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If you will not tell me, I will hurt people!
~ Nuclear Man threatening Clark Kent if he does not tell him where Lacy Warfield is.

Nuclear Man is the secondary antagonist of the critically-panned film Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Deleted scenes from the film reveal that there were originally two different Nuclear Men.

They were portrayed by Clive Mantle (1st) and Mark Pillow (2nd). Second Nuclear Man was voiced by Gene Hackman, who also portrayed Lex Luthor in the original Superman film, Little Bill Daggett in Unforgiven, and General Mandible in Antz.


The unused first Nuclear Man.

The first Nuclear Man, created by Lex Luthor in the laboratory, looked almost like Bizarro in his appearance. This incarnation terrorized Metropolis at night, attacking a Night Club and inflicting casualties (such as frying a woman when she took a liking to him).

However, this Nuclear Man was rather weak and was easily destroyed by Superman when the Man of Steel kicked the supervillain into a power transformer after a brief duel using cars, garbage cans, and other street objects. After collecting remains of the deceased first Nuclear Man with the help of his nephew Lenny, Lex decided he needs much more energy in order to create the stronger entity. Sneaking the remains on board the Nuclear Missile horde Superman tossed into the sun, a second and more powerful Nuclear Man was born.


Nuclear Man was created by Lex Luthor from a strand of hair containing Superman's DNA, made into a "genetic stew" which was birthed into a living being when Superman threw the nuclear missile containing the device that had the "stew" into the sun. He had about the same powers as Superman, and had nuclear radiated claws which can poison a man. If he's not in sunlight, he will become powerless. In Superman's first encounter with Nuclear Man, he caused a number of disasters to distract Superman, such as causing a destructive tornado in Kansas, blowing out parts of the Great Wall of China, causing a volcanic eruption in Italy, trying to detonate a nuclear missile in the heart of Moscow, and dropping the Statue of Liberty into the heart of a city and pierced the Kryptonian's skin when he tried to save the Statue of Liberty, causing him to lose his powers and his health. As he continued to be Lex's pawn, he fell in love with Lacy Warfield. After Superman restores himself with the use of the energy module from his star ship, he had a rematch with Nuclear Man. Their fight brought them to the moon where Nuclear Man buries the Man of Steel in the moon, and kidnaps Lacy. Superman then stopped Nuclear Man for good by causing a sudden solar eclipse when he moved the moon in front of the sun, then dropped him into the heart of a nuclear reactor where he would become an abundant source of energy.

Powers and Abilities

Nuclear Man (2nd) is extremely powerful: he is completely incapable of exhaustion, for one. He possesses superhuman strength that rivals Superman, as well as incredible speed, reflexes and durability. He is capable of rendering himself immune to Earth's gravity, and can also survive in the vacuum of space flawlessly. In a fight, Nuclear Man is extremely dangerous, being the only person in the Superman films up until Man of Steel to truly outmatch Superman in combat, and very nearly kill him. Nuclear Man's main ability are his intensely potent talons that can inflict a fatally poisonous injury upon whomever they come into contact with.

In other media

In Teen Titans Go Nuclear Man makes a small cameo in the episode "Justice League's Next Top Talent Idol Star" where he is seen as a contestant for the Show.


DC Rebirth

Nuclear Man was an enemy of Superman, who had been trapped in the Phantom Zone. When Rogol Zaar arrived in the Zone, the two fought each other, but then Zaar killed Nuclear Man really quickly by crushing his head.



  • Nuclear Man was physically portrayed by Mark Pillow, with his voice provided by Gene Hackman.
  • When Nuclear Man was being developed, Christopher Reeve was approached to play that part as Superman's polar opposite, or a darker version of Bizarro.
  • Nuclear Man has only 11 lines. However, in the deleted scenes, he has 3 more lines of dialogue. Which brings a total of 14 lines, if the scenes are added back together.
  • This first version of Nuclear Man and his involvement in the movies plot were eventually removed from the film when 45 minutes of footage were cut from the final product, which included all footage of the first Nuclear Man.
  • According to Mark Pillow, he found Christopher Reeve to be quite an intense person during the shooting. However, Pillow stated what a joy it was to work alongside Gene Hackman.
  • Despite needing constant exposure to daylight, Nuclear Man has been shown to remain mobile in some spots where he was not in direct sunlight.
  • Nuclear Man is listed as #1 in Wizard Magazine's "10 Villains We'd Like to Forget." The text reads: "Ya know what? Clones may just be worse than robots. Especially when they've got lame electric powers, 'evil nails' and only have their powers while exposed to sunlight."
  • Nuclear Man was an updated version of a villain that first appeared on the Superman radio show, and was adapted for the serial Atom Man vs. Superman.


