The Superman villain nobody wanted to see again is heading to DC Comics. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’s Nuclear Man will make his comic debut in August during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the Man of Steel.
Nuclear Man’s first comic appearance will occur more than 30 years after his cinematic debut. That's with good reason as Nuclear Man is one of the worst Superman villains of all time. An original character created specifically for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man played a huge role in nearly tanking the Superman movie franchise forever.
The news of Nuclear Man becoming a part of official DC Comics canon came directly from the writer who will bring him to life, Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis, who recently moved from Marvel to DC, recently "took over” DC Comics’ official Instagram account. Most of Bendis’ time on DC’s Instagram was him having a bit of harmless fun, but near the end of his stint, Bendis revealed that Nuclear Man will be a part of his upcoming Superman story - because of something as juvenile as a simple dare.
Bendis went onto reveal what Nuclear Man will look like in the comic, the post is embedded below. Comic artist Ivan Reis will draw Nuclear Man, as well other elements of Bendis' story. There won't be a long wait for Nuclear Man to show up, either. Nuclear Man's first comic appearance will be in Bendis' second issue of the mainline Superman series, not to be confused with Bendis' current Man of Steel mini-series. The issue is expected to release some time in August 2018.
So when they first announced I was taking over Superman, @nickderington did a sketch of nuclear man from Superman 4: the quest for peace. people started challenging me to put him in my run. Challenge accepted!!! :) This is by @ivanreisart and you’ll find it in superman issue two #superman #superman4thequestforpeace #dcnation #dccomics #bendisdcinstatakeover
It's very hard to judge from a rough comic sketch, even if that sketch is done by an artist as talented as Ivan Reis, but it appears that despite Nuclear Man's dubious place in pop culture, Bendis will be treating him very seriously. Reis' recreation of Nuclear Man is very faithful to how he appeared in the movie, down to looking very similar to actor Mark Pillow (he even has his same infamous screaming expression).
The only real difference is that Nuclear Man is wearing what appears to be the tattered remains of Superman's own cape with the classic "S." In The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man does have a cape but it bares an "N" in the movie... because Nuclear Man's one and only gimmick is that he's remarkable unsubtle.
It's likely, or hopefully true, that the cape won't be the only thing that Bendis changes to fit Nuclear Man into the story. At the time of The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man was a very thinly veiled allegory for the nuclear arms race, which Christopher Reeve disapproved of greatly. Reeve hoped the Nuclear Man would inspire a real-world political discussion. Instead he was mercilessly mocked because he was plainly ridiculous. The Quest for Peace bombed at the box office and Superman wouldn't be seen on the big screen again for almost 20 years.
In The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man was created by Lex Luthor using some of Superman's DNA. Bendis could follow suit. However, the figure in the foreground of Ivan Reis' sketch looks more like Superman's current villain and original Brian Michael Bendis creation, Rogol Zaar, who supposedly destroyed Krypton. It would make (slightly) more sense if the comic Nuclear Man is somehow tied to Zaar, not Lex Luthor.
Although any reason for Nuclear Man being involved in Superman's life again is bound to be a bizarre one.
Source: DC Comics