves these sorts of stories.
  • For a trade paperback that has the words, “The Origin of the Eradicator” in the title they actually don’t show the origin of the Eradicator from Action Comics Annual #2.  This might seem like a nitpick or a complaint and I really don’t mean for it to come off like that but I have that same thought every time I revisit this collection.
  • Now, I realize that trades of this era were a different beast and it is only in the past couple of years that DC has been collecting stories in their entirety but it always stuck out that they didn’t lead the trade off with that annual.  I have an idea why they didn’t.  Action Comics Annual #2 was part of a larger story so it might have felt out of place.  Also the Eradicator’s story played out over months and months worth of comics so the people that were responsible for picking out which issues would be included in this trade were probably up against a certain page count.
  • To my mind this trade is another attempt to capitalize on the success of Reign of the Supermen, which is awesome.  The Eradicator never had his own ongoing series but he managed to stick around after Reign ended.  He became a member of the Outsiders and even had his own mini-series in 1996.  Telling his origin in trade paperback form saved newer readers the time of hunting through the back issues.
  • Plus, and this is purely my very biased opinion, Day of the Krypton Man was a fantastic story.  So reprinting it made me a very happy Superman fan when I finally bought a copy of this trade.
  • Roger Stern makes a passing comment that DC should put out an Exile trade.  A little over two years after this trade came out Roger would get his wish.
  • In spite of everything I wrote above about what they should have included in this trade leading off with Adventures of Superman #460 was the way to go.  Not only does it go into the Eradicator’s origin but it was also the first appearance of the Post Crisis Fortress of Solitude.
  • I remember being very excited about that when the issue first came out.  Not only did I have that, “Hey, I’m on the ground floor of this!” feeling but it was just neat that this Superman was finally getting a Fortress.
  • A lot happens in the Superman books between Adventures of Superman #460 and Superman #41.  Jimmy Olsen had an extra-dimensional adventure.  Superman and Brainiac went a few rounds before that villain gained his new body and temporarily fled the Earth.  The Eradicator finally finished the Fortress of Solitude.  Clark and the rest of the Planet staff found out that one of their own was homeless and Superman and the Wally West Flash raced for the first time.
  • Oh, and Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet.
  • That was huge, at least for me.  When he quit rather matter of factly at the end of Superman (Vol. 2) #39 I was in shock or at least as much shock as a 13 year old can be in over a story in a comic book.  This was before I was the more jaded fan I am today.  I didn’t know it was all part of a larger story that would finally play out in Day of the Krypton Man.  To me the creators were changing everything forever and ever.
  • Ah to be that emotionally invested in the stories I read again.
  • Lobo and Superman square off for the first time during DOTKM.  This is a much leaner Lobo than he would evolve into as the ’90s wore on.  This fight/meeting is infinitely better than any that would follow because Bibbo was involved.
  • I feel somewhat like a broken record typing what I am about to type because I go over this in just about every Post Crisis related trade paperback but Draaga’s involvement in the story once again illustrates how this era built upon itself.  Here’s a character that was an important part of Exile returning to the books during another big storyline.  It gives this version of Superman a more organic feel.
  • Maxima and Superman meet for the first time during this storyline.  When she first appeared in Action Comics #645 the Maxima that Superman met was not real but a simulacrum so technically this was where the two characters had their first face to face encounter.
  • I always liked the costume that Superman adopts halfway through the story.
  • Check out page 124 of this trade and you will see the very first appearance of Hank Henshaw, the future Cyborg Superman.
  • While the title of this trade is focused on the Eradicator the heart and soul of this story goes to the heart and soul of the Post Crisis Superman.  Because of the new origin this version of Superman thought of himself as a human first and an alien second.
  • Watching Superman becoming more Kryptonian than human was hard for me because it went against everything I had come to understand about the character.
  • It is also why it was so important to have Jonathan and Martha play such an integral role in the story’s conclusion.  They are the tether that helps Clark to break free of the Eradicator’s control.  I wasn’t thinking in those terms when I first read the story.  The final chapter was simply the exciting conclusion to a, for the time, big storyline.  Now I look at the conclusion on two levels; a fun action piece and an examination of who this version of Superman is as a character.
  • Sadly this was George Perez’s last ongoing issue of Action Comics.  He was on the Superman titles for a relatively brief period and brought a nice perspective to the character both visually and in terms of the story.
  • The Eradicator would return to the Superman titles about a year later to help launch Superman: The Man of Steel.
  • The Afterword by Roger Stern details what happened to the Eradicator after this trade ended.
  • There is a part of me that would love to see DC release an “Eradicator Omnibus” that contains his first appearance in Action Comics Annual #2, Adventures of Superman #460-462, Day of the Krypton Man followed by Superman: The Man of Steel #1,  Superman (Vol. 2) #57, Adventures of Superman #480 and #Action Comics #677.  I think it would make a great read.
  • Sadly I am probably the only one that thinks this way so we’ll probably never see that.
  • Much like the Cyborg Superman the Eradicator belongs to a specific time and place.  You could update the character but without this specific backstory for both the Eradicator and for this Superman it just wouldn’t feel the same.
  • This trade leads almost directly into The Dark Knight Over Metropolis collection.  The only missing book is Superman (Vol. 2) #43.
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