The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

Can Superboy-Prime be reformed?

Posted in Final Crisis,green lantern,Profiles by mrread7 on September 1, 2008

The big question posed at the end of the first issue of Legion of Three Worlds, can the Clark Kent of Earth-Prime truly be reformed. From one of the heroes of Crisis and Infinite Earths to the all around villain of Infinite Crisis and later one of the main members of the Sinestro Corps. Superboy-Prime has gone from side character to known villain. Let’s look at what drove this alternate Superman to becoming the villain he is now. After the destruction of the Anti-Monitor, Superboy-Prime joins Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three, Kal-L, and his wife Lois Lane in a “paradise dimension”.
In the “paradise dimension”, Superboy-Prime secludes himself from the others, using crystals to replay events from his life on Earth-Prime. His favorite memory is of his ninth birthday party, which he watches repeatedly. Superboy-Prime becomes frustrated and angry, and he tries to reach out to Kal-L, whose attention is focused on Lois’ failing health. Alexander comes to believe that the reason behind Lois’ failing health is the paradise dimension itself, and persuades Superboy-Prime to help him return to reality. Alexander also shows Superboy-Prime the negative aspects of the post-Crisis Earth. Superboy-Prime hesitates until he overhears Kal-L say: “I wish this world would let him grow up. He’ll never be Superman here”. Finally, Alexander shows him the deaths of his parents and girlfriend in a car accident on the post-Crisis Earth.

The Superman of Earth-Two breaks open a portal to the DC Universe, and the four residents of the paradise dimension return, making themselves known to Power Girl and Batman. When introduced to Power Girl, he calls himself Superboy-Prime for the first time. Kal-L tells Power Girl: “When the universe was reborn, Earth-One became the primary world. The scraps of the remaining worlds were folded into it. But I finally realized— we saved the wrong Earth”. Superboy-Prime is jealous of Conner Kent, the modern Superboy, believing him to be living the life he himself ought to have had. He also believes the Earth’s heroes act more like villains. As part of Luthor’s plan, Superboy-Prime abducts figures originally from the worlds that combined to form the post-Crisis Earth, including Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, Black Adam, The Ray, Lady Quark and Breach to power the vibrational tuning fork Alexander builds. Superboy-Prime confronts Superboy, telling him that he is the only Superboy the Earth needs. Superboy-Prime brutally attacks Conner, but not before he can activate his Titans homing signal. The Teen Titans, the Doom Patrol, and the Justice Society of America arrive to help Conner. After accidentally killing Pantha, Superboy-Prime is shocked and horrified. The heroes try to contain Superboy-Prime, who kills and wounds several of them.
Speedy traps Superboy-Prime in the Phantom Zone, using an “emergency Phantom Zone arrow”. Superboy-Prime breaks free, exclaiming that the Phantom Zone is for “bad guys”. Left with no other option, Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Bart Allen drive Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force, and banish him to a world bathed in red sunlight, where he remains for four years.

Hours later, an older Bart Allen, dressed in his grandfather’s costume, emerges from the Speed Force and tells the heroine Doctor Light to warn the other heroes that Superboy-Prime has escaped. Superboy-Prime reappears during a battle between Alexander Luthor and the heroes freed from his tower. Upon his return, he wears a power suit modeled after the Anti-Monitor’s armor, which constantly feeds him yellow solar energy and boosts his power levels. During the battle, Black Adam discovers that his magic has little effect against Superboy-Prime. Superboy-Prime knocks Adam away from the tower, and his opponent is transported to Earth-S. Superboy-Prime insists that Luthor reinstate Earth-Prime as the only existing Earth. After Superboy-Prime attempts to kill Wonder Girl, an enraged Conner Kent attacks him. Conner and Superboy-Prime battle until Conner’s wrist is broken and he charges Superboy-Prime, sending them both headlong into Alexander Luthor’s vibrational tuning fork. The machine explodes, and the alternate Earths merge into one. Superboy dies from injuries sustained during the explosion while Superboy-Prime survives.
Alexander and Superboy-Prime join the Battle of Metropolis and quarrel about their contingency plan. Since their tower has been destroyed, Alexander is prepared to settle for taking over New Earth instead of creating a perfect Earth. Upon hearing of the new plan, Superboy-Prime refuses to help Alex, as he believes New Earth to be hopelessly inferior.
When Batman, Wonder Woman, Kal-El, and Kal-L arrive to save Metropolis, Kal-L confronts Alex about his role in the destruction. Meanwhile, Superboy-Prime is attacked by Bart Allen, who is outraged by Superboy-Prime’s murder of Conner. Superboy-Prime escapes Bart and flies toward Oa intending to destroy it and spark another Big Bang which would recreate the universe with himself as the sole hero. Although the majority of the Earth’s heroes are in pursuit, Superboy-Prime eludes capture. He is confronted by the Green Lantern Corps in deep space.