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Theatrical Movies
Superman: Lex Luthor | Otis | Eve Teschmacher | General Zod | Non | Ursa
Superman II: General Zod | Non | Ursa | Lex Luthor | Otis | Eve Teschmacher | Rocky
Superman III: Ross Webster | Corrupted Superman | Vera Webster | Lorelei Ambrosia
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Lex Luthor | Nuclear Man
Superman Returns: Lex Luthor
Man of Steel: Sword of Rao (Dru-Zod, Faora-Ul, Nam-Ek, Jax-Ur, Tor-An, Car-Vex, Nadira, & Dev-Em II)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lex Luthor | Doomsday | Anatoli Knyazev | Mercy Graves | Cesar Santos | Amajagh | Joe Chill | Zod | Steppenwolf

Direct-to-video Movies
Superman: Brainiac Attacks: Brainiac | Lex Luthor | Mercy Graves | Mister Mxyzptlk
Superman: Doomsday: Lex Luthor | Superman Clone | Doomsday | Toyman | Mercy Graves
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Lex Luthor | Major Force | Metallo | Amanda Waller | Toyman | Solomon Grundy | Gorilla Grodd | Killer Frost | Lady Shiva | Giganta | Mongul | Captain Cold
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: Darkseid | Female Furies (Granny Goodness, Gilotina, Mad Harriet, Lashina & Stompa) | Doomsday
All-Star Superman: Lex Luthor | Solaris | Parasite | Bar-El & Lilo-El
Superman vs. The Elite: The Elite (Manchester Black, Coldcast, Menagerie & Hat) | Atomic Skull
Superman: Unbound: Brainiac
The Death Of Superman: Doomsday | Lex Luthor | Intergang (Bruno Mannheim) | Mercy Graves | Cyborg Superman
Reign Of The Supermen: Cyborg Superman | Darkseid | Parademons | Lex Luthor | Mercy Graves
Superman: Red Son: Superman | Brainiac | Lex Luthor | Batman | Superior Man
Superman: Man of Tomorrow: Parasite | Lobo | Lex Luthor

Superman: The Animated Series: Lex Luthor | Brainiac | Darkseid | Mercy Graves | Mister Mxyzptlk | Prometheon | Bizarro | Jax-Ur | Metallo | Kalibak | Desaad | Steppenwolf | Female Furies (Granny Goodness, Stompa, Mad Harriet, & Lashina) | Livewire | Parademons | Intergang (Bruno Mannheim & Spider Spinelli) | Kanto | Lobo | Joker | Harley Quinn | Volcana | Toyman | Parasite | Earl Garver | Maxima | Weather Wizard | Sinestro | Karkull | Titano | Penguin | Riddler | Bane | Mad Hatter | Preserver | Roxy Rocket | Society of Shadows (Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, & Ubu) | Unity | Reverend Amos Howell | Luminus | Superman (Brave New Metropolis) | Lex Luthor (Brave New Metropolis) | Corey Mills | Dr. Vale | De'Cine | Kurt Bowman | General Hardcastle | Joey | Kurt
Superman & Lois: Tal-Rho | Leslie Larr | John Henry Irons | Zeta-Rho | Reno Rosetti | David Fuglestad | Intergang (Thaddeus Killgrave) | Atom-Man | Zod

Video Games
Superman Arcade: Emperor Zaas
Injustice: Superman | Brainiac | Doomsday | Aquaman | Black Adam | Sinestro | Lex Luthor | Joker | Darkseid