But, it’s important to note that the show points out one key difference between Lara’s previous family and the one she started with Jor-El later on. Lara (while in the body of Lana Lang) explains that she had been “genetically matched” with Zeta-Ro, and Tal-Ro was their offspring. She makes it a point to mention that she fell in love with Jor-El and “gave birth” to Kal-El. Why is this significant?
When John Byrne rebooted the Superman comics in 1986 (before “reboot” was a word we all threw around a lot), one of the key changes he made to the mythology was making Krypton a society seemingly devoid of love, and one that had possibly even moved beyond the pursuit of sex as the primary means of reproduction (let alone recreation). Partners were matched based on their genetic compatibility to produce the most suitable offspring, and children were conceived and carried to term in a kind of high tech birthing matrix. Jor-El and Lara were unique in that they actually fell in love, and their love influenced their decision to send baby Kal-El away.
Sound familiar? There were elements of this in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie. But that film took it a step further, where Jor-El and Lara conceived Kal the old-fashioned (and more fun) way, and Lara gave birth to him in the traditional manner, as well. The excellent (and sorely missed) Krypton pointed to this as well. So just the shift in those couple of words in Lana/Lara’s exposition points out the fact that while yes, Edge may technically be Superman’s half-brother, it doesn’t quite carry the same weight.
Nature vs. Nurture
Ah, the tale as old as time in Superman stories. Is a potentially all-powerful Kryptonian inherently good, or only as good as the environment in which they are raised?
But this episode takes it a step further. It isn’t that Tal-Ro was raised by an evil version of the Kents, it’s simply that he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and only saw humanity’s less noble characteristics. Again, it’s subtle, but it’s a hint that in Superman’s world, nobody is truly beyond redemption…although Edge sure is making a solid case for himself in that regard. Jerk.
So, it turns out that the secret ingredient to Edge’s infusing of Kryptonian souls/consciousness into human bodies was something called the Eradicator. What is the Eradicator? Folks, I sure am glad you asked!
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