We’re heading into Man of Steel’s third week of release, and by now, it’s a pretty fair bet that if you’re a Superman or a DC Comics fan, you’ve probably already seen it. And if you’re a big fan, you’re probably going to see it again. In fact, the only real question for most of us is exactly how many times we’ll be seeing it before it leaves theaters.
With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a list of a few things to look out for the second or third time you see Man of Steel. As you can probably guess, the movie contains more than a few “easter eggs” and references to classic Superman storylines and comics that are easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention. You may have caught some of them the first one or two times you saw the movie, but did you pick up on all of these?
Some Very “Super” Signage
You need a very keen eye to catch them all, but you can spot signs throughout Man of Steel that directly refer to places and corporations from the world of Superman and the DC Universe as a whole. Look out for signs heralding Utopia Casino, Blaze Comics and most notably, LexCorp. Yes, while Lex Luthor isn’t in Man of Steel, the name of his infamous company can be seen on signs all throughout it, most notably on a doomed tanker near the end of the film.
This one deserves a call-out of its own. Along with the aforementioned corporations, Man of Steel contains a reference to DC Comics legendary Dark Knight (as well as the recent blockbuster trilogy devoted to him). However, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sort of moment. Near the end of the film, as Superman is in the midst of his battle with Zod, an orbiting satellite becomes part of the collateral damage. If you look closely, you can spot the Wayne Enterprises logo on it.
More Powerful Than a Locomotive
An earlier battle in Smallville contains a fun nod to the famous intro to the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons (“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive!”). As Colonel Hardy calls in an airstrike, Superman (as well as his Kryptonian opponents) dodge their gunfire. Later in the same battle, an entire locomotive engine gets hurled at Superman, who easily shrugs it off.
During the Kryptonian prologue, Jor-El used the name “Kelex” to refer to a floating robot. As any longtime fan of Superman comics knows, Kelex is a Kryptonian robot that helps maintain Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the comics.
While Colonel Nathan Hardy is a new character created for Man of Steel, he does possess a callsign that may be familiar to DC Comics fans—Guardian. The Guardian is a classic DC Comics super hero that was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, and who has a history with Superman stemming from the “Death of Superman” storyline. While Colonel Hardy isn’t the Guardian, it’s a fun nod for fans.
The Kryptonian Crew
While General Zod gets top billing among the villains, many of his partners in crime also stem from comics continuity. Faora-Ul is well known among comic book fans as well as fans of Smallville, where she was a recurring character in Season 8. Jax-Ur is also an established villain, known for destroying Krypton’s moon—evidence of which can be seen near the very beginning of Man of Steel (during a shot of Krypton’s skyline). Finally, although credited as Nam-Ek in the film, the large, silent, brutish Kryptonian Superman battles in Smallville along with Faora seems to be a wink-and-nod to the Superman II and Superman: Last Son villain Non.
Secrets Aboard the Scout Ship
The Kryptonian Scout Ship that later becomes Superman’s Fortress of Solitude harbors all sorts of secrets in the film, some known to us and others left open as tantalizing teases of what may lie ahead in future films. One of these was specifically pointed out by screenwriter David S. Goyer in a recent interview. When Clark is investigating the ship for the first time, we see several pods housing ancient Kryptonians. Most of these are sealed up and contain skeletal remains, but one of them is open and empty. We can only speculate who may have been in that one, though if you happen to have read the Man of Steel digital prequel comic that was available to people who pre-ordered tickets, you’ll know that it suggests the Kryptonian survivor could be none other than Kara Zor-El—AKA Supergirl. We’ll have to wait and see if this impacts any future films—keep in mind that the Scout Ship first arrived over 18,000 years ago—but at the very least, it suggests that even now, Clark may not be the last Kryptonian in the world of Man of Steel.
These are just some of the references to comic book continuity that you can find in Man of Steel. Did you catch any others? And how many times will you be seeing Man of Steel this summer?