Warning: SPOILERS for The CW's Elseworlds
The minds behind The CW's "Elseworlds" crossover didn't make fans wait long to understand the secret of their Black Suit Superman. Well, the villain who has taken the form of Superman. Or, a male Supergirl. It's complicated.
First things first: the Supergirl portion of the Arrowverse crossover dropped the real mystery of Tyler Hoechlin's black suit-ed Man of Steel in its opening narration. After the previous villain of this crossover, John Deegan, was encouraged to make himself a god by The Monitor, he showed his true idea of divinity. John Deegan remade himself as Superman, albeit with a suit colored completely black.
After fans got their first glimpse of Tyler Hoechlin in a black Superman suit, they had no choice but to come up with some possible explanations. But in the end, this wasn't a case of an alternate-reality Superman turned evil, at all. As John explains to Supergirl, the ability to find, absorb, and rewrite all of this reality's knowledge didn't extend to anything beyond Supergirl's brief crossover to Earth-1 earlier in the crossover.
Considering that Supergirl is from an alternate reality, that actually makes sense. But it also means that this version of John Deegan doesn't know about Superman at all. (At least, that's what Kara's dialogue implies, even though he has witnessed Superman, too). Which means the 'black suit Superman' is actually John Deegan imagining himself with all the powers of Supergirl, just... as a man. And apparently, with a thing for black.
That's going to take viewers some time to process, even after Kara throws a jab at Deegan for being all too happy to imitate her powers, but unwilling to actually become her since she's a woman. Still, a mystery solved is a mystery solved, no matter how unexpected it may be. And on behalf of all fans, we suppose we'll forget the fact that Kara has crossed paths with this Earth, and its heroes long before the fight with Amazo. Perhaps John Deegan just forgot to flip the Book of Destiny back that far.
All things considered, this explanation for the black variation of Superman's uniform may be slight, but it's easier to swallow than the others fans may have cooked up. After all, comic readers would be hard-pressed to find more times when Superman in a black suit was a sign of villainy, instead of an indication of... well, nothing much, really, beyond him choosing not to occupy his usual role. In The CW's Arrowverse, however, black is the color of villains, plain and simple. Even if they're only pretending to be the Man of Steel.
Supergirl returns on Sunday, January 20, at 8pm on The CW.