Imprisoned on Oa, Superboy-Prime carves an S-symbol into his chest and vows to escape.
Superboy-Prime breaks through a 300-mile thick wall of pure willpower generated by the Green Lantern Corps. Upon reaching the other side, he battles and slaughters thirty-two Green Lanterns. The battle provides the two Supermen time to attempt one final plan. They grab Superboy-Prime and drive him through Rao, the red sun of Krypton. The heat melts away Superboy-Prime’s armor, and severely weakens all three Kryptonians, who then land on Mogo. Superboy-Prime savagely beats Kal-L, who is all but dead when Kal-El intervenes.
Superboy-Prime claims that he is better than Kal-El, and that his Krypton was superior to Kal-El’s. Kal-El responds: “It’s not about where you were born. Or what powers you have. Or what you wear on your chest. It’s about what you do… It’s about action.” Although nearly powerless, Kal-El knocks Superboy-Prime out before collapsing himself.
The Green Lantern Corps arrives and confine Superboy-Prime in a quantum containment field, surrounded by a red Sun-Eater and guarded by fifty Green Lanterns.

A year later, Superboy-Prime sits in his cell and is watched over by a special cadre of Green Lanterns, including Guy Gardner, when the Guardians of the Universe discuss whether they should question him.
Geoff Johns stated on the scene, “It’s a subtle thing – he’s looking at his belt, and he’s contemplating who and what he is… for us, him being naked was an acknowledgment of stripping himself down to being this kid again, and being completely absorbed in what he’s done, and what he’s going to do.”
When the Sinestro Corps attack Oa, Superboy-Prime is released from his imprisonment and joins them. He becomes one of the Anti-Monitor’s heralds, and wears the uniform of the Sinestro Corps along with a variant of the power suit he wore during Infinite Crisis. Now called Superman-Prime (in part due to the legal disputes over the Superboy name), he arrives on Earth and battles a large group of heroes while flashing back on his life so far. He reveals that he did not believe Sinestro when he said that the Multiverse has been restored, and has only gone along with the Anti-Monitor’s plans so that he may one day get revenge on him for the destruction of Earth-Prime. Superman, Power Girl, and Supergirl arrive and stop him, only to have him escape as the sun rises, restoring his powers. Afterwards, Superman-Prime brutally battles Ion. Superman-Prime and the Green Lantern-powered Daxamite have an all out battle throughout the state of New York. Prime is already slightly as powerful as Ion but when he exposes him to lead, Superman-Prime gets the upper hand, defeating him. When the Anti-Monitor is wounded by the Guardians and the destruction of War World, Superman-Prime impatiently flies through his chest and throws him into space, then battles both the Sinestro Corps and Green Lantern Corps, until a Guardian willingly sacrifices himself to destroy Superman-Prime. However, instead of dying Prime is warped into another universe.

