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James Gunn's Superman Movie Villain May Be An Evil Clone - But Not The One You Think

According to new reports about James Gunn's upcoming Superman film, an alternate version of Superman known as Ultraman will appear in the DC Universe as the creation of a major supervillain. Scooper @CanWeGetSomeToast reports that Ultraman, the twisted Earth-3 Man of Steel and member of the Crime Syndicate villain team, is allegedly set to make his live-action debut in "Superman." The paywalled Instagram report says Lex Luthor (Nicholas Hoult) will successfully clone Superman (David Corenswet) in the film. However, instead of creating Bizarro, who was previously rumored to appear in the movie, the U-logo-wearing Kryptonian clone will be a much deadlier version of the hero.

Multiple versions of Ultraman have appeared since the Crime Syndicate of America made its first comic book appearance pre-Crisis in "Justice League of America" #29 (by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Bernie Sachs, and Gaspar Saladino). Ultraman led the evil superteam alongside his world's analogs of popular heroes, including Johnny Quick (The Flash), Owlman (Batman), Power Ring (Green Lantern), and Super-Woman (Wonder Woman). The team sparred with the Justice League and Justice Society of America before being wiped out during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" arc.

The team was reintroduced in DC Comics for the "New 52" era, playing key parts in the "Forever Evil" and "Darkseid War" events. More recently, the Crime Syndicate returned with Ultraman and some of its members teaming up with Amanda Waller in her ongoing quest to take down the Justice League.

Ultraman's latest mission shows his deadly nature

Still very much a relevant comic book villain, Ultraman's most recent appearance in "Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent" (by Tom Taylor, Clayton Henry, Jordie Bellaire, and Wes Abbott) saw him become the ultimate Superman killer. The Kryptonian powerhouse jumps dimensions and tries to murder every alternate version of the Man of Steel in the multiverse, while successfully siphoning their powers and using them for his own nefarious gain. Jon Kent's Superman fights to stop him, even though he fears the man who previously kept him imprisoned and away from his family for years.

Despite Kent nearly defeating Ultraman, his father's evil doppelganger comes close to killing the young hero before the "Injustice" version of Superman shows up and saves Jon, believing he is the son that he lost — which initially put in motion the dark alternate Superman of Earth-49. "Injustice" Superman makes sure to end Ultraman's reign with pure violence, snapping his neck and ruthlessly killing him, showing how far the "Injustice" villain will go in his quest to save his "son."

It takes one of the most powerful Supermen in the multiverse and numerous deaths of Superman across space and time to stop Ultraman, which shows why he's so feared in many different realities. His return is inevitable, as the character is too frightening to leave dead in the comics. If he does show up in "Superman," as the new reports suggest, it's safe to assume Ultraman's popularity will spike, and there will be plenty of renewed interest around his potential return on the page.