In Countdown to Final Crisis, following the conclusion of the Sinestro Corps War, Superman-Prime is now wearing a costume similar to the black suit worn by Superman shortly after his resurrection and has discovered the existence of the new Multiverse, traversing it in the hopes of finding Earth-Prime. He arrives on Earth-15 and attacks that world’s Lex Luthor, blaming him for Alexander Luthor’s failure to make the universe “perfect”. He promptly kills that world’s heroes and destroys the planet.
He then flies to his new base of operations in the Source Wall where he had been torturing Mister Mxyzptlk into helping him recreate Earth-Prime. It was revealed that Superman-Prime is 19 years old and according to Mxyzptlk, his growth is temporary and the result of his cells absorbing energy from his last “encounter”. Mxyzptlk escapes with the help of another prisoner, Annataz Arataz, an alternate version of Zatanna from Earth-3. Annataz is killed when Superman-Prime grows angry and gives up on using magic to achieve his goals.
In issue #16, he appears on the Monitors’ satellite headquarters and threatens Solomon to help him find Earth-Prime. In the following issue, Solomon tells him that if he releases Forerunner, he will show him what he wants, and in issue #14, he does so. Solomon then tells Prime that Earth-51 is his perfect Earth, and it is in ruins due to the fighting between Monarch’s Army, the Earth-51 heroes, and the Challengers. Prime leaves the satellite with the intent to confront Monarch. Superman-Prime confronts and fights with Monarch in issue #13, becoming slightly injured after Monarch exposes part of his suit. In a fit of rage, Superman-Prime redoubles his attack on Monarch and while his temporarily Oan Guardian-boosted powers begin to fade he rips open the chestplate of Monarch’s containment armor, resulting in a huge explosion of quantum energy that seems to destroy the entire universe of Earth-51.

In the 31st Century, shortly after the events of Geoff Johns storyline. The Time Trapper finds Superboy-Prime lost in time, and decides to use him to destroy the Legion, sending him to the 31st century, where he crashes in a farm outside of Smallville.
He appears much younger than he did when he was last seen in Countdown to Final Crisis, and appears to be wearing the tattered remains of his black Superman-Prime uniform. He encounters the elderly couple who own the farm, and they refer to him as “Superboy,” which enrages him. Despite returning to a younger appearance after the events of Countdown, he still thinks of himself as a man, rather than a boy. After killing a xenophobic farming couple, he makes his way in to Smallville and visits the Superman museum, and is enraged that Superman is regarded so highly. His rage, however, increases greatly when he visits the hall of villains in the museum, and finds the statue commemorating him to be locked in a back storeroom, as he is regarded as merely a footnote in Supermans history, an annoyance who was defeated by Conner Kent and Sodam Yat, and ultimately having no impact on history. This sends him in to a tantrum, in which he wrecks the museum, kills some police, and then learns of the Legion of Super-Villains.
He learns from the information in the museum that the Legion of Super-Villains followed a code of evil, inspired by a dark being whose “name was never spoken.” Prime, resolved to be a villain with more of an impact than any other enemy of Superman, sets out for the prison planet of Takron-Galtos, and frees Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, and Cosmic King. Unlike most denizens of the 31st century, they all recognize Prime and seem overjoyed to see him. The dialogue seems to imply that Prime was the dark being whose example the Legion follows.
After freeing the prisoners, Prime burns a huge S in to the prison planet, which prompts the Legion to call Superman from the 21st Century. Superman, and the historical records, imply that no one from New Earth are aware of what happened to Prime after the Sinestro Corps War. (Although being on Earth-51 at the same time as him, Kyle, Jason, and Donna never encountered or identified Prime themselves, so they were most likely unaware who exactly was fighting Monarch).
Superman and Brainiac 5 decide to bring in two other versions of the Legion to combat the new Legion of Super Villains, led by Prime, with Superman convinced the only way to neutralize the threat of Prime is to redeem him.

So, can Geoff Johns truly tell a story about Superboy-Prime being redeemed, even more can this guy truly be reformed? It’s really hard to say, as revealed in Legion of Three Worlds, Superboy-Primes thanks to the “new” multiverse history is the true inspiration for the Legion of Super Villains. Plus, Superboy-Prime will be leading the newly reformed Legion of Super Villains against Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes. Now, the more I look at it, it’s possible for Superboy-Prime to be reformed. If you look at all the history that wiki provided and have read any stories by Superboy-Prime. You can see that it’s always been a bigger villain that has manipulated him. Does that excuse his behavior? Of course not. He still let his anger and teenage angst get the better of him. The biggest thing here for Superboy-Prime’s character flaw is a matter of trust. He trusted in the wrong people or believed that listening to them would justify his own goals perfectly. In the end, Superboy-Prime pretty much just wants to go home and be the Superman of his own universe. He just keeps thinking that since he can’t go back home, his best plan is just replace the main Superman. Kal-El is right, they have to reach him and show him that he is a hero and must let go of his anger. Geoff Johns has stated that the Legion of Three Worlds story is Superboy-Prime’s story. So, I’m going to sit back, read each issue and come January see if that pays off.